If you’ve been following my work for any amount of time, or on the journey of self mastery yourself before ever setting proverbial foot on my virtual doorstep and fresh to the Wolf Den, you’re probably excited to get some long form exposition about Awareness, Presence, and Embodiment because you’ve realized that these three are sitting underneath pretty much everything else.
Indeed, it becomes evident that for most everything we are working on in the realms of Self and the expression of that into our life, relationships, business ventures, and world adventures, you can’t get very far if you can’t see what’s going on. Similarly, you’ll get stuck if you aren’t in the moment you’ve worked so hard to get to or your body feels like either a distant memory or a purely utilitarian vehicle. As tempting as it is to dismiss this meat-sack for a glorified space ship and throw vitamins at it as absent mindedly as you put gas in the car, you know better, don’t you?
This “vehicle” comes with at least a dozen layers ranging from the gross physical to the truly abstract higher astral, and everything in between. On top of that, there are functional aspects to each layer that relay all manner of sensory experience and environmental data to our awareness. The further you tap in, the greater the flow of information and the world becomes a rich multidimensional tapestry. You are no longer driving the vehicle through like a theme park, peering casually out the windows; the vehicle is swirling along with the world as much as it is passing through. You become aware of yourself -and your bodies- as both the observer and the observed; as the action and the audience. As surely as you are traversing the topography of reality, it seems to be traversing across the topography of you. When you really tap into what’s going on with this body of yours you realize that the idea that it might be simply a vehicle is as absurd as trying to drive on the highway with a blindfold on. Otherwise said, Awareness is extremely vita. And now we’re back to the first aspect of this White Paper Scroll: Awareness.
But, and you’ll forgive the cliff hanger as we take closer to the foundation of all this, before we can get into the details of what it means to be Aware, we first need to double click on another concept: Alignment.
Alignment, particularly Self Alignment, is exactly what you think it is and probably a bit more intricate than you were hoping it might be. You are an arrangement of parts. Many bodies. Many layers. Many aspects. On top of that each of these is developing along it’s own line from the primordial pure existence to the intricate complexities of integration. You might be a fresh baby in one aspect and a seasoned veteran in another. This is the nature of personal development, and really the nature of Nature itself. The universe has a way of reusing the same patterns for anything that evolves and that means we are a part of the bigger pattern. As Alan Watts said, more or less, you are the unique curlicue on the end of a much bigger happening, expressing in this present moment as you choose yet perfectly woven in to the swirls that came before you. If that isn’t comforting then let’s see if we can’t give you some solid ground to stand on.
As these different parts of you are developing through their particular lines towards an unsaid end goal of equilibrium with self, world, and other, it is of utmost benefit to your experience (and your progress) that they work together.
That’s the Self Alignment bit.
Loosely defined, this is the state in which the different parts and pieces of you are working together at best, and not getting in each other’s way at minimum. It is the state of being where your emotional reactions are accurate to your true needs and honest wants; where your choices and actions feed and support your true purpose and dharma in the world; where your mind is not shutting down your intuition, and your instinct feeds your discernment. It is your inner world working together like a well established forest. Everything doing what it does best to create an environment that works even better than the individual parts could ever expect on their own.
When Self is aligned with Self, things just work better.
So then, what’s the first step?
As we said before, how can you expect to navigate this wild world if you can’t “see” what’s going on? If the mission of self mastery, and the mode is self alignment, wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s what along the path?
This seems strikingly obvious to me and to the folks who are actually doing their work, but somehow it gets glossed over a lot. We’ll save theories for why other coaches and mentors tend to skip this but suffice to say at the most innocent it is because they themselves don’t recognize the importance and at most dastardly it is to keep their clients reliant on them indefinitely. Neither is acceptable in my book, and since we are in fact in my book, we’ll stand by this key statement:
Awareness is the essential first step to any personal development process; the greater the awareness the more powerful and effective are all further steps taken and choices made.
So what exactly are we talking about?
Take a few minutes to just be as aware of yourself as you can. There’s no wrong answer; this is you with you. Notice your body, and the sensations that happen. Notice your emotions, and any feelings you’re experiencing. Notice your energy and Auric field, and where it buzzes and lights up. Notice your mind, and where it wanders. And for any other aspects that become apparent, simply notice.
What did you find? What did you notice?
Where did the activity of your own self catch your attention? Where are you most awake and where are parts of you sleepy or dull? What did you learn about yourself?
What is exciting about Awareness is that even the act of trying to be aware provides information. You may not discover anything particular about any of your parts, yet that in itself is information. You may get distracted and forget the details you sensed when you scanned your body for sensation, and that in itself is information. Every piece of the process is good because it reveals the edges of your Awareness no matter what answers you get, or don’t get.
Awareness is truly as simple as that, though there are a myriad of exercises, practices, and experiments we can do to find the edges of our awareness and push them gently further. But this does reveal something important in the mix: the act of being Aware is a piece of our Self as well.
This point of perception that “looks” at everything else is meaningful. It is the focal point from which all else happens in our personal realities and it cannot be escaped. Beneath Awareness is that place from which “you” are watching. And if you turn your awareness to notice that place? You witness yourself watching and realize that you are watching the watching. Go down that rabbit hole a bit but don’t stay too long, it doesn’t end. There is no final point of perception because you are, in a sense, perception itself. You are an energetic being experiencing a universe of duality and reality. Every time you step back to look at the backside of your own head you create a duplicity. This is useful in one sense, to loosen the grip of gross reality on how we understand our experiences, but it also shines a light on the next piece of this puzzle: Presence.
If you actually took a moment to notice what was within reach of your perception; all those sensations from the physical body to the emotional and intellectual parts and the energetic ones beyond. And if you fell down the rabbit hole of self witnessing self just a little bit, then it becomes clear being in our experience is as important as perceiving the scope of where it could go; of the edges, or lack thereof.
We could wander endlessly through our memories of the past looking through every little detail and a lifetime wouldn’t be long enough to check every nook and cranny. Similarly there’s no end to day dreaming and postulation about what the future might hold. Humans have been gifted with the power of imagination which is at once a brilliant tool of manifestation and a slippery slope of exploring every ‘what if’ that graces our attention. Either direction spreads as far in front of you as you desire to look. Yet as we’ve discovered, to retreat to the perception of perception itself is equally endless. Turtles all the way down.
What we’re left with is the experience that we’re actually having. This unique moment of all moments cannot be replaced, copied, replayed, or erased. It happened in the immortal halls of your experience and nothing will change that. We can rewrite our memories with imagined stories, or rush headlong into the future and forget this moment ever occurred, but it did happen nonetheless and that leaves an impact on us. On our Self.
We are made of the stuff of this Present experience; we are creators of a created by our experience of the Present moment. Everything finds it’s roots here, now. The past brought us here, and the future requires this now. We can explore the vast reaches of our psyche and yet all of that is happening precisely where we are while we do it.
If that twisting vortex of a truth has your head spinning fear not, it’s a LOT easier to do than it is to discuss. This is one of those age old experiential koans that the Taoists smile knowingly about while giggling endlessly inside. Understanding the swirl itself is, for the most part, a trap of the mind; the real gold is in the Being Present.
So, Kedrik, what exactly does that mean?
Well my friend, it means settling into whatever is true for you right now. It means letting the memories of what happened before fade, just for a bit, into the background of your mind (or out of it entirely if possible). It means releasing attachment to what might come next as much as possible. That’s a fancy way of saying don’t worry about the future. It means accepting that the self can witness the self endlessly and that the real gold is in the experience of witnessing.
In short, Presence is the state of simply being with your awareness of what is true and real, right now.
As your mind tries to wander, gently bring it back.
As your body starts to fidget, just notice.
As your emotions rise and fall, smile at their waves.
As you do these things, you will find yourself slipping deeper into a state of calm. As your mind begins to recognize that churning thoughts isn’t the game right now, it will quiet. So too will your emotions move towards peace and your body settle. Maybe not all at once, maybe not all at first, but the more you practice dropping into Presence, the more present you will become.
It is as simple as breathing, and indeed if in your settling you lose track of the Now, simply notice your breath and follow it back into the calm. This is the way of it. Across all lineages and cultures over many eons of humans exploring their inner selves, Presence has proven to be the tranquil secret garden of our lived experiences. Without the cacophony of noise coming from every direction, we are ultimately quite peaceful creatures.
