“The purpose of life is to live, and to live is to be aware.”

David Schiller

Can we talk about living for a man who is in a coma? What Schiller is trying to emphasize is probably this dimension of awareness. Actually, you live to the extent of your awareness of what is going on in your life.


We always think that we are aware.   As a result of my job, I see the greatest illusions of awareness in those to whom I suggest seeking help from a therapist. “I know that my husband is a short tempered man, and treats me badly when I do something to make him jealous. And it is not something about me. As my husband’s jealousy will not change when I go to a psychologist…” or, “I am aware of what a finicky person I am, and that even if I sit at my desk for hours, I will not be able to get anything done until I tidy up the mess around me.  And then I will have to wash my hands 7 times. I am also aware that these are all nonsense, and I shouldn’t be doing them.” Can we really call this awareness?


What happened that made me choose a jealous man as a husband? Why does this relationship feel so familiar? How do I feel in this relationship? What does it mean to me, having someone who is jealous of me? AM I AWARE?

What is the relationship between tidying up around me and tidying up inside me? What is it that makes me feel my hands are dirty, what is the dirty thing that I can’t get rid of even after 6 washings? Since when is this? AM I AWARE?


As I said, awareness is an entire dimension; it is a very deep ocean. We can drown, swim with enjoyment, or dive to the bottom and discover the beauty of life in the deep. However, it is all a process. It doesn’t happen on its own. Diving, staying under water, being able to recognize the life down there, all require effort, patience, courage, desire and experience. And one sometimes needs a guide.


Guides are plentiful. Sometimes a book, a byline that you read, sometimes someone you encounter on the street, o child much younger than you, and sometimes a professional, a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist… What is important is willingness to see, to be aware…  To want to learn about what is going on with one’s self more than to learn about others…  Not to give up even when what one becomes aware about one’s self hurts… Because awareness means the first step that leads to change and to healing. Without it, unfortunately, there is neither the wish nor the effort to head for the better.


Derya Gulterler