Dr. Itai Ivtzan | Awareness is Freedom


"Fears, difficulties, challenges, pain – all of those non-invited guests in my consciousness – have always provided the best possible platform for my most meaningful and valuable change."

Dr. Ivtzan is a positive psychologist, a senior lecturer, and the program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London (UEL).  Dr Ivtzan's work is based upon the idea that Awareness Is Freedom. As demonstrated in this punchy, articulate entry for TheVproject, he is passionate about the combination of psychology and spirituality and believes if we can succeed in introducing them both into our lives, we will all become super-heroes, and gain super-strengths of awareness, courage, resilience, and compassion. Music to our ears!

Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. Do you agree? Vulnerability, for me, is the experience of facing my self, without any layers, and sharing this authentic self with others. Without disguises, avoidance, or games - simply authentic sharing of what I truly am. Therefore, I completely agree that vulnerability reflects my level of courage. When I allow myself to be vulnerable I am also, simultaneously, courageous. I have also realised, while writing these words, that it works the other way around as well - my courage is being reflected in my level of vulnerability. They walk hand in hand.

ItaiportraitWorthiness, lack of self-belief, perfectionism – there are many blocks that prevent us from leaning into vulnerability. How do you move past them? What do those blocks & blurts look like for you? What do you think we can do to make them less controlling/dominant? Awareness. The magical experience which leads to freedom. It begins with the awareness of these blocks. Noticing, in my everyday life how ideas I have about my self, and things I'm “supposed” to be, are actually holding me back and prevent the experience of vulnerability. For example, when I believe that I need to be “smart” or “successful” I could easily lack the courage to be vulnerable - because such authenticity might contradict the image of success or intelligence that I need to keep. Awareness allows me to see these “beliefs” and let go of them before they narrow my experience of life.

"Only when we're brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." How much of your creative process is a battle with power? Do you always find the end result empowering?

When I observe my personal journey I realise something incredible: most of my growth, change, and transformation, is linked in one way or another to aspects of my self that I used to think of as “dark”. Fears, difficulties, challenges, pain – all of those non-invited guests in my consciousness – have always provided the best possible platform for my most meaningful and valuable change. It’s this moment when I face that fear, or pain, and stare right at it. Deep within. And breathe, and breathe, and breathe, until at some point, without knowing how it happened, I find myself a little bit more free of it. Can you imagine something more empowering than the experience of freedom?

Itai elaborated on the topic at the 2013 TEDxRussellSquare conference:


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