what it is? Practical exercises for 30 days. What does conscious living mean? Levels of development of awareness in everyday life

What is mindfulness and how to develop it?

Often, when we say that a per­son leads a con­scious life, we there­by com­pli­ment him. Indeed, liv­ing con­scious­ly is not only use­ful, but also inter­est­ing. But how to achieve aware­ness and whether every­one can do it — these ques­tions can be answered in the arti­cle.

What is it in psychology?

Mod­ern psy­chol­o­gy inter­prets aware­ness as the prin­ci­ple of life, a skill in which a per­son con­stant­ly mon­i­tors his cur­rent states, expe­ri­ences, sen­sa­tions. He fix­es the inter­nal focus of atten­tion on them. In fact, a per­son lives here and now, not being dis­tract­ed by expe­ri­ences of the past or wor­ries and thoughts about the future. Aware­ness is not absolute, it is con­sid­ered quite rel­a­tive, because rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the ani­mal world are also able to be aware of cer­tain events, some­times sub­con­scious­ly.

A per­son has con­scious­ness, more sub­tle forms of aware­ness are avail­able to him, for exam­ple, focus­ing on inner intu­ition, on the emo­tion­al col­or­ing of cer­tain exter­nal events.

The lev­el of atten­tion of peo­ple and ani­mals is reg­u­lat­ed by the ner­vous sys­tem. How­ev­er, the lat­ter dili­gent­ly “sup­press­es” many impuls­es, oth­er­wise the part of the brain, per­ceiv­ing the data, sim­ply would not be able to cope with their pro­cess­ing due to the large amount of infor­ma­tion. If the sys­tem of this “sup­pres­sion” is weak­ened, then a state of “expand­ed con­scious­ness” occurs, in which much more data enters the brain than usu­al. This con­cept is wide­ly used by shamans and fol­low­ers of some eso­teric tech­niques and prac­tices.

Some heal­ing tech­niques are based on aware­ness. For exam­ple, it is used by Gestalt ther­a­pists to treat cer­tain men­tal dis­or­ders. Speak­ing about aware­ness, one should clear­ly see its dif­fer­ences from con­scious­ness — the sec­ond “reminds” us of the rules of behav­ior, norms, duty, while aware­ness only helps to expand atten­tion, focus on one’s inter­nal state, and from this grad­u­al­ly move on to exter­nal inter­ac­tions with the world .

The con­cept is also used in phi­los­o­phy. One of the first to study it was René Descartes. He called the state of aware­ness “sci­en­tif­ic con­scious­ness” and used the famous say­ing “I think, there­fore I am” to describe it. Descartes defined the path of self-obser­va­tion as intro­spec­tion. A lit­tle lat­er, the achieve­ments of Descartes were used in exper­i­men­tal psy­chol­o­gy.

Why is it needed?

A lot has been writ­ten and said about how beau­ti­ful and rich the con­scious life is, how impor­tant aware­ness is for self-devel­op­ment. But this does not make it any clear­er — con­fu­sion reigns in the minds of most peo­ple on this issue. If, for exam­ple, you ask why aware­ness is need­ed at all, you can cer­tain­ly live with­out it, then the answer is obvi­ous — you can, but life will be more dif­fi­cult. Let’s try to fig­ure out why.

When a per­son prac­tices mind­ful­ness, he receives a lot of ben­e­fits on three lev­els — psy­cho­log­i­cal, bod­i­ly and in every­day life. A clear fix­a­tion of your actions allows you to nev­er for­get where, for exam­ple, the keys to the apart­ment, doc­u­ments or the tele­phone direc­to­ry are stored. But every­day advan­tages are just a pleas­ant bonus on the path of aware­ness, while the main process­es devel­op at a deep lev­el.

