We established that self-awareness is the secret to personal transformation – but how do you actually get more of it?
If you want to build self-awareness there are three effective methods:
- Keep a . (1)
- Discover which of your psychological needs aren’t being met and take steps to meet them. (2)
In this article, you’re going to learn how to increase your self-awareness with an unconventional mediation practice. This meditation will help you deprogram the limiting beliefs that, if left unchecked, could prevent you from living up to your full potential.
Meditation And Self-Awareness
Our mind constantly drifts into the past and the future, we get lost in thoughts like:
- “I worked hard today, I deserve to treat myself to some beer.” (future)
- “I wonder what my life would be like now if I never got married.” (past)
- “Should I start working on my paper? I’ll do it after I finish one more episode of Rick and Morty.” (future)
Thoughts like the above never stop running through our mind, it’s in our nature. The human brain is a problem-solving machine:
· It analyzes the past to learn from our mistakes (so we won’t make them again).
· It thinks of the future to determine how we can get what we want in life.
Thinking about the past or the future isn’t inherently bad, it does serve a useful purpose. However, when we get caught up in our thoughts, we enter a state that scientists call cognitive fusion. According to psychologists Russ Harris, “In a state of fusion a thought can seem like
- The absolute truth.
- A command you have to obey.”
For most of us, cognitive fusion is our default state. We are so absorbed in our thoughts that there isn’t room for anything else. And, most importantly, there isn’t room to question whether our thoughts are useful or true.
To become more self-aware, you must gain distance from the stream of thoughts running through your head. That way, when you think something like, “I’m just ugly, I’ll never get a girlfriend,” you won’t accept that thought as fact. You’ll realize it’s just a thought that wandered through your mind, not an objective truth.
Once you become aware of your thoughts, they won’t be able to control you. That’s exactly why meditation is so powerful: it teaches you how to gain distance from your thoughts.
As you practice meditation, your ability to distance yourself from your thoughts will improve dramatically, and you will be able to let go of the limiting beliefs that would have otherwise determined your fate.
The Self-Awareness Meditation
To cultivate our self-awareness, we’re going to use a thought meditation.
To get the full benefits of this self-awareness meditation, you’ll need to practice it regularly. Think of meditation as an exercise, but instead of building muscles, you’re building your self-awareness. Just like exercise, it takes time and practice to get real results – but those results are transformative
Start by sitting down, you can use a chair or the floor, it doesn’t matter. However, it’s best to sit up straight, and you definitely don’t want to lie down (because you’ll likely start to drift off. I speak from experience).
Your first sessions don’t need to be long, I recommend 5-10 minutes (you can increase the time as you see fit once meditating becomes an automatic habit). Meditation can be surprisingly challenging at first, shooting for a 20-minute session every day might not be sustainable.
As you sit, take several deep breaths to ease yourself into the meditation. You will notice thoughts start to run through your head. Your goal is to notice these thoughts, to become aware of them.
Importantly, you’re not trying to get rid of your thoughts, nor are you trying to control them. You’re just noticing them. Think of this like laying down on a field and watching the clouds (thoughts) drift by.
Whenever you notice a thought, tell yourself, “thinking.” For example, while you’re meditating you might start wandering off, “Who would win in a fight, Thor or Superman? Well, Thor has that new weapon. . . oh crap, thinking.”
By labeling your thoughts in this way, you’ll be able to gain distance from the constant chattering of the monkey mind.
When you’re new to meditation, you might get caught up in your thoughts for several minutes before you’re able to notice and label them. That’s okay – it’s part of the process. The fact that we get lost in thought is the reason meditation is so valuable in the first place (if you had perfect awareness of your thoughts, you’d be giving seminars on the top of a mountain somewhere).
That’s the self-awareness meditation: observe your thoughts, get lost in them, and label them (as “thinking”) once you notice that you got lost in them.
Conclusion: How to Increase Your Self-Awareness Through Meditation
As you practice this self-awareness meditation, you’ll become incredibly effective at observing your thoughts from a distance, instead of getting caught up in them. As a result, you’ll become increasingly able to decide whether a thought is useful and should be accepted, or is harmful and should be rejected.
Make this self-awareness meditation a habit, and the benefits will have a profound impact on your life. We often get so caught up in our thoughts that we don’t even realize they’re controlling our life. Awareness of your thoughts is essentially a cheat code for taking control of your life.
(PS: If you want to really want to dive in and learn how to transform your life by developing self-awareness, you can get my new book, The Power of Self-Awareness, on Amazon.
- Check out habit 3 to learn how to build self-awareness through journaling.
- The Power of Self-Awareness includes an in-depth guide for how to determine which of your needs aren’t being met, and how you can change that.
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