Living truly in the present moment is a skill few people possess. Children, plants, and animals all do it without even trying, but for some reason, the older we get, the more difficult it becomes. Adults tend to discuss, argue, and fret over “consciousness” and how to achieve it. I’ve even witnessed people fight over who is “more conscious” than the other.
In an attempt to shed light on a concept shrouded by mystery and differing opinion, I’ve listed 7 steps below on how to expand your consciousness as an individual:
1. Experience The Journey, Don’t Escape It
Enlightenment does not mean forgetting about bills, work, and responsibilities, or meditating every day. I know a lot of people who choose to escape social situations, finances, and deep relationships with others because of their empathetic or “spiritual” nature. There’s a Zen saying that goes, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” You’re in this three-dimensional experience for a reason. Immerse yourself if it completely. Experience the thrill of life, the fear, the novelty, the dullness, the anger, the sadness, the change. Feel it completely.
2. Take Advantage of the “Now”
“Consciousness” is understanding that there is only now – everything else is distraction. If you want to change, change now. If you want to move, move now. If you want to love, love now. Life takes many unexpected twists and turns. We do not know where we are going. We only know that we have this moment. Don’t put off what you really want to do.
3. Just Observe
When we focus on the present, we become aware of our breath, our body, our triggers, our emotional reactions, our relationships, the reactions of others, and our quality of life. What do you notice? Are you enjoying your day? What do you not enjoy? Did you feel good after your last meal? What’s your mood like? What relationships uplift you? Which relationships bring you down? Take notice.
4. Accept Your Observations
It’s important to keep an open mind as you observe your daily life. It’s when we deny that which we feel that we run into trouble. If a relationship feels negative continually, it’s okay. Accept it. If you continually choose unhealthy foods, it’s okay. Accept it. Do not judge or make assumptions here. Pretend you’re a scientist observing an experiment. It’s okay to have a hypothesis, but let your life play out moment to moment and observe what you enjoy and what you do not. Accept all experiences as part of the experiment.
5. Accept the Choices of Others
This is difficult for empaths. Your job is not to “fix” anyone. Allow people to come to their own conclusions. If you’re busy putting Band-Aid’s on everyone who’s feeling pain, you interfere with their ability to see that a change needs to be made in their life.
It may be easy for you to see that they need to change certain areas of their life but it is not okay to attempt to change those things for them. It’s also not okay for you put them down for their choices.
Let people make their own decisions. Let them choose whether they want to change or not.
When they are ready for real change, you will know.
6. The Only Choice You Will Ever Have
Because there is only ever now, you cannot control anything but your reaction to that which is currently happening. You cannot control traffic, your boss’ reaction, your children’s decisions, the news on TV. You can only change your reactions to the stimuli. Was there a piece of news that disturbed you? You can choose to change the channel and do nothing about it or take a stand for an injustice.
You’re stuck in traffic. What will you choose? Frustration? Thoughts about your past and how you could have avoided the traffic? Thoughts of the future and what the repercussions of your “lateness” could be? Or will you choose to accept where you are and choose to enjoy the few extra moments of solitude? It is your choice.
7. Enjoy the Process
You’re making choices everyday whether you realize it or not. When you bring your attention to the present and all you see and then choose your reaction, you become a conscious observer and creator.
When we focus on the past, the future, and the everyday “distractions,” our time seems to slip through our fingers like sand. When we’re present, time ceases to exist. It doesn’t seem to matter either when you’re soaking up every moment of your experience.
Try to stay present during your next conversation with a loved one. What do their eyes look like today? What does it feel like to hug them? What does their voice sound like? How do they make you feel?
Go for a walk. What does the sky look like? What does the air smell like? What animals do you see? What are they doing? How do they make you feel? What temperature is it?
Look at your life. Are you enjoying your days? Are you rushing them? How could you change your reactions to bring more joy into your life?
Don’t wait for the loss of a loved one to appreciate them or for illness to appreciate health.
The only time to live is now.
Do you ever feel like you’re looking everywhere for the answers?
Do you feel anxious and uncertain when you think about what you’re meant to do in this world?
Do you wish someone could teach you HOW to discover your soul purpose for yourself?
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