It’s often been said that there’s no better pillow than a clear conscience.
This is an idea that’s as simple as it is true, because this psychological construct makes up your perception of yourself and the world around you, which must always strive for harmony and balance.
Achieving that point of simple harmony, when everything you say or do is in line with your core values, means your clear conscience bears more weight than others’ opinions and pressures.
Of course you know that in order to have a clear conscience you occasionally have to wage some personal battles that will remove you from certain environments or social groups.
This intimate and powerful component of the psyche requires you to go through various stages, so that little by little you begin to understand what is primary and what is secondary.
We propose that you reflect on this today.
The power of a clear conscience
Some people don’t have it. Some people can’t sleep well at night because their conscience is not at peace.
They haven’t been forgiven, they’ve acted in the wrong, they owe money, they’ve given in or run away when something was demanded of them… no doubt, these people will experience this profound and sometimes complex discomfort.
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The complex yet interesting concept of consciousness
One of the leading experts in the study of consciousness was William James. This famous philosopher and psychologist of the late nineteenth century was the brother of Henry James, and established the idea that our consciousness can be divided into three components:
The empirical ego
Here we find all the aspects of ourselves that we attribute as our own. This is where self-esteem is generated, along with what we are, what we like, and what we avoid because it causes pain.
The pure ego
This is a more spiritual and intimate dimension. It’s a deeper part of who we are that we’re not fully aware of at times.
This is the instinct that tells you when something that has happened “is not good,” and to which you must react.
The changing ego
Here you find the changes in your life cycle that can sometimes make you uncover new ways to integrate certain aspects into your personality and consciousness.
Never forget that people grow each day, and that experience is learning.
Consciousness is a subtle combination of these aspects.
You have your own system of values that can vary over time, but you also have a sort of “internal compass” that helps reveal certain situations that you consider unjust, for example.
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The risks of not listening to your own conscience
Thanks to William James we know that consciousness is something that is rooted in your being, guiding you and allowing you to change and learn, and to be able to distinguish between what is right and wrong.
At this point it’s possible that you’re wondering why some people act without listening to the voice of their conscience.
Here are some possible reasons:
- Someone who is more focused on the external world, guided only by what people say or by the need to please others, and not listening to themselves.
- When one’s conscience bears less weight than external factors, it causes neglect, discomfort, a lack of well being, and problems with self-esteem.
- On the other hand, someone may focus on their own benefit in a purely selfish way, with little regard to others.
- Consciousness, as you know, is formed by your values and an almost “instinctive” essence that tells you what is right and wrong.
- There are those people, however, who don’t hear or listen to their conscience because they are only seeking their own welfare without consider values or understanding what is noble or respectful.
Learn to listen to the voice of your conscience
There’s nothing healthier or more enriching than listening to the voice of your conscience every day.
It’s possible to take it for granted, telling yourself that you’ve done it and your life is moving along in subtle harmony where your actions are in line with your essential values.
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But sometimes, the opinions of others can hold you back, as can conventional wisdom or the things that people expect from you.
So try to remember these simple tips:
- If your conscience tells you to go, do not stay.
- If it tells you to speak and tell the truth, don’t tell a lie.
- If it tells you to protect yourself, don’t flee.
- If it tells you to stay and help, do not go.
- If it tells you to take a risk, don’t be afraid.