Awareness is an ability every person has. If a person was a car, we could say that the ability to be aware comes as standard equipment from the factory. Although we all have this magical ability, few people take the time nor make the effort to learn how best to use it. Instead, most people take awareness for granted. As a result, for them, awareness is haphazard: They are aware of whatever their awareness happens to fall upon.
However there is much more to awareness. Awareness can be developed like a skill, to be directed, rather than random, focused, and concentrated. When one learns how to direct, focus and concentrate his awareness, it become an essential tool for personal and spiritual growth.
Trained awareness is like a bright light that makes it possible to see what previously was unseen in the dark. It is awareness that allows us to discern what is true from what is false, and enables a person to discriminate between his own motivations, emotions and possible actions and choose among them. Being able to do this is a key to cultivating inner peace and gaining self realization.
Awareness is an integral part of the timeless self-development path of Raja Yoga. As one engages in the awareness developing practices of Raja Yoga that lead to meditation, s/he learns how to effectively use the gift of awareness. This is one of the great benefits that yoga bestows on it's sincere practitioners.