An Inquiry of What It Means to Be “Conscious”

What does being “conscious” mean to you?

I often find it tricky to use the term “conscious” to describe ways of being or action, not only because it tends to be an overused buzz word, but also because the distance it can create.

For some, the concept of being conscious resonates on many levels and is something to strive towards and be identified with.

For others, it seems to be a confronting concept. One that creates resistance, unease, and even passive aggression towards those who would use such a lofty term to describe themselves.

While we can always add meaning and definition to words, something I like to do is check out the definition and etymology of words.

For starters, according to Webster, the definition of conscious is to be “aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.” or alternatively, to be “fully aware of or sensitive to something.”

The etymology of the word shines further light. According to Etymonline, the adjective variant of “conscious” stems from two words, “con” and “scire,” which, when combined, means “to know thoroughly.”

What this brings up for me is the question, how many of us can truly say we know ourselves thoroughly?

It’s an interesting inquiry for human beings who I believe are, by nature, in a constant state of unfolding and discovery in each present moment.

It seems what makes this concept confronting is how it seems to point to not only how much we really don’t know ourselves, but also how much we resist our past and experiences.

Often these aspects are connected to past trauma and unintegrated experiences that are stored in our body and psyche.

When these experiences are not processed or integrated, we begin to act in ways or create patterns of being that buffer us from uncomfortable emotions and sensations.

Unfortunately, this tends to manifest in our lives as addiction, co-dependence, and other destructive tendencies either towards ourselves or others.

What makes this more difficult is how, by no fault of our own, we very much live within a culture of avoidance and distraction.

Perhaps due to what I see being inherent brokenness and unsustainability in our current way of living, it is all too easy, sometimes even necessary, to put our focus outward in order to cope and function as upstanding members of society.

What I find is often in the way of us stepping into higher states of self-awareness is how we must face, accept, and love equally the good, the bad, and especially the ugly aspects of our past and current ways of being.

I see the trend towards becoming more conscious being indicative of our collective awareness that there’s more to who we are and what we can become than what we’ve been told or dictated to by our parents, governments, media, or inner critics.

Perhaps we resist the idea of being conscious because we intuitively recognize that the process of conscious awareness requires change and responsibility.

And as we know, our fragile ego’s don’t often like change or the work, tears, and effort required to stand within our light and dark.

What’s exciting about this dynamic though, is how much we are in the driver’s seat.

We are always at choice whether or not we are willing to truly see, accept, and love ourselves.

I see the path of consciousness as a moment by moment invitation.

An invitation that asks us to slow down, invites us to reflect on our actions, and one that offers unyielding permission to engage with ourselves and others with a quality of care and active curiosity that brings us into the present moment.

I believe Love at its highest vibration, loves unconditionally. It asks us to accept and embrace fully all that’s lead us to this point.

As we shine more light within, we find we naturally shine more Light without.

Our way becomes easier, the path becomes more clear, and over time find we become a beacon for those who have perhaps not yet discovered the fullness of their inner light.


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