Through gain­ing aware­ness, there is an accep­tance of the world with­out crit­i­cism and neg­a­tiv­i­ty, as well as one­self in this world. It is also worth train­ing aware­ness to improve one’s health — a per­son begins to lis­ten to his body and its sig­nals, to mon­i­tor the puri­ty of his thoughts. There is a clear and proven rela­tion­ship between the puri­ty of thoughts and the phys­i­cal state, and there­fore learn­ing aware­ness means noth­ing more than mov­ing to a new lev­el of devel­op­ment.

Gain­ing aware­ness, a per­son learns to weed out pos­i­tive thoughts and atti­tudes from neg­a­tive ones that destroy him and his exis­tence. It effec­tive­ly coun­ters the stress­es of the mod­ern world, depres­sion, anx­i­ety dis­or­ders. The head is put in order, which, of course, is the main thing. Reg­u­lar exer­cis­es aimed at increas­ing the lev­el of aware­ness allow a per­son to become more calm and self-con­fi­dent. He quick­ly finds con­tact with the world around him, clear­ly under­stands his true needs, knows how to set goals for him­self.

Con­scious liv­ing increas­es the chances of find­ing per­son­al hap­pi­ness.

Development levels

Spe­cial­ists in the field of psy­chol­o­gy and psy­chother­a­py iden­ti­fy sev­er­al lev­els of aware­ness that dif­fer in depth (degree). The high­er the lev­el, the high­er the degree of aware­ness inher­ent in a per­son. Each lev­el opens up a new poten­tial for choice. Most often, the struc­ture is depict­ed as a mul­ti-lev­el pyra­mid. It is under­stood that each of its lev­els has its own fre­quen­cy ener­gy poten­tials. Low lev­els can be com­pared to the base­ment of a build­ing. If a per­son is here, he looks at a bor­ing and monot­o­nous base­ment view, believ­ing that the world is lim­it­ed to this par­tic­u­lar room. To see more, you need to go high­er.

And dwelling in the low­er lev­els of aware­ness can be com­pared to unin­ter­rupt­ed sleep. A per­son ensures his bio­log­i­cal exis­tence, but does not use either his ener­gy poten­tial or the excep­tion­al tal­ents giv­en by nature. Such peo­ple are more sus­cep­ti­ble to manip­u­la­tion, their minds and opin­ions are eas­i­ly con­trolled by those who have climbed sev­er­al floors high­er. Pro­po­nents of eso­teric teach­ings claim that the inhab­i­tants of the low­er lev­els of aware­ness, liv­ing in the “base­ment dark­ness”, are active­ly tak­en away by those who live above. Their poten­tial is lim­it­ed only by the ener­gy lev­el that is suf­fi­cient for banal sur­vival.

Pass­ing con­scious­ly to new lev­els, a per­son expands not only the bound­aries of his per­cep­tion, but also the bound­aries of pos­si­bil­i­ties — they become wider, there is more room for “manoeu­vres” and mak­ing free deci­sions.

At what lev­el you are, it is not so dif­fi­cult to deter­mine. Experts have made the fol­low­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

  • Vic­tims. The low­est lev­el (the same “base­ment”). A per­son painful­ly reacts to prob­lems, looks for the guilty, seeks to blame them and the imper­fec­tion of the world. Often such peo­ple say that their life is hope­less. Light rarely pen­e­trates into the base­ment lev­els. A per­son often gets sick, faces fail­ures, and his usu­al emo­tion­al back­ground is neg­a­tive.
  • Wrestlers. This lev­el can be com­pared with the first floor of a mul­ti-storey build­ing. A per­son reacts aggres­sive­ly to prob­lems, seeks to look for the guilty, but not only blames them, but also fights them, some­times launch­ing large-scale hos­til­i­ties, he is inclined to prove his case and down­load rights. Often lives in a state of con­flict not only with oth­ers, but also with him­self.
  • Seek­ers. A per­son of this lev­el reacts with inter­est to emerg­ing prob­lems. It is impor­tant for him to find the cause of what hap­pened, to under­stand what is hap­pen­ing. They are less like­ly to get sick, vir­tu­osic in the search for solu­tions. But the sit­u­a­tion is unsta­ble, they are often pro­voked by peo­ple from the cat­e­go­ry of vic­tims and fight­ers, and if a per­son suc­cumbs to such manip­u­la­tions and provo­ca­tions, he again falls to low lev­els of aware­ness.
  • Play­ers. A per­son of this lev­el per­ceives each prob­lem as the next step. Quick­ly finds solu­tions, does not waste time and effort search­ing for rea­sons or dig­ging into him­self. Such peo­ple almost do not get sick, they are more often in an upbeat opti­mistic mood, they com­mu­ni­cate well even with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of low lev­els, being able to defend them­selves from them. But if the defense is “bro­ken”, then they risk briefly being in the ranks of vic­tims or fight­ers.
  • Cre­ators. These are peo­ple who react to all trou­bles with enthu­si­asm. They watch over them, patient­ly sur­vive as the prob­lem devel­ops. If it is not solved by itself, they take it and solve it eas­i­ly on their own. They are healthy, most often hap­py, and if they drop to low­er lev­els, then it is sole­ly for the sake of an adven­tur­ous adven­ture.
  • Sources. Peo­ple who were able to reach the upper floors. They almost nev­er have prob­lems, com­plete har­mo­ny reigns every­where. It is believed that there are prac­ti­cal­ly no such peo­ple on the plan­et, but this lev­el is the bench­mark to which all the oth­ers are aimed.


Before you start work­ing on your own aware­ness, you need to learn more about its com­po­nents. The most effec­tive and effi­cient tech­niques used by mod­ern spe­cial­ists are based on them.


Usu­al­ly we are not aware of it. From birth to death, we sim­ply breathe, which is a nat­ur­al process. A per­son usu­al­ly begins to focus on breath­ing only when some prob­lems occur to him, for exam­ple, res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases occur. Psy­chol­o­gists advise not to wait for this moment.

Focus­ing on the breath is the first path to mind­ful­ness. Now, as you read this arti­cle, do you notice your breath­ing? If not, then it’s time to try fix­ing your atten­tion on both the breath and the text at the same time. Car­ry this prac­tice into all activ­i­ties. Wash­ing dish­es and notic­ing the breath, nego­ti­at­ing with a client or part­ner — and doing the same, that is, watch­ing the breath. From this point on, we can assume that you have found a stair­case that will climb to high­er floors. How­ev­er, you are only at the begin­ning of the jour­ney.


Hav­ing mas­tered con­scious inhala­tions and exha­la­tions, com­pli­cate your task — learn to fix your feel­ings in real time, not­ing feel­ings at one time or anoth­er. Try not to judge your feel­ings — they are nei­ther good nor bad, they just are.

Focus­ing on his feel­ings, a con­scious per­son gains free­dom of choice, can fore­see some of the con­se­quences of his actions and deci­sions. He more acute­ly per­ceives beau­ty in all its man­i­fes­ta­tions.


Emo­tion­al life will be the third area of ​​work. When per­form­ing actions, we not only breathe and feel, but also expe­ri­ence cer­tain emo­tions — joy, sad­ness, anx­i­ety. The task is to learn to dis­tin­guish between pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive emo­tions. When you start to feel some­thing unpleas­ant, you should learn to quick­ly fix this moment and stop in time, switch­ing to more pos­i­tive thoughts.

This part of the jour­ney is con­sid­ered the most dif­fi­cult, since emo­tion­al­i­ty is dif­fi­cult to con­trol. But con­stant exer­cise will help in this.


We have a con­stant stream of thoughts. We think about the mass of things and phe­nom­e­na, while thoughts jump, move from one object to anoth­er. Most of the time, we are not even aware of them all. On the way to aware­ness, a per­son learns to con­trol his thoughts, man­age them, direct them exclu­sive­ly in a cre­ative and pos­i­tive direc­tion.

How to raise?

