It seems as if we have a tendency to gravitate towards unconscious behavior. Of course, the amount of time you spend in this realm is equally congruent to your individual level of consciousness. It’s as if this is your brain’s way of keeping you with the safe, known world, since more consciousness translates into more awareness, which includes the unknown. The unknown isn’t always safe. The unknown can reveal you to danger, chaos, rejection, failure, and all of the other bad things that you’d rather not know and deal with, because that’s just too much to bear. Ignorance is truly bliss, but ignorance also keeps you from truth. Comfort does not ignite growth.
We all have an idealized version of a future self that’s fulfilled more of your potential than the current you has. This gives us aim in life, and as long as we’re working for and moving towards this aim, we feel a sense of worthwhile purpose that makes the pain in our life less pointless and more manageable. The path of ignorance and comfort keeps your life in a more stagnant state, and this, in my opinion, is one of the main sources of our unhappiness. The feeling that we’re not meeting our full potential is not a good feeling, and being aware of this does exactly that, makes you aware of it. We’ve all felt this at some point to some extent. The difference lies in our reaction, as is with all matters in life. If we can be conscious enough to make the right decision and keep moving forward, that sure beats the alternative, which is withdrawal into more unconsciousness.
The point in life isn’t to always feel good. This is impossible, as a matter of fact, but still a very common misconception. Holding to this belief firmly could lead down a path of constantly seeking pleasure, which is ultimately a form of avoidance. Pain itself is necessary and useful, it’s life’s way of telling you what needs to change, where you need to grow, and what you need to leave behind. It could also be an indicator of growth. Pain is discomfort, and if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing. Think of post-exercise muscle soreness, or facing a difficult situation head on and learning from it. The unconscious reaction of running from pain to pleasure keeps us exactly where we’re at, if not a few steps behind. But if we keep a higher level of consciousness, this can be avoided because we are aware of everything that is happening including what’s going on inside your own head.
The answer is more consciousness. Consciousness rises above impulse and allows you to choose the more beneficial and profitable path. More awareness brings to light things that are hiding in the dark, ready to attack before we even realize what just happened. It’s avoiding the junk food. It’s using the right words instead of snapping at your partner. It’s rising above your fears to get where you need to go. It’s foregoing instant gratification. It’s choosing compassion over harshness. It’s choosing love over hate. It’s choosing better over easy. Liken consciousness to a light, and that light to life itself. Lack of this means complete darkness, and that’s closer to death than anything else. Filling yourself with this light will ward off the darkness, and hopefully we’d eventually have enough to share and light the path of others walking through the dark.