New Series: Constructive steps towards living consciously (aka, getting what you want)

I’m going to change directions here for a bit. Like many of you, I’ve been exploring the nature of consciousness – what it means, how it works, and all the other standard queries. I’ve been reading up on brain physiology, Buddhism, philosophy, history, and art for about three years now. This is, of course, just scratching the surface, but I thought I’d start to slowly share what I’ve learned.

I recognize that this might at first blush seem at odds with my usual business and design drivel. But in fact, it’s not. I’m exploring conscious living as a means by which I can achieve my goals. And I’ve got to tell you, it works really well.

I’ve titled this a “New Series”. That would imply that I have a structured plan to write a limited series of posts over a given period. That’s perhaps a tad misleading. I have no specific intentions other than to share those thoughts and experiences that have helped me in my work and my home life.

So, without further ado I give you: Constructive steps towards living consciously (aka, getting what you want)

There are certain patterns of thought that lead to distraction and variation from a chosen path. Those patterns can be realized, and subsequently broken by simple observation.

The challenge is to develop the perspective to be able to recognize the patterns, and to get used to the escape routes – to break the loop.

In my case, this means that I’ve got to practice the behaviors that make consciousness easier. These include writing, meditation, and exercise.

It’s interesting to note that after one work week into the new year, I’m falling back in to old modes of behavior. This is not surprising – lifelong habits don’t break easily. The very act of writing this though, is to be celebrated as significant step towards developing a new mode of conscious living.

To me, conscious living requires the ability to separate from the mundane trivia of the moment so I can see ‘reality’ for what it truly is. That’s the goal – to see and experience the truth, free from biases or blinders.

Just a minor little goal.

Still, one within our reach. At least to some degree.

So being here, being in this moment of time, of experience, free from the burden of worry and fret, is the vehicle by which we can achieve our goals.

The behaviors required to achieve those goals then, become the paramount priorities, not secondary (or tertiary) activities to be completed as time and mood allow. These behaviors become the gateway by which other functions flow. Not the other way around.

That’s it for now. What are your thoughts on the subject?

5 thoughts on “New Series: Constructive steps towards living consciously (aka, getting what you want)”

  1. What a great topic — I’m glad you’ve chosen to record and discuss your experiences here.

    My one small bit of advice is that approaches like meditation and writing often feel like too much work, like you’re forcing it. I find that introducing small changes in routine behavior can provide a small nudge that gets me thinking differently and gives me an energy boost.

    For example, take any old routine task you do at work — filling out an expense report, walking to a meeting room, whatever — and change how you do it, slightly. And really invest yourself in the change, notice all of the differences, and think about them. It might sound pointless, but give it several tries, and I think you’ll find it helps you switch into “beginner’s mind”.

  2. Recommend you look into Constructive Living, a westernized version of Japanese Morita & Naikan psychotherapies adapted by David K. Reynolds, Ph.D.

    It is a simple, pragmatic stragegy of “purposefully redirecting attention and engaging in constructive action”. A philosophy of “do”.

    Reynolds’ 106 page book Constructive Living Can Change Your Life is a content rich overview. A Handbook for Constructive Living is a more in depth treatment. His numerous other publications tend to be restatements.

    Also consider checking out CL related websites, including the ToDo Institute.

  3. If you’re in Toronto and interested in mindfulness, why not look into actually trying Zen Buddhism? There’s a world class Zen Centre down near High Park called (surprisingly) The Toronto Zen Centre. Check the Yellow Pages. The teacher there comes from the direct line of Roshi Philip Kapleau, famous author of Zen Dawn in the West and The Three Pillars of Zen – two good books to read too, if you’re interested.

    I think they have introductory workshops a few times a year.

  4. I found your blog while investigating themes. In this moment, I consider it an auspicious thing.

    Reading this post, there is deep resonance with the theme and thought behind it. I too, write as a means of cataloging, defining, and understanding my thought processes.

    In the ongoing process of ‘becoming buddhist’, I find the method of documenting my steps, documenting my life and thoughts serves well for reminders of the places and means by which I lose track, enabling me to more mindfully return to it.

    In this moment, at your blog, a small and humble validation that is at once delight and contentment in the finding.

    Thank you for both. Namaste.

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