“Most people don’t live aware lives. They live mechanical lives, mechanical thoughts–generally somebody else’s–mechanical emotions, mechanical actions.” — Anthony de Mello
“Of course I’m conscious!” you reply. But are you really?
The truth is that most of us are basically asleep all the time. We’re lost in thoughts of the past and the future. We’re unconscious of the habits and beliefs that keep us stuck in the same old patterns. We’re oblivious to what’s possible for us.
We only truly live life when we are present to the moment. And being present means being fully conscious of what’s going on — within us and around us — so we can participate fully and authentically in the opportunities that present themselves.
It’s only when we can be present to the moment that we can grow in relationships, abundance, health, service, creativity and consciousness.
When we are unaware, we unconsciously choose the way we always have in the past. And those old patterns don’t usually serve our highest interests. As de Mello said, we “live mechanical lives.”
How can we become aware? It’s quite simple, really. All we need to do is to STOP and pay attention! What does this mean?
When we pay attention, we bring our minds into the present moment. We’re no longer lost in thoughts or feelings connected with the past or future. We become fully conscious of what’s really happening, both inside and outside of ourselves, right now.
With awareness, we go more deeply into ourselves with openness and honesty. This gives space to what is. And this, in turn, often brings us new understanding that reveals a new level of truth for us.
For example, when I STOP and pay attention, I may begin to notice:
- The muscles of my body are tight like defensive armor and my breathing is shallow – I need to relax.
- I’ve been feeling down for a while but I haven’t stopped to really connect with my feelings so I can understand and release them.
- My thoughts are blaming someone or something else for my problems or my inner critic is blaming me.
- I’m saying or doing something that isn’t really true for me.
- The sky is a brilliant blue and that taking just a few seconds to gaze up at its beauty fills my entire being with a sense of peace and gratitude.
- That subtle urge or calling that tugs at my creative nature.
When we bring an awake and open mind to the present moment, we can discover so many interesting facets of our lives. We realize how often we are deeply unconscious of what’s going on. We begin to see how our own preconceptions and expectations affect the way we interact with the world. We discover how our thinking creates stress. We begin to recognize there are other and perhaps better ways of doing things. We get a sense of our motives, of what makes us comfortable or uncomfortable, of our defenses and masks–how we hide our true thoughts and feelings from others.
With awareness, we uncover our true thoughts and feelings. We move from robot to the real thing. Our authentic selves have an opportunity to introduce themselves and to have a say in how we live our lives. The more we make choices based on our true nature, the more our lives nurture and fulfill us. And we begin to discover that deeper truths, guidance and soul connection are always available to us.
The rewards of paying attention are well worth the effort. And the good news is you have everything you need every moment to wake up to your own truth.