I receive some strange comments to some of my posts and articles. I recently posted a piece on the importance of paying attention to the present moment, emphasizing that it’s the only time and place that you can be – and if you don’t bother to turn up to the reality of the here and now, how can you possibly expect to get anything much out of life. One comment that I got – from someone who signed themselves as a “personal development expert” said that, OK, the here and now is all very well – but really personal development is about awareness and choice.
So, here’s the key question: What is Awareness? Let’s make it simpler – what can you be aware of at any particular point in time? Well, you could be aware of what you’re thinking – most people aren’t because, as decades of research prove, most people aren’t aware of anything much at all. You could be aware that you’re feeling annoyed or stressed – but these so-called emotions are merely the product of the thoughts that you’re not aware of in the first place. You could be aware of how you feel about yourself – your own self-image – but that’s not awareness, that’s getting involved in the continuous internal power struggle between you and your personality (remember, personality comes from the Latin word, “persona”, meaning a mask and your personality is nothing more than the amalgamation of all the personal “snapshots” you took as a child).
Real awareness is being aware of the present. To paraphrase the Buddha, when I am walking, I am aware that I am putting one foot in front of the other. Only in the present moment is reality to be found. In fact – scientific fact as explored by quantum physics – only in the present moment does anything exist and all that exists is changing from one moment to the next.
And then there is the question of choice. We have a stark choice that has a fundamental impact on our lives – we can choose to be aware or we can (and this is the unaware choice made by the average person) choose to live in a make-believe world created by our own, predominantly negative, thoughts. This is a choice that we must make again and again, in each moment because nobody becomes aware and stays aware – it is a continual in exactly the same way that the reality of our universe is a continual process.
Your life is the way it is as a consequence of your action, reaction or inaction right here, right now. The normal person reacts to their own thoughts and perceptions. The extraordinarily successful person acts on the basis of the facts in the moment and, thereby, creates a life that is exciting, spontaneous, adventurous, fulfilled and successful. Now, do you think that might be a choice worth making?