Even though we intuitively understand the benefits of conscious living, most of us often resist entering our consciousness, and here’s three reasons why. 

1. I might find a monster I can’t tame…

In my experience, many people prefer not to enter their inner world and dwell on their feelings for fear that they might encounter a deep, lurking monster that they cannot tame. When we connect with consciousness, we see our truth clearly and know ourselves fully for the first time. But we also revisit all of the wounds and we see all of the dark spaces where we have stored our pain. Turning on the lights in our mind illuminates our discarded parts and experiences. This process can feel like there is a spotlight on our deepest wounds and our darkest secrets. Upon entry the inner world, many people are often confronted first with their demons (especially if they have accrued a lifetime of unprocessed vulnerability). It can feel overwhelming because the inner world is where we store all of our pain, vulnerability and shame. At this point, many people dismiss the inner world as a threatening place, without realizing that we must persist with the journey before we can reach the magic.

Finding ecstasy and transcendence in our inner world can feel like finding a ball of light and love hidden underneath a pile of pain and trauma. We must sort through our painful and neglected experiences and heal our wounds before we can revel in the grandeur of our consciousness.

Our inner world delivers raw reality: it is a mirror of our experiences. If we have generally had positive experiences, our inner world will soon become a grand castle that leaves us nourished and energised. If we have had more negative experiences, our inner world will initially leave us feeling terrified and desperate. Most of us have many unclaimed experiences to sort through before we can see our inner world as a haven.

For some people, it is much easier to live a life in the outer world and pretend that the inner world doesn’t exist than to work through the layers of fear. But if we don’t embrace our fears and wounds, they will re-emerge as the relationships we keep sabotaging, or the career that won’t quite get off the ground, or the addiction that we can’t quit, or the constant family dramas, or the insidious illness that we didn’t see coming. Our fears and wounds can never really be buried. We can push them down beneath the surface, but as time goes on they pop out into our lives to cause havoc until they are healed and cleared.

2. If I see my life clearly, I might need to change…

The second reason many people resist consciousness is their awareness that once they see their lives clearly, they know certain elements will have to change and this brings fear and discomfort. In the inner world, the only rule is ‘be true to your consciousness and your outer life comes second.’ Relationships may fall away or transform. Your work could change from the job that brings a high salary and prestige to the simple work you have longed to do for your whole life, which brings different rewards. You might start to spend your time differently.

You might spend less time with friends that drain you and more time with others. You might spend less time watching mindless TV and more time nourishing your body. You might move to a different location. If our inner world tells us to quit our job and go off into the wilderness, it is difficult to present this to our outer world self.

Then again, nothing could change on the outside. You could stay in the same relationship and have the same house, the same social group, and the same hobbies. The only dramatic transformation is your mindset. You start expressing gratitude more often. You start living on purpose. You enter the territory of silence more often and feel comforted there. You are happy.

3. Consciousness is steady, while the ego loves highs and lows

The third reason people resist consciousness is that the path of consciousness is steady. If we become conscious, we give up the ego life of highs and lows, and embark upon a new path of relative calm and stability. We stop creating conflict and drama in our personal lives. We get on with our work. We show up, day after day and do what is required of us. We serve others. Even when there is some kind of external drama, we respond to it in a circumspect way. This life asks a lot of us. It asks us to take full responsibility for our choices, rather than blaming others. It asks us to live on purpose, rather than simply reacting to day-to-day crises and conflicts. This can feel like a terrifying ego death and so many people resist the calm life for the constant waves.

It is extremely challenging to see that the answers lie beyond the ego, because we are often in love with our egos. And if we are not in love with our egos, they are like comfortable, secure homes that we do not want to leave. They are comfort zones that we have never travelled beyond. The ego is like a house on a large block of land. The land has lush gardens and looks out to the ocean. When we stay confined to our egos for our entire lives, we are staying confined to the house and we never see the expansive beauty beyond it. And so, many people just keep powering through life, with its unsustainable stress and fear, because they only know one way to survive and they do not trust that the alternative will make them feel any better.