Ask Azim | Q&A (April 2016)

Azim-JamalQUESTION:  Sometimes the pressure of trying to remain in awareness gets to me. Invariably I slip and then the regret of losing awareness makes me angry. How do I overcome this problem?

AZIM: Awareness is a process of being available to the present moment. Have you ever observed cats? They appear rested, calm, yet alert and watchful. There is no tension in their bodies unless the situation calls for it.

Awareness is actually your natural state of being and not an artificial role that you adopt or put on. Hence, whenever you feel tension or the stress of remaining in awareness, you are not doing it right because tension means you are more focused on the self rather than on the moment. Awareness means relaxing into your being. Watch yourself, your surroundings like you are watching a movie, with detached attention. Awareness alone will render many words or actions unnecessary. Then all that you do will acquire a certain grace and meaning.

For example, if you can remain aware even in anger, this very watching will create a distance between you and anger, preventing you from saying or doing something in the fit of emotion that you might regret later.

Also, wherever you feel any tension in the body, simply stretch and relax that part or simply breathe conscious attention into that part. There will be moments you miss or sometimes thoughts will distract you; but don’t judge, or berate yourself. Simply start the gentle watching again and meditate every day. Gradually you will start enjoying the state of awareness and your tension will disappear.   

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