Here’s a brief explanation of what awareness is, and of the difference between awareness and consciousness, and between awareness and the observing mind. If you have trouble meditating or when you meditate you get caught up in your thoughts, this information might help you understand why.
Awareness is a state of consciousness where you can ‘see’ or witness yourself, as if you were looking at yourself from outside yourself.
It’s a state you can access with meditation and mindfulness (karma yoga) – as long as you can unhook from your mind, which often believes it is the same as awareness.
There are degrees of being aware, so you can be a little bit aware or experience a full-blown awareness state.
Awareness is something that grows naturally when you practice Voice Dialogue (read my home page if you’ve just arrived here and you’re new to Voice Dialogue).
And it’s something that’s necessary for witnessing your inner selves and how they operate: to gain information about and an energetic feel for how your various selves determine your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Becoming More Aware Isn’t the Same as Becoming More Conscious
Awareness is an aspect of becoming more conscious. Because for consciousness to grow, you also need to experience the world and yourself through the selves that make up who you are.
And then you need to have the ability to choose how you respond to the world.
And to genuinely have choice you have to experience the perspectives – the realities or truths – of both sides involved.
That’s what the Aware Ego Process is about.
The 3 Aspects of Consciousness
The three aspects of consciousness are awareness, experience and the Aware Ego.
- The Aware Ego on its own isn’t consciousness – it exists in relation to our selves and needs awareness to be an ‘aware’ ego.
- The selves on their own don’t necessarily wish to become conscious of other selves, or even of themselves. They experience life only from their own perspective. They have beliefs, rules, feelings if they are a feeling self, and judgments.
- And awareness on its own enables you to perceive what is, but it doesn’t enable you to act.
Awareness and the Observing Mind
It’s important to differentiate between awareness and the observing mind, which can often masquerade as awareness.
How to differentiate?
Your observing mind will know a lot about you and your other selves, and the other people you’re involved with, and this knowledge will be able to be expressed verbally.
The observing mind is a mental energy, and feels as if it is located up high in your head.
Awareness, on the other hand, is also a state where there is knowing but it has a different quality: It can ‘know’ the mind and also know a completely non-mind self such as the being self. It witnesses the selves, with no judgment and no agenda. And awareness doesn’t speak or analyse.
A Simple Exercise to Develop Awareness
Pick a simple activity you do regularly, such as brushing your teeth, packing the dishwasher or walking your dog. While doing that activity try to become aware of yourself doing it. Really pay attention to what you are doing in each moment. Feel what is happening in your body and in your mind and with your emotions.
If you have experienced a Voice Dialogue session and have met some of your selves, try to identify who in you is present while you do your activity.
Is it your Pusher, making you brush your teeth quickly so you can get on with something else? Is your Inner Critic watching you? Are you distracted with the thoughts of your Perfectionist or maybe the fantasies of your Inner Adventurer? How do those selves make you feel?
Repeat this exercise a number of times and you’ll find it becomes easier to experience the state of awareness.
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