5 Layers of Self-Awareness: How to Develop Self-Awareness on All Levels of Being by Beth Gibbs, Certified Yoga Therapist
Self-awareness is the ability to see, understand and accept our beliefs, habits and behavior without judgment. Then we can consciously choose to make changes, remain unchanged with full awareness of the consequences or find acceptance and peace of mind if change is not possible.
Cultivating self-awareness is a lifelong journey that can be started at any age. Self-awareness is important because no matter your size, shape, color, condition or position in life, when you were born your five layers came into this world with you. They are accessible to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If I could inspire a movement to bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people it would be to help others develop self-awareness on all levels of BE-ing through the five layers of self-awareness, which proposes we are much more than a mind interacting with a body and provides a 360-degree view of what it means to be human. The five layers of self-awareness are:
- Physical: This includes your body and your environment. This is you: your size, shape, gender identification, race and ethnicity, anatomy, physiology, your home and the planet we all share.
- Energetic: This includes your breath and energy levels. The oxygen you breathe and the invisible life force that animates you at all levels enabling you to think, create, move, love, work and navigate all that life brings.
- Mental: Your thoughts, beliefs and emotions. This is how you think, what you think about, what you believe, and how you experience and express your emotions.
- Intuitive Wisdom: This is the witness, the ability to observe all of your layers and your life with compassion and without judgment to consciously make (or not) more informed choices.
- Bliss: This is your connection to something larger than yourself. This can be spiritual, religious or a deep connection to a healthy passion or the natural world.
Each layer operates moment to moment in our daily lives. If we move through our lives on autopilot with no awareness of our body, how we’re breathing or our habits, routines, beliefs, emotions, impulses and reactions, we lose power. When we succeed in understanding how our layers work and how they are connected, we will gain a better understanding of how and why we react the way we do to what life presents. Then the choices we make are conscious. Our responses are healthier, balanced and more productive. This requires attention and effort. It will take time but the result will be a more clarity, contentment and resilience in the ways we move through our lives in the complicated world we share.
The first known mention of the five layers of self-awareness (the koshas) comes from the Taittiriya Upanishad, a 3,000-year-old philosophical text from India.
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