It is important to be awake as in being mindful. Like many things this all starts with you being aware of yourself and it will lead to being aware of others. Of course being aware of others is important; people are persons too and they experience all that you do and more. Growing outward from that it is important to be awake in your environment and by extension be aware of your reality. Will it be like the matrix when you start looking at everything mindfully? Maybe, but it will be up to you to find out.
Self awareness is the best place to start as you are home to yourself. Be aware right now of where you are, the feeling of the clothes on your skin, any sounds that you may hear, sights you are seeing, or smells that you are noticing. How is your mood? Just noticing the little things is a start that can lead to an awakening. A Buddhist practice of Metta Bhavana comes in to play here as it does with some upcoming blogs in this series. An explanation of the practice is outlined below.
The Metta Bhavana can help in becoming aware and awake to other people. Remember that people are persons just like you are and they make mistakes, have needs, wants, and dreams. By practicing the Metta Bhavana you put yourself in their shoes. When you can see a person through their eyes then you will realize that we all come from the same place. Many people have different names for that place, but this simple meditation can bring you back to that place.
To start the Metta Bhavana close your eyes and visualize yourself. Be aware of your self imagine a golden light flooding your body and say to yourself, “may I be well and happy.” Then, think of a good friend and feel your connection with your friend while saying, “may they be well and happy.” Think of someone who you are neutral towards, reflect on their humanity and as above wish them wellness and happiness. After that, think of an adversary but, do not get caught up in hatred, think of them positively and wish them wellness and happiness. Finally think of all four of the people including yourself together and extend your feelings further, past your neighborhood, your town, your country, until the world is encompassed in your loving kindness. Wish all of humanity happiness and wellness.
After some practice you can get the meditation down and then use it to connect with your environment. All you really have to do is to take a moment and be aware of your surroundings. Take it all in, what do all of your senses show you? Even your sixth sense if you can get a feeling about what is going on before you see it. How does your environment feel emotionally? It is all simply about becoming aware.
The next area of awareness is the awareness of reality. You see things how they really are. While doing the Metta Bhavana you see people for who they are, human beings. Imagine if you could extend this awareness out to reality; let your beliefs and biases about the nature of the universe fall away. Practice it and you may be surprised to find that reality is not nearly as bad as you imagine it to be.
Through meditation and introspection you can be more aware of yourself, others, your environment, and reality as a whole. An open awareness could mean that your eyes are open to new opportunities that you may not have noticed before. By being more aware you can see more, feel more, and definitely care more. Between becoming aware and meditation, you can see more of who you can be. Remember; may you be well and may you be happy!