How to Gain Awareness

How can you tell if your perception is right?

How can you tell that its real? Because our brains deceive us all the time. How do you know when you're being deceived? How do you know you're right?

What if you are wrong? What if that assumption you made about yourself, about someone else, about their intentions, about what you thought or think about people, what you think about yourself, is wrong? How can you be sure that what you believe is right?

How can you know that you don’t hold negative core beliefs sitting behind the scenes orchestrating your life?

Even for me, as an expert I’ve gone through my own journey and with a childhood like mine, the kind of childhood like many, is the kind of childhood you’d see on Oprah. I knew I had my own journey that I would need to take in order to not only walk the walk but assure I had covered any pre-thoughts that might inhibit me from moving forward in my life.

With years of therapy I thought I had it all covered until just recently. You see, I have a lovely office but had reached a stage in my life that allowed me to build my dream office. This was the kind of office you dream about when your in graduate school. I even hired an interior designer to go in and take this beautiful brand new office in this amazing building in just the perfect area to make it my dream office. And I remember when I got the call that it was ready and I could move in..I was so excited.

That very first morning I woke up extra early to get ready..I wanted to doll myself up. I was walking on springs because I had worked so hard and this office was just a gift to myself, and a gift that represented my own journey to get to this place. So that morning I put on my highest high heels and my tightest pencil skirt and as I walked in that first day I introduced myself to all the neighboring offices. And just as I was preparing for my first client there was an explosion.

You see, I had this amazing wall mounted fireplace that had these amazing dancing flames but just minutes before my first client those flames became a fire that would almost cost me my life.

Many people think that Awareness means simply to pay attention but awareness is actually the brains way of describing thing. So adding bits of information to those descriptions would seem not only reasonable but necessary in order to increase awareness.

Increasing awareness in this way changes your perception organically and changing your perception is what shifts your beliefs. You see, changing beliefs is difficult because what we think often doesn't match what we feel.

I used to think in order to change my beliefs that I'd have to trick my brain somehow. I’d have to convince myself I was confident which is what most can relate to doing. Convincing ourselves as best we can that we are these things we want to be, but in reality we're already being tricked because our perceptions are usually distorted.

Our reality is often distorted. And we all see a different reality because we assemble reality and we assemble that reality based on the information that we hold. We are somewhat in a matrix and we remain in our own distorted reality for one reason and that is that we have no reason really to challenge it.

Why would we?

So how do we know what’s real? This is what I’m going to focus on here in this session by giving you the scientific evidence you’ll need to have a reason to challenge your perception of yourself, your capabilities, other people, and the way your experiencing the world. And I know I have a tough challenge in front of me. Because I’m basically going to be asking you to trust me enough to believe that the reality your in, isn't real. And that’s a tough sell. But i’m going to explain the logic behind this to help you adopt this notion because shifting your perspective has an obvious impact on your beliefs.

One of the reasons many remain stuck in their lives battling self doubt, fear, and confidence is because they are living in the memory. So, what do I mean by living in the memory?

Well, let’s start from the beginning by understanding better mental states. We often hear that success requires that we adopt a certain “mind set”. But what does that really mean and how do we adopt this so called, mindset?

So I’m gonna break this down for you.

A mind set is basically a mental state. Now we references mental states often by talking about the ego but think that can be confusing for some, so I believe it can be better understood by describing three main particular mental states, which are:

1. The dream state
2. The present state
3. The memory state.

The memory state is the mental state that we are in most often. By understanding this you will understand why you struggle to move beyond mental barriers. We transition between these three states.

The only state we are consciously aware we are transitioning into is the dream state. And that’s because we are aware that we are going to sleep. But once we fall asleep we are in the dream state and at that point are level of awareness dramatically changes.

Your reality, of course, changes too. Because your reality in a dream state allows you to fly, to move from place to place in the blink of an eye and creates an illusion that what you are experiencing is real. And you have no reason whatsoever to question it. Because in the dream state you are officially detached from reality.

Upon waking up you then realize that, that reality wasn’t real. But while you were dreaming you believed it wholeheartedly. The perception you held in your dream was also very real. What you thought could happen you believed could happen. What you thought you might feel or see you believed as well. Because you were in the dream your perception was heavily influenced by the state you were in.

As well, from where you stand from each of the other two mental states (memory and present state) so does your perception change and you believe it wholeheartedly. Think of it as a look out point where you have a telescope that you can drop a quarter in and check out the view.

