Path To Self Awareness
I am told that Buddhist sutras open with the word Nyozgamon, which means ‘I heard it like this.’
What I like about these five words is that they make room for the listener to reflect back what was heard while still adding new depth and meaning.
Many years ago I heard a wonderful talk by the Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax on the ten steps toward self awareness. These steps are hidden from the eye but available to everyone. We can practice each step separately but when joined together, they become powerful tools for transformation.
The eighth step brings us to NON ATTACHMENT.
What kind of non attachment?
Non attachment to outcome. When we create an outcome in our mind, we begin to lose awareness of the present moment. We may even lose awareness of others or dismiss their importance. The outcome becomes a basis for action, a source of meaning, and a bigger canvas to project our own self importance. We may drive ourselves and others, at any cost, to reach an objective. Some might even believe this is what leadership means or what leadership requires of us.
Non attachment teaches a very different lesson. In driving toward an objective with little mindfulness of the present or concern for self or regard for others, we often fail to reach the objective, or worse, do harm to self and others. We fail to notice the stop signs along the way, always rushing forward. We fail to take note of our own intuitive insights or the insights of others. Non attachment is a liberating energy, freeing us from the fear of not achieving our goal. With reduced fear, we are capable of doing great things, having greater access to creativity, spontaneity, and a genuine ethic of caring for ourselves and others. Suddenly we are noticing what is essential in the present moment and acting from the true source of our deeper desires.