Awareness is Everything
by Diane Linsley
My teacher, Bill Harris, is fond of saying, "Awareness is Everything."
As a life coach, I see the truth of this statement every day. Clients
come to me with an endless array of problems. On the surface,
each problem seems to be different. But in reality, there is only one
problem - and one solution.
Albert Einstein said, "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." There is a solution to every problem, but we need more awareness to see it.
Why We Create Problems
My job as a life coach is not to solve people's problems. It's to help them raise their awareness until the solution becomes obvious to them. They must see it for themselves.
I use a variety of processes to help people access their own inner wisdom. I have a large toolbox because each person is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. The processes may be different, but they all have the same goal - to raise awareness.
Why can't I just tell a person how to solve their problem? Believe me, I've tried that. But I can't recall a single time when someone actually took my advice. Instead, they usually respond with numerous reasons why they can't do it. Advice giving doesn't work. Coaching does. In fact, becoming a life coach was a great way for me to overcome codependency. Eckhart Tolle says that if you woke up on a desert island with no problems, you might be happy for a brief time. But you would soon get bored and start creating new problems. We create our problems to match what we need to learn here at the Earth school.
For example, a person who leaves a bad relationship oftens ends up in another relationship with nearly identical problems. I did this after my divorce, and I've heard the same story from many clients. The problem is that you are still the same person with the same unconscious attractions.
The solution to this problem is what I call extreme witnessing. The moment you realize that you are recreating the same problem all over again, begin watching yourself with intense curiosity. How are you creating the problem? Watch your thoughts, your feelings, and the sensations in your body.
Take your focus off the other person and put it on yourself. Become so fascinated with what's going on inside that witnessing becomes the most important thing. See every encounter with that person as an opportunity to watch yourself and figure out how you are creating your experience.
Awareness Creates Choice
"You cannot do something that does not serve you and do it with awareness." ~Bill Harris
Once you become aware of how you are creating your experience, you will stop creating those problems and start creating a better life. It's your life. No one else is creating it. Yes, other people have an impact on your experience, but they cannot control you any more than you can control them.
You have choice - but only up to your level of awareness. This is the difference between free agency and true freedom. Free agency is simply the ability to make a choice - an ability that all humans have. Freedom, on the other hand, exists on a continuum. The more awareness you have, the more freedom you have. More freedom means more and better choices. Bill Harris says, "Awareness creates choice."
No one is 100% aware of everything. We each have areas of life where we have more or less awareness. For example, a person who has spent their life studying about health and creating good health habits will have a lot of awareness about health. But they may lack awareness in relationships. If they applied the same amount of effort to their relationships, they would have better relationships.
Some people in the spiritual movement use the term awareness to refer to spiritual awakening. Just like the person who spends their life studying about physical health, the spiritual seeker spends a lot of time studying and doing spiritual practices.
There are many different spiritual practices that raise awareness, but there is no one spiritual practice that works for everyone. Some people swear by mindfulness meditation. Others love energy work. Still others find their spiritual path in lucid dreaming.
Sometimes I get a client who has "tried everything, and nothing works." Invariably, the problem is that they don't stick with anything long enough for it to work. The fact is, everything works if you do it long enough. But many people give up on their practice as soon as it loses its shiny newness and turns into "hard work". They quit at the first bump in the road.
Perseverance is essential for spritual growth - just as it is for any endeavor in life. Get rich quick schemes don't work. Neither do "get enlightened quick" schemes.
The key element of any spiritual practice is awareness. The key attitude is curiosity. When doing your practice, be the Witness. Watch everything that arises - especially your resistance.
For example, when I do Voice Dialogue with clients, they sometimes feels anxious or reluctant to talk to repressed or "bad" voices (such as the voice of Anger or the Inner Critic). In Voice Dialogue, we allow the voice to say whatever it has to say, and we witness it without judgment. This requires an attitude of acceptance, as well as curiosity. When done this way, Voice Dialogue is an incredibly powerful process. Often, a voice will have the key to both the root of the problem and the solution. It never fails to amaze me how wise the voices are.
Processes for Raising Awareness
A highly aware client needs very little help from me. They practically coach themselves while I simply act as a mirror - reflecting things back to them so they can see more clearly.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the client who resists everything and then says that nothing works. These clients don't last long. They soon leave in frustration to go looking for the next quick fix.
Bill Harris would say that these people have a low threshold. Because of this, they have a lot of serious problems. Nothing works for them because they have a low tolerance for all the input that is coming at them from the environment. The solution is to raise the threshold. One of the most effective ways to raise your threshold is with Holosync meditation. I recommend this program to all of my clients. My challenge as a life coach is to find a process that matches the client's level of awareness and adapt it to their specific problem. I once had a client who kept changing her mind about which problem she wanted to work on. I was using one of my best Law of Attraction processes, but she was resisting by changing the theme of the session over and over. Each time she did this, I started over with the same process, regardless of what the problem was. We never finished the process, but I pointed out to her that the process can be used for any problem in any area of life.
There's always a new process or another program out there. A spiritual seeker could spend their life going from one program to the next. But when you see that it's all the same thing - just different ways to raise awarness - you can calm down. Most spiritual seekers already have all the tools and teachings they could ever use - and more!
The secret is not to get more tools, but to take the ones you have to the next level. You can always go deeper into meditation, lucid dreaming, Voice Dialogue, or whatever floats your boat :)
My partner has spent his entire life studying the work of one great teacher, and it has served him well. I do a variety of things because I work with a variety of people with different personality types, learning patterns, and spiritual beliefs. But at the heart of it all is awareness.
Increasing awareness correlates with increasing cognitive development, which translates into a greater ability to solve problems. For more details, read the article on cognitive development.
As a life coach, I use many different processes to help
people with their personal growth. Click here if you are
Copyright (c) Self-Compassion Coaching with Diane Linsley. All rights reserved.