But Kedrik, sometimes my life is still chaotic and I want to be present anyways!
Excellent, now you’re getting it!
It sounds nice to exist in the peaceful tranquility of a Self at rest in it’s own Beingness, doesn’t it? But the world is not a zen utopia of enlightened everythings coexisting in harmony. There’s chaos out there! And so we arrive at the third piece of the puzzle: Embodiment.
Where presence is the calm marshmallow center at peace with all things, Embodiment is the action phase. All notions of Presence exist within Embodiment, but now we acknowledge that we do not live in a silent ashram and there is indeed stuff to do in the world as we forge our path through the stars.
Embodiment is about being the most actualized version of ourselves that we can be in spite of the many happenings of the world outside of us. It is the utilization of Awareness to identify our parts but also our aspirations and become those visions. It is the act of embodying the parts of ourselves that we wish to exemplify in a world of many voices.
The dictionary definition of embody is to incarnate and represent in bodily or material form, and while this is absolutely true in a literal sense we are using it here more in the sense of expression of the Self. Regardless of the many bodies we have, most of which aetheric and astral, and regardless of the vast infinite topography within our minds (the place where everything we are aware of is brought for collection) and beyond, we live in a physical world as well, and indeed given the density of the physical world and the way in which the biological perception dominates our senses, it often takes the front row seat of our experience. I believe and have it on good authority that we are not here simply to transcend the physical and leave as immediately as possible. There’s plenty of time (or rather a complete timeless infinite) for that later. We are here because the physical realm is a special and unique experience.
Think about it. Despite the physical universe being vast, intricate, and complex, it pales in comparison to the infinite reaches of the imaginations of all living beings. Despite the physical being a strong gravitational center for what we understand as “real”, our emotions swirl like galactic storms in the cosmos. If you account for the many known energetic and astral bodies, and give a little wiggle room for the layers we may not yet know of, the physical is but a sliver slice of the whole picture. And with each one of those layers living outside of the binds of linear time, the physical is barely a blink as well.
So if we’re here it must (could?) mean something big.
That our experiences as humans, despite being a mere flash in the vast timeline, which is itself a mere flash in the infinite timelessness, could dilate into such intricate detail is nothing short of a beautiful miracle. Let’s enjoy it, shall we?
And thus, in this physical experience of linear time, what you do with your body matters, and how you choose to embody what is important to you is meaningful.
So ask yourself:
What are the things that you wish to experience?
What are the characteristics that you wish to be known for?
How do you want to be in this wild world?
What values feel important to you as an aspirational creature?
What seems “right” to you, in your sense of life?
How do you think a person aught to be?
But don’t stop there,
How do you desire to experience this one life?
What feels the most aligned to all of your parts?
Where will you go with all this sovereignty?
Embodiment is as much about being true to yourself and who you actually are as it is embracing and enacting the things that might not be as concrete but matter all the same. Embodiment in the context of personal development and self mastery is becoming exactly who you want to be, and being that person in every present moment, as often as you can, to the best of your ability.
What about outside of yourself?
Once you’ve got a handle on the mission there you might look up from your notebook and realize with a shock that there are other people in the world and they are also doing some degree of embodiment and presence. It’s at once an obvious fact and yet in the context of what we’ve discussed here, a vessel of profound implications.
If you are here in this actualized physical form to experience the moment and the journey of creating exactly what you want for yourself and your life, and there are other individuated souls doing the same, then oh what a circus we have on our hands, don’t we?
This sheds light on another aspect of embodiment that can be ignored but truly should not be: Empathy. We came here to have these experiences, each of us. We can choose to carve out our corner in the multiverse and force it into the shape we desire with sheer Will and determination. We can embody a being that is in complete control. Or we can recognize that we are the universe individuated, come here to experience itself in the physical chaos of duality, and that I am you is he is the walrus, coo coo cachoo. I won’t tell you how to navigate your own unique experience. Indeed I know some truly beautiful people who perceive all of this as expression of their own consciousness. Indeed it is, but then why individuate? If I am me and the universe is me and all is one then why do anything? Surely the individuation has occurred and if we agree that the universe, which is us, is a vastly wise and knowing thing, then there must be some value in this?
