Consciousness: What the Heck is It? And How to Live With It!

What Does Living Life Consciously Mean? Living life consciously means taking control of your life, and making everyday decisions in a state of awareness.  Instead of reacting automatically to the things happening to your life through your emotions.  You get to decide the direction of your life instead of drifting through it as a victim to circumstances.

You are aware that past events has no effect on future outcomes, and you are able to shut off the chattering of doubts and worries that is always going on in your head.  You are able to live in the “moment” and enjoy what life has to offer right “now”.

Conscious living is not something you can do overnight.  It is a skill, art, and lifestyle that one must learn to make it an everyday habit.  It is deceptively simple, but it can make the difference in you having control over your life, or life having control over you.

It is not easy to change our lives, and break out old routines to live the life that we want.  It takes persistent effort and honest evaluations of all our life’s decisions.  But once you have achieved the skill of living life consciously, the world is your playground, and life is like an effortless dream.

Do you live your life consciously? Ask yourself these questions, if you answer yes to most of these questions then conscious living may greatly improve all areas of your life.

1) Do you spend most of your time thinking about the past and worrying about the future?

2) Do you keep yourself from doing things, because you think that it is not possible or that you are not capable?

3) Do you think that it is your circumstances that is keeping you from doing the things that you want?

4) Do you go through your day wishing that it would be over to relieve you from all the stress.

5) Are you in a job that you drifted into instead of a job that you want?

6) Are you doing things that you “have to”, rather than things that you “want to” do?

7) Does your physical look play an important role in how you feel?

8) Do you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck always worrying about your finances?

9) Do you feel that you don’t have enough time for yourself because you are too busy.

10) Do you feel that life is hard, and you won’t be completely happy until you attain success?

If you answer no to all these questions then you are already living life consciously, if not then read on and learn how.

Conscious living can help you in all areas of your life:

Career: being able to find your true excitement and passion to make it your job.
Relationships: understanding and appreciating others to help you grow.
Spirituality: feeling of completeness and full awareness of life.
Health: conscious of health habits that contribute to overall life style.
Money: achieve financial freedom by identifying and changing your limiting beliefs.
Habits: creating a new life style that is congruent with your desires.
Personal Growth: gain unlimited knowledge though passion and imagination.

How Do I Experience Consciousness?

Being conscious can be a simple process but at the same time can be difficult to practice.  To experience consciousness you must first understand the two different levels of your mind and how it works.  First there is your “subconscious”, some may also refer to it as the “lower mind”, or the “physical mind”.  The second level is “consciousness“, also refer to as the “higher mind”.

The function of the subconscious/lower mind/physical mind, is to help you interpret and give meaning to what is going on in your life through your “beliefs” and life experiences.  From your beliefs, thoughts are then formed which activates your emotions that leads into action. (you should read the last two sentence again to help understand the process)

For example, let’s take a moment to imagine; you are driving down the road and a car cuts abruptly into your lane in front of you, at that split of a second, your subconscious runs the scenario through your “beliefs” system, trying to get the meaning of that situation.  If your belief is; this person is disrespecting me by cutting into my space!  From that belief, you will generate negative thoughts of being disrespected.  Your thoughts of being disrespected then activates your “angry” emotions, which motivates you to take action by trying to get even by running the person off the road.  Sound like somebody you know?…Maybe personally?

This is an example of living life as a drifting “reactive” person and not a “conscious” person.  Think of our subconscious as the “programming” part of our brain, this is where all our life’s experiences, what we have learned from people around us, what we have seen on television, and all our “beliefs” are stored here.  Our subconscious is designed to help make our life easier by quickly giving us answers by running any life scenarios through our programming.

The way we see and experience our world is a reflection of all our beliefs within our subconscious.  So if we are unhappy of the way our life is going then we must change our “programming”, and the only way you can do that, is through a state of awareness which is consciousness.

Consciousness also referred to as “awareness” and “higher mind”.  Through consciousness you can access creativity, passion, ideas, and imagination.  You are able to examine all your life’s decisions and have full control over the direction of it.  It’s like looking at yourself from above as a guide, and having that cushion of “time”, in every moment to make conscious decisions.  This state of being is closely related to zen and enlightenment.

