Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on awareness.
“To be awake is to be alive.” – Henry David Thoreau
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” – Aristotle
“To be conscious means not simply to be, but to be reported, known, to have awareness of one’s being added to that being.” – William James
“Although it is difficult to pinpoint the physical base or location of awareness, it is perhaps the most precious thing concealed within our brains. And it is something that the individual alone can feel and experience. Each of us cherishes it highly, yet it is private” – Dalai Lama
“I’ve worked all my life on the subject of awareness, whether it’s awareness of the body, awareness of the mind, awareness of your emotions, awareness of your relationships, or awareness of your environment. I think the key to transforming your life is to be aware of who you are.” – Deepak Chopra
“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Stephen Covey
“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” – Lao Tzu
“To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.” – Eric Hoffer
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” – Abraham Maslow
“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.” Abraham Lincoln
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” – Nathaniel Branden
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” ― Carl R. Rogers
“Ultimately spiritual awareness unfolds when you’re flexible, when you’re spontaneous, when you’re detached, when you’re easy on yourself and easy on others.” – Deepak Chopra
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” ― Michel de Montaigne
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” ― Dolly Parton
“Awareness is empowering.” – Rita Wilson
“Awareness requires a rupture with the world we take for granted; then old categories of experience are called into question and revised.” – Shoshana Zuboff
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ― C.G. Jung
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ― C.G. Jung
“Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.” ― John O’Donohue
“I want art to make me think. In order to do that, it may piss me off, or make me uncomfortable. That promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion.” – Pink
“The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.” – Marina Abramovic
“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.” – Allen Ginsberg
“A lot of actors on film sets… very often they’re not paying attention to the physical world around them. I think through studying art, I’ve always had that awareness and that’s something that I’ve wanted to bring in to go beyond acting… As a form of expression, they are intrinsically linked.” – Andy Serkis
“We’re highly social animals – I’m told by scientists that what makes us different from other animals is an acute social awareness, which is what has made us so successful.” – Alan Alda
“I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” – Billie Jean King
“We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life. This is the function of the American dance” – Martha Graham
“Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.” – W. Eugene Smith
“I think there are two aspects to smart environments. One is information embedded in places and things. The other is location awareness, so that devices we carry around know where we are. When you combine those two, you get a lot of possibilities.” – Howard Rheingold
“As our various electronic devices gain more and more sensory awareness, we open up the potential for entirely new forms of interaction. Not just new interfaces – tapping and shaking and whatnot – but a shift in presence.” – Jamais Cascio
“Awareness in our society has flipped all types of injustice on its head.” – Serj Tankian
“The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.” ― Malcolm X
“These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness.” – Anthony de Mello
“Awareness without action is worthless.” – Phil McGraw
January 5, 2013 | Leave a Comment
For most of us, when it comes to emotions, our thinking is often unclear. Most of us enjoy positive emotions, often looking to things outside rather than inside of us to produce them more frequently and intensely. Most of us dislike negative emotions, denying or repressing them so quickly we make little time to truly understand how they were produced, what we can learn from them, and how to encourage different responses, ones of our own choosing. Because of the volatile nature of emotions, at one time or another and sometimes habitually, many of us repress emotions in an effort to avoid conflict and maintain control. Unsure of where they come from or how they were produced we simply react to our emotions, thinking that they are natural, thus inevitable, or that something outside us produces them, thus we are not responsible for them. Even though our emotions can be highly subjective and individual we think of them as universally justified and even though they often change quickly we think of our habitual reactions to them as unchangeable.
In reality, we’re responsible for our emotions. They’re our reactions. When we find that we tend to react to certain things in predictable ways we may become more interested in learning more about our emotions. When we find that we can choose our reactions we may become more interested in developing our emotions.
Awareness is the first step to developing your emotions. Becoming more conscious of our emotions helps us to understand them better, to be less controlled by them, to choose our responses to them, and even to work with them to reduce, intensify, or even change them. In time, you may even find you respond to other people’s emotions differently.
Try this meditation.
