Friday, January 27, 2012

5 Goals for Conscious Living

The Businessman - A3
I throw the word 'mindfulness' around a lot here.  Conscious living is very similar; I guess you could say conscious living is the product of mindfulness.  Remain mindful, and you'll live consciously.  Zen teaches us not to tie ourselves down with goals, but what I've listed here are very open-ended goals that you can optimize to meet your needs.  The more mindful you are, the more geared towards these activities you'll be.  

Be still.
Take a few minutes everyday and just chill out.  You can...
-Meditate
-Do yoga
-Drink a cup of tea
Find an activity that allows you to be at peace with your thoughts, since it's easy to get lost in one's own head.  Conscious living requires us to be fully present; most of the thoughts that stress us out are about the past or the future.  Just be still.

Eat well.
Think about mindful eating; what do you picture?  Portion control, healthy foods, and self-satisfaction.  For me, non-mindful eating evokes an image of a bag of chips or a box of donuts.  Eat things with natural ingredients, preferably things you make yourself.  Not only will your health improve; your mindfulness will be kept in check by your conscious diet habits.  You'll also learn how to cook some good stuff.

Work out.
The very nature of exercise is meditative.  You count reps, just like you count breaths.  You run, consciously regulating your breathing, just like in yoga or meditation.  Also, if you have a really good work out, you'll probably feel sore the next day.  Not sore in an injured way, just sore in a well worked-out way.  This will remind you of your progress throughout the day, keeping you mindful of your body and your fitness goals.

Give thanks.
Think about where you are right now.  Regardless of what you think about that place, you're lucky to be there.  You're likely using an expensive computer.  You have full literacy, allowing you to read articles to improve yourself.  You have access to a mindblowing well of information at your fingertips.  You have free time to leisurely read blogs.  
     There's plenty to be grateful for that we completely overlook on a daily basis.  As you grow more mindful, your appreciation of seemingly trivial things will grow.  You'll appreciate the farmer who cultivated the lettuce you eat at lunch, the taxi driver who takes you to the airport, the impoverished factory worker who likely helped make most of the technology you use.  

Take action.
     Like I said earlier, getting 'lost in thought' usually involves thinking too much about the past or future.  Try to get lost in the present instead.  Mindfulness means living consciously, here and now.  Work hard, interact with people, feel empowered; if you seize the present, you won't have to worry about the future.