Living joyfully and with purpose takes awareness. But the process truly is a labor of Love. As we become more proficient at filtering out the energies that do not serve us it becomes effortless. However, the adage of walking before we can run is equally true of awareness. Before we can discern how to interact with others we need to know about ourselves. Anyone who is on the road to discovering joy knows that the greatest tool is an absolute understanding of self. This understanding isn’t easily attained either. It means becoming introspective and acknowledging the parts of ourselves that we may not wish to present, whether it is to ourselves or other people. But we are jumping ahead of ourselves. This blog is titled “awareness 101”. So that means we are starting off slowly; as we should.
On the most rudimentary level, awareness means knowing the confines of our body, where it is and what it can do. More to the point, it means knowing that we are going to be moving throughout the day possibly. So again, starting off slowly, what do we do when we are moving? The hope is that we are looking around, looking up. Possibly each of us had a parent or caregiver growing up that told us to not stare at the ground. Why? The reasons are plenty. First off, from a purely logistical standpoint, we can’t see whats in front of us if we are staring at the ground. Let’s stop there. How can we translate that for today? We can do it simply, and in many ways.
Three instances come to mind: driving, shopping and texting. Distractions aside, if we are driving our car with our attention solely on the car in front of us, we are oblivious to possible concerns farther ahead. On a serious note an accident up ahead on a road may impact us negatively if we are not aware of it. If our focus is right ahead then it will be too late to react to avert an accident caused by someone stopping short. On a much less serious note, how many times have we missed an exit because our awareness is off? Equaly true, how many times have we been stuck in traffic because we drive ” from the hood of the car”. We didn’t look up and see that the lane we were driving in merged, or was stopped by an accident or broken down vehicle.
The same is true of shopping in a grocery store. We are looking in our basket, head down, making sure we have everything. We may be pushing our cart or standing still. If we are pushing our cart then we risk hitting someone or bumbing into something. Furthermore (Awareness 201?) if we are not aware of our speed, our lack of attention will almost certanly end up in a “collision”. If we are standing still then we may be obstructing someone, either from getting by or getting what they need. Our awareness of physical self will prevent us from being a frustration to others. With grocery store aisles becoming more narrow it is even more important (not that it wasn’t before).
Lastly, is texting. While many may protest that it is only younger people that text it is evident that perception is inaccurate. Businessmen/women and parents are also texting like crazy. It seems that texting technology has become so ubiquitous that everyone has their nose down, thumbs blazing away. And much like the car and shopping cart examples in the blog earlier, if our attention is so focused we are blind to others around us. Does that mean we stop texting? Not necessarily; it is a valuable tool. But as we will discuss later, there are times to text and times to talk face to face with our friends. For our example here, texting is fine, as long as we are aware of our physical being. So many people base their self mportance on receiving texts that they react much like Pavlov’s dogs. Their smart phone vibrates or rings and they instinctively freeze in their tracks, digging through pockets or purses to find their device. For most, they are unconcerned or to our needs in this blog, unaware of those around them. They are unaware of how their sudden stop is impacting others.
We often talk about how the greatest way to live a life of joy is to serve others. Well, that service doesn’t need to be grand every time. It can be as simple as being courteous. It can be as simple as feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket and scanning your surroundings. Which in turn could mean stepping outside or into an empty room to text or talk. It could mean that you walk, head up, with purpose and kindness, being aware of yourself and others.
Life is amazing. It can and will be miraculous if we are able to gravitate joy to ourselves by assisting and communing with one and other. Before we can interact we need to know who and what we are, both emotionally and for this blog, physically.
Be aware that we are not one person. Do not be so self indulgent that you forget those around you. Be kind and courteous. Know how your physical presence impacts others. Once you have you figured out then the beauty of the entire planet opens up for you.
With Light and Love,