MASTERY AND AWARENESS
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Awareness can be elusive, and yet without awareness it is very difficult to change. Awareness is actually the key that allows you to consciously shift your behavior from making lucky or accidental changes to intentional changes. Awareness allows you to take possession of your choice points and leads you toward a clearer focus of what you want. Through clarity you can then take positive action.
Science explains how awareness works by delving into the anatomy of the brain. Basic awareness of one's internal and external world, called phenomenal awareness, originates in the brain stem in the center of the brain. "Higher" forms of awareness called “access awareness,” including self-awareness and language, require the involvement of the cortex, which wraps around the surface of the brain. Access awareness makes information in your mind accessible so that you can express it verbally in a reasonable fashion. It also affects how you control your behavior and awareness of both introspection as well as memory (e.g., something that you learned in the past).
The tools in this book are intended to build greater levels of awareness so you can see your patterns, witness your thinking, and identify how you create and construct your reality. Through awareness you will become more and more able to “see yourself” and recognize your patterns of perception, your various attitudes, and your behaviors. With awareness, you can also better understand what triggers you into nonproductive loops of thought and feeling.
Awareness is the first step toward making a tangible change in your life. Without it, change just becomes happenstance. You may bump up against an experience or have something traumatic happen and this creates the impetus for change. However, the purpose of this book is to stimulate intentional change through awareness so that you can be the architect of your life.
WHERE IS YOUR AWARENESS?
You can focus your awareness in three distinct dimensions:
- SELF: Awareness of your internal thoughts and feeling processes; awareness of your body language.
- OTHER: Awareness of how another person is experiencing you and their thinking/feeling process.
- OBSERVER: Awareness of the interaction from a neutral or observing point of view.
Perhaps you are more prone to be self-aware or to be aware of the other person, or maybe you are one of those people that assess the situation naturally. Whatever your strength is, the goal is to increase your awareness flexibility by either stepping into the other person’s shoes, stepping into the observer’s point of view, or stepping into your own shoes and exploring and developing your awareness in each of those positions. This is something that you can do alone in preparation for interactions with others, as well as during the actual interactions and conversations.
MASTERY AND MATURE AWARENESS
Mastery means that you are able to build a mature sense of awareness. Mature awareness means that you are present to observe your own thoughts and feelings without the knee-jerk desire to either dismiss them or slip into autopilot. You can actually pause, check, and reflect on what you are going through first. You can become an observer of yourself. This can be uncomfortable at first. Or you may see something about your attitude you don’t like and you want to make a change immediately. But acting in haste under these circumstances often causes you to make another choice that ends up creating just as much, if not more, discomfort or confusion.
Mastery means that you have the ability to be with and feel your choices, without flinching or falling into a default mode. You learn to breathe, relax, feel the moment, and then choose positive intent. This type of change is not about instant transformation. It is one that comes from genuine self-examination, self-acceptance, and a clear idea of where you are going and what it is that you want to do.