Transitioning from the person you were to the person you are becoming is like birth: messy, painful, and unpredictable. Allowing yourself to awaken to awareness, as the yogis say, can be a real boon to the process.
What does awakening to awareness really mean? It’s when you let all the material that lies just beneath the surface, in that pre-conscious terrain it’s so easy to avoid, be front and center where you can deal with it. Because the more you know yourself the more authentic you can be; and, greater self-awareness helps you make better choices in all aspects of life.
Here are a few techniques to get you started:
WRITE A LIST OF ONE HUNDRED:
It can be a list of 100 Things I love, 100 Things I am Happy I Experienced in Life, 100 Things I Fear; whatever speaks to you.
It’s a great conduit to the unconscious if you scrupulously adhere to the following directions:
1. Count out 100 lines on a piece of paper.
2. Write your title at the top.
3. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
4. Write as fast as you can, without stopping to censor yourself. That means, write anything that comes to mind, even if it’s the exact same thing you already wrote.
5. Look over your list and notice the number of times certain themes appeared. Since you have a hundred, figuring out percentages should be easy.
I already have a chapter on this, so please scroll down on the right side of the page and check it out.
1. Write a word, or a few words, in the middle of a blank page. Whatever names the issue is that you are trying to understand. It could be as specific as “job” or as global as “Who am I?”
2. Allow your mind to wander. Write the next set of words in a circle around the central word.
3. Focus on each of the other words and write whatever new words they generate. Do one at a time, group by group.
4. If any one of those words trigger something new add another branch of words from that starting point. Exhaust all possibilities before going to the next new branch.
5. At the end of the exercise you will have many different avenues to pursue. Some will be some will be useless and some will be gems.
ACCESSING THE LITTLE SIX YEAR OLD INSIDE:
1. Find a photo of yourself when you were a little child.
2. If you have a stuffed animal go get it.
3. Have a pad of paper, unlined is preferable, and some crayons or colored pens or pencils.
4. Ask the little child inside: “Honey, what can I do for you? What would you like?”
5. Then draw and/or write the answer using your non-dominant hand (if you’re left handed use your right hand).
6. Act on what you discover. If the little child inside wants more rest, give her rest; if he wants more fun, give him fun; if she wants to feel safer, make a safe haven for her.
A wonderful way to let the floodgates loose as all manner of material will float into your consciousness as you sit with yourself.
The easiest meditation is Vipassana:
Just sit comfortably on the floor with a cushion under you, or on a chair.
Focus on your breath. Notice where you first feel your inhale, or where you can feel the beginning of an exhale. It could be the tip of your nose, the back of your throat, or in your lungs.
When your mind wanders, and it will, re-focus on the breath.
Check out the annotated bibliography on the right (and the links on the bottom right) for more meditation books, CDs, and free podcasts.
Use the Om Gum Ganapatayei mantra (see mantra chapter) to remove obstacles, and see what emerges.
Be especially attentive to what opportunities present themselves.
One more thought. My constant focus on being your true self is not just based on yogic philosophy, but 35 years as a holistic psychotherapist. Denying your true nature is like hiding your light under a bushel. It’s not beneficial to you or the world. If you are generous, be generous. If you are an introvert, remember to take time for yourself; it’s how you replenish. If you’re an extravert make social plans to revive your spirits.If you love reading, read. If you love sports, play or watch them. Stifling your natural tendencies will only submerge them where they can morph into something far less pretty. Revel in your unique self.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang