A large part of conscious living is working with the mindset of making deliberate choices (from a place of being objective) on following what feels like a requirement, responsibility, inspiration or exploration, in your current reality. Once you let go of the past momentum created by unconscious living, where you were mostly dragged around by the momentum of your external conditioning, blind beliefs, delusions and imbalances, you no longer feel that “force”, or pull, that you were habituated to – delusion has its own pull, so does imbalance, so do blind beliefs and conditioning, and this pull can be a means to avoid deliberate choice because you feel some form of movement happening all the time (even if it’s imbalanced and unconscious). As your awareness grows, and you no longer feel congruent with the past pull/momentum, you start letting go of it (entering a phase of release) and eventually this momentum dies away – it brings you to inner freedom. However, once the “celebration” of the release is done with you are faced with a new condition, a condition where you are no longer moved around by this past momentum and the responsibility for generating the movement starts resting solely on you, and your deliberate choices. A lot of people don’t recognize this change of dynamics and sit waiting to feel that past/old sense of a inner pull to be generated, and hence they start sensing stagnation in their reality in many ways along with the pressure to make changes, to grow and to create expression (growth is the nature of the being that we are and when avoided this nature starts creating a lot of pressure in us).
As a part of evolution you are moving towards experiencing your power as a conscious being who can exercise the capacity for “deliberation”, which is about exercising your power to make choices and dedicating yourself to that choice in the form of committed action. The foundation of inner freedom, where you are not dominated by any feeling, thought or influence, is a necessary grounding for the purpose of deliberation – if you feel helpless to internal or external influences, created by emotions and thoughts, you can’t be truly independent, or wise, in your deliberation, you will just be working under the force of the influence. However, just because you have the inner freedom does not necessarily mean that you will exercise it to lead a life of deliberate choice, and that’s reason why I look at it as a phase in itself, the phase of return of focus where you consciously work towards deliberation.
This deliberation includes following up on inspirations. Inspiration does not instigate action on its own, inspiration is simply a call towards a certain choice that feels right to you, taking action towards it requires a commitment and a deliberation. There are times when you can’t “feel” the energy for the action, however, in this phase it’s important to get over this mindset of waiting for the energy and just making the initial movement towards the action – the energy will come in once you start off on that action, as your focus pumps momentum into it. Simply put, in this state of conscious living you are free of any past force (including the force of delusion, like chasing some fantasy) and hence you will have to start creating the necessary force for actions else you will simply find yourself slipping into lethargy. Of coures, making the inner choice is the first step towards aligning your energy that allows you to attract the right inspirations and commit to certain actions.
Making a realistic inner choice
Before you can even get into the action part of it, what’s important is that you make an inner choice with a good-level of clarity which just means that there is no inner conflict. If you can’t make a clear inner choice you can’t really dedicate your focus towards it and hence you can’t attract solutions towards making that choice a reality, and you can’t summon energy to sustain action towards doing the ground-work for that reality. In fact, once you make an inner choice you can see that it takes a while for certain ideas and inspirations to come through, and if you are clear in your choice it’s easier to follow-up on these instincts/inspirations through dedicated action. Your clarity, and lack of inner conflict, generates the energy required to create the momentum for the reality to take shape.
Of course, it’s not just about making an inner choice but also about being “objective”, or aligned with reality, while making the choice. Deluded visions cannot really take shape because they are not aligned with reality. The less deluded you are the more objective you are, and thus more likely you are to see reality in a clear manner. When I talk about “deluded visions” I am simply talking of a mindset where you are looking at reality from a fantasy perspective (a perspective that’s not really grounded), not bringing into account your limitations, your true capacities, your environment, the realistic options, the dark nature aspects etc. The simple pointer is that a “deluded vision” is the one that feels unrealistic, at some level, within you – you may want to “believe” it to be possible, but something in you finds it unrealistic (and that’s the very reason why you are “trying” to convince yourself that it’s possible).
