Self-awareness

What is important is to free ourselves from ideas, from nationalism, from all religious beliefs and dogmas, so that we can act, not according to a pattern or an ideology, but as needs demand... It is only when the mind is free of idea and belief that it can act rightly... and freedom from ideas can take place only through self-awareness and self-knowledge.

In this world within, your world, you are the most important figure. There is a place that no one else can fill There is an influence that no one else can impart. There is a life that no one else can live quite as well as you can live it. What you do with your life within, in terms of self-realization, self-awareness, self-denial and self-expression, is the greatest challenge that can come to you.

An organism lives by growth, by processes of change, by powers of generation, but its interfusion with other organisms and with its environment, also by its `mental state’ in which is vested the unifying principles pervading all its parts and subdivisions, rising in man to the conscious mental state, to self-awareness, and with this self-awareness to advance further by directed effort.

I believe that our choice between two models of psychiatry is really a choice between two competing sets of moral values that will ultimately determine the kind of society we live in. One is the Psychotherapeutic Model’s ideal of healing the soul with its values of self-awareness, autonomy, personal growth, an I-Thou spirit of love, respect, and compassion for others, and an acceptance of moral responsibility for our own egoistic impulses and emotions. The other is the Medical Model’s ideal of quick fix, with its swimming-pool values of stability and conformity, and an I-It orientation toward material success and other superficial addictive pleasures

Would you like to liberate yourself from the lower realms of life? Would you like to save the world from degradation and destruction it seems destined for? Then step away from the shallow mass movements and quietly go to work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself... Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.

I can foresee a day when education will routinely include inculcating essential human competencies such as self-awareness, self-control, and empathy, and the arts of listening, resolving conflicts, and cooperation.

The mind's first step to self-awareness must be through the body.

In self-awareness there is no need for confession, for self-awareness creates the mirror in which all things are reflected without distortion. Every thought- feeling is thrown, as it were, on the screen of awareness to be observed, studied and understood; but this flow of understanding is blocked when there is condemnation or acceptance, judgment or identification. The more the screen is watched and understood—not as a duty or enforced practice, but because pain and sorrow have created the insatiable interest that brings its own discipline—the greater the intensity of awareness, and this in turn brings heightened understanding.

Political movements for justice are part of the fuller development of the cosmos, and nature is the matrix in which humans come to their self-awareness of their power to transform. Liberation movements are a fuller development of the cosmos's sense of harmony, balance, justice, and celebration. This is why true spiritual liberation demands rituals of cosmic celebrating and healing, which will in turn culminate in personal transformation and liberation.

Our self-awareness impresses itself on us so cogently, as individuals and as a species, that we cannot imagine ourselves out of existence, even though for hundreds of millions of years humans played no part in the flow of life on the planet. When Teilhard de Chardin wrote, The phenomenon of Man was essentially foreordained from the beginning, he was speaking from the depth of individual experience, which we all share, as much as from religious philosophy. Our inability to imagine a world without Homo sapiens has a profound impact on our view of ourselves; it becomes seductively easy to imagine that our evolution was inevitable. And inevitability gives meaning to life, because there is a deep security in believing that the way things are is the way they were meant to be.

Reflection on what we seek to remember in practice, developing the capacity to see which stories serve to develop wholesome qualities and reduce suffering. The center of the talk is a tour through the Jewish year, interpreting each holiday as a form of retreat practice and the opportunity to awaken and develop heart qualities.

Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense.