Awareness is essential to a life of mindfulness and compassion. It is essential for good relationships. There is always room for improvement but just how unaware are you?
- I often have my cell phone on my ear
- I stand in the center of store aisles and block traffic
- I am forgetful
- Work is my life
- I regret not saying/saying many things
- I am often angry without real reason
- I often feel like the day is gone without noticing it passing
- I don’t notice sunrises or sunsets or the clouds in the sky very often
- I indulge myself with shopping, food, or entertainment
- I never indulge myself with the things I enjoy
- I watch more than 2 hours of television a day
- I don’t have hobbies or time for them.
- I feel harried all the time. A day isn’t long enough for what I need to do.
- I often say to myself: “I have, I must, This must, This has to..”:
- I am always thinking about the past or the future
An unaware life is a life failing to live. Let’s examine each of the 15 example of unawareness. There are hundreds more, of course, but these are the most common to consider.
I often have my cell phone on my ear. As I wrote before, a cell phone prevents us from interacting with people in the current moment in time. The often unnecessary chatter keeps your mind scattered and unable to focus on what is going on around you at the moment. Multi-tasking is an illusion perpetuated by businesses. The mind can only focus on one thing at a time. It just switches quickly from that one to another, and both focuses suffer.
I stand in the center of the aisle and block traffic. This is a small thing, but it is a symptom of just how unaware the mind can become. People who do this are trapped in their tunnel thoughts and are not paying attention to the people around them.
I am forgetful. A symptom of a stressed mind is its inability to keep track of events. Forgetfulness is a state caused by lack of focus and mental discipline. Essentially, we are flitting too often between what we “have” to do and unable to retain any information. Harried thinking is poor thinking and creates poor memory.
Work is my life. Or at least you continue to think about it after it is finished for the day. Work is important, but a life consumed by a job is a life of slavery. It shows you are unaware of your larger importance to family, friends, and your community. Work, no matter how important you job may be, should only be a small fraction of your time spent.
I regret not saying/saying many things. We all do this. Many regrets in this area means you are not aware of just how you either fail to express yourself or how loosely you chatter. Mindless chatter and being closed mouthed are extremes that damage our relationships. Mindless chatter often leads to betrayal of trust; while being too closed mouthed leads to you failing to express your feelings to those important to you. This is simply being unaware of your importance to other people.
I am often angry without real reason. Anger is a good friend. He tells us when something in our lives is off-balance and wrong. Listen to what your anger is trying to tell you. Don’t just react upon it. An angry person is a person who fails to listen to themselves. Read more about anger and negative emotions.
I often feel like the day is gone without noticing it passing. This is something that happens to me frequently. It tells us that we need to “slow down and smell the roses” as the cliche goes. A day that passes quickly without our awareness is a warning we need to just pay attention and breath. We need to break out of the routine and learn something new. We need to take a moment to do nothing but gaze at the clouds. Quiet moments of reflection are vital to awareness and appreciating the day.
I don’t notice sunrises or sunsets or the clouds in the sky very often. This is related to how fast our days seem to pass us by. The soul needs to gaze upon beautiful things. Luckily they are always around us. This is just a big red flag that you need to slow down, breath, and notice you are alive.
I indulge myself with shopping, food, or entertainment. You wish to escape your troubles. It is better to address problems than avoid them. They will only fester until you lose a limb. Indulgence is a sign of an impulsive undisciplined mind. It also prevents us from living a full life because our indulgences can damage our health, mental well-being, and wallets. It is slow suicide for our ability to be aware of the value of things. Too much of anything prevents us from appreciating it.
I never indulge myself with the things I enjoy. This is the opposite extreme. Failing to occasionally indulge yourself with the things you enjoy takes the zest out of life just as indulging too much does. We need to reward ourselves time to time. Too much discipline is, oddly enough, a sign you are out of touch with your naturally playful side.
I watch more than 2 hours of television a day. Television is great for the information it provides. Too much and you euthanize yourself. The messages of television can shift your perspective of reality in ways that damages your ability to be aware and compassionate. Read more.
I don’t have hobbies or time for them. We are naturally creative. Hobbies are a way to unwind, explore our creative impulses, and keep our minds sharp. A person with hobbies are much happier and healthier than a person with none. Hobbies allow us to grow more aware of the world around us and the peaceful silence we have within. They teach us to open our eyes and see.
I feel harried all the time. A day isn’t long enough for what I need to do. Then you need to do less. Most of the things we chase are far from important and can often just be left for another day. Deadlines are a reality, sadly. They just tell us to prioritize. Tell people no. It is okay to take time for yourself. Time spent on hobbies helps you become happier and more enjoyable to be around. Hurrying only makes us hit the stop light sooner.
I often say to myself: “I have, I must, This must, This has to..” There is nothing in life we “have” to do other than die. These statements are illusions of control. The next moment is never certain; it depends on the current moment. I must’s are promises that can’t be kept because we don’t know what future circumstances may be. We are saying to ourselves “failure is not an option.” Failure is always a possibility. Nothing must be this or that. Life simply is.
I am always thinking about the past or the future. This is what an unaware mind does; it avoids the present moment. All we have to live is this current breath. The next isn’t a certainty. The past is unchangeable, so why dwell on it? The future never arrives; we die before it does. So why speculate? Now is all we have. Certainly we can learn from the past and need to plan for the future. However, dwelling upon them prevents us from living the present moment: making amends for the past and shaping the next moment.
An unaware person is someone who lives without living. Moments pass them by. They miss the beautiful melodies of the birds and the dance of the clouds overhead. They miss out on the present beauty of ordinary life. Awareness can be cultivated by just simply being aware. Cut out distractions and focus on what is happening now. List the people or things around you. List what you are feeling. Awareness is reading this sentence and understanding.