This article was first published in the Atlanta Conscious Life Journal on November 13, 2018. Click here to read the published article.
Workings of the Conscious Mind
Our mind works in interesting ways. Our conditioning and past trauma create beliefs that have very real consequences for the way we make choices. When we are stressed, our pre-frontal cortex shuts down but that is exactly the part of our brain needed in order to make choices and decisions that are not predicated by stress.
In order to live a conscious life, it’s imperative to examine our past conditioning, work through past trauma, and employ practices that enable us to become as stress-free as possible.
I have known many people who talk about living mindfully, but only a few who consistently live in a way that is harmonious, grounded and genuine. When I have come across them, it has been an unexpected delight.
Integrating Conscious Choice in Daily Life.
Some years ago, I took a group of students on a trip to Africa to meet our inner hunter/gather selves in the Kalahari Desert with the KoiSan Bushmen. Little did we know that we would meet our Higher Selves in the form of some of the most aware people I have ever come across. The Bushmen survive the harsh elements of the Kalahari Desert with a natural flow that is nothing short of admirable. One might think that living in the open in a harsh environment, would be constantly stressful, but in fact they live so harmoniously with their environment that they are deeply present to life.
For example, when they took us hunting we were amazed that they spent time communing silently with the bushes, asking the bushes to check in with the buck that had eaten their leaves that morning to see which one would be happy to feed their families. When they cooked, and shared their meal that night, they thanked the spirit of the fire as well as the spirit of the buck for the gift of their meal. They viewed predators in the same way – a natural part of the rhythm of life. Clearly their pre-frontal cortexes are not shut down!
Being Conscious enables good Choices.
The Bushman value peace, co-operation, caring, and laughter. They shared everything with us -their know-how, food, spiritual practices, and joy! Because they are in harmony with their lives, they choose what is important and they live what is important.
Mahatma Gandhi once observed, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
When our choices are made from a stress-free place, we can access our higher consciousness and make choices that affect the world in a powerful way!