What is the only 'thing' which continues through our lifetime?
It's not our body, our appearance. It changes permanently. After six months every single atom in our body will be replaced.
It's not 'self' or our 'I' or ego. You are not the same boy or girl who you used to be at age five or ten. You would hardly even agree with your previous 'self'. It fluctuates all the times.
Not our experiences or memories, skills or habits, knowledge or information collected are permanent. We forget most of what we once learned. Our skills and habits develop, change and disappear, like everything.
Not our ideas or views, thoughts or dreams, our assessments or principles, beliefs or truths, our self-esteem or honour remain unchanged. Not even our names or titles.
But we know, we are sure, we are aware, that there is something which has continuity, there must be something constant, persistent.
And yes, it's awareness — our ability to notice, to be attentive, to pay attention, to concentrate our mind. We are aware of our body and self, aware of our experiences and thoughts. We are aware, we know and notice what we are doing, what we are looking at, thinking and talking about , etc. We are aware of what we see, hear, touch, taste or smell.
At least, it's highly recommended to be aware, to develop awareness, we could really be aware about everything. Indeed, there are interruptions in our awareness. While sleeping and dreaming, we are not aware. Sometimes our awareness is blurred, sometimes we lost adequate awareness because of strong feelings or emotions or because of using alcohol or other good staff. But in general, we are aware of our self almost continually throughout our life, or at least we believe that our self remains the same, because our awareness of our self seems to be the same.
There is a reason why it's so important, to develop awareness, to be in the moment, in present, to be aware, mindful, awakened, attentive. This is the natural way to spiritual development.
Being aware of our body, indeed. How it functions, how well it is. Training our mind to pay special attention to some aspects with this body, like breathing, walking, sleeping. Taking care of our body is normal and necessary.
Being aware of our 'self,' our self-image, being aware of our duties and responsibilities.
Being aware of what we have learned, experienced, seen, heard, read. Being aware of our memories. Being aware of our old and new skills and habits.
Being aware of our thoughts. How and why they appear and disappear.
We are not aware while sleeping and dreaming, while our awareness is switched off. And even when we are in our normal, daily, awakened state of consciousness, it is usually blurred, overshadowed with our restlessness, with various thoughts, stimulus, actions, needs, wanting, etc. In our normal, everyday life we can hardly stay out of this mess, in order to be mindful, aware and fully awakened.
Being totally aware is not an easy task. Most people hardly have enough awareness, just not more as for a tiny fractions of time, after which they feel themselves tired and need some rest. And yes, a short nap in daytime can create sufficient freshness indeed in order to be aware again.
Total awareness is approximately the same as total attentiveness, mindfulness, etc.