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The choice between being "Conscious" or "Unconscious"
I’d like to start by saying that I am not claiming to be “more conscious” than anyone.
I’m just a student of life in general and for the last 6 years of the force of nature in the Amazon Forest and in South Dakota (briefly) and in Mexico (a lot).
I just lived many experiences I have been sharing a bit here and there or in person.
I just want to share a growing feeling that we both talked about today at length with a friend. I understand you might judge me as giving lessons, it is not the case, I am just trying to be honest and share.
I am far from perfect and make many mistakes still. I have my moments of lack of consciousness and appreciate it when people help me becoming aware of them.
It’s becoming more and more of a choice to “be conscious” versus “unconscious”.
It seems it’s becoming impossible to be both, if it has ever been.
Let’s try to define a bit what I mean by “conscious”.
Again, I am not considering myself “perfect” with the below list, and it’s a work in progress, but I am working hard on learning and perfecting my thoughts and behaviors. I could write a whole list of things I’d like to improve in myself. For example I tend to forget the names of people I just met or met only a few times, I am working on it but there is work.
the way we treat ourselves. What we eat and drink (healthy food, no or little alcohol). How we treat our body and how we cultivate being healthy.
the way we think. Our capacity to see ourselves thinking or doing anything “from the outside”. Meditation is the best training for that. Watch ourselves thinking and doing (the core of Vipassana meditation, watching even breath or sensations). Even “watching the watcher”. This includes how we react under pressure or stress, avoiding getting upset, avoiding criticizing others, seeing joy and beauty in everyone and everything even when the “shit hits the fan”. It’s also being able to be silent which has always been so difficult for me. I am getting better at it.
the way we respect the space of others at all times while “doing our thing”, one of the areas I am personally working hard currently
controlling our own ego but using it when it’s necessary
the way we stay out of addictions (the first addiction being ourselves, as Choeze Kuchen Rinpoche reminded me recently).
the way we behave generally. Always having part of our brain watching what we think, what we say and what we do to be respectful to ourselves, our family, friends and others. It’s not about being perfect, nobody is, it’s about making less and less “mistakes” and if we make one not repeating it. “Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned.”
what we put in our brains. What we read. What we watch. What and who we listen to. The friends around us. The “teachers” we learn from in our lives. The music and songs we listen to (or better, the music we make).
the way we treat nature and planet earth, the animals. Are we contributing in harming it? Are we deliberately trying to do anything to harm it less? Are we trying (better) to improve it? It’s difficult to live a western society life without harming it all the time, for example just using a car or taking a plane, but we can work on reducing our footprint.
the way we work on improving ourselves constantly
the purpose we have in life and the work we do (is the work we do or the business we work for conscious itself?). This isn’t an easy one as everybody has to make a living, I get that, so sometimes we are just forced to work with or for people we cannot afford not to work with. We all need to work. Working becomes a pleasure if there is purpose and we do what we enjoy doing.
seeing the suffering in the world and trying to do something about it (most of the time not being able to do more than a very small part)
eventually, the way we work on helping others once we have healed ourselves enough. Helping others constantly is the highest way of being as Choeze Kuchen Rinpoche reminded me last week.
I’m leaving out the material possessions by design. It’s a more complex conversation I will come back to one day. I just don’t think being “monk like” owning nothing is an option for most people, it is not for me especially with a family. I guess the answer is “moderation” and not falling into the addiction of always having more I was in before. Now I ask myself “for what purpose?” but I am not against having comfort to live well if our work allows it.
Being conscious doesn’t mean being perfect or doesn’t mean having fun too. I take a lot of time to have fun myself, for example wing-foiling or paragliding which don’t harm nature. I also try to do it consciously, like a meditation flowing with the wind and the ocean.
Why is it becoming impossible to be unconscious and conscious at the same time?
