Effective strategies for conscious living

circle As a child I was a seeker full of questions and as an adult I’m still a seeker and questioner. I am committed to opening my mind as wide as possible to all possibilities.

Are you a seeker and questioner too? Or do you have all the answers?

What shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think of asking. The question is the helmsman of consciousness. Our minds, bodies, feelings, relationships are all informed by our questions. The complex networks of neurons that make up a mind are as individual as our fingerprints. — Sam Keen in What You Ask is Who You Are

In the Beginning

When I was young it seemed that the adults around me  had all the answers.  Asking individual  adults what they thought their purpose in life was, and what their ultimate destiny would be  would produce identical answers.  As a teen I  disbelieved “the correct answers” I had been given, but by then I had learned that raising questions about them would lead to swift and painful punishment, so I kept my questions to myself.

Living, loving and learning

As a young adult I came to know the reason all  adults I knew all had the same answers to all the questions I asked was because their answers were recitations of the same institutionalized religious dogma and doctrine.   They were programed to live and die within the confines of the Christian creation myth, and to accept without question the values, ideology  and politics of the generations who had gone before them.


If we choose to challenge the belief system we have been raised in and live our life in emotional integrity then we can go for it slowly or go for it quickly. What is most important is that we go for it effectively.

I became conscious thorough meditation.  Meditation does not seek for information or make inquiries. It does not ask that a wish or desire be granted; it does not seek intervention on the mediator’s behalf, or the behalf of another person, place or situation.

The meditative state is achieved by stilling of the mind and body, becoming aware of vital stillness, and hearing within that still silence. It is the stillness of being naturally present before you become attached to thoughts and things; before you identify with thought-feeling-reaction.

I opened my mind reexamined my core beliefs and values and  replaced those that were no longer useful with those that were my own answers to the mysteries of the universe. I came to know more about living, loving learning and dying.

  • Ideas, theories and beliefs are not necessarily truths.
  • A belief is not an idea held by the mind; it is an idea that holds the mind.
  • We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.

Today I am keenly aware that my beliefs shape my reality. I  continue to reexamine them at irregular intervals, when questions arise and new approaches to finding answers are required.

Are You Conscious?

We seek purpose when we are not in touch with who we really are. When you discover who you are (at the deepest place of your being) you will find your purpose.— Colleen-Joy Page

Living consciously  is actually a lifestyle that few master.  Being conscious involves asking questions,  seeking answers  and thinking about why you do what you do.

Without doubt it’s easier to repeat doing what we always do without questioning why we do what we do, simply because it’s what we’re used to doing. Conscious living means rising to the challenge to question and break out of  non-productivity cycles  so  we can begin to craft  the lives we really want to live by design.

The important thing is to question the life you are living so  you really know and understand your life for what it is, then you can make course corrections whenever they are  needed.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. — Albert Einstein

Effective strategies for conscious living

1. When we question, “What beliefs am I clinging to that are obstructing my progress? We are on our way to choosing to live consciously.

2.  When we choose to break through old thought patterns by trying new ways of doing familiar tasks, we are choosing  to live consciously.

2. When we  incorporate techniques from one discipline to  solve problems in another, we are choosing to live consciously.

4. When we choose to keep all the possibilities in play, we allow our brain to seek unique solutions. This is another example of choosing conscious living.

Two tried and true methods of cultivating a questioning mind that leads to conscious living are  journaling and meditating.  I do both. Do you?


  1. I am a dumbass. Here is the link I meant to include:


  2. You are making sincere efforts.

    Perhaps this post of mine will interest you; its main purpose is to get people to read an admittedly very difficult essay which in my opinion is the most definitive thing every written on the subject of religion and the human condition.

    The essay was written by Richard DeMartino of the Kyoto School of Zen.

    I already recommended texts to you on another post already; I don’t want to be a pest – it’s just that you are writing about your own quest here and it put me in mind of my own analogous post.

