Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


The Journey to Self-Awareness

The Journey to Self-Awareness

Robert J. Burrowes

What is Self-awareness?

Self-awareness is the capacity to pay conscious attention to all aspects
of yourself: to use sensory capacities such as sight, hearing and touch to
provide accurate information about the external world; to use feelings
such as thirst, hunger, nausea, dizziness and physical pain to provide
accurate information about the state of your body and what it needs; to
use memory to store and provide access to learning from past experience;
to use your 'truth register' to detect lies and other misinformation; to
use intuition to 'listen' to and remain in touch with 'the big picture' of
life as a whole; to use conscience to enable you to make and act on those
difficult moral choices that, for example, might ultimately require you to
act against social conventions or unjust laws; to use feelings such as
fear, happiness, emotional pain, joy, anger, satisfaction, sadness, sexual
arousal and a vast variety of others to tell you what is happening for you
in any given situation and to give you the power to behave appropriately
in this context when the time is right; and to use intellect to acquire,
interpret, analyse and evaluate information from these and other sources,
such as written material.

Self-awareness is also the capacity to synthesise all of the input from
these and other sources in order to crystallise the appropriately precise
behavioural option in any given circumstance. To disintegrate or rank
these interrelated components of Self-awareness (for example, to regard
'thinking' as somehow separate from and superior to 'feeling') or to
regard them as in conflict with one another, gets in the way of
appreciating each function as a vital part of the whole even if temporary
indecision precedes an integrated sense of how to proceed.

The mind is genetically programmed to be one integrated whole, not a
conflicting set of components, but it is easily damaged so that one part
of its capacity dominates or suppresses others. It is the ongoing
destruction throughout childhood of the capacity to pay attention to all
of this input, and particularly feelings, that progressively destroys the
innate capacity to become Self-aware. What causes this damage? Terror. And
what makes a mind react with terror thus disrupting all other functions
simultaneously? Violence. And particularly the unrelenting onslaught of
'invisible' violence and 'utterly invisible' violence inflicted on
children throughout their childhood. See 'Why Violence?'

If you want to know how serious this damage is, then consider some simple
questions: Do you ever do what others tell you? Why? Do you know how to
stand in a perfect posture (and can you do it)? Do you know what food
makes you healthy (and do you eat it)? Do you deliberately frighten
children to make them do what you want? Why do you believe that this is
functional? And do you feel calmly and powerfully able to deal with any
situation, including the looming threat of human extinction (or do you
prefer to delude yourself that it isn't happening)?

Self-awareness also enables the individual to prioritise but to not
'forget'. For example, if an individual injures their leg while escaping a
dangerous situation, the individual will need to prioritise escape over
the injury. But, as soon as circumstances allow, the Self-aware individual
will stop doing everything else to pay deliberate attention to the injury
by specifically focusing on the pain and, if necessary, by applying the
appropriate first aid treatment. Why?

All communications, whether in the form of feelings such as fear and
anger, physical symptoms such as nausea and pain, and sensory signals such
as sounds and smells, are designed to give your mind information about
what is taking place but this information can only be fully utilised if
you devote deliberate attention to this or these phenomena. In the case of
physical pain, for example, the pain is designed to attract your attention
and, if you focus your attention on the pain rather than fearfully
suppressing your awareness of it (by distracting yourself or by taking
painkillers, for example) as you were taught and terrorised into doing as
a child, then your body will be in the optimum mode for responding to the
pain, and what it signals, with the appropriate short and long term
healing strategy.

Your attention is a vital ingredient of your healing: first, because it
optimises your body's capacity to identify and efficiently implement the
uniquely appropriate healing strategy for this circumstance, and second,
because it tells you what you need to do and what you need to change (if
anything), both in the short and long terms, if complete healing is to

If you focus attention on the pain, it will virtually always be both
manageable and short-lived. Once it has your attention for the problem,
your immune system will automatically start to mute the pain. Without
attention full healing will never occur. Even worse, your body will store
the disease or injury of which the pain is a symptom and this will keep
manifesting one way or another repeatedly throughout your life resulting
in chronically declining health, as well as more intense and
longer-lasting bouts of pain requiring more frequent and ever-stronger
distractions and drugs to suppress it, despite the fact that the human
organism is designed to be as vigorous (even if differently so) in old age
as in youth.

The purpose of emotional pain is the same as physical pain: to get your
attention. But if emotional pain is not felt at the time (that is, it is
fearfully suppressed), it will come back later to wallop you bigger and
harder. Or kill you prematurely.

In summary then, just as an individual will fearfully (and either
consciously or unconsciously) suppress their awareness of physical and
emotional pain, they will also fearfully (and increasingly automatically
and unconsciously) suppress their awareness of all aspects of their mind
as a result of the violence inflicted on them throughout their childhood.

Hence, if you wish to acquire the Self-awareness that is your birthright,
you will need to pay attention to (that is, to spend time feeling) the
fear that makes you unconsciously suppress it.

How do you do this? The short answer is this: If you feel scared in a
particular situation, try to consciously focus on feeling your fear –
whether from a dream, a memory or some current event in your life – for as
long as you can before reacting to it. For more details of this process,
see 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice'
It will be unpleasant but highly instructive.

If you wish to join the worldwide movement to end all violence and
facilitate our shared journey to Self-awareness, you are welcome to sign
online 'The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent World'

Self-awareness is your birthright: don't let your fear take it from you.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Time Of The Ensigns: Wellington City Council Flies The Flags

At noon on Monday the five flag options for the first referendum were hoisted over the Wellington Town Hall. The wind did not disappoint and the contenders for the new ensign contender spot flapped happily in a spring wind. More>>


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news