“The next step in human evolution is not inevitable, but for the first time in the history of the planet, it can be a conscious choice.”Eckart Tolle
Some of this isn’t our fault.
The fact that we make quick short-cut decisions. The fact that we create tribes, pitting one group against the other?
The truth is we’ve evolved for that.
For thousands of years it’s how we survived. Our tribes helped us secure safety, food and shelter. Our snap decisions got us away from tigers. In order to survive, we have evolved to run primarily on automaticity – bottom up unconscious perceiving, predicting and responding that drives about 80-90% of what we do.
We have evolved to mostly be unaware.
And this is what worked in a simple world. See tiger. Run. Repeat.
But in a complex world, our automaticity is leading to madness. In a complex world, we need what Viktor Frankl calls the space between stimulus and response.
This is the power of the pause and it changes everything.
You know there’s no easy way to get there. You know this requires getting your butt on a cushion and practicing being present.
It means you committing to living a life of awakeness and awareness. And doing daily practices to shift you out of the habitual ruminations of a survival-seeking, fear-based mind.
The next step of our evolution is to bring consciousness to what is currently unconscious.
We need to practice bringing awareness to the thoughts, judgments, and actions that are happening outside of our awareness.
Why? Because while automaticity isn’t our fault, choosing to stay in our survival-based patterns? Well, that is our fault.
And we can do better.
How do you meditate for awareness?
It’s a simple and as hard as the following.
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Shift your attention somewhere below your neck. Shift it somewhere that it matters. You know it’s not your wenis.
Allow space for the sensations images and feelings that live in your body. They are already there driving 80-90% of what you do.
The way out of the madness is to notice them.
Yes, this is hard.
We haven’t evolved for this.
But here’s what I know.
We were made to survive.
Super-volcanoes, frost and famine had nothing on us as a species. Learning to gain awareness of our thoughts? Learning to be with our fearful emotions that drive them?