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Discontent is part and parcel of the human condition.
We constantly want what we don’t have and seek to discard things from our lives that are less than ideal. This dissatisfaction can plague us for our whole lives.
So, what can we do about it?
One approach is to become more conscious of the activities, endeavors, people, and places we allow to enter our lives.
To a large extent, we tend to live rather unconsciously. Circumstance, habit, and tradition can determine our every move. We might live in a town or city just because that’s where we grew up and it’s all we know. We might spend time with certain people because of how long we’ve already known them, not because of our compatibility. We might work a job purely because it’s safe and stable.
This can lead to the familiar, stale feeling depicted in “Groundhog Day,” in which life becomes monotonous and predictable. There’s no apparent purpose to anything—just a series of tasks to perform and obligations to meet.
But the contents of our lives are not inherently distasteful. It is our attitude toward them that fuels our aversion to them. And this attitude largely hinges on our sense of defeatism. We feel powerless in the face of the many tasks and obligations we have, and this powerlessness often arises because we are not consciously living.
We are not choosing to do things; we feel forced to do them.
For this reason, we need to become more conscious of ourselves and our choices. Conscious living here simply means to be aware of who we are and the way we live. This self-awareness is then reflected in every aspect of our lives.
Here’s how to start:
We breathe with more intention. In becoming aware of the breath, we breath more deeply into the bottom of our bellies. Each breath connects us to our primal desire to live. Each breath connects us to our inner core and energizes us.
We are more conscious of what we eat. This means we eat intentionally. This does not mean that we will always eat an ideal diet, but we deceive ourselves less by consciously indulging in foods that we know are detrimental to our bodies, and when we do, doing so for the sake of our souls. Often when we eat with more awareness, we choose healthier foods anyway because we are no longer oblivious to the harm we’ve been doing.
We consciously choose our occupation. Instead of doing a job that we think we have to do, we do a job that we choose to do. We don’t do a job simply because others are doing it or others expect us to do it. We choose a job that puts money in our pocket and satisfaction in our heart. And if we are faced with the situation of having no choice but to do a certain job—even if it is not to our liking—we consciously make a decision about whether life would be better or worse without this job. If we decide to keep at it, we do so with full awareness that is of benefit to us—so we work with gratitude.
We consciously choose where to live. Our surroundings are important, from the country to the county to the city we live in. Even our house can promote a way of life that can enhance our experience. Some people are more suited to temperate climates; others thrive in the tropics—but we need to know ourselves to figure this out. Of course, many people don’t have the opportunity to make this choice. And of those who do, many decide to live either where they grew up or close to friends and family. Whatever the case, we need to choose where we live with self-awareness.
We choose our friends. It’s important to be friendly to others, but time is precious, and our energy is limited. That’s why it’s also important to consciously decide who to spend our time with. The people we choose to be around are the ones who influence us the most, so we should try to surround ourselves with people who are trying to live lives that are in alignment with ours. This doesn’t mean we have to disown people from the past who don’t follow in our path, but it also doesn’t mean we have to spend every waking hour with them either.
We consciously select what to read, view, and listen to. Living in the digital age, we are exposed to a multitude of information and entertainment. This is both a blessing and a curse. We have information at our fingertips, but we also have access to many dark dimensions with the same ease. This shows the importance of conscious intention in navigating this divergent cyber-world. If we don’t exercise self-discretion, we may be brainwashed by this machine.
There are, no doubt, other aspects of life that have to be lived with equal levels of self-awareness. What seems clear is that we need to become the active agents governing our own lives—we can’t simply follow the herd or deceive ourselves into doing things that are not in alignment with our own values.
Conscious living entails accepting our circumstances and having the courage and determination to attempt to transform them. To live a fruitful life, we have to own it. We have to take it by the reins and forge our fingerprint into it, so that it can bear the fruits that only our individual freedom can plant.