Our valuable consciousness
When we say life is the most important thing in the world we are using a shorthand. We mean more than just being alive. We mean consciousness. An unconscious person can still be alive, can still be precious to us but, by definition, they are not fully partaking of life. Their value is largely to others until they again become conscious. Such value as they have for themselves is the hope that consciousness may return – and, even from the most dramatic trauma, it often does.
Consciousness is like a deep-sea diver swimming about in slightly darkened waters, coming abruptly across tiny unexpected creatures, reefs or wrecks, or being surprised by the sudden appearance of a Great White, a Dolphin or a Whale. From the moment when we first become aware of ourselves, we are conscious and positively learning. From the time we start to remember, we are building a personality, a character. That can be modified later on, in both good and bad ways. The building blocks will always remain. The love – or lack of it – which bred them endures.
From the bleakness and loneliness experienced by early explorers of the world to today’s myriad of advisers, counsellors, mentors, coaches, bosses, guidelines, laws and sheer tsunami of knowledge available to everyone, our own consciousness determines what life means to us and what is, for us, worthwhile. Authority and the boss are largely designed for control, something that can be good as well as the usual pain in the butt. Our consciousness determines how we shall handle them and, as we hopefully remember, their consciousness decides how they are handling us.
I had two very rough bosses in my time. My consciousness has always been tempted to regard them as brutes and I have indeed given way to the temptation, quite often. As I get older I try to see their point of view, their consciousness and how it probably developed. I don’t so much forgive them as try to understand them. But, strangely, my attitude to others who hurt me, a few in rather profound ways, I never hated or even disliked, assuming that they had their own problems and their behaviour was merely a manifest of those, with no underlying bad intentions.
Like everyone before me and since I discovered that a beautiful coral reef can kill just as effectively as the jagged edge of a downed nuclear missile.
So what does this mean for those who are part of the non-legal, non-boss army of helpers, guides and probers? These gurus are proliferating fast now, perhaps even too fast to always maintain a high standard of service. It’s easy to say ‘suss out the good ones and ignore the rest’ but what constitutes good? I think the truly valuable are not those with the best advice but those with the best questions. Advice is like an arrow. It may hit the target perfectly but in doing so it has merely added another fragment to the consciousness. A question, on the other hand, unravels the root of a being, comprehends their consciousness and encourages them to develop themselves, maybe with a few red and green lights, but with true freedom and vigour.
The purpose of all personal advice is to help the advised lead a more fulfilled and rewarding life. That may involve persuading a client to skip out of the way of an oncoming steamroller, something requiring extremely barbed and targeted advice. Equally important to be conveyed in this situation is the advice to avoid the path of all lethal oncoming traffic whether steamroller or motor bike. That is advice best developed by the individual themselves, conveyed as questions. The expected outcome of the two pieces of advice is remarkably similar – both leave your client alive and well.
The consciousness in the first case has been directional and, likely, vivid. In the second scenario, questions can and should be to stir the consciousness of the individual and set in train behaviour that ensures his or her safety, not only for road traffic behaviour but for situations bearing similar risks and threats. Here, the individual’s creativity becomes a vital part of the equipment needed. Creativity, too, is best stirred by questions, not by answers. Not just spoken questions but self reflective questions.
If it were possible to leave one gift to humankind, mine would be ‘reflection’. Not a navel-gazing, introspective kind of reflection but the musings about how deep humanity can develop alongside the ever-transient technology of mechanical discovery. Granted, men need their toys and if they are practically useful rather than destructive, so much the better.
But humankind needs enjoyment beyond the material, fulfillment outside the physical, influence apart from the directional. We need the ability to let our consciousness be more rewarding than simple awareness.
Can we cultivate our consciousness to become truly valuable and to see a sunset as the promise of tomorrow?
Do you cultivate your consciousness to be truly valuable?
We’d love to hear from you if you do, or even if you don’t.
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