The practice of Living Consciously – Weekly Challenge #64
In this video my goal is to explain what Consciousness is and why it is the most important thing you can do to grow your Self-Esteem – but also why a high level of consciousness and Self-esteem is so incredibly important if you truly want to live a great life.
“Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves.”
All this material is based on the book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden, and the six pillars of Self-esteem are:
- The Practice of Living Consciously
- The Practice of Self-Acceptance
- The Practice of Self-Responsibility
- The Practice of Self-Assertiveness
- The Practice of Living Purposefully
- The Practice of Personal Integrity
What is Self-Esteem?
“Self-esteem, fully realized, is the experience that we are appropriate to life and to the requirements of life. More specifically, self-esteem is:
- confidence in our ability to think, confidence in our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life; and .
- confidence in our right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and enjoy the fruits of our efforts. (1995, Branden, p. 4)
To sum up in a formal definition:
Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and as worthy of happiness.” (1995, Branden, p. 7)
Or the more condensed spin to it that I refer to in the video:
“What determines the level of self-esteem is what the individual does.”
The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: Pillar one – The practice of living consciously – Extracts from the book
“To live consciously means to seek to be aware of everything that bears on our actions, purposes, values, and goals-to the best of our ability, whatever that ability may ~and to behave in accordance with that which we see and know.” (1995, Branden, p. 69)
“Why is consciousness so important? Because for all species that possess it, consciousness is the basic tool of survival-the ability to be aware of the environment in some form, at some level, and to guide action accordingly. I use consciousness here in its primary meaning: the state of being conscious or aware of some aspect of reality. We also may speak of consciousness as a faculty-the attribute of being able to be aware. To the distinctively human form of consciousness, with its capacity for concept formation and abstract thought, we give the name mind. As we have discussed, we are beings for whom consciousness (at the conceptual level) is volitional. This means that the design of our nature contains an extraordinary option-that of seeking awareness or not bothering (or actively avoiding it), seeking truth or not bothering (or actively avoiding it), focusing our mind or not bothering (or choosing to drop to a lower level of consciousness). In other words, we have the option of exercising our powers or of subverting our means of survival and well-being. This capacity for self-management is our glory and, at times, our burden. Our mind is our basic tool of survival. Betray it and self-esteem suffers.
If we do not bring an appropriate level of consciousness to our activities, if we do not live mindfully, the inevitable penalty is a diminished sense of self-efficacy and self-respect. We cannot feel competent and worthy while conducting our lives in a mental fog. Our mind is our basic tool of survival. Betray it and self-esteem suffers. The simplest form of this betrayal is the evasion of discomfiting facts. (1995, Branden, p. 67-68)
“The Specifics of living Consciously Living consciously entails:
- A mind that is active rather than passive.
- An intelligence that takes joy in its own function.
- Being “in the moment,” without losing the wider context.
- Reaching out toward relevant facts rather than withdrawing from them.
- Being concerned to distinguish among facts, interpretations, and emotions.
- Noticing and confronting my impulses to avoid or deny painful or threatening realities.
- Being concerned to know “where I am” relative to my various (personal and professional) goals and projects, and whether I am succeeding or failing.
- Being concerned to know if my actions are in alignment with my purposes.
- Searching for feedback from the environment so as to adjust or correct my course when necessary.
- Persevering in the attempt to understand in spite of difficulties.
- Being receptive to new knowledge and willing to reexamine old assumptions.
- Being willing to see and correct mistakes.
- Seeking always to expand awareness-a commitment to learning therefore, a commitment to growth as a way of life.
- A concern to understand the world around me.
- A concern to know not only external reality but also internal reality, the reality of my needs, feelings, aspirations, and motives, so that I am not a stranger or a mystery to myself.
- A concern to be aware of the values that move and guide me, as well as their roots, so that I am not ruled by values I have irrationally adopted or uncritically accepted from others.”
#1 – Raising your level of consciousness
Set the alarm on your phone, 5 times a day, for instance 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 as a minimum ( I do it every our every time my watch beeps ). What are you experiencing right now, how are you feeling, what emotions and thoughts are within you; good, bad, sad, enthusiastic, loneliness, hunger – and why? Is it something subconsciously that happened a while back or is what is happening in front of you at this moment that is affecting your current state. Writing a journal where you can reflect and reason with your self is SUCH A GREAT TOOL for your personal development – I can’t stress enough the power that lies within it.
