Cultivating conscious awareness

Conscious awareness is the aim of mindfulness – it is mindfulness. It is also the way to attain mindfulness. So it is both a practiced skill and a living state.

Conscious awareness is simply being present in the moment, being present to each moment, moment by moment – that intent/action is the means and end of mindfulness. Simply become aware of what is happening or what you are doing – use your senses to connect you physically to the moment – is your skin warm or cold, is there fragrance, sounds (this makes the experience both physical and mental.

Amongst the garden with its sights and sounds and aromas it is easy to find complete conscious awareness – you are not distracted you are opened to the beauty and reality of witnessing or experiencing your garden for what it is; an ‘alive’ space – a ‘true’ experience – a ‘real’ moment. You are of mind and of body in this awareness of ‘real moments’- of what is happening right now, your spirit will meet these moments too. The garden invigorating your senses is nature invigorating your self.

the garden is a place of wonder, awe, play and creativity to gardeners so we know its power. to find the same awe and inspiration in the mundane is the task. So to cultivate more conscious awareness it is good to also make an everyday experience mindful – If it’s taking a shower then feel the water on your skin, its temperature and its pressure, smell the fragrances of your body wash or shampoo – it is full of experience not just a cleansing task. You can shower mindfully, you should shower mindful.

If it is cooking a meal, you can be present too, not just alert to not burning it but alert to the sounds and aromas of cooking, to the skills of peeling, chopping, stirring etc. Enjoy the process or at the very least do it awake – fully experience it – live it. enjoy eating it too. absorbing the nutrition and tasting the flavours. knowing it lifts the spirit and replenishes the body.

Live and experience every process, there is nothing too mundane to be mindful with or nothing so special that can be experienced mindfully – without having to evaluate and overthink. Conscious awareness is not having to concentrate in that manner, it is not an intellectual exercise. It is being aware. Awake. Present. You can always follow your breath to focus your mind from distracting thoughts.

So being consciously aware of what is happening in that moment is the intent and the achievement – we are not seeking special moments, our life is a flow of moments, to live in the moments is to live. So be conscious brushing your teeth in the morning, be conscious of the pillow beneath your head before you drift to sleep at night. Be conscious breathing, walking, sitting to relax or sitting to meditate. Be conscious of your lived moments and the sensations attending – this brings you into life.

If you can enrich yourself with conscious awareness of making the bed or washing a plate, wait until you consciously eat your favourite meal, or consciously swim in the sea, consciously sit under a tree, consciously make love. You are not seeking enhanced pleasures or desperately trying to find more happiness and less pain – but that comes to varying degrees with it – you are just looking to live. If you truly live rather than fantasise and daydream and sleepwalk through life – then you will have really experienced life – so be conscious in your moments – that is mindful living. That is the way to live.

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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