Conscious living: being aware of who you are, where you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
This is not how most of us start out in life. We are born into cultural stories and told our cultural story is the truth about how things are in the world and the universe.
What you get told is the truth, however, depends on where you’re born, which religion your parents belong to, the ideology of the local governing elite, what they teach in the schools you attend, and who controls the media you’re exposed to.
Our cultural stories are exclusive. They teach us about us and them, where the ‘them’ is anyone living outside our cultural norms. They also let us know who is in charge and what laws we have to follow. But, those same cultural stories tend to entrench the powers of existing elites and keep the rest of us subservient.
None of our cultural stories are true. They are all made up. Their purpose is social cohesion and control.
As long as you don’t question the reality of your cultural story and live within its confining boundaries, you continue to believe what everybody around you believes is the truth of their reality. You remain trapped within the belief bubble of each group you belong to: family, political party, religion, nation etc.
Conscious living is how you live life once you wake up from the dream of your cultural story.
To wake up, though, you have to question everything you have been told and decide what to believe for yourself. You need the courage to look outside your cultural story. You need to be open to new information, to putting aside your religious framework and discovering your own spirituality, and living life from your new state of awareness.
In that new state of awareness you’ll have an expanded understanding of who you are and why you’re doing the things you choose to do. You’ll also become more aware of the people around you and what they’re doing to influence what you think and how you behave. You’ll also start to perceive new possibilities and opportunities for working with others and solving some of today’s problems.
The decision to wake up and live consciously is empowering but it comes with some challenges. The power figures in your life often feel threatened when you start questioning their authority and the level of control they exercise over your life. You come under pressure from friends and family to stop the madness and stay the same as everybody else.
You’ll be tempted to fall back into the herd – but there is no going back. New friends and new possibilities beckon once you awaken from the dream of your cultural story.
Peter Mulraney is the author of: My Life is My Responsibility: Insights for Conscious Living.