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Excerpted from Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain. Copyright © 1986 by Shakti Gawain. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"As we gradually become more aware, we begin to recognize that other options exist and we can make other choices in how we live."

Shakti Gawain, Living in the Light, Part 4

Getting Conscious

When I returned to the United States, I was hooked on some-thing called "consciousness." I couldn’t have defined what it was but I knew that I wanted more of it and that for me, nothing else mattered as much as my process of personal growth. I felt that if I pursued external goals such as career, money, or relationships, they would ultimately feel empty, whereas if I devoted myself to my own development I would ultimately have the things that my heart desired such as loving relationships, meaningful work, and a sense of abundance, and that it would all come about in a more satisfying way.

I was motivated not only by my yearning to find greater fulfillment in my own life, but by a strong desire to make a contribution toward positive change in the world and in other people's healing and happiness.

I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, which I recognized as the forefront of the so-called "human potential movement," and plunged into the earnest pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, healing, and transformation. I took classes and workshops, avidly read new books, meditated, and talked constantly to others involved in the same process. After reading Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes, I went to live at his center in Berkeley where we worked on our growth intensely, day and night, for a year. After that, I continued to live communally for several years with others who were involved in an intensive I personal development process. During this time, I did whatever I could to make enough money to live on - housework, office work, odds and ends - while I focused on my real work.

Since that tine, over twenty-five years ago, my life has been dedicated to my growth and evolution as a conscious being. I gradually came to understand that becoming more conscious meant becoming more aware of all that was taking place within me and around me, how my