What is Self-Awareness?
The process of learning mindfulness practices like self-hypnosis, meditation or other autogenic techniques, can be compared to preparing thoroughly for a journey. The journey of course, is life, however, armed and prepared with greater insight, we are able to understand and reap the benefits of observing and learning from the journey of life as never before.
There are many subconscious levels of perception and the more we consciously apply ourselves to the task of knowing ourselves, the deeper the level of perception and consciousness we can achieve. This is at the root of all mystic traditions, and what lies screened by the dogma of the world’s major religions. Knowing ourselves is not always a simple task, and the hardest part seems to be acknowledging our responsibility for the life we've ended up with. Once this is achieved, other insights come more easily. By learning mindfulness techniques like self-hypnosis and meditation we can begin to peel back the layers of self-deception that we create. Many of these layers were created as protection against adversity, loss and trauma.
In previous posts I have discussed the mechanisms through which we develop inappropriate behavioural responses. When these responses are re-stimulated we act out old scenarios learned in childhood or early adulthood, that are mostly completely unrelated to the situation at hand, and almost useless as strategies for problem solving. Perceiving the origins of this behavior is a first, and very important step, but if lingered upon, can become counter-productive. We naturally seek to blame the authority figures of our childhood for all of our adult problems. Where does this stop, however? Our parents, equally, could blame their forebears, and they in turn their own. What does this achieve?
The answer to evolving beyond negative learned and instinctive behaviours, is to emerge from the cycle of blame and ignorance, and to look inside once more. Those behaviours could never linger if we didn’t find some comfort from them. This is what we call a secondary-gain.
For example, sometimes the attention and sympathy of friends and relatives keeps us chronically unwell, or more precisely our addiction to that form of approval and validation that ensures we do not give 100% to the business of becoming well. Medicare, insurance policies, pharmaceuticals, invalid pensions etc, are all conspirators that cushion the discomfort of illness. They are necessary to assist us to get through the initial phase of trauma, and support us through the healing process, but become counter-productive over the long term if they become a crutch.
This may sound harsh, but think about it for a while. Once we’ve been unwell for long enough, we can lose our ability to think of ourselves as well, and our self-image has shifted toward the victim end of the scale. Naturally, we feel we need help to cope with the repercussions of chronic illness, in the form of rebates or financial payment as compensation, especially for injury. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. The part of us that no longer perceives itself as capable of health, clings stubbornly to the secondary gains of illness, preventing us from moving back toward a state of wellbeing.
Any type of subsidy needs to be paired with a caring system of rehabilitation - identifying what abilities can be strengthened and using technology to assist with disability. This allows us to emerge from helplessness and take back our power.
Please be aware that in this discussion, I am not referring to terminal illness.
These are issues I have discussed at length previously, but they are pertinent to the topic at hand; that is the achievement of an Empowered Life. Our interactions with each other, at all levels of daily life, are also governed by social mores, and were learned by observing the world of adults that surrounded us in childhood. We intuitively perceived the interplay of power in the world of adults, and adopted the behavioural tools we deemed most appropriate, in order to navigate our way through life. In summary, there are myriad ways one human being can relate to another, and most of the methods we employ are not only reactive but help to perpetuate the hostile environment that foments envy, deceit, murder, prejudice, war and intolerance.
We are Energy
It all boils down to the concept that individuals interact in non-visible ways. We often put this down to vibes, by saying someone has good or bad vibes. What does this mean? Does it reveal anything more than some amorphous feeling? The answer in my opinion, and coming from quantum biology is a resounding yes!
Physicists have discovered that there is a web of energy, which links beings together, formalizing what has hither to been called intuition. This web is an electromagnetic field of energy, measurable in the laboratory. It exists at the level of sub-atomic particles in a detectable manner, and its discovery has created a cleft between the adherents of mechanistic view of the world, and the more contemporary, but far less tangible quantum view of the Universe as a connected whole. Quantum biologists have observed the interaction of this field with human DNA.
