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Living consciously

By Jimmy Henderson
If someone were to ask me if I regard myself as a religious or a spiritual person, my reply would be that I prefer to use the word conscious, as I believe this to be a more suitable definition of a thinking person. However, this does not mean that I am a not a believer in matters of a spiritual nature. On the contrary, in my case, living consciously implies being continually conscious of myself and my actions as well as of my relationship to the divine or universal source (God). The power of living consciously is that it also allows one to move outside of the box of normal day to day thinking and expand ones paradigm of thinking to include other areas of knowledge such as science, psychology, philosophy and metaphysics in order to find answers to important questions regarding life and spirituality. In my book Multi-Dimensional Thinking(Kima Global, 2007), I provided an overview of a process of self-development which can lead to fully conscious living. In terms of this process, our development throughout life follows a gradual learning curve which involves completing certain developmental tasks and shifts relating to our consciousness, thinking and perception, the outcome of which should be a mature level of consciousness, mindfulness and understanding with which we can achieve mastery of life. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, including past trauma and the challenges of day- to-day living, we can get stuck at different stages and thus never complete this journey to fully conscious living. Having an understanding of these required shifts in thinking and perception, can help one face and overcome obstacles to self-development. To begin the process, only two small decisions or intentions, are needed. One is a willingness to accept responsibility for your own life and actions and the other, a commitment to conscious selfdevelopment. Following the setting of intention, the first task to be mastered would be emotional wellness. This is the ability to remain reasonably emotionally at ease and suggests a certain amount of resilience to day-to-day concerns. Moving forward towards fully conscious living requires this early period of healing which can include self- or divine forgiveness, as it will not really be possible to focus on higher processes when one is caught in a web of fear or guilt -based thoughts and actions from the past. It is possible to do this inner work by yourself using a toolbox of common therapeutic techniques, such as journaling and rational-emotive techniques, as are presented in my book. However, it may also be necessary to obtain assistance in the form of counseling or other forms of therapy to successfully complete this important stage of the process. The second developmental task to be mastered is that of emotional empowerment, which is related to ones self-image and self-esteem. This stage requires a period of introspection in order to obtain the necessary self-knowledge to discover who and what you really are and your relationship to God, Spirit or the Universe. This period of reflection is essential no matter what religious or spiritual path one follows, as it provides the consciousness, focus and vision needed for the journey ahead. At all levels, it is possible and sometimes necessary to obtain assistance from teachers and therapists. You must realize that your mind will not easily accept any new experiences which are not included in your present framework of understanding. Your third developmental task would therefore involve clearing your mind of doubts and conflicting thoughts and expanding your present paradigm of

thinking to include new concepts and ideas associated with self-development and fully conscious living. Completing this shift is not always easy, and this could also be tackled in stages. For example, as a start it will be useful to learn to think holistically and be more open to new ideas. One way of doing this is to read widely and continue with self-introspection, reflecting deeply on life and approaching important questions using knowledge from different fields such as the natural and human sciences, philosophy, metaphysics and even religion. A second method would be to attend various talks and courses on spiritual or holistic matters. This will expose you to new ideas and open your mind to other possibilities. Having dealt with your past, cleared unwanted debris from your mind and shifted gears to a more universal paradigm of thinking, you would now be ready to access higher levels of consciousness and understanding. In order to do this, you will first need to build a relationship with your subconscious or unconscious mind, as this provides the underlying power for many of the skills required for fully conscious living. There are a number of ways of accessing and gaining the cooperation of your subconscious mind, such as working with affirmations and intention, learning to interpret your dreams and symbolic drawings and finally, training in visualization or imagery. Once a relationship of trust with your subconscious or unconscious mind has been cemented, you will find that it will communicate readily with you through your dreams and spontaneous imagery and you will find it relatively easy to develop the skills such as intuition and heightened sense-perception required for deeper selfexploration. The developmental curve to fully conscious living is now becoming steeper and it is now necessary to begin to actively raise your consciousness and improve your communication with your true self, Spirit, God or the Universe. At this level, training in skills such as meditation, visualization, contemplation, intuition and spiritual guidance would be recommended. However, attempting these exercises too early in the process, without having first dealt with your past and prepared your mind and thinking, could result in failure. There are many good courses available on these areas of spiritual development, but once again, all are fully covered by the exercises in my book. As you approach the top of the curve, you will need to prepare for a meeting and a merging with your higher self or soul, your true spiritual identity. In spiritual circles this could also be known as connecting with, or channeling your higher self. Your success at this level would depend on your having successfully completed the previous tasks and mastered, as least partially, the skills previously discussed. This re-integration of your inner and outer self introduces the final stage of self-realisation from which you are able to take a quantum leap into a life filled with new meaning and power, the state of fully conscious living. In this state you would be free of your past, feel emotionally secure, confident and very mindful of people and events in the world. You should also attract spiritual guidance on a day-to-day basis and therefore be more aware of the decisions needed to move forward with your life. In practice, this should result in your becoming happier, more insightful, intuitive, tolerant, moral (able to act according to your conscience) and spiritually perceptive.I wish you all the best for the progress along your path. Jimmy Henderson a well-known metaphysical teacher, philosopher and regular radio talk show guest. He is the author of a number of articles as well as two self-help books entitled MultiDimensional Thinking and Multi-Dimensional Perception which are available at Exclusive Books. Amazon.com and Kalahari.com. www.jimmyhendersonbooks.com