No matter what your problems involve, sex, love, relationships, work, ect... Becoming aware of yourself and the situations and the patterns that exist in your life is the # 1 step to finding relief from suffering. Once you become aware of the negative patterns that persist, you are able to consciously change them. Let’s say you become angry every time someone cuts you off while you are driving and every time it happens and you don’t recognize this pattern. The moment someone cuts you off while driving becomes an anger trigger that will continue to serve you in this way, causing pain and suffering to you and those around you. If you recognize and acknowledge this anger trigger at some point in your life, then you can gain the power to shift it into something more productive. Holding onto this negative emotion of anger without recognizing its core, and properly allowing its expression will continue the cycle of suffering. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on the foundational building blocks and the source of cultivating the awareness that will allow you freedom from these kinds of emotional triggers. In subsequent posts, I will build on to this practice that will guide you to ultimate fulfillment that results from emotional mastery.
So in writing this, I’m giving you permission to dive inward, to your depths to discover what it means to be truly human and to bring your awareness to the forefront of your existence that allows you the space to choose your own path to the life you desire, amidst all the chaos.
So many times we step outside of ourselves, seeking to find fulfillment in a new car, a new house, a new relationship, a new situation, ect... yet that what we seek is right here. It's inside of us. You alone have the key to unlock your full potential and power to live the life you truly desire; one free of struggle and suffering.
The easiest route to recognizing external patterns is to recognize internal patterns first. That’s why we are beginning with the the body and the breath. For me, I began this journey outward, rather than inward. I created extensive awareness outside of myself, causing paralyzing anxiety and emotional confusion by not being able to connect to my inner wisdom and awareness. So learning from my mistake, and finding my center and being in alignment, I guide you with confidence first into your body, into your heart, and into yourself.
By becoming aware of your inner self first and foremost, you will begin to cultivate the space needed within to determine what your wants and needs that are in alignment with your deepest desires. Your thoughts, actions, and behaviors begin to work together to support you in your goals. This is where the word flow comes in. Where you are doing the work you enjoy, you are finding people in your life who lift you up even higher. The challenges become opportunities and life becomes an effortless extension of the diligent work you’ve been doing inside.
Doing the work is not always comfortable. Sometimes we are faced with realities that want to hold us back from growth. This is where your dedication and commitment matter. You have to take full responsibility for your development to see the results you desire. Heading into the unknown can be the scariest, yet most rewarding action you can take. I’m here to support you in your journey, so be brave and do the walk.
Below are guiding words and questions to activate your 5 senses that will cultivate your inner awareness. The process will take some time, so being patient with yourself is a huge step for your success. Practice this meditation as much as you need and want. No need to worry if some of you answers are no’s. This is your cue to step into a place of discomfort and attempt to feel around for a yes. Your best self is waiting on the other side.
I know it seems impossible to change sometimes because what you are doing is all you know. I’m here to tell you today that you have more power than you could ever imagine. I always like to refer back to the most simple, yet applicable example to when you were a child. At one time, you didn’t know how to tie your shoes. Someone older, showed you a few tricks and then you began your practice. Sometimes you got it, but you didn’t quite understand how it all came together. After diligent practice, sometimes needing assistance, you finally understood how it worked and you did it by yourself. You got it! You really understood it well enough to teach someone else. In the process of learning a new skill, you also became more resilient to challenges. Tackling life challenges are just the same as they were when you were younger. Only now that we are adults, we have the conscious choice to support ourselves during this shift. We have to recognize that we want to grow, choose a path and do it until we get it; forgiving ourselves in the process when we need help or guidance. You have already established that you are dedicated to your own success simply by reading this.
So what does it mean to be self-aware? By obtaining awareness around particular patterns in life, you can then properly give them the attention needed to access positive and lasting change. The goal here is not to judge whether you think something in your life is fine or if it is broken. Nothing about you is broken or wrong, everything is good. Knowing that we as humans, have the natural, expansive potential to be better, stronger, and have a greater impact on the world each waking moment I have to encourage you to be your best self. Releasing judgement and surrendering your attachments in this stage is pivotal to the success of continuing onto the next steps after becoming aware. If we get locked in judgement and the stories that are created with attachment, we worry about whether we’re doing the right things and we’ll end up in a place where no growth can occur and we’re stuck in a spiral of self destruction.
5 Senses Meditation to Activate Inner Awareness
Find a comfortable seated position in a place with no distractions. Close all other tabs on your computer. And cell phone ringer off. Maybe tell your family that you need a few minutes of quiet time. As you practice more, you can try this in more busy places for a challenge. For now, choose with a quiet place to focus on the guided questions and imagery. If you feel yourself lingering on an answer for too long, straying from the question too far, or reacting to a scene that takes you away from this exercise, refocus on your breath, answer the question and move on to the next.
Sound: Breathe as you normally do. Now close your eyes and begin to notice the sound of your breath as it flows in and out. If you hear other sounds coming from outside, stay connected to the sound of your breath by breathing louder.
Smell: As you inhale, what smells are you breathing in? Are they pleasant? Are they pungent? Maybe you don’t smell anything. Can you enjoy the smell without letting your thoughts take you too far away from the presesnt smell?
Feel: Begin to ask yourself how you are breathing. Are you inhaling through your nose or mouth? Are you exhaling out of your mouth or nose? Notice whether your chest is rising. Can you feel your rib bones expanding as you inhale? As you inhale, imagine your lungs completely filling up with oxygen rich air. Can you feel your belly muscles tighten as you wring out your lungs to exhale every last particle? Notice any tension around your face and neck as you continue to breathe. Can you feel those muscles begin to relax as you exhale? Can you feel yourself breathing deeper? Taking slower, longer breaths?
Sight: What images arise as you continue your breath? Can you see your thoughts surfacing and floating away as if they were clouds subjected to the wind? Can you visualize yourself sitting or lying in the place you are, consciously breathing, relaxing, melting into stillness? Can you remain still with your eyes closed and connected to your breath?
Taste: Can you taste the air streaming across your tongue and throat as you inhale? Be present with whatever you may or may not be able to taste in this moment for a few slow and deep breaths.
To close after a meditation like this, I always like to find a place of gratitude. Here is something that comes up for me after this practice: Thank you body for being the miracle that you are and allowing such amazing processes to occur to sustain my life and heal my wounds. Feel free to use what I have or come up with your own.
Look out for another post that goes over exercises to practice self-awareness in more depth.
Aimee, 30 years old views life as a gift and an opportunity to live your dreams. Stick around to hear how she does it and supports you in doing it, too.