What is Conscious Living?
Conscious Living. These two words have infiltrated the world in recent years. What does it really mean to live consciously? For many, “conscious living” brings up a sense of community, like-minded individuals, or perhaps a feeling of peace and power. For others, “conscious living” is about “tree-huggers”, chanting and Whole Foods.
Although I consider myself a fan of “conscious living,” I never stopped to define it “consciously.” The dictionary defines “conscious” as:
1. Having an awareness of one’s environment and one’s own existence, sensations, and thoughts. See Synonyms at aware.
2. Mentally perceptive or alert; awake: The patient remained fully conscious after the local anesthetic was administered.
3. Capable of thought, will, or perception: the development of conscious life on the planet.
4. Subjectively known or felt: conscious remorse.
5. Intentionally conceived or done; deliberate: a conscious insult; made a conscious effort to speak more clearly.
6. Inwardly attentive or sensible; mindful: was increasingly conscious of being watched.
7. Especially aware of or preoccupied with. Often used in combination: a cost-conscious approach to further development; a health-conscious diet.
Consciousness is defined as “a sense of one’s personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group.”
What is it to be conscious? Essentially, being “conscious” is about bringing AWARENESS to every aspect of your life — inside and out. Think about it. How many opportunities are there to bring “consciousness” to? There are literally thousands of big and little things to bring our full attention to, or not.
* We can consciously evaluate each area of life, such as our health, finances, relationships, fun, our environment and our spirituality.
* We can be conscious of our thoughts and beliefs that are shaping our lives. Beliefs about ourselves, others, politics, the media and the world. Beliefs about what is good and what is bad. Thoughts that are true or untrue in reality.
* We can be conscious of our choices. What do you say “yes” to? What do you say “no” to? Will you work out today? Eat healthfully? Break the law or follow the law? Be considerate or rude? What will you focus on today? Is the glass half full or half empty?
* We can be conscious about setting goals and influencing the quality of our lives. What are your dreams? What are you really committed to? Who do you want to spend time with? Are you moving toward your goals?
* We can be conscious during activities – talking, eating, working out, having sex, cleaning, sailing, driving, cooking, showering, walking the dog or reading.
* We can be conscious of our authentic selves. Our strengths, weaknesses, and personality tendencies. Our desires. Our level of happiness. Our passions.
* We can be conscious of being conscious. Noticing when we are “present to life” or “checked out.” When all of our senses are engaged, or when we are numb.
WHY get more “conscious”?
The more “consciousness” one brings to any aspect of life, the greater power there is. Power to make a positive change or influence an outcome. Power to experience a deeper level of fulfillment and joy. Power to be more authentically expressive. Power to create and choose.
Everything starts with consciousness. Where there is consciousness there is power.
Where there is lack of consciousness, we live our lives out of conditioned habit and impulses — which may or may not serve our highest potential and happiness. There is so much to pay attention to in life, it is easy to go on “autopilot,” to go unconscious. Our minds are set up to help us multi-task in this world. Unfortunately, where ever we are on autopilot, we’re not consciously directing our lives.
Let’s say you want to improve your relationship, health or financial situation. Obviously, without a minimal level of consciousness we might not even notice we want to improve that area — or that we’re even unhappy. Once conscious, we can get honest with ourselves. What is the current state of our relationship, health or financial situation? And, perhaps even more important, what is it that YOU want?
From here, we can expand our knowledge (consciousness) of what could improve our relationship, health or financial situation, or move us toward our desired outcome. Conscious actions follow. We read a book about relationships, choose healthy foods at the grocery store or focus on increasing profits or sales. Consciously noticing if what we’re doing is working or not helps us fine tune our focus. There is consciousness every step of the way.
Stay tuned for more on this topic in the weeks to come!