Living consciously has become a kind of code these days for certain values: mindfulness, awareness, being present to the here and now. Conscious leadership has expanded on those values to include accountability, courage, becoming the solution rather than being the problem, and many more. It’s fabulous if you’ve taken up meditation, contemplation, or some kind of practice and made it a part of your daily life. But as you’ve probably already discovered, there’s more to conscious living than taking time each morning and doing your practice of choice.
You’ve probably recognized by now that the real everyday benefits don’t really come fast and furious until you take your meditation off your pillow (or chair) out into the world. When your commitment to everyday awareness and presence wanes, which it will, it’s motivating to know that certain benefits are awaiting your arrival with just a little more effort and discipline.
The following briefly describes the 3 awesome benefits that come with committing to the task of taking charge of your conditioned mind and emotional reactions. The gifts of reflection and expanded awareness are bound to come pretty soon. But there are 3 more rather awesome rewards that come with time. And given what daily life entails these days, you’ll be glad you have access to these extra benefits.
Benefit #1: Living Consciously Means A Happier Life
Many things can make you happy: feeling good in your body, getting what you want, not getting what you don’t want. But when the ordinary things in life become extraordinary, you’re free to enjoy the mundane as if it were something special. That means feeling good when you’re washing dishes, doing laundry, folding towels, driving to work, walking the dog, washing the car, cutting the grass, drinking a glass of water, performing your morning rituals of getting up and preparing for the day, as well as the evening rituals of getting ready to go to bed and sleep.
A great percentage of daily life is routine, things we do over and over, again and again. You can easily get bored with these routines. That boredom can breed rote behavior, or doing a task without awareness or presence. You know you can implement a mundane task while your mind is somewhere else completely.
But here’s the great thing. The day is filled with these kinds of tasks: driving the car, grocery shopping, changing the sheets on your bed, making coffee or tea, checking your FitBit to see how far you’ve run or how many steps you’ve taken, deciding what clothes to wear that day, etc. These are the moments of your life. And they are filled with as much richness and joy as the moments you currently find exciting, interesting, and captivating.
If that’s true, then wouldn’t you like to be present to receive the riches of these gifts of enjoyment? If so, ask yourself if you’re present for them? Is your attention riveted on the minute actions required to complete the task? Are you aware of your body? Your thoughts? Your emotions? Are they being generated by the task or something else not actually happening in the present moment?
Benefit #2: Conscious Living Frees Creativity
People usually relegate creativity to specific careers, like writing books, poetry, or plays, drawing, painting, dancing, acting, playing music, graphic design, etc. Or to specific activities, like scrapbooking, running, tennis, cooking, flipping houses. Creativity does produce external evidence that gives proof to its existence. But there’s another kind of creativity that living consciously offers. But it’s not external. It’s purely internal.
If you really pay attention, your mindfulness and presence to the here and now grants you the realization that your thoughts are too many. They fill up the mental space with no room left for quiet and stillness, not to mention that they are more often than not negative rather than positive. As this awareness grows, you’ll find yourself wanting to think a lot less. And you’ll discover that feels as good as your search for purpose and meaning.
This stillness and quiet create room for your inherent life energy to flow in new directions, guided by its thirst for unfamiliar creative expression. You’ll find yourself exploring cracks and crevices in the landscape of your normal thinking and perception that had become hardened and stultified. And you’ll begin to gather even more insights and clarity about your path to finding and fulfilling your personal purpose. And this will give everything you do a new sheen of meaning, dedication, and devotion.
Benefit #3: Action Immersed In Equanimity
One of the objections I often hear for meditating or practicing mindfulness is that it’s too passive. Many who do it anyway confess a bit of fear that they’ll become apathetic about the world and won’t do their part to make things better. In talking with these folks, it became apparent that the quest for the middle path or being centered was being countered with a fear of this middle way taking away your freedom to take action. In reality, emotional balance and strength grant you greater access to taking action. But the action is rooted in a deeper understanding of the nature of your perceived reality.
In further discussions with these same folks, I found a deep belief beginning to surface. Here it is: You have to feel angry or be upset or disturbed about something in order to be motivated to take action. This deep belief is apparently widespread and very strong, albeit an unconscious belief. But here’s the thing.
You can actually get better results if the action you perform arises out of a calm, centered, inner space. A lot of people don’t want to feel angry or disturbed. They’re a bit afraid of those feelings. And that stops them from taking action because they believe that’s the only way. But they’re not aware of another option. You have the right to remain undisturbed by the happenings in life. But you also have the right to act from that sense of peace and calm to make things better.
Conscious Living Is A Long Term Project
Conscious living is akin to walking through a labyrinth. You only arrive at the center little by little and step by step, awareness by awareness. I’ve heard thousands of people (literally) say they can’t meditate because they can’t stay focused.
In reality, that is a pretty accurate description of the experience of meditation for everyone. And it doesn’t go away anytime soon. The fact that you can’t stay focused on the present moment is actually the reason you’re exploring meditation, reflection, or mindfulness.
Conscious living is about discovering that the current boss of your thoughts, feelings, and actions is actually your mind, and not you.
When you know what you’re going after on the inside, not just exploring new behaviors on the outside, you’re asked to continually recommit to reaching your goal, day by day, hour by hour. Sounds effort filled? Well, it is. But again, there are awesome benefits that will come your way. And they are definitely worth the effort you’ll have put in.
How To Make These Awesome Benefits Your Own
Consistent practice is the only way to reap the true joys of mindfulness and presence. Without it, they won’t have a way to hand you their gifts and their blessings. So when you feel you don’t want to make time for your practice (whatever that practice is), stop and think for a moment. How long did it take you to learn how to walk without falling down? To learn arithmetic and algebra? How long to learn how to talk so people could understand what you were trying to communicate? To get your degree, technical expertise, artistic acumen, or craftsmanship? If your goal is to be mindful, present, and aware throughout your day, there is no way around a consistent practice.
You will have to dedicate a part of every day to this repeating cycle – losing your focus, rounding it up again, and guiding it back to the moment. Then you will again lose your focus. And you will again decide to round it up and again guide it back to the moment. Then do it all over – again, and again.
You Can Do It!
This is mindfulness – in action. This is being present – in action. This is attending to the here and now – in action. You can expand your understanding of what conscious living entails. This will only help you live more consciously. And that will make each day of your life better, happier, and more creative and peaceful. As the world races to more and more polarization, bring yourself back to the here and now. Get clear on what the here and now actually is. Respond with creativity, your action immersed in equanimity. And that produces a happier you engaged in doing what needs to be done.
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Hope you enjoyed this sharing. I look forward to connecting with you again soon.
*images courtesy of www.Pixabay.com