While it can be relatively easy to notice how another person behaves and how this affects their life, the same cant always be said about how one behaves and how this affects their life.
And a big part of this comes down to how the modern day world is; with people generally being taught to focus on what is taking place externally and not to engage in any kind of self reflection. Our senses are then engaged and our attention ends up being placed on what is going on in the world.
It is then normal for one to know what other people are doing, but this can then lead to one being oblivious to what they are doing. If another person was to ask why their life is the way it is, one could probably come up with all kinds of reasons.
But one could ask themselves the same question and wonder why their life is the way it is. And yet if one was to ask another person, they might start to come to gain some insight. This doesn’t even need to be someone that one knows all that well either.
Shining The Light
They could be someone that one has only met recently and while only a short amount of time has passed, it has been enough for them to notice how one behaves. Upon receiving this feedback, one could be grateful or they might become defensive.
It can all depend on what the other person has noticed; how they communicate what they have noticed and how open one is to receiving feedback, amongst other things.
When one doesn’t notice something,, it is usually because their mind has identified with it. It is then not something they notice, it is has become who they are. So when one comes along and points something out for example, it could lead to resistance.
What the mind has identified with will be what it has attached to. Once this attachment has occurred, it will be interpreted as familiar and therefore safe. From here, it will no longer been seen as a threat to ones survival and it can then be overlooked.
However, just because the mind feels safe with something, due to it being familiar and therefore no longer needs to be the object of one’s focus, it doesn’t mean that this will benefit one’s life.
The mind will want to hold on and it won’t matter how harmful it may be to one’s life. So the reason the resistance appears, is because the mind has become attached and to let go will be interpreted as dearth to the ego mind.
And this can relate to ones behaviour, their feelings and their thoughts for instance. To let go of how one behaves or how they feel is unlikely to lead to ones death, but that’s not how the mind sees it.
Through realising that resistance will appear when one tries or does change something, one can gradually accept that this is normal and not something that needs to be avoided. By accepting what is taking place and not trying to resist it, one is using their ability to observe.
So just how one might watch the clouds as they move, without any interest as to what they do, one does the same with their mind and body. In the early stages of this there is likely to be the tendency to get attached to the story and the words in one’s head or the feelings in their body.
While one can gradually improve their ability to observe themselves in a short amount of time, it is an ability that one can develop for the rest of their life.
When one is attached to their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, they are not separate from them. However, when one is no longer attached to them, they have created space. And through allowing this contrast to appear, one is able to see that they are more than what is going on in their mind and body.
So through having contrast, one will see that they are not their thoughts, feelings or behaviour on one side and on the other, it will also allow one to see that there are other ways for them to behave, think and feel and to look at the world and themselves.
And this is why information is so important, as it enables one to see that there are other ways. Without new information, one would have no way of seeing that what they are doing is not helping them. New information allows one to think differently and to question what they already believe.
As well as this, taking responsibility for how one feels, what irritates them and what ones relationships are like, is another way to increase self awareness. It can be easy to blame others for how one feels, to point the finger when one feels irritated and come to the conclusion that other people are the problem.
However, while it can appear as though what is going on ‘out there’ is the problem, this is an illusion. Consciously on may not see how what is taking place externally has anything do with what is going on internally and yet if they were to bring their focus inwards, another outlook may soon arise.
Developing self awareness is a process and one that will never end. So one may decide to develop it by themselves or they might feel the need to seek some kind of assistance. When one is carrying a lot of baggage from the past, it is going to be harder for them to observe themselves.
As not only will this baggage cause challenges within, it will also create challenges without. So as this build up is released, one will gain a greater sense of clarity within. A therapist, healer or a coach can make a massive difference when it comes to developing and/or increasing self awareness.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.