How often have you been driving your car, ended up at your destination without remembering the last hour of your journey? Or have you been sat at work with a deadline looming and suddenly realize you’ve been staring at the computer screen for the last 20 minutes without doing anything? Most of us have experienced time lapses such as these, when we drift off, thoughts claim our attention and we become totally unfocused on the job at hand. It’s as though we become unconscious.
The reality is that during these times our unconscious mind does take over, we do lose control of our conscious thoughts and we’re no longer present to where we are and what we’re doing. We might as well be unconscious medically, because that’s how unproductive we can become.
The majority of people in fact live day to day in an unconscious state, their minds unsupervised and constantly wandering. Many become a slave to their incessant thoughts, which frame the way they think about the world and other people in it. This is not a productive state of mind when it comes to manifesting dreams.
Just imagine for a moment that you need to walk from your house to the center of town but you get lost and take every detour possible through the back alleys and side streets. Instead of arriving in 20 minutes, 20 hours later you finally reach your destination, or perhaps you don’t arrive at all, ending up back at your front door where you started.
When you drift through life unconsciously it’s exactly the same as taking a journey with endless detours. Your conscious mind becomes unfocused, endless thoughts drift in and out fighting for your attention…. “How am I going to get that project finished? Does my husband still love me? Why hasn’t my Mum called me? Why is my next door neighbor richer than me?” All these thoughts prevent you from being present to your dreams and goals and the wonderful life awaiting you.
One of the largest causes of unconscious living is the stress the majority of us live through on a day to day basis. Rushing from one place to the next, taking on deadlines and challenges that cause our bodies to be in a constant state of stress. As the hormones adrenaline and cortisol rush through our bodies, it’s no wonder we lose the ability to control our thoughts and be present to what’s going on around us. Furthermore it’s during this stressed state that we often tend to get into arguments with colleagues and loved ones, without even realizing what we’ve said.
To be present and conscious 24 hours per day is a near impossible task, but by increasing the amount of time we stay in control of our thoughts, this is an important step on the way to ensuring we achieve our full potential. Whether you want to use the term consciousness, focus or concentration, being present to what is going on around us can enable the following:
- A more peaceful state of mind
- The ability to understand and comprehend much more quickly
- Improved memory
- The ability to make better judgments and informed decisions
- Feeling less under pressure and less stressed
- The tendency to avoid arguments and conflicts
- Increased productivity
- Increased creativity
- An improvement in our relationships
One of the original advocators of conscious thought was the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and author of The Miracle of Mindfulness. He describes mindfulness as:
“The miracle… which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.”
Hanh advises taking small steps to achieving more consciousness in our lives by trying to maintain absolute focus on the simplest of tasks. So if you’re doing the washing up for example, be present to the fact that you are doing the washing up. Feel your hand wipe the cloth across each plate, hear the sound of the soap suds gently popping, take in the smell of the soap, watch the food remains fall away from the plate. In the same way as meditation, if you discover your thoughts have wandered to what you’ll be doing tomorrow or what you’re going to have for dinner, gently bring them back to the task at hand.
Another key to consciousness is staying calm and unstressed. Take 20 minutes every morning for gentle breathing meditation. Sit in a quiet room on a comfortable chair and close your eyes, gently focusing on your breath. Aim to breathe from your abdomen, noticing as you inhale your belly expands and your diaphragm pulls downwards and as you breathe out your shoulders relax and your entire being releases its tension. If you find your mind wandering, gently bring your focus back to your breath.
A final exercise for staying conscious is to put messages around your office and home reminding you to stay present. Simple words such as, “are you awake?” or “what are you doing right now?” or “don’t forget to breath” on top of your computer screen, bathroom mirror or dashboard of your car will give you gentle reminders to stay conscious. Eventually you won’t need reminding and it will be something that comes more naturally.
Being conscious takes practice and training. After years of allowing your thoughts to wander without control it’s going to take some perseverance to master the process. But quickly you’ll begin to notice you feel more focused, can get more done throughout the day, feel less tired and more energetic and are able to see with better clarity the opportunities presented to you on the path to manifesting your dreams.
It will look like this: Awakening the Power of Your Conscious Thought