Read Part 1 here.
In my previous article “Are You Living on Autopilot? The Dangers of Living Unconsciously”, I talked about how unconscious living lacks initiative, growth and fulfilment, and how it can be dangerous and can lead to violence, abuse and oppression.
The opposite of unconscious living is conscious living, which is what I’m going to talk about in this article.
Conscious living is characterized by fulfilment, change, growth and happiness. It means that you:
On a micro level, living consciously means stopping to smell a flower, watching a butterfly flutter around from one lower to another, just standing there in awe of the beauty of nature, looking at babies and realizing what little miracles of nature they are, engaging in mindful eating and savoring each morsel, enjoying the taste, the aroma and the texture of food, appreciating the beauty in art, nature and everything you see, etc.
On a macro level, living consciously means that:
1. You are aware of the current state of things in different dimensions of your
life (relationships, health, work, etc.)
2. You have a vision of what you want the future to look like for different areas
of your life
3. You set long-term goals to achieve your vision and short-term goals to
achieve your long-term goals
4. You are consciously taking action to make that future vision a reality by
consistently working towards your long and short-term goals.
Here’s the real deal: All four conditions must be met in order for you to live a
If you are not aware of the current state of things in your life, you are not living consciously.
If you are aware of the current state of things, but have no vision, you are not
If you are aware of the current state of things, and have a vision, but you are not setting goals, you are not living consciously.
If you are aware of the current state of things, have a vision and long and
short-term goals, but you’re not taking action to achieve those goals, you are not living consciously.
To live more consciously on a micro level, try to be mindful in doing whatever you do during the day. When brushing your teeth, focus on how it makes you feel clean and refreshed and makes your breath smell good. When choosing what to wear, consciously choose something that would make you feel good about yourself, something that fits nicely and isn't too tight or too loose. When choosing what to eat for breakfast, consciously choose something that is nutritious, healthy and pleasant to taste. When greeting someone, consciously make an effort to smile and say something nice even if you are tired, sleepy or not in the mood to talk.
To live more consciously on a macro level, first assess the current state of everything in your life. This is where you are right now. How are your relationships? What do you think and feel about your job? How is your physical and mental health? Write it all down.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you trying to spend more quality time with your family? Do you do things to make your spouse happy, try to make their life easier and actively support your spouse’s ambitions, goals and dreams? Do you try to nurture your relationship with your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc.? Do you try to make new friends, or keep in touch with old friends?
Are you choosing healthy foods to eat or eating whatever you like, or whatever is available? Are you making time to exercise? Do you take care of your personal hygiene? Do you take enough sleep and rest?
Are you taking care of your mental health? Are you managing your stress levels? Are you managing your social media use? Do you try to think positively?Do you manage or regulate your mood and your emotions?
Are you trying to invest your time and energies in your professional growth? Do you know how you want your career to progress and in what direction, or are you just doing your job like a chore?
Education and Lifelong Learning:
Are you making time to learn something new, read books, do online courses, attend seminars or webinars, etc.? Are you trying to build new skills and gain new knowledge?
Are you managing your finances well? Are you saving money for hard times and emergencies? Are you investing your money for your future? Are you trying not to overspend and not to waste your resources?
Are you trying to become a better person, or trying to live a happier, more peaceful and more fulfilling life? Are you reading articles and books and watching videos on personal growth? Are you making time to do the things you love, be it reading, gardening, painting, etc.?
Are you making productive use of your time? Is your lifestyle helping you live more efficiently or effectively, or hindering you from being efficient and effective? Do you regularly declutter your house and get rid of the things you no longer use, or let the clutter pile up until you are drowning in clutter? Do you live an active lifestyle, or a sedentary one? Do you make time for fun and leisure activities? Do you make time for travel? Do you live a balanced lifestyle, as in, do you try to balance your time between family, work, leisure, learning, exercise, travel, etc.? Are you aware of the media you consume i.e. the kinds of movies and TV shows you watch, books you read, news channels you follow, etc.?
Do you try to keep your surroundings clean? Do you manage waste i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle? Are you aware of your carbon footprint, how your lifestyle choices affect the environment, plants, animals and human beings? Do you actively try to minimize your impact on the environment by conserving water, energy and other resources? Are you trying to live an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle?
If you are a religious person, have you ever tried to study the scriptures and other texts of your religion? Do you read spiritual and uplifting books? Do you have a higher purpose in life? Do you try to be of service by helping others with your money, time, skills, etc.?
Next, write down your vision for each area of your life. Vision is where you want to be, 2, 5 or 10 years from now.
What do you want your relationships to look like, if their current state is not your desired state? What kind of job do you want to have and what kind of skills and education you need to acquire for that job? If your current physical and mental health is not good, what does good physical and mental health look like to you?
For example, your vision for your health could be something like “2 years from now, I will be at a healthy weight for my height” or your vision for your career could be “5 years from now, I will have a successful, thriving business”.
Long-term goals are more specific action-based objectives to turn your vision into a reality.
For example, to achieve your vision “2 years from now, I will be at a healthy weight for my height”, your long-term goals could be “to lose 30 kgs in 2020-2021” or to achieve your vision “5 years from now, I will have a successful, thriving business”, your long-term goals could be “to launch 10 new products every year”, etc.
When setting long-term goals, focus on what is really important. In order to live a conscious life, it’s important that you focus on what’s important to you and invest your time and energies in the pursuit of your most important goals, instead of unconsciously trying to do everything and ending up accomplishing nothing. Your long-term goals should be something that makes you truly happy and fulfilled.
For example, traveling is a great goal to have for anyone and a great way to broaden your horizons, but is it important to you? Does it make you happy?
Entrepreneurship is all the rage these days, but is it really what you want to do? Or do you want to do it because everybody else is doing it?
If it’s not, then pursuing the goal of traveling or becoming an entrepreneur, possibly at the expense of things that ARE important to you, will do more harm than good, because if a goal is not personally important to you, it’s as good as having no goal.
Break down each long-term goal into multiple short-term goals. For example, if your long-term goal is “to lose 30 kgs in 2020-2021”, your short-term goals could be “to lose 5 pounds every month”, “to eliminate all junk and fast food”, “to eat more fruits and vegetables”, “to exercise 30 minutes every day”, etc.
Now that you are aware of the current state of your life and have a vision or clear picture of the desired state and you have set short and long term goals as well, it’s time for action and implementation.
Are you willing to make this commitment to live a conscious life?
Are you ready to do what it takes to live consciously?
Are you excited to see how your life can be transformed by living consciously?
Remember, the transition from an unconscious life to a conscious one will take time and effort. It’s an ongoing and life-long process or journey, not a one-stop destination. But I promise it’s worth it. Your quality of life will improve greatly as you start living more consciously. In fact, you will start to see a positive difference as soon as you start doing even one thing consciously. Try it and see for yourself.
P.S: If you think sitting down to write all these things I just told you is silly, wait until you get asked, “Where are you going?”, because all you will be able to answer is “I don’t know. Ask the horse”.