This is the ninth in a series of articles about self-care.

Greater awareness is available to us than we currently experience. By choosing to cultivate awareness, we open ourself to experiencing more of life.

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What is awareness?

Awareness is not simply being awake or alert. Awareness is not simply paying attention to things like: what time it is, what needs to be done, or even who is in the room. Awareness is an experience—of being open and receptive to all of life and what’s real. Awareness is knowing life as it is, and knowing ourself and others, as we are. When we are aware, we consciously experience all that life has to offer us, in that moment.

The depth of awareness varies.

Just as there are depths to the perception of each of our five senses, there are depths of perception regarding our awareness. For example, let’s say each of us bite into an apple. Then each of us would answer the question, “how do you like the apple?” Each of our answers would vary in depth. What each of us say, reflects the depth of our awareness and willingness to share at that moment. For example, one of us might say, “It tastes good,” while another, who perceives greater depths of awareness might say, “Wow! The sunset colors on this apple are pretty and its sweet scent is intoxicating. So smooth to touch. The tender skin instantly gives way to bite into the juicy, non-porous, crisp center—which is sweet enough to not leave a biting tang in the back of my mouth, and a bit tart, but not sour. Was this apple from Washington State? I believe I can taste the mustiness from the earth there. After only a few bites, I noticed that my body seemed to feel more alive and vibrant from the inside. Delicious!”

Why is awareness important?

Greater awareness is important because more awareness makes life more meaningful, interesting and interactive. Awareness at its core, is who we are. The more awareness we allow ourself experience, the more we experience ourself.

The four depths of awareness.

There are four depths of awareness, followed by an awareness that’s known as unity consciousness. The four depths are: survival, interest, intimate and unity—which is complete awareness.

Survival awareness has little depth.

Survival awareness keeps us alive. To use our apple example, with survival awareness of the apple, we don’t know deeply about the apple. We may perceive the apple as something we take, eat, or use, to fill our void so we don’t feel hungry. In survival awareness, the apple (or person, place or thing we’re experiencing) meets a base need of survival and physical nourishment, without being of much, if any, interest to us, beyond survival. We just grab and bite the apple to fill our need. We are not curious to learn about the apple, with the exception of how to get the apple to produce more apples, and more experiences with apples, which are bigger, prettier, and taste the way we like. The apple itself means very little to us.

Interest awareness has shades of depth.

Interest awareness makes life interesting. To use our apple example, with interest awareness, we are curious about the apple. We may perceive the apple as something we are fascinated by and want to learn more about. In interest awareness, the apple (or person, place or thing we’re experiencing) is something we will lovingly and curiously observe before we bite into it, noticing its many details and using all of our senses to experience the apple. The apple is of interest to us, but is not loved by us. Another example of interest awareness is when a cat plays with a mouse, which it may or may not eat.

Intimate Awareness

Intimate awareness is interactive. To use our apple example again, with intimate awareness of the apple, we experience both survival and interest awareness, as well as being intimately engaged in love for the apple. We perceive all it went through to become the beautiful apple it is today, we note any scarring that may have happened and appreciate the strength required to continue to heal and grow. We perceive the apple as gift to us, something honored, treasured and for which we are grateful. In intimate awareness, the state of awareness of the apple (or person, place or thing we’re experiencing) is of as much concern, interest and care as for ourself. We notice and experience every nuance of the apple. The apple is our valued and treasured companion in life, and we love it as ourself.

Awareness itself, is unity.

The deepest level of awareness isn’t deep at all, it just IS. When we experience awareness itself, we experience no separation between our awareness and anything else, because we are observing the completeness and depth of all things at once. To use our apple example again, when we are awareness itself, we are one with the apple. We are love, we are the apple, and we are the human, being.

Depth of Awareness affects satisfaction.

Our experience of deeper awareness has an all-encompassing effect on how satisfied we feel about ourself and life. Depth gives life more meaning. As in the apple example, when we’re in a survival level of awareness, we are just surviving, without much meaning or satisfaction. The deeper we experience awareness, the more satisfying life becomes.

Can awareness be cultivated?

Our awareness is designed for cultivation. With care, it naturally blooms. Awareness is naturally born into us like the power that makes our hair grow and our lungs breathe. Since ways to cultivate awareness aren’t taught in many schools, here are a few tips.

How can we cultivate awareness?

The most powerful thing we can do to cultivate awareness is to be willing—be open and receptive to new depths of awareness. If we’re willing, we can declare the following affirmations aloud:

  • I am open and willing to cultivate awareness within me.
  • I am more aware each moment.

Four tips to cultivate awareness.

Below are four things we can do to cultivate our awareness. *Note, these things are some of the same things we do to care for, and not sabotage, our best self and soul.

  1. Turn inward. For me, this means I notice all the areas where my thoughts and feelings are stuck or focused on things, situations or people outside of me. One by one, I release them all: distractions, tension, attention, people, etc.—anything outside me. I take several minutes to get centered and tune my heart and mind with the earth. To do this, I close my eyes, breathe in for five seconds and out for eight seconds, while feeling gratitude.
  2. Lead yourself home. For me, this means I allow my attention and awareness to settle within my body, noticing how it feels physically and emotionally. Then I take myself further into my home—my soul’s home, to become the observer of all that it is not.
  3. Choose curiosity. For me, this means being willing to look at everything within me with fresh eyes, wondering and fascinated. For example … if I am in survival awareness, I may falsely believe that I am my physical experience—that I am angry, I am sad, I am pained, etc. I identify with that experience and trick myself into thinking I am that. However, by being curious about those physical and emotional symptoms, I experience that the symptoms are just temporary experiences … they are not me. Curiosity teaches me about reality.
  4. Observe. To observe is to not identify with any thing. That means we observe everything, and are not identified with anything, and are no thing. Although that may sound intangible, it becomes concrete when I say that although, for example, I may appear to be an insightful, white female, public speaker and business owner … as an observer of Angelique, I am none of those things. I am not that; I am an observer of that. Even if all of those things changed, I would still experience being Angelique. Observing teaches me about who I am.

Observation validates awareness.

When we’re kindly-curious about awareness, the inner learning and observation can be deeply validating, thereby shifting our perception to truth. Although the idea of living without awareness may seem easier, as the old motto “ignorance is bliss” suggests, the reality isn’t so. With observation, we can grow in awareness, and experience all the depth of life’s zest, interest, flavor and fragrance. With awareness, being human becomes a more meaningful, interesting and interactive way to experience and love life.

If we feel unworthy of greater awareness …

Remember and repeat our three affirmations from the last eight weeks:

  • I do matter.
  • I am worth knowing.
  • I am important.

Rather than fighting, fleeing, stuffing or drowning awareness…

We can create a safe, inner-place to grow, know and learn. By doing so, we neither look to others, nor lean on them, to teach us. This allows us to learn from within, rather than looking to others to tell us what’s true. This allows us to simply share life and love with others, rather than needing something from them.

Will You?

I encourage you to care about cultivating your awareness. No one can do this for you, and by doing so, you’ll always know that somebody cares. Let us know how applying today’s concepts works for you! We enjoy hearing from you 🙂

We’d love to see you in Knoxville, Tennessee, any Sunday in April for the Will You Grow, Love and Adventure Brunch Series at Knoxville’s Luxury Venue—Ancient Lore Village! Check out the event video for all the delicious details and book your tickets for future fun with us in April!

Always with love,