Here’s a very nice guide to rising your level of consciousness and being mindful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Pfs3VuizM
Or a shorter alterative guide that is shorter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Pfs3VuizM
#2 – Meditation
Finding 10 minutes a day to practice meditation. Just sitting down, closing your eyes and trying to be aware. This link will get you striagh to a very nice Meditation For Beginners guide by Leo Gura ( really recommend it) https://youtu.be/fXmG1x1ih1U?t=5m14s
The following is a transcript from this video:
“this is called the no manipulation technique. so try right now sit there. as you’re sitting don’t try to put yourself into some sort of meditative position or posture any posture position you take is fine and just sit and notice and be aware, just observe and watch, all these words like aware, be observant ,watch, notice these are all synonymous so just sit there and notice what’s happening right this very second in direct experience. right this moment, not a minute before, not ten minutes later, not what I’m going to say next right now. so you’re hearing the sound of my voice maybe you’re, you’re looking at me if you’re watching this on video and you’re feeling some emotions in your body… thoughts might be coming up for you so do this right now and just train your mind on that and try to stick with it no manipulation means that you don’t manipulate your body or your posture, you just let it go natural and whatever it wants to do let it do it this includes your mind. so let your mind go natural – so if your mind wants to think perverted thoughts, let it think pretty thoughts and if it wants to judge let it judge and if it wants to go crazy and get angry and upset and all this let it do that and if it wants to experience some emotion like sadness or happiness or excitement or frustration let it experience that emotion Whatever is occurring for you. Don’t try to experience anything because you already are experiencing. there’s never a moment when you’re not experiencing unless maybe when you’re deep asleep, but if you’re awake then there’s never a moment you don’t have an experience, so that’s it your meditation is focused on that this right now this right now experience right here okay. so do it do it right now while I’m talking you don’t need to be in a quiet environment to meditate you don’t need to sit alone by yourself, I mean it helps, that’s a good place to start. especially if you’re a beginner but you can do it right now is I’m talking. notice that you don’t need a fancy position you don’t need to manipulate your breathing. that’s it. that’s the whole method”
Or a shorter alterative guide that is shorter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Pfs3VuizM
#3 – Sentence completion excercise
Thirdly, if it’s not too much, do the sentence completion exercise as described from the book:
“Living consciously to me means –
Then, as rapidly as possible, without pausing for reflection, write as many endings for that sentence as you can in two or three minutes (never fewer than six, but ten is enough). Do not worry if your endings are literally true, make sense, or are “profound.” Write anything, but write something.
Then, go on to the next stem: If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities today-
(Why only 5 percent? Let us proceed in small, nonintimidating, “bitesizechews.” Besides, most of the time 5 percent is plenty!)
Then: If I pay more attention to how· I deal with people today-
Then: If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my most important relationships-
Then: If I bring 5 percent more awareness to (fill in a particular problem you are concerned about-for example, your relationship with someone, or a barrier you’ve hit at work, or your feelings of anxiety or depression) –
When you are finished, proceed with your day’s business. At the end of the day, as your last task before dinner, do six to ten endings each for the following stems:
When I reflect on how I would feel if I lived more consciously-
When I reflect what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities-
When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my most important relationships-
When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to (whatever you’ve filled in)-
Do this exercise every day, Monday through Friday for the first week. Do not read what you wrote the day before. Naturally there will be many repetitions. But also, new endings will inevitably occur. You are energizing all of your psyche to work for you.
Sometime each weekend, reread what you have written for the week, and then write a minimum of six endings for this stem:
If any of what I wrote this week is true, it would be helpful if 1-
In doing this work, the ideal is to empty your mind of any expectations concerning what will happen or what is “supposed” to happen. Do not impose any demands on the situation. Try to empty your mind of expectations.
Do the exercise, go about your day’s activities, and merely notice any differences in how you feel or how you operate. You will discover that you have set in motion forces that make it virtually impossible foryou to avoid operating more consciously.”
( The Six Pillars of self-esteem, p.85, Nathaniel Branden)
That is it for this week’s challenge – good luck and commit to me in the comments if you plan to do it – it will give you an extra push to follow through when motivation is lacking!