Father Anthony De Mello in his book “Awareness” tells a story.
“ Last year on Spanish television I heard a story about this gentleman who knocks on his son’s door. “Jaime,” he says, “wake up!” Jaime answers, “I don’t want to get up, Papa.” The father shouts, “Get up, you have to go to school.” Jaime says, “I don’t want to go to school.” “Why not?” asks the father. “Three reasons,” says Jaime. “First, because it’s so dull; second, the kids tease me; and third, I hate school.” And the father says, “Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school. First, because it is your duty; second, because you are forty-five years old, and third, because you are the headmaster.”
When you don’t wake up (become aware) and understand your mental models probably we reason like Jamie in the story about events/ happenings around us. I understand the example above is an extreme case. Yes, we are not Jamie but we are similar to Jamie. Hence becoming aware of mental models is most important step to live a conscious life. Journaling as mentioned earlier was the first step to become aware.
As we have seen in the last post, mental chatter that we have, is the foundation of most of our mental models. This chatter cannot be stopped, cannot be killed, cannot be side-lined. Only way is to become aware of the chatter. Again, journaling as suggested earlier comes to our help for noting down the mental chatter.
You can deepen your awareness by many practices. The simple practice, which I follow is to meditate. Sit straight but comfortably. Close your eyes and bring your attention gently to your breath. Watch, how your breathe goes in and out. You can use a soothing mediation music in low volume to aid this. Only condition that is to be kept in mind, is your breathing should not be altered, it should be easy and natural and if your attention gets distracted, which will happen many times gently bring back the same, to your breathe. (The most simple but profound guide to meditation can be found in Andy Puddicombe’s book- The headspace guide to mindfulness and meditation– This explains the step-by-step process of meditation) Will you get results if you do this? See we are programmed so, to get a result for anything we do, that this expectation itself hampers the process. My sincere advice will be, to meditate, don’t expect. You will see for yourself the change in you.
What is self -awareness? It is noticing everything happening in you and around you without judging. Notice what is the ambience around you, how do you feel, how your clothes fit on you, what thoughts are roaming in your head, what emotions are you feeling. What sensations are there in body, what are you perceiving through your senses.
Mindfulness is a practice that also can help a person deepen his self-awareness. I can suggest few practices, which if done diligently will help a person to become more aware.
We use mobile phone extensively. Rather it has become an extension of our body. Next time when you get a call, before you answer the call, take 3 deep breathes and then answer the call. You will see qualitative difference in the response. Or you are on Whatsapp and forwarding a message or commenting something. Before you actually hit the send button, take few deep breathes and see the action you are about to take. You will find that you will respond rather than react and will reduce unnecessary forwards giving you a calm space of mind.
How do you drink water? Have you tasted the coolness, the feel of it when it enters your mouth? What it feels like, when the edge of the glass touches your lips while drinking water. So, try to feel all this when you drink water. This mindfulness exercise can be extended while eating food also. Eat your food slowly, take small bites, feel the taste in your mouth, savor the flavor of food and if possible, do all this silently.
All this will help you to become aware of yourself. And this awareness will help you lead to path of conscious living.“Until you make the unconscious, conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl Jung