Learning is a life-long endeavor and one that never stops. For me, one of the most meaningful parts of the journey is becoming more self-aware. How can I become my own witness? How often do I engage as an observer? What is it like to be with my own thoughts? How can I sit in an emotional state, especially an unpleasant one…be it anger, jealousy, regret, grief, shame, or sadness?
It wasn’t until I found yoga, meditation and breathwork that I truly began this inner journey with greater regularity and focus. I had therapy in the 1980’s and 1990’s which inspired a tremendous amount of introspection. Somehow the movement of the body, combined with breathwork and with sitting alone with one thoughts, for me anyway, creates a sense of integration and connects more of the dots.
The answer to these questions starts with stillness, sitting or standing in one place long enough to let my body, my emotions and my thoughts settle, unplugged from all devices and digital distractions. In this stillness, I am with my own thoughts and feelings.
Digital distractions. I am grateful for Steve Jobs and all “smart” things created by Apple and Silicon Valley. This access to abundant information has created an unintended consequence, for some, an addiction to our digital devices. I know something is not quite right when I pick up my phone for no apparent reason. I often just like holding it.
Am I present in my own body? What am I feeling? What is the nature of my thoughts? What thoughts might I associate with my ego-mind, and what thoughts may be coming from my higher self, what I call my best self?
As children and young adults, at least in western cultures, we’re rarely taught to listen to our bodies. We weren’t even taught to pay attention to our intuitive nature. This sixth chakra, this seat of intuition, is our internal GPS, and it is always operating for our highest and best good. However, if I can’t be still enough, will I ever hear the messages?
I am still learning to respond rather than react. This is accomplished through self-awareness, the ability to step outside of myself and be conscious of an internal reaction. I may feel my heart rate increase. I may feel thirsty with a dry mouth, or a feeling in my gut signaling a lack of well-being. These bodily receptors lead to a perception of sensations from inside the body called interoception.