Self-Awareness and Consciousness

Infinite loop

Infinite loop

I have become more self-aware of my…. self-awareness.

I know, it’s like some kind of weird infinite loop paradox, like when you’re looking in the mirror at yourself looking in the mirror.  The mirror in my bathroom is actually set up that way and it appears as if you’re gazing into infinity.

I don’t think that’s a bad analogy, that surreal, out-of-body perspective on oneself.  (You know I’ve been crazy about) Eckhart Tolle, in his book A New Earth, describes that self-awareness as our Being.  That is who we are, contends Tolle, not the actual things we think or do.   We are that sentient being who observes ourselves as if we are an outsider. It is our consciousness.

Consciousness also bring to mind another type of self-awareness, and that is our hidden scripts and beliefs.   I’ve written more than once about how those emotional assumptions and habits we have color how we view the world – and not often in a very positive way.  Becoming aware of those assumptions and habits allow us to question and understand them, so they no longer hold power over us…should we be brave enough to go there.

Going there is something that I have spent most of my life trying to avoid.  Hitting rock bottom has been my modus operandii to open the door to my subconscious.  It sort of implies my subconscious is at the bottom of something.  Of what?  It’s at the bottom of my egoic mind.  My Ego obscures my wisdom and insight.

That power of self-awareness was once again brought home to me  by my StrengthsFinders training this week.  In StrengthsFinders, we’re focusing on our strengths, so bringing our hidden strengths to our awareness is therefore doubly exciting.  Not only are we focusing on what we’re already good at (bam!) we are also learning more about ourselves (bam! bam!).   I’m still experiencing the euphoria of embracing a strength I’ve previously rejected and repressed.  I completely have my classmates and instructors to thank for that.

Today, I’m wondering  if self-awareness is like a muscle – the more self-aware we are, the better we get at becoming more self-aware.  If we dive down deep to learn more about how our strengths manifest in us, will we also be more receptive to learning how we derail ourselves too?

I’m not at all implying that attending to our subconscious derailers means we are now focusing on negatives.  Quite the opposite.  I think those derailers are just blocks to our self-actualization and authenticity.  Removing the blocks requires we approach them with courage and forgiveness.  It is refusing to blindly accept, believe, and hold as irrefutable our most judgmental and cruelest beliefs about ourselves and the world.  No.  Those derailers are toxic to our soul, spirit and happiness.

Tolle also advocates using self-awareness when encountering these derailers.  Observe the observer.  Watch the derailers derail.  Be aware.  Just the act of self-awareness demystifies what has previously seemed unknowable.

I personally am a fan of also exercising the peace/calm/perspective muscle, and that is our right brain.  For those of you who hate to meditate or do meditative things, you can go with Tolle’s plan and stick with observation.  Fair enough?  If so, then make yourself observe yourself, especially as you are about to react to something.  Stop.  Watch.  Learn.  Grow.