Conscious living is all about living aligned with reality. A truly conscious/aware person is very grounded in the reality of life, he/she is not working from a place of delusion – the advantage (or light nature) of such a way of living is that you have peace and you are conflict-free, the dark nature of such a living is that you will lose your sense of deluded joy and motivations coming from it. The more aware you become the less you get to cling to delusions of any form, and to be robbed of your delusions is a good thing but it also can create a sense of ordinariness about life, making you lose your sense of extraordinariness about everything. I’ve also mentioned this in some previous posts that “conscious living” is not your ticket into a purely light-natured life (such a life doesn’t exist, because it can’t be realistically possible), it’s simply your ticket to living a life of a real choice – when you are living through delusions you are not really making “choices” you are simply being driven by delusions. What I define as living a life that involves a “real choice” is when you are making choices with the full understanding of reality, from a place of inner freedom, rather than making choices from a place of delusion/ignorance or fear-based motivations.
Every reality of life has a contrast present in it. You can imagine several fantasy realities, or realities that have no contrast, and envision some form of a “perfect condition”, but such realities are just imaginations of a deluded mind that does not understand the reality of life. For example, “heaven” is postulated as the highest realm to reach, a realm which is just perfection itself, and by perfection I am assuming that they are referring to it as a “purely light-natured realm”, with only joy and only love, and I am sure such a reality can exist “vibrationally”, and possibly souls that are deeply light natured congregate there, but what do you do after you reach there? You have fun for a while, may be even for an infinitely long time, and then you are bound to feel bored – the dimension of boredom is inherent to the nature of a mind (be it non-physical mind or physical mind, after all the physical mind is just made in the image of the non-physical mind, as they say – Man is made in the image of God). If heaven was the perfect reality there would have been no need to create a physical plane, like Earth, for experience.
The truth is that heaven (or the concept of it) may be a fun reality but has its own limitations, the biggest being that you can’t have physical experiences there, to have physical experiences you need to come to a physical plane; and a physical plane cannot exist without light and dark nature aspects working in cohesion, like birth and death – when you’ve had enough fun in heaven, you may get bored, and you may relish the opportunity to have another physical journey for the adventure of it, hopefully as a conscious choice. A purely light natured experience gets boring quite soon, just as a purely dark natured experience gets exhausting quite soon.
Conscious living is when you understand this reality of life and are consciously willing to embrace the light and dark nature aspects of living. I would say that the day you find the concept/reality of heaven (be it some imagination of heaven on earth or heaven as a non-physical realm) to be deeply “ordinary” is the day when you really see life in its wholeness, until then you keep seeking a certain delusion of a permanent, and purely, light-natured reality. If you find this idea to be “negative”, and feel threatened by this possibility of being robbed of a future anticipation of some extraordinariness, it would be an indication of how fearful you are towards protecting your imaginations and this fear actually keeps robbing you of true inner freedom, and wisdom, in the “Now” or present moment. Also, remember that a lot of religious fanaticism happens in the name of heaven and a lot of people inflict suffering on themselves to seek a future salvation in heaven – it’s just an indication of how delusions lead to suffering, be it a delusion about heaven or hell.
The truth about conscious choice
A conscious choice is the one that you make in full cognition of reality without being influenced by pressure induced externally or internally. To understand that every reality of life has a light and dark nature is the foundation of having a clear cognition of any reality that you desire to pursue. To connect with the natural sense of inner freedom/wholeness, inherent to your being, is the foundation of making choices that are free of external or internal pressure induced by neediness (or lack-based thinking), fear-based thinking or any other imbalanced motivations created from a place of delusion. The absence of a conscious choice is what I would call “compromised living”. When you make a conscious choice, it may look like you are consciously embracing certain compromises that come as a part/consequence of the reality of your choice, but in truth you don’t feel a sense of resentment, bitterness, lack or victimization (that’s associated with a truly compromised life), while you live your choice this way – you own your choices in full cognition of the consequences that it entails, the light natured ones and the dark natured ones.
Consider this example, you may be an introverted person and feel highly bitter of your condition out of your desire to be extroverted (possibly a party animal who is the center of attention), the reason for your bitterness could well be that you are associating something extraordinary with being extroverted (you may imagine that extroverted people are living a superior life) in which case your desire is coming from a place of delusion, so your suffering is created from your deluded thinking more than anything else. When you are willing to see that the reality of an extroverted person also has dark nature elements involved in it, beyond just seeing the light natured elements that it attracts, you will be able to see this reality in its wholeness. When you have this cognition, you may lose your desire for being extroverted, because you no longer associate something extraordinary with it – now you can be introverted as a “conscious choice” without bitterness, without resentment, without feeling inferior. Of course, you can also develop the “skills” of being an extroverted person, as a conscious choice, just for the sake of wanting to live that experience or for the experience of growth – any skills can be developed over time, with an attitude of learning, it’s just that some realities will never feel natural to you and to experience them you will have to suppress your natural inclination (and you can do that as a conscious choice).
