As a practitioner and instructor of mindfulness, I am regularly confronted with the question of how one can be truly (self-)aware.
Several articles have circulated that discussed the many fallacies concerning mindfulness practice. They explained that all the many reasons that we name for not being able to practice mindfulness are false interpretations of what the practice actually entails.
In my coaching work, in teaching yoga, and from my own personal experiences, I have observed that many of us have a great awareness around the things that we eat, the work that we are passionate about, the little things that bring us joy, our emotional/social strengths and limitations, etc.
That level of attention is often more directed toward doing than being. How well do you know your body? How well do you recognise and listen to your body's needs?
I tend to emphasise with my clients that awareness is the first and also most important step in any process of transformation. At the same time, we cannot stop there.
It is also important to understand the underlying reasons that act as obstacles or resistance in moving towards the behaviours that serve us and our vision better.
For example, I have a sweet tooth. Everyday around the same time of day, I know that I will want to eat a piece of cake, a brownie or something else. I also know that most of the ingredients in those desserts cause me aggravation. I used to be able to ignore that aggravation, but I cannot do that anymore. I used to tell myself that the satisfaction I felt after eating a slice of cake, albeit brief, was worth the hours or sometimes days of grief that followed. I cannot do that anymore.
If I eat something sweet, which is no longer an uncontrolled desire driving my behaviour, I make a conscious decision to only eat desserts made in a way that agrees with my body. It took some work to get to this point, and I am not 100% consistent, but even 70% - 80% consistency has impacted my well-being profoundly.
With embodied awareness, we not only heighten our awareness, rather, in staying true to our mindfulness practice, we move from a place of judgment into a space of discernment in which we live and act in alignment with our intuition.
"Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Be consistent in your practice. Be gentle with yourself. Be aware.