In this excerpt from the online course Master Your Becoming, Miles talks about the purpose of recognition and choice.
The importance of awareness is not in any given moment, necessarily to calm down, although that's an amazing thing.
It's not necessarily in the moment to have a different reaction to our pain, although that's an amazing thing.
The purpose is to shift out of unconsciousness in order to make an inroad and direct consciousness over evolution. If you get a chance to read the Buddhist Origins [of Mindfulness] article that I wrote, in there are two aspects that we're really trying to develop. These are called recognition and choice. Just to keep it very simple in your own life, think about some imprint, habit, reaction that you have. If you're if you're unconscious and you get triggered then you react and that reaction doesn't just stop there. That reaction has a reinforcement contingency and creates momentum of its own. As long as there's unconsciousness and imprint and reaction, action and reaction, then it's almost like an evolutionary train track to the same destination.
The only way that train track can be veered or steered is by one thing, one factor, consciousness, awareness. If you get that nice continuity, train track principle with the propulsion of instincts and imprints from the past and actions and reactions that create circumstances again and again suddenly you have what's called samsara.
The idea behind awareness is to crowbar oneself out of the train track and to blaze a new trail out of samsara. How that works is that you have enough presence of mind to recognize where the momentum is going. Then you have built in a new set of principles or actions or relationships in order to make a choice. Instead of going this way, I have recognition and choice. From a temporary point of view, the choice doesn't necessarily change much. It can have a temporary aspect but it's making that choice again and again and again, lifetime after lifetime and when I say lifetime I use it loosely. It can be in this lifetime.
If we get real, how long does it really take to make a significant change in your life? It can take years right? But when that significant change is really embedded itself, it then feels like a new life. You're now having a new experience. We would say that would be a rebirth. So the purpose of awareness is to have an evolutionary advantage in order to create the conditions of recognition and choice in order to redirect or steer consciousness in a new, more favorable direction.