The more aware I become the more I see that everything has its own charm, in its own way. The experience of struggle has its own charm as does a struggle-free experience. It’s just that you cannot see the charm in an experience unless it’s a conscious choice. When you are forced into something (that doesn’t feel like a conscious choice for you), either through internal or external pressure, you just feel like a victim, you just feel resentment and bitterness, you don’t feel the charm of that experience. For example, a millionaire who drives around in the most luxurious cars may find a charm in traveling in public transport when he gets to experience it as a conscious choice – every experience has a charm when you know that you are only experiencing it temporarily for the sake of that experience. You can now understand why a soul having fun in the non-physical would take an incarnation as a handicapped beggar in the most decrypt cities in the world, purely from the perspective of fascination for the experience – when you’ve been eating sweets all day, the prospect of eating a spicy curry is highly alluring even if it makes your eyes water. Dark nature is not a “negative nature”, it’s a necessary element for the presence of charm, for the presence of choice – without “contrast” life will be extremely boring and static. Negativity does not arise from the reality of life but from our delusions about its reality which causes us to move into imbalanced way of thinking.
The dynamics of living from a conscious choice
You can see people enjoying the experience of fear as a conscious choice, like when they consciously choose to watch a horror movie, to go bungee jumping, to ride the longest roller coaster, to go sky diving or taking up a new experience for the sake of its adventure and uncertainty. So fear as a feeling is not a “negative” by itself, you can enjoy fear also, it’s just that we wouldn’t like to experience fear under force or under some sense of helplessness. Fear can be enjoyed as a conscious choice, it’s just an experience. In fact when you learn to enjoy fear you will no longer suffer from its presence. I learnt to embrace/enjoy fear when I realized that it was a required dimension in the mind and that it added a certain flavor to the experience of living, for example if you remove the dimension of fear totally from the mind you will also remove several aspects of wisdom.
Fear can hamper wisdom or it can aid wisdom, it totally depends of how much inner freedom you have towards fear, if you feel forced by fear then you have no real inner freedom and hence no real choice towards wisdom. I made a real shift, towards finding freedom from the influence of fear (I was dealing with strong anxieties due to my life circumstances), when I stopped seeing fear from the rigid perspective of wanting to get rid of it (and wanting some purely light natured state of living) and started realizing the charm of fear; I realized that I did not have to get rid of fear, I could just enjoy/allow the experience of it as it was – this attitude is what is actually the foundation of the “practice of allowing” and it dissolves the imbalanced momentum of any dimension in you.
An activity can come from the place of force or from the place of choice. For example, let’s say you want to be a marathon runner, first of all this choice can come from a place of delusion in that you feel that you can only term yourself successful/worthy when you finish a marathon (in which case the choice is lack-based and feels like a force), or it can come from a place of wholeness where you feel the desire for the experience of running a marathon purely for the sake of that experience or the adventure of it (in which case the choice is free of struggle and doesn’t feel like a force). When your choice comes from a place of wholeness you are willing to enjoy the dark nature along with the light nature of a reality – for example, to run a marathon you would have to practice running several miles a day while stretching your limits every time (which would be physically painful) to keep building endurance for more miles; it’s logical that you can’t increase your endurance if you don’t stretch the limit by a small amount every session, and stretching your limit will always feel painful, you understand this to be the dark nature of this reality and are consciously accepting of it, hence you don’t feel resentful about the training and enjoy the pain of it knowing it to be your choice and knowing that it will allow your to achieve/experience the light nature aspects that you desire (like building stamina and feeling stronger). However, when this same choice comes from a place of force, where you either feel forced to run a marathon due to external pressure or due to some lack-based belief that you hold about yourself, then there will be a presence of resentment and a sense of being victimized, which is what leads to a sense of struggle instead of a sense of enjoyment.
Arnold Schwarzenegger mentioned that he enjoyed the pain of muscle building (which requires you to tear down your existing muscle tissues by lifting heavier weights so that the body builds bigger fibers of muscle). Anyone who really takes up body building, or just weight training, as a conscious choice, would also have this attitude of enjoying the pain of process, they don’t complain about the pain; however, if they take it up as a forced choice then they would just feel deep resentment every time they have to hit the gym. To have a chiseled body, and enjoying the look of the body, is the light nature of this choice, whereas the pain of muscle building is the dark nature of this choice, when you make a conscious choice you need to account for both the natures and embrace their presence to ensure there is no resistance in you towards this reality. If you don’t like the experience of the pain of muscle building, and feel that it will compromise on the way you want to live your life, then let go of the reality of having a chiseled body – don’t feel resentful about giving up a reality, just know that its dark nature did not align with you and hence you made a conscious choice towards leaving it. Just remember that there is no reality that doesn’t have a dark nature attached to it, and you have the choice to decline the experience of a reality if you don’t like the dark nature component that it would bring in – don’t feel lackful about letting go of realities, there are plenty of realities to experience, and no reality is superior or inferior by itself, it just depends on your personal preference and perspective.
