CULTIVATING A CONSCIENCE

Conscience:

An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.

Conscious:

The state of being conscious; awareness of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.

Consciousness is a good thing but not if its at the expense of your conscience. I’ve met a lot of mindful people who treat others poorly and judge them every chance they get. From their iPhone, on Facebook at mindfulness retreat held at a pricey health spa. We all do it at sometimes, but the point of becoming a better person isn’t simply to be happy all of the time and float on an untouchable cloud of consciousness. It’s also about doing the right thing even when it’s difficult. It’s about being helpful and holding yourself accountable for your mark on the world around you. It’s considering what is best for yourself and others in any given situation.

I once traveled to New Orleans on business and attended a yoga class held at the House of Blues bar for a charitable donation. The only problem was that I had planned on renting a yoga mat, but by the time I realized there weren’t any available, I was stuck. The instructor asked a few people with mats placed on a large area rug if they would mind making room for me so that I could use said rug rather than the hardwood floor. The looks of irritation then disgust that passed over their faces were priceless. Begrudgingly they made room for me and proceeded to act as though I didn’t exist for the rest of the class. Call me crazy but weren’t we all there to tap into the core of our hearts and souls and stretch our way into some semblance of peace and compassion? Its not like I was psyched on doing yoga on the floor of a bar in New Orleans of all places. I’ve seen what happens there during Jazz Fest and it’s not pretty. The point is, keep in mind that self-help for the sake of only helping yourself is selfish. Self help that doesn’t reinforce good character and integrity will only get you so far.

Make the conscious choice to cultivate your conscience today and every day. In a time when everyone does whatever they want whenever they want and still feel unhappy, this simple shift can save you and those close to you much anguish and heartbreak. Hurt feelings and bad choices can be avoided by simply honoring the basics of what is right and wrong.