Part One: Sharpen Awareness of Stimuli That Influence Feelings
Many people are aware of feelings they have, but are not aware of exactly how those feelings arose. For example, a person may realize that he is angry. However, that anger may only be the end result of a complex internal process. The anger may be only a portion of what he is feeling. And while there may be many other feelings below the surface, the anger is the only one that grew strong enough to actually surface in his conscious awareness. Without stopping and thinking about it, the person may not know exactly what made him angry. He may be aware that he was angered by a conversation he just had, but he doesn’t know which specific words rubbed him the wrong way or why. Nor does he know what feelings were initially triggered that led to his anger. Perhaps it was just one sentence that made him feel insulted, that bruised his pride. Perhaps it was one small comment that triggered one of his insecurities. Perhaps something came across as a threat which caused fear. Many times a small thing causes a person to “blow up” because it is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Most people are unaware of all the straw the camel is carrying before the final straw comes crashing down. Effective meditation will bring these issues into a person’s conscious awareness so they can be dealt with and the camel can be “unburdened.”
Those who are consciously aware of their feelings will recognize the instant someone says something that upsets them. They will be aware of exactly which words irritated them and why. They will also be aware of what feelings and thoughts arise within them as a result. Because of this, they can observe the chain of reactions that follow. This kind of awareness is called source awareness. These people are aware of the source (or trigger) of the flow of thoughts or emotions that they experience. Once one achieves source awareness one then gain control over one’s reactions. One can control or break the chain of emotional and mental reactions that would otherwise automatically occur outside of one’s awareness.