The ART OF LIVING CONSCIOUSLY - The Power of Awareness to Transform Everyday Life


How much do I want to read more? 8/10

The introduction convinced me this topic if of uttermost importance. Being aware, conscious, is so subtle, versus being asleep, enclosed in our beliefs and our past.
This looks like an asian spirituality.
I think everyone is now aware of its importance. I'm excited to read about how it is presented here.


This earth is the distant star we must find a way to reach.

Introduction

A few months after completing my previous book, Taking Respon­ sibility, I was about to embark on a book that would examine what it means to live consciously.
"Live consciously?" she said. "Not a good idea. Who would want to live consciously? Life would be too painful."
I asked, "Is it less painful if we live unconsciously and mechani­ cally, without knowing what we are doing, and blind to opportuni­ ties to make things better?"

the rewards are overwhelmingly greater than any apparent drawback. Living consciously is a source of power and liberation. It does not weigh us down-it lifts us up.
Like a light that can be turned brighter or dimmer, conscious­ ness exists on a continuum. We can be more conscious or less conscious, more aware or less aware.

The tragedy of so many people is precisely that, to a great extent, they live mechanically: their thinking is stale, they don't examine their motives, and they respond to events automatically. They rarely take a fresh look at anything and rarely have a new thought. They exist at a low or shallow level of awareness.
they live lives drained of color, excitement, or passion.
consciousness energizes, while its absence produces boredom and enervation.

To live consciously is to be committed to awareness as a way of being in the world and to bring to each activity a level of aware­ ness appropriate to it.
all species that possess it, consciousness is the basic tool of survival and of adaptation to reality-the ability to be aware of the environment in some way, at some level, and to guide action accordingly.
Why is consciousness important? One might as well ask: Why is sight important?

Living consciously is a state of being mentally active rather than passive. It is the ability to look at the world through f resh eyes. It is intelligence takingjoy in its own function. Living consciously is seeking to be aware of everything that bears on our interests, actions, values, purposes, and goals. It is the willingness to con­ frontfacts, pleasant or unpleasant. It is the desire to discover our mistakes and correct them. Within the range of our interests and concerns, it is the quest to keep expanding our awareness and understanding, both of the world external to selfand of the world within. It is respect for reality and respect for the distinction between the real and the unreal. It is the commitment to see what we see and know what we know. It is recognition that the act of dismissing reality is the root of all evil.

Ex of a man:
he lived in a private cocoon that contained himself and his love for her and his image of her but not the actual woman: she was exiled to that foreign realm, reality.
His wife was not the woman he lived with; he lived with a fantasy existing only inside his head.
he did not love her consciously. Eventually she became ill and abruptly was gone from his life. Standing at her graveside in agony, he saw that during the twelve years of their marriage he had not been there-he had been lost inside his own mind. He saw that he had abandoned his wife long before she had "abandoned" him.
What love had not accomplished, death had accomplished: jolted him into waking up, at least for a time.

For many of us, suffering is the only teacher to whom we listen.
In retrospect, we wish we had been more conscious.
Where was I, we wonder, when my life was happening?

What does it mean to act consciously? To love consciously? To parent consciously? To feel consciously? To work consciously? To struggle consciously? To vote consciously? To legislate consciously? To address the great issues of life consciously?

Our need to live consciously, is intrinsic to the human condition. But it has acquired a new urgency in the modern age.
The more rapid the rate of change, the more dangerous it is to live mechanically, relying on routines of belief and behavior that may be irrelevant or obsolete.

We are obliged to choose the values by which we live.
from where we reside to what career we pursue to what lifestyle we select to what religion or philosophy we embrace.
In earlier periods of our history, we were born into societies where all these choices were, figuratively, made for us by custom and tradition.
we have nothing to protect us but the clarity of our thinking.

The fact that we have evolved from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy to an information economy has its own powerful implications for the value of living consciously.
The age of the muscle-worker is past; this is the age of the mind-worker. That our mind is our basic tool of survival is not new; what is new is that this fact has become inescapably clear.
The market is rapidly diminishing for people who have nothing to contribute but physi­ cal labor.
What is needed are people who are willing and able to think.


If we wish to remain adaptive, we must be committed to continuous learning as a way of life.

since knowledge is growing at a rate unprecedented in human history, the training we received yesterday is inade­ quate to the requirements of tomorrow. we must be committed to continuous learning as a way of life.

We have entered the mind millennium. This book is a wake-up call.


1- Living Consciously: First Principles