Elizabeth Campell

Living Consciously

cons1One of my passions is wildflower photography. There is nothing like finding a new orchid amidst acres of scrub. Not too long ago I was out in the bush with my camera and I realised that techniques I use to find flowers could be used as a metaphor for living consciously.

I start off by deciding where I’m going to go and what flowers I will be looking for. Then I plan what equipment I am going to need and how long I will be out there. I review where I’ve been before and what I found. Once I get to where I will be shooting I look around and get a feel for the area, slow everything down and look for patterns, changes in terrain and colour. I know that certain signposts may lead me towards what I’m looking for.

For example in arid areas I often find orchids growing close to Fringed Lilies, generally that’s where I start. I find that something will catch my eye; I go over to it and then allow for the stillness and look around to find something quite special in the immediate environs. So how does this relate to living consciously?

Having a plan

It’s always a good idea to have a plan, to know what you want and what you will need to get it. If we don’t know what we want, how can we or the guiding energies in our lives help us to bring it into being? Without a plan we are like leaves carried by the wind being at the effect of circumstances rather then being actively involved in the process of living. I have always found that once I decide to do something everything falls into place to make it happen or events will show that it isn’t to my best interest at this time by creating roadblocks to make the process difficult.

The trick to planning is to get a clear idea of what you want to happen and how that will make you feel. It is the feeling that will make the difference, so don’t get caught up in the details, too much; detail makes it harder to implement the manifestation.


Keeping a journal is a good way to remember where you have been, what you have learned and all the little details that tend to be forgotten. I have used journals on and off for many years and I find it fascinating when I go back to review. When we are processing a lesson there are lots of things happening and if we don’t write them down at the time we forget a great deal of the wisdom learned.

It is part of the nature of learning lessons; if we don’t derive all we can from a situation it comes back in a slightly different form and we start again, but we only retain around 40% of what we learned the previous time. So if you use a journal and remember to review it on a regular basis, you are more likely to recognise what is happening and act accordingly.


Being in touch with your feelings is vitally important to living consciously. Feeling, in this case, should not be confused with emotions. Emotions are created by thoughts, they are not independent. That is why most philosophical and self development practices require the control of the inner dialogue. Our thoughts constantly run in the background, often without our knowledge.  These undisciplined thoughts create our emotional environment and have a serious effect on our experience of the world. Our thoughts create our reality and if we want to have more control over our reality we have to learn to control our thoughts.

We can be in conversation with someone and hear what they are saying through the filters of our past experience, we then have a thought about the filtered input that then creates an emotional response which may have very little or no relevancy to what was really said.

I recommend the Tibetan practice of Samatha or Calm Abiding meditation to help discover what your inner dialogue is and to intercept the thought before it becomes an emotional response.

Area orchids were found Orchid found under tree on left Orchid found in the open in middle of shot on left  

If you are always in your thinking mind you will miss vital information that is communicated through the feeling mind. Being in touch with our feelings is difficult in our busy modern world, there is no time for contemplation or to get in touch with how we are feeling at any given moment, or in fact what thoughts are generating those feelings. As thoughts and feelings communicate to the microparticulars in and around us, they play a very important part in the direction our lives take by bringing to us what we focus on.

If you monitor your feelings you will be aware of when you slip into depression or panic etc.. Turning that condition around can be as simple as remembering how it feels to be happy or calm and bringing forward those feelings into your present to create a shift in state. Of course you have to know how being joyful, happy, calm or healthy feels in order to do this. I’m not talking about saying to yourself “I am happy”, that is the thinking mind, you have use the feeling mind to replicate the FEELING in your body and maintain that feeling till it becomes the norm.

Looking for patterns or signposts

Conscious Beings go through their lives exploring patterns of behaviour. This is part of the nature of learning lessons. We have an experience that creates emotion and has a lesson to teach us.

I see this process as movement up a spiral; we have an experience and then move on. In time the same lesson returns to us in another form, from a different vantage point on the spiral. Now, we can go through life making the same decisions and mistakes or we can begin to recognise the patterns and put what we have learned into practice. The trick to it is to catch the pattern sooner each time till eventually we recognise it before we start to run it. This way we can move on in our development to other lessons and have more joy in our lives.

Often the universe communicates with us through signposts. If you are striving to achieve something and it just doesn’t come together easily then that may be a sign that you need to put your focus somewhere else. Or if something keeps popping up that may be a sign that you need to look in this direction. It’s a matter of learning how it works for you and then recognising the sign in time to act on it rather than realising when it is too late.

So what is living in consciousness?

To me it is being constantly aware of:

  • where are you going
  • where you are in relation to that which is — the oneness, god or the universe, whatever your concept of a higher power is
  • what you are doing, and why you are doing it
  • what patterns are evolving
  • what the lessons are being presented to you
  • the inner voice and allowing stillness to listen
  • how are you feeling
  • the signs to your next step
  • avoiding attachments and striving for detachment
  • obstacles and challenges and what they contribute to the experience
  • being in integrity

Living consciously is the ultimate goal, and as you strive to do this don’t get disheartened if you slip back into old patterns, we all do that. The trick is to recognise as quickly as possible that you have slipped, give yourself a shake and realign yourself to your goals.


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