In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Steven Covey, when discussing the three social maps used to explain the nature of humans (genetic, psychic and environmental), that a self-aware being is one who can look as an observer at his very involvement in his life. That he has the freedom or power to choose his response. He can decide within himself how “all of this” is going to affect him. “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.”
However, Eckhart Tolle elaborates further when he explains that the conditioned mind can be a person’s own worst enemy and for some who are stuck, whether intentionally or unintentionally, in a mind whose thought patterns are negative, choice may not be apparent.
The good news is you can free yourself of your mind, but how?
Amrit Desai explains that “Memories, emotions, thoughts… these are all ‘modifications of the mind’. We are the observers, witnessing what comes and goes. What comes and goes are thought forms, the objects of perception. Thought forms are objects because they are not constant, they change. Your opinion got insulted? You are NOT that thought or that opinion. You witness that thought and that thought got insulted or your expectation of how that thought was received was insulted. YOU were not insulted. Your car got destroyed? YOU were not destroyed, the object was destroyed. Thoughts forms, memories and emotions are like people walking by the window. You are looking out watching the people walk by. That’s not you walking by. This is Object Consciousness – you don’t change, it’s the thoughts that change.”
To do this, Eckhart Tolle suggests two ways of creating space between the thoughts and accessing the mental quietude between them, thereby ceasing incessant, addictive thinking. First, you can watch the thoughts, like Amrit Desai suggests above. The second way is a yoga practice of becoming intensely aware of the body and sensory perceptions, either by practicing physical hatha yoga or by meditating using a technique such as one-pointed focus.
The only way to become self-aware is to study the self. Practice, practice, practice.
“All creativity, intuition, is sourced from a place of stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative power. Have a look inside… is there even the slightest trace of resentment? Unwillingness? Even something as simple as boredom or a feeling of tired/not interested… have a look inside and feel the emotion. Does it feel pleasant or unpleasant? Then ask yourself, ‘Is this energy that I would choose to have inside me?’
Then ask yourself again, ‘Do I have a choice?’” Eckhart Tolle
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