Self-Awareness 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
In this episode Willard responds to your emails and comments regarding the definition of "self-awareness" and how it relates to spirituality and religion.
Today, we're going to discuss how self-awareness relates to spirituality.
As of this taping, it has been a little over 3 1/2 months since we released the first video of the Self-Awareness 101 series.
For me it has been an amazing journey. I have to share with you that I love checking my email every day, and looking at the responses and comments that you have left about how an episode has impacted you. I’m happy to say that most of the time the feedback that I get is positive, encouraging and uplifting. And of course, it is expected that sometimes people have issues with what I've shared and let me know what they disagree with. The fact that you have taken time to share your stories and perceptions with me really fuels my passion for what we are doing and I want you to know I am honored that you take the time to respond.
One of the recurring topics that has come to my attention, which we have decided to address in this video, is the term Self Awareness and how it relates to Spirituality. And then how Spirituality as I refer to it in this series, relates religion. And finally what it is, specifically that we were looking to do when we released this series.
Early in my own journey of personal development, I would be exposed to books, websites, videos and other materials that discussed “Self-awareness”, but most of the time the content that was presented was not designed for someone who had just started out and had no exposure to that specific philosophy. Many times it was so “advanced” that I just could not relate to what they were discussing, so I would shut the book or leave the website immediately because I just couldn't connect with it. It’s not that what they were sharing wasn’t great material with tremendous value; I just wasn't at the place in my journey where I could understand what they were talking about.
It was no coincidence that as I decided to explore this path of self-awareness, I was able to find people who were willing to take me by the hand, knowing that I had no frame of reference yet, and help me explore the idea of self-awareness the same way that you would with a young child as they were starting to learn; Under their guidance I wasn't being asked to accept collegiate level ideas with a kindergarten level of understanding.
Self-awareness 101 is similar to that approach. I understand that the term self-awareness for many people is inter-connected and also inter-changeable with spirituality. For others, self-awareness also relates to higher levels of consciousness and the deeper concepts of spirituality. I often get emails and comments that because of this difference of “definitions” that I have no idea of what “true” self-awareness is.
My response to this is that we created this series specifically to help the person who is just beginning their journey. Yes, we will discuss more in depth aspects of self-awareness and spirituality as we continue. But again, Self-Awareness 101 is only one series that we are working on. And this specific series really is designed to just open the doorway for people who are just beginning.
As an example, there was a book that we used one of the lessons from as a point of discussion in one of our early episodes, called “A Course In Miracles”.
The very first time that I picked up that book I had to force myself to even try and understand it. I was committed to reading the book and understanding it because all of the teachers that I was studying with at that time referred to this book and how phenomenal it was. Yet, no matter how much I would read and re-read passages in this book, I couldn't understand what they were talking about. I had to set that book aside for a good three years before I was actually able to come back and understand even a couple of the concepts that were presented to me.
Did the book change? Not at all. But my understanding in regard to my own journey, and my ability to understand the lessons in it had changed. My “self-awareness” level, and who I had grown into had dramatically changed in that period of time.
So my intention with this series, is that we are offering introductions to self -awareness by helping people to begin to take a look at why they do what they do. What drives them? What stops them? Over time, hopefully that introduction is going to inspire them to go deeper and help them advance on their own spiritual journey.
Now that term, “Spiritual”, also causes conflict with some people because of how they relate it to religion. I have received a lot of feedback from people who think that we are trying to enroll people in a specific way of thinking, or into some type of religion. That is not what this project is about at all.
To me, spirituality and religion are two very different things. It is my belief that religions are interpretations of spirituality and that religions have created specific rituals and rules that direct the way people practice that interpretation of spirituality.
Self-awareness is about improving your ability to look at what information has been given to you then decide whether that information resonates with you; whether it is what you can fully and truly believe.
I’ve been accused of trying to undermine “spirituality” and the religious beliefs that some people have. But my experience has been that the journey of self-awareness helps people become more spiritual. It often helps them better understand concepts that they had previously just accepted because they were told that they “had to”. Yet when they have applied the principles of becoming more self-aware, they find reasons that allow them to accept and apply their own religious practices more effectively because they now “believe” them from experience, not just from being told to believe.
I’m not asking you to subscribe to any of my spiritual beliefs. My intention is to expose you to ideas, that you can explore and then choose to apply in your life, or you can choose to leave behind if they do not align with what you truly feel inside. This is all about choices.
One of the greatest challenges of humanity is that most people blindly follow the lead of someone else. It could be a teacher, a religion, a government, a cultural approach to life, a peer group even a special interest group. And most of these people follow blindly because they are not willing to look inside themselves and see whether the idea they are being told to follow is in line with who they truly are. They just take it as “truth” because they are told that they are supposed to.
The journey for self-awareness for me has been about becoming more responsible, or as I've taught my daughter, to become more “response” able. What I mean when I say that is that the only way that she can be able to respond responsibly is to ask questions. To understand what she believes about the subject and if she feels she is aligned with her own truth.
When someone asks me, “Well, why do you believe “x”?” I am able to respond in a responsible manner because I have looked inside enough to understand my own perspective, I am aware of what does and does not resonate with me which allows me to give them an answer of why I believe what I do, or why I follow this specific process. Because of focusing on “self-awareness” I am able to respond to why I have adapted or left behind a specific belief system. It gives me more certainty in the identity I have for myself. And it all started by looking inward first.
Some people have also emailed me saying that this kind of approach to self-awareness takes away from the “bigger picture”.
I respectfully, disagree. I don’t believe that you can effectively look at the bigger picture, until you understand what it is you are looking for. Understanding yourself allows you to have a better understanding of the bigger picture.
That's my belief system, you can take it or you can leave it. I won’t be offended. This is about what works for you.
My intention in this series, Self-Awareness 101, is to give you skills, strategies and tools that will help you no matter what your specific journey is.
I’m willing to acknowledge that there will be conflicts that come up with regard to what I say, in relation to what your spiritual and religious beliefs are. Honor that conflict. Use it to explore and possibly to reinforce your belief.
If it makes you question those things that you have believed, give yourself the opportunity to explore those questions fully, because it’s going to do one or two things:
It will reinforce the belief you already have because you are going to look at what I've shared and say, “You know what, he's wrong because…”
It could open you up to new possibilities and new variations of how to look at that subject and how you apply it in your life.
At least give yourself the option to explore the possibility.
Again, I know we'll have deeper discussions regarding spirituality and religion in the future, I just wanted to get back to what the basics of Self-Awareness 101 is, and how becoming more self aware really helps you determine what path you are going to follow and how you can apply these ideas in your life.
Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: You Always Have Choices, It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Questions To Ask When You Overcome An Obstacle
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode