One thing most all seekers and philosophers agree on is that in order to flourish, we must live consciously. A great illustration of what it means to live unconsciously is found in writer David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech to the graduating class at Kenyon College. In it he described two young fish who meet an older fish swimming in the opposite direction who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” The young fish swim on for a bit, until one looks at the other and says, “What the hell is water?” We get our beliefs the same way we catch colds, from being around other people, in real life or through the media, television and the internet. It’s so easy to pick them up, we often don’t know where they’ve come from and rarely question whether they’re good for us. To live consciously is to be aware of the water that surrounds us. When we live consciously, we stop allowing external forces to drive our actions. Living consciously is our natural state. We return to it when we remove the obstacles when we value interconnectedness, recognize our biases and false narratives and bring intention to decision-making. Returning to this natural state, we become less impeded from loving, learning, and playing.

Quotes

Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist monk and author
Living Consciously

"Around us, life bursts forth with miracles—a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere."

Wayne W. Dyer
Author and Speaker
Living Consciously

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”

Keanu Reeves
Actor
Living Consciously

“The simple act of paying attention can take you a long way.”

Carla Manly
Psychologist
Living Consciously

“Those who are self-aware tend to move into life’s possibilities. Those who are less self-reflective often get mired in negative cycles that can lead to regret.”

Marcel Proust
French novelist
Living Consciously

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes."

Victor Frankl
psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor.
Living Consciously

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

Albert Einstein
Theoretical physicist
Living Consciously

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the Truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.”

Yogananda
Yogi and Guru
Living Consciously

“Live each moment completely and the future will take care of itself.”

Epictetus
Philosopher
Living Consciously

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own."

Soren Kierkegaard
Philosopher and Theist
Living Consciously

“Life is a reality to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Russian novelist
Living Consciously

“The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.”

Pierre Hadot
French philosopher and historian
Living Consciously

“We must live each day with a consciousness so acute, and an attention so intense, that we can say to ourselves each evening: I have lived; I have actualized my life, and have had all that I could expect from life.”

James Thurber
American writer
Living Consciously

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”