What do I mean by "living consciously", and how can it really change the world?

Hey, good question. I’m glad you asked! Ok, so you didn’t. But this is my blog, and I can pretend all I want.

Living consciously means simply this: acting and reacting from your true inner self, not from your ego or from habit.

Easy, right? As if.

Living consciously has been my over-arching goal for a couple of years now. I didn’t call it this at first, because I wasn’t aware that it’s what I was trying to do. At first I just knew that there was too much incongruity between how I acted and how I really felt. The more I looked into that, the more I realized that much of what I did as I went through my day was a series of preset reactions to stimuli. I wasn’t really choosing what I doing. I just kind of did it, while the conscious me went along for the ride.

When I started reading up on Buddhism and other such stuff, I got totally drawn in to the concept of now. Being in the now is a way to sidestep preset reactions. If I’m in this moment, I choose how to act.

Over at 97thmonkey.com, I propose that in living consciously can change the world. Now, don’t mistake me for a mystic. I’m not suggesting that the world’s problems will magically evaporate. But I am suggesting that when we live and act consciously, our actions take on a couple of new characteristics:

  • we tend not to make as much of an impact on society and the environment
  • we tend to act with more kindness and gratitude
  • we tend to value quality over quantity

As fucked as our world is at the moment (see the recent update to the Doomsday Clock), I just can’t see us getting out of this mess with the same thinking that created it. Living consciously, I believe, may offer a gateway by which sanity can prevail. Put another way, if I’m less invested in my ego, and more invested in this moment, I’ll make decisions that lead to more good, not more bad.

So that, in the colloquial nutshell, is what I mean. Living consciously is such a simple thing to do. But don’t mistake simplicity with ease. For most of us, the length of our entire lives has been spent conditioning us to act from ego. The ego clings to control with a maniacle rage, not realizing that by releasing its control, You become richer, not poorer. Getting past your ego can be one of the most challenging tasks a person can face. But I think more and more of us are feeling compelled to do so. I’ll go into the reasons why at another time.