Cul­ti­vat­ing mind­ful­ness means encour­ag­ing atten­tion to what­ev­er you are doing. Focus con­sis­tent­ly on breath­ing and walk­ing, and only then move on to the next com­po­nents — sen­sa­tions. It will not be pos­si­ble to turn on emo­tions and achieve con­trol over thoughts if the pre­vi­ous stages have not been com­plet­ed. The main skill will be the abil­i­ty to prac­tice the rule of “here and now” in every­day life.

Not only Tibetan monks and fol­low­ers of Tao­ism will be able to devel­op such skills. Every­one can achieve the absence of inter­nal tor­ment, dia­logues and doubts. If you wish, take action imme­di­ate­ly. Keep a diary and note in it dai­ly what progress is observed. This will help improve your achieve­ments, and will also help increase your own con­cen­tra­tion.

  • Only truth. Any lie reduces aware­ness. This is the first and main rule. Every time you encour­age the truth, speak it, act on the truth, your aware­ness grows.
  • Watch. Prac­tice obser­va­tion, do not con­fuse it with obser­va­tion. You do not ana­lyze or eval­u­ate any­thing, but only see and fix for your­self a fait accom­pli. Look at the famil­iar as if you were doing it for the first time, for­get about the obser­va­tions of the past.
  • Don’t sup­press your­self. Mind­ful­ness does not mean that you begin to active­ly con­scious­ly sup­press your neg­a­tive char­ac­ter traits and short­com­ings. Try­ing to “dri­ve” your greed, deceit and fears deep­er, you only con­fuse every­thing even more. Soon­er or lat­er, repressed emo­tions come out in the form of aggres­sion, men­tal dis­or­der, sex­u­al per­ver­sion and var­i­ous manias. You need to active­ly work with the neg­a­tive inside, and not hide it.

Practices and exercises

There are many tech­niques, but each tech­nique has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. Here are some effec­tive meth­ods to help you raise aware­ness.


The Non-Eval­u­a­tive Obser­va­tion Method (BON) is an effec­tive tech­nique that turns on the inter­nal observ­er in you. The bot­tom line is that you remain your­self, but you con­stant­ly observe your­self from the out­side: your thoughts, actions, sen­sa­tions, with­out giv­ing any prac­ti­cal assess­ments. You don’t judge your­self and you don’t approve. You are neu­tral. All thoughts and emo­tions are con­sid­ered care­ful­ly, but do it imme­di­ate­ly, not allow­ing them to go to deep­er sub­con­scious lev­els.

It won’t work right away. The ten­den­cy to eval­u­ate every­thing will inter­fere for a long time. Train­ing will help, in which you will fix the assess­ment, but at the same time per­ceive it as an assess­ment and noth­ing more. The method involves sev­er­al steps.

  • Absence and pres­ence of “here and now”. Try to keep a sense of where you are now — in the present, past or future. You drink cof­fee, so you only drink cof­fee and noth­ing more. Do not men­tal­ly break away from this pleas­ant activ­i­ty. Observe how often you are not “here”. At first, this may scare you — too often you will be absent from the present tense. Under­stand­ing your absence will be the begin­ning of work on your­self.
  • Return­ing your­self to the now. When you catch your­self in anoth­er absence, start prac­tic­ing an exer­cise that will help you bring your­self back. Speak to your­self a key phrase, such as: “Come back” or “In the moment.” For exam­ple, you are prepar­ing break­fast. But catch your­self think­ing that in your head you have already begun to pre­pare reports for the man­ag­er, although this will only take 3 hours. But in fact, you are in the kitchen, so you should imme­di­ate­ly give your­self the com­mand to return and focus on the action that you are cur­rent­ly per­form­ing. Prac­tice the exer­cise an unlim­it­ed num­ber of times a day.
  • Con­scious obser­va­tion. Hav­ing learned to observe your­self in a moment in time, move on to non-judg­men­tal obser­va­tion of your emo­tions and thoughts. Try to look at them, as well as at your­self, from the side — from the side or from above (but with­out rat­ings). For exam­ple, you have an inter­view com­ing up, so you are ner­vous because you are inter­est­ed in get­ting a job. Look at your­self through the eyes of a view­er of a film in which you play the main role. See how the hero is going through, how he seeks to please. Notice the ten­sion in your body.

