Conscious Living in 5 Easy Steps

conscious living

What do we mean by conscious living?

I suppose having greater self-awareness, and operating from a state of presence for longer periods, generally describes the term.

A state of enlightenment even.

Now becoming enlightened is one thing, maintaining this state in a world of ever increasing distractions is quite another.

Here are 5 steps to keep you on track.

1. Get in touch with your inner stillness

Inner stillness is one of the most important things you need to cultivate higher consciousness. It is essential you take some time out of each day to be alone. You can do this anywhere. Some people like to go off into nature, but you can do it just as effectively in your bedroom. Sit for a few minutes with no stimulation only your thoughts. Be quiet. Listen to what your thoughts are saying. Hear the background noise they make. Do not judge them or make them wrong. Try not to engage with them either, as in reviewing tomorrow’s work schedule. Simply watch them as you would a movie on a screen. Realise your thoughts are innocent. Be kind to them. It is not even necessary to practice meditation as a discipline, only that you sit for a few moments each day and listen to the stillness of your being. It will have a profound effect on everything else you do.

How will this make me more conscious?

When you allow stillness to develop you come to realise that your thoughts are not you, only the content of your mind. This in itself is transformative, and loosens the grip the busy mind has on you.

How will it benefit others?

You become like a tuning fork. As you start radiating peace and calm those around you will resonate to that frequency, and to a lesser extent, do likewise.

2. Give praise for a job well done.

Taking things and people for granted is a sign of unconscious or automated living. Often we sleepwalk our way through the day, murmuring a barely audible ‘thank you’ to those who serve us. However, by showing genuine appreciation to others we are keeping our minds alert to the good they do. We don’t exist in a vacuum. A fact spiritual people sometimes forget. When someone cooks you a meal, or serves you in a shop, or cuts your hair, they have dedicated part of themselves, their time, their energy specifically for you. Appreciate that. And let them know. Do this by thanking them graciously. Share a few moments of informal chat with them. Make them feel they have genuinely added to your day. Obviously do this sincerely. I’m not talking about flattery here. Deliberately cultivate giving sincere praise.

How will this make me more conscious?

By actively seeing the good in others we become less wrapped up in our own concerns. We create states of gratitude. Feeling gratitude is good, expressing it aloud makes it permanent.

How will it benefit others?

It makes them feel worthwhile and not taken for granted. People who feel appreciated go on to develop good self esteem.

3. Do a kindness for a stranger

Recent studies have shown that kind acts can help raise levels of consciousness. Now it’s easy to be kind to those we love. However, going out of your way to be kind to a total stranger requires effort. It could be visiting people who are alone, volunteering with the elderly or disabled. Just letting someone go in front of you in a queue at the store. How about giving up your parking space for someone you don’t know? There’s a lot of anger and negative energy around parking spaces it seems. Change that. Every kindness you do for a stranger is a genuine act of altruism. Think about it, they can’t return the favour, they don’t know you. Sometimes giving comes with a lot of unconscious hooks. A gift can become an exchange. But when we give freely from the heart we expect no return. Ironically, this is the very time we often receive something back.

How will this make me more conscious?

By becoming aware of the needs of others we grow in compassion and love.

How will it benefit others?

Nine times out of ten those you show kindness to will pay it forward. Maybe several times. And those in turn will do likewise. You could start a chain reaction of kindness!

4. Get physically fit

A healthy mind in a healthy body is the best recipe for being conscious. If we’re tired, sick, or run down it’s very hard to maintain optimum performance. I’m not talking about tedious sit-ups here, but a little work out goes a long way. The benefits of yoga have been well documented. Its combination of stretching and breathing releases the body’s subtle energies. Tai chi, often described as meditation standing up, keeps the mind in an alert state for hours. Qi gong works by awakening your innate energy. Doing any kind of kundalini awakening can have the same effect. Even a run in the park will leave you feeling better both in body and mind. When we stimulate the body we release peptides in the brain that create balance in the endocrine system and blood sugar levels. This doesn’t only lead to feeling better, but to greater awareness too.

How will this make me more conscious?

A body that is well nourished and reasonably fit is better able to achieve, and retain higher levels of consciousness.

How will it benefit others?

By showing others the benefits of being healthy you lead by example.

5. Keep a gratitude journal

This has been around for a while but it’s still one of the best self awareness tools I know. At the end of each day write down five blessings you had that day. It can be a particular event, someone you met, or an insight you had. Something that opens the mind up to the beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed. Start with three to five to get you going, however, you may find this increases as the days pass. The more you prime your mind to see and experience wonderful things, the more you’ll find them popping up in your life. Do it every day and see what happens. This is magical!

How will this make me more conscious?

Creating an attitude of gratitude is reason enough. But this goes further. After some time the mind doesn’t just see rich blessings, it actively goes seeking them out. Soon a river of good things will start flowing your way. How cool is that?

How will it benefit others?

We all radiate the state we’re feeling. So if you’re in a constant state of gratitude that’s what you’ll give out. And it’s infectious. Others can’t help feeling good around you.

By practicing the above you will begin to live your life with intention, and this is what creates permanent states of higher consciousness. And a happier world too.

Photo by AlicePopkorn

19 thoughts on “Conscious Living in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. Awesome article on self awareness…I wish everyone could read this and adopt it into their life. It is key to living a flexible, goal oriented successful life. Thank you.

  2. Enjoyed this article, Eoin.

    One of the things I look forward to every day is going for a run in the park first thing in the morning, it’s a spiritual time for me. After reading your post I’m inspired to pay attention to not just nature and my inner state but also to other people in the park. I think I’d like to expand my awareness more to outside of me in my spiritual practice.

    I’ve noticed that many of us feel almost unworthy about giving praise or doing acts of kindness, believing that we need to be more ‘perfect’ before we have anything worthy to give and so we hold back from sharing ourselves. You’ve reminded me that when we do these things our magnificence is reflected back to us. In an instant, our perception of ourselves can shift from being small and unworthy to full and expanded.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Amyra,

      yes, it’s amazing how we do things and often don’t really pay attention to what’s happening around us.

      As for feeling unworthy. My own belief is that we are already perfect, but it’s thinking we’re not, along with the myriad of other rubbishy thoughts we have that blocks us from seeing this. When others reflect back to us our magnificance, as you so beautifully put it, then we get a glimpse of that.

      All we need is the courage first to help others see their magnificence.

  3. Journal is a great idea to keep track of things.

    There are so many great calendar apps but I found it most helpful when writing it in the journal or in a planner.

    Great post

  4. When you allow stillness to develop you come to realise that your thoughts are not you, only the content of your mind.

    What is ME than ?

    1. Very good question Jindra. And one I contemplate a lot.

      We are not our thoughts, or our feelings, and certainly not our body. So, then, as you ask, Who or what am I ?

      I would be very interested in hearing what readers think, in their opinion, is the answer to this question.

      Thanks, Eoin.

  5. Thank you eion. Conscious living brings us harmony when we need it most. I learnt that by having greater self-awareness I am much more able to work out how to go about my life’s challenges with ease. Life becomes most resistant when I do not meditate and just allow the logical thinking process and mind chat to overtake the decision making process. The subconscious has the most powerful answers which is normally blocked by the self talk. If we listen to the voices in the head closely watch out for messages which do not belong to your true self. We can pick up the voices and negative messages from other people in our lives which is why it is best to stick around people who truly support us. The mind does play tricks and the more aware we are the more control we have. Thank you for sharing this great post.

    1. Thank you too Paul. Yes, very important observation you made that after some time we start to see how others are perhaps not listening to the voice of their true self. It is really important that we hang around with people who support us, who are on a similar path as it were

      Could have made that no. 6

  6. Eoin,

    Thank you for writing such a well written blog. It is such a nice surprise to come across your post. I developed a program for people with horses that embodies what you so eloquently wrote. Your purity of heart comes shining through.

    1. Thank you Karen for your very kind words.

      I’d be really interested in hearing more about that program. I know some of my friends do Reiki with horses (I’ve worked with dogs but never horses) and they get great results. Animals are so responsive to energy especially when it comes from loving kindness.

      Keep up that work.

  7. Is there any better world than fantastic ? Well your article deserves that word! I particularly loved the first point and the last point.The first point where you said one just has to view one’s thoughts as a movie and be nonjudgmental about them.Inner stillness is bliss.The last point about showing gratitude is also something I’m gonna start with.Many good things happen to all of us everyday , but we fail to acknowledge them.
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    1. Thank you Kate, yes gratitude is something that tends to get overlooked. We hear a lot of talk about it, it comes up in every article or book on law of attraction, etc. But very often we forget to carry it out. We agree gratitude is good but do we really feel it? It’s good to take a few moments each day to sit down and feel really grateful for just simple things, like the ability to move our arms.

      I urge all who may have forgotten it that now is a good time to get a gratitude diary and every day next year write at least 5 things in it that you are truly grateful for. And then feel that gratitude.

      I’m for doing that in 2012. Care to join me?

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