Going back to the above example of road rage.  If you were in a state of awareness then you would have the freedom to decide how you want to react to that scenario, instead of surrendering that choice and letting your subconscious take over.  This is true for all aspects of our lives.  Do you have full control of your life? Or are you just drifting through it on autopilot like a walking zombie.

Consciousness can be experienced though many different ways.  It helps to be relaxed so that you are not in a reactive state.  Relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or just being more aware of your surroundings by living in the moment can help you to be in a more conscious state.  Try not to label or react quickly to things that are happening to you, instead know that nothing has any meaning to it, until you decide to give it meaning.  We sometimes can’t control the things that are coming into our lives but we certainly can control how we want to react and what we want to learn from it.

Here are some ways to live more consciously:

Reflect on your life on a regular basis.  This can be done daily or on a weekly basis, it should be done when you are in a relaxed environment with no distractions.  Replay the events that went on through out your day and observe yourself to see if you were making decisions consciously or as a reactive person.  Acknowledge your actions and make a mental note to improve your awareness and conscious state next time.  Pay attention to your feelings within all your decisions, and if your actions and thoughts are congruent with what you want in life.

Make a list of the things you want in your life and WHY you want it. Most people continue to work in a job that they don’t like because they want certain material things, but if they really take time to examine the real reasons, they might be surprised to know that they really don’t need it.  For example, some people spend their money on expensive brand name clothes, they know that they want it in their life, but don’t ever think about the real reasons why.  It may be that they are conditioned by society, the media, and advertisements to give them a particular feeling of status, happiness, or fulfillment.

There is nothing wrong with buying brand name clothes, it’s just the question of are you buying it because you truly like that style or are you affected by the programming from our society and media.  As you make your list and reasons, you will be able to see clearly what are the driving forces of your life.  By going through your list you then will have the opportunity to decide consciously what is “really” worth keeping in your life.

Reflect on your relationships. Our friends and family make up a big part of our life, so take time to reflect on your relationships.  Think about the kind of relationships you “want” to have with them and all the “reasons” that is keeping you from having it.  If possible write down these reasons, then closely examine them with a state of awareness.  See if your “reasons” are formed out of a “reactive” state based on your limiting beliefs, or rather a conscious “neutral” one.  You may find that after all these years, the only things that was keeping you from having deep and meaningful connections, was your ego, pride, and misinterpretations.

Practice living in the “Moment”. The only way we can live more consciously is to learn how to live in the “moment”.  Living in the “moment” also referred to as living in the “now”, it is so simple but extremely important for personal growth.  In today’s society with our busy lives, our minds are always filled with thoughts of worries and everyday obligations.  It’s no wonder why it is so difficult to have time for ourselves to enjoy any “moment” at all.

No matter how busy life is, you should always take some time for yourself.  Doing things you enjoy or passionate about, allows you to be in the moment.  By being in the moment you allow yourself to be conscious and to turn off all the chattering from you mind, which relaxes you.  At that moment, you are at your most “natural” state and this is where ideas and inspirations spawn from.

Honest evaluation of “Self”. The only way we can improve our life through conscious living is by honestly evaluating what kind of person we are and who we really want to be.  For most people this may be a scary thing, and extremely difficult.  It’s easy when it comes to judging other people, but when it comes to self-evaluation we tend to be a lot more bias.  But being bias doesn’t help us grow, it just hides our problems, so it’s crucial for us to have an honest talk with ourselves.

First you must realize that nobody is perfect, and it’s through the realization of our imperfections is where there is great potential for growth.  So the more you find things that you are unhappy about, the more you will have room to grow as a conscious human being.  To start this process, take time to think about the person that you are and prepare to ask challenging questions.

(write out and answer these questions when possible) What are some of the things that people may say about you?  Are you a positive person most of the time?  Do other people misunderstand you?  What can you do to change how they think of you?  Are you a reactive person?  Do you help put out the flame or contribute to the fire?  Is there anything that you would want to change about yourself?  What kind of person do you really want to be?  What are the reasons that are keeping you from becoming that person?

Answering these questions honestly and reflecting on your daily progress often, will allow you to grow and be more of a conscious person.

Now that you understand the benefits of living life consciously, the next step is to practice it everyday.  Conscious living is a life style that can enrich your life’s experience by giving it direction and purpose.  Keep in mind that the process itself is a continuous journey of life, so have fun and enjoy every moment of it!
by Don T. Mai