Both inspiring and enlightening, Conscious Being is a compelling resource for those seeking self-realization. It serves as a guide for awakened living, which is a state of higher clarity and presence and is a more natural condition than many are aware exists within each of us.
Author and spiritual teacher TJ Woodward creates a powerful philosophy for living by masterfully weaving personal stories, entertaining anecdotes, and deep, mystical truths. The result is a composition that offers practical guidance to show the benefits of spiritual transformation, while encouraging each of us to shift into a deeper awareness of our authentic inner wisdom.
Conscious Being shows us how the circumstances of our lives and what we call reality are created by our level of consciousness. It offers methods for unlearning and releasing self-limiting beliefs and the illusion of ego so we can come into alignment with an existence overflowing with compassion, love, and purpose. This "great remembering," as TJ Woodward calls it, is available to us at every moment, for it is our true nature and our divine birthright.
If you are ready to open your heart to a new way of being and embrace a life filled with profound peace, connection, and happiness, Conscious Being is the book for you!
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Read an Excerpt
Awakening to Your True Nature
By TJ Woodward
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 TJ Woodward
All rights reserved.
"Knowing yourself goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs. Spiritual ideas and beliefs may at best be helpful pointers. But in themselves, they rarely have the power to dislodge the more firmly established core concepts of who you think you are, which are part of the conditioning of the human mind. Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind." — Excerpt from A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle
Enlightenment Is Our Natural State
It is the birthright of each and every one of us to live an awakened life. Most religions and spiritual traditions teach us that we need to adopt a certain belief system or follow some prescribed steps in order to attain a state of enlightenment. A long-held belief about awakening is that only a small number of people, destined to become gurus or spiritual teachers, can attain it. It is certainly true that until recent times only a small minority of people on the planet had attained this state of full self-realization. These saints, mystics, and spiritual masters were seen as "special." And they certainly were, at the time. However, times are changing.
We are now living in an era of rapid acceleration of the phenomenon of spiritual awakening. The truth is that awakening is absolutely available to every single human being on the planet right here, right now. Enlightenment is our most natural state. When we strip away all the concepts and ideas we have learned over our lifetime—about ourselves and how we view the world—we uncover the simple truth. We discover who we have always been—pure consciousness. Before the accumulation of ideas, we were pure awareness. We are still pure awareness. This awareness simply witnesses life, as it unfolds, through and around us. There is nothing we need to do, or believe, to become enlightened. We simply remember who we essentially are. We already are that which we seek.
I recently heard a beautiful story that illustrates this. The story was related to me by a friend who knew a young couple who had just birthed their second baby. They noticed that their older child, then four years of age, was sneaking into the newborn's room at night. Curious what the four-year-old was up to, they decided to install a video camera in the baby's room so they could observe what was happening. To their surprise, they discovered the older child was visiting the baby and asking it: "Please tell me about God ... I'm beginning to forget." This child had the awareness that his innate sense of wholeness was already slipping away. And he realized that the baby was capable of reminding him of what he was forgetting.
Enlightenment is actually a very ordinary state. It is also an extra-ordinary state. It feels elevated because it is not burdened by all the weighty ideas and beliefs we had previously amassed. When we come to realize the truth of who and what we are, we are no longer limited by the false sense of identity we had previously been confined within. Our natural state of freedom is restored. There is no longer anything to fear. The deep peace of our true nature is revealed to us. We are no longer run by the programs in our mind—that is, our learned ideas about who we are and how we "should" live, including our concepts of "rightand wrong," and "good and bad." We have remembered that we are pure consciousness. Consciousness inherently knows itself. It knows that everything exists within it. Knowing itself, it is naturally benevolent. It is not against anything. It knows itself as everything. When we are fully self-realized, we naturally speak and act as love. We could not possibly do anything else.
Our True Nature
Experiencing ourselves as love is the most natural thing in the world. The path to remembering ourselves as love is one of dismantling or unlearning everything we have been taught that contradicts this truth. Self-realization is nothing more than coming into alignment with what we already inherently are. Throughout our lives, we have received messages that taught us otherwise. Often at a young age, we come to the conclusion that we are less than whole and perfect, that we are less than love. For the most part, children believe the messages they hear. That is because their minds have not yet developed the analytical ability to question them. Even though some messages don't feel right intuitively, a young, undeveloped mind cannot help but believe what it is told, especially when it is a repeated message. This creates a distorted or false self-image. It's like looking into one of those funhouse mirrors that pulls one's image way out of shape. When, as children, we received feedback that we were bad, that there was something wrong with us, that we were lacking in some way, it's as though we were looking at a distorted reflection and believing it to be true.
