How my awareness grew with Insight

The distance between what we “should” want and what we really want gets larger, and more blurred, day by day. After finishing Insight 1 a few weeks ago, I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom; realising that, despite living in a society where I could do, be or say anything, I had inadvertently been living in an invisible web of “should’s” and “have to’s” – feeling trapped by society and limiting my potential in the process. I had created this web for myself; and Insight helped me realise how.

Insight isn’t about becoming a better person; the point of it is that there is no “right” way to live. Nor does it change us innately; but helps us strip down the layers and habits that define and limit our day-to-day lives. It doesn’t dictate your life, in fact you are encouraged to put the seminar into your own “language.” Perceiving life on your own terms is incredibly freeing; you’re the only person who spends 100% of your life with you, so why be at war with that person, or live it on someone else’s terms?

We live in a commercial world where the key message is “more.” Higher targets, faster technologies, more money, more success, more social “likes.” The reaction to this desire for more, is a paradoxical need for the deeper things in life. Insight goes well beyond that; it provides profound personal and universal insight and could be taken by any person, at any age, in any age. It’s simply about becoming more aware. Awareness is power; if the world was more deeply aware of itself and all its seeming contradictions, life for many would be very different.

But what does “awareness” mean exactly? And how does Insight do it?

The sometimes overused quote “live in the moment” has powerfully freeing connotations; if you live in the moment you can do anything. But in fact, saying the words “right now I’m aware of…” in front of a room full of strangers is hugely challenging. From the very first task asking me to define the present, I started noticing tiny details; an awareness that grew over a series of tasks taken over three 12-hour days; from one-to-one’s and group interactions to voluntary sharing. Facing my emotions in the moment – letting them grow, evolve and speak up – was not something I was used to. Where exactly I had been up until the seminar, I’m not quite sure, but it wasn’t in the moment. This acute awareness forces you to acknowledge how you’re feeling at every stage of the seminar and pushes you to ask why… “Why am I feeling like this?” “Why can’t I answer that question?” “Why did I just respond like that?”

A big part of the learning process is also through other people’s sharing, where you start to see and understand how others feel and view the world. The profound, definitive essence of each human being suddenly takes the spotlight; proudly and unabashedly claiming its place. As a writer, I always thought I was a fairly open, perceptive person, but three days of brutal honesty showed me that I have been missing a lot. The interactive, participatory nature of the seminar is key to its success. Sharing is the best form of clarity; we’re never more succinct than when we’re in discussion and never more precise than when we’re presenting to a group.

Designed to test you, the set pattern of each task takes you on a journey where you find yourself entering a kind of maze taking you further and further inside your own mind, until you reach the point you need to. You could call it epiphany but it’s not as final as that; every time you reach a point in the maze, you’re one step closer to something else.

The Power of Choice

One of my biggest learnings during Insight 1 was the power of choice. We’ve heard it a hundred times before; that life doesn’t happen to us – we make it happen. And yet we constantly find ourselves in situations we don’t want, feeling powerless. Life is a blank canvas; we are responsible for marking and colouring it in our own way, but don’t always take ownership over it. When it doesn’t look the way we want it to we have a tendency to either destroy or cope with it. Insight taught me to be the artist of my own life; stepping back and looking at what I have – changing what I need to and enhancing the beautiful parts. I used to hate looking back and taking responsibility for my mistakes, but the seminar encouraged me to ask myself “did I make the best choice that was available to me at the time?” The answer for the most part is, yes of course. Asking this question enabled me to dispel some of the “should have’s” and “could have’s” existing in the web I had made for myself. I have a choice, in the here and now, to choose how I look at the past and move forward.

Changing perception is another powerful tool Insight 1 gives you. Again, it’s easy to say “change the way you look at it,” but years of self-taught perception aren’t always easy to define, let alone alter. Through a clever process looking at real, concrete situations, you start to see these situations change; gaining a new sense of clarity. We all have different levels of short-sightedness or long-sightedness in life, and learning to flip your perceptions in a fresh new way (or at least being open to it), is like removing a bad pair of glasses that had been straining your vision, even perhaps, causing you pain.

A few weeks before the seminar, my life had taken a sudden turn and I found myself at a crossroads that looked something like Oxford Circus at rush-hour - I suddenly seemed like the only thing not moving – and I wasn’t in any hurry to jump head-first and headstrong into yet another race. People said “take time out for yourself,” but how do you do that exactly? Read? Go travelling? Go for a walk?  I’d heard amazing things about Insight and was curious about what it involved. So much energy and budget goes into professional – and not personal – development, and I could see that the thing I was ignoring most is exactly what needed the most attention. One of the most important things I learnt from Insight, is never saying the words “have to.” So I wouldn’t say you “have to” go to the seminar – you don’t “have to” do anything – but if you’re willing to be open to the idea, then you’ve already taken that first important step. The rest is easy. - Fiona M.

Fiona is a writer and Marketing Executive currently working in fashion. She is curious about different fashions, voices and cultures, especially the Middle East where she used to work. She has worked with quite a few London-based startups to get them up and running. You can find her on Twitter, @stylefilosophy.