The Truth about Awareness

Words like ‘awareness’, ‘mindfulness’, ‘presence’ and a whole other bunch of ‘buzzwords’ are being excessively thrown out there.

Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

While I’m a big supporter of incorporating all of these concepts into our lives as a daily practice, I can’t help notice how ‘mindlessly’ these words are sometimes used.

Under the ideas of ‘paying attention to the body and emotions’, ‘flowing’ or ‘embracing the moment’, some people have become drastically self-involved: turning their eyes inward, they have forgotten to take a glimpse, (at least) of what happens beyond their personal space. This can lead to a non-critical attitude, mistaking it for being non-judgmental. However, part of spiritual is the ability to discern or reflect. 

Yoga means union, it is about understanding the interconnectedness of our universe. Yes, it begins with each of us reconnecting with ourselves, but it goes beyond the individual to reconnect with others: human and non-human; and to reconnect with our surroundings: from the small familiar space, to the global connections that today link us all on Earth together.

‘Awareness’ and ‘mindfulness’ have an uncool twin: responsibility. Being aware of our actions and emotions, living mindfully, actually means assuming the responsibility for our way of being in the world.

Embracing interconnectedness is to embrace that how we feel and act does impact others, and so we need to be ready to respond, to be accountable, for these effects.

‘A responsible life’ is often misunderstood as a mainstream-steady job-settling kind of life, and so it has become an unattractive word for the free-spirited community that makes up the yogi world. But actually, being ‘aware’ is about being reflective about our actions and emotions. When we are able to pay attention to them, we can then question them, and use discernment with where our actions and emotions are coming from and where are they going; and go full circle to assume the responsibility for them.

Most of the time unkindness and unfairness are the result of failing to do this; and so I believe responsible people, in the sense used here, make for more kind, compassionate and just partners, siblings, pet owners, consumers, neighbors, and in general fellow earthly beings. For the simple reason that they understand their being in the world as a relational interconnected experience.

Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

Although this is easier said than done, it might be a good intention to put into practice for those looking to improve their experience of life on earth...especially within powerful communities, such as the yoga community. Assuming responsibility for our own lives and assuming responsibility for the consequences of our lives on others, I believe, will lead towards a more empathetic life, one in which we can fully embrace the virtue of compassion and no harm.

 

'May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.'


ALLI is a photographer/videographer from Costa Rica. Vast landscapes, challenging hikes, books, and open roads are among her favorite destinations. She is passionate about documentary, as it offers an opportunity to explore the world and expand the mind through stories and experiences. Follow her here: www.wimblu.com

Alli Baltodano

ALLI is a photographer/videographer from Costa Rica. Vast landscapes, challenging hikes, books, and open roads are among her favorite destinations. She is passionate about documentary, as it offers an opportunity to explore the world and expand the mind through stories and experiences.