What a great feeling. A new year is beginning—–a perfect opportunity to make some changes in your life. What New Years resolutions would you like to make this year?
If you are like most people there is a danger that you will try to change one of your behaviors, or you will try to change something related to your external world—–your diet, your exercise, your weight, your spouse, your job, your neighbor, moving to another part of the country, or perhaps all of the above.
Unfortunately, assuming happiness can be achieved by changing another person or some external aspect of your life is an illusion that is only going to bring more unhappiness into your life.
Reality teaches us that all change in life begins internally, not externally. So the most important New Years resolution you make each year will always be that resolution that is focused on changing the way you think.
If you are serious about making changes in the way you think, the first and most important resolution you will need make will be finding the courage to intentionally become self-aware—–the courage to turn your attention inward and becoming an attentive observer of yourself.
Self Transcendence Is Achieved Through Self-awareness, Not Ego Willpower
It is commonly believed that we can use ego willpower to make behavioral changes in our life.
Unfortunately, changes made by ego “will-power” seldom last more than a few days because our ego desires are driven by our rapidly changing feelings and emotions. What felt right yesterday doesn’t feel so right today.
If you want lasting change, it will only come through self-transcendence; the inner commitment and courage to change who you “are”—–the courage to become intentionally self-aware.
The goal of intentional self-awareness is simply the desire for self-transcendence; the desire and courage to turn your consciousness inward to discover, or “see” things about yourself, that you’ve never seen before.
Who you “are”; the real you, is pure observing consciousness——an inner “observer” that has the ability to intentionally choose where you want to direct your attention. When you choose to look inward with deep curiosity, deep self-honesty, and deep courage, you can step outside of your emotions and becoming an observer of yourself.
When you shift your attention inward; when you become an observer of yourself, it turns your ego’s emotional, feeling self into an object. Instead of having feelings and emotions, self-awareness is the tool that allows you turn those ever-changing feelings and emotions into objects that can be explored and studied.
Because it’s common to dislike what you discover about yourselves when you begin the spiritual practice of intentional self-awareness, maintaining the integrity of your journey toward self-transcendence always requires great courage and a deep inner commitment to grow and evolve into the person you were meant to become.
Taking A Peek Inside The Spiritual Practice of Intentional Self-Awareness
So lets move inside and take a look at what your observing inner dialogue might sound like…..
“I’m having a very powerful feeling right now. I wonder why the feeling is so strong? What belief or assumption is energizing this emotion? Where is it coming from? Did my thinking create this feeling in my mind? Is it realistic? Am I expecting someone else to change or do I need to somehow change how “I” think? So what am I thinking? What is the purpose of this emotion or is it just wasted energy on my part? What is it trying to teach me?
What is this emotion telling me I need to change in my thinking? Do I need to let go of an expectation? What is the expectation behind this feeling? Am I trying to change others instead of changing myself? Ok, again, what would I need to change? Am I serious about changing myself or am I looking for another subtle way to change someone else?
Ok, think longer range. So if my goal were to get healthier, what would I need to change about myself and my thinking so a year from today this emotion wouldn’t be so strong? Is that a direction I really would like my life to head in or am I just reacting to this particular emotion? Ok, so what’s my first step toward making that change?
No……wait…….wow! This is a really strong negative emotion. Maybe I better sit with it a while longer. Maybe I’m missing something important about myself that I need to understand. I wonder what it might be…………….”
A New Years resolution that begins with your ego “making” you behave differently will almost certainly fail. However, a New Years resolution that begins with intentional self-awareness has the power to change your life.
When this inner work is done with commitment, integrity, and self-honesty, the behavioral changes you experience in the external world will occur because you are thinking differently.
When your goal is self-transcendence, the focus of your consciousness will be directed only on changing the way you think—–not the way you behave. And often, the most profound changes that come about in the external world will be the result of very small changes in how you think internally.
When you stop simply living your emotions and begin observing them, the self-transcendence you experience will change not only your life, it can change the world.