Ever felt like your life is spiralling out of control? Where you find yourself in situations filled with negativity and drama over and over again? We all experience these phases at some point or another but when these patterns become consistent and you feel victimised by life, then shifting gears to conscious living is the greatest step you can take to save yourself from this chaos.
Before you start getting any whacky ideas, none of this is about leaving everything behind and isolating yourself on a mountain top to become awakened. To live consciously is to simply becoming intentional about the kind of life you choose to live and driving your thoughts, behaviours and decision making in that direction. A choice that can be made exactly where you are, right here, right now.
The sad reality is that a majority of us don’t actually explore change or the possibility of making better choices until we hit rock bottom. In other words, we continue to stay where we are, until life hits us. This in Zen philosophy is known as Kensho, that describes growth through pain. Consider something as common as procrastinating on your assignments until you miss all the deadlines and have to face the humiliation of failing. Sucks!
A better way of going about this is adopting the contrasting concept of Satori, basically growth that occurs through insight. Say that you’re already heavily immersed in the personal growth space and experience a moment of awakening by virtue of being exposed to an idea through a book or a meditative experience and the penny drops.
For people who are naturally curious this one comes easy because being inquisitive and regularly questioning, leads to various revelations. It also stops you from functioning on auto-pilot mode considering that 90% of the brain activity is driven by the subconscious.
If you’ve ever struggled with weight issues and have tried all diets in vain because food was comforting for you as a child, that’s the subconscious showing up. A lot of limiting beliefs and self-sabotage emerge from what is deeply ingrained in the subconscious mind. As the saying goes ‘you don’t know, what you don’t know’. Until you dive deeper into the self with awareness and choose to do something different about it.
So much of what we adopt are actually ideas from other people and our circle of influence- parents, friends, teachers and the like. While there’s nothing wrong with being a part of an eco-system, problems start arising when we live everyone else’s version of our life and base our judgements around other people’s experiences.
Inter-generational patterns, are a classic example of this. Racial hate, as in the case of white supremacy that’s been carrying on for no particular reason but solely because the grandparents and great grandparents grew up believing that people of colour were inferior, dangerous, or whatever it may be for them! Being exposed to such beliefs or prejudices calls for serious questioning- ‘Is this something I personally believe in or have picked up from someone else along the way’?
When you start to question and rewire your beliefs, you begin to take charge of your reality. Being conscious helps you take personal responsibility for your life. With that you drop the luxury of blaming someone else for how you feel or react. You’re no longer a victim of your circumstances but an active creator of it.
On the other end of the spectrum, being ‘unconscious’ has absolutely no transformational value as we indulge in gossip, throw our judgements at people about things we do ourselves, spend hours mindlessly scrolling through social media, binge watch nonsensical reality shows, hoard on things we don’t need and feed our immediate cravings with junk food.
One way to move out of these traps is to introspect on your values and integrate them with the choices you make. Eventually this will start to show up everywhere right from the kind of people you surround yourself with, to the content you consume and the habits you form.
It really shouldn’t take halfway through our lives before we find ourselves in distress; when we have the option to explore change through inquiry and joy.
Once you choose the path of living more consciously you immediately gain the power to turn around your story. Making that decision is the first step towards your evolution as well as a fulfilled and epic life.