The word “consciousness” is frequently used today. A common piece of advice we get from self-help gurus is to “live consciously.” They offer a lot of advice and methods that, according to them, will enable us to live consciously. They provide a variety of mindfulness and meditation practices that can increase our awareness of our surroundings and ourselves.
Is it the only aspect of living a conscious life, though? Is leading a life that is truly conscious just about being aware of what is going on in our bodies and minds?
The short answer is: No.
Living consciously requires us to realize the fundamental truths of existence – the existence of ourselves, other human beings, other non-human beings, objects, our creator (if any), and everything else in the universe.
How can you claim to be conscious if you do not know who you are? Will simply being aware of someone’s presence make you conscious if you are interacting with them but do not know their genuine identity? Will you still be recognized as conscious if you don’t know how or why you were created? Living consciously entails learning the underlying truth of the existence of everything and then clinging to that understanding at all times.
The secret to living consciously lies in understanding the answers to the most important questions listed below. I’ll provide straightforward responses to these questions as well, grounded in Vedic knowledge, particularly the Bhagavad Gita. However, I won’t get into specifics because doing so would call for a lengthy discussion. To learn more about these in depth, I suggest reading the Bhagavad Gita and 30 Days to Understanding the Bhagavad Gita.
Knowing who you are
The first and most significant concept in spirituality is this. One cannot expect to learn about God or the other crucial aspects of spirituality if they do not know who one truly is. Thus, allow me to ask: Who are you? The most frequent answers to this question take the form of a person’s name (“I am Sam”), profession (“I am an accountant”), or a connection to another person (“I am the father of Joe”). But when it comes to spirituality, it is not what this query is asking for. It aims to awaken you to your true self.
Nearly all of us identify with the body. We believe that our body is who we are. But it is not at all the case. The Bhagavad Gita abundantly informs us that we are not these physical bodies but rather spirit souls. I go into great detail about this subject in 30 Days to Understanding the Bhagavad Gita and provide a logical justification for why it is evident that we are souls and not physical beings.
Knowing who created you
If you are here – in this bodily form – you must have a source. What is that source? Where do you originate from? Or are you eternal? What leads to your creation?
It is not sufficient to know the creator’s name and identity. A conscious being is aware of his creator’s actual nature. He is aware of His abilities. He understands how to recognize, approach, and welcome Him. He is aware of all the ways to reach Him. He makes an effort to satisfy God by doing what pleases Him.
According to the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna is the one who creates, sustains, and destroys all things and beings. In actuality, He is the architect of the universe. He is the source of all things, and everything ends up merging with Him. He is the Supreme One. His glories, His pastimes, His opulence, His powers, His nature, His tastes, and His activities are all extensively described in Vedic literature.
Naturally, you could wonder, if God created us, then who created God? In a different article, I went into great depth in response to this point. To read it, CLICK HERE.
Knowing your purpose in life
Okay! So God made me then? Yet why? With the time He has given me here, what does He want me to accomplish in this world? He obviously had to have had a reason for making me. For the brief time we call “life,” he would not have created me merely to provide me material delight and enjoyment. So what is it He wants me to accomplish?
The Bhagavad Gita, among other Vedic texts, makes it very clear that the goal of life is to love Krishna. Love ought to be so strong that Krishna is forced to bring the sincere devotee back to His own abode instead of keeping him trapped in a never-ending cycle of births and deaths in the material world. This human life is achieved after a lot of struggles and is the only species that is capable of spiritual advancement.
A truly conscious person constantly reminds himself of this truth and does not indulge in sensory indulgence. He puts all of his efforts into achieving his goals since he knows that he has a very limited window of time to do so.
Knowing how and why things work the way they do
A conscious person understands how to balance logic and faith. He gains the knowledge required for spiritual growth, but he has no desire for knowledge that is not actually necessary. He yearns to know the answers to questions that should cross everyone’s thoughts at some point in their lives but are typically taken for granted by most people.
For instance, “Why am I born a human while another creature has to live as a dog? Who makes that decision, and what factors influence him?” Or, “What effect will my actions have? Do they affect me only while I’m alive or, if there is an afterlife, do they also affect it?” Or, “Does the way I think affect the way I grow closer to God?”
A conscious person looks everywhere for these answers. He knows that these questions have clear-cut answers, and he keeps searching until he finds one that fulfills him.
A conscious person is aware of how his present activities may affect his future. No matter how unfair things may appear from the outside, he knows God is always just and that the Law of Karma ensures that justice is served in the material world.
Knowing the true identity of all and everything
A conscious individual is always fully aware of his own identity as well as the identities of all other beings, including other life forms. He is aware that his son, whom he loves dearly, is actually a soul, and that their true relationship exists on a soul level. He knows that the street dog he passes every day has taken on this appearance as a result of his previous activities and that the human form is extremely valuable because it is the only form capable of spiritual advancement.
Knowing the significance of your thoughts and how to manage them
The divine and demonic characteristics of a human being are clearly defined by Lord Krishna in Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita. A conscious person is always aware of these attributes and takes all the necessary precautions to maintain a pure state of divinity in his mind. He never allows demonic traits to enter his mind.
Knowing the truth about death
Spirituality has a unique place for the notion of death. A conscious individual understands the genuine meaning of passing away. He knows that death is not the end but rather a door to a new life, which he will pick based on his current actions. As he can see death in its proper perspective, he never expresses excessive grief upon somebody’s demise. The Vedic writings go into great depth about all of this.
The subject of consciousness is complex and has numerous elements. Humans rarely live consciously. As explicitly stated by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: “Among thousands of men, perhaps one strives for perfection; and among those who diligently strive for perfection, perhaps one knows Me in essence.” [BG 7.3]
Our responsibility is to be one of the few who aspire to perfect consciousness and model conscious living. A seeker could get off to the best start possible in that direction by reading the Bhagavad Gita. It contains all the information a seeker would require to set up the foundation for spiritual growth and living a fully conscious life.
1. Bhagavad Gita (in English)
2. 30 Days to Understanding the Bhagavad Gita