Consciousness vs. Unconsciousness Series 2 of 3

So picking up where we left of from 1st installment of this series, we discussed the importantance of presence, or becoming conscious in any given moment. So now that you can dis-identify with the mind and it’s entanglements you begin to see yourself as you really are, pure awareness; you are connected to your source.

Now you have opened up space for self-compassion to flow in. To be able to say, “There goes my mind again, telling myself some dreadful story that I bought into”.  There’s no judgment, analysis, or resistance.

A simple way to invite self-compassion is by asking yourself, “What would I tell my dearest friend about this situation?”

I don’t imagine you would berate him or her for getting lost in the mind’s endless chatter. But you would offer acceptance and love and humility.

So how do you start integrating consciousness? The easiest place to start is with your senses. Observe nature without labeling everything you see. Your mind will love that!

Just observe a flower without naming the species of plant or labeling its color. Really taste your food slowly. What does it feel like on your tongue? In your mouth? In his book, Minfulness for Beginners, John Kabat-Zinn does a great food meditation with a raisin!

Really notice the smell of your perfume or cologne as you spray it on.

I am practicing mindfulness now as I feel the chair beneath me and notice how the keys of the keyboard feel on my fingertips while still attending to the practicalities of creating this message for you.

Even notice your feelings as they come up. Notice the restlessness you feel as the end of your work day approaches and you are eager to go home. Really feel the restlessness without trying to fix it, eradicate it or cultivate ways to make the time pass, which is really just yet another way we ignore our feelings.

As you do this scan your body for where you may be holding the feeling. Is there tightness in your chest? Knots in your stomach? Tension in your head or shoulders? Put all your focus and awareness into these sensations. Notice what happens.

Can you begin to see the shift from doing to being? Our natural inclination is to want to do something about the problems we have or just stick our head in the sand.

While there is a time and place for applying solutions to problems, much of the problems we think we have can be viewed through a different lens when we slow down and shift into consciousness.

The apostle Paul states in Philippians in the New Testament of the bible, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…”. Paul wrote this while imprisoned!

In the last installment of this series I will address how this all ties into emotional distress and how you can move through your feelings much more effectively instead of being ruled by them.

Hilary Akman, LPC

Conscious vs. Unconscious Series 1 of 3

Candle in hands

In my work with clients I talk a lot about becoming conscious. What does that mean anyway and why should it be important to you?

Because that is where our freedom lies!

Freedom from the mind and its relentless untruths

Freedom from reactivity

Freedom from feeling like a victim

Now we have the power to choose in every moment.

So did you know we operate out of our unconscious mind a whopping 95% of the time?

No wonder we snap at our kids, fly into road rage, and work ourselves up into a frenzy at the slightest stressor (more to come on stress- stay tuned!) We are just a great ball of reactivity.

So how do we tap into that elusive 5%? The answer lies in awareness. Pure awareness. In shifting from doing to being. We are human <i>beings </i>after all. Some other words used to describe consciousness are mindfulness, presence, and attention.

Psalms in the old testament of the Bible says, “<em><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Be</span></em> still and know that I am God”  That is a wonderful quote to repeat while deeply breathing to bring yourself into the present.
Minfulness is defined by John Kabat-Zinn as moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. I like the simplicity of this description.

It forces us into the present moment. It yanks us out of the past and brings us back from the future. So often our minds are in one or the other, past or future. Rarely just the now. Now is all we have my dear reader!

So how exactly do we do this? We are just noticing what is going on in and around us without judging it or labeling it as bad <i>or</i> good. Eckart Tolle calls this being the “distant observer”. That you are the one noticing what is going on in your head and around you in your environment.

Imagine yourself coming outside of yourself and hovering in the corner of the room. As though there were 2 of you. One is immersed in doing with the inner dialogue of the mind going full speed ahead. The other one of you is the one observing you. That is presence. Awareness aware of itself.

When integrating mindfulness or consciousness you are the one that is noticing. This is your true self. The false self is on the other side of the room doing the dishes while ruminating over the comment your boss made and how you wish you would have replied differently.

You are that pure awareness who is observing without judgment. And in that moment, just by bringing attention to the moment, you are conscious. You have released yourself from the prison of your mind.

In the next installment we will dive into what comes next. Because after becoming present you open yourself up to release yourself from destructive patterns and slow their momentum.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps to create an opening in discovering a different approach to relating to problems in your life.

Hilary Akman, LPC