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An Introduction To Consciousness

An Introduction To Consciousness

BY RUKUDZO H. SITHOLE 

Consciousness is the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings. The art of consciousness has been taught by great spiritual teachers and they placed emphasis on the myriad of benefits that arise from succeeding in the quest. On my personal quest and study, I have learned that achieving consciousness is a journey and a constant exercise where you have to intentionally choose to be present or live in the “here and now.” At any given time, consciousness can reside in one of the 3 following places, The Past, The Present, or The Future. Half the battle is identifying when your consciousness shifts from one state to another. Understanding the emotions and behaviors associated with each state directs you to areas needing attention and improvement.

The Past

In this state of consciousness, reactions to life are based on a belief system that resides in the subconscious mind. Painful experiences and unresolved emotional needs drive our reactions and shape our perspective of life. For example, a relationship that ends in a painful divorce or death of a loved one may cause an individual to build protective emotional walls. These walls, at least to us, partition the pain and grief from being felt. However, separating ourselves from a painful experience increases difficulty over the long-term. Avoiding difficult emotions usually leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as workaholic behavior, alcoholism, perfectionism, people pleasing, over committing to activities, and substance use. These behaviors prevent us from residing in the present because we would have to face our unresolved pain. Our consciousness becomes glued to past painful experiences and views the present as a continuation of them. Once identified, we tend to create distractions and unhealthy behaviors in an effort to avoid intense feelings. Fear is prevalent in this state of consciousness. If your life is guided by fear, you may consider therapy or a class on mindfulness.

The Present

In this state of consciousness, you are a fully aware observer of your thoughts and emotions. Your attention is directed towards your internal wellness and you are connected with your inner self. You are able to identify your range of emotions and resolve negative or painful ones as they arise. You also confront negative thoughts that are detrimental to your life. Your joy is not driven by external circumstance but is driven internally by your soul. Love drives this state of consciousness. You develop an appreciation for mankind, all creatures, and the universe. Your impulses are directed by your inner being and you use your inner compass to navigate the external world. You are one with your body, mind, and soul and become a creator of your own experiences. Relationships become of paramount importance. Your perspective and understanding of life broadens. You become less burdened by worries from the past or future. You reside in the present and you view the world clearly with no overt biases. Fear enters and leaves your emotional system.

The Future

When we struggle to accept the present state of our lives, we tend to distract ourselves with focus solely on the future. There is nothing wrong with hoping for a better tomorrow, so long as it does not become a tool to avoid dealing with the complexities of today. Often individuals find themselves using busyness, chasing a myriad of goals, and postponing living until they achieve their goals. Unfortunately, life passes by and we fail to obtain the satisfaction for which we sacrificed the present. We continually hope to experience joy in future. Today is yesterday’s future. Anxiety and depression are two common emotional challenges associated with living in the future. They arise when we have difficulty accepting the present state of our circumstances and lives. Maybe life hasn’t become that which you had hoped. As fear of what may happen overwhelms us, we may become more controlling in an effort to predict what will and will not happen to us and those we love. This state of consciousness is marked by constant worry and an inability to fully experience life.

Life is a journey and a gift meant to be experienced and shared with others. If you find yourself constantly struggling to engage in your life as it is, you can pause, reassess, and make necessary changes. We all possess the strength to work through life’s challenges. Focusing on internal wellness will lead us to notice most true experiences exist in the here and now. Don’t look to the past or to the future. Live in the present. After all, the present is the only real moment in which we can live.

AUTHOR'S WEBSITE: http://www.insidefitness.us/

 

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