What do we mean by conscious living?

I suppose having greater self-awareness, and operating from a state of presence for longer periods, generally describes the term.
A state of enlightenment even.
Now becoming enlightened is one thing, maintaining this state in a world of ever increasing distractions is quite another.
Take some time out of each day to be alone. You can do this anywhere. Some people like to go off into nature, but you can do it just as effectively in your bedroom. When you allow stillness to develop you come to realise that your thoughts are not you, only the content of your mind. This in itself is transformative, and loosens the grip the busy mind.

Here are 5 steps to keep you on track.

1. Get in touch with your inner stillness

Inner stillness is one of the most important things you need to cultivate higher consciousness. It is essential you take some time out of each day to be alone. You can do this anywhere. Some people like to go off into nature, but you can do it just as effectively in your bedroom. Sit for a few minutes with no stimulation only your thoughts. Be quiet. Listen to what your thoughts are saying. Hear the background noise they make. Do not judge them or make them wrong. Try not to engage with them either, as in reviewing tomorrow’s work schedule. Simply watch them as you would a movie on a screen. Realise your thoughts are innocent. Be kind to them. It is not even necessary to practice meditation as a discipline, only that you sit for a few moments each day and listen to the stillness of your being. It will have a profound effect on everything else you do.

How will this make me more conscious?

When you allow stillness to develop you come to realise that your thoughts are not you, only the content of your mind. This in itself is transformative, and loosens the grip the busy mind has on you.

How will it benefit others?

You become like a tuning fork. As you start radiating peace and calm those around you will resonate to that frequency, and to a lesser extent, do likewise.

2. Give praise for a job well done.

Taking things and people for granted is a sign of unconscious or automated living. Often we sleepwalk our way through the day, murmuring a barely audible ‘thank you’ to those who serve us. However, by showing genuine appreciation to others we are keeping our minds alert to the good they do. We don’t exist in a vacuum. A fact spiritual people sometimes forget. When someone cooks you a meal, or serves you in a shop, or cuts your hair, they have dedicated part of themselves, their time, their energy specifically for you. Appreciate that. And let them know. Do this by thanking them graciously. Share a few moments of informal chat with them. Make them feel they have genuinely added to your day. Obviously do this sincerely. I’m not talking about flattery here. Deliberately cultivate giving sincere praise.

How will this make me more conscious?

By actively seeing the good in others we become less wrapped up in our own concerns. We create states of gratitude. Feeling gratitude is good, expressing it aloud makes it permanent.

How will it benefit others?

It makes them feel worthwhile and not taken for granted. People who feel appreciated go on to develop good self esteem.

3. Do a kindness for a stranger

Recent studies have shown that kind acts can help raise levels of consciousness. Now it’s easy to be kind to those we love. However, going out of your way to be kind to a total stranger requires effort. It could be visiting people who are alone, volunteering with the elderly or disabled. Just letting someone go in front of you in a queue at the store. How about giving up your parking space for someone you don’t know? There’s a lot of anger and negative energy around parking spaces it seems. Change that. Every kindness you do for a stranger is a genuine act of altruism. Think about it, they can’t return the favour, they don’t know you. Sometimes giving comes with a lot of unconscious hooks. A gift can become an exchange. But when we give freely from the heart we expect no return. Ironically, this is the very time we often receive something back.

How will this make me more conscious?

By becoming aware of the needs of others we grow in compassion and love.

How will it benefit others?

Nine times out of ten those you show kindness to will pay it forward. Maybe several times. And those in turn will do likewise. You could start a chain reaction of kindness!

4. Get physically fit

A healthy mind in a healthy body is the best recipe for being conscious. If we’re tired, sick, or run down it’s very hard to maintain optimum performance. I’m not talking about tedious sit-ups here, but a little work out goes a long way. The benefits of yoga have been well documented. Its combination of stretching and breathing releases the body’s subtle energies. Tai chi, often described as meditation standing up, keeps the mind in an alert state for hours. Qi gong works by awakening your innate energy. Doing any kind of kundalini awakening can have the same effect. Even a run in the park will leave you feeling better both in body and mind. When we stimulate the body we release peptides in the brain that create balance in the endocrine system and blood sugar levels. This doesn’t only lead to feeling better, but to greater awareness too.

How will this make me more conscious?

