Consciousness is defined in many ways. “The state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings,” that’s how Oxford Dictionaries define the term. Merriam Webster defines the term as “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself.” Both dimensions are important to consider, an individual’s environment and his/her inner world.

Additional definitions focus more on consciousness maps and levels and their distribution across societies. Today, let’s focus on the individual perspective.

Consciousness occurs when you develop awareness regarding your thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions. Consciousness means that you recognize “your” perceived reality differently. Because this perceived reality is just a mirror, a projection of your inner world. The conscious person knows that every change begins from within. It is based on understanding yourself, followed by changing yourself.

Developing consciousness is a journey. It begins with getting aware of all our mental and emotional actions and reactions. It’s about noticing and observing those reactions, but without any positive or negative judgment. That’s one of the core elements of meditation, wherever you sit or walk in meditation. I tried to meditate for a long time with different techniques, and I wasn’t very happy, until I learned this simple truth. Notice your thoughts, say hello to them, but don’t get involved with your thoughts when you are in meditation. Notice that your mind is working like crazy, sending all these different thoughts your way. And be aware that your mind wants to control. Always. Use your awareness and don’t allow your mind to take control all the time. Master your mind, but don’t let your mind master you. Develop this mental switch that puts you in meditation mode. That’s the best way to uncover and to understand your unconscious and often automated reactions. It’s a discovery process to develop a deeper understanding how you are functioning.

Part of the consciousness journey is also to recognize that many (past) disappointments are just a result of not being conscious enough, of not being aware, of not knowing and not understanding yourself. Whenever fear or anger comes back, take them as a “wake up call” to continue your discovery process. Working with fear or anger like this is an opportunity to become more conscious, to get a deeper understanding and to learn more about yourself.

Only awareness and understanding of your (up to now) often unconscious behaviors and emotional reactions, leads to a more conscious and more effective behavior. Then, you can reach another state of mind, a deeper level of consciousness that allows you to act more consciously, rather than to re-act automated to certain situations.

Consciousness is a life-long journey, a rewarding journey, but not always an easy one. It often feels like a twisting road. The more you develop your consciousness within yourself, the more relaxed you will become and the more clarity, ease and inner peace you will achieve. Relaxation means to be at ease with yourself, it means to be at home. You have gained a lot more distance, you know how to collaborate with your mind.

Based on this clarity and deep relaxation, a new power to act and to create is growing within you. Relaxation and action are now two sides of the same coin. These two sides of the same coin – focused action and complete relaxation – are a specific state of consciousness. This state of consciousness enables the highest qualities of human behavior. That means a level of human behavior which is based on the principles of responsibility, choice, play, energy, creativity and love.

Be aware that your journey of consciousness is a life-long journey and your key to personal growth.

There is no silver bullet – only consciousness!