Conscious Living vs Unconscious Living

Bill Price shares valuable insights from his wealth of coaching experience, encouraging readers to embrace conscious living.

Many times when I find myself coaching both in life and in business situations, I become aware of people who confuse living in the present with conscious intent, with always having to drag the past or future into the present. My task then is to help defuse the energy spent in living this unconscious and non-reality way of life. Being able to live consciously means that we live in a genuine space of wonder as we integrate deeply everything we are learning and experiencing in life.

Criteria for Conscious Living

  • The ability to fuel feelings deeply, thoroughly and soberly;
  • The ability to learn in a transparent and authentic way;
  • The ability to understand change in life, to incorporate personal transformation within these changes while letting go of things that are beyond our control;
  • The ability to understand the relational quality of everything; and
  • The ability to be true to oneself and others. 
Conscious Living

Conscious living within means that we learn to live soberly and in harmony with circumstances as they are, even while they unfold in our lives; essentially it means we are grounded in reality. Unfortunately many of us live at an “unconscious” level.

Unconscious living means that denial, defence, and avoidance drive us. When things don’t go our way we blame it on our lack of faith, not being good enough or not being up to standard. The ultimate denial is to blame someone else or something else!

We do not need to be in control of everything, and that includes the law of physics! Many psychologists believe that most of our problems arise when we honestly believe that we can be in control of everything, even including death.

Unconscious living culminates in control; a “control-freak” is driven by a self-centred ego and a deep disillusionment. This type of life means that we are unaware of how our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, values, self image, sense of meaning and purpose in our lives all add value to our behaviour and responses to the circumstances in our lives.

Truth brings freedom

We need to be in touch with life’s circumstances as well as the reality within ourselves. Being able to feel deeply means that we have the capacity to embrace the depths of who we are inside of ourselves. It means we don’t resist our emotions – whether positive or negative.

Emotion is simply a message from our inner being that we need to question (with a high degree of inquisitiveness) our circumstances; fact is there are lessons to be learnt with each different emotion. Living fully and freely means that we are real, transparent and open. Living consciously in terms of feeling deeply means that we understand our place in the bigger scheme of things.

The power of believing

Conscious living means that we continually learn from a deep sense of belonging. It means we have the capacity to belong and to share attention, cooperate and be sensitive to others, and to achieve consensus with those who we share a relationship with.

It also means that we have an ability to deal with change in a realistic way. It means that we are constantly in the process of “becoming” through the ability to set achievable goals, monitor behaviour, deal with emotions (such as anger and failure) and complete set tasks successfully.

As we move and oscillate on the inside in terms of belonging and becoming we progressively become aware of the capacity to believe. To believe means we have the power to decide. We have the personal ownership to be able to say yes and no to circumstances without any guilt, blame or judgement.

Believing means we have the capacity to integrate into our speech, that which is aligned (or not) to the circumstances (present and future) in our lives. Believing is a place with wider horizons and boundaries where we become independent and interdependent with all whom we relate to while making positive choices within that reality.

The power of believing that stems from a conscious mode of living will ultimately lead us to the place where we discover our ability to be generous through our giving. In this internal space (the reality of being) we discover purpose. It is here where older and more mature people start giving generously to the generations coming after them, imparting wisdom, knowledge and skills. Here we learn to encourage others, to appreciate others, and to say “I’m sorry” with heartfelt remorse.

Through all of this we start experiencing the joy of sharing of ourselves and learning to respond to the needs of other people. Living consciously means that we feel we have value; it means feel protected and important (in a contributing sense) within the community.

Being “fully alive” and “fully me” is a place where we understand the joy of giving to others, appreciating our incompetence at controlling our lives 100%, and essentially means we know what we can change and what we cannot. Where change is impossible for us we need to give that over to God, through His grace we tend to learn our greatest lessons. This is why the serenity prayer is central to many support groups.

Discerning fantasy from reality

Conscious living is a place where we live from the inside out, fully aware and fully alive of what is fantasy and what is reality. It is a place where we know the things that we can and cannot control. It is the space in which we live that gives us the full capacity to let go of avoidance, denial and defensiveness.

This will lead us to live truthfully in the presence of others. It means that we have the privilege to express what needs to be said with the ability to express those needs in our own words and vocabulary without having others judge that or superimpose their version of ethics on it.

Conscious living means that we live within expressions of everything in our lives. Including things like hidden secrets, shameful moments, happy moments, achievements and everything that is real and true to our lives. When we do not live consciously we literally cut off the air of consciousness leading to the festering on the inside of those hidden things. Festering in turn withholds us from our full potential and full participation in life.

Conscious Living Coaching

If you had to rate yourself on a scale from zero (nothing) to 10 (to the full), how would you rate yourself on the following:

  • My life is lived in such a way that I am fully alive and fully free;
  • I live my life facing every moment in reality;
  • I do not avoid things in my life;
  • I do not deny things in my life;
  • I do not defend things in my life;
  • I live knowing that I am in the process of becoming;
  • I have a deep sense of belonging in my life;
  • I live my life in a generous way;
  • I am aware of what is fantasy and what is reality;
  • I’ve let go of things I can’t control;
  • I am free to share how I think and feel;
  • I live with a sense of curiosity;
  • I embrace the now and live fully in it;
  • I am aware of the past and the future but not obsessed by either; and
  • I have purpose in life and am deeply engaged.

Once you have completed this exercise, read the questions again and allocate the rating that you believe, you should be functioning at. The difference between the two scores will identify potential growth opportunities.

Allow yourself the opportunity to journal as you consider what action steps you need to take for each of the gaps that you have identified. Double-check this as you talk to trusted friends and family members, to gain their perspective without them passing judgement or superimposing their version of ethics on you.

Make a decision today to live consciously rather than unconsciously. Make a decision today to live fully and freely. Make that decision today that you live life and life in abundance!

For more information about how you can develop conscious living please contact Dr Bill Price at

Also read: Health and wealth – which is more important to you?

Bill Price

Dr Bill Price is an international speaker, author and executive coach. Dr Price is based in South Africa where he is well known as a leading Neuroscience practitioner and strategic sage who guides individuals, businesspeople and corporate leaders to achieve their full potential. He also helps empowers people in their personal lives around the themes, of leadership, getting the most out of life and relationships. Consider participating in one of Dr Bill Price's coaching courses or consider attending one of his free 'Synapses'. These neuroscience based webinars are held twice a month over Zoom dealing with a variety of different topics.

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