Benefits of awareness in decision-making


Umang Chhatrola

Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) Teacher

So many choices that we make in our daily life are made by default. Our brain is lazy. It is natural for our brain to avoid exploring possible choices and scenarios and simply rely on past experience and make a choice that makes sense. Our mind-body is trained to react this way.

For example, we are on a tour to a foreign country and we visit a jewelry store. If we want to buy quality jewelry, we would go for expensive items. But who says that expensive jewelry would be of good quality? Our past experiences. Our past has created this paradigm in our mind that expensive items are of high quality.

These paradigms work well in most of the circumstances for us but sometimes they can deceive us. What is the solution? We need growth in our awareness. It comes with a regular meditation practice. As our awareness grows we become masters of our mind, memory and past experiences. Then, instead of reacting impulsively, we respond consciously and gracefully.

One example is our eating habit. Our mind-body is programmed to like sweet and fatty foods after years of evolution. There was a time when we would starve to death if we did not over-eat these foods when available. The scenario, however, has changed completely today but our programming has not. The sweet and fatty foods very easily available to us these days are very poor in quality and nutritional content compared to the natural sugars and fats available to our ancestors. But we are programmed to like these foods and consume them in high quantity. No wonder we are in great trouble. The real problem is that we are not aware enough. We can no longer ‘listen’ to our body.

With a growth in awareness comes the ability to perceive things properly and an ability to make the right choices. Only with a high degree of awareness do we have any choice. We believe that we use our mind, but actually, it uses us. With a growth in awareness, we can take control back in our hands.

With meditation, we become aware of our thoughts and emotions. We begin to realize which thoughts are useful for us and which are arising out of compulsion. We see the effect of emotions on our decisions and develop the intelligence to see where our emotions may lead us to take incorrect decisions. With practice, we are able to realize that we are capable of taking decisions without getting carried away by emotions. This is the power of awareness.

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