Awareness: Part 1

I have a confession…

I am quick tempered and it doesn’t take much to set me off.

It’s a terrible personal trait that I’ve worked my entire life to moderate. Some friends don’t know this about me, which says I’ve been partially successful. That hasn’t always been the case.

Luckily caring bosses provided the opportunity for involuntary enrollments in “charm schools” for “personal effectiveness” training. The ineffective ones stressed “choosing one’s behavior”.

Would you like to know what finally helped?

One day in “charm school”, after a short break, the coach returned to the room with a large glass of ice water. She started to hand it to me and as I reached for the glass, she threw it all over the floor. I was stunned!

She then looked at me and said, “That’s how people feel when you lose control!”

From that day forward, my ability to control my temper improved! The reason for success? My coach helped me become aware!

Awareness is transformational because it is both experiential and relational; far more impactful than book learning or being told what to do. Behavior modification is not the only area where expanded awareness helps. It is the single most important thing one can do to increase joy, meaning and belonging in life!

We rarely think of the lens through which we view the world. When awareness runs unnoticed in the background, it’s a near certainty that it is set to the default mode, which is “Self”! That mode is baked into our DNA because our survival depended on it. Ultimately, living life through the lens of “Self” is problematic because “Self” is insatiable. In default awareness, we seek to improve life by controlling circumstances to match desires. This never works because the most important things in life are beyond our control.

In order to find true joy, we must learn to expand awareness beyond “Self”! That is the focus of this series of posts.

To introduce this subject, I break awareness down into broad categories defined below:

Behavioral Awareness:
Ego…Awareness focused on self. Key words: Insular/Indwelling/blind
Flow…Awareness directed to an activity. Key words: Doing/Focused/Absorbed
Presence…Awareness focused on awareness itself. Key words: Witnessing/Conscious/Awake

Relational Awareness:
Resonance…Awareness of relationship. Key words: Sensing/Relating/In-tune
Radiance…Awareness given to others. Key words: Sharing/Empowering/Loving
We…Reciprocally shared resonance and radiance. Key words: Mutuality/Union/Love

The key difference between behavioral and relational awareness is context. Behavioral awareness is actioned alone. Relational awareness is actioned in communion.

Learning to witness what awareness is doing moment by moment and being choiceful about where it is directed is life changing.

This will be the subject of the next several posts.

Key Principle: Discovering the role awareness plays in life
Key Question: What life experiences have changed your perspective?

Link To Previous Posts:

2 Replies to “Awareness: Part 1”

  1. Looking forward to more

    Beautiful phrase
    we seek to improve life by controlling circumstances to match desires.


  2. Self awareness is always enhanced by those so-called Wake-Up Calls—- Like your ice water story. Something happens that does not fit YOUR NORM and you are forced to think through the situation again and this time you have taken much of your own bias out of the analysis !! What a difference that makes and what a different direction you sometimes take !! Thanks for sharing as always…..


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