Many people hear the word consciousness, use the word consciousness, and think that we all understand consciousness the same way. Consciousness however has many broad meanings and I feel very passionate about making sure that when we all gather here on Evolving Beings, we are talking about the same thing.
The idea of consciousness is the core of Evolving Beings. Understanding and applying it makes a detrimental difference to the quality of your life. It is the seed needed for growing the tree of infinite happiness and lack of it is the dull space that remains filled with sadness, despair, anxiety, and many more negative states. So to grasp this most crucial topic it is first necessary to fully understand it and hence redefine it to appreciate its magnificent potential!
Consciousness – to too many people over the years has simply meant “being alive” as opposed to dead or in a comatose state or meaning having your basic senses intact. The origin of how this word got downplayed comes from the idea that when someone for example suffered some injury and fainted they were observed and described as “having lost their consciousness” or that they “became unconscious”. This word does apply to these situations of course but in its most extremely limited state.
Too many people think that just because I can see, smell, touch or hear and my brain functions at an appropriate level that I have the tools needed to live and survive each day. Well, I have to agree with them, you probably will survive and get through each day but in what state and to what capacity of your spiritual and human potential?
Unfortunately if this is enough for you then you are just scraping the bare minimum of what your potential as a being offers. Imagine yourself taking tests and being able to score 100% on every one of them and getting only 10% on each one. Is this enough for you? Obviously not. Most people would never be happy or satisfied with such results. Then why is it that when it comes to our own human and spiritual potential we settle for so little, we seek so little and we limit ourselves so much?
So what does consciousness really mean and what power does it hold within that elevated definition for us? Well, it would make most sense that the first place to seek a definition would be a dictionary. Therefore I decided to see what the most popular dictionary, Merriam-Webster, would have to say about this word, and here it is, straight from Merriam-Webster, the definition of consciousness:
1: a) the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself b) the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact c) awareness; especially concern for some social or political cause
2: the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought: mind
3: the totality of conscious states of an individual
4: the normal state of conscious life
5: the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes
Upon reading the above definitions, 2 main thoughts immediately struck me: 1) not a bad definition, especially parts 1, 2 and 5! That is exactly where the key lies to tapping into your own potential and 2) Aha! Now I understand its misuse even more, look again at part 4, as I stated above it is not wrong, but it is just one tiny aspect of it which most of us have grabbed onto too tightly.
From the above definition one should also make a few other key observations:
- Consciousness and awareness (or self-awareness) are synonymous
- True consciousness comes from within and being more aware of your thoughts than what you smell or see is much more important
- Re-read all of 1a and reflect on it as it is the shortest, and quickest way to get the point
- Consciousness does not mean in any way being on “auto-pilot” which is how most of us get through each day
- Consciousness involves self-control to be able to focus in on the inner and outer states of ourselves and the world around us
My personal journey with consciousness started quite early in my very early 20′s. Before I could verbalize what I can now about the topic, I started noticing one huge pattern in the people around me, they lived most of the time on this sort of “auto-pilot”, unconscious of themselves and their surroundings.
Some of the most obvious examples we can see in people of this include: addictions or habits like overeating, smoking, drinking excessively, fidgeting constantly, name-calling and the list goes on. At that point in my life I did refer to it more as “having self-control” but out of that today I realized that what is behind and between that self-control is self-awareness or consciousness. The best part is that when I would ask people in certain negative situations, “are you aware of what you are doing right now?” or “saying right now?” and in all cases they would respond with “of course!”
Well at that point you would kind of want to bang your head against the wall, because how can a sane individual saying they know something is bad still inflict harm on self or others? The answer, they are not accessing their consciousness. They are living off of routine patterns, thoughts and actions which have been said or performed so many times that they appear to be logical and worse conscious.
So for starters you should not have to “tell” yourself you are conscious or living in a conscious way. Maybe you are, but in most cases if you have to tell yourself or convince yourself, you are not. There is a 100% full proof method to know if you are or aren’t. Just look at your life and ask yourself: “am I physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in the best shape I can be in?”
In other words are ALL those areas of my life bringing me peace and fulfillment? If the answer is yes then wonderful, you are living consciously already, whether you labelled it as such or not. However, if the answer is no for any tiny reason or because of any one of those areas then the answer is most likely no, to a small or large degree, you are not living consciously and hence not tapping into your highest potential.
Going back to me, it wasn’t until 3 years ago that I realized that there is something more than just simple self-control, and about 2 years ago I realized that our planet is waking up, waking up out of the deepest sleep it has been in for thousands of years – a sleep of unconsciousness. This is why I am so unimaginably excited and passionate to be alive on this planet today as it experiences the greatest shift towards human collective consciousness than it had ever before. Be it from an environmental, political, religious or personal level, the world is entering a great time of change that is introducing, expanding and uplifting our true and deep conscious states. In one word it is joyful!
My final understanding and appreciation of consciousness came last year when I bought and read Eckhart Tolle’s book entitled A New Earth. As I read that book, my heart literally leapt for joy inside of me and my soul stirred. I cannot explain the feelings in words. It was as if at once everything connected to consciousness and the mystery between human suffering and fulfillment made sense. It all fit, in Eckhart’s beautiful and elegant book on this topic. I truly don’t think it could have been put a better way.
There is so much passion and knowledge that I want to pass on this topic that I will be writing many more articles on just his book alone as it is one of those classic and priceless pieces of art (this one in the form of a book) that will inspire and transform all that interact with it.
In conclusion, it is true that most of us today, I am not going to guess any percentages, to a high degree live life unconsciously and until we recognize that, we will for the most part feel a certain amount of unease in any or all areas of our life.
We can get a hold of things and take our life in the direction we want from every aspect but first we must practice living every day consciously. And at first this will not be easy, but we must practice it just like we would any skill. Think to yourself, if you put in the time and effort into anything, you do reap the benefits of your efforts.
In future articles I will be expanding practical applications of how to live consciously and the harmony and fulfillment your life will become rich with.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)