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ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE CONSCIOUSLY?

by Judith Hertling, C.H.C.
Illuminations Empowerment Service


Be more conscious. Live your life consciously.


It seems that we are hearing these, or similar words, more and more as we enter the new millennium. But, have you taken the time to ask yourself what living consciously means? How it impacts you and your daily life?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary describes consciousness as, "a state of being conscious; a totality of a person's thoughts and feelings; or perception. Simplified - be aware (conscious) of what is working in your life and continue doing it, and stop doing what is not working in your life.

This may sound uncomplicated and even simplistic in nature. But the actuality is most of us do not live on a conscious level. We are inclined to go about our business with little attention paid to the construction of our thoughts, or the purpose behind our actions. We respond or react to events, and interact with others as though on automatic pilot - the way we have always responded, with little thought given as to why. We quite literally don't think about it or question if the method in which we think, or the way that we act, is working to our ultimate benefit, or not. Seldom do we take the time to ask ourselves if we are giving our full attention to the work we do, or to our spouse, or to our children or even to ourselves. We behave mechanically to some extent, doing things the same way we have always done them, because it's the way we have always done them. We neglect to question our motives, or the reasoning behind what we do.

In an age when more and more adults especially women, are juggling family life and career, it's easy to be unaware of the level of consciousness that we bring to our daily activities, to our relationships, and to our interactions with others. Gary Zukav in his recent book "Seat of the Soul," stated "your consciousness affects every cell in your body and every cell in your body affects your consciousness." If this is true then surely bringing more consciousness to our lives can have only a positive impact on our physiology and wellbeing. But what exactly is the conscious mind? And, how do we control it?

Think of the conscious mind as an instrument which we employ to direct our attention toward a particular object which has been selected from a limitless assortment of thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensory images and physical sensations. When this instrument is not focused our attention zigzags from one distraction to another. When we break it down to its simplistic form we learn that the conscious mind is full self-awareness.

Consciousness is validation. It's accepting that these are my thoughts, my words, my feelings and my actions and I take responsibility for them. Consciousness is also introspection. It's taking the time to ask. "What am I thinking? And why am I thinking these particular thoughts? What prompted me to think this way? Are my thoughts valid given the circumstances, situation, etc? Consciousness means a correction of those thoughts, words, attitudes and actions, that are causing us guilt, pain, distress, criticism, self-absorption, etc.

There is no right or wrong thinking. There is only conscious choice.

When we choose to live consciously it instrumentality means that we are mentally attuned to what we think, feel, say and do. It means that we bring an expanded perception to those things that influence us. It also means that we are not anaesthetised to our capabilities, potential, and those talents that are inherent to all of us.

Being conscious is the single most important thing that we can do for ourselves. It also means that while we may be drawn towards being more conscious, we may also be afraid of it because it means that we alone our responsible for our ourselves. For our attitudes and thoughts, and our personal relationships, even our health. Being conscious requires strength and commitment to meet the challenge of self-evaluation and the responsibility to ask ourselves what can all too often be tough, and even painful questions. It can be unsettling and even difficult to evaluate our beliefs and then distance ourselves from those that no longer work for us. But questions need to be asked. Questions such as:

  • What areas of my life are working?
  • What areas of my life are not working?
  • Why am I doing what it is that I'm doing?
  • When am I doing it?
  • To whom am I doing it?
  • Am I fully aware of what I am thinking, doing, and saying?
  • Do I give my full attention to the task at hand?
  • What would happen if I decided to become more aware, more conscious?
  • What preconceived or false beliefs would I have to challenge and eliminate?
  • What debilitating or limiting fears would I have to face?
  • Would I have to let go of the past?

We also need to ask ourselves if we are living in contradiction to what we believe. Not what our parents taught us to believe or what our spouse thinks we should believe, but what we honestly believe. Are we saying one thing and doing another? Are we acting automatically without conscious thought to the aftermath of our thoughts, words and actions? Are we being true to ourselves, to who we really are underneath the façade of who others think we are? Or are we not thinking about it at all? Just reacting.

Once we have asked ourselves these questions then we can begin take one hundred percent responsibility for what we think. What we feel. What we say and what we do.

