Self awareness; along with the self acceptance, self control, and personal freedom it generates; exists within us, and can remain regardless of our external circumstance. It involves perceiving life from a higher, broader place;from beyond the mind; and its ego, issues, and defenses. This process can be inhibited by neurologic uniqueness, anxiety or depression, and unresolved life experiences. Below you will find seven steps that lead to greater self awareness.. They parallel the primary chakras of the Human Energy System.
- Basic Needs: Are your survival needs being met?
- Emotional Accuracy: Are you truly understanding what is generating your emotion?
- Internal Stability: Are you safe, balanced, and confident in your perceptions?
- Heart Shielding: Do you have enough control over your mind to protect your heart?
- Clear Communication: Are you speaking your truth and perceiving the truth of others?
- Open Intuition: Is your third eye open to the place beyond your mind?
- Higher Understanding: Has your consciousness awakened to the truth?
We must create conditions within which we are safe, secure, and able to be emotionally vulnerable before the first step can be taken toward self awareness. Real or perceived threats to safety will lower our vibrational frequency, shift the brain into survival mode, and prompt us to fight, run away, or freeze with fear until the threat is gone. Such conditions block continuous access to this higher place; although they may, during a moment of emotional overwhelm or mental letting go, create a flicker of its beauty, warm and bright. If so, this glimmer of something amazing somewhere beyond our struggles; may provide the hope to get us through the night. Self awareness requires basic needs satisfaction.
We must understand the truth of our emotions before they can be effectively processed, resolved, and released. If we are highly sensitive, as is the case for many naturalists, spiritualists, and truth seekers; then we may experience great anxiety when connecting with the world. If so, then, in order to rise above this discomfort; we must see it for what it really is (our own anxiety) rather than allowing our mind to externalize its cause, transform it into anger or irritation, and attribute it to another person, place, or thing. If we blame something else for what we ourselves are creating; then we cannot resolve it, because we are not dealing with the truth of what it is. For example, if we experience anxiety about going to the dentist, convert this anxiety into anger and irritability, attack our partner as if they did something to us when they did not, and feel like a victim of the alleged impropriety; then the transmuted emotions (anger and irritability) derived from cognitive distortions (our lover did something hurtful to us) are not based on truth. When our memory and efforts toward resolving the situation are predicated upon such distortions, it cannot be resolved; because this is not what happened. Consequently, the anxiety is reinforced and new problems are created (e.g. relationship pain). Self awareness requires accuracy of emotion.
Transcending mind traps necessitates the presence of psychological safety, balanced emotion, and confidence in the accuracy of our perceptions. When attained, this stability will free us from distraction, help us elevate with assurance, and guide us to awareness of the truth. Confidence must be cultivated with truth. This is its only real source. To use the toothy illustration presented above; when we are able to clearly see that we are feeling anxious about going to the dentist, when we are able to remove all other externalized attributions, and when we are confident that our perception is based on truth; we have gained the internal stability needed to rise above the mind )and our aching molar). Self awareness requires internal stability.
When the ego controls our thoughts, words, and actions we are unable to protect our heart from needless suffering. Such pain will lower our vibration, inhibit awareness of higher consciousness, and block our view of what is really there. The ego will trigger emotions that serve its purpose, take us further from the truth, and keep us spinning in this cycle of delusion. With sufficient self awareness we can dissolve the ego issues and defenses into truth. Let’s apply this wisdom to our above dental dilemma. If we transmute our anxiety into externalized anger and irritation; blaming our partner for a fabricated wrongdoing; then we will feel hurt, sad, and hopeless because of something that did not happen; subconsciously we will feel guilty or ashamed for attacking our beloved; and we will still feel the anxiety underneath. When we develop enough self awareness to realize that we are feeling anxious because of the dentist appointment, enough self acceptance to withhold judgment and normalize the experience, and enough self control to fight the urge to externalize the blame; then we will have enough control over our mind to protect our heart. Self awareness requires safety for the heart.
Conveying truth requires its realization through non-resistance, non-judgment, and non-attachment; acceptance of self, others, and what happens; and basing thoughts, emotions, and perceptions on what is real. Rewind to the case of our pearly whites. When we clearly see that we are feeling anxiety and why, when we share this awareness with our partner, and when we take responsibility for our emotions; we are communicating at the frequency of truth. Such veridical disclosures will increase self awareness and strengthen our relationships for life. Self awareness requires clear communication.
Accessing greater self awareness requires our third eye to be open to the truth; seeing through the stars and planets, through the wisdom of the ages, through the eyes of everywhere and every when. Let us consult our oral oracle again. When we realize that we are feeling anxiety about going to the dentist, broaden our perspective to that of universal consciousness, and deeply breathe this truth within our mind; the angst will lessen, and we no longer will be blind. Seeing through the eye of the cosmos, rather than our mental myopia; will bring us more awareness; a higher kind. Self awareness requires open intuition.
In order to ascend beyond the mind’s myopic reach, we must let go of the illusion of separateness, accept the oneness of all things, and rise up through this wisdom to the truth. Let’s take one final trip down Incisor Lane. When, through meditation, revery, or yoga; we put ourselves in the shoes of the dentist, realize that we are them and they are us, and understand that our anxiety is based on material world illusion; we can transcend the reach of worry, fear, and pain. We can see beyond the mind, so much to gain. Self awareness requires higher understanding.
Therefore, when our basic needs are met, emotions true, confidence present, heart protected, communication clear, intuition open, and understanding elevated; we perceive with self awareness, we can see within its grace; we are living in the beauty of this place.
Photo Credit for Primary Image: Flickr.com