When you’ve stood at the edge of the sea lost in the rhythmic percussion of waves on the sand, just as the sun was half into the water (but its reflection in the sea made it look complete). The light turning the puffy clouds, resembling cotton-candy, to hues of orange, and then nearly a fire red…do you allow yourself to witness and marvel in the incredible beauty before you, allowing this moment to fully enter your consciousness, or do you immediately reach for your camera to take a picture?
If your initial impulse is to take a picture, it’s likely that you are probably not fully present to the moment. You’re physically present, but your mind is focused on what a great picture you’ve captured for your photo album. Your heart is present as a witness, but you’ve not allowed yourself to fully open and receive what this moment is presenting to you. You are lacking presence.
Presence is the ability to be fully aware in the current moment. A developed spiritual connection means that you have learned to embrace life, living with an open heart and a consciousness that is fully present to the experience that life has to offer.
Introspection is the process of conscious self-awareness. When immersed in this, it allows an authentic response to simply “be”. The space to create, to dance, or to simply stand in the stillness of the moment.
To be self-aware we have to have the courage to look inside; the courage to shine the light of our consciousness into the shadows of our minds nature; the courage to become intentionally self-aware.
Until we expose ourselves in this way, the unconscious fears and wounds of trauma and conditioning will keep our hearts closed and our minds obsessing about the past or worried about the future.
As children we are living purely from the heart, fully open to the awe and wonder of the world. We played and behaved without self-consciousness. We didn’t worry about how others would judge us or whether we looked cool or not. We played with abandon in the present moment.
As we grew we used the relationships we had with others to determine who we were and how we “should” behave. We began to create the “self” we thought others wanted to see. We rejected our divine self and began to create a self-defined by others. We allowed criticism and judgment of ourselves and others and because we were not living authentically, we found it more and more difficult to belong and fit in with others.
Over time as we moved away from our spirituality, our sense of wonder, and our ability to live in the moment with full presence and full authenticity was also dismissed. Our world grew small, mundane, and many times painful. We began to spend most of our time dreaming about achieving happiness somewhere in the future.
Fortunately, the steps to attain happiness, spiritual growth, and the ability to live in the present moment are simple.
To start, it only requires the courage to begin the inner journey; the journey into self-awareness. Self-awareness can only be experienced in the moment of the present. The spiritual practice of deep self-awareness can be a powerful tool for self-growth and self-understanding whenever we find ourselves being judgmental or rejecting of others. This allows us to explore the unconscious beliefs and assumptions we have about ourselves.
Self-awareness allows us to search for our beliefs that create the negative energy of judgment and rejection. Self-awareness is the spiritual practice of intentionally looking for those beliefs. When we have the courage to do that we are often amazed to discover that much of the energy and passion for life we enjoyed as a child has been quietly hiding, waiting for the invitation to come alive again.
Until we find the courage to look into own beliefs and face our own shadows, we will continue to see those traits in others. The world around us will remain a painful reflection of the world inside of us. By learning to pay attention; to our own conscious awareness, we will soon discover that every person we meet has the potential to be a teacher that reflects back to us the beliefs of our own mind.
The higher the insight we need to glean the more taxing the teachers appear. But they, more than any others, have the power to help us shine the light of our consciousness into the shadows of our own dark beliefs; to illuminate the reflection that we need to dispel.
It is only through self-awareness that we will learn to see the insights that life continually offers us. That we begin to find the wisdom to put the camera away and stand in the stillness and awe with full presence. The only place our spirit can be found, in the present moment.