If you are totally honest with yourself you can always sense when something feels unrealistic to you. It’s of no use trying to convince yourself about something, the very fact that you are trying to convince yourself shows that you don’t naturally find it realistic. It’s far more useful to simply go with what feels like a realistic option to you in your current situation. If “miracles”, or grand events of grace/luck/fortune, take place it’s fine and it’s a bonus, but don’t sit counting on it – it’s far more prudent to simply go ahead with what feels like a realistic plan than to sit waiting for some grand miracle to take place. If fact, as they say “fortune favors the brave”, which just means that when you develop the courage to follow up on your choices, within the realistic/limited options of your current reality, you are likely to feel a strong assistance from the universe opening up unforeseen opportunities along the way.
Once you make a clear inner choice, you may have to be patient for a while as you allow some external events to shape up, some inspirations/solutions to come through as ideas, some options to make themselves available, especially when you feel that there are no clear options available in a certain situation. Your inner choice is the “energy generating” factor that’s needed to create the opening in your reality. Once some opening start showing up, you need to work on taking action. Again, your inner choice, if it’s free of conflict, will be the focus needed to give energy to your actions. As you can see, it’s the inner choice that ends up fueling the creation of a reality, in terms of generating viable options/inspirations, and generating the momentum towards action. Without a clear inner choice it’s not possible for realistic openings to be generated, and in fact, even if they are present you may not be able to see them because you are not clear in your choice.
Following up on inspirations
The deal about life is that there is no dearth of ideas or inspirations. However, it takes a level of commitment, devotion or dedication, to follow up on inspirations, to stay on track till they mature into realities. In an unconscious state it’s quite easy to generate this dedication from a place of delusion, like the delusion of reaching some state of permanent happiness or some false sense of status, and this delusion can keep you motivated, can keep giving you the drive, can keep pushing you forward against all odds, till you make it happen, even if it’s just an imbalanced reality that you end up creating. In a conscious state, you are so aware of the ordinariness of life, you are so aware of the temporary nature of all experience, you are so aware of the false delusions, you are so aware of the ego, you are so aware of the dark nature (the pros and cons) consequences inherent in every reality, that you no longer feel motivated to make choices or follow up on choices – there is almost a mindset of “why bother”, or “what’s the point anyway”, or “may be I should do nothing and let things happen as they want to”. The deal is that if you are not clear about what you want, you will simply end up getting drawn into the scheme of what others want – from an absolute perspective, you can say, that it doesn’t matter, but as a conscious being part of your growth is about developing the capacity for deliberation.
The phase of release/letting-go is a phase needed to find freedom from the pull of fear, so in that phase it’s fine to just let go and allow life to happen. This letting go is authentic, and its purpose it to grow towards freedom from the pull of fear, including the fear of wanting control. However, once you’ve gained this freedom from the pull of fear, and can allow the feeling of uncertainty without being pulled into some unwise/blind action based on the fear of it, you are required to move to the next level of making choices objectively and consciously, incorporating the precautions coming from some valid fears. In a state of freedom you can see the validity of some fear-inducing thoughts, you can understand that “valid fear” is also a required ingredient in the process of wisdom-based thinking – when you have freedom from fear, you can use fear as a part of your wisdom-based deliberation. For example, you can be free of the fear of social interaction but you can realize that you can have a valid fear towards certain people (like an instinct) which helps protect you from unnecessary trouble, you can avoid such people and save yourself a lot of bother.
Inspirations take various forms, like ideas, instincts, external guidance, “signs” etc, and not all inspirations actually end up directly creating a positive result, in many cases following up on an inspiration can lead you to find out something that doesn’t work and hence helps you make a clearer choice (I would call this “indirect assistance”). One thing you can be sure of, in the place of inner freedom, is that you will not attract any strong imbalances in your reality and hence it’s a safe exploration to venture on. You don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes, or making the “wrong” choices, because in this state of inner freedom (or state of being free of inner momentum of resistance) you are in a position to constantly attract solutions, so you can’t really ever “mess up”. What’s required is that you let go of waiting for some “inner energy” to push you through towards action, in most cases such an energy is not produced until you are clear about your choice and are committing to some action towards it – it’s your focus that generates the energy now. It’s also true that the nature of growth in you will create the pressure to make choices, and to take action, and the more you keep avoiding it, or ignoring it, the more it develops in force until you can’t stand the pressure (internal and external) and take action to be free of the pain of the pressure – when you are in a state of inner balance you don’t have to reach such acute points in order to make choices.
