Learning to practice awareness creates a feeling that you are part of the things that are going on around you? Do you take time as they say to “stop and smell the roses.”
Try this exercise the next time that you get up in the morning, instead of just going through your routine without thinking about it, you can still go through it in the same speed, but consciously bring your awareness to everything that you do.
When you brush your teeth and wash your face, don’t just do them; but feel the bristles against your teeth. Feel how invigorating it is, the flavor of the toothpaste. Do you like it?Do you enjoy the flavor of it?
When you wash your face, smell the soap, feel the coolness of the water as it splashes against your face and your forehead. Bring your awareness to the fact that your going down to get your morning cup of coffee, listen to the pouring of the coffee into the cup. Smell the aroma. Reflect on how much you enjoy the smell of the coffee. And when you taste it, don’t just taste the coffee but think about what it tastes like. How does it make you feel? Can you visualize the coffee beans and how ripe they once were and how they were used to make this wonderful brew of coffee for you this morning? And suddenly your awareness of the morning becomes a completely different type of experience. You’re aware of what you are, of what you are doing, and you can enjoy the experiences with a much more profound and deeper level.
And even if you have a negative kind of experience—maybe you wake up and you are in some pain this morning; you’ve got some arthritis or you hurt yourself playing a sport the other day—feel that too. Don’t just ignore it. But what does it feel like to you? Are there ways in which you can try to improve it? Are there ways in which you are worried about it? And allow yourself to feel that way, to think that way, and experience all of the positive and negative feelings that you may have. Thus awareness is a critical element to how we live our lives and how we think about our lives. It’s a simple experiment to do, but it can radically change the way in which you think and feel about the ways in which you go about your life.
I’ll even extend it into the spiritual realm. The next time you go to church or synagogue and you’re there saying a prayer, think about exactly how you’re saying that prayer. Don’t just say it feel it. Don’t just let it roll off your tongue without thinking about it because that’s just what you’re supposed to do. What does it mean to you? Reflect on a particular thought or feeling that pops into your head. And, again, you don’t have to be judgmental about any particular thought that you have, positive or negative, but explore them. Allow yourself to be aware of them and see how it makes you feel. Does it make you feel happy? Does it make you feel sad? Does it make you think about a person that you knew a long time ago, maybe somebody who passed away? All of these are so special to be able to have those feelings in the first place. And to allow ourselves to bring that awareness that our mind has, that consciousness that our brain has, to think about our world and to understand our world in a much richer and deeper way, it’s a way of tremendously enhancing the way in which your brain works because it helps your brain to absorb and experience the world in a more robust way, and it also creates a much deeper sense of enjoyment and pleasure in your life so that you can actually experience the world in as full a way as possible.