Let’s begin by talking a little bit about what consciousness means. When you look consciousness up on dictionary.com, you find several definitions, but each is rooted in being awake and aware.
However, we are not discussing simply going from sleep to wake in the actual sense. Or from fainting to regaining consciousness. We are concerned with consciousness in a more philosophical way.
RAISE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS is also defined as an idiom. An idiom, I learned, being a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. So when we say raise in this sense, we do not mean to actually lift something higher in the physical sense. Similarly, when we say consciousness, we do not mean to physically have your eyes open, and simply be awake physically.
Raise one’s consciousness, as an idiom, by dictionary.com is defined as follows:
To increase one’s awareness and understanding of one’s own needs, behavior, attitudes, etc. especially as a member of a particular social or political group.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO MY LIFE?
Every day, we wake up and we begin, without thought, rolling through our day, making choices and taking actions based on external and internal circumstances. Day in, day out, we get into a rhythm and often we make choices without actually thinking or processing the why behind our actions. This, is when the problem arises regarding our state of consciousness.
Imagine some common scenarios. Why are you about to say unkind things to the server who brought you the wrong order? Why are you going to the gym seven days a week for two hours? Why are you continuing to go to a job that brings an unhealthy amount of stress into your life? Why are you harboring a grudge towards a coworker who gets more praise than you?
Let’s consider some possible reasons. Maybe, you are not actually upset with the server, who might I remind you is a human prone to error, but deeper down you are upset about a disagreement you had this morning with your partner in crime. Maybe you are going to the gym obsessively because you want to meet societies standards of beauty, which in the long run will not yield the greatest results. Maybe you are going to that job because it pays a good deal of money, which you think you need to be successful. And perhaps, just maybe, you are holding this grudge unfairly towards a coworker because you feel insecure about your own quality of work.
Quite often, our actions or reactions are spurred in error, or in response to a thing much deeper than what the picture presents. When our consciousness is raised, when we take the time to truly get in there and consider what we are doing and why, we inevitably make better choices rooted in better reasons.
HOW DO I BEGIN TO RAISE MY CONSCIOUSNESS?
It is quite, simple, but can be incredibly difficult. Consider, how scary does it sound to sit quietly and meditate for even 5 minutes? A lot of people would rather run for 30 minutes than try to sit quietly and reflect. This is because you can measure and control the running. Thoughts are much harder to control, and so changing the way we think sounds almost an insurmountable task.
Thought patterns and reflexes are worn into our brains like paths worn into the ground where people have walked for hundreds of years. Our brains become quite hardwired to behave a certain way when we repeat the same things over and over and once more over, again.
Changing & challenging thought patterns. Difficult, yes. Impossible, not even a little.
Raising your consciousness can begin with one small task, that task being an inaction, stopping. Before you act, whether that act is to buy your daily $5 latte or lose your temper on an innocent server, stop and for even 15 seconds, think about why you are about to engage in this action. Consider the implications of the action or inaction. Consider how things could turn our differently if you chose another route.
Here is a small tangible example, regarding environmental consciousness. Paper towels. It’s probably safe to say, and I am seriously guessing here because I don’t know that studies have been done, that at least 90% of homes purchase and use paper towels, freely and without much thought.
When I moved into my most recent apartment, I did not purchase paper towels immediately. It wasn’t on my list of priorities to furnish and stock the homestead. Now, while I did not initially engage in this inaction to help save the trees, after a while I realized I had been getting by just fine with cloths instead of paper towels and had inadvertently saved money and more importantly, trees.
It is ingrained in most brains I would imagine, that paper towels are a home essential. No doubt. But where I often go when I begin to reflect, which really is an act of consciousness, is “what did they do hundreds of years ago, before the glorious invention of the paper towel?”
I am willing to bet they got by just fine, and… there were way more trees.
After I took some time to analyze the situation, when considering the implication and reason, I realized the implication was additional waste, spending of my money, and the reason I had purchased paper towels for many years was only because that was what everyone did.
Now, this is merely a small example of an act of consciousness. But the implication of consideration and change in action, can be a big one! The application of consciousness in this situation yielded less waste, yay for the environment, and less spending for me, yay my bank account.
The above example seems small, but the application of consciousness made a difference, and that is the main lesson here. This exact practice can be applied to many areas in your life. Relationships. Lifestyle choices. Careers. Think before you give your mate the silent treatment for 24 hours. Think how it could feel better for both parties if you simply had an adult discussion on the matter. Think about how those daily trips to In & Out have been affecting the way you feel. Think that maybe, just maybe, you are sacrificing your happiness for excessive money that you may not truly need. Is sacrificing our happiness, ever a good choice? If it is not a good choice, most likely, it is an unconscious choice.
So tomorrow, take the extra time throughout your day to consider why you are about to do or not do, whatever is about to follow. After you wake up in the physical sense, challenge yourself to raise your awoken state to the next level. Don’t just open your eyes, open your mind. You will thrive more often in a conscious state than in zombie mode. You will experience more joy, you could save more money, you could improve relationships, you will develop sustainable, healthy habits… the potential is great, and the opportunity awaits.
Thank you for taking the time to ingest this piece I have created for you.I hope you take some time today to think about how raising your consciousness could improve the state of thing in your life, and others.
I have big plans to write more on the how side of raising consciousness in the very near future. If you would like to receive email updates each time I post, I encourage you to subscribe and you will never miss a beat!
Namaste my lovelies.