To live as full as life as possible, we have to practice living in the present moment. Try to develop consciousness and the ability to observe your thoughts and your life without criticism and judgment. Then, you can look at others and the world with more compassion.
Making Conscious Choices by Living in the Present Moment
If I was going to ask, “How are you?”, you would say, “Fine, or okay, or good, or great” You wouldn’t really answer the question, or you’d answer it superficially if you are like the majority of people.
If I ask, “What’s going on for you right now? What’s happening in your mind? What’s happening in your heart? What’s your predominant energy right now? What are you thinking about a lot of the time?” Most people would have an answer to that if they really considered what they were thinking about.
I do that quite a bit. As long as I don’t overdo it, I actually find it quite helpful to keep myself in check.
One of the key elements that we teach, and that a lot of people teach, is the element of consciousness. Consciousness is about acting from the present moment instead of based on programming from the past. It’s about making conscious choices in this moment and not being habitual or automatic like we normally are.
How to Make Conscious Decisions in the Moment
If you notice, the key element that many monks have taken 40 years in caves to consider is the element of observation. It’s observing yourself, being your own witness.
It means thinking about what you’re thinking about. It means taking a bird’s eye view of your life, your situation, and where you’re at.
It’s your way of thinking, feeling, and acting and being conscious enough to observe that. Not in a judgmental way as in, “Oh my god! What an idiot I am!”, or, “How great am I?” It’s not like that. It’s just watching how you do your life.
My Zen teacher is Cheri Huber. I love Cheri! She’s so great because she makes things really simple. It’s like being aware of what’s going on in your life and coming from a place of, “Here’s how I’m thinking, what I’m thinking, and what I’m feeling,” and then working backward to say, “Is that what I want to be doing?”
Reasons to Leave Behind Personal Judgment and Criticism
If you can do this without judgment, you’re going to be in great shape. What Cheri says is the problem most people have is that they are conscious and living in the present moment, but they do it with judgment.
Considering that most of us grow up in a culture that emphasizes superficial things, it’s no wonder most people have a part in them that’s near neurotically self-critical. When people feel like they don’t compare to others who are successful, they judge themselves.
And that’s not including those circumstances from our childhood and life traumas that pile on feelings of lower self-worth.
It’s tough for a lot of people to look critically at their lives and accept, without judgment, that whatever happened before to make us who we are now, we do have a now to work with! But sometimes there are places within themselves people just don’t want to go.
The issue is that when we do look at ourselves, it’s like turning the lights on in a dark room.
Benefits to Practicing Consciousness Without Judgment
Let me ask you a simple question: When you turn the light on, do you see more or less dirt? You’re going to see more of everything, aren’t you?
Our mind is generally focused on what’s wrong because it’s always looking to protect us. It’s not going to protect us by looking for what’s right.
The trick here is observation without judgment and criticism. Leave right or wrong out of the equation.
1. You will be able to be very conscious about what’s going on and then make changes if you need to.
2. You will be able to practice observing without judgment.
Here’s the cool thing, my friends. If you can practice observing yourself without judgment, then you can practice observing life and other people without judgment.
Life gets a lot more peaceful and more enjoyable regardless of your situation. You get the more inner balance to sustain through success or setback. You become more resilient. People like that energy and want to be around it. That’s Zen, baby.
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So tell us … what’s been on your mind? We’re not here to quick fix or to provide a short term remedy. Tell us what you’re really thinking and feeling right now, and observe how much of yourself you might see in others’ responses.