Simply observe your emotions – and everything that surrounds them.
If you find it challenging to focus on a specific emotion, try bringing to mind an event that evokes it for you.
Don’t judge or attempt to change your emotions – or yourself.
What words would you use to describe an emotion?
Are your emotional reactions linked to specific events in your life or ideas you hold?
Identify the physical sensations in your body that accompany an emotion for you.
Over time, does an emotion stay the same or change in intensity or quality for you?
Do you stay with or return to one emotion more frequently than others?
Do your emotions follow any predictable patterns?
Let your emotions flow, allowing them to persist, change or fade without intervention.
Observe your emotions as if they are only one part of you. While you’re feeling an emotion, it may help to simply state “I am feeling …” which can help increase your awareness of both your active role in their existence and the transitory nature of your emotions.
December 29, 2012 | Leave a Comment
Our bodies, the vessels that carry us through life, are miracles of engineering to be marveled at and provide us gateways to both our minds and our emotions. For much of our daily lives we are unconscious of our bodies. When we do become aware of our bodies, our awareness is usually highly selective, often focused only in the presence of heightened pleasure or pain, either physical or psychological. Body images, both self-imposed and inherited, often lead us to judge, either inflating or repressing our direct experiences of our bodies. Developing greater body awareness helps reduce these tendencies and increase our understanding of and appreciation for our bodies as a single harmonious system. Tune in to the miracle that is your body.
Try this meditation.
1 Observe the way you sit. What is your experience of your general posture? How are your spine, torso, neck, head, arms and legs positioned? How long can you sustain this before you feel the urge to change positions? What positions are you most comfortable holding for long periods of time? What positions are you uncomfortable holding?
2 Observe the way you stand. What is your experience of your general posture? What is the position of your spine, neck, head, torso, arms and legs? How is your body balanced? Do you find yourself continually making small adjustments to maintain balance? How long do you feel comfortable maintaining this posture before wanting to change it? How often do you want to change it?
3 Observe the way you walk. What is your experience of your general posture? What is the position of your spine, neck, head, torso, arms and legs? What is the sequence of motions your body routinely makes? How do you maintain balance through this range of motions? What rhythms do you naturally tend towards? How do these things change with increased speed or extended time? Apply this type of observation to any repetitive type of motion you tend to make, such as exercise, dance, or yoga.
4 Observe the way you respond with your body to external stimuli. What do you respond to with increased calm? What do you respond to with increased alertness? What do you respond to with increased tension? How many of these responses are you typically consciously aware of? Are any of your responses surprising to you?
Spend a little time in isolation observing your body with minimal outside distractions. Later, extend your practice to increasing body awareness with increased external stimuli. Try to make this kind of observation a habit. With practice, you’ll find that your awareness of your body will increase, with little or no need for mental direction, growing more frequent, durable, and more deeply felt.
December 15, 2012 | Leave a Comment
The world is a complex and fast-moving place and we make it more complex and faster every day. The efficient coping mechanisms we have developed to filter and select information to help us to survive and thrive amid an enormous amount of stimulation often get in the way of fully experiencing our environment. Spend some time becoming more aware of the miracles that surrounds you.
Try this meditation.
1 Sit, stand, or move slowly. Do so in a way that you can be undistracted so that you can direct your full attention to your environment.
2 Shift your attention to your vision. Look around you – side-to-side, behind and before you, up and down.
3 Shift your attention to your hearing. Listen to both quiet and loud and near and far sounds.
4 Shift your attention to your sense of smell. Fully experience both pleasant and unpleasant smells.
5 Shift your attention to your sense of touch. Explore the temperature, the air, the ground, the things around you, etc.
6 Become aware of more than one sensation at a time, working to simultaneously integrate them all without prioritizing one over the other.
Simply observe your experiences of your environment. Don’t compare, contrast, evaluate or judge your experiences. Don’t let identifying the things you perceive with labels limit your impressions. If thoughts come to mind, note them and gently let them go. Return your consciousness to your direct experience.
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