Many people work hard on self-awareness. They want to be aware of their emotions, beliefs, attitudes, modes of communication and deep-seated fears. Self-awareness implies being self-conscious, conscious of self, having an identity. Identity is generally a pretty static thing. ‘This is who I am, how I live, what I believe and what I give and do in the world.’ It is closely associated with ego. If that self-awareness is fraught with anxiety at what you see then you can be crippled with embarrassment or shyness. And sometimes that self-awareness, anxiously competing for a place in the world, exhibits itself as brash, overbearing, loud and selfish.

(Time for a Word on the Ego.  As I am using it in this book it is the foot  soldier of the earth conscious self, the aspect that works to ensure that you are safe, happy and secure in this earthly realm. The ego is not a bad thing unless it allowed to be in charge, and runs the show.)

You hope to be objective in your self-awareness and know yourself honestly. The problem with that is your evaluative measures are generated from Self. The tools of evaluation are those by which you have built the self-awareness. (The student setting and grading the paper.) Standing in the center of your self you fashion a self and then evaluate that self. The entire focus is both from and to that ego-ic center, the Self. A self-generated and re-generating closed circle.

There is nothing inherently wrong with cultivating self-awareness, just as there is nothing inherently wrong with the ego, but it is only a step on the road to really knowing who you are. If you get stuck there, self-awareness begins to stagnate and perhaps even to rot…

What if you turn the words around? Awareness of Self. That implies that there is an outside observer to the Self, one that is aware of it without being inside or of it. Awareness of Self conjures up an image of something greater than the Self, that can therefore know the self more objectively than mere self-awareness. When you are Aware of Self you are not inside the experience or defined by it, and thus can accept what you see without arrogance or editing, justification or apology.

When in Awareness of Self you will never be embarrassed or shy, nor overbearing and controlling. Your ego will have no place to impose its will although you will be aware of those concerns and needs. This is because that ego is part of the circle of which you are aware – and not dictating the circle and whom is doing what within it. The Acting-Ringmaster has ended up on the edges of the circle, and is not holding the whip!

On my simple continuum, Awareness of Self is the third stage of ‘self’ in human development. I summarize three main stages in the maturing of ‘self’ in human beings within society and culture.  (1) First the baby becomes self aware, aware that there is him/her (Self) with other objects and beings beyond his/her own flesh.

(2) Second, human beings become self-conscious, that is he/she begins to see him/herself in comparison to others, to judge and evaluate his/her own Self in relation to the other human beings in the immediate and then the larger community and the world.

(3) Thirdly, and not a given as are the other two, Awareness of Self.  Somehow there is another Being in the room – not just My-self and the Other-selfs, by whom I live in comparison, but an objective, removed from the fray of everyday life Being. Your level of consciousness has taken a quantum leap forward in this stage! Unfortunately, we can get stuck before we arrive there, or we visit in short intermittent bursts.

Simply, it is an Awareness of Spirit. It may sound paradoxical, but think about it; we are all an expression of Spirit and it is through Spirit that we can have Awareness of Self!

AND the creative endeavor gets you there. The art you create in that mode is the purest expression of that Awareness of Self, manifest as your Personal Magic.

(© from the upcoming new book Personal Magic, by Kate Hawkes)