There are four vital keys to living consciously.
These are: daily practice, conscious diet, daily meditation and daily bliss.
1. Daily practice is some form of structured physical routine, such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Martial Arts or another physical practice that develops and brings a finer awareness into movement and body structure. We attempt to practice this each day, if possible. This practice includes starting to learn and apply the basics of Kadeisha or Conscious Loving practice. Developing and strengthening the capacity of the physical body to contain energy, whether from creative or spiritual practices, or from world work and the stresses of everyday living, is also part of this teaching.
2. Conscious diet is practiced through eating what is appropriate to each individual’s particular need. Different people have different constitutions and body types and their diet will vary accordingly. The first matter then would be to develop an awareness regarding one’s type and needs, and then to establish a propitious lifestyle that supports this knowledge. At this level, this practice also implies beginning to eliminate unhealthy foods and behaviours.
3. Daily meditation is mental disciple and practiced to develop concentration and contemplation. It includes dedicating times to formal study and to the expression of creativity. This practice also initiates various types of meditation, prayer and ritual observances.
4. Daily bliss is the most fundamental key to awareness and reminds us that every day it is necessary to relax, laugh and experience moments of joy. This is also the entry point to developing Mindful Awareness.
All these practices are essential for our own well-being and are also the foundation of sharing our lives with those whom we love.
However, once we have begun to apply these practices as best as we can and have done so for some length of time, these four principles need to deepen, become more complex and to open us up to new experiences and levels of commitment.
Daily practice leads into a deep somatic awareness and sensitivity within our own body to the movement and shifts of energy in ourselves, in the bodies of family, friends and lovers and also in the social, ecological and political bodies of our world. At this point, even slight shifts of energy would be registered and we would expect to feel and dialogue with our own pathologies long before they manifest as illness. We would register nuances of change in our family, friends and lovers and we would be able and willing to address these issues. We would also sense imbalances in the political, social and ecological body around us and we would accept our own share of responsibility to address these issues, according to our ability, as part of living in conscious community.
Living in this way, we would have learned and be applying the principles of using our vital life force in whatever we do with our bodies. Our Daily Practice would certainly incorporate the practice of Kadeisha, which is Conscious Sexuality. We would use the energy generated by Conscious Loving and apply that to our own physical and emotional heath, direct that into our lover’s body for their well-being, and use the energy to facilitate whatever tasks we might need to accomplish in the world.
At this level, we might find that our Daily Practice sometimes means cleaning the house, hanging up the washing or doing the shopping or any other mundane activity. However, our awareness within ourselves as we perform these activities is different to what it used to be before we began our practices and these simple activities become as relevant, as focussed and as energising as the Yoga or Tai Chi that we might do more usually. We would become aware of the natural daily, monthly and yearly cycles that demand sometimes togetherness, sometimes separation, sometimes celebration and sometimes austerity. Eventually, whatever we do with and through our bodies becomes an active response to the conscious and unimpeded flow of our life force.
Conscious Diet does mean eating properly. But at the more advanced stages, this principle applies to every aspect of what we consume and the correct term would be Conscious Consumption. We ‘consume’ in many ways. Watching television, movies, seeing people in the street and clouds in the sky, reading magazines and books, listening to music and background noise, small-talk and gossip, shopping for food and for luxuries, being engaged in business, families and a thousand other activities that are part of our everyday lives.
None of these are good or bad in themselves. What we do with them and how much we consume of them is what makes the difference. Like ‘junk’ food, so also more than just a small amount of ‘junk’ movies and newspapers are toxic and clogging to our system. There is nothing wrong with the occasional pizza or fast-food snack. In fact, if we are unable to ever eat these, we might have a problem of being overly sensitive and not much good in the real world. But to eat this type of food on anything like a regular basis is to invite unconscious pathology. Dinner parties or going out to eat with family and friends are an essential expression of a healthy lifestyle and relationships. However, doing that every day is an indication of numerous psychological and emotional imbalances. Going shopping for gifts for oneself or others indicates a well-balanced sense of abundance and generosity. Visiting shops and buying unnecessary items every other day indicates an emptiness and loss of soul. And doing that will further add to the sense of isolation and meaninglessness. Business, world-work and earning money are essential for most people, and not just for the money, but for the gift of work in itself. Raising a family is also a business and world-work. It is healthy and also gives us a sense of personhood within our family and community. An avoidance of these responsibilities indicates an immaturity, which affects all aspects of that person’s well-being and those with whom they live. But excessive working hours and obsessive attachment to family duties is also unhealthy and usually indicates an avoidance of other more soulful responsibilities.
As we develop in our personal practice of living consciously, we assess the various aspects of the world that we ‘consume’ and make informed choices about what and how much we consume of different parts of the world. We also realise that we affect and are in turn ‘consumed by’ the world in many different ways and we need to be aware of this and here also to be able to make creative choices.