Your conscious self is a reflection of your unconscious self, which many spiritual teachers refer to as “the heart”. In order to consciously believe or understand anything, you must first believe it and understand it subconsciously. No amount of browbeating your mind can force you to believe anything your subconscious mind does not understand or accept. Your true character, your morals, what you believe about yourself (your “ego”), are soundly centered in your unconsciousness. Your conscious mind merely reacts, with no intuition or understanding of its own. Thoughts rise randomly from your unconsciousness. Self-awareness is the practice of being consciously aware of your thoughts, impulses and desires as they arise in your conscious mind. This self-awareness is effectively practiced with dispassion, without judgement, and with tremendous love and understanding for yourself. Rather than trying to change or “improve” yourself, you simply observe. In this way, you begin to know what you are, and why. This is the true beginning of enlightenment.
Notes to myself while reading “I Am That”, P.74, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj