Most people go through life in a relatively unconscious state, where unconscious here refers to not one being conscious but rather not conscious enough of oneself. Not being self aware affects every part of our life experience in a negative way, including our health. This is something everyone needs to pay a lot of attention to, and especially if you have a chronic disease like diabetes.
Self awareness is something that is something that has a long history going back thousands of years in Eastern thinking, although it’s become a lot more popular nowadays in the West. It is something that a very small percentage of the population has mastered, with most people going through life not even being aware of the nature of their true self.
This is a pretty big topic, and I’m only going to be able to touch on it in this article, but the real beauty of the pursuit of self awareness is that you often just need someone to point the way for you, and this can be enough to start one on the path of awakening, to take up the journey. So that’s what I’ll be looking to do here.
The seat of the problem here has to do with who we are, and we are cultured into thinking that we are, as Eckbert Tolle puts it, the historical person that we associate ourselves with. We are our past essentially, this is what we identify ourselves with, along with whatever present thoughts we have.
When we identify ourselves with past actions and experiences, our minds tend to be riddled with negative thoughts, and without a true sense of self, we also identify ourselves with people’s perceptions of us, and even derive our sense of worth from that to a large degree.
We tend to be quite aware that we are doing this, so it’s not that we can even call this process unconscious, it’s the fact that this is not who we are that is suppressed. We want to be happy and live a fulfilling life in the present, but we instead focus on the past and the future, thinking that this is what will deliver this for us.
So we burden ourselves with our past and also created a state of unhappiness that will only be improved in the future, but in reality we will only be happy in the present if we start living in the present, which will never happen as long as we confine ourselves to the past and the future.
Breaking free from all of this is truly a life changing experience, but like anything worthwhile tends to be, it does require some effort on our part, where we make ourselves more aware of our true selves, which always is the subject, that which perceives.
This only happens in the moment, and all of our awareness exists in the moment, and this is the self, it is not some objective experiences or thoughts as we think we are. We can learn from our past experiences, but we are not our past experiences, and the self is never objective at all, it is pure subjectivity.
If we treat it as objective, I am this or that sort of person, I am a diabetic even, then we create illusions which are going to impact ourselves negatively, and those who objectify themselves tend to live unpleasant lives at best, constantly unhappy, constantly upset, constantly stressed, and constantly hurting oneself.
People aren’t that aware of how much time they spend on hurting themselves, and the only way to know this is to take a step back and observe your thoughts, to see how much of this actually goes on, and this can be startling. We’re so conditioned to think that this is normal that we don’t usually notice at all, and when we do we just think it’s normal because everyone else lives that way.
So the first step in this process is to observe and question, with the perspective that things are just as they are and we want to be particularly aware of how we react to events may simply be causing needless pain in ourselves.
We can take having diabetes as a good example. We observe our blood sugar as being high, we become the diabetic, the victim. We get upset that we have this, and being upset is not a good thing. It’s OK to be concerned, as we may need to take action based upon certain phenomena, in this case paying attention to our health more and looking to get well, so this isn’t a matter of not facing the facts.
So we’re not looking to escape here, to pretend that we’re not diabetic, but our level of concern so to speak needs to be tempered to what is sensible and necessary, and we must not fall into excess here, where doing so would have a negative rather than a positive effect on what we seek, to manage the disease.
A lot of the responses here when we think of diabetes and a lot of things that affect us is that it just is what it is, we need to focus on what we can change, not what we can’t, because the latter is only going to lead to negativity. All you can strive for is good management, we can’t change the past, regrets are always stupid aside from perhaps learning a lesson, there should never be any pain involved in this, no matter how stupidly you may have acted.
So this is never a matter of whose fault it is, the very idea of fault means that you are going beyond learning from your experiences, you are identifying your self with them, and the self is always in the present, even though we can pretend otherwise.
If people were only aware of this one simple fact, their lives and their health would be so much better just from this, learning from the past, planning for the future, but living entirely in the present, and not beating yourself up for events that have happened or may occur.
The body has a delicate ecosystem that becomes quite disturbed indeed when the mind looks to constantly sabotage it, and this is exactly what happens with the overwhelming majority of people.
From where we sit right now, it is entirely reasonable to see our getting diabetes as purely an opportunity, rather than some sentence or punishment or ill fate. If we view the disease in a negative way, negative things will happen, and if we are stressed all the time because we are lost, that’s going to make things like diabetes a lot worse.
Now people might say, well that’s easier said than done, and it’s not that one is going to just flip a switch and go from completely confused to fully enlightened, and this does require a journey, it requires focus, but not as much as you may think. You don’t have to spend decades in a monastery, we’re only looking for practical enlightenment here, not extreme versions, and it starts with just waking up to what’s going on inside your head.
Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living, but in order for someone to know this, this requires living a more examined life and knowing the difference. There is nothing that even comes close to the benefits that we can give ourselves by living in the present and examining everything about ourselves from that perspective, the only perspective that isn’t grounded in harmful illusion.
So it all starts with you, managing diabetes or anything else you want to achieve, and you have to get your head in order before you can expect that your life will go the way you want.
So you’re welcome to go out and learn more about this if you are interested, and Eckbart Tolle’s books are a great place to start, he didn’t come up with this stuff but he has studied it, and a lot of this came from the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti, whose work is mostly based upon the insights of others that came before him, and is worth checking out for people who want to go even deeper into this pursuit of self mastery.
Self mastery has been around for millennia, yet so very few have even begun the journey toward achieving this. To start, you have to be aware of what the self actually is, and this is not something you want to get wrong, as the overwhelming majority of people have.