The messages that created a false self-image might have come from family members, friends, school teachers, or other authority figures that we assumed were wiser than us. These messages continue as we grow into adulthood, getting layered upon and often reinforcing those messages we received as children. However, when we wake up to the reality of who we are, we see that we were given those messages by people who were themselves living in a state of forgetfulness about their true identity. They were not capable of always mirroring an accurate reflection to us.
As we remember our true identity, we realize that all of our experiences have been part of our journey from unconsciousness to consciousness. There is nobody to blame. Everything happened exactly as it did. We have been part of the evolution of consciousness, waking up to itself. We have experienced darkness in order that we can experience light. Without darkness, we cannot appreciate light. Darkness has no power. It is merely absence of light.
Disengaging the Mind
The realization of our true nature can happen in an instant. It can happen at any moment. However, often when we catch a glimpse of it, our mind quickly reasserts itself. Sometimes we experience a prolonged state of wakefulness before our mind takes back its control. These glimpses of our natural state arise in the space between our thoughts. They happen the moment we stop identifying with our thoughts. The shift of focus, from the content of our mind to the space in which our thoughts arise, is the shift from separation to oneness. No matter what we are thinking, thought is thought. Awareness is not affected by thought. It is the screen on which thought appears. As long as we identify with our thoughts, we are identified with what is changing and temporary. With a shift of focus, we can shift our identity to what is changeless and permanent.
It is often said that the only thing we can rely on is change. This is certainly true if our focus is solely on the physical dimension of life, which includes our mental and emotional states. Everything physical is subject to change. And our thoughts and emotions are subject to change. We are currently experiencing more rapid change in our lives than ever before. Our jobs, relationships, finances, and living situations are all less stable than they once were. It is evident that security cannot be found in external circumstances. But when we shift our focus to what is changeless—awareness itself—we can experience the only true security there is. When we cultivate an awareness of witness consciousness, we are in touch with what is eternal.
When I was in my late 30s, I lost everything I had worked so hard to achieve. Without much warning, everything I had strived for and accumulated was gone. Despite feeling devastated, one of the gifts of this experience was that I no longer had anything left to lose. Therefore I had no reason to fear loss of anything. From this experience, I was able to separate out my true self from my material possessions and from the circumstances of my life. I was aware of the "I" that did not change when everything around me completely changed. I decided that if I were going to rebuild my life, I was going to do it from the inside out, not the outside in. I knew that everything outside of me could be taken away in an instant. I had to find a way of recognizing my true foundation. In his book, The Second Book of the Tao, Stephen Mitchell states, "The master knows that in looking forward there are endless possibilities, but looking backwards, there's only one." The truth of this statement became vividly clear to me when I was no longer identified with the things that change in my life.
The Illusion of Separateness
We have all been conditioned to divide our experiences into "good and bad," or "right and wrong," as illustrated in the following analogy. Say I am rowing a boat down a river and another boat hits mine. If I look over and see that nobody is in the other boat, nobody is to blame for what happened. But if my boat is hit by another boat and I look over and see someone in that boat, my conditioned mind immediately blames that person for my experience. My ego wants to make the other person responsible for "what they did to me." However, from a different perspective—a perspective of oneness—that other person is part of the natural world, part of the oneness of life. He is no guiltier than nature itself. When we stop dividing the world into "us and them," there is no longer anyone to blame for our uncomfortable experiences. We take full responsibility for how we respond to life.
If we take an honest look at our lives, right now, we can allow ourselves to see where we divide our world into "us and them" or "right and wrong." In other words we can see where we hold prejudice or judgment about others. It then becomes clear how we create every single division or separation in the world we inhabit. We create it with the power of our thinking. When we believe these thoughts, the division feels real. When we believe it's real, our system generates emotions to match the beliefs. We assume our emotion is confirmation of the truth of our belief. But our belief creates the emotion. This is how we create our individualized reality. It's how we create feelings of superiority and inferiority, the desire to blame or harm another, feelings of hatred or fear of a perceived other.
Attaining enlightenment requires that we be willing to examine and make an honest appraisal of our thinking. It's possible to discover the lens through which we are seeing life. It entails accepting what we find and working with it. There is a certain familiarity and comfort about continuing to perceive the world the way we have always perceived it. It can be difficult, and sometimes painful to confront the darker aspects of ourselves. But, we can claim more of our light only by being willing to walk through the dark and uncomfortable places we encounter within—not by avoiding them or trying to maneuver around them. The only way out is through.
