Art of Living Consciously

Posted by huihsien on 09 Nov 09


Are you living consciously or unconsciously? How often do we ask ourselves that, or maybe the question never even crossed your mind. When you walk, do you think about the sensations of your feet with each step? When you eat, do you feel the texture and taste of the morsel you are chewing on? Mostly we just take these mundane actions for granted and let our minds drift off into other thoughts of the pass or the future. If this sounds familiar, then you are living unconsciously.

Why is it important to cultivate awareness in everyday living?

The answer is simple.

We are not able to change the past and neither can we predict the future. What we are in control of is the now and through the practice of awareness we learn to lead a consciously fulfilling life.

Do you remember when you were a child, where the world was a giant playground and the experience of sheer joy was so easily invoked? As a child we did not have so much of a past reminisce about and did not have much interest in the future because what captivated us was the present moment. Those were the wonderful times when we allowed our imagination to run wild, watching the clouds change form or when we danced gleefully trying to keep up with the fluttering butterflies in the garden.

As we grew older, all the wholesome things in life that used to bring us bliss became clouded when we eventually succumbed to society’s perception of reality. Greed and obsession to acquire object-based comforts threw us off-course into the vicious cycle of perpetual discontentment.

In Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, a wise man sends Santiago exploring his magnificent palace grounds but with the condition that the boy carry a spoon with two drops of oil. Upon his return, Santiago was quizzed on the glorious sights that he encountered but as he was too busy concentrating on keeping the oil intact, he missed out on the surrounding splendour. The boy was sent off again but this time was so engrossed in soaking in the beautiful view that he spilled all the oil. The wise man then finally spoke, “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

My analogy of this parable is that we should constantly be reminded not to get caught up with the giddy delusions of material happiness and in the process lose touch with the essence of what remains true to us. Cherish and be thankful for the warm roof over your head, for the good fortune of health that you enjoy, for the amazing wonders nature has to offer and for the loving relationship you have with your friends and family, as these are the stuff that you are able to experience now, in this present moment of reality.


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