Wholeness is deeper than inner freedom
If you want to experience “wholeness” you have to align with all aspects of life, the light and dark, in a balanced manner (and hence I also call it the state of inner balance). Inner freedom gives you the perfect foundation to make this alignment, however the inner freedom by itself does not imply an automatic ticket to a state of wholeness-based living. You can have inner freedom and yet move towards imbalance, freedom in itself does not bring balance – for example, you may have freedom from fear which allows you to ignore fear and thus causes you to deny some wisdom-based information present in the fear, in this case your freedom makes you imbalanced. Of course, without inner freedom it’s very difficult to find balance, so it’s a pre-requisite but it’s not an end-all, it’s just the right foundation. A lot of people, especially in spiritual circles, might find inner freedom but they mistake it to be the “end-all”, they think they’ve reached some end-point, and start using this freedom as an excuse to deny “objective” living which includes being responsible towards personal potential – they become drifters using the shield of their inner freedom to go into a form of “hiding”.
Wholeness is the experience of light and dark, thus allowing the balanced movement of life-energy, from a place of inner freedom. The very reason why you even had to undertake the journey towards inner freedom (through the phase of release) is so that you are ready to be available to the requirements of true wholeness. If you don’t have the freedom to allow dark nature components, you can never really align with life, you can never really balance out in your being, and hence can never allow wholeness. The experience of wholeness is not “light-natured”, it’s nothing like the happiness/bliss/joy that are usually imagined, in fact it’s not a static state, wholeness is a movement of an interplay of light and dark in a balanced manner, it’s an eternal deal once you hit balance. I get emails from people stating – “I’ve experienced the wholeness you are talking about, I’ve sense this peace, but I am not able to sustain it, I lose it in the hectic movement of my daily life, how can I sustain it?” – if you can lose something it just means that you were trying to hold on to it, which just means that you were not whole to start with, so you did not really have the experience of wholeness, just the experience of a certain light-natured peace which obviously will pass. The experience of wholeness is not some static experience that you try to hold on to, it’s actually a state of living – you don’t try to hold on to anything here, you simply are open towards the balance of light and dark.
There is a Zen saying – “Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment chop wood and carry water” – this basically sums up the ordinariness involved, this should shatter any delusion of extra-ordinariness that you might carry about the state of enlightened living or conscious living. Enlightenment by itself is not something extra-ordinary, it’s simply the growth of awareness where you see through delusional thinking and let go of imbalanced momentum, nothing more. After this “enlightenment” you are required to get back to living, this time consciously, back to the ordinariness of activity/action in tune with responsibility, requirements and interests. Externally a conscious person taking action and an unconscious person taking action would look the same, however the thinking, the energy, the vibe, in these two people, is entirely different, one comes from a place of aware, and balanced, deliberation, other comes from a place of delusion. Just because you are free of delusion doesn’t mean that you no longer have to live like everyone else, you still have to exist and function in this reality of life with its nature of light and dark, it’s just that you can now function without delusion and thus can live in a balanced manner.
Responsibility towards yourself and towards the outside
Balance includes a balanced selfishness and selflessness. You will have to make choices that allow for this balance to work, it can’t be totally about yourself and it can’t be totally about the outside. You can’t ever be totally independent, after all you are a part of the collective that has evolved from various outflows of life – all the beings are part of this collective and are inter-linked in reality. To wish for total independence is not reality based, you will need to be inter-dependent whether it be in this physical life or in the non-physical realm. You have a responsibility towards yourself and also towards the collective, in fact one can’t be fulfilled without the other – if you can’t stay true/responsible to yourself you can’t really be much help to the collective either, it’s in living your expression that you bring in contribution to the collective and it’s in being responsible towards the collective that you bring a balance/structure to your expression.
