Daily Insight into Living Consciously from the Story of The Little Prince
If we want to live consciously each day and not just at times, a key requirement is to be willing to give up our attachment to unconsciousness.
It might seem strange to say we are attached to unconsciousness.
The reality for most of us, unless we had an exceptional upbringing by conscious individuals, is that unconsciousness is so ingrained in us, we are quite addicted to it. We know no other state.
Unconsciousness actually provides us with a degree of security and a measure of comfort. This is why we are loathe to let go of our unconsciousness, even though at a mental level we tell ourselves we are determined to live consciously.
The “security” unconsciousness furnishes us with is an uncertain security, just as the “comfort” we dervie from unconscious behavior is riddled with discomfort.
Yet because unconsciousness is so familiar to us, we are reluctant in practice to give it up. We go on behaving unconsciously despite convincing ourselves we are committed to becoming conscious.
This is what stops us from becoming conscious right now, in this moment.
It’s not that consciousness has to be found somewhere. It isn’t something that takes years, or even months or days, to achieve. It’s our essential state, which is occluded by our unconsciousness. We can choose to be conscious any moment we wish to if we are willing to step out of our unconsciousness.
Our attachment to unconsciousness is why it often takes a “crash in the desert” to jolt us and awaken us to just how uncomfortable and insecure we really are in our unconscious state—whether that crash takes the form of losing our job, an illness, a divorce, or some other assault on our accustomed way of getting through life.
When the Little Prince learns that the pilot “fell out of the sky,” in that his airplane crashed down into the sands of the Sahara Desert, he laughs. To him it’s funny to think of the airman having fallen out of the sky as he himself did when he came down from his asteroid.
Few of us laugh or even smile when we crash in life’s desert. To us it’s a very serious matter, a threat to our very existence.
But to the Little Prince, who isn’t attached to things for his identity, all of these phases of life can be taken lightly.
The pilot doesn’t think this is funny at all. The reason is that he likes his misfortunes to be taken seriously.
Is there a more perfect mirror of what keeps us locked in unconsciousness? At a certain level, we like wallowing in the drama of our life. We’re so used to wallowing in our drama and the misery that accompanies it that we can’t imagine being without it!
Unconsciousness thrives on drama.
We not only create a lot of drama in our life when we are unconscious, but we can’t wait to tell others about it. We go over and over it with family and friends. How this new man or woman we met is turning out to be a jerk just like the others. How the boss at work is such an ass. How the person we were to meet for a movie this evening is always, always twenty minutes late.
Our attachment to unconsciousness goes deeper than this however. It affects how we think of ourselves—how we see ourselves. Our unconsciousness is deeply interwoven into our identity.
For instance if we are placed in a managerial position at work and think of ourselves as a timid person, as long as we hold to our identity as that of a timid person, we will be too afraid to assert ourselves when assertion is called for. In his way we undercut our ability to function in management.
Yet timidity is a learned behavior and not at all our true state. It’s a product of unconsciousness, a lack of awareness of our strong center and the power that resides in our essence.
The truth is that our timidity isn’t real. It’s just something we’ve learned to tell ourselves about ourselves, and we can set aside this identity at any moment we choose to come from our true self, our conscious essence. Then all the drama that revolves around this picture we have of ourselves stops.
Of course, all kinds of emotions associated with drama will arise if we step out of drama. But if we simply sit with these emotions instead of suppressing them or venting them, they will integrate and provide us with fresh energy to be the powerful person we really are.
When you think of yourself as on a spiritual journey, don’t be too sure that you really want to shed your unconsciousness and all the drama that goes along with it. To become conscious you are talking about dying to your present identity—and the only identity we have known since we were tiny children isn’t at all a painless or easy thing to choose to give up.
It usually takes a crash in the desert, stranding us all alone with no one who can help us, before we are willing to make such a choice.
Except, of course, we are never actually alone. We have within us our own Little Prince who has descended from the skies to guide us at the heart of our being.