Awareness: The First Step in Our Journey Toward Peace

Awareness is the first step in becoming conscious of our role in every upset. It is the beginning of witnessing our own perspectives and behaviors... the practice of 'mindfulness'.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Awareness is the first step in becoming conscious of our role in every upset. It is the beginning of witnessing our own perspectives and behaviors... the practice of 'mindfulness'.

We have all been there, living in a place of fear and self-doubt or anger and frustration; being tossed about by the constant drama and chaos swarming around us. We react when we are upset about people and circumstances that we judge as bad or wrong. We exist in an unconscious state, unaware of our part in the pain and discomfort we are experiencing

Our peace emerges through the process of personal transformation

The exciting news is that once we begin to be aware of our part in every drama, in the chaos present in our lives, we then realize that we have a choice to participate, to react, to judge. This new 'awareness of choice' is incredibly liberating. We may not know how to act on it, but the fact that it is a choice and that we have been making it unconsciously and that we can begin to consciously choose a different way is pure freedom!

The practice of mindfulness is simply being aware in every moment of how we are showing up and then choosing to change our behavior if it does not honor how we want to be.

Michael Brown, author of 'The Presence Process', stated that "every upset is a set up to look at ourselves and our part in what is happening."

You and your spouse often argue over the pick up of the children. She is always late and sometimes does not show up at all. The kids are understandably upset and you are in a rage...each and every time. You judge her as inconsiderate, selfish and insensitive. Your heart breaks as the children experience disappointment. Yet she has a right to her custody and there are seemingly no consequences for her behavior.

The truth is this is how she is...tardy at best, sometimes not showing. Becoming aware that while she is consistently late, you act surprised and angry each time, enables you to look at your part. Why are you surprised? What are your expectations? How does that affect your reaction?

What if you expected it? What might be different? How would you prepare the children differently? What would your back up plan look like? What boundaries or time limits might you set? How would you change the way you addressed her expected tendency? How could you feel less like a victim? How might you even teach your children something through this?

Being aware of your perceptions, judgments, feelings, and actions and how they are either benefiting or depleting you, is the first step to realizing you have a choice. Once your are aware you can then choose to do things differently.

Awareness is not something that we arrive at, but rather a process. As our awareness grows so does our conscious response to the world around us. We become more mindful of how we think and act and our choices begin to represent our higher level of consciousness.

When we are conscious, we do not feel victimized. We see our part in every circumstance and the choices available to us. We do not judge but become curious and in doing so, open new possibilities for dealing with even the most difficult circumstances.

Becoming aware enables us to wake up, stop sleepwalking and begin to actively, consciously participate in the unfolding of our lives.

Awareness is the first step. Acceptance is the second. Action is the third. Stay tuned for more as this topic unfolds.