Thank you for the request.
Your question is clear, but before answering it, let’s give it a closer look to build some foundations.
Obviously, cultivation is a word that refers to acquisition/gain, possession, longevity, and a feeling of security that is derived from those.
The same can be said about the word “gain,” it’s also related to cultivation and the basic psychological structure of human beings on Earth — the one the spiritual aspirant is actively working on.
Why is the aspirant working on the “basic” structure of the human being on Earth? Does it mean this structure needs improvements?
Well, we see the world around us, and how things look like. Most certainly, Life with its immense intelligence didn’t create wars and hate because it couldn’t have better ideas… We are here to exercise ourselves. Coming into this world for the first time traumatizes us in some ways. But eventually, we have to notice patterns, and decide that we want to change. This decision is what “working on the basic psychological structure of human beings on Earth” means.
Coming back to the subject…
You have a dictionary. You don’t need me to define words. Yet I did. And the reason I did so is to point out how we are always trying to reach a different state of evolution by projecting our old ways onto it.
This is a hindrance to learning, and as a result, growing.
Our current state of being with its attachments to cultivation as an example, is different from the state of being we are aiming for; peace, contentment, an open heart, a wise mind, an expressive soul. What this means is simple; the person we want to be behaves/reasons in different ways than the person we are right now. It’s obvious right?
Yet, we keep projecting our ways onto this future version of ours. And as long as we do that — we pursue our own tail. We run circles. And understanding ourselves is difficult.
Now, we have this idea that we should cultivate self-awareness and then use it later. This is similar to charging our phones right? We charge them at night, and then use them up during daytime. Or, we meditate for 10–20 minutes a day, legs crossed — and then go about our lives, fingers crossed.
What this does is separate daily living from one’s spirituality; and obviously, it doesn’t work that way. Whatever you are doing, you are a spiritual being having an Earthly experience. This is nothing new. And that’s why it’s about time we start applying this principle in our daily lives.
Sorry for the long introduction. Let’s get back to your question now, shall we?
As you may be well aware of, the exercises remain the same. There isn’t even a need for them to be called exercises because they are such basics tools of daily living that they should be taught at school. Unfortunately, because they’re not — we have to refer to them as being special tools for the monk.
You want to learn to be aware.
What is awareness? It is not thought. When someone pinches your forearm, you are aware that it hurts. You don’t think it does. Why do we want to be aware? Because contrary to our physical pain, when it comes to our mental and emotional challenges — we are not aware of them, we think about them.
And the more we do, the more power these thoughts have over us. If we keep traveling this route, we lose touch with reality. We live based on assumptions, which create conflicts in our relationships, and an overall painful existence. Sounds familiar?
Now, how can be aware?
Just be aware.
If you never experienced it, it will take some time to get accustomed to it.
Think about most people’s current perspective as being “zoomed in” into their lives. Everything is a reason for them to lose their mind.
Think about the person who is aware as having a “zoomed out” perspective, a more distant perspective. And because she does, it’s not impossible but rare for her to completely lose it all the time.
And what happens when we don’t lose our sanity all the time? We start connecting the dots. We look at our experiences with more wisdom. And from this, we are able to derive precious life lessons from them.
At first, just learn to be aware of your body. Pay attention to its parts. Your feet as an example. Be there. Then become aware that you are sitting or jogging. Be there. Then become aware that you are thinking. Be there. Notice your surroundings. Look at the flower. Be there.
You can practice this for a few minutes daily, in your comfort zone. But we are not phones. Eventually, bring this with yourself out into the world. Be aware during your interactions with people, or during difficult experiences, or when you’re having a good time.
A very wise man once said that life is a meditation.
As you build the habit of being aware most of the time, you turn into a spiritual scientist. Yes, the paradox. Your perspective gives you the distance to look at your life in a healthier way, and from that, you may want to use tools such as journaling or introspection to reflect on your experiences.
This is we cultivate self-awareness, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves!
I hope your question was answered.
If you would like to approach your spiritual growth and healing from a practical place, one that doesn’t leave you in the air with abstract concepts that get you nowhere — but one that actually helps you experience deeper growth; I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter from where I help you with that.
All the best is wished to you, and yours.