Do not eval­u­ate any­thing, just look, study the object — the object itself is impor­tant to you, and not what it feels and thinks.

Mindfulness Practice

The method can be prac­ticed dai­ly, some call it the “Chal­lenge 30 days”. Of course, the process will not be lim­it­ed to a month, the exer­cise will have to be per­formed lat­er, but not to enter aware­ness, but to main­tain life in it.

  • Breathe. What­ev­er you do, watch your breath. Try to increase the con­trol time. Whether you’re talk­ing to some­one, or stay­ing alone, prac­tice mind­ful smooth inhala­tions and exha­la­tions.
  • Feel. Start by focus­ing through­out the day on sen­sa­tions that occur in a spe­cif­ic mus­cle group, such as the fin­ger­tips or the cer­vi­cal region. Watch them, how they change in dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances and sit­u­a­tions. Grad­u­al­ly expand the area of ​​atten­tion by simul­ta­ne­ous­ly con­trol­ling two or more mus­cle groups. Grad­u­al­ly, you will learn to “hear” your body, to under­stand what caus­es cer­tain sen­sa­tions that arise.
  • Con­trol emo­tions. Every time an emo­tion aris­es, watch it. This will help to impar­tial­ly see your true feel­ings and needs. Grad­u­al­ly, you will learn to calm­ly neu­tral­ize every­thing neg­a­tive and main­tain cre­ative emo­tions (joy, ten­der­ness, grat­i­tude). Ask your­self more often dur­ing the day about what emo­tions cur­rent­ly pre­vail in you, why this is hap­pen­ing.
  • Think. Try to track your inner dia­logue with your­self, mono­logues, tran­si­tions from one thought to anoth­er more often with­out rat­ings. As with emo­tions, ask your­self what you are cur­rent­ly think­ing and why.

Training of individual aspects

Only after mas­ter­ing the above basics (and this process takes sev­er­al months), move on to more spe­cif­ic train­ing, aimed at cer­tain aspects. It will be eas­i­er and eas­i­er for you to cope with these tasks. This block includes the devel­op­ment of a con­scious approach to the fol­low­ing aspects:

  • val­ues ​​— define them and fol­low only them, with­out chang­ing your­self in any sit­u­a­tions;
  • real­i­ty — try to eval­u­ate what is hap­pen­ing around you, per­ceive what is hap­pen­ing sober­ly and with­out judg­ment;
  • speech­es — watch what you say your­self, as well as what oth­ers say, be an atten­tive lis­ten­er;
  • move­ments — do not rush in move­ments, be smooth and mea­sured, do not strive for high speed;
  • actions — con­sid­er them from dif­fer­ent points, but do not give assess­ments, oth­er­wise you will have to start all the way from the very begin­ning;
  • activ­i­ties — per­form your work impec­ca­bly and respon­si­bly, no mat­ter what you do (even a tri­fle must be per­formed at a high lev­el, expert­ly);
  • life — con­trol your goals and plans, per­son­al time, elim­i­nate unnec­es­sary actions and peo­ple who take time with­out effect from your life.

Thus, every day of your life, every minute of it will acquire a high val­ue.

Psychologists’ advice

Achiev­ing a cer­tain goal will be eas­i­er if you lis­ten to the advice of experts.

  • Change your atti­tude towards the world and your­self in favor of a neu­tral one. Only it cor­re­sponds to the truth.
  • Your behav­ior will change as you move through the lev­els of aware­ness, but always grad­u­al­ly.
  • Stay moti­vat­ed and respect your choice. Don’t be afraid to start over.

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