What does it mean to be conscious, awake and aware?
The word ‘conscious’ basically means ‘aware’. So when you live consciously you are aware of how your thoughts, words, actions, attitude and behavior affect not only yourself, but also those around you and the planet as a whole. If you are conscious, you are effectively ‘awake’ to the truth of situations and take actions accordingly.
In both personal and business matters, awareness implies the understanding of the law of cause and effect, whereby if you do something in a certain way you get a certain result. Consequently, when you are aware, you choose to be proactive over reactive, and you adopt an expansive ‘growth mindset’ where you take 100% responsibility for you and your life or business, as opposed to a fixed victim mentality, whereby one feels powerless and blames others and outside circumstances for perceived negative situations or outcomes.
However for most this is much easier said than done. Becoming more conscious and aware of something that was previously unconscious means that you then have a choice, of either changing in order to effect what you now know, or stay the same. Due to human nature it’s natural to resist anything that threatens what you are already used to and familiar with, so for many it is easier to look the other way and carry on living the same way rather than being totally honest with oneself and embracing change.
Fred Kofman, in his book ‘Conscious Business’ sums it up so clearly when he says that such ‘denial’ is:
making a conscious decision to remain unconscious
To give you an example of how seemingly ‘small’, ‘innocent’ and ‘insignificant’ actions can have far reaching negative consequences on both a micro and macro scale, I have outlined the potential negative effects of eating bacon or other mass-produced pork-based products:
- You – Unhealthy for your body due to the high amount of chemicals & hormones
- Pigs – These intelligent creatures, treated like a commodity, spend their lives in cramped, squalid conditions, being fed possibly GM corn & soy before being traumatically, unceremoniously & systematically slaughtered.
- Society – Poorly paid piggery workers working in a depressing & stressful environment while the profits go to a foreign multinational corporation, which may well be paying very little tax in the local jurisdiction which means less money for health, education & social programs. At the same time traditional local, organic farmers who effectively pay much more tax receive less income.
- Environment – Subject to significant amounts of effluent & contaminated run-off from the piggery, in addition to the adverse effects of genetically-modified maize & soybean farming methods.
Your choices reflect your nature – Fred Kofman
Unconsciousness & Unintended Consequences
For most of my life I ate and enjoyed meat without ever really thinking too deeply about what I was actually eating. Sure, I kind of knew that it came from animals but I was never really aware of the series of events necessary for it to end up on my dinner plate. I guess I never really considered to look beyond the neatly wrapped packaging displayed & conveniently accessible on refrigerated supermarket shelves. I mean, I never had to kill the animals myself so it was as if it was a consumer product just like any other, it never really crossed my mind that what was on sale was effectively bits of dead animal corpses.
Over the years however, I saw and heard some things both through other people and online that made me start to question my seemingly consequence-less and unconscious actions. Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was seeing a documentary called ‘Earthlings‘, which graphically and realistically portrayed the plight of sentient animal beings as a result of factory farming, animal testing, pet breeding and other cruel practices at the hands of humans. From that day forward I could no longer feel congruent by considering myself to be an animal lover, while at the same time supporting industries through my purchases which lead to their cruel and unnecessary demise!
We vote with our dollars
If I had not become aware of the real factors behind my unconscious habits, I would never have been able to make more conscious decisions regarding how my actions contribute to the world around me.
Now, I have a plant-based diet, which is much more aligned to my values and I am awake to the benefits to not only my health and wellness, but also the fact, as far as I’m aware, that it is for the most part cruelty-free and better for all concerned, including planet earth and all her “earthlings”.
If we all started making the effort to shed light on all areas of our life so that we can really see how our thoughts, words and actions affect others and the world around, imagine how different things would be! Sometimes it’s not easy facing the shadow side of ourselves, others and society as a whole, but it’s only through waking up to the reality of situations that we can begin to make more conscious decisons about how we live and as a result effect positive changes for all concerned.