Conscious Living, What Is It, Why and How?

11/07/2014 15:22 BST | Updated 10/09/2014 10:59 BST

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Two very well-known celebrities recently made headlines and raised eyebrows when they publicly announced their "conscious uncoupling" separation. While the profound concept left many scratching their heads and wondering what on earth provoked such sophisticated terminology, I couldn't help but recognize the loving awareness Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow poured into their life-changing decision. If more people made choices from this attitude of thoughtful regard, it would be interesting to see if the world might shift into a kinder, happier place.

What exactly does "conscious living" mean? In a nutshell, it means to be aware of your thoughts, speech and actions in every moment without causing harm to yourself or those around you. This basic approach to life may sound simple, but after centuries of tribal conditioning, living with absolute awareness requires deliberate observation and on going personal development.

Many of us run on autopilot from dusk until dawn with no real understanding of why we do what we do. From the moment we are born, we are taught specific, biased beliefs and behaviours that don't necessarily reflect our true essence. Over time, these hand-me-down notions become second nature and begin governing our entire lives, resulting in confusion and unexplained melancholy. Lifting the veil of oblivion is the first step toward consciousness. Once we see things as they really are, we can take charge of our lives and make decisions from a place of deep honesty.

Waking up to reality is the easy part. The real work lies in walking the path of consciousness day in and day out. Each moment provides you an opportunity to choose mindfulness and gratitude, or carelessness and blame. From my experience, the latter feels like much less work when nothing seems to be going your way. But in truth, negative emotions drain your energy and land you on a path of destructive behaviour that leaves you feeling cynical and discouraged. Choosing to be grateful for the way life is unravelling, regardless of your immediate desires, alters your state of consciousness and opens the doors to prosperity and personal empowerment. The road ahead is long and windy, but worth every step when you are living with total awareness. Below, we've included a few tips to prepare you for inevitable bumps along the way.

1. Get Clear On Your Values

What matters most to you? Do some soul searching to understand what is important to you and what is NOT important to you. This will help you decide what you want to keep and what you need to throw out. Situations that leave you feeling unhealthy and pessimistic will stunt your growth. Get rid of anything or anyone that does not lift your spirits and encourage full expression of your being. Doing so will lighten the load and make room for things you really want.

2. Love Yourself

Practice loving kindness toward yourself so you can genuinely extend good will toward others. If you are unhappy, you will project misfortune onto others. Your heart must be full before you can freely give love away. Do what you need to do to be happy so the overabundance of joy you exude will spill over and feed the whole world.

3. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

After the age of 18, you (and only you) are responsible for your life. Make conscious choices based on your values and fully accept the consequences of your actions. You can spend your time wishing and waiting for the world around you to change, or you can take matters into our own hands and create the life you want today. It's not always easy to walk away from a toxic job, relationship or environment, but moving toward health and happiness will awaken your senses and in turn, awaken consciousness.

4. Don't Try To Change Or Harm Others

Let people be who they are meant to be, not who you want them to be. To love another is to wholeheartedly accept and appreciate them as they are. Do not try to change their beliefs, manipulate the speed of their growth or turn them into YOU. Everyone has their own unique journey to walk. Do not interfere. And do not damage another's character by way of thought, speech or action.

5. Stop Reacting

Your external environment and the pressures that exist in society can easily sway your behaviour if you are not aware of their influence. You will indefinitely be challenged throughout your lifetime by the people and situations around you. Learn to respond with grace and wisdom rather than acting on impulse. Slow down and take your time when making decisions, so you can make the one that's right for YOU.

6. Stay Open

While keeping your boundaries intact, keep your heart and mind open. Opportunities are always trying to make their way into your life. Learn to receive the love you want and open yourself up to new adventures. Be willing to explore this big, beautiful world with a non judgemental, open disposition.

7. Practice Truthfulness

Last, but certainly not least, practice unconditional truthfulness. You are not here to live up to a false expectation that no longer fits your life, nor do you need others' approval to be valuable. Be honest with yourself at all times so you can be honest with others. You are capable of speaking the truth and protecting yourself and those around you. Complete honesty is necessary for an authentic existence.