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Conscious Living, Dying, Loving

by Michael Mongno, PhD, LP


As we find ourselves in a maelstrom of change such as we’ve seldom seen in recent history, we are now being called to sit up and take notice and begin what we might call a conscious awakening of both mind and spirit. With films like Zeitgist, Home, and the most recent I Am dramatizing the precarious state of human affairs, now more than ever the survival of our planet and perhaps our species appears to be at stake. It is no longer a question of our becoming conscious, it now becomes a matter of when. And the longer we wait the more difficult it will be for everyone.

Since the only place we can start is with ourselves, let’s look at what conscious awakening and living looks like. The first step would be to pause and take time to slow down to really be in the present moment. What we’ll find is that we’re really only doing one of two things; either we’re thinking/feeling about the past/future or we’re fully engaged in the moment in a way that all else falls away and our beingness is central. Here is where we’re in "the zone", the present zone of awareness… of Self and our relationship with those in our lives. By being conscious we then have access to innate potentials, intuitive wisdom, and unused cognitive faculties that are often overridden by our mental muscular effort of getting ahead, of moving forward, and of wanting to make things different (usually bigger, better, more) than the way they are.

This split, this disagreement with reality, creates an inner tension that results in the many forms of stress from which we suffer today. Conscious living means choosing to be in the moment, first with the awareness of where we are, what we are doing and what needs to happen next, not just for our own narcissistic needs but also for those in our lives, for the greater good. A Course in Miracles says that "there is only one of us here", which seems hard to understand. Tom Shadyac’s new movie I Am says it differently: that we recognize ourselves in others—our oneness, because our own mirror neurons can’t help but to feel and react to this organic sameness in others. We’ve been encouraged to "love another like you love yourself" because by loving your neighbor you are honoring and loving the God inside one’s Self who resides in the human heart. And as the film I Am demonstrates so well, it’s the human heart that has the ultimate power to heal all of us as well as our wounded world. Conscious living is truly conscious loving.

Turning to conscious dying, certainly no other tragedy in our modern times strikes us more than what we just saw happen in Japan. It certainly speaks to not only the fragility of human life compared to the absolute power of nature, but to the sober fact that our existence, as we know it, can change at any moment. We tend to live as if there’ll always be a tomorrow, just like the 10,000 Japanese who were simply heading for home after work on that Friday when something unbelievable happened, something that changed or ended life as they knew it. We tend to forget that our life is a gift, a blessing, something that we can never take for granted, however daunting it can seem from day to day. If we were to live today as if it could be our last day, I wonder how different that might be. Perhaps we’d be more appreciative of the little moments of connection and sharing, maybe a little more giving and kinder, and hopefully more unconditionally loving to those around us. The truth is we are all dying a little each day and none of us know when that final day will be. If we become more conscious of the kind of thoughts/words we’re putting out in the world that have their own energy, power and impact, and that the action of love has the potential to save lives and actually give life, our act of conscious dying can become an act of conscious loving. Can we not choose to live and die consciously as a way to consciously love and empower others with the freedom to live, give, and serve as the greatest of mankind did? This is our time, like no other in history. Let’s allow the love in our hearts, which is perhaps the most powerful force in the Universe, to transform our selves and our planet so as to create what we would all want, a Heaven on Earth.

Michael Mongno MFT, Ph.D, LP is a licensed psychoanalyst, relationship counselor and holistic practitioner in Manhattan NYC. He is the founder of Present Centered Therapies which synthesizes Gestalt and Cognitive Behavioral therapies, Eastern spirituality as well as Imago and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. He has personally trained with the best in the field of couple’s therapy and brings a wealth of experience, down-to-earth wisdom and modern sensibility to what it takes to create healthy, loving relationships. More info is available at www.PresentCenteredTherapies.com or by calling (212) 799-0001.


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