Consciousness. Some define it as the state of being (which some call presence) awake (not in the dreams of thought) and aware of your surroundings and the happenings outside of your mind, as well as, inside your mind. Many will tell you that consciousness is love and love is consciousness. Many also believe it to be the awareness of our own existence, our minds and our beings, i.e. self-awareness. Some teachers point to consciousness as the awareness of all that exists. As if consciousness is the presence that underlies all of existence and is somehow aware of its own existence.  As the student holds no limits on possibility, we are aware that no answers are finite.

You may have heard it before, perhaps even said it yourself:  “oh, I was so busy in my thoughts that I was unaware of what was going on around me.” Or “I never would have mentioned it, had I known that.”  “I was unaware of this, because I was busy with that.” “I was so preoccupied with this, I missed that.”  “I was so engulfed by the repetitive workings of my conditioned, programed mind that I missed wonderful moments in my life. I was so unaware that I was spending a life time busy in my mind, while the true joy and splendor of the human existence passed me by.  I was unaware. I was unconscious…”

A simple meditation, try it out here and there, when it comes to your mind, or not:  You may be of a conscious level of being where you can make a choice or, maybe not quite yet. If you are not yet, that’s ok, you are in the process of waking up, be conscious of that, be aware of the process. Meditate on the moments when your awareness kicks in and on the moments when you realize that you are so deeply fixed on a thought that you lost awareness of the moment and the happenings going on inside and outside of you. It’s ok. Be aware of the additional conflict you mind creates when you realize you’re in there. Bring your attention to the moment (count your breaths, look at a tree, do whatever you do. Use whatever you use as a focus for your meditations), then point out to yourself your conscious awareness of what just happened. You were in thought, recognized you were there, focused on the moment and returned to presence. You returned to conscious awareness of the moment and all it contains.

It’s a new day, a new moment… Yours!

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Inner peace may mean different things to different people. Some may believe that inner peace is different for all of us, which can also make defining inner peace a challenge. For many of us, the desire for inner peace can be clouded by definition or in our inability to possess the knowledge to find such a state of being. For myself, inner peace is a mental state of being not clouded by the repetitive conditioned programmed thinking of my mind. A state of being where my true conscious self is separate from the manipulation of my thought stream. Like too many people, I had a rough start. I was raised in the 1960s during a time where the line between discipline and abuse had not yet been drawn by society and where, in many homes, neglect and victimization was the norm. In too many arenas, it is still the same for many unfortunate children and young people today. As a result of the environment I was raised in, I spent most of my twenties in a state of mental anguish. At the age of 27 I came to the understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol was not the answer for dealing with a tortured mind, and though I was able to accomplish and attain many material things that the world had to offer, I wanted something more, inner peace. After being diagnosed with institutional grade PTSD and several sever forms of depression, I decided to take on the challenge of psychoanalytic therapy. For 13 years, I worked with therapists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and medical doctors to address the disorders that were the result of my upbringing. I included personal studies of psychology and human behavior to add more knowledge in my pursuit of wellness. By the age of 40, as I had always done, I was sharing the knowledge I had gained and my life experience with others with similar situations to my own. Despite my efforts, I could still not separate from the mind of a manic depressive. I could not attain inner peace. My desire for inner peace led me to meditation. Meditation is a practice that separates us from the workings of the conditioned programmed mind and the endless stream of thought. After several months of mediation studies and practice, I began to feel the separation of my true self from the confines and mental torture of my own mind. At that moment a new, although difficult, journey had begun. I spent years of riding the roller-coaster of mental anguish and peace as I continued my struggle to mental freedom. Now, 18 years since my meditation studies commenced, I find myself in a state of conscious presence that allows me to live peacefully with a mind suffering from mental illness. My journey has included sharing my knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the mind with others to help them attain peace and joy as I have; aiding them in their quest to escape the suffering of the confines of their programmed conditioned minds. I have recently taken my teaching to a new level, carrying myself as a published writer, teaching mediation and sharing the knowledge of the ability for each and every one of us to achieve our natural state of being, which is peace, love and joy.

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