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Living Consciously: Awareness of Choice
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | April 2018 (edited November 30, 2022)
We lose control of our lives. Impulses misguide, leading to chaotic and ego feeding action. We must live consciously to escape these deadly pitfalls.
New technology has brought driverless cars to our roadways. It may take a decade for us to relinquish control of the driver seat to a computer. Who holds the wheel directing our lives? We willingly give control away to surrounding forces, and aimlessly drift. We need to live more consciously—at least most should.
Leo Babauta wrote, "living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us" (2007).
We shouldn’t blindly follow impulses, leaving events unexamined. Our lives improve when given mindful attendance. When we consciously take responsibility for our pain, sufferings, and hurts as well as successes and joys, we diminish the power of deceptions that intrude, distort life and take over thinking. We shouldn’t run from responsibility but courageously face the demons, hiding beneath the surface and pulling the strings that direct our lives.
Haunted pasts live in the present, disfiguring beauties and inciting fear. Healthy adaptation must account for the bothersome disrupting choice. To deny emotion, invites inflexible approaches, displacements of blame, destructive escapes, and dreams without fulfillment. We can do better.
We can acknowledge hurt, dodge our tendencies to blame and seek healthier approaches; the actions that lift to new heights, wider perspectives and bountiful riches.
We can address problems that we accurately identify. If causes remain hidden, denied or projected outside of us, they continue their reign of terror. We must grasp the causes and then adjust. A very difficult task for those that habitually live in the shadows of reality to protect sensitive egos.
See Emotional Reasoning for more on this topic
If a problem is too big for us to resolve, we must seek help, utilizing strong social networks and professionals. Many times, our tender egos fear exposure and avoid rejection by protecting against judgments. These overt protections separate us from the positive influence of healthy relationships. On our own, we disengage from society, slipping further into our own delusions. Our weaknesses provoke insecurities, so we deny their existence.
We get the convoluted idea that we can quietly change, escape our prison of habit without embarrassing disclosures. Or perhaps, we don’t trust our resolve and prefer for others not to know when we fail. We prepare for failure by keeping our effort secret, losing the additional strength from supportive others.
"If you’re drifting through life and feel out of control, or don’t know how you got where you are today; deciding to live consciously could be the single, most important thing you do. Living consciously is about taking control of your life."
Deb Kerfont | On Life Journey
Part of the initial downfall into destructive habits usually begins with the tendency to excuse, hide and avoid consequences. If we continue this adaptive style of hiding faults to avoid social disapproval, we will never emerge victor. We don’t need to change our behavior; we need to change our mode of dealing with troublesome behaviors. We need a sponsor, a friend, or a professional where we can honestly report our successes and failures.
Our lives are imperfect. Conscious living brings us back to reality, recognizing the flaws, fears, and sensitivities. We first bring the blemishes into consciousness; then courageously soothe vulnerabilities with healthier adaptations, utilizing the strength of trusted others. As we do so, we find, even in weakness, we are still valuable and capable of being loved.
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Babauta, Leo (2007). Wake Up: A Guide to Living Your Life Consciously. Published 12-07-2007. Accessed 11-30-2022.