November 19     

Today's quotation:

If you bring five percent more awareness to your work tomorrow, or to your most important relationship, what might you do differently?  Are you willing to find out?

Nathaniel Branden
Self-Esteem Every Day

Today's Meditation:

"Five percent more awareness."  Can we really measure our awareness so that we know exactly how much five percent is?  Of course not, and I don't think Nathaniel believes we can, either.  But his point is rather simple:  we can be more aware if we make an effort to be so, and it's worth the effort.  If we make a serious effort to be more aware each day, we're going to see things that we didn't see before, and recognize things that we hadn't recognized before, and thus grow in empathy and understanding and compassion.

Being more aware isn't simply a matter of seeing or hearing more-- it involves being more in tune with the world around us, comprehending things that are going on that otherwise might be hidden to us.  We want to know that this person is hurting so that we may offer some support; we want to understand this person's shyness in the context of his or her fears so that we can respond appropriately in ways that may help the person to cope with their fears effectively.  Our awareness can be an incredible help to other people who are facing difficulties and problems, so it's worth our time and effort to bring more awareness to all that we do.

As an English teacher, I have an almost mystical power in my grasp-- the power to assign a personal narrative paper for my students to write.  The papers I get are eye-opening, and they increase my awareness of the people I'm dealing with in an incredible way.  I read about family problems, being sent to foster homes, family violence, deaths among family members, and so many more things that I can never look at my students as kids in a classroom any more-- they're human beings who are dealing with incredible odds, and who are beating those odds in amazing ways.  This awareness on my part helps me to help them even more, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

When we grow in awareness, we also grow in ability to be a helping hand, a positive influence, a shoulder to cry on.  It also keeps us from judging harshly, and makes us more compassionate people than we might be otherwise.  And these are the qualities that make us truly alive, so it makes sense that we would seek to become more aware so that we can seek to become more alive-- and help others to feel better in the lives they lead because they know that someone else is truly aware of the issues they face.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to be satisfied with not being aware of all that goes on around us?

What are some of the benefits that you see in being more aware of your surroundings and the people about you?

What are some of the dangers of continuing to be unaware of all that's part of the lives that we're leading?

For further thought:

A person is alive only to the degree that he or she is aware.  To make the most of life we must constantly strive to be aware of the importance of being aware.  Be aware of your senses and use them:  So often we are distracted and unconscious of the riches our senses can pour into our lives.  We eat food without tasting it, listen to music without hearing it, smell without experiencing the pungency of odors and the delicacy of perfumes, touch without feeling the grain or texture, and see without appreciating the beauty around us.

Wilferd A. Peterson

more thoughts and ideas on awareness



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