“Awareness” and “Mindfulness” practices and posts seem to be all the rage lately, which is wonderful! However, many things which become “all the rage” or “buzzwords” often turn into a mess of information which is all too often over explained. Turning them into buzzwords many know but don’t truly understand.
Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events. More broadly, it is the state of being conscious of something.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.
They seem pretty much the same based on their Wiki (and Webster - I don’t rely solely on Wiki y'all, their definition was just much deeper) explanation - and they are, but they also weave into one another.
A quick Google search for awareness or mindfulness exercises brings a plethora of options to you - but once you choose one, it can get a bit...complicated.
As you scroll through, you may encounter a few exercises you really dig the thought of, some you don’t, and some you can’t even begin to grasp. Which is exactly why I feel the need to break these practices down into a simpler version.
I’ve always taught people that awareness leads into mindfulness. Often times, traditional awareness exercises start with being aware of yourself - which they’re right, being truly aware of yourself is the ultimate goal. But when you’re starting out, it’s still hard to be able to grasp being aware of you. Often times, yourself is the hardest to look at - let alone be totally aware of. So let's work backwards.
Start with the outside world - no need to go in search of exercises online, simply step outside. Pay attention to all things outside of your phone. The beautiful sunshine, or clouds. Wind and rain. Sounds and silence. Everything. Take note of it all, work to do so as often as you can - and oddly enough, without much effort, this awareness transfers to you being aware of you.
Once you’re aware of you, it’s time to take it a step deeper and start being aware of your thoughts, emotions, aches, pains, etc. Again, no need to overcomplicate things (let’s face it, traditional meditation isn’t for everyone), just take note of what is going on with you. Next time you feel a twinge of pain in your body, stop and check if there is pain elsewhere - or how deep said pain goes. Or next time you find your mind jumping to conclusions, take a moment to pause on one, bring your attention to when / where / how / why this one is coming to you. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad - regardless, exploring it brings you closer to knowing yourself.
And guess what knowing yourself is called?