Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Benefits of Living Consciously

Ever since I realised I wasn’t taking control of my life I’ve been trying to be more conscious of my actions. For those of you who don’t know, living consciously is exactly that. Choosing the situations you are in and the direction in which you are headed, living a life which you control.

Probably the biggest conscious decision I’ve made was joining
Every Month A Million and quitting my job. Now that I’ve been living more consciously, I want to share the benefits I’ve received along the way.

Conscious Living

Are you happy with your current situation? Did you choose it or did it just fall into place as you went about your life? If you aren’t happy and aren’t in a situation you created then it’s likely you are living unconsciously.

Ultimately, conscious living is about taking life by the horns instead of waiting for life to take you.

Being conscious also applies to things like:
Being aware of your emotions as they arise
Observing your thoughts and mind-made feelings
Taking care in what you are doing
Realising how you are affecting / influencing others

I’ll be sure to do a post on how you can live more consciously, but for now I want to get into the main benefits of living a more conscious life. If they appeal to you then it’s more likely you’ll find the follow-up to this post more appealing.

7 Benefits to Living Consciously

It’s quite hard to put a time-frame on how long I’ve been living consciously, and to be honest it is something that only comes with practice and something you should keep up your whole life. I’m sure in my younger years I was planning my path and didn’t know what to call it.

In all honesty, I would say I’ve been conscious of living consciously (better word, anybody?) for the last 6 months and here is what I’ve experienced.

Although many people will disagree with me, I strongly link living consciously to living in the now. The reason for this is that once you are aware that all life happens in the present moment, you often make a conscious decision to be aware of this and give the present your utmost attention.

1. You Don’t Live in Reaction

One of the hallmarks to living unconsciously is living in reaction, taking what lands in our way and assuming that is our given path. Living in reaction can apply to the career choices you make, the relationships you have and even your life goals.

However, when you start to live consciously, all that disappears. Having a conscious pursuit of where you are headed and the aims for yourself are often enough to keep you on the right track. If you didn’t choose your current life situation then works towards one that you want.

No matter which direction you are headed, you are headed somewhere and it should be a conscious choice you have made. Living consciously means you no longer wait for things to happen before you take action (reacting).

2. More focus on the tasks at hand

When you are doing something consciously, it means you are aware of what you are doing and you have chosen to do it at a certain time. It may be a task that was given to you by someone else, but you can choose to be fully present and focused on the work in front of you.

Because this is a conscious decision and not just something that has happened, you find yourself giving everything you do a lot more focus, time and passion.

You can also be aware of any resistance that is inside you and see it for what it is, something that is mind-made. If you had the real choice would you sit and moan about something or would you just focus on it, enjoy the journey and then subsequently the end result?

I know what I would pick.

3. Better Control over your Emotions

Your emotions are a result of your mind-made thoughts, nothing more and nothing less. We only give them more substance when we try to resist them and give them a label which implies they are negative. Whenever you feel any negative emotions such as…

Be fully aware of what is going on inside you. This is something I’ve been working hard on and I’ve had some great results. Now, whenever I’m feeling any of the above, I’m often aware of it before the emotion takes over my thinking and my actions. Therefore, I can consciously be happy and not let my internal auto-responses control me.

4. You don’t depend on outcomes

Depending on the outcome of a situation is not only one of the easiest ways to stir up your own negative emotions, but it’s also one of the best ways to talk yourself out of doing something. Outcome dependence is basically needing something to go well to fill you with good emotions or for your life to stay on track.

We do this all the time but we rarely notice because we are doing it unconsciously. When you are living a conscious life you always accept what is, if something doesn’t go your way then you accept that. It is what it is. Because you are on your path and have your plans in place, it doesn’t matter what hurdles get in the way because you will just keep going.

Don’t depend on things going right in other areas of your life in order to be happy or in order to succeed at your goals. When you start to live consciously, you’ll realise this disappears by itself.

5. You are more open to learning

Have you ever read a book and been so lost in thought that you realise you’ve gone through a few pages and not actually read anything? I know I have, I still do that today but it’s happening less and less. When you are on a conscious path and think about the things that you want, you are more open to learning about those exact things.

For example, I’ve been reading a book recently which I really don’t enjoy but it was recommended very highly by someone I trust and respect. I didn’t necessarily choose it and I’ve found I’m drifting away from the content very easily. However, with something like ‘Do You by Russell Simmons‘ which I really wanted to read, I found myself completely immersed in it because it was relevant to the path I’m trying to take.

Simply taking the time to think things through about where you are headed is a great way to open yourself up to all the things you want / need to learn to help you get there.

6. You handle your finances better

This has been quite a big one for me and it makes perfect sense. I’ve been organising my finances very carefully (I run my own company in the UK) and have been speaking to an accountant to make sure everything is in check. Living consciously not only helps you keep your current situation in order, but you start to think more about your expenses.

Say for example, there was a computer game you wanted for $40, which isn’t too expensive. However, when you put it in relation to your income and think that you might have worked 4 hours of your life that you won’t get back just to make that money, it really doesn’t seem as appealing anymore. I’m not saying I don’t make unnecessary purchases but I also don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck like most of the population. Putting things into perspective is one of the best ways to stay on the safe side.

7. You can live the life you want to live

I believe it to be true that the main reason people have fear and worry on their death-bed is not because the end of their physical life is imminent, but because they feel like they haven’t lived life to their full. About 2 months ago I spent 6 days in a private hospital room, and whilst I wasn’t in a life threatening situation it certainly made me think clearer about my life so this statement rings true with me.

Living consciously is all about making choices and not the choices making you.

Even if you take one path and it doesn’t work out well for you, it doesn’t mean you can’t change because that is the direction you chose. Life is an experience, and a journey, something to grab with both hands and make the most of. Living consciously will give you that benefit and will make sure that when your ‘time comes’, especially if you know about it, that you made the most of your opportunity here in the physical world.

Please feel free to share your own benefits in the comments below if you’ve been living a more conscious life! If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate if you share it.

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