There are times when you have to make a choice towards following up on your inspiration at the cost of disappointing some of your external circle of people, especially the one’s who’ve been projecting their deluded expectation on you or those who find security in controlling you. However, there are also times when you have to understand the feelings, and sensitivities, of people involved, to ensure that your actions are not disregarding their requirement/need of you in their life, sometimes you need to fulfill the role of being supportive at the cost of delaying gratification of your inspirations. It’s difficult to really make some decisions and choices when you are not the only factor involved, and during these times you can only count on your sense of integrity, authenticity and willingness to do the right thing over the “easy” thing. That being said, it’s easy for people to make you feel guilty for being true to yourself, in a bid to control you and find security in this control, after all everyone is looking for security and very few have the consciousness to find an internal security. There are no straight-forward tips and tricks on how to deal with these situations, on how to make choices, you are truly on your own here. Again, there are no real “wrong decisions” in this place of conscious living, there are only choices that you make based on what feels like the right thing to do considering all the factors in a responsibility towards yourself and towards the outside.
You will have to get used to making conscious choices, you can no longer be a “follower”, you can no longer be driven by external influences or delusions and you can no longer just try to play it safe to make everyone happy. Every choice involves certain actions that are required as a follow-up, not taking action is also a form of action in this state of deliberate choice – you can make a conscious choice to be passive, or to not do anything, understanding your body’s fatigue or your current circumstances (which may leave you no real room for immediate action). A useful pointer is to realize that the only factor that needs to drive you is your commitment towards a choice, you need to become commitment-based rather than being mood-based. The brain, and the body, don’t always align automatically with the requirement of the moment, they sometimes need to be moved into alignment, so you can’t simply take your brain’s “mood” as an indication of whether you should follow up on an action or not – for example, your body may feel sluggish in the morning but your inspiration is to head towards the gym for a work out, your decision needs to come from a place of taking heed of the body’s state (to see if you are not truly unwell or under-nourished) and your commitment, don’t allow your decision to be dedicated just by a mood-based sluggishness in your brain/body. Of course, if you are not able to stay true to your commitment, or find it difficult to make choices, just be easy on yourself and take it slowly, you can’t build this new mindset overnight, it takes time.
Evaluating dark nature to make choices
No one has problems with the light nature in any reality, the problems are with the dark nature aspects, and hence evaluating the dark nature of any reality is a direct way to make decisions/choices. When you feel that a certain dark nature is not “acceptable” it just means that you need to make a choice to change your reality which would entail that you also let go of the light nature that it provides – when you let go of a reality you can’t bargain about wanting to keep its light nature aspects alone while discarding its dark nature aspects, when you let go of a reality you have to let go of its light aspects along with its dark aspects. A lot of indecision happens purely because we want the best of both worlds, we want to let go of the dark nature of a certain reality but we are unwilling to let go of the light nature aspects that it provides and hence stay undecided. A new reality will come with its own dark nature along with its light nature, you have to decide if the dark nature of this new reality is more acceptable to you than the dark nature of your current reality.
To take a real life example, consider the decision between quitting a 9-5 job, which you are currently employed in, and taking up a self-run business (being self-employed). Your 9-5 job has its dark nature of limiting your freedom, you have to follow a certain routine everyday, you have to follow time consuming protocols simply to document your daily activities for the purpose of reports/appraisals, you have to allow yourself to be evaluated by your manager (most evaluations are tinted with the manager’s personal liking/disliking of you), you have allow for some inevitable office politics, you have to be diplomatic at some level to work in a team and your pay raises are fixed to an yearly deal instead of how much work you put in on daily basis (unless you are working in a commission-based system). On the other hand, the dark nature aspects of being “self-employed” are that you have to take the pressure of making profits and running the business, there are no fixed timings but that also means that you can end up working longer than you would in a 9-5 job, sometimes it’s more difficult to spend (on personal use and luxury) the money you make from your own business than spending money that you get from a pay-check (your mindset may be towards re-investing money into the business), you may end up with less social interaction, you have to be self-motivated, you may have to deal with a lean patch initially (most businesses take a few years before they start making a decent profit). Of course, there are light nature aspects to a 9-5 job and to a self-employment deal, but considering the light nature may be not as useful to make a choice, in fact if you simply focus on the light nature to make a choice you will soon feel undecided the moment you have to face the dark nature aspects of the reality.
