Growing Our Human Potential

Consciousness, Part 1: A Series On What It Is and How To Cultivate This.

Inner space consciousness and who you are in your essence are one and the same. And it is from inner space, the unconditioned consciousness itself, that true happiness, the joy of Being, emanates.

Eckhart Tolle

For most of us we have enough on our minds and plate as we deal with our job, family, finances, ambitions, relationships, challenges, hardships, crisis and whatever else consumes our time. I get this, since this was me too. Even if I was interested, the word “consciousness” sounded like a term that comes from some yoga or Buddhist seminar which was not exactly my cup of tea at the time. Forget consciousness, we enjoy our unconscious moments such as sleeping or after one too many beers (-:

This was an area I dabbled in at times. It was during the pandemic that I realized how quickly my mind would wonder. It was a function of a lot of idle time along with what I recognized as a typical state for me, for my mind to race on and on… This became the ideal growth opportunity for me since I was staying in more.

Consciousness was a term that came up often as I started my spiritual search. So let me attempt to put my own words around this concept, relating to what I have discovered myself. I would describe it as follows:

We can achieve a state of awareness, realization, or simply just a moment where we are fully aware of what we are doing or being. From this awareness we can learn to quiet the mind in order to seek a better place or feeling. It is like looking into the mirror and seeing you for who you really are at that moment, including the good, the bad, and the ugly (in terms of behaviors, not looks). Okay, big deal. One can achieve this with a couple hits from marijuana, right?. Still too new age-ish? You’re right, so what would make this topic more practical for one to consider? Ah yes, make this relevant to me, than you might consider reading on. WIIFM?

So let’s start with something practical. We all have aspects of self that create more negative than positive feelings and therefore more negative consequences (cause and effect). These become our patterns. Our significant other has probably come to know our buttons by now. Using consciousness helps us to realize these patterns, what provokes them, and then with this awareness, we can make better or healthier choices resulting in more positive outcomes. Let me share a personal example…

I would write a post like this, and then check back each day to see if anyone read it and hopefully gave it a thumbs up, or better yet, wrote a positive comment. This would create a positive feeling where I felt validated and that others were approving of me. However, often I would check back and see that only a few people accessed the post, but no feedback or comments. The result I realized was that I became depressed. I had learned through prior counseling that this pattern developed as a result of not receiving any approval from my parents, and therefore was an unmet need that I was constantly seeking….approval from others. This was due to my low self-esteem or sense of self-worth. This was one of my negative and reoccurring patterns.

Note: We all have these types of negative and repeating patterns which result in negative consequences in our life. Our friends and significant others have come to learn our buttons and patterns. Many of these were developed in our early formative years based on what we were told and experienced. These unconscious beliefs are stored deep within driving our behaviors, resulting in repeating these patterns over and over again, until we become conscious of these patterns and use this self-awareness to make changes.

Increasing your own consciousness will help you deal with a nagging issue, pattern or negative feeling. How you ask? Here we go…

For a long time I got depressed. That was my reaction to these types of situations and as I mentioned an underlying belief that I was not worthy. I would find some escape to make me feel momentarily better, or sit in a corner sulking. After all I was unworthy which was the belief I formed from my traumatic childhood. But one day I had a thought, there had to be a better way. I wanted to deal with this situation rather than have it repeat itself over and over.

This is the first step in being conscious. I recognized that I had a problem that I no longer wanted! I am now aware. The question is what do I do with this awareness? “Is there a lot of work related to this? If so, I do not have the time.” Well, there is work, which is true of almost anything we really want in life. So let’s rule out those who do not have the internal motivation to go on. But you may want to read on to understand the “return on investment” for this time and effort…

Next, a bit of education based on the premise that We Can Indeed Change. Related to this is the concept of CHOICE. The image to the left represents a foundational principle to being conscious, that we make choices during practically every waking moment. What is this Choice? It is as Victor Frankl, an amazing human being and story by the way, states in this image. It is that fraction of a moment that we choose our response to whatever stimulus is happening around us.

This image expands on this. Most of us are “conditioned” to respond in a certain way based on our past, beliefs, etc. It is an automatic response. An example of this is when people push our buttons. For example, when we grew up we were teased about some aspect of our looks. Now, years later, as soon as someone makes what sounds like a reference to this, we immediately become frustrated and walk away. It has become part of who we are to the point that we are even unconscious of this pattern. What can support maintaining these negative patterns is our belief that we are a victim. We blame others for making fun of us and react accordingly.

So now let’s go back to the first step, that we recognize this behavior and no longer want to react like this. With this new awareness, we may want to realize why these situations or stimulus’ bother us. Sometimes we need help from trained professionals (e.g. therapists) to recognize the source. This was the case for me since I had buried so deep the abuse I went through, that it took time in counseling to realize what really happened. But this may not be needed. What is most important is that we see the cause and effect of what is going on.

Outstanding. We now have what we need to make a change. We learn to recognize these situations and how how our reaction begin, beginning with the feeling we may feel (e.g. we clench our fists), followed by a response (e.g. getting mad or angry at the other person or thing around us). We learn to be conscious of and aware of these situations and initial feelings. This is the chance for the holy grail to work, which is to create that momentary consciousness where we recognize what we are doing. With this awareness comes an opportunity for us to recognize that we have a choice. We step back, take a few deep breaths, or whatever steps we have developed, to choose an alternate behavior!!

If you get this, you are on your way to one of the most powerful elements of personal growth and self-discovery. You now have a recipe to begin to soften the rough edges of your life using consciousness and awareness to make healthier choices. You can continue to work on different responses you make that result in you feeling less than positive. Is it easy? Sometimes, but more often than not, it requires a lot of work and repetition (repeating our patterns but being conscious now that this is what we are doing). This is how change takes place. We fall into our old behaviors, but we recognize this, or become conscious of these situations, which is where we learn to use our consciousness and awareness to become a better and happier person that we want to be.

So just imagine the implications of this. Instead of constantly reacting to situations, we learn to take charge of ourselves by making more conscious and healthier choices. We learn to take charge of the only thing we really have control of, our attitude and choices we make. You repeat this recipe and discover that you are not as frustrated anymore, which is replaced with being happier. Multiply this times 7.5 billion times for the earth’s population and we see greater levels of peace, kindness, avoiding the temptations of power and greed, for sake of healthier choices to benefit ourselves and others.

One of the key challenges associated with this is the choice we must make up front in that we are no longer victims. Instead we make the choice to be victor where we take charge of our life and realize that we are responsible adults that can make these choices. It is up to us!

In our next segment, we will focus on ways to become more conscious in everyday life.

About Me

Michael is an award winning author, speaker, facilitator and coach on the topics of Personal Growth & Self-Discovery. Visit my website for more information ( You can contact Michael using

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