Let’s see if today we can describe and discuss the term “consciousness”. There is a plethora of information out there pertaining to this concept. These types of concepts are ones that I can write about- but ones that you must investigate further and experience on your own (if you are interested in them) as I can only share from my experience, as each of us lives from our own experience and observation.

In today’s article I will refer to another one of the authors I have read, Michael A. Singer. Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, is a great book that describes and delves into the concepts of awareness, mindfulness, and presence. Again, I will share what I have read, have come to understand through a lot of study, and have experienced from my own observations of my process.

The way I understand it is that consciousness is being aware, being awake, paying attention. An easy way to describe consciousness is to provide the alternative- being unconscious. I will speak to this with my examples because being conscious or unconscious has something to do with our health and well-being… concepts that I find very interesting and am passionate about!

So being unconscious, we might make choices just because we always have. We may do things “robotically” or automatically. We live in “auto-pilot”. To be unconscious makes it very difficult to make changes. To live in this way makes it challenging to reach health goals. Because when we are unconscious we may just keep driving through that Starbucks drive-through because it is a part of our routine. We may not even think about how that is affecting (or sabotaging) our plans at eating more nutritiously.

Back to consciousness and Singer’s book… He shares an example of watching television. He writes “Have you ever noticed that when you’re deeply absorbed in watching TV, you have no awareness of where you’re sitting or what else is going on in the room?” Singer writes about how this analogy is a wonderful example of how our center of consciousness shifts from awareness of Self to being lost in objects that are around us.

We can relate this to our work as nurses. We could walk into work feeling good, feeling strong, feeling happy… as soon as we get onto our unit or into our office, we may be faced with colleagues who are complaining, venting… who are just plain negative. And how quickly can that shift our mood? How fast are we feeling angry, frustrated, or unhappy ourselves? We have let the outside objects shift our consciousness.

Singer also brings up our “inner show”, our pattern of thoughts that are always flying around inside of us. Our thoughts and emotions are often so controlling that we can become preoccupied with them… we can be so wrapped up in this “world” that we don’t even know that WE are in there. We get so lost in our thoughts that we forget the subject matter that even started us off into thinking.

So what does this all mean? Well, first of all… consciousness that is not centered within us, consciousness that is centered on objects, becomes totally “lost” within and around these objects. On the other hand, consciousness that is centered is aware of being conscious. So being conscious means you are aware of the thoughts- as thoughts that are inside of you, but are not controlling you. You are able to observe these thoughts and see them as a detached being.

As we get better and better at this, the “problems” of the world are less and less. These “problems” we have at home, at work, or wherever… are simply something we are watching. We can let go of being wrapped up in these dramas of life and allow ourselves to simply be. We can experience a situation, but not let it take over. Instead of focusing solely on the situation at hand, we can pull back and observe the bigger picture.

What are you observing? What sorts of thoughts and feelings are you experiencing? As you read through this material, what do you notice? Start by just paying attention with observing yourself.

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth “Coach” Scala, MSN/MBA, RN is passionate about helping healthcare professionals, nurses in particular, to embody holistic living and embrace self-care. Through her business, Living Sublime Wellness, she writes regularly on the topic of self-care, conducts wellness workshops, and offers both in-person and online seminars for busy nurses.
Elizabeth is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach and holds Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Master’s degrees in both Business and Nursing. Originally from Carmel, NY, she now lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband and two dogs. Visit www.livingsublimewellness.com for more information.