Understanding your personality
There are some “hard wired” aspects in your brain, in your heart, and the make-up of your body per se, that define a lot of your physical personality – you can call it your inherent personality. Understanding your inherent personality in a conscious manner is very useful in terms of making choices. For example, your personality may be totally in-congruent with being an independent entrepreneur and may be more suited towards working under the umbrella of a manager or corporation, in other words your personality may not be one of being a manager but one of being a managed worker, and understanding this aspect of your personality can help you decide the roles that you would fit into more naturally in terms of your work/career aspects. Some personalities are more suited to be independent workers than being managers driving a team and productivity is directly proportional to how well your personality fits in with your work role. Instead of vying for a managerial role, simply for the “status” of it, you may opt to stay as an independent contributor in your company even if it means saying no to a promotion – understanding your personality allows you to make these tough decisions.
Growth does not always entail that you step out of your natural personality, most of the time growth is about honing your natural personality. Of course, if you want to step out of your inherent personality, and want to explore what does not feel aligned with you, you can totally do that for the experience of it – your choice to work with your natural expertise/personality has to come from a place of freedom rather than from a place of fear, so exploring what’s not comfortable, sometimes, can be a way of letting go of the fear of it. However, stepping out of your comfort zone does not mean that you step out of what’s your natural strength, rather it’s about developing the power to align with your personality and take decisive action towards living your full potential by breaking out of certain fears that hold you back. We are all born with some inherent limitations, no-one is good at everything, and these limitations are guide posts that give us clarity on what we should be doing. Working on your strength is what allows you to reach your real potential, working on your limitation is only necessary to the extent that it does not keep you from allowing the full expression of your strength – understanding your limitation actually becomes your strength as it allows for better clarity on your choices.
It’s required that we bring a balance to our inherent personality. However, bringing a balance is very different from suppressing certain aspects of our inherent personality or trying to change it. When you bring a balance to your personality you can be more aligned with wisdom. If you bring a constant awareness to your inner workings (the workings of your physical body/brain/heart and the aspects of you as a being), you can be aware of any form of imbalances that may be present while also being aware of what feels like a natural personality in you. The imprints that you carry forth from your past lifetimes does shape your personality as a being, from a place of awareness it’s about identifying the imbalances and bringing a balance to this personality.
Balance is again a personal deal, only you can know if you are in balance, no-one else can judge your balance – hence it’s totally up to your own honesty towards yourself to know if you are functioning from balance. For example, your sex-drive is personal to you, some have a high sex-drive some have a low sex-drive while some have an average sex-drive, the “average sex-drive” does not mean balance by itself; if you have a high sex-drive you would have to find your personal balance with it and your balanced expression may seem like an “over indulgence” to someone with a low sex-drive and you may get judged for it, but eventually you would have to be true to your expression by knowing your personal balance – there are no “external standards” of balance, it’s totally a personal deal. If you have to ask someone else about what’s balanced for you it means that you are not really clear about yourself and you need to bring more awareness towards understanding yourself. A self-aware person is clear about his/her personal balance and thus follows his/her expression freely without getting affected by the judgment of others. There is no fixed directive on the right way to live, there is no fixed standard on what’s the balanced way to behave, there is no fixed criteria for what a balanced personality is, eventually one has to find one’s own personal balance and not depend on some external commandment to live their life – the external commandments, and directives, are for unconscious people, with low awareness, who need to be controlled through force and fear, and they need it.