Choosing to live consciously is one of the bravest decisions you can make in your life – and it’s also the hardest.
Last week I was in Tulum, Mexico for an intenSati retreat and what became increasingly evident during this trip was just how much of my daily actions and thoughts were unconscious – and just how difficult it was to do consciously what I had been doing unconsciously.
To a certain degree, we all live unconsciously – we all run on autopilot – something that in many ways allows us to function throughout our day. Can you imagine how much more complicated our life would be if we had to remind ourselves each time we needed to take a breath or if we had to tell our heart when and how fast to beat or our blood which direction to flow and when? Forget about having coffee, watching a movie or going for a run – your entire day would be spent on necessary life-giving tasks. And while this subconscious programming is what makes our lives easier, it also has the power to hold us back from living the life we want.
The subconscious mind is responsible for about 95% of what you experience – it’s the computer whose “programming” you operate by and its main function is to integrate your thoughts and feelings into your reality or what it is you experience. And, not until we live consciously, not until we’re really present to the thoughts we’re thinking and the choices we’re making, can we affect the direction or disposition of our life.
For me this lesson came from a very simple experience: using the bathrooms in Tulum. You see, in Tulum the water system is such that it is not set up to handle waste paper in the toilet. And on our first day in Tulum, that was the most important piece of information that we were to remember: you must throw your waste paper in the waste basket and not the toilet. Ok, we all thought, no big deal. I mean, we are Sati warriors, this conscious awareness and co-creation of our reality is what we live, eat and breathe, right? How hard can it be?
Apparently, really frickin’ hard.
The first several times I used the restroom, I proudly celebrated the fact that I did not flush my paper. It was like anything you’re doing for the first time that you’re really looking to shift: it’s easy in the beginning because you’re placing that thing at the forefront of your mind and giving it all your attention. But the minute your thoughts give way to something else, the second you lose sight of that focus, you drop the ball…or the toilet paper in the toilet. As ridiculous as it is, we’re all culturally accustomed to using the bathroom in a particular way and like anything we’ve done for so long in a certain way, we’re not even aware to the process itself.
In order for something to shift – in order for us to think, act or feel differently – we need to marry the unconscious with the conscious – we need to do consciously what we have been doing unconsciously. The simple act of consciously using the restroom differently was a transformational part of my week and one that undercut the process for changing any old thought, limiting belief, story or habit. It showed me how important it is to stay present and to really examine the contents of our mind, especially when we’re trying to build a new way of being or take on a challenging situation – and how it’s a process of building that mental muscle, to do consciously what we have been doing unconsciously.
Take a second and ask yourself:
What programs am I running on?
What habits am I living by?
Generally speaking, how do I respond to stress, adversity or challenges?
On a daily basis, what state do I most frequent? (happy, stressed, tired, etc.)
The goal is to wake up the warrior within – to be really present and aware of how you’re doing what you’re doing right now. Not right or wrong or good or bad. Just what’s going on. Because only when you have that list of what you’re presently doing, thinking or feeling, can you decide what to keep, grow and develop and what it is you want to release, heal and let go.
This week I want you to raise the bar on your level of awareness. I want you to examine the contents of your mind as if your mind is a backpack: what are you taking along and is it something that you want to carry? Is it something that lights you up and energizes you? Or, is what you’re carrying heavy? Is it something that’s draining your energy and your time and you’d rather leave it behind?
Wake Up Your Inner Warrior
This week is all about raising your level of awareness and one of the best ways to do that is to keep a running list of the contents of your mind.
For each of the lists below, add whatever comes to mind and keep adding to those lists as you go throughout your day and your week. At the end of each day, as well as the end of the week, you should see where you most commonly find yourself. Keep in mind, the goal of creating these running lists isn’t about fixing or chastising yourself, but rather just becoming more aware of what’s in your mind, because the minute you judge it, you just add another layer of crap to it. Also, if the task itself seems too daunting, the first two lists (Gratitude and Complaints) are really the most vital to building that next level of awareness. Keep these lists handy – whether on your phone or device, or in your journal – and wake up your inner warrior.
- Gratitude: what are you grateful for in your life? What has happened today that has allowed you to feel gratitude? What are things/people that just by thinking of them can move you to this state?
- Complaints: What are you complaining about? What’s keep you from really being present? This can be your worries, doubts, or fears.
- Triggers: What sets you off, gets you off your center, or has you react instead of respond? (i.e. traffic, what someone said, the weather, etc.)
- Obstacles: What are the bigger picture things that you perceive to be obstacles? These can be any questions/doubts you have or anything you want that you do not presently have.