The Basics of Awareness
You may have heard the old adage: practice makes perfect. But have you ever considered what it is you are practicing? Western culture is notorious for setting impossible standards and labeling them as the American Dream. We are constantly competing for more and when we can’t achieve what society tells us to achieve, we race through life trying to avoid and numb the pain we experience as part of our daily life. Disappointment is a real feeling, but we suffer when we don’t sit with it for a bit and then let it go.
What do we do next? We avoid feeling emotional pain at all costs and we go to therapy. And there’s nothing wrong with therapy if it works for you. But the truth is, therapy doesn’t work for everyone. Going to therapy might sound like a good idea, but if it isn’t working for you then the thing you are practicing will never make your life perfect. In fact, perfection is only an illusion.
The work is to see life through the pure lens of awareness not through the clouded lens of ego. And sometimes we need a reminder. Because if therapy is causing you more problems, it’s not accessible because it is too expensive, it’s not working for you and you need a solution…we can always go back to suffering and try something different.
It’s true that you have to practice to get really good at something. But let’s make sure what you are getting good at is really good for YOU – not just what someone told you would be GOOD for you.
Do you know how your mind works? Thinking changes the vibration of the universe. How we think is just as important as what we think – knowing that is a game changer. In case you’ve forgotten, here are the basics of awareness – an approach to handling emotional struggle in a way that works best for you:
Acknowledge how you relate to thinking.
Knowing that our minds are controlled by the ego, and the ego’s job is merely to protect us from harm, we can see the ego’s alarm signals for what they are – merely a warning not the whole story. The ego’s job is to give us the worst-case scenario, but that’s not the place we want to live and make decisions from. It is simply a point of reference.
MANTRA: I am not the voice in my head.
Move from your head to your body. Learn how to relate to pain from a place in your body not from your ego. Literally, feel your feelings and embody the pain. Fun fact: all numbing comes from ego as a defense mechanism for pain avoidance. Try relating to pain from love, with presence, with tears, with bubble baths, with falling apart.
MANTRA: I am whole-hearted.
Commit to joy. That doesn’t automatically make you happy. You can cultivate joy by being intentional and setting boundaries. And you have to decide that you will hold joy in equal parts as you do pain.
MANTRA: Fuck it.
The problem isn’t pain, it’s how you relate to thinking and how willing you are to continue suffering. Whether it’s therapy, meditation, or simply going on a walk in nature, do what works for you. By acknowledging your thought process, feeling your feelings, and choosing joy, you can learn to navigate your own emotional landscape effectively. Remember: It’s a lifestyle – it only works with repetition and practice.
Please contact Rachel Gordon if you have questions about Buddhist psychology and integrative, holistic techniques to address mental health issues and promote total body wellness. If you live in the Denver/ Castle Rock area and would like to learn more about what Rachel has to offer through Humble Warrior Therapy, please call (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule.
Tags: Awareness, Buddhist Psychology, Castle Rock, Ego, Emotional Wellness, Joy, Mindfulness, Mindfulness Techniques, Rachel Gordon, Wellness