The direction of awareness

Broadly speaking, there are three common domains of awareness[6]:

The physical domain: awareness of the physical phenomena, including one's own body.

The mental domain: awareness of mental states and processes (e.g. thoughts, images and other constructs, related to oneself and external reality).

The non-physical domain: awareness of some processes in one's own soul (e.g. being open, being in one's depth) or in the souls of others that are usually experienced as a feeling, but can also be perceived as a shape, colour, or movement.

 

The self can be aware of information from all these domains, but the signals coming through the brain (the physical domain) are on the whole the strongest. The intensity of the information from this domain screens out, to some extent, potential information from the other domains. Furthermore, the mental processes (e.g. thoughts, images) are also more intense than the processes in the soul, so the latter are often concealed by both, sensory perception and mental activity. Hence, even though they are more direct, sensations from the non-physical domain are normally recognised only if those mediated by the brain and mind are not prominent, because they are not as strong and clear as the other ones. Nevertheless, despite being usually clogged up by the stronger stimuli, some materials from this domain are attainable. Intending to become aware of them and bracketing information coming from the other domains,  maximise the chance of this happening. These two (intending and bracketing) are also sufficient, no special techniques are required.

In addition, awareness can be directed towards external reality or internal reality. The latter can be called self-awareness, which is awareness of the system with which the self identifies, commonly referred to as ‘I'. It includes awareness of some processes in one's body, mind and soul (the effects of experiences on its dynamics). Self-awareness is sometimes taken to be a uniquely human ability, but this claim is dubious. Animals can also be aware of themselves (that they are in pain or hungry, for instance). They, however, are not capable of reflection and self-reflection, which requires not only self-awareness, but also mental distance. What enables this distancing and why it is uniquely human, will be discussed later in the text (see Constructs).

  • [6]. The transpersonal domain (awareness via non-material reality including so called mystical experiences or shamanic journeys) is not included because it is rather exceptional.