July 20, 2021

Awareness vs. Consciousness: How to stay “Woke” without Stonewalling Others.


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I’ve had a few conversations recently that have stayed with me.

Deep, heartfelt chats that have left me wondering—is true change on the horizon?

Being marginally active in the spiritual community for a couple of years, I usually have these types of conversations with my  spiritual posse, and I enjoy them. But these recent ones were with people who are part of my non-spiritual everyday life.

The first was on a Monday 9 a.m. work call. A call designed to keep the team bonded during remote working. The only rule is: we don’t discuss work. Being a Monday, it is customary to discuss the weekend past, however this Monday was quite different.

Out of nowhere, we were discussing a host of topics that are usually off the table. Topics such as the transgender rights movement, challenges around how much support to offer family or friends suffering with mental health issues, and sexuality.

Whilst everyone on the call was professional, the rawness and openness of the conversation was breathtaking. It didn’t feel forced. It felt like we all wanted this, and there were no right or wrong answers.

We had the same call scheduled two days later and as people arrived on the call, an enlivened colleague asked, “So then, what are we going to talk about today?”

The next time was with a bunch of friends I play football with. Over a few beers at the pub, our post football chat is typically high level and centered around football. It started this way, but as with my work call, our conversation shifted to a different place altogether.

We spoke about racism, sexism, sovereignty, “wokeness,” and awareness. Around the table, the depth and openness came with a complete sense of ease. It was quite astounding.

We discussed the awareness of the younger generation and how amazing it is, but how there may be a shadow side to it.

This is something that’s been at the forefront of my awareness recently.

I’ve had similar conversations with six different people in as many weeks. They feel unable to speak to their children about current high-profile social topics.

One topic is around being gender non-binary, a popular subject the media has attached itself to and an area the younger generation appears to be well clued in on. However, it seems there is a gap when it comes to the older generation.

The people I spoke with felt uncomfortable talking about this with their children. When they try to, it’s usually meet with “you can’t say that.” Judged on their words and not their intentions, they are left feeling somewhat adrift and unable to communicate how they feel in the face of such “wokeness.”

It’s easy to see how this can happen. I’ve certainly been guilty of using my awareness to judge and stonewall people who have said the wrong thing or expressed something I didn’t intellectually agree with.

Awareness can be used in a black and white way, with no room for the fluidity that’s required in a complex world. And as necessary as it is, I’m not sure awareness on its own is the way ahead.

Consciousness and awareness are often banded together, and whilst I believe they are interlinked, I think they should be viewed as separate entities that can be used to complement each other. Our consciousness to broaden our intellectual awareness, and our awareness to remind us of our consciousness is one example of how this may play out.

As my night in the pub came to a close, we had all listened to each other and despite our different backgrounds (varying in age, sex, race, and sexual orientation), we ended up agreeing and concluding that collectively, we all somehow need to find a way to meet in the middle, and an appetite to get that moving.

The Gandhi quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” was banded around a fair bit.

I thought back on my two experiences and I realised they weren’t just similar—in that they were unusual in those environments—they were akin on a deeper, more significant level.

This wasn’t about being right or wrong, and it wasn’t about us as individuals. This was about how we move forward collectively. It wasn’t purely an intellectual discussion, it had roots in our consciousness and how we intuitively felt.

For me, it felt like a massive shift. Collectively we’ve seen this shift in awareness over the years: the progress has been astounding and as a result, a lot of humanity knows intellectually what’s wrong and what’s not.

But, knowing and feeling are different beasts and I believe we are more likely to take action based on how we feel rather than what we think. Maybe the time has come to embrace our consciousness and feel it.

This requires awareness.

I know from my own journey, there are some days that everything seems crystal clear. I see the world on a completely different level, with a deeper understanding of intuition, connection, and empathy than I have experienced before. Then there are days where it feels like nothing has changed in me or in humanity.

I’ve recognised over time that these periods of fog occur when I’ve been on auto pilot—when life is busy. I’m in survival mode and it takes my awareness to remind me to align with my consciousness.

I think if we are not aware of our consciousness, it can’t be used effectively and it takes awareness to keep us tapping into both our sovereign and collective consciousness.

We all do this subconsciously but without the awareness we often don’t trust the intel we’re receiving.

Awareness has propelled humanity forward but we need to remember that just because someone may not be consciously aware, is not an indication on how they feel. Equally, some that are very aware may not have cross checked against how they feel.

I get the sense we’re moving into a time where we need to find balance in what we think and how we feel. How we feel is very much an inward journey but I have an inclination it’s maybe one we’re taking together.


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