Gaining awareness of self
We live in a fast paced world and even more than that our minds are going at a million miles a minute. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. Among spiritually focused people there is often a desire to gain greater awareness of self and most think that the more they think about something the clearer they will understand and get themselves.
We may not even be aware of how much we are thinking about stuff. In fact when people say that they need to “integrate” something they’ve learned typically they mean that they need to think about it more. Integration however is not thinking more about what we already know, but instead living what we’ve learned.
The first step in slowing down is detaching from your thoughts. As you do this you may realize just how addicted to thinking you are. Going from one thought to the next thought without space or silence leaves no room for new awareness. What it does is perpetuates what you already know and regurgitates it over and over. It may feel to your mind that you are “getting somewhere”, but in the end you are left with that unresolved, unclear feeling that you can’t quite put it all together or see what’s really going on.
Contradictory to what our minds will want to habitually do we must learn to slow down and even stop our minds frequently throughout our day in order to gain greater awareness of ourselves, our patterns, our triggers, etc. Without that it will be challenging for us to see ourselves and thus to create changes that we desire.
Increasing our capacity to feel
The pace of the emotional body
In addition to creating the space for greater awareness, slowing down will also allow us to feel more than think. Many people have a desire to be more intuitive or in touch with the natural rhythms of life. The emotional-feeling body has a much slower pace than the mental body (mind/thoughts), and the physical body an even slower pace. In order to bridge the gap between our mind and our body (aka our lived experience) we need to slow down and begin to feel again.
Often times we don’t even know what we are actually feeling because we are so consumed with our thoughts. We may even be thinking our feelings. By this I mean creating stories around our feelings and about what they mean. We may convince ourselves that this is feeling, but really we are just looping the same story over and over. We might even cry or feel rage or upset, however if it feels “familiar” and not deeply vulnerable its most likely a reaction to a story you are telling yourself and not authentic feeling.
Being consumed with thoughts puts us out of touch with what is real and into a kind of self created fantasy world. For some it is a pleasant fantasy world but not grounded here, and for others it is a painful fantasy world that they can’t seem to escape.
When we hang out in our thoughts things and people seem like separate objects to us. We lose the sense of the interconnectedness of everything. The mind is great at thinking, it’s a master of thinking, but it cannot feel or know. Those abilities come from different aspects of ourselves, namely our emotions and our soul body. These bodies are often less familiar to us because we spend so much time thinking. That however does not make them any less real or valid.
The number one key to gaining greater awareness of self, feeling, becoming more in tune with life and living interconnectedness is slowing down your mind. Allowing space. Detaching from the addictive tendency to think another thought that you think will somehow give you a magical solution or answer to something. Magical living arising spontaneously when something beyond the mind is allowed to enter your awareness.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado