May 9, 2012

Expanding Your Awareness.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

Excerpted from my book Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges 

Awareness isn’t passive. It leads directly to action (or inaction). The way that you perceive a problem will inevitably blend with how you try to solve the problem. We’ve all been in groups that are asked to accomplish a task, and when the discussion begins, each participant displays aspects of their awareness. Someone seizes the floor, demanding attention. Someone else hangs back silently. Certain voices are cautious and pessimistic, while other voices are the opposite. 

This play and display of attitudes, emotions, role- playing, and so on comes down to awareness. Every situation lends itself to expanding your awareness. The word expand doesn’t mean that awareness blows up like a balloon. Instead, we can break down awareness into quite specific areas. When you enter a situation, you respond through the following aspects of your awareness:

  • Perceptions
  • Beliefs
  • Assumptions
  • Expectations
  • Feelings

Once you change these aspects— even a few of them— a shift in consciousness occurs. As the first step to reaching a solution, it is critical to break down any problem until you reach the aspects in your awareness that are feeding the problem.

Perceptions: Every situation looks different to different people. Where I see disaster, you may see opportunity. Where you see loss, I may see the lifting of a burden. Perception isn’t fixed; it is highly personal. So the key question, when you approach the level of awareness, isn’t “How do things look?” but “How do things look to me?” Questioning your perception gives you distance from a problem, and with distance comes objectivity. But there is no such thing as total objectivity. We all see the world through tinted glasses, and if you mistake the view for reality, it’s just the tint pretending to be clear.

Beliefs: Because they hide beneath the surface, beliefs seem to play a passive role. We all know people who claim to be without prejudice— racial, religious, political, or personal— who act exactly like someone riddled with prejudice. It’s easy to repress your beliefs, but it’s just as easy not to recognize them. What psychologists call core beliefs can be the hardest to spot in yourself. In an earlier age, for example, it was a core belief that men were superior to women. The topic wasn’t even raised for discussion, much less doubt. But when women demanded the vote, and this grew into a broad, vocal feminist movement, men found that their core belief was exposed. How did they react? As if they had been attacked personally, because their beliefs were their identity. “This is me” sits very close in the mind to “this is what I believe.” When you react to a challenge by taking it too personally, with defensiveness, anger, and blind stubbornness, some core belief has usually been touched.

Assumptions: Because they shift according to the situation you find yourself in, assumptions are more flexible than beliefs. But they are just as unexamined. If a police cruiser signals you to pull off the road, don’t you assume that you have done something wrong and will wind up defending yourself? It is hard to be open- minded enough to allow that the police officer may offer something positive. That’s how assumptions work. They leap in to fill a gap of uncertainty. Social encounters are never empty. When you meet a friend for dinner, you bring assumptions about how the evening will go that are unlike the assumptions you bring to a blind date. As with beliefs, if you challenge a person’s assumptions, the outcome is likely to be volatile. Although our assumptions shift all the time, we usually don’t like to be told that they need to change.

Expectations: What you expect from other people is linked to desire or fear. Positive expectations are ruled by desire, in that you want something and expect it to come to you. We expect to be loved and cared for by our spouses. We expect to be paid for the work we do. Negative expectations are ruled by fear, as when people anticipate worst- case scenarios. Murphy’s Law, which says that if anything can go wrong, it will, provides a good example.
Because desire and fear lie close to the surface of the mind, your expectations are more active than your beliefs and assumptions. What you believe about your boss is one thing; being told that your salary has been cut is another. Depriving someone of what they expect directly challenges how they live.

Feelings: As much as we try to disguise them, our feelings lie on the surface; other people see them or sense them as soon as they meet us. Therefore we spend a lot of time fighting against feelings that we don’t want to have, or against feelings we feel ashamed of and judge negatively. For many people, simply to have a feeling is undesirable. They see themselves as exposed and vulnerable. Being emotional is equated with being out of control (which itself is an undesirable feeling). Being aware that you have feelings is a step toward greater awareness, and then there’s the next step, which can be much harder, of accepting your feelings. With acceptance comes responsibility.

Owning your own feelings, rather than blaming them on someone else, is the mark of a person who has moved from contracted to expanded awareness.

Write Your Comment

  1. Raphael Zernoff

    It seems that most of people, at least in the Western world, are deeply rooted in the idea that `seeing is believing`. One might hear people say: "I`ll believe when I see it with my eyes". The way awareness is expressed, from the perspective of oneness, implies the opposite. Believing is seeing. The experiential reality is a pure reflection of your own state of being. You see what you believe. It is that simple. I like to use an illustration borrowed from someone else. It is an example of a mirror reflection. When you look at your reflection in a mirror, you see a representation of yourself. This representation indicates the way you look and express yourself. Imagine that you look at your expression. It looks sad. You cannot expect the reflection to smile at you if you do not smile first. When you simile, the reflection will follow and it will smile too. In a similar way everything that you perceive `outside` is a reflection of your state of being. How do you see the world? Is it a beautiful place, or is it a hard environment to survive in? Or is it a mix of both that offers various perspectives on the same thing? Your reflection helps you to determine what your relationship with yourself is. At the same time it may be helpful to remember that the triad: beliefs, thoughts and feelings, will help you to identify your belief system. In that way you can always examine what is your belief about something. The belief manifests itself in your thoughts, which translate to feelings. Thank you for the great article. RZ

  2. Dereje Schneider

    Wow I have had some super nova expanders lately...But how much can one awareness expand? I sometimes want to let mines exfoliate...can you get me a book deal pak?

  3. Isabel Vidal

    luv teh article ...

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