“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” –Rumi
Living with awareness is more of an art form than an exact science. A dance with what emerges in daily life together with what arises within. Living in awareness is a close cousin of intentional, mindful or conscious living and involves being deliberate with daily actions.
The unique contribution of each person comes from actions that arise through doing as well as the realisations that arise from resting in being. Taking a moment each day to pause, breath, reflect and connect with ‘what is’ - in both your inner and outer worlds - invites a sense of spaciousness, ease and a quiet appreciation for life. Living in awareness is something that everyone can enjoy by setting aside some time for cultivating awareness each day.
Living in awareness is in contrast to the overwhelming force of the unthinking mind. The unthinking mind is characterised by reactive thoughts and behaviour which can easily create a negative mind-set, unnecessary and impulsive actions and excess consumption. When we slow down, pause and consider with awareness what really needs to be done, or be bought, we may often realise that there is less to do, and much less to buy.
Here are a few ways to invite awareness into daily life:
Schedule Regular Pauses
Make a point of scheduling regular “mini-breaks” or pauses throughout the day. Your brain needs to recharge and restore for optimal function. Regular intervals of rest can help to active the relaxation response in both the mind and body. A rejuvenating mini-break can be as simple as closing your eyes and observing your breath for 5 minutes. Alternatively, if you are feeling very agitated, consider counting to five for each in-breath and out-breath or practising pranayama. Once you are more relaxed, you will think more clearly, which opens up more choices and restores a feeling of calm.
Check-in with your Body
Regularly check-in with your body and see if you are holding onto any stress. Shifting your posture, going for a walk, or taking a few moments to stretch your arms and legs can help to bring your mind and body into union, while also alleviating some tension. Body awareness is also a simple practice to immediately take your attention out of the 'busy-unthinking' mind.
Research suggests that the mind is hard wired to jump to the worst case scenario as the default option. Nourishing practices counter-act this tendency, like deliberately emanating appreciation. Appreciating simple things, like the breath, the beauty of a flower, feeling the wind on your face, or drinking a cold glass of water, can happen any time where ever you are. This simple practice cultivates positive thoughts and emotions while inviting awareness of the present moment.
Living in awareness is also an energy force that creates a pleasant atmosphere for yourself and others. This is because your actions are relaxed and you don’t feel a sense of difficulty, stress or excess effort. This clear and calm way of being can also positively influence other areas of your life, such as more intentional shopping and a sustainable lifestyle.