This post will address what awareness is and how it operates. The act of being more aware creates a space in your thoughts and actions. Due to this, you allow natural wisdom to flow into your life. You will also learn how to start this process as well as gaining insight into how it develops.
How does awareness take place in the body?
Awareness is a state of being where you can sense, watch, observe and take note of something.
To explain how this happens, take the case of your visual system. It basically consists of the eye, the optic nerve and the brain. Your eyes work by sensing light, which travels from a source. Once it reaches your eyes, the cells in the retina convert the light to electrical signals. The brain then receives these via the optic nerve and interprets them into images.
In this example, the light reaching your eyes is data, and the images that result are information. Each organ in your visual system works with each other. Altogether, they allow you to see and build a picture of your surroundings. The purpose of these actions helps you gauge distances and carry out tasks.
Given these points, your sense organs serve to make you more in touch with yourself and your environment. They also provide you with the basis to be attentive to your mind and body. In short, this is ‘awake’ or ‘conscious’ awareness where you can use your focus for brief times.
Your body can also sense, watch and be alert as part of its normal function, without focus or thought. In other words, awareness is always ‘on’, whether you choose to think about it or not. The most obvious example of this is in the cells of your body. They carry out the vast majority of their tasks without any effort or thought from you. In brief, this is what it means to have an ‘asleep or unconscious’ awareness.
Just like the systems in the body, both conscious and unconscious modes work with each other.
What is the unique role of the human brain?
Undoubtedly there is a part of the brain that is naturally open all the time. It is this meditative trait that allows the mind to join with a much larger pool of intelligence. As a whole, this includes your stored memory and the information that the brain picks up from outside.
Your brain is not a being or organ that operates on its own. It gives off energy and is privy to the vibration of others as well as nature. For instance, if your mind has a root in a certain type of thought, it picks up similar ‘data’. For the most part, this plays a role in how the brain learns and develops over time.
History has shown that human beings have advanced and learnt some fantastic things. You can see this progress today, especially in the fields of both medicine and science. We achieve these by using our brain’s rising ability to learn and to be more open. In essence, this is our sense of space and openness to new information.
Thought has a place in general living, but without the wisdom of awareness, it can run out of control. With this in mind, one of the most important things to learn is how to connect with your space. From there, you realise your true nature that does not limit itself to just thought.
How do you know your true nature as a conscious being?
To explain what your true nature is, first look closely at the term ‘human being.’ The word ‘human’ refers to the body and brain. It points to the part of you that is physical, condensed energy. The term ‘being’ means the non-physical space where the ‘human’ part of you takes it energy from. This works in the same way as to how an unborn baby sustains itself from the attachment to its mother.
You are not just a physical body or machine that consists of energy and matter. Knowing yourself as both qualities gives you a more ‘whole’ point of view. It also links to the same space, and consciousness that governs the cosmos.
As a human being, you use both your physical and non-physical traits to live. Knowing yourself as both human and awareness gives you a more ‘whole’ point of view. As a result, you allow a space of wisdom before using any aspect of your mind and body. It is this space that pairs you with your true self.
In this state of wholeness, you know that neither your brain nor your body works alone. Rather, you share a mutual union with all forms of life.
How do you meet with this new and more aware self?
At first, it can be a little challenging to notice your larger self. Typically due to the habit of focussing too much on thoughts and not seeing the bigger picture.
To illustrate this, picture a small black dot in the middle of a whiteboard. If you move close to the dot, you will not see the rest of the board. The reason is that your focus on the dot is so close that it takes up all your attention. The moment you step further away from the whiteboard, the more relaxed your focus becomes. From this point, you see more of the overall picture.
The same applies to your mind and the way your thoughts take up too much attention. Creating some space in your mind, then relaxing your focus is one of the simplest ways to achieve this. On balance, this forms the base of many techniques and teachings that serve this purpose.
Any practice where you learn to watch or observe any part of yourself is useful when you first start. You can use any technique, whether it’s watching your breath, body, thoughts or sounds. These allow you to become wise to your thoughts and how you view them. In effect, this creates a gap between you and your thinking.
As you develop in the practice of being open, you will sense more growth in all parts of your life. Soon enough, you can let go of any rigid practice and relax in the space of being.
What happens to you as awareness grows?
It’s important to note that each person develops and grows at different stages of their lives. Think about how much you can remember when you were a baby or a toddler? Did you have much control over your thoughts, world, and surroundings? Were you able to make objective, wise decisions all the time?
During childhood, the brain is in the early stages of development. Consequently, you did not have the ability to be highly aware of your mind and thoughts. Hence why at this stage in life, you have no conscious control in what you say and learn.
Notice how much your views and ideas on life have changed in the last decade. It is clear that your whole being has advanced, and you are not the same person as you once were.
As your brain and body develop more towards adulthood, you start to become more conscious. Your entire being shines brighter, and your life will change for the better.
You will also find that your points of view adjust and you experience much less anxiety and depression. Since the mind and bodies stored up baggage releases. In addition to this, solutions, clarity and wisdom all come into your life with little effort.
Growing in awareness is one of the greatest journeys you can be on. To understand it fully, you need to experience, learn and find out for yourself.
Martin, J. (2008). An introduction to the visual system. Cambridge. UK: Cambridge University Press.