When we become more conscious of ourselves, we can challenge our limiting beliefs and become more aware of our thoughts we can begin to understand that we can create our lives in a more positive manner by conscious choice. Simply put, we become accountable for our beliefs, and thoughts, as well as our attitudes, feelings, choices and decisions. This means not transferring blame or responsibility to others. It means when unpleasant things happen that we do not blame others. We do not assign guilt or blame to our parents, or our friends, or our spouse, or politicians, or God. It means that we choose how we respond to people and events in our lives and we accept responsibility for that choice. We acknowledge that it is our choice as to how our lives are choreographed and what our future can and will be like.

Once we understand this and take full responsibility, then we can take action that is appropriate.

Think.
Speak.
And then act appropriately.

Act on opportunities and challenge the limiters (those things that are not working for you). Example, "Yes I have difficulties, yes I let my thoughts control me, yes I have been a martyr, or a victim. But, I choose not to live like that anymore."

"Yes. I'm aware of what buttons are being pushed and I choose to react differently. Because I'm the one who possesses the "button" that is being pushed and I choose to look at it for what it is and release it.

"Yes. I'm aware that I get angry and frustrated in traffic jams, but from now on I'm going to respond to it in a different and more positive way - as a lesson in patience."

Steps To Being More Conscious.

As I have mentioned previously - conscious means being aware of the full range of your thoughts, of your actions, and your beliefs – and there are methods to increase your awareness enabling you to own your problems consciously. One of my favorite quotations was spoken by Lazaris. "A miracle worker and a mapmaker, you can come to consciously create, to actively make miracles." Perhaps the following steps will be your first steps into creating your own map of conscious living.

Step One: Listen to what your life, your relationships, and your body are telling you. Look at what is not working and be willing to change it. As author Jack Canfield once said." It is not what is said to you that is important, but how you choose to respond to it. And, it is not what happens to you, or what is done to you that matters, but how you respond to it."

Step Two: Choose to respond consciously and empower yourself. Think about what you are thinking about, or not thinking about. What you think is what you attract and create.

Step Three: Increase your awareness of the following:

  1. Your Beliefs.
  2. Your Attitudes.
  3. Your Thoughts.
  4. Your Feelings.
  5. Your Words.
  6. Your Choices.
  7. Your Decisions.

By being aware of your beliefs and changing those beliefs that contradict your actions you create an effect on all the others. By making different choices you can in essence change your thoughts, attitudes, etc.

Step Four: Be willing to:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself.
    Be conscious of what you are doing and why.

  2. Being willing to change.
    Have the willingness to allow the changes to take place.

  3. Own and be responsible for the levels of your emotions and feelings, facing the unpleasant and consciously making different choices.

  4. Bring more attention (consciousness) to what you think, say, and do.

  5. Process the why you did something, the where you did it, to whom you did it. Then reprogram. Put in the new beliefs, actions, thoughts and behaviours.

  6. Look at what you are giving your attention to. Pay attention to what you are thinking, feeling and doing. Monitor your intentions and watch your actions. Are they in balance or conflict.

  7. Ask yourself if you gave more of yourself to any undertaking, or a relationship, etc., what would you gain, or lose.

    Example: If I choose to live my life more consciously….. I would become more aware of what was working and what was not working in my life….I'd get more accomplished in my daily life…. I'd be less confused and more focused…I'd have to take full responsibility for my actions and my behaviour…I'd have to stop blaming others. I'd reach my potential. I would know myself better.


Living consciously is not an easy thing to achieve and it is not a quick fix solution to uncertainty, or serious problems, but it will impart a deeper level of awareness of your self and those around you. Actions, like thoughts are comparable to seeds of a plant, if we pay attention to the seeds, if we nurture and be conscious of what those seeds require, then in time are efforts are rewarded in the resulting beauty of a plant, or a tree, or a flower. If we use the same principles and wisdom and give ourselves the same nurturing, by bringing more consciousness to our thoughts and actions, then in time we too will reap the bountiful harvest and achieve a more positive and fulfilling life. Simply put. Give your complete attention to where you are, and what you are doing, and make your unconscious, conscious. That is the essence of living consciously.

"Whatever lies in your unconscious will,
in time, become conscious in the
form of fate."
- Carl Jung

Material copyright © Judith Hertling 1999 All rights reserved
Judith Hertling, C.H.C. is a Registered Transformational and C.O.R.E. Counsellor, specialising in Empowerment and Spiritual Growth Counselling.

For a free copy of her brochure, newsletter, and fee structure for online and telephone counselling, she can be reached at [email protected]







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