How To Improve Self Awareness
When we speak of self-awareness we are not only speaking about the textbook definition of awareness, which is: The capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual with, character, feelings, motives, and desires separate from the environment and other individuals.
We are speaking particularly about metacognition: Being aware of your awareness, thinking about your thinking, knowing about knowing.
It takes self-awareness to lucid dream, but more importantly it takes metacognition. When you are dreaming, to become aware in any fashion, there has to be a spark of metacognition. You have to observe yourself entering the dream, you have to question the dream, realize incongruities in your reality, thinking, and feelings.
To improve metacognition you must practice exercises in observing yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, and your environment. To be habitually metacognitive in your waking life means to be metacognitive in your dreams. You become lucid by that very process; observing the dream, observing yourself dreaming, and realizing it’s a dream.
#1 Observing Yourself
Practice observing your thoughts. Throughout the day, at any moment, (like now) pause and observe what you are thinking about. After you are observing your thoughts, think about their origin. Trace back how you even began thinking that thought. For example:
"Right now I'm thinking about children in South America picking beans...why am I thinking about that?"
"Oh yeah... I was reminded about that because that person that one time was talking about how caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs and poor kids in South America have to pick the coffee beans."
"Why was I thinking about that person?"
"Oh yeah... because I looked at my coffee mug sitting next to my computer and it reminded me of them."
Practice observing yourself like this all the time. Once you are observing your thoughts continue to observe them throughout the day. Try not to be captivated and engrossed in your thoughts (just like a dream) but observe them throughout the day.
Whenever you notice that you are not observing or witnessing your thoughts, pause, do this exercise and continue to witness.
#2 Observe Your Emotions and Feelings
At any moment (such as now) pause, begin observing your feelings, and practice the same techniques described in exercise one.
Witness your emotions. How are you feeling? For example:
"Hmm, I am feeling upset...”
"Why am I feeling upset?"
"Because that one person said that one thing to me"
"Why does that upset me?" And did that other person make me upset, or did I choose or allow myself to feel upset?"
" I have an expectation of how someone should treat another, and I guess I chose to feel upset"
"So every time my expectations aren't met, should I choose to be upset?"
"No, I won't choose to feel upset as I witness myself attempting to experience those feeling for irrational reasons"
#3 Observe Your Environment
You know the drill...at any moment, like now, pause and observe what you're experiencing in your environment. How did you get here? What are you doing? Does anything stand out?
Probe everything you look at, be aware of what you are touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing. Is this real? Could you be dreaming this? Is anything out of place?
Examine your life.
Meditation can be a meta-cognitive task if done properly. Meditation allows one to set aside time to improve meta-cognition. You can practice observing your thoughts with detachment by associating yourself with a witnessing perspective. Check out our article on how to meditate for instructions and recommendations.
#5 Practice All Day Awareness (ADA)
All Day Awareness is a technique where you basically try to apply the above 3 steps all day under all circumstances. Whenever your awareness slips and you notice you’re aren't witnessing and observing, then return back to doing it.
Practice all these techniques to stay woke during your dream and stay woke while your woke... and keep Livin Lucid' Dreams... :)