If you are like most people in our global society, you have often wondered how you might be more successful.
You may have graduated from a good school, have a decent job and even be happily married. Still, you feel you haven’t quite achieved the American Dream. Most likely, you measure success primarily in terms of dollars and sense, with a million dollars only ante for the game.
Dr. Deepak Chopra, in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, defines success as “the progressive achievement of worthwhile goals” and heavily critiques affluence as the sole arbiter of success.
Deepak points out that many of his clients have paid the ultimate price of financial success, only to incur health problems, such as heart attacks, lose their spouse in a divorce, or turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with their frustrations.
True success is to fulfill your mission in life in such a way that it makes a profound difference in the lives of your community, if not the world.
It is to systematically go after what you really want without violating the rights of others. It is to pursue your supreme goal and persist, no matter how much discouragement or how many reversals you encounter along the way.
In essence, success it to know what you truly want, as opposed to what you merely think you want, and go after it with everything you’ve got.
To be truly self-aware, you must be conscious of yourself, both from an inward standpoint, such as your thoughts, feelings and sensations, and from an outward standpoint, in terms of your appearance and behavior, how you come across to others.
This doesn’t mean “self-conscious,” in the sense of being narcissistic, or unduly preoccupied with yourself. Rather, it means having a nonjudgmental perception of yourself, and what might be in the way of what you intend to achieve.
This means to simultaneously notice both your inner and your outer selves.
You see not only your body, but the people around you and your immediate environment. Rather than being totally caught up in your own thoughts, you easily interact with others, and exhibit emotional intelligence, which is the ability to sense how your words and actions make others feel.
Self-awareness also implies being aware of both your little self and your Big Self.
You appreciate your own individuality and social identity, while acknowledging your spiritual Self, which is one with the Universe and its Source.
It is challenging for most of us to have an inner life, and yet be highly engaged in the “real world” with other people in an academic or business sense.
The pace of life has drastically increased over recent decades, and many of us find ourselves working longer and harder to earn the same amount of money in real dollars as they did before.
Few of us live in the same neighborhood as that in which we grew up. We have repeatedly had to make a whole new set of friends and “prove” ourselves to people with very different values and sensibilities.
Furthermore, nearly half the adult population is single, with many either living with or married to a different life partner than the one with whom they began.
Our post-modern era places a premium on quality of life. People need to learn new skills. They learn new routines of exercise, meditation, socializing and political action.
People with extraordinary lives take time to meditate and reflect on what matters most to us, to commune with Higher Power. They don’t run the pretense that they can do it all themselves. They ask both God and other people for help in a multitude of situations, leveraging both social and professional networks and media.
When we look at the prospect of being self-aware, we find mindfulness at the top of the list.
Theravada Buddhism, with its Vipassana meditation, was unknown in much of the world until recent decades. In the U.S., Zen Buddhism made its debut in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with Transcendental Meditation (courtesy of Maharishi and the Beatles) following suit.
In recent decades, with the computer revolution, people have found the demands upon them such as to eagerly embrace any discipline that could quiet the ceaseless chatter of their monkey minds.
We find Eckhart Tolle with The Power of Now having a profound impact on large audiences wherever he goes. Eckhart’s life was transformed when he had a psychic break, and the “Voice Over” or inner talk, suddenly shut down.
He was finally able to see and hear his surroundings again for the first time since he was a little child. Everything seemed fresh and enchanting. He was “born again” apart from any overt religious context.
Alongside of this, Vipassana meditation has come to the forefront, both in hospital clinics and progressive businesses, through the practice of mindfulness, which is a potent way to put Eckhart Tolle’s suggestions into practice.
The approach here is to pay attention to your body and your breath, at first with your eyes closed. This extends to conscious walking and eating. In one conscious eating practice, you do such things as tell yourself, “Now, I am lifting my fork… Now, I am picking up the carrot… Now, I am putting it down.”
It provides a multidimensional way to live in present time / moment and begin experiencing everything going on within you and without you in a very holistic way.
Related article: How to Lose Your Ego Driven Mind
Ultimately, the challenge in achieving success is to dynamically balance yourself between two worlds, the inner world and the outer world, your human self and your divine self.
You appreciate why you came here in this incarnation, and you are wholly committed to fulfilling your destiny. Yet you never long forget that your only True and Ultimate Self is Whom and What we call “God.”
Self-awareness is a lifetime journey. You come to terms with your own humanity and appreciate your talents, your God-given gifts. You find your passion, and engage with the world. You find your greatest joy in serving others with the skills you most love to use.
All the while, you commit to enlightenment, wherever it may lead. You sense that your Big Self is one with everything, which opens a lot more doors to new adventure and deeper awareness within.