September is Self-Awareness Month. To me, self-awareness is the process of going within and connecting with your true self. Not with your outer appearance or personality, but your inner essence. It means knowing yourself as both a physical and spiritual being, connected to all that is and all the universe. The reason self-awareness is so important is that it allows you to know what your body, mind and spirit is craving in order to live a fulfilling life.
The modern dilemma of self-awareness is that it's a quiet inner journey at a time when we're mainly focused on our noisy outer journey. In every minute of our daily lives, we're bombarded with stimuli -- cell phones, text alerts, kids, TVs, advertisements. Added to all that noise is our quest for perfection, success and money. Our technologically-advanced culture is designed to keep us going 24 hours a day and to live our lives according to outside scrutiny. While that may help you accomplish a lot of tasks and earn a lot of money and praise, it doesn't allow time for silence or self-reflection. That requires us to be still, which seems totally unnecessary and interruptive to the constantly moving treadmill of life we run upon.
In order to become more self-aware, you need to stop thinking and stop doing. Meditation is the perfect solution for this. Don't worry. If you're not the type of person who enjoys sitting cross-legged on the floor, while burning incense and chanting "Om," that's fine. Traditional meditation doesn't resonate with everyone. There are many other ways to quiet your mind for a few minutes, such as taking a walk through a park, caring for your garden, listening to soothing music or even just taking a few deep breaths while you concentrate on your inhale and exhale. Some people can get into a relaxing meditative state with repetitive activity like running or bicycling.
If you bring meditation into your daily life, you not only will become more self-aware,
research supports that it will improve your overall health and well-being. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, meditation can help you boost your immune system, reduce stress, cope with illness and improve psychological balance.
If you've never meditated, there are plenty of CDs, DVDs, books and classes to help you get started. Just remember, there's no right or wrong way to meditate. Anything you do to help connect you to your inner self is a step in the right direction. Be gentle and loving to yourself and all will be revealed. This quote from Carl Jung sums it up: "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
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