Fritjof Capra, in The Turning Point, and The Tao of Physics, John Gribbons, In the Beginning, Peter Tomkins and Christopher Birds’ The Secret Life of Plants, Paul Harper in Cosmic Wormholes are amongst a wave of scientists and investigators in fields of physics, biology, anthropology, cosmology and genetics who have perceived the interconnectedness of life in the Universe. Even more than that, as John Gribbon put it, the Universe is organic, it is evolving and self-organising just as cellular organisms do. If the actions of very small sub-nuclear particles can effect each other over great distances, and seemlingly instantaneously, and if 99% of all matter in the Universe is invisible, then how can we say that humans stand outside the Universe as impartial observers, unmoved by the invisible, instantaneous processes that act on all matter from the quantum to the macro?
When you are able to see the Energy Field around all things, you are also able to see the state of flux of all things, and this helps us understand that our solidity is only an illusion. Electrons obey the Uncertainty Principle of physics, and can never be precisely placed in space. Instead, physicists offer a probability quotient for the position of electrons within atoms at any precise moment. In other words because sub-atomic particles are always moving, very, very fast, and because every visible thin in the Universe contains atoms, which form molecules, which form elements, which combine to become higher forms of life including all animal, plant and insect life, then we too are continually in movement.
The electrons within the atoms of our own bodies are vibrating and spinning at incredibly fast speeds so that it gives the illusion of solidity, much like a spinning propeller on a plane visibly cease to spin at a certain speed and gives the illusion of a disk, and can even appear to be spinning in reverse.
The Energy Field around all things in the Universe, animate or inanimate, is a cloud of energy being discharged by the atomic and chemical processes that occur continuously within us in order to keep us alive. Interestingly Kirlian Photography and the testimony of those who see the energy field, has shown that the mood, health and perception of any individual impacts on the form, intensity and colour of that individual’s Energy Field or aura. It has long been known that our hair, skin and nails reveal inner states of health, so why not the energy discharge of our atoms?
Those who can perceive the electromagnetic Energy Field of living beings often report flaring, or huge surges of the Energy Field in the direction of the perception, or when individuals experience strong emotions. We seem, in general, to filter out the information that would show us the world and ourselves as fluid energy. The five sense act as filters of information, not only gatherers, especially when compared to the sensory world of plants. As we evolved into moving, verbally communicative and creative creatures, we developed more specialized senses. We filtered out the ultraviolet and infra-red extremes of the light spectrum. We filtered out extremely high or extremely low sound frequencies and we lost our ability to pick up subtle odours. Yet, there are creatures on earth and in the sea, who are able to do any or all of these things because it is pertinent to their survival. We filtered out this information, perhaps, because it overloaded our brain, by providing too much input. By becoming more specialized it allowed our mind to do other things, like master speech.
A plant has a large open field of sensory perception because its movement is limited as is its volition, and it needs a very wide spectrum of information in order to prosper. As we lost our ability to perceive the flux of existence, and the dynamic interplay between the energies of living things, we also forgot our connection to the living world. We separated ourselves in towns and cities, and filled our lives with tangible, material things – so much so that we began to believe, falsely that these things were reality.
This is a rock-logic, unmindful perception.
What is it? We ask, and the answer is – a book, a clock and car. We use the symbol book to connote in a very superficial way what the book realty is. Then we are fooled into believing that the symbol is as real as the information the book contains, then we begin to believe that like the symbol the information in the book is static and not dynamic.
All of us are human becomings. We are still evolving, and have not achieved or become fully evolved, and may never be. The environment influences our genes. DNA is switched on or silenced by chemical tags triggered by these epigenetic signals. Experience can in turn alter the genes we pass onto our descendants. We started existence in this Universe approximately 15 billion years ago, and contain elements, which are only higher vibrations of the primordial elements of hydrogen and helium. We are the stuff of exploded stars, interstellar debris, gas clouds, volcanic eruptions, primordial swamps, prehistoric sea creatures, land dinosaurs and the higher primates.
Every element in our bodies has been on a fifteen billion year journey, evolving, refining itself and combining in new ways to create higher and higher orders of life. Here we are with brains that require the resources of an entire planet to sustain, with a history stretching back eons and yet we deny our connection to this planet and the cosmos at large?
