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conscious living
clean slate
hidden talents
self discovery
self improvement
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Conscious Living Means Always Learning
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Conscious Living Means Always Learning

Conscious living is a phrase that's been tossed around in self-improvement circles for a long time. It's a vague term that includes lots of different things, including learning compassion, increasing awareness, and questioning your beliefs and ideas. But the most important component of conscious living is learning. In order to live consciously, you've got to be a good learner.

What does it mean to be a good learner? It means being open. In fact, that's all you need in order to be good at learning. It has nothing to do with intelligence, studying ability or book smarts. It starts with removing barriers.

I Know That

The first obstacle that needs to be removed is this simple phrase, 'I know that.' In order to learn, you have to approach it from the position of knowing absolutely nothing. New things that you learn are going to challenge the old things you thought you knew. Start by telling yourself that you're a clean slate and you don't know anything.

Does this idea freak you out? After all, how can you make decisions and go about your daily life if you don't know anything? The truth is that while there are things you know, they're irrelevant when you're learning. Approach new ideas with total openness. Someday, you can say 'I know that' and really mean it.

I Don't Like That

Another thing that holds us back from learning is that we make judgments. Sometimes new ideas are unpleasant to us. Forming an opinion helps you to exert control (okay, the illusion of control) over a world you thought you knew about. It's your mind's way of rejecting it.

But whether or not you like what you're learning doesn't matter. Things are as they are. Disagreeing with something new that you learn only slows the learning process down. Now, when you're absorbing new information, isn't the time to form opinions about it. Learn now, and decide if it's useful later.

I Don't Want to Know

Self-discovery sounds nice and fluffy when you imagine that you're going to find hidden talents you didn't know you had. But what if in the process of self-discovery, you come upon something uncomfortable? The same goes for learning about other people, the world around you, or anything else. You may shut down and say to yourself, 'That's okay; I don't want to know.'

There really are no good or bad things in the world. There are just things as they are. What you learn, whether it's pleasant or not, can be used to make the right decisions to create a better future. The only way to be truly conscious and happy is to face new ideas head-on and use what you learn appropriately.

On your way through life, you never stop learning. When you shut yourself down and close yourself off to it, you end up going around in circles. When you approach new things with an open mind, you can more quickly adapt to them and use them in your life to make yourself a happier person.

Street Talk

Thanks for your take on how things are for you. You're right, you never stop learning! Appreciate your insights.

  about 6 years ago

Tony, this article is very timely for me. I hear the advice you give to be open minded and that with it we must accept that our previous beliefs may be challenged. I've actually just written an article (but haven't published it yet) about the self discovery journey I'm on. Yes, it has at times been uncomfortable and the more I learn the more I realise there is to understand. Thank you for your insight.

  about 1 decade ago
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