The Truth about Karma
Karma is not an outside force. It is repetitively thinking the same idea about ourselves and about the world and getting the same results. It feels like it's coming from outside us. In actuality, we are imprinting our thoughts, attitudes, intentions, and beliefs—whether they are conscious or unconscious—upon the world, and receiving them back in return. If we believe that we are fundamentally flawed or inferior, then life will seem to reflect that reality back to us. We will see it in our circumstances, and in the people we encounter and what they choose to say to us. If we are convinced that we don't deserve, or are not capable, life will seem to confirm that to be true. That will happen again and again until we change the program or the lens through which we are looking. If we feel confident and know that we can achieve our highest goals, our belief and corresponding actions will allow that to be reflected back to us in our lives.
I sometimes see people coming into the New Thought or New Age movement and simply "redressing" old concepts and calling them new. The idea of a "cosmic 2x4" is a perfect example of this. A cosmic 2x4 is seen as the universe sending us a message or teaching us a lesson when we do not properly surrender. People simply change the name of a punishing God to something that sounds different. I am not saying that life does not present us with growth opportunities in the form of difficulty. I am just offering the possibility that it is not an outside force "doing this" to us. It is more about a way of coming into alignment with our true nature.
Each of us is accountable for how we view our world. Nobody else has the power to change the internal workings of our minds and hearts. However, surrounding ourselves with people who support and encourage our evolving perspective can be enormously powerful. It is comparable to planting ourselves in fertile soil that nurtures our growth. The world in which we live is a world of our own making. The world does not actually exist "out there." The relationship we have with our world is the relationship we have created in our minds. No other world exists. The world we perpetuate is the world we perpetuate in our minds. It is also the world we model for others who live within our field of influence. When we choose to step into the reality of oneness, we immediately inhabit that world of connectedness with all things, based on love. That world already exists, within us, and it is available to us at any given moment. We choose it—or not—moment to moment. We show love by being conscious of the words and actions we use to respond to life, in the present moment. If we are not awake enough to consciously choose our response, an unconscious or automatic response, based on our past conditioning, will emerge and dictate the conditions of our lives.
Shining Our Light
To enlighten means to "shine light upon." When we are living an awakened life, rather than looking for love outside ourselves, we live as light, as love. Each of us has this innate ability to shine light and love upon any situation we encounter that lacks it, that is in need of it. In the awakened state, we are no longer waiting for someone or something outside us to provide the light or love we have been seeking. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, when we have remembered who we truly are—consciousness itself—we naturally shine our light upon that which we witness. From this place, we no longer play a victim role. We know ourselves to be inviolable.
As witness consciousness, we understand that not everyone has yet awakened to the reality of who they are. We may be around others who have not yet realized their freedom to choose the kind of world in which they live. We know that we always maintain our freedom to choose—and that it is not for us to impose our choice on others. Each of us arrives at self-realization in our own time. Once we have fully arrived there ourselves, we have a natural, compassionate understanding for those who have not. By radiating our light, we serve as a reminder and an inspiration to others who have not yet remembered their true essence.
When we have forgotten the truth of who and what we are, we are living unconsciously. Our thoughts and behaviors are taken over by the old habits, patterns, and conditioning of our past. We lose our freedom of choice in how to respond to life. When we are not awake to our true nature, we can be easily triggered by the behavior and words of others and by our circumstances. These moments of discomfort and reactivity can be seen as alarm bells. They remind us to "wake up to who and what we are." When we allow our upset feelings and emotional hurts to become our "allies," we stay on track. It helps remind us that we can shift into the witness position, rather than identifying with any drama that is happening. Instead of getting pulled in by the details of our "human story," we can choose to be the one shining light on any given circumstance.
Clear Signs of Un-Awakened Living
- blaming others for our unwanted experiences
- judging people or situations as "right/wrong," or "good/bad"
- wanting to control others
- feeling superior or inferior
- experiencing resistance to what is
- getting emotionally triggered by what others are saying or doing
- needing to express opinions
Excerpted from Conscious Being by TJ Woodward. Copyright © 2015 TJ Woodward. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Awakened Living, 1,
Chapter 2: Everyday Compassion, 15,
Chapter 3: Embracing Our Wholeness, 29,
Chapter 4: Conscious Evolution, 43,
Chapter 5: Heaven on Earth, 59,
Chapter 6: Awake Within the Dream, 73,
Chapter 7: Living on Purpose, 87,
Chapter 8: Finding True Love, 97,
Chapter 9: True Abundance, 109,
Chapter 10: Shift Happens, 119,
Chapter 11: An Ever-Changing World, 131,
Chapter 12: Now What?, 141,