how to use consciousness

Today I am deciding to make one life choice that is going to make my life so much happier and healthier. My choice is this: to use my consciousness to create happiness and health.

Consciousness is simply the awareness of existence. It is a small part of the mind (read about our Subconscious Mind Power to see why). But it is the part we can control.

Arguably the most basic choice a human being has in life is what to be conscious of. And the things you choose to be conscious of can greatly impact your health and wellbeing.

Some people spend their lives deliberately being conscious of all the things that are wrong in the world. They think of the stresses and pressures they face. They fill their minds with negativity. And as a result, they end up with mental health problems like stress and anxiety. [You will know if this is happening to you because you will be experiencing these types of negative thoughts].

We have the power to choose to be conscious of the positive things in life. And when we make this choice, we quickly become healthier and happier.

Let’s take a look at how to use your consciousness for a healthier, happier life.

How To Use Your Consciousness

1: Be conscious of the present moment

The number one best way to use your consciousness is to focus on the present moment. In other words, to be mindful, with a non-judgmental attitude. [This beginners guide to mindfulness will help you get started].

As science continues to research mindfulness, we are learning that being conscious of the present moment is vital for our health.

Lao Tzu said, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present moment.” You have to love Lao Tzu. He expresses the most important life lessons in the simplest of ways. And now, thanks to science, we know that Lao Tzu was right. Living in the present moment is amazing for our health [1].

So the first choice to make is this: Choose to focus on the present moment, rather than on the past or the future. This will immediately make you happier and less stressed.

2: Be conscious of the senses

It’s very easy to say, “Be conscious of the present moment.” Yet it is surprisingly difficult to do.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Mindfulness is easy. Remembering to be mindful is hard.”

As we go through the day, the mind is gradually filled with thoughts, feelings, stress and pressures. It becomes very difficult to remember to be mindful, to remember to live in the present moment. But thankfully we have a helping hand in this: our senses.

Take time to be conscious of what is happening in the sensory world.

I like to use my fingers to count through the senses. Obviously, we have five fingers on each hand, and we have five senses. I like to go one finger at a time through each of the senses. I’ll start with my thumb and say to myself, “Be conscious of the visual world.” Then on to my index finger and say, “be conscious of sounds,” and so on.

If you lose track of the present moment, focus on each of the senses one at a time. This will bring your conscios awareness back to the present moment.

3: Use your consciousness to generate happiness

Perhaps the best way how to use consciousness is to use it to generate happiness.

One trick I personally use to cultivate happiness is to ask myself, “What is there in the present moment that is making me feel good about life?”

I’ll usually do this when I’m out for a walk. I’ll look around at the scenery and ask what objects, sounds, sights, and so on are making me feel positively about life. Usually, I notice that it’s nature that makes me feel good: the trees, the blue skies, birdsong.

When I notice something that is making me feel good, I will spend a few moments consciously focusing on it. I’ll close my eyes and meditate on the birdsongs, or walk over to one of the trees and touch it (there is something incredibly grounding about touching trees).

I find that this trick makes me happy in about five minutes. It is a very quick way to lift your mood! This is also one of my positive thinking exercises.

4: Be conscious of the subconscious

Conscious awareness is only one small part of the whole conscious mind [2]. The actual part of the mind that we are consciously aware of is miniscule compared to the entire brain. It’s like comparing planet Earth to the entire universe.

Most of the time, we are not aware of the rest of the mind (and hence the term Subconscious Mind, meaning the part we are unaware of). However, there are times when our subconscious communicates with us, and we need to be aware of those times.

You might notice your subconscious communicating with you if you feel a twinge in your stomach, like a gut instinct. I felt such a gut instinct the day my father died, when I woke up at 5 a.m. with a sinking feeling in my gut. My instinct was right, unfortunately. My father had died. But at least thnks to my gut instinct I was ready to talk to my mother and help her through the pain.

Gut instincts like that are little messages that the subconscious sends us, and we should be consciously aware of those messages. Meditation will help with this, because the quieter your conscious mind is the more you will be able to hear your subconscious. If you’d like to tap into this part of your mind, read my guide to Meditation For Intuition and Insight.

5: Be conscious of consciousness itself

In my opinion, this is one of the most important choices you can make in your entire life: to be conscious of consciousness itself.

Very many people spend their time lost in thoughts, or lost in the present moment doing things without really being aware of what they are doing. That’s natural. It happens because we are so consumed by information in this day and age. The mind gets so full of information via the news, social media, work, and everything else, that we lose our conscious awareness. At these times we could say that we are unconscious of our consciousness. And it’s a big problem.

You can’t use your consciousness effectively if you’re lost in a hailstorm of noise.

If you do not monitor your consciousness, you will inadvertently focus on all sorts of negatives (like the violence around the world, for instance). Those negative will influence your mind. They will lead you to see the world in a negative way. And that will produce all sorts of painful feelings like depression, anxiety, sadness, grief, and so one.

Take control of your consciousness. At all times, ask yourself: What are you focusing your conscious awareness on? And what influence is that having on you?

When you start to monitor your conscious awareness, you will become aware of how a million little influences in your life are affecting your mental health.

By monitoring and controlling your consciousness, you can decide to focus on the positives. You can decide to be aware of the good in this world, and of the things that make you happy. This will have a wonderfully positive effect on your mind.

Final Thoughts

Consciousness is at the core of who we are. Amazingly, we do not control most of the mind or the brain. The majority of our mental processing occurs beneath the surface, and we cannot control it. But we can control our consciousness. And we can choose how we use our consciousness.

Choose to be aware of consciousness itself, and use it to your advantage.

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About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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