“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.”
― Bob Marley
It is easy to shed light on thoughts on consciousness and the depths of it’s meaning, and it is another thing to practice it. Allowing our minds to wrap around what consciousness can, does, or may include may be overwhelming.
I would like to take a moment and define how it can play a very dynamic and important role in our everyday lives. Are you conscious? Of course a lot is happening; work, kids, friends, peers, stress, love and more. Life can become predictive. Habits are formed and soon we find ourselves living out of habit rather than presence, rather than in awareness, or in a conscious state. You may think, “no, this is not me. I show up everyday to life and know I’m going through it.” But that is exactly it. It is not just the motions of life that make you conscious. Often times consciousness can bring about an array of feelings, which is also why some choose to remain unconscious.
Three simple ways to practice consciousness everyday.
1. Mindfulness. Presence in what you are doing. There are some many mindless tasks to easily get caught up in. Become aware of feelings, sensations and emotions for whatever it is you are doing. If you are washing the dishes, and you hate washing the dishes, don’t think about it disgruntled, experience it. Where is your mind? Bring it completely to the water that’s hitting your hands, the way you feel…are you annoyed, agitated. what thoughts are moving through your mind? Try and keep your focus on the actions you are doing, the way your breath is moving in and out, and again if your mind easily leaves to find something else to ponder, practice presence. It is not easy, but bring yourself back to it if you find you’ve deterred. That is presence. Awareness to know that you are drifting.
2. Breathing. How ofter do you really pay attention to your breath. We all automatically do it, but are you really aware of it? Is your breath deep? Smooth? Short? Labored? Find 10 minutes in your day to focus on your breath. Spread this time into two five minute sessions. Step outside or into a quiet place a be aware of your breath. The mind will easily wander. It is up to you to keep the focus on your breath. Can you?
3. Meditation. This word throws people of sometimes. They think, “I don’t know how to meditate” or “when I try my mind is never still”. Meditation is a practice. You do not choose to meditate and BAM! whoa! Meditation is a practice of keeping the mind still. If you cannot, but recognize when it wanders and bring it back to where your focus is (breath, candle, sound, etc), then you are meditating. Do not get caught up in the right and wrong ways to do something. That is the mind creating barriers. Consciousness is being aware of those barriers being created. You are present enough to know it is happening. And now you can alter moving forward with absolute awareness.
Choose one of the above things to practice daily to start with. Add another when you are ready. Focus on the present and how things make you feel. Really listen to you spouse or you r child. If you are choosing to do something, be present in doing it.