Being aware is the process which turns our lives and improves them. It is not a one-time task, it is a life-long exploration. It can start in different ways, from different reasons. Some of us have a clear materialistic goal in their minds, and once they achieve it, they feel they still want more. So, they understand there is no limit to wants, and that the “next big thing” is not what will make us happy, it is just what will keep us running and craving for more. On the other side, some of us are in non-positive material conditions, and they search for ways to overcome this, in a lasting way. Some of use are already living comfortably, with good family relationships and career, and so have time to devote to developing awareness.
Being aware starts with understanding that, while the past made us what we are today, and the future may give us the time to put our skills at the service of our beloved ones, the present is the only tense which really counts, and here the only place where we are. Our memories are known for their fallacies: yes, those happies days when everything was perfect. But, as an Italian singer sang, “decades fool us, it must be the once upon a time, those years you’ll never have them, until you’ll lose them”. Also, our expectations for the future could be more realistic, and not an excuse for procrastination. Yes, everything must be done at the right time, but let’s just remember here and now are the only place and time where we are sure we can act.
Being aware also means considering the needs and wants of ourselves, the people who are dear to us, the people who do not arise any specific feeling in us, and the ones who we would not rather meet. The process starts from ourselves; but may sound a bit counterintuitive, but loving kindness starts with respect for ourselves, because loving ourselves, who we are and what we do is the only way we can be generous with the people who are dear to us, with the ones with whom we are not very familiar and, yes, even the ones who are not arising very positive feelings. It is also interesting to note that, for Asians, sounds quite common-sense for a person to wish all the best to her/him self, while in Europe and Americas people tend to be more comfortable with wishing well to others. Change and love start from inside, so it is ourselves that we need to love – altruistically – as a start.
Being aware can be summarized as grasping the reality that we are all interdependent beings, in a specific time and place. While all of this – and much more we talk about in the blog – may sound just common sense, the real awareness comes along the way, when we shift from an “abstract” awareness, where we know but do not act upon it, to really being aware. This is interconnected – and mutually reinforcing – to meditating, being active, respecting and eating properly.