Our ordinary waking state of consciousness is severely limited and limiting resembling an extended dream rather than wakefulness.
We are choosing to wake from this state of unconsciousness so that it is possible for us to live our lives with access to the full spectrum or our conscious and unconscious possibilities. Sages, yogis and Zen masters have been exploring this territory systematically for thousands of years and in the process have learned things that are now profoundly beneficial in the West to counterbalance our cultural orientation towards controlling and subduing nature rather than honouring that we are an intimate part of it. What they found that was by investigating inwardly our own nature as beings, and particularly the nature of our own minds through careful and systematic self-observation, we may be able to live lives of greater satisfaction, harmony and wisdom.
We are being offered a view of the world which is an alternative to the reductionist and materialistic one currently dominating Western society. To benefit from this view all we have to do is pay attention in a particular way, and on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgement. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments.
If we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realise the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.
A diminished awareness of the present moment inevitably creates other problems for us as well through our unconscious and automatic actions and behaviours, often driven by deep-seated insecurities and fears. These problems tend to build over time if they are not attended to, and can eventually leave us feeling stuck and out of touch.
Present moment awareness which we cultivate in our yoga practice, is a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck and back in touch with our own wisdom and vitality. It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our own lives, including our relationships within the family, our relationship to work and to the planet, but most fundamentally, our relationship with ourself as a person. We begin by fostering an appreciation of the present moment and the cultivation of an intimate relationship with it through a continual attending to it with care and discernment. It is the opposite of taking life for granted.
When we commit ourselves to paying attention in an open way, without falling prey to our own likes and dislikes, opinions, prejudices, projections and expectations, new possibilities open up, and we have the chance to free ourselves from the straight jacket of unconsciousness, and embrace instead the art of conscious living.
Wisdom from Jon Kabat-Zinn “Wherever you go, there you are.”