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As a therapist, many of my clients ask me the question, “how do I get conscious?” Consciousness, for them, seems an esoteric “thing,” bestowed on “those people,” aka, the lucky, the yogic, and the few. It is often misunderstood as being something separate from “ordinary? consciousness,” conjuring images of monks who abscond the material life for isolated caves in the Himalayas. It is seen as an arduous, self-abnegating, and rigorous process; hence looked upon with longing often, but at the same time with a resigned acceptance that this “thing” called consciousness is not for them, at least not in this life time. Parents especially,? get extremely defensive, “do you think I have the time for consciousness? I don’t even have time to read a book, or go to the gym.” Again, consciousness is immediately associated with all things alien, inconceivable to the every-day, the mundane and the chaotic. It is only when I explain the mechanics of consciousness, that the defenses begin to melt and the “aha” creeps in…hesitantly, but curiously.

Consciousness, I explain, is not a “thing” or a state of mind bestowed on the talented or fortunate; it is something that each of us has the power to cultivate. “But how?” every client asks. “Through your UNconsciousness.” It is through our unconsciousness – something each of us is abundantly bestowed with – that we get to discover consciousness.

I explain: Consciousness is not a “thing,” it is a process; a journey of creating awareness. It does not develop separately from our present realities; instead, it emerges directly from it. When I tell my clients, “in order to be conscious, all you need to do is watch and witness your unconsciousness,” they are awed by the seeming simplicity of this process. “This is all I need to do? Just watch my unconsciousness, label it, and let it be?” So they start on this process, letting their thoughts and actions come under the spotlight of their conscious gaze. They realize that this is not entirely a simple process, precisely because “watching” and “witnessing” is something they are not used to. As their awareness grows, they begin to see their unconscious dynamics at play and they are often shocked at the extent of the shadow-material that comes to light. They often stop the process and hide. But many return to the path, trying yet again to “watch” and “witness” without judgment, without fear. Soon, they discover, “oh, I am becoming a conscious human being. I am understanding my unconsciousness and this is leading to greater awareness and insight. I am coming to see my essence.”

Many come to see that the cultivation of this awareness is the only way towards a synchronicity with their inner voice and stillness. They come to meditation naturally, understanding that sitting in stillness for a period of time on a daily basis is as essential as eating, sleeping and bathing. Even the busiest parent comes to see that five minutes spent in stillness creates the ability to live in the moment like never before; and once one begins to live in the moment, then, the day is no longer simply ” a day,” but instead, a conglomeration of thousand tiny opportunities for being present.

We parents are in a particularly privileged position because our children will directly mirror our unconscious state. In their being or lack-of- being, we will be allowed to see the follies of our own internal disconnect – the abyss between ourselves and? our true essence. It is through them, moment to moment, that we will be called to be still, silent and witnessing. Our children will teach us to live in our hearts and not in our minds; in our present realities and not in our past or our future. Our children will reflect our demonic hunger for power, our thirst for monarchic control, and our desire to be the biggest and the best. There is hardly any other relationship besides the one we share with our children where we dare to call the other “OUR OWN” and it is here that we are exposed to the theatrics of our egoic fantasies and manic delusions. It is with our children that we see how incapable we are of living in the moment and living in our being-ness. Therefore, it is here, that we are fully exposed to the dynamics of our unconscious. And so, it is here, precisely here, in the midst of all our unconscious parental spewing that we are allowed to cultivate consciousness; all we need to do is begin watching.

The first step in consciousness is acceptance: “I am unconscious.” It? is when we are willing to accept this basic fact that we will open our eyes and begin to walk towards consciousness. Our children will show us, step by step, moment by moment, where we are too controlling, too dominating, too much in denial, too much in Ego. Our children will show when we are present, joyous, spontaneous and in being-ness. Our children will mirror back our fears, our insecurities and our lack of worth. They will teach us to take risks, to dare to exist in a state of soul, and to sit in stillness. Our children are able to do this naturally. They are our willing teachers. The question, though is, “Are we willing students?”

 

 

 

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