Consciousness is what happens when YOU and CLARITY are in the right place.
To live consciously is to understand the meaning of personal responsibility. It is about owning your own life and letting blame and regret at the door.
What does it look like to try to have a conscious approach? Well for example, let’s say you slip on a banana skin, do you rant and rave about who put the banana skin in your way or do you ask yourself why you weren’t looking where you were going?
The conscious approach looks and your own actions and tries to learn from them. It doesn’t mean that you think it’s OK for people to be careless in their actions towards you or that you get into blaming yourself for everything. It means rather that you take your learning from whatever happens, deal with other peoples actions if necessary but in a way that doesn’t eat you up with anger, regret and negativity.
You have clarity that the recipe for a happy life is acceptance, courage, wisdom and trust and that only you can be responsible for maintaining that balance in your life, regardless of whatever may be going on around you.
What does this mean in practice?
Tim Gallwey ©innergameconference.com
It means effort. It means questioning what it means to be responsible. It means learning skills that help you to achieve a conscious flow in your life. Tim Gallway, regarded as the founder of modern coaching, and author of The Inner Game series of books sees this flow as a skill of mobility that is intrinsically linked with consciousness. He says:
Mobility is about conscious wisdom. It’s not just about being in the flow, but about being very clear about where you are, where you are going, and why. In essence, it is about working consciously.
To know what you are doing and why requires conscious thought and constant remembrance. It requires being fully awake-aware of all that is happening around you that is relevant to where you are going. Working unconsciously is like being driven in a car without being sure of the destination and without making a conscious choice about which way to turn. It is the difference between driving and being driven. A person who recognizes the importance of mobility is not satisfied with being in any flow, it must be in the flow of their choice, heading where they want to go. (The Inner Game of Work by W. Timothy Gallwey)
There are many ways of learning about conscious living. First and foremost having some kind of meditative practice is really beneficial for all aspects of life. Whether it is a formal meditation or mindful practice, chant, contemplative prayer or even gardening or walking, that time out to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ is a vital downtime that I believe is as necessary for self restoration as a good nights sleep.
A good teacher of consciousness is also a great asset in one’s life. People that I have personal experience of training with such as Prem Rawat, Byron Katie and Joe Dispenza are amazing teachers. I also enjoy listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn, The main thing that I find is to apply yourself to one main path and do it wholeheartedly and have additional input from people you enjoy but not get into a candy shop type scenario where you are always picking and mixing and so never actually actually taking anything in at a deep or challenging level.
There are also many helpful tools. One of my personal favourites is the STOP tool which I learned many years ago from Tim Gallwey.
The STOP tool* is used to:
Organise your thoughts
Step back – put distance between yourself and whatever you are involved with in that moment.
Think – do I need a long or short pause? What am I feeling? How am I reacting?
Organise (your thoughts, activities etc) – Collect yourself. Find a sense of balance, allow space to think and feel clearly, independently and creatively.
Proceed – only when you feel you have had the time to reflect and evaluate before moving into action
STOPs can be of any length.
- Two second STOPS for example can be used before you answer the phone or before you speak or as you feel an emotional reaction of anger or hurt.
- Medium STOPS can be used as morning or evening reflections, when considering options, when faced with a difficult situation, really for any situation that would benefit from time taken to consider the possible consequences.
- Big STOPs are more big picture moments, opportunities to hit the pause button and have a long look from a more strategic perspective.
(*Source: The Inner Game of Work by W. Timothy Gallwey)
Finally, the world famous Serenity Prayer is a lovely moment of conscious focus, a way to look with clarity at what is going on in the moment that you are in and perhaps while you take a STOP.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage the change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
(The Serenity Prayer)