Another side effect of limiting our perception to a rock-logic point of view, is that the pool of energy readily available to all living things became more and more removed from us, or to be precise we removed ourselves further and further form it. Natural things in pristine environments have Energy Fields that are enormous, and this is why we feel so good when we immerse ourselves in a natural environment. Indigenous peoples embrace a tree or rock in order to energise themselves before a confrontation or when they are ill, and many animist cultures attribute spiritual powers to all living things. We too were once surrounded by an enormous field of energy, but as we removed ourselves more and more from a pristine state of existence and spiritual connection with the planet of our birth, our Energy Fields diminished to a size that for most people is limited to less than a metre beyond the physical boundary of their body.
Because all beings need energy, if any being is cut off one source of energy it has to find alternative sources of energy. Most of you would think of food as the primary source of energy, but isn’t it interesting that the amount of food humans consume is not proportional to their energy requirements, and our ability to judge our energy requirements from food, via the hypothalamus is almost totally non-existent in Western society. Often we know we have fulfilled our caloric requirement for food, and yet we still feel lethargic or run-down. A balanced diet and perhaps vitamin therapy go a long way toward alleviating this problem, but what drives us to eat poorly in the first place? We are all capable of eating well when we feel good, but the minute we feel low or depressed, or drained we begin to eat high-calorie, low nutrition foods. The word DRAINED, is an important clue.
The primary source of energy humans use today (aside from food) is the energy they drain from other human beings and the environment. Having lost our ability to tap into the Universal Field of Energy and Information, we instead take the ‘easy’ way out and drain someone less powerful than ourselves of their energy. Of course, in the end this is not really the easy way out, because there is never enough energy around at this level, and the draining process creates a chain reaction whose end result is the society we lament all around us.
Overturning the tyranny of our genes
All of this can be changed by becoming mindful of the power we all have over our own lives.
Information and knowledge are at this moment competing with DNA as the determining force of existence. With inner knowledge comes the power to change everything about ourselves: to overcome the limitations of our physical birth, our upbringing and our environment. It enables us to evolve to a state unparalleled in the history of the earth. Our DNA, that guardian of our inheritance has given birth to a brain, which has runaway in its development, far outstripping the limitations of our genes. Our genes can add to themselves by mutation – and that occurs over a geologically long period of time. Epigenetics is a recently discovered process that reveals how experience and the environment can edit the genes, changing the genome that is passed onto subsequent generations. Learned behaviours can be transcribed into the genome, affecting how our children and grandchildren respond to stress and trauma. Mindfulness allows us to consciously edit our DNA.
Mindfulness training provides the key to creating a process of change, and a dialogue with our inner selves. It is the basis of conscious evolution that frees us from the chains of a slow genetic process of development from primordial slime to complete human being. Change is the hallmark of our era, and the ability to change is the pre-requisite for survival. We do not have the time as a species, to wait for genetic mutation to come to our rescue, and help us to stop acting in a gene-multiplying self-prophecy of doom. No other species of living organism has ever had to face the question of cutting its own reproduction rate in order to survive, yet this is the very task facing us today. In fact, it is this most important characteristic of genes that reveal them to be the force behind the negative road of mankind. Genes are selfish by nature, and create a body that gives the genome the greatest chance of survival through reproduction. The gene is immortal and cares little for the carrier – the human in this case – except as a means to an end. The gene is also blind, and cannot see where this selfishness is leading.
The task we face is to take the under-utilised brain that our DNA has created and use it to evolve beyond gene domination. Through mindfulness we can free ourselves from gene driven behavior, that while good for the gene does little for our quality of life, nor for the future of life in general.
While DNA is slow to change, and protects itself against change, the mind is able to add to its files continually. Further, it can completely re-organise itself in the light of new information, it can learn new skills that influence its survival consciously. DNA, on the other hand, is a the mercy of mutation and natural selection, and can do nothing to change its chances of survival even over generations.
The only way we can be free of the tyranny of our genes, is to develop our minds. Mindfulness training develops skills that open up the inner world of our mind, and can help us in our quest for knowledge, enlightenment and self-actualisation.
The choice is ours.
Elisabetta is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book - The Energy Code.
She is also the author of The Infidel, Veritas and Nemesis and was the librettist for the musical - D'Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan.
Elisabetta works is a professional speaker and consultant to government organisations, entrepreneurs and NGOs on innovation, change management and talent retention.
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