Awareness is the ability to know directly and to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns. Changes in our level of awareness do not happen by accident but takes a concerted effort. It requires first being self-aware of one’s own ways of thinking and perspective. Awareness of one's own way of seeing the world and the process through which we reason is seen as a prerequisite to becoming an effective systems thinker.
In this sense we can understand systems thinking as a form of meta-language in that one of its explicit aims is to help individuals to understand their ways of thinking better, their underlying assumptions, processes of reasoning; how our actions and the world they create lead directly from how we reason and see the world. We call this reflexive thinking and it is from this that we can begin to start to work on shifting our thinking to a different level, to the systems level. This is what we will be covering in this guide.