Let’s just take a few examples. It becomes quickly impossible to go get drunk at a party anymore, it’s been years for me... I stopped drinking more than two years ago. It also becomes more and more difficult to just hangout around drunk people (I’m taking an extreme example but really I have to admit it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to be just with people who drink more than two or three glasses of wine around me). I still do of course if they are close or old friends and I want to still enjoy their presence. It is very hard for me to listen to “violent” music, I feel like someone is hitting a hammer on my ears and my brain is getting damaged and need to leave. It is becoming impossible for me to hang out with men talking too much about sex if it’s not as a conscious or spiritual topic, etc. Nothing against sex… but…
Taking advantage of people becomes impossible. My Twitter stream is full of idiotic ads promising me to “learn AI in a few weeks” and is obviously a scam. The right way is to offer value to others and getting paid for it naturally, not by making fake promises or trying to trap anyone into this or that. Sadly we live in a world made of businesses doing this constantly.
It becomes a choice. A choice of a lifestyle, work ethics and also friendships.
At every moment we have a choice to be conscious or be unconscious and it seems difficult to be both. Those who stopped drinking and are constantly reminded of it when they are the only one at a table know what I am talking about, fortunately it’s becoming more and more accepted or even “standard” depending on who you hang-out with.
It’s all about finding a tribe that shares the same path towards consciousness. This is why we created the PAUA community, there are many others.
Random “journal” notes
Reading again a bit daily Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters from John Steinbeck. I love journaling. I do it mostly on my own personal journal that I have held now for about 10 years (see my post on the Miracle of morning pages) but I also enjoy doing it here, for some reason I stopped. I love writing openly so I will do it more “for the joy of writing”. It’s a healing on its own.
Even if I knew nothing would emerge from this book I would still write it. It seems to me that different organisms must have their separate ways of symbolizing, with sound or gesture, the creative joy—the flowering. And if this is so, men also must have their separate ways—some to laugh and some to build, some to destroy and yes, some even creatively to destroy themselves. There’s no explaining this. The joy thing in me has two outlets: one a fine charge of love toward the incredibly desirable body and sweetness of woman, and second—mostly both—the paper and pencil or pen. And it is interesting to think what paper and pencil and the wriggling words are. They are nothing but the trigger into joy—the shout of beauty—the cacajada of the pure bliss of creation. And often the words do not even parallel the feeling except sometimes in intensity. Thus a man full of a bursting joy may write with force and vehemence of some sad picture —of the death of beauty or the destruction of a lovely town—and there is only the effectiveness to prove how great and beautiful was his feeling.
I’m no Steinbeck but I can relate to the creative joy of writing “even if nothing would emerge from it”. I write on this journal just for this joy, it’s for myself. If anyone finds it useful too, great. That’s why I share it.
After going to bed yesterday with a scientific story that we might be the only generation left to know the Amazon forest, I have read amazing news today:
I immediately shared it with some of my indigenous friends to hear what they think about it and I get this answer from one of them:
Not even 10M will get where it has to get unfortunately. Everything is in the hands of the government and corrupt NGOs.
What can we do then? If this is true it’s appalling.
I kept browsing around the work of Charles Eiseinstein that I wrote about yesterday.
One of the members of the PAUA community suggested to watch this other video Charles did two years ago.
I did, it’s touching.
This video bothers me though.
It has a bit of a feeling of “the chosen ones” that should save the world, which bothers me. That’s definitely not how I feel, it’s in all of us.
I know Daniel Pinchbeck enough that I can share his comment in the community:
I am reading the new book "Conspirituality" at the moment... would be a great book for everyone in this forum to check out. It harshly critiques many of the popular New Age thinkers... Charles Eisenstein, Zach Bush, etc.
I will read it… for balance.
I feel very grateful to keep the communication going with Choeze Kochen Rinpoche. I feel something great is going to come out of learning with him. Everything he shares with me or on his private instagram (great that such teachers also use our tools!) sounds true to me.
I kept meditating daily with the mantra, it’s been very helpful for me. He also recommended to do shorter meditations all day long instead of long ones to stay in a permanent meditation state even when I don’t meditate. Simple and precious advice I received before, but often I need a reminder.
More tomorrow… thanks for reading.