Now Imagine you have one telescope at the beach, one at the Grand Canyon and one at the Niagara falls. Each view will of course look different. The way in which you perceive the world within each of these three mental states is very much the same. And depending on which telescope you're looking through changes the view you will have and your response to it.

Now, we strive to be in the present state. You probably hear all the time about mindfulness and meditation to be in the here and now. But think about this for a moment. If your striving to be in the here and now, you're not in the present state so where do you think you are now if you're striving to be more present?

If you're distracted, if your thoughts are racing, if your pre-occupied, if your worried, if your in deep thought, you are not in the present state but where do you think you go?

Well, we know your not in the dream state so what’s left but the memory state. And most people don’t know their in this state any more than their aware their in the dream state. But it's important to know that most are in the memory state several times a day, and for others, all day long.

But you in fact transition between the present state and memory state every time you're thoughts are racing, you're pre-occupied, you're worried, you're in deep thought, or you're daydreaming about the past.

And what’s significant to know about the memory state is that much like daydreaming in those moments of pre-occupied thought, you are momentarily detached from reality but unlike dreaming you still have one foot in the present but also one foot in your memory network.

Now, just like when you're dreaming, you're not aware your dreaming so you just accept the dream as real as well in the memory state you accept that what your seeing through that telescope is real. Imagine looking through that telescope from your dreams, your memories, and your present here-and-now state, how different the view would look.

Your perception dramatically changes depending on which telescope you look through. And you would have no reason to question that view. You can only come to question it if you suddenly become aware that you're in that state just like waking up and realizing, "oh yes, it was only a dream."

When you are dreaming you're not aware it is in fact a dream unless, of course, you are having a lucid dream, in which you do become aware you are dreaming, but as result of that awareness you then (and only then) have the ability to wake yourself up.

Without a deeper level of awareness we just live in the dream until we wake up and only then do we realize what we thought, what we felt, what we believed, wasn’t real.

Which can be a really good thing if you are lost, hurt, scared, unsure, etc, in a dream because you may be in a reality that you believe you can’t survive.

Can you imagine being stuck in a dream like that all day long where your reality left you feeling helpless? But you wake up from it.

Now, when you are day dreaming how do you wake from that?

Maybe someone calls your name or a loud sound wakes you up and you are back in the present here and now.

But what wakes us up from a memory state? And why is it important to know this? Because if you don't know you are in a dream or in a memory state your perception aligns to that mental state and you believe everything you see, think, and feel in that state.

The only reality that is real is the reality in the present state, the here and now.

The reality in a dream state, and memory state isn't real. In those states you are momentarily detached from reality. This is okay in dream state because your brain needs that break from reality to organize all the bits of information you've collected throughout the day.

It is an unconscious state. In the Present you are in a very conscious state. But the memory state is somewhat neutral because you have one foot in the conscious state and one foot in the unconscious. It's that one foot still in the conscious state that keeps you safe. And for the record we all slip into the memory state from time to time. We just don't realize it but it's very much like day dreaming where you're even able to drive and daydream which we often do.

But when you day dream you are detached from reality. And we all day dream, when you miss your exit on the freeway or when your so focused on a television show or movie that you don’t hear the other person calling your name.

Daydreams are transitions in which our imagination allows us to be in a different place in our mind from were at. When we transition into the memory state we are also in a different place in our mind from where were. That place is in our memory network.

Here’s how this happens. Stimuli in our environment cues the brain to associated information stored in our memory network. The brain is always looking for stored information that associates to information we already hold. This is how we survive and know how to respond or what to do in any given moment.

For example, if your about to ski for the first time and your worried about falling down or getting hurt your brain will immediately began scanning stored away information in your memory to help determine if skiing is a good idea.

During this scanning process your brain finds a memory in which you did something similar and was capable so it then gives the go ahead to proceed with caution.

Your brain is constantly scanning for associations to help you make determinations this way. This could be associated feelings, a colors, sounds, tones, people, personalities, behaviors, scents, could be just about anything.

Now what actually pulls us into a memory state is if during this scanning and matching process the information that it matches to in your memory network from the current stimuli (cue or trigger) holds a lot of emotion.

When that happens you get pulled into the memory. For example, the current cue is a personality. Your brain immediately scans through your memories and finds one that associates with a personality that has similar characteristics.

