It’s easy for all of us to get caught up in the distractions of a busy life and lose self-awareness; that sense of living fully awake and conscious of the reality of the present moment.
It’s a rare person that doesn’t find themselves caught up in the never ending details and responsibilities of life from time to time; sleep-walking from distraction to distraction—-unaware of the world around them.
But living life unconsciously makes it very difficult to keep our lives balanced and happy.
Sitting on the shore of the Oregon coast one morning this last spring, I realized that it had happened to me. I was feeling powerless, overwhelmed, and more than a little stressed.
Lulled into a reflective trance by the rhythm of storm driven waves breaking on the shore that morning woke me to the realization that I had allowed my life to become too busy. I was seriously out of balance. The little routines and activities that help me slow down, to stay centered and maintain a sense of peace and meaning were missing from my day-to-day life.
For example, I was no longer taking the time, to play my mandolin, or go on those long walks that I know are a great way to renew my creativity.
It wasn’t the fact that I had lost self-awareness that got my attention. I know that letting life get too busy is a sure way to lose self-awareness. I know that losing self-awareness is normal.
What shocked me the most that day on the beach was not that I had “fallen asleep”, but rather how easily I had stopped paying attention to what is truly important to me. How easily my self-awareness had slipped outside of my consciousness. I had not only lost my sense of balance, I had spent several months totally unaware that it had happened.
Pulling out of a county campground in our motorhome a few days later I cut the turn too sharp and caused the back tire of the motorhome to suddenly drop off the curb onto the street. The rig rocked violently back and forth totally disorganizing the contents of every cupboard.
When I shared this story with good friends over breakfast a few days later, they casually suggested, in the off-handed way that good friends often do, that the experience of driving the rig over the curb might be a very good metaphor for what had happened to me over the last year; that I had accidentally hit a speed bump in life that had totally disorganized my psychological cupboards. We all got a good chuckle out of it.
It was not only a funny way of describing my experience; it was right on target emotionally. I knew that it was definitely time to rearrange and reorganize my psychological cupboards; to slow down, re-center myself and re-affirm some of the basic insights I know are an important part of living an awakened and balanced life. For example………
- That despite what many will tell us, life is not hard. It does not have to be a painful struggle. It does not have to be an unhappy, flat, or lifeless experience. Life is only hard on our rigid beliefs, our rigid black-and-white opinions, our expectations, our prejudices, and our assumptions; especially those that in any way attempt to distort reality.
- That true happiness is not something to be achieved by hard work; we already possess it! We are already whole and balanced. All we have to do is reclaim our authentic true self and remove the false beliefs that fragment our sense of who we are and keep us from experiencing the happiness we have always possessed.
- That happiness comes when we recognize that we only have the power to change ourselves; not others…….that we can only change what we see and accept about our own lives. Happiness is grounded in self-awareness and the courage to change ourselves and the way we think.
- That intentional self-awareness is the key to happiness and living a successful life. Without self-awareness and living in the present moment, life quickly gets out of balance and stressful. Self-awareness requires silence, slowing life down, and getting back to what is truly important in your life.
What was most important for me to re-affirm sitting on the beach that morning, was the knowledge that no one, my self included, is a helpless or powerless victim of life. The Law of Attraction reminds us that we are all in total control of the lives we are choosing to live; that what we think about is what we will end up attracting into our lives. The universe simply reflects back to us the kind of energy we are sending it.
In other words, what we choose to consciously or unconsciously think about today will ultimately create the life we live tomorrow. Our thoughts are important because we do become what we think about. Unless our lives are balanced between work and those things that are truly important to us, it’s virtually impossible to be happy.
I realized that day on the beach that it was time for me to once again awaken and to take back conscious control of my life. I created the life I was currently living—one day at a time, and through self-awareness, I had the power to change it—one day at a time.
In the days that followed, I was more than a little humbled to realize how easily life could cause me to lose consciousness and “self”-awareness, but it certainly felt good to be awake again.
Losing “self”-consciousness happens to all of us from time to time, but fortunately, re-awakening to self-awareness is always an available choice.
The insights, spiritual practices, and skills contained in Primitive Ego Psychology have the power to help us become self-aware; the power to enable us to transform our lives and create whatever our hearts truly desire.
We just have to remember to practice them and keep them conscious.
The four simple truths listed above now hang on the wall above my computer as a visual reminder of how easy it is to “fall asleep” and get caught up in the “stuff” of life.
What distracts you from living a self-aware life? Comment below.