    The process has to be guided by a sense of ‘why’; a sense of inquiry. I like that unlike many ‘spiritual’ people you are not fixated on positive states and the gooey stuff. You talk about the problems of life and the human condition and you appreciate the need for a solution rather than mere solace. That’s my assessment anyway. :-)

      • “I do not claim the I have arrived. I claim only that I am awakened, mindful most of the time, and focused on living a conscious life.”

        What does the term ‘awakened’ mean to you?

  3. TT, dear friend-just wanted to drop by and say hello. Hope you’re doing well. I miss your presence on the forum. You always contributed so much of value.

    I’m not much of a seeker myself. Happiness seems so easy to me I don’t really fuss about it. The essential thing I think is not to tie oneself up in knots.

    • @nothingprofound
      Hello there. I doing well and thanks for asking. I don’t miss the BC social forum at all. It’s a sandbox for bored and lonely adults to play in and not a blogging forum. I’m actually a blogger and I like answering blogging questions. … lol :D I’m neither bored nor lonely. I have contributions to make to conversation focused on blogging so I prefer to spend my time on blogging forums.

  4. I used to ask these questions of myself a lot, specially as a teenager. Oddly, I felt that if I became an astronaut I would find the answers! All I had to do was to see the earth from a distance and I was sure it would provide the answers to all my questions, and I was sure it would be a spiritual experience. I felt that it is because we are here on earth that we can’t see. I wanted to be an astronaut for years, even though I knew it was a fantasy and I could never be. Even now if I have something worrying me, I know I have to go away physically from the place and everything just clicks into place.

    • @Nita
      That’s so interesting. The desire to be above it all here on earth, and look down upon it and see some pattern something that makes sense of it all is also something I fantasized doing as a young teen. Thanks for continuing to share.

  5. @Melinda
    Thanks so much for contributing to this discussion. I also used to be externally focused until I met my other, my shadow self, and had to come to terms with my real flaws, which were rooted in a lack of compassion for myself and others. I came to understand that I was trying to hide from my shadow self, although others could certainly spot her. I also came to know I was still attached to certain outcomes and adverse to others. The struggle to integrate my shadow self and my “self” followed.

    The light dawned when I recognized that we all suffer and that happiness is not externally derived, regardless of my circumstances, happiness was a choice I was either making or not making between my ears. I began to develop compassion for myself and began to love myself. This natural progression enabled me to feel compassion and love for others and to open my heart and mind and learn how to live consciously.

    I do not claim the I have arrived. I claim only that I am awakened, mindful most of the time, and focused on living a conscious life.

    I’d like to share the tagline I used on my first public blog, which was an environmental blog.

    Leave nothing but footprints – Take nothing but pictures – Kill nothing but time.


  6. I have come a long way toward conscious living–although I still have futher to go (as most of us do). In the past, I was very focused on superficial things, such as appearance, material possessions, and status. These days, I try hard to work on my own inner beauty and to enjoy that in others. I also try to leave a light footprint on our planet–and I think that if more people were engaged in conscious living, then they would too.

    This was an important piece, Timethief–and I really enjoyed reading what you had to say.


  7. I really loved this. Living consciously consists of a constant struggle for me to stay focused on what is happening now while remaining open to the possibilities of the next moment. This battle is magnified by those around us who desire us to fit into a mold we were not made for.


    • @Roger
      I’m so happy that you appreciated my sharing of this my testimony of my awakening. The struggle to achieve compassionate self acceptance and remain in the now moment is a life long one even after we are awakened. We are raised to believe we are flawed, not whole, and not good enough. We are not taught happiness is created between the ears and is available to us regardless of our circumstances. The consumer driven societies we live in and the institutions that uphold them repeat the same old deceptive negative messages over and over again — not good enough — buy more to become more, and when we listen to those messages we become less. Like mushrooms we are fed dukka (excrement) and left to dwell in darkness. We are raised to deny our true inner nature, to deny the Buddha seed of compassion and love that is at our core, hence, we suffer.

      As the rain sputters
      into winter, mushrooms
      pop their umbrellas.
      Lorie Ann Grover, 2009


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