Friday, 8 August 2014

Self Awareness - the Door to Healthy Change.

"Awareness is not a giver of solace - it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener." R K Greenleaf.

It is in the inner awakening and growing self awareness that we begin to meet the person that we truly are.

I once read that most people may never really have met the person who they themselves really are, because at every moment we identify ourselves either with our thoughts, our self image, or our feelings. The challenge is to find a way to get behind our thoughts, feelings, and self image, to find that real person able to take a long loving look at what really is. This for me is to become more fully self-aware. It is that Inscaping (inward) journey and not the easier one of Escaping (finding security and value in externals) that brings us face to face with ourselves.

We are sometimes encouraged to simply let our thoughts drift by and not to hold onto them, so that they affect our behaviour.

Suzy's great blog on Monday talked about allowing feelings 'to flow and pass' and I always had difficulty with this concept of 'letting go' until I read about the following method.

Imagine a river or stream. (I chose a river with boats and ships; you could choose a stream with leaves if that is more easy to visualise). You are sitting on the bank of this river or stream. where boats or leaves pass by.

While the water flows past your inner eye, I ask you to name each one of these 'vessels'.

For example, one of them could be called 'my anxiety about tonight' or 'my objections about my spouse', or 'I shouldn't have said that'.

Every judgement that you pass is one of these 'vessels'. Take time to give each one of them a name and then let it sail on.

For some, this can be a very challenging exercise, as through habit, we jump aboard one of these 'vessels' immediately and unknowingly, and as soon as we own a 'vessel' and identify with it, it picks up energy; the thoughts and feelings still being part of our identity.  What we have to practice is the un-possessing, the letting go.

If I miss becoming self-aware of a boat and jump on, rather than let it go by after noticing it, they have the energy to head upstream and return again and again.

I also must not attempt to torpedo my boat! This is an exercise in non violence to ourselves - you are not allowed to hate yourself.

The point is to recognise things, to become more self-aware and to say 'That's not necessary, I don't need that,' and let it gently float on by.

If we learn to handle our own thoughts and feelings tenderly and lovingly through inscaping, then we'll be able to carry this compassion and mental health for ourselves into our external world.

Les
A Moodscope member.