‘What is present self-awareness?’

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Thomas M Easley
At the time of our birth, we were given a name and programmed to refer to ourselves as ‘I.’ Day by day our infant ‘I’ became more and more proficient in its ability to nourish itself, to cultivate the ascension of our self-image, our ego. Incrementally,we began to mature physically and emotionally, adapting to a plethora of environmental influences. And our ego matured as well; it grew by feeding on feelings, thoughts, and sensations that we regarded as personal. It fed on our actions, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs, and we formed an identity attachment to each aspect — to that which, from our point of view, gave us purpose, value, and a place in this world. After years of usage, all these attachments solidified, wove themselves into the comforting tapestry of our adult self-image, and we never questioned how the personalisation of our every thought, feeling, action, and sensation influenced our perception of reality,our assessment of right and wrong, truth and fiction, real and unreal. Few people ever ask how we came to personalise reality, because the accommodation of a familiar self-image, however flawed, engenders complacency. Reality, and our residence within it, is not thought of as something unknown.

But who are we really, and how much of our purpose in this world is actually known to us? In this moment, if we look around ourselves,we can note that we are aware in detail of very little. Our attention has been programmed to grasp only what the ego deems essential to its maintenance, moment after moment. On the street, will we miss the many colours and sounds that do not contribute directly to ego values? We will not feel or sense what others are feeling and sensing. The spaces between things and what comes to fill those spaces will elude us. Our attention will not focus on the deeper nature of air, heat, reflections, the turn of the earth, or the presence of man on the body of the earth. Of what we can be aware of, only a small part will reach our ‘conscious’attention. With this personal review in mind, we can likewise note that we are aware of only a small part of what makes us human.We see only a small part of what we are and can become. Even still,we think of ourselves as someone we know because the ego’s myopic perspective has confined us to a lesser version of ourselves, a self without depth, introspection, or vision. And this lesser version is the primary version of self we will live and die with, unless someone or something alerts us to what we’re missing, makes it evident to us that the essential ingredients to experiencing and understanding life are in awakening,and that we need to wake up.

Once this deficit is realised, it becomes clear that the little we see of the world and ourselves in it needs to be re-examined and re-evaluated. Habitual definitions, preprogrammed routines and responses which maintain ego constraints cannot generate new insight. If we wish to wake up, we need to find tools,concepts,and possible pathways that will lead to greater clarity, to a heightened sense of things, which presently eludes us. The first and most accessible tool available to anyone at any time is the present moment. Life cannot be lived at any other time,and neither can higher states of enlightenment come to be at any other time.

This realisation heralds our initial insight into what present self-awareness is. As a child learning it can crawl,and what crawling means, realising that we are not self-aware is our first assertion toward a lifetime conversation with the Self, and it’s our first independent step away from material attachment. But the ego will not passively defer to self-awareness. From its point of view, survival is dependent upon us — its host — routinely and unreservedly submitting to conventional material programming. To overcome the ego barrier, by whatever path is most accommodating to the individual, a gradual transition of attention focused on ego directives to a focus on present self-awareness is required. And, fortunately, this transitional phase does not stifle ego. Ego is necessary for day-to-day interaction with the world but not as a crown for our identity. Rather than lead our identity — the focus of our attention — ego must learn to follow, to take permission for its actions from the greater being emerging from present self-awareness.

Source: The Sangai Express

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