As you may have gathered, the HuffPost Living section has chosen to focus on sleep this month as part of Arianna Huffington and Glamour's Cindi Leive's Sleep Challenge 2010.
So let's play with this idea a bit and turn our attention to the notion of waking up. Not from the condition of sleep as we know it on the physical level, but waking up from the unconscious way many of us, including me, have of going through our daily lives.
I don't know about you, but as much as I know about awareness, choice and response-ability, I still seem to go through much of the day in a fairly unaware state. Now, many who know me would wonder what I mean, in that I tend to be highly observant and resourceful in terms of day to day life.
However, I'm talking this time about a deeper level of wakening, a deeper level of awareness. You may recall an earlier article of mine where I talked about getting hit by a tear gas canister on a strike line at UC Berkeley, and found myself screaming, "why don't you a**holes love us?"
Now that was a great example of being unconscious while pretending to be conscious.
After all, there I was, a self-appointed messenger of love, peace and caring, who chose to yell, scream and throw things in order to get the point across. Fighting for peace, as it were. Oh so self-aware!
In some ways, the awareness and consciousness were present, both within me and all around me. How else could I have even known that they were important aspects of life and living well?
The only problem? I wasn't present with the awareness or the consciousness. Rather than being in the state of loving, caring and peace, I was in the state of agitation about how everyone else needed to be.
Does that sound the least bit familiar to you? Do you have any of that kind of "do as I say, not as I do" disconnect running around loose inside of you?
If so, perhaps you are reading this article, or this series of articles, because some part of you is going through its own process of awakening. Perhaps you are looking for something less jarring than an alarm clock or a tear gas canister, but something that could facilitate your awakening nonetheless.
From the many comments and email messages I have received, indeed some have found these articles of value. Some have written about how a particular line or paragraph helped them to perceive something that was of value, something that enabled them to see at a new level of clarity, or to see a different perspective.
Some have written to agree and thank me for the contribution. Some have written to add to the discussion. And others have written to shine a light on their own critical view.
As personally difficult as it is from time to time to read the personal criticisms or attacks, I also recognize that the Light shines in the areas where it is most needed, and sometimes the critical attack is all that is available to the one who finds the Light intrusive or too bright for the moment.
All I can say is, "thank you for the opportunity."
The opportunity to notice if I am in reaction. Reaction simply indicates that part of me not yet comfortable or at one with the ideas I am expressing - much like the day on the strike line at Berkeley. Thank goodness for those who stir the reaction in me, for they point to areas where I am still learning and growing.
The opportunity to notice if I am truly just sharing what I can for those who may be seeking, or if, instead, I am trapped in my own ego demand for proof that I am cool, on track, or otherwise important. As my mother used to say, "Jesus did the saving, son. You're just a Bishop."
The opportunity to be reminded that truly, I only teach that which I am most trying to learn.
Years ago, Peter Drucker, often called "The Dean of American Management Consultants", took an old cliché and updated it a bit. Peter is said to have started with a familiar line: "Those who can't do, teach." And then he added, "Those who can't teach, consult. And those who can't consult, write."
As one of the most prolific management consultant/writers ever, Peter was poking good fun at himself and doing his best to remain humble, free of hubris.
So here I am, teaching, consulting and writing myself.
The great thing is that what I am teaching, consulting and writing about, are simply lessons from my own experience of how life is and how life works that are completely available to all of us, all of the time. Again, as my spiritual teacher often reminds me, "the information is available to you. The real question: are you available to the information."
I am when I wake up. How about you?
Please do leave a comment below or drop me an email with your thoughts, suggestions or requests for future areas of focus.
Russell Bishop is an Educational Psychologist, professional life coach and management consultant, based in Santa Barbara California. You can find out more about Russell at http://www.lessonsinthekeyoflife.com. Contact Russell by email at: Russell (at) lessonsinthekeyoflife.com
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