Experience of self is as significant as experiencing the relationships we have with others and with the world. With the environment and with nature. With everything and nothing, literally. That’s how I hold it anyways, and it’s proven the most useful frame for myself and the people I trust to make good sense of things.
So I’ll invite you to consider Empathy as a part of your Embodiment.
Not as a soft and overly emotional process, but as a means of perceiving others -and the world- and working to understand their perspective and what hopes, dreams, needs, and desires they might have. To the staunch “my consciousness is the whole consciousness” crowd this might at first feel like a handicap. Afterall, how am I to focus this materialized mortal creature into creating the reality *I* want if I am also giving attention to what *others* want?
Consider this: as we agree that individuation happened, and that we are all one thing yet here to experience a unique self in the universe, then maybe we can agree to the notion that teamwork makes the dream work.
When embodiment includes empathy in that we can empathize with the experience of others, it unlocks the potential to see and appreciate what our fellow souls are here to actualize. Empathy doesn’t mean compromise. It doesn’t mean feeling their feels for them, or taking their burdens and expectations on as your own. It is the act of using your powers of perception to understand, at least in part, what their experience of the world is like. It’s a willingness to get curious about how the universe is doing on the other side of individuation; feeling for the patterns and parallels that exist in each of us. If you delve into understanding the perspective of someone else, and find that their vision of the future isn’t a good match for yours, better to know that now than get into a tight spot later, aye? But if you find the ones who have synergy with you; the folks embodying a thing you find valuable and interesting, well you’ve just hit the jackpot. Where there was once now there are two. Soon maybe more? And as the synergistic parts of their Embodiment support your own, both beings thrive.
Empathetic Embodiment begets even more Embodiment.
And what do you get for all of this Awareness, Presence, and Embodiment?
More of whatever you choose. More time as you trim the fat of what isn’t where you want to spend it, and less time in the things that you wish would pass. More freedom of location as you notice where you’re placing yourself improperly and stop. More cashflow in your business as you focus on what’s truly yours to do and most aligned with all of the parts of your Self that you value, which in term is felt and understood by others and valued for it’s dharmic alignment. You get a body that is understood and cared for, and a mind that no longer runs amuck without discipline and direction.
With Awareness first, Presence next, and Embodiment as often as possible, you get to be exactly whatever and whomever you want to be in this life because the doors of your self mastery fly open. This is your foundation. These pieces are your rock to build upon. upon them stand the Principles of your life, the culture that grows from that fertile soil, and the Structures that matter to you. This includes all of the Sensemakers that we’ve talked about elsewhere. The inner voices that sort out the endless flow of information. Give them this solid ground and they immediately become stronger. This is your hack to a better self because when you stabilize the foundations, the rest gets better automatically.
Which might lead you to question, “Huh, how am I actually doing?”
There are ways we can check your Awareness, but by now you should be pretty clear on that. As well, the questions above and many more can help you get a sense of your capacity for Presence. And as for Embodiment? Envision that which you desire to be and make it so. But in all of that foundational work we tend to track how well it’s going a few layers up. Not in the Principles of how we are, or even our personal culture of understanding and expression from which we build. We tend to track the results up in the Structural layer; the layer where we actually build things, take actions, and make choices.
This tends to be the easiest place to eyeball our progress without falling through space time like Dr. Strange, and for that reason I put together and regularly enhance a little evaluation I call the 9 Freedoms Assessment. This is a simple quiz you can go through to get a report on how exactly your Sovereignty is going. As of now it’s one part automated, one part personal feedback, and one part quick conversation to get you on the track you choose.
If that sounds interesting, head over to www.kedrikwinterwolf.com/9fa and buy your 9FA. I look forward to seeing your results and chatting with you about some good next steps. It’s all much closer than you think, and a hell of a lot easier.
Here’s to your Sovereignty,
And before that, Blessings on your
Awareness, Presence, and Embodiment,
-Kedrik Winter Wolf
Kedrik Winter Wolf