Awareness exists at several levels. There is the awareness of the environment you’re in: are you sitting at a desk, are you outside on a cool day, are you running down a dirt path. There is also awareness of your thoughts, which you may or may not notice, depending on your focus. Building awareness is a skill, and having the ability to direct your awareness can be a very calming and centering tool when deployed.
One of the easier awareness-building exercises you can do is to get out into nature and take a walk. It’s quite simple to start but you will quickly realize how much is actually going on around you, even if you are in what you would consider a quiet, peaceful place. Start by noticing what is around you; it may be trees swaying, a squirrel running through the yard, the wind cool to your skin, a bird chirping. Use whatever your senses pick up.
Next, focus on Sound. After a moment or two, pick 3 distinct sounds that you can identify around you. You may need to stop walking and close your eyes for a moment to really build that focus into your hearing.
Physical feeling is next. Can you feel the warm sun on your face? How does the earth feel under your feet? It could be how your shoulders feel as you walk down a path. Choose 3 sensations you can feel, based on right where you are at that moment.
Lastly would be to activate your sense of smell. What are 3 smells that you can identify at that moment?
You can see the simplicity in how mindfulness works here, as it applies to awareness. This can be done in nature, or on a busy city street. It works similarly with children, and you can make it as simple as sitting in a room with them and asking them to identify 3 round objects, 3 shades of blue and 3 smells. It’s all about grounding back to the present moment, exactly where you and they are for that given time. You can also try giving them an assignment to go out on their own and identify a list of things that would work their awareness. Have fun with it!
If you’re interested in doing a meditation on awareness we suggest checking out this article and guided meditation here from Mindful