Are you conscious? Well, I know you must be because you are reading this blog – but are you fully awake and aware? It’s a question worth asking if you want to live a full and fulfilling life.
Being awake is not just that jolt of energy you feel as you glug down your morning blast of caffeine. Being awake means really being present in your life. It means making conscious decisions about your wellbeing and it involves seeing the world (and most importantly, yourself) in clear vision. It means being intentional (my word for the year!).
Intentional living has become something of a buzzword of late. It’s a pretty big subject, with various interpretations. For some (including Oprah Winfrey), it refers to the thoughts you think and the energy you put out; it also means living an authentic life – on purpose. Living intentionally can also be thought of as being aware and conscious. This last interpretation is the sort of life that the Buddha spoke of. And you don’t need to be a monk, or even a buddhist to enjoy the benefits of a conscious life. Being awake and aware is our natural state of being – the difficulty comes from all the things that get in the way. So to become intentional, you first have to become clear about what feels right for you morally, emotionally and physically. And from that you will know the kind of life you want to live. Discovering who you are isn’t always easy and requires some personal reflection – and truthfulness. You have to decloak yourself from your previous conditioning and ask yourself what you truly believe in.
Meditation can help here, because it helps you reach your inner world. As you practice you will face emotions and all your ‘stuff’ bubbling up to the surface. But this is helpful, for it reveals the parts of you that have been unconscious. Remember to be kind and forgive yourself of shortcomings. Sarah Blondin from Live Awake has created some beautiful guided meditations that help with this process. Knowing yourself fully – warts and all – is all part of emerging into the light of consciousness. It does not mean you are wrong. It means you are human. Waking up need not be difficult if you remain kind. In fact, it is a blossoming of who you truly are.
“The number one principle that rules my life is intention”
Seven insights on intention…
I’ve come up with list of things to think about when embarking on an intentional life. And remember, we all get it wrong – we mess up and make mistakes. The idea of intention is that this is what we are aiming for – the word speaks for itself!
* Accept what is. This is the only way you will be able to move forward with a firm foundation.
* Take time to discover who you truly are, what you believe in and what you want your life to be.
* Choose work that is aligned with your beliefs. If your current job isn’t then take steps towards changing that. Choose friends who support you and are aligned to your core values. Choose how you spend your time and money in keeping with your beliefs and values.
* Respond rather than react. When something or someone upsets you, take a few moments to pause and breathe. In the space created you will be able to let go of conditioned reactions and act according to your true self.
* Be authentic. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You will like yourself better if you do.
* Say ‘no’ more. This sounds negative, but you will likely have to say no more often as you put boundaries in place so that you can live your intentional life.
* Meditate. Practices such as mindfulness, insight meditation (vipassana) and heart-centred awareness are all helpful in coming into tune wih yourself. Always practice with kind curiosity.
What does living an intentional life mean to you? Please feel welcome to leave a comment.