ALIVE, AWAKE, ALERT… AWARE?

Mumina Musings
3 min readSep 6, 2023

Let’s talk about me baby! Here, here before you go lighting your torches, this is not narcissistic. This is a piece on human consciousness.

The nature of our consciousness has three basic aspects: unity oriented (we link many spheres of life into one), ownership (agency over our experiences and behavior) and egocentricity (it's all about us, first person basis). This defines the nature of how we experience life, almost always unaware of how we function until we do. A healthy perspective is where we know how we are and try to mitigate the egocentric nature by cultivating empathy.

Let’s redefine empathy: the awareness that life is not about you or for you, others experience the same things that you do too! One need not be moved to act on another’s misfortunes, the bare minimum is to remember or at least imagine, yourself in their shoes.

Being Man is an enigma of its own kind, we cannot seem to explain what consciousness is. Though must we explain everything? In any case, we experience consciousness as conscious beings. In every sense of the way, Man is a mere possibility that had the audacity to exist. And exist you did! A Spirit, a Soul and a Body.

The Possibility became a Physicality with a Psychology and full of Philosophies, the 4 Ps that are Man.

We took it a step further, though this is very much optional, to become Awake and Alert. Degrees of Consciousness. Being conscious is the bare minimum, as long as one is in existence then they are conscious. Conscious of what? Themselves and their existence, the experience called Life. Thus, the three (mostly two really) basic aspects apply: egocentricity, ownership of experiences and unity.

As we begin to awaken, 3 As come to play: Alive, Aware, Alert. To exist is not synonymous with being alive, they may appear the same but really are not. To be alive one must actively choose to wake up and show up every day, any day. To be present and engage with the daily happenings. As the Physical, the Psychological and the Philosophical being that they are.

Awareness is a function of the thalamus, in the brain. This implies at waking up to and realizing aspects of our own selves. Of course, that includes the world around us as well. We are better able to engage with the rest of the world when we are awake to what we hold within our own selves. This means we have actively chosen to engage with ourselves outside of our own selves. To take on an objective view of our own existence and familiarize with our own being.

Alertness is the degree of awareness we hold; just how sensitive we are to stimuli from within and outside of ourselves. This too is a function of the thalamus, dependent on awareness but can be made separate for better. Without control over our awareness, being alert is a stress response. It comes from a need to be aware of danger. You snooze, you lose. A trifactor of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands made for survival but can easily go into a negative over drive. The HPA axis affects the metabolic, cardiovascular, immune, reproductive and central nervous systems.

Amygdala, a part of the limbic system of the mammalian brain, plays a primary role in memory, decision making and emotional responses including fear, anxiety and aggression. Amygdala hijack is an automatic response where the body takes over without your conscious input often from perceived fear-based stimuli. Living in today’s world means that often the perceived danger is really not life threatening but rather the ego has felt challenged, and the hijack is activated. It can be deactivated.

When paired, awareness and alertness become a formidable team. The idea behind cognizant therapy and its traditional counterpart meditation as well as journaling is to foster a relationship between these two. To become aware of things within you and alert to how they affect you in your day-to-day life. Forsaking the Pollyanna Wokeness, actually putting these into practice is a matter of paying attention to yourself outside of the egocentric consciousness. Observing yourself and being honest about what you see.

Then of course, taking necessary actions to either strengthen or get rid of things observed. It takes back your own power, to own up and actually show up for the work. It is work, to change and to outgrow egoist identities of self. Yet what you seek is seeking you as well. Rather ‘The grace is more than sufficient’ for you to embark on this journey. Of which you must.

After all is said and done, you are what you are left with. How does it feel to sit with your own self?

--

--

Mumina Musings

Free spirit. Fire heart. Genius mind. Self realize to self actualize. Visit shebelives.wordpress.com