Once you have been practicing physical awareness for a while and getting used to the feelings and emotions that are connected to your physical body you can start to turn your practice inward. Start paying attention to your emotions. How do you feel right now? Are you feeling stressed out and tired, energized and refreshed, ambivalent, depressed, loved, angry? Once you have identified how you are feeling right now, try to figure out why you are feeling this way. This is not as easy as it sounds. Depending on how you are feeling, this can take some time. Listen to the thoughts running through your head. Not every thought pertains to what you are feeling but if you listen long enough you will start noticing a trend in certain thought patterns. The good feelings are typically easier to track down. Do this on a really great day and you’ll quickly be able to figure out why you are feeling so content or happy. Challenge yourself and attempt to recognize the types of energy you feel around you. They are light feeling and full of joy, aren’t they? You truly feel like you can handle anything that comes your way on these days. The challenge comes on your not-so-good days. Try doing this on a day that you are feeling frustrated, angry or sad. It can be easy to get to surface reasons for your feelings. Maybe you were in a fender bender on the way to work and your boss let you have it for being late afterward. There are obvious reasons for your bad mood but take some time to think about why these events led you to feeling badly. The events themselves are just events with no emotional requirements all. You gave them emotional fuel by attaching them to other feelings or past events. Maybe you were upset because of the inconvenience of having to put your car in the shop or having the additional expense of your insurance deductible. Then your boss’ reaction (which was less than understanding) made you feel small and powerless over your own life. With a little more effort you may have realized that these feelings may have ultimately derived from the fact that you feel dissatisfied with your chosen occupation or that you feel like you can never get ahead financially. Taken even deeper, you may come to realize that you are putting undue pressure on yourself to excel at a career you no longer (or maybe never did) enjoy and that the financial stresses are coming from the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”. Again, make an effort to determine the types of energy you feel around you. It feels so much heavier and darker. Taking the time each day to discover yourself in this way will help you to ultimately reconnect with your Pure Spirit and to live a much more peaceful and content life. And by learning the types of energy you feel on your best and worst days, you can identify the moods that are more detrimental to living according to your Pure Spirit and as soon as you recognize them you can move through them and get back to the energies that most serve you. This practice will also allow you to move through past hurts by allowing you to see the source of the hurt. Once you see the hurt for what it is (that it is only presently perpetuating the “hurting”), you can be more aware of the perpetuating thoughts and work through them, thereby ending that dialogue.
Some things you find out about yourself you may not like but, doing this small thing each day, will give you the opportunity to see what you do not find acceptable about your life and then take action to change it. Please realize though that one “bad” personality trait or one “bad” situation absolutely does not make you a “bad” person or make your life “bad” (I put bad in quotations because I am using it as a label – nothing is really “good” or “bad” except when we decide that they are). It is a insignificant fraction of you or your life. Don’t let any one thing about you or your life define you. You are so much more than this one aspect of your life and the more you work at discovering your Pure Spirit, the more you will come to realize this. And if it truly does not fit in with your innermost self, take action to change it.
I also promise you that you will find things that you will absolutely love about yourself. Maybe you find that you are a very generous person, or that you love helping the elderly or that planting a garden gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. These are the traits to nurture. This is your Pure Spirit in action. Surround yourself with the happiness that these traits or activities bring you. By all means, wallow in it. By allowing yourself to fully recognize and enjoy this happiness, you are encouraging yourself to find more and more ways to get to this feeling.
Another very important part of getting to know your self is by sharing yourself with others. There is nothing like seeing how others react to you when you are acting from your best self. One of my favorite things to do, when I am in a much healthier state, is to radiate as much love and happiness as I can when I’m out in public. I used to be like everyone else and trudge through stores, on a mission to pick up those things I needed and I avoiding dealing with anyone else as much as possible. Now when I go out I smile and greet everyone I come into contact with and you would be amazed at what happens. It’s like the whole energy of the store changes. I have even done it at work and the reaction I have received is astonishing to say the least. Genuine happiness is attractive to everyone. Once I started practicing this routinely it started seeping over into other parts of my day. People that you would not look at and see “friendly” actually smile at me and greet me everywhere I go. And this small little thing increases my happiness by incredible amounts and I can then spread it even further. By sharing your most truthful self with others, you will gain even more insight into who you really are at the level of your Pure Spirit.
You cannot let the behavior of others dictate how you feel, however. Then you will have slipped past self-awareness and into self-consciousness. I have always been a very self-conscious person and as a result I have avoided dealing with other people as much as possible because it was so uncomfortable to me. I especially hated talking on the phone because there was no way to avoid the uncomfortable lulls in conversation. I was constantly trying to mold myself to be exactly what I thought the other person wanted me to be without any regard as to how I would feel, think or act if I was coming from my Pure Spirit. As a result, I would get really tired of trying to be something I really didn’t want to be (deep down it always felt like a lie anyway) and I would start pulling away from the person or situation until I had severed the relationship entirely. It was very frustrating to everyone involved because no one (including me) understood why it was happening. Once I figured out what I was doing and why I was doing it, it was a huge relief. I started behaving how I felt was best for me and quit worrying what other people were thinking about my behavior. I realized that when I was truly acting from my Pure Spirit, I was much happier and it was a lot less stressful to be around others. I could truly enjoy being in the company of people without having to try to be an exact copy of them.
Practicing self awareness can give you so much insight into to who you really are at your innermost level. It can teach you what your truly value, what your most important needs are, why you feel particular emotions in certain situations, and so much more. It can lead you to make changes to get to your most peaceful and happy life. I will be posting sites that I find that offer other ideas on practicing self awareness. Even if what I am suggesting for you to try does not work for you. KEEP TRYING! Try anything you can to get to your Pure Spirit. She (or he) is just waiting for you to notice them and once you start working together, you can accomplish anything.