In this step, we will develop our awareness. I hope you have implemented and continue to implement all the recommendations of the previous step. Continue to meditate during the execution of awareness training.
- Awareness allows us to keep track of what is going on inside, to be a dispassionate observer of our rueful feelings and thoughts.
- Awareness helps us to notice in time the emergence of negative emotions inside us and stop them, instead of giving way to them.
- Awareness increases our self-knowledge and knowledge of people who surround us. Self-development and the personal metamorphosis path start with the realization of your desires, shortcomings, opportunities, habits, prejudices, fears and complexes.
Therefore, awareness is one of the first and most important steps of self-development. Awareness lends itself to development, and in this step, we will try to train this skill.
What you should know
First of all, read the article “How to increase awareness.”
Then answer the questions for yourself:
- How often do you act mechanically, without thinking?
- How often do you regret your actions committed under the influence of emotions, others influence or momentary desires?
Many people live unconsciously. They do not think about their actions, they cannot resist their emotions, needs and fears, even if they suffer because of these emotions.
Awareness allows you to be aware of your emotions, rather than identify yourself with them. In fact, emotions, fears and desires are not a part of your true self.
When you begin to realize what is going on inside you, you make the first steps towards becoming a master of your feelings, not their slave and puppet.
You will learn to control your emotions and desires. You will be able to change your personality and become the person you want to be. A happy, free and harmonious one.
What you should do
Your task is to learn how to watch yourself and record your feelings or states. Therefore, beginning tomorrow, take a pen and paper (or their electronic analogs) and try to write down everything you feel.
Write down simple definitions that reflect your emotions, desires or psychological states. If you are experiencing some anger, then write down the word “anger” on your sheet of paper.
I suggest organizing this record in the primitive “mindmap” form (see the picture below).
What negative emotions appear often in your life?
Let me give you an example.
For example, you were angered by a situation on the road; on the same day you took offense at your friend, and later in the evening you became angry with your wife or your husband.
The anger was observed twice, and hurt – once. So, on a large sheet of paper write in any place “anger” and “hurt.” Do not forget to keep a place on the paper among different designations: you will need it later.
Since anger has manifested itself several times, then circle the word “anger” with a pen on characters’ contours, as if writing the same word once again over the old one, so that “anger” becomes “anger.” If you have experienced this feeling three times – underline the word below, if four times – draw a line over the word, if five times – highlight the word in any color, etc.
Exercise your imagination and highlight the words in the color you want. The principle is that the emotions, which you are most often experiencing, shall be distinguished from others on that sheet of paper.
Remember, your purpose is to write as much emotions as possible. A large number of designations will reveal the fact that you coped with the task very well and that you watched yourself attentively. Try to mark the emotions on the paper as they arise.
Your purpose is not to contain and control your emotions (at least, for the moment), but to notice them and be aware of them.
Write out not only emotions, but everything that goes on inside you.
Designations may be as follows: anger, irritation, shyness, fear, self-doubt, boastfulness, laziness, lack of perseverance, nervousness, desire to get involved in a pointless debate, hunger, desire to smoke, desire to drink, desire to get away from work, excitement, envy, absence of mind, haste, weariness (stress, fatigue), despondency (depression, sadness), sexual desire, distracted attention, etc.
Write about your strong desires and emotions. I suggest you to pay attention mainly to the negative emotions that you are not able to control. These emotions will make the subject of your future self-improvement.
Identify your emotions namely as inner feelings, not as external situations. For example, if you are irritated by your co-worker, then write on “irritation” or “irritation because of other people’ actions”, not “my co-worker is chomping for an hour! What a bother he is!”
This will teach you to see the source of your emotions inside you, not in the outside world, and will teach you to take responsibility for your emotions and for yourself.
You can put some emotions on the paper next to those with which, in your opinion, they are connected. For example, exhaustion provokes irritation – you can place these emotions next to each other.
There is no need to be especially meticulous and rigorous in this approach. Do not think a lot about what to write. It does not really matter what you will write, the main thing is to develop a habit to watch yourself.
At the end of the day, you shall get a chart with words scattered on the sheet of paper. Some of them will be bold-faced, and the other ones will be unnoticeable on the general background.
What emotions have the greatest influence on you?
Take a close look at this chart. Think about what emotions, from the depicted ones, have a decisive influence on your life.
For example, because of anger, you work off on your loved ones; you commit rash acts and sour your relations with your friends. The greater an emotion negative impact on your life is, the more vivid it shall be depicted on the paper.
For example, draw a circle around the text (or ellipse), or two, or three circles of different colors, if this emotion has a great impact on your life.
In the end, the strongest and uncontrollable emotions on your paper, which do most harm to you and your loved ones, shall resemble a Christmas tree, riddled with different colors.
The more often the emotion manifests itself in your life, the more bold-faced is the text written on the paper. The greater its impact on you is shown, the greater and more bold-faced shall be the circles that are described around this designation.
Excellent! You have done well. You can attach this beautiful chart to your fridge!
This exercise will help you get used to the analysis of your emotions and their influence on your life. With it you will find your biggest problem sides. This is a great foundation for the future work.
Observe you inner being
In the next few days, keep tracking of your emotions. You do not have to write down anything; just mentally keep tracking of everything that is happening inside you. Now, try not only to fix and identify your emotions, but also learn to watch them.
Observe how irritation or another emotion is born inside you. What happens to you during this time? What happens in your body? What thoughts come to your mind?
It is advisable to watch everything in real time, by taking up the position of an outside observer, not involved in what is going on.
This ability develops meditation. We may say that meditation represents the awareness training. During meditation, a person tries to concentrate on one thing, without giving way to thoughts, memories, desires or rueful feelings.
A person’s task is simply to watch. If emotions and thoughts begin to distract him, he smoothly takes his attention to the initial point of his focus.
If you meditate every day, then your mind becomes calm and emotionally independent. Therefore, continue to meditate, in compliance with the Step 1 recommendations.
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