Self-Awareness and Me
by Steve M Nash
Selfie Steve (and Rachel) - Spurn Point (2017)
(A Brief Journey in Self-Awareness)
It's hard to remember a time when I wasn't aware of my own self-awareness.
I mean, I've always been aware (as you have!) - aware of life, aware of my experiences, and aware of my joy and my pain.
But it wasn't until I first discovered self-help in 2002 - via a not-that-great book on positive thinking, actually - that I started to notice myself, or rather I started to notice that there was a voice inside of my head, and it was always chattering.
Ah, the voice inside my head. He (or she) who must be obeyed. The cruel, malicious one. The one that has always been there. Ego.
Apparently, most of us think of ourselves as self-aware, these days. Less on auto-pilot, and more mindful. But as we have evolved, so too has ego. (Noticed?)
And this despite some rather magical invitations to for us to listen to ourselves in this moment:
- I'm talking about things like the random answers website I created in 2006 - EgoFatigo.com
- I'm talking about Angel cards or Tarot cards or the rather more strategic Creative Whack Pack by Roger von Oech.
- I'm talking about free numerology readings by the likes of Numerologist.com
All can stimulate what I call the 'answer within'.
But we'd rather listen to Mr or Mrs or Miss or Ms or Mx EGO than the 'answer within', it seems.
So 'spiritual types' berate themselves for not being able to do acceptance, or forgiveness or letting go.
Or 'personal development types' get negative about their lack of positive.
Even serene, bendy-in-their-body 'yoga types' find themselves playing the comparison game - comparing bodies, the positions they can hold, or how many followers they have on Instagram!
This is not self-awareness. This is ego. One smart cookie, that ego - always one step ahead!
But I'm one step ahead, too. (Sometimes, anyway.)
Or rather, I'm one step away from being in my head.
These days, then, I listen to less to 'intelletual understanding', when it comes to my own self-awareness - the kind you find on (yet another) Ted Talk. Instead, I listen to feeling. "How am I feeling?" is the constant enquiry I make. (Think Byron Katie and The Work.)
If I'm feeling 'good', I notice.
If I'm not feeling 'good', I notice.
That's it. Job done. No need for me to meditate for an hour (thank goodness).
And I notice others with the same neutrality, too.
Ah, the simple life.
Of course, my ever-present friend Mr Ego isn't too keen on this plain and simple 'noticing' malarkey.
He continually attempts to make up 'stories' about the feelings I have.
He continually attempts to tell me a tale about some impending doom, or retell that painful time when it all went embarassingly wrong for me.
And all to jolt me back out of self-awareness and back into my 'wanting-to-know-why-why-why' head.
Ah, the ebb and flow of life.
Thus has it ever been, I'm sure.
For you and me, both. And others, far wiser.
Yes, for each moment of each day of each life we find ourselves constantly invited. An invitation to attend Rumi's Guest House, no less. And we're always, always a guest. In Rumi's Guest House. But, sometimes, we're aware of this. Sometimes, we're self-aware.
~~The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
ENDAbout The Author
Steve is the editor of SelfHelpCollective.com and transformative coach at SMNash.com. He's just created a course on Teachable called "Remembering the 'Happiness Within'"