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Tips for Living More Consciously

Publication: The Globe and Mail
Date: January 14, 2003

`Consciousness' is one of the biggest buzz words yet to rise from Eastern mystical practices. But what does it really mean and why should you care?

Living consciously means taking responsibility for your life and your actions. That is, you see yourself as who and what you really are.

And the best part of choosing to become conscious of the events and experiences of your life is that you become more responsible for your future.

Consciousness breeds self-improvement: When you choose to be honest with yourself about your strengths and - more importantly - your flaws, then you must also decide what you are going to do to change.

When you begin to reflect on your character, you begin to see yourself as others may see you. You also begin to see things you may not necessarily like about yourself.

And what exactly would be the point of all of this you ask? Try: personal growth, evolution and living a happier, more real existence. The truth is, most of us spend most of our waking time living unconsciously:

  • We don't like the way our boss treats us, but we choose to simply rationalize his dictatorial behaviour because we don't want to have to look at the possibility of being at fault ourselves.
  • We put up with our partner's infidelities for twenty-some years because in confronting him or her with it, we may actually have to do something about it.
  • We choose to not speak our mind to our parent or grandparent because we will have to deal with hurt feelings, anger and the consequences.

But when we ignore or rationalize our true thoughts and feelings, in the hopes that things will change or that we will somehow learn to cope better, we are not being honest with ourselves or others. More importantly, we suffer from the fear of loss even though what we might lose in living consciously is what is making us unhappy.

When we live unconsciously, we are also more likely to experience ongoing inner conflict, feelings of anxiety, frustration and depression. Clients who come to see me because they are deeply unhappy in their marriage, dissatisfied with their job, suffering anxiety attacks, or experiencing depression often have one thing in common: They have been living most of their lives avoiding their `truth.'

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