“Awareness cures.” Fritz Perls
Perls, a Gestalt psychiatrist, defined awareness as “the spontaneous sensing of what arises in you – of what you are doing, feeling, planning, etc”.
In Gestalt therapy, the goal is awareness. However, the ability to be aware of automatic habits is difficult-this is where most of us are handicapped. Our psychological defenses create a barrier between us and full contact with our environment; these defenses prevent any unwanted thoughts, sensations or feelings from coming into awareness. So, what to do?
According to Perls (1951), “what one can do is bit by bit to extend one’s awareness by discovering and dissolving the resistances in oneself which have prevented this, but one cannot command what one is unaware of to march obediently into awareness”.
I’ve found my mindfulness practice invaluable in discovering and dissolving my own resistance and defenses. Mindfulness breaks you out of automatic, and slows you down enough to see what’s going on inside. Otherwise, these unseen forces are driving your automatic behaviors behind the scenes.
Right now, try not to be aware…..
How’d you do? Right, it’s impossible not to be aware. Awareness is always here. The trick is learning how to direct your awareness to your present moment experience. Come home to your senses, in your body, which lives in the present. Spend less time in your mind, which is often in the past or the future.
“Lose your mind and come to your senses”- Perls