Everyone from yoga practitioners to spiritual teachers to social reformers espouse the values of “Conscious Living.” But what does it actually mean to live consciously?
Conscious Living means cultivating awareness, mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, conscious consumption, and connection with both ourselves and everyone and everything around us. Conscious Living is not just a personal choice, but a global responsibility. By following these six principles we can create a world that is more compassionate, just, and sustainable for all living beings.
The 6 Principles of Conscious Living
1) Awareness: being fully present and noticing what is happening within and around us. Without awareness, we may find ourselves reacting to situations or living on autopilot. By cultivating awareness, we can break free from these patterns and live with intention and purpose. Before we are aware, we run straight past important things in our life, such as our kids, our friends, even our partner. We go to bed at night for the purpose of waking up the next morning. However, when we are aware, we stop to really spend quality time with others. We take breaks. And, when it is time to go to sleep, it is just as precious as awake time — sleep time becomes quality time.
2) Mindfulness: being fully present with curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Mindfulness cultivates inner peace, helps us observe our thoughts and feelings with detachment, and assists us in connecting more deeply with others. When we are mindful we listen and hear better. We listen to understand. We are not thinking ahead to our response. We enjoy truly hearing what others share and retain the wisdom that is shared. Our lives become richer as we consider others and truly take in the world around us.
3) Gratitude: appreciating the good in our lives and acknowledging the blessings that surround us. When we cultivate gratitude, we shift our focus from what we lack to what we have. We begin to notice the beauty and abundance in our lives, and we feel more content and fulfilled. The extraordinary is all around us, but too often we write it off as more of the same. When we are in gratitude we see the special qualities that are here now, such as the miraculous way our body serves us and heals when there is illness. More of the same usually means more of the special. We see this and embrace it when we are in gratitude.
4) Compassion: extending kindness and understanding to both ourselves and others; recognizing the suffering and struggles of others, and responding with empathy and care. When we cultivate compassion, we break down the walls of separation that divide us and foster a sense of unity and solidarity. In truth, there is suffering all around us. We all have felt the heartbreak of loved ones who have physically left this plane, finances that sometimes are in tatters and bruises from the work environment. It is only natural to have compassion for ourselves when this occurs, as well as to have compassion for others who are experiencing this kind of turbulence in their lives.
5) Conscious Consumption: making intentional choices about what we buy, eat, and use; considering the impact of our choices on the environment, our health, and the well-being of others. Conscious consumption acknowledges our responsibility to the world we live in, and our role in creating a more sustainable and just world for future generations. I used to live 100% on the grid until we bought our current home, which draws one third of its energy from solar. I used to buy clothes of any make and brand. Now, most of the time, my clothes are made partly or wholly from recycled plastics and cotton. We compost. And, we are always on the lookout for new ways we can consciously purchase products and services.
6) Connection: recognizing our interconnectedness with the Creator of all life, all living beings, and the universe, and cultivating deep, meaningful relationships with them. Connection allows us to feel a sense of belonging and community, as well as helps us cultivate empathy and compassion for others. I’ve grown to understand there truly is no separation between me and the Divine. The Divine is indwelling. Likewise, “others” are truly a part of my Self. Living consciously means we live into what science affirms is true, we are all deeply interconnected — in fact we are One. I love the Creator who lives within me just as She/He loves me. I love others. I love the Earth, our planet, that is our home. In connection we learn to give and receive love. Love becomes free flowing. Our relationships become more meaningful and impactful. I’ve come to believe this is the purpose of life while we live here in the physical.
Steve Farrell is an Evolutionary Pioneer, Co-Founder of Humanity’s Team, and author of the new book A New Universal Dream: My Journey From Silicon Valley to a Life in Service to Humanity. (preorders available May 24, 2023). In A New Universal Dream, Steve transforms the definition of success, and details his journey from Silicon Valley to a life in service to humanity. Alongside Neale Donald Walsch, (author, Conversations with God), Farrell co-founded Humanity’s Team, a non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado which streams mind, body, and spirit courses focused on helping people throughout the world awaken to their deeper selves and the interconnectedness of everything. Find out how to take their Conscious Living and Leadership pledge at HumanitysTeam.org.