Here is a brief definition and explanation of what awareness is, and of the difference between awareness and consciousness, and between awareness and the observing mind.
Awareness is a state of consciousness where you can ‘see’ or witness yourself, as if you were looking at yourself from outside yourself.
You need awareness in order to ‘see’ your selves in action, to gain information about these selves.
Becoming More Aware is Not the Same as Becoming More Conscious
Awareness is an aspect of becoming more conscious. For consciousness to grow, you also need to experience the world through the selves, and then you need to have the ability to have choice in how you respond to the world. That is what the Aware Ego gives you.
There are Three Aspects to Consciousness – Awareness, Experience and the Aware Ego.
- The Aware Ego on its own isn’t consciousness – it exists in relation to the 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 things only from their own perspective and they believe life should be lived according to their rules, and that any different rule systems are inferior.
- And awareness on its own enables you to see what is, but it doesn’t enable you to act.
Awareness and the Observing Mind
It is important to differentiate between awareness and the observing mind which can often masquerade (quite innocently) as awareness.
How to differentiate?
Your observing mind will know a lot about you and your other selves 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 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 nor analyse.
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 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.