Even while following your true passion, in terms of a career or vocation, you need to contend with certain dark natures that would be present in your reality. Basically it boils down to the question of priority. Just because someone is following their passion doesn’t mean that they have no challenges or dark nature to deal with, it’s just that they stay true to their priority of following their passion in their expression over other things. For example, if you are an entrepreneur, following your passion to be independent, you might have to spend more time at the business than you would spend doing a 9 to 5 job and you would have to be okay with the responsibility of being your own money generator, but on the light nature side you don’t have to report to anyone and can boost your earnings at anytime depending on your productivity instead of waiting for the year end appraisal. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, and doing a 9 to 5 job is not for everyone, and one is not superior than the other – it just has to be a matter of conscious choice based on understanding yourself and your priorities. For example, if the security of receiving a steady pay check, every month, is a bigger priority for you than the adventure of running a business on your own, or following your passion about something that interests you, then make a conscious choice towards that priority – your priorities can change as you grow in maturity, or grow in your sense of inner freedom, but at any point you need to have an understanding of what your priority is and stay true to it while embracing the light and dark nature of the choice.
If you don’t feel like making a choice about something, you can always make the choice to just let go and allow life to bring you a certain clarity on your preferences. Always allow yourself a sense of abundance, where you don’t feel the need to make choices under pressure – the truth is there is never a lack of choices in life, if you miss one boat there will always be another one coming along. Of course, this choice of having a sense of abundance would require you to embrace the fear of uncertainty (when there is no boat in sight one can end up panicking instead of being allowing of the temporary phase of uncertainty before the next boat comes in). To make choices with a sense of lack will always make you feel resentful even if it gives you a sense of temporary pseudo-security. Living a life of struggle or aligning with a struggle-free way of living are both choices, each has its own light and dark nature to contend with.
Riding out the consequences of your past choices
When you make a choice, it starts spiraling into a reality and this reality has a momentum to it that sustains it. Even after you terminate your past choice, the reality created by that choice will continue to play out for a while due to its “gathered” momentum. So you will have to deal with the consequences of a past choice, for a while, even after you consciously make a new choice. It’s important to realize that the consequences of your past choice will run out of momentum, in some span of time, when you start making a different choice – this is part of reality and it’s best if you simply embrace this truth about it instead of fighting the consequences of your past choices. You can make a new choice at any point, and if you stick with your new choice (in thought and action) your reality will shape up to match it, and the realities created by your old choices will dissolve on their own. Of course the dark nature of making a new choice is the dissolution of the realities created by your old choice, a sense of loss can come in when you let go of an old reality as a part of your new choice – one has to have the openness to allow this dissolution, and sense of loss, as a matter of choice.
If you want your old realities (created by your old choices) to dissolve faster, you would need to stop giving interest or focus to these old realities and just allow yourself to experience the consequences of its past momentum, in a state of openness, until it ebbs away. For example, if you incurred a financial debt as a result of some past choices (from a state of unconsciousness or delusion), and you are currently a more aware person who is making a conscious choice towards financial stability, you will have to ride out the consequence of your past choice for a while, in that the debt will not disappear overnight, it has a momentum which it will sustain for a while. You will have to stop being so focused on the consequences of the past choice, and bring your focus to your current choice. The debt will have to be handled, and if you are in a state of allowing you will always be receptive to solutions coming in, however you don’t have to keep worrying about it or feel resentful about it, rather you can stay with the choice of letting go of identifying with the patterns of thinking that lead you to the financial crisis (like patterns of neediness and lack) while holding a perspective of abundance or well-being.
Choices made from a state of imbalance will obviously created imbalanced realities. An imbalanced reality is rooted in an imbalance of struggle or suffering, and the intense fluctuation of the experiences of highs and lows. A state of imbalance comes from a mind/thinking based in delusion. The consequence of the choices made from the state of imbalance will continue to have their effect, in your reality, for a while even after you become consciously balanced in your thinking – this can’t be helped, and it’s part of the physics of how life-energy moves, in that it sustains momentum from a past focus, for a while, even after the focus is removed. Knowing this truth about life will allow you to stop feeling confused/worried about why a certain imbalanced reality is not “leaving” your presence even though your thinking has changed – don’t allow the presence of this past consequence to affect your present choice of thinking (in fact, even your thinking will have a past momentum based on past choices which you would need to let go of identifying with, in a conscious manner). The state of allowing is about letting the old consequences/momentum ride out, and ebb away, in force thus bringing in congruent solutions – if you try to fight it or if you continue to identify with it or suppress it, you are indirectly giving it more fuel to sustain.