A body that is well nourished and reasonably fit is better able to achieve, and retain higher levels of consciousness.

How will it benefit others?

By showing others the benefits of being healthy you lead by example.

5. Keep a gratitude journal

This has been around for a while but it’s still one of the best self awareness tools I know. At the end of each day write down five blessings you had that day. It can be a particular event, someone you met, or an insight you had. Something that opens the mind up to the beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed. Start with three to five to get you going, however, you may find this increases as the days pass. The more you prime your mind to see and experience wonderful things, the more you’ll find them popping up in your life. Do it every day and see what happens. This is magical!

How will this make me more conscious?

Creating an attitude of gratitude is reason enough. But this goes further. After some time the mind doesn’t just see rich blessings, it actively goes seeking them out. Soon a river of good things will start flowing your way. How cool is that?

How will it benefit others?

We all radiate the state we’re feeling. So if you’re in a constant state of gratitude that’s what you’ll give out. And it’s infectious. Others can’t help feeling good around you.

By practicing the above you will begin to live your life with intention, and this is what creates permanent states of higher consciousness. And a happier world too.
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"Once you can look yourself in the mirror, and smile at the reflection, that’s when you know you are being who you are at the core "

Words are puny to describe your beauty and the beauty that you can create in the world. When we try to make sense of ourselves in the world through words, it is inadequate. There are no words to describe how special you are to the world. There are no words to describe the sheer beauty of kindness, giving, friendship and love in action. What does this mean for us as an individual? As a community?

Beautiful is rooted in action. It is rooted in seeing beautiful in yourself and others. It stems from belief and grows as it's acted upon. It blooms when it is given and received.

You will never grow your identity of beautiful in the glossy pages of a pop culture magazine or see it reflected in the air brushed models plopped on billboards. The words to describe these "sells" of beautiful are short-lived and come up short - way short. The only person who can grow your identity of beautiful is you and that happens in the way you see and create beautiful in your own life.

See beautiful - but in those two words, understand they fail at describing the beauty reflected in the mirror and through your own experiences in the world. That beauty, the beautiful you see, has no words. All the 
beautiful words in the dictionary cannot reflect the gift you are, and you create, in the world.

Sweet Memories

As I stare into the beautiful sunset, birds whoosh past my ears and the noise of the crashing waves batter my ears. The smell of the salty sea intoxicates my lungs. It is only here that can you truly appreciate what you have. As I sit on the cliff top looking over the valley I can hear the kids playing by the beach and the paranoid mother shouting at them to come back home so that they don't get lost at night. It's the end of another day and the start of another as soon the enlightening fireflies light up the sky along with the owl singing in the moonlight. I thoughtlessly stare at the forest. Packed to the brim with wildlife and kids playing hide and seek, what fun it is to be a kid, no work all play. Ahh yes I remember those days when we would walk on the soft but crumbly sand trying to dodge the cold, icy waves on top of that a stranded dolphin washed up on the beach . With its smooth but drying skin and its glimmering fin making it an absolutely stunning creature, I remember how it groaned in.
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All the great people in history have lived for a strong purpose. It may be religious, political, for civili rights, or for any cause. Great people, the ones we remember, are those who made great personal sacrifices for what they believed to be a great cause. 
It’s not just about making the world a better place. Living for a cause makes your life better.
This does not have to be something massive or earth changing or even particularly charitable. You do not have to be Ghandi. It just has to be something that you are living for beyond your immediate circumstances.
However I believe that in it are some of the best solutions to all the modern day crises such as economic, environmental and energy. That one book holds the key in my opinion. I am supremely passionate about it and I make sacrifices and work hard to spread its message. I get excited by it and find great satisfaction. I feel like if I died tomorrow I would die having contributed something to the world.
Even if you are not Ghandi your passionate promotion of a cause may be the spark that ignites someone else who then goes on to become the next Ghandi. There is a butterfly effect going on here, and you can have a profound impact on the world unintentionally and without realizing it.
Anybody can live for a greater cause. We are all great in our own way. And there are personal benefits. It makes you humble, it connects you to others and it builds empathy. If makes you passionate and inspiring. It makes you interesting. Most of all it makes life more fun and worth living.
Living a purpose driven and goal driven life is more exciting that sleep walking through life. You can shape the direction and shape the purpose rather than living on someone else’s whim.
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