Are you aware or are you just existing?

The state of being alive is associated with activities such as growing, reproducing, preserving one’s existence. The state of being aware is usually associated with not just perceiving stimuli and responding to them appropriately but also experiencing those stimuli. Without such experience, we are merely existing. 

Wherever there is consciousness, there will be life. But wherever there is life, there may not be consciousness in a second sense of that word. Consciousness refers to the energy that enables us to be aware, and it also refers to the awareness itself. Thus, for example, if a person is comatose, then they are alive, but they aren’t aware of the situations around them; they are merely existing. 

Lack of awareness can also happen because of extreme attachment; the attached perceive only a narrow band of reality related to the object of their attachment and are unaware of everything else. A similar alive-but-not-aware state occurs when we are absent-minded — the consciousness comes from our soul (Bhagavad-gita 02.17), but gets lost in the mind and doesn’t stream adequately to the physical level. Again, we are merely existing

We all have much potential within us. The growth of our potential depends on not just having awareness, which as a capacity we always have as long as we are alive, but on actually being aware: on being conscious of the present moment and on  using the present moment to pursue our long-term purposes. As we become more aware of our awareness, that is, we become more conscious of where our consciousness is, we slowly start directing our consciousness towards the things that matter the most. In that focused consciousness, we are aware at every moment, relishing life in its fullness and richness. 

One-sentence summary: 

Everything aware is alive; everything alive is not necessarily aware — use the state of being alive to become aware. 

Think it over:

  • What is the difference between being alive and being aware?
  • Give some examples of having life but not being aware?
  • How can we become more aware?
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1 Comment

  1. A donkey can not think

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