Consciousness- it's easy to take for granted. It's all-encompassing.; Our experience of consciousness usually reinforces itself- it seems complete and trustworthy. But eventually, even the most practical amongst us realizes that consciousness- the filter through which we are perceiving the world- can change. And when it does, everything we perceive can change.
So how do we harness the power of consciousness to live a better life? That's where it gets tricky, because it can be hard to change our consciousness. Thoughts and emotions, although they can be powerful, can easily be trapped in repetitive patterns without our noticing. It's through the power of action- by creating new habits or routines- that we can change our consciousness.
A good example of this is the practice of gratitude. Many of us realize that we should be more grateful for the things we have in life, instead of worrying about what's missing or obsessing about failures. But just knowing that we should be grateful doesn't change our consciousness. Only the active practice of gratitude can do that.
If you want to experiment with the power of gratitude to change your consciousness, try this simple practice. For 3 minutes each morning, stop what you are doing, sit comfortably with your spine straight, breathe out, and in your mind run through a list of things that you are grateful for.
Make your practice light and easy. There's no need to overanalyze the things your grateful for, or to try too hard to remember them perfectly. You want to connect the memory with the feeling and leave it at that, moving on to the next one. All the while, keep taking comfortable, calming breaths. If you practice regularly you'll be able to enter into a zone of genuine gratitude more and more easily. And you might be amazed at the changes you notice in the rest of your day after those 3 minutes of gratitude.
Our subconscious minds are powerful habit-making machines. We are built to create habits based upon our past experiences, education, and even genetic information. Many people suggest that the subconscious mind is infinitely larger and more active than that conscious mind. If that's true, then do we really have free will? Are we destined to repeat our habitual patterns, even as we think we are doing something different?
If our efforts remain primarily intellectual, the answer is more likely yes, we will stay in our pattern. But when we buckle down and measure ourselves based on our activities, it is easier to break free from habit. That's why seemingly small changes- like adding 2 minutes to stretch your body before you get ready for work each day- can have profound impacts on your mind. Those 2 minutes might not seem like a lot, but in those 2 minutes you can find a sense of calm, focus, and peacefulness that might have otherwise eluded you. It trains you to be patient and optimistic, to remember to take time for sincerity and wellness even when life seems overwhelming.
Don't let your mind tell you that only big actions will matter. Small actions can powerfully affect your mind and body. Knowing that, you can look at life as a great experiment, where every motion, every posture, and every expression is a chance to recreate your mind, body and consciousness the way you want. Try it now... how many ways can you find to alter your activity at this moment? Can you sit straighter? Can you breathe more deeply and comfortably? Can you smile? Congratulations. You've just changed your consciousness.