Now if that memory is disturbing memory of a person who was mean or hurtful or rejecting etc, you will not only get pulled into the memory but as a result you will perceive the person in the present as being the same but often times our perception is misinforming us.

But because you are not aware you got pulled into the memory state you believe
what your memory is telling you and you respond to that person wrongly.

So, to be clear in the memory state you are still physically in the present and you still have an awareness that your in the present, however, you are viewing and experiencing the present from the past, meaning from the lens of that telescope.

And this can be dangerous because if you believe your at the Grand Canyon but your looking through the telescope lens from the beach you may find yourself going for a very dangerous swim into the very deep canyon cliffs.

When you get pulled into your memory state, you're current perception of the present is the views or perceptions of your past. If you get triggered by a new challenge in your life and your brain associates to a past challenge, that pulls you into a memory state because of the heightened emotion of fear and your perception becomes skewed.

Just as if you were dreaming. When you're dreaming you are in the reality of the dream and your perception aligns with that reality which is why you can fly in your dreams.

What’s true is altered by the state your in. In a dream you can fly, in a memory you can get hurt or rejected, in the present you are capable and strong.

Your reality becomes the reality of the mental state you are in so what you perceive to be true may be completely off.

This is why you must always challenge your perception. Investigate it. Become a stalker and stalk perception. Make sure that the way you are perceiving yourself, your capabilities, and other people in the world is true and don't just except it at face value because you may be looking through the wrong lens and you wouldn't even know it.

And what a shame if you wrongly judged yourself or missed out on an opportunity, destroyed a valuable relationship, or held yourself back because of a false perception of reality.

Our brains are amazing tools but because of what we’ve learned with neuroscience, plasticity, and of course psychology, we can learn that these mental states do exist and that they do very much not only alter our perception but also our reality.

I became very interested in mental states after working with individuals with dissociative identity disorder and individuals with split egos. Those who struggle with dissociative identity disorder and split egos are most often the victims of trauma.

You see, the brain will separate and split off certain memories that become too difficult and too overwhelming for the person to cope with. The brain splits off those memories to help us to survive. Those memories are in a deep part of the brain compartmentalized from the rest of the brain.

Now when someone with dissociative identity disorder gets triggered as their brain goes through that scanning process making associations to the current environment they too get pulled into the memory network because of the often times the very heightened emotion. And when this happens the person completely detached from reality so much so that I may become a person from their past and my office their bedroom from when they were a child.

A veteran of war may see my office as a battleground and be completely dissociated to reality without even one foot in the present that most people have when their day dreaming and in the memory state.

For the person with dissociative disorder, they have both feet in the memory and the clinicians role is to help the client get both feet back into the present and into my office.

With split ego its a little less detached in which one foot is in the present, the other in the past but the feelings sensations, affect, thoughts etc become overwhelming real to attached to the memory.

They can see hear and experience everything in the present but also everything in the past at the same time. Dissociation is a mechanism that allows the mind to separate or compartmentalize certain memories or thoughts from normal consciousness. These split-off mental contents are not erased. They may resurface spontaneously or be triggered by objects or events in the person's environment.

Now, what this tells us is that while you do not struggle with these disorders it teaches us that the brain has the ability to dissociate and detach from reality, skew your perception and without your awareness.

When you are dreaming, daydreaming, pulled into your memory network, you are also dissociating which means you are detached from reality and what you perceive to be true is only true in the dream, only true in the memory, but not true in the present.

You're being deceived and unless you know your ”dreaming” you’ll remain asleep and never know that your thoughts and beliefs are untrue.

What I want to help you do is to wake up.

Just as I help a client with dissociative disorder to wake up and come back to the present where they are safe. I want to help you to become aware of when you transition into your memory state so that you have the ability to wake yourself up otherwise you will perceive a false projection of the person you are today (believing instead you are the person you were in the past). You will see life today through the lens of the person, the age, the feelings thoughts and beliefs from the past and you won’t know to challenge it.

So I want to give you evidence of this because the brain is very much like a child who asked over and over again the same questions. If you tell a child. "Because I said so," they will never stop asking nor will they believe what you say.

So you need evidence so that that child in your brain stops asking and looping, repeating the same patterns because it doesn't have the information in needs to move on.

To learn more about gaining awareness and overcoming your past, click here.