What Does It Mean to Live Consciously?
“It’s in complete contrast with sleepwalking through life only WAKE AT 90 with a belly of sadness and a heart of regret.”
Russell Brand has been harping on about living consciously ever since he shunned the rock and roll lifestyle over a decade ago. Hot on the bandwagon is his ex-wife Katy Perry, Amy Schumer, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jim Carey to name a few. Transcendental meditation and kale juice in tow these a-listers have embraced the power of spiritual healing and are gung-ho on helping you do so too.
But what exactly is conscious living when it’s at home? In a nutshell it’s making more conscious decisions in your life that are aligned with who you are. It’s in complete contrast with sleepwalking through life only to get to 90 with a belly of sadness and a heart full of regret. These decisions permeate every aspect of our lives from relationships to motivation, diet to expression and everything in between. If we’re not living a life that’s truly aligned with who we are then we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
Living consciously allows us to make better decisions. Decisions from a place of intention, not reaction. See we all sleepwalk through life to a certain extent, unaware of our deep internal desires and drivers. We are born into a family and with that comes an influx of patterns and behaviours that we inherently adopt as our own way of life. Those early exposures are the default template for how we live. The relationships we form. The beliefs and behaviours we have around everything - from what we feel we deserve to money to work ethic and the rest. As kids we soak it all up - that which is said and that which is unsaid. It’s not until we’re faced with the unbearable - addiction, depression, anxiety that we’re motivated to explore what lies beneath. And when we start to do an emotional audit we often get more than we bargained for.
And that’s not all. Another part of the puzzle that requires careful examination is our emotional experiences, the significant stuff that have shaped us. Our perception of events as a child is wildly different to our perception of events as an adult and unbeknownst to ourselves we harbour much of these emotions within. It’s not until we hit crisis point that we are suddenly faced with a whole mound of unaddressed feelings that have been bubbling beneath the surface for years. That’s why boiling point is so bloody hot.
But how do we live more consciously?
Face the Truth
It all starts with facing whatever it is your dealing with head on. Recognising that something isn’t working for you anymore, that something has to change and that change starts with you. It’s not easy to dig deep, if it were everyone would be living consciously. It involves unearthing a mound of past pain and working through the hurt and the frustration to get to where you want to be. It requires courage and the will to explore, to take responsibility and to make change.
The next and most significant step of the journey is developing self-awareness, a keen understanding of your inner world. Unconsciously we have a mind map that is deeply ingrained in our psyche. Self awareness knowing your emotions - knowing what they are and where they come from. Self awareness helps us make conscious the unconscious beliefs that drive our behaviour. Developing it requires you to look at the symptoms - to honestly assess the parts of your life you are unhappy with, to identify patterns in your behaviours, to figure out the role you play in all this and to take responsibility for changing. Awareness is the first step.
Ditch the Distractions
Attention raises consciousness, distraction does the complete opposite. The magic is in focusing on one thing at a time, it’s being intentional. Think about it when you’re not paying attention how can you be conscious?
Start focusing more. Ditch the smartphone when in company. Scrap lunch on the go for a 20 minute mindful meal. The email doesn't need a reply from the meeting you’re in. Slow down, take stock - the world goes on regardless.
Know Your Time
Begin to track how you spend your time. Do you snooze for an hour every morning? What does the screen time app tell you about your online habits? Are we binge watching Netflix or extensively engaging in whatsapp groups that serve no real purpose other than to make sure you’ve seen the latest on the big d*ck whatsapp guy. Knowing whether your time is spent on personal development or personal distraction might just be enough to inspire change.
Develop Positive Values
Positive values raise consciousness like no other. Negative values lower consciousness and keep you in a low energy vibration, just the kind that attracts more of the same. Choosing courage, desire, compassion, knowledge, reason, energy and intention over cowardice, apathy, cruelty, ignorance, irrationality, disease, and passivity will help you attract more of these positives into your life.
About The Author
Siobhan is a Trainee Psychotherapist, Mental Health Advocate and Editor of crakd. She’s also embroiled in an intense love affair with eclectic interiors and colourful food.
Follow Siobhan on Instagram @siobhan_scan