When the discord and distrust weighing on our society leaves us downbeaten and discouraged, we find ourselves asking what we can do to heal the fractures. The answer lies in exploring the fundamental question, “Who am I?” That one question can bring us closer to our benevolent natures.

We need to become very aware of the self that we convey both to ourselves and others. Are we presenting our most authentic self? Discovering our authentic selves begins by directing our awareness to the present moment. This type of awareness is called Mindfulness, which is being in the present moment with total awareness.

Too many of us are on autopilot and we’re missing so much of what’s taking place around us. Practicing Mindfulness enables us to balance our time spent doing work, attending to chores, or stressing over all of the conflict in the headlines with intervals in which we stop the escalating tension. Taking the time to simply look around us, we see so much more than when we’re fixated on all the worries and to-dos in our day. I call this “life gazing.” It helps us to become more awake and aware, and connects us to our authentic selves in the present moment.

When we have a heightened awareness of who we are, we can be that much more conscious of making sure that our sense of self is an authentic one. That means we’re willing to be very honest with ourselves. If we’re about to slip into being someone we’re not — which can be anything from someone who denigrates other people, to someone who fears much of humanity — we immediately note it and bring our focus and awareness right back to the self that is most real and sincere.

We don’t realize how often we slip out of present moment awareness of the authentic self. Then, before we know it, we feel frustrated, irritated, or even fearful. It’s easy, then, to allow ourselves to respond or react unconsciously. It can lead us to say and do things impulsively instead of thoughtfully and can add to the hurt in the world instead of promoting the healing.

Mindfulness elevates our awareness. It opens us to what resides in our hearts, instead of discounting it. We’re able to examine our true nature more objectively and recognize our connection to a state of oneness, rather than continue the division and suffering through ignorance.

I like to describe authenticity as “living our truth in the present moment.” When we live our truth in the present moment, we’re living as authentically as we possibly can.
Here is a meditation for connecting to the authentic self, which will always keep us in the present moment and living truthfully:

  1. Sit somewhere quiet.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Be aware of any sounds, feelings, thoughts or sensations in your body, and simply observe them.
  4. Focus on your breath.
  5. Take a few deep breaths in and out. If your mind begins to wander, bring your focus and awareness back to your breath.
  6. Ask silently, “Who am I?”
  7. Say silently, “Let my true self reveal who I am.”
  8. Say silently, “Let me realize love, acceptance and non-judgment.”
  9. When you are ready, bring your focus and awareness back to your body and gently open your eyes.
  10. Take the time you need to transition out of your meditation.

Aspiring to become a more evolved and compassionate person creates a better reality for ourselves and others. Through our own awareness of how to live authentically, we can ignite awareness in others.

In this time in history, each of us needs to become aware that what we do with our day, and where we place our thoughts, will affect all of the todays of everyone else on the planet.