How much you know or don’t know about something does not make much of a difference to your Life. More often than not, you know enough about almost everything to make intelligent choices. But it is your lack of awareness, while doing simple, small, daily tasks, or activities, that impacts your Life in bigger measure than you can imagine! Awareness makes all the difference between living Life fully, making each day count, and merely getting past one!
For instance, it is common knowledge that:
- Regular exercise is important
- A balanced diet holds the key to a disease-free Life
- Smoking and drinking alcohol are injurious to health
- Too much work and stress kills
- We must save money for a rainy day
Although a large mass of humanity knows these simple tenets of intelligent living, very few actually practice it. The reason why many don’t practice is not lack of intent. Who wouldn’t want to be physically__and financially secure? The reason is that most people begin each day with good intent but simply lose themselves to the ‘doing’ conundrum. Between the morning cup of coffee and the kids being packed off to school to rushing off some work-related mails from your smartphone to 8 AM conference calls with the US West Coast to 10 AM calls with Singapore and 2 PM operations review meetings to more mails to attend to kids to be picked up and rushed to music, dance and sports coaching classes to getting dinner ready or sending off more important mails to packing for tomorrow’s trip to rushing to the grocer’s __ phew! __ where’s the time to think? Forget being aware! So, sometimes, because you haven’t had a meal at a proper time, a third cup of milky, sugary coffee, seems okay. Or when you light up one more time, although you KNOW you are overdoing it, you justify to yourself saying you need to ‘de-stress’. So destroy and de-stress suddenly become synonymous! Not that the protagonists of such a Life do not know the difference. They do. But they are caught in the web of doing__and doing and doing__without, at most times, being aware__of why they are doing what they are doing!
Awareness has to be cultivated. It is about training your mind to understand the difference between getting wet in the rain and feeling it! So, a person whose level of awareness is high will feel the raindrops falling on her face while rushing off to work than simply worrying about her new laptop bag getting wet! It is about training your mind to feel grateful every time you eat, feeling thankful for each morsel you imbibe while relishing its delicious taste. You know a lot of people have contributed to making your meal delicious. But when you eat without awareness, you are in the doing mode. Your knowing anything is of no use. Because you have no awareness to celebrate your knowing. When you bring in awareness into every small detail in Life, you learn to live fully in each moment, from one moment to another! Through repeated practice, awareness improves. Then you realize, when your alarm goes off, that you are better off working out than sleeping longer. That you are better without lighting up. That you don’t need the one drink for the road. That the dessert only looks good and tastes good but does no good to your diabetic condition. Awareness gets you started. You, only then, start living!
Fundamentally, increased awareness reduces resistance and inertia to personal change. When you begin to change personally, transformation, an orbital shift in your thinking and living, becomes a distinctive possibility. With awareness, you too can be a Buddha. As Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk who lived in 6th Century BC, said: “Buddha means awareness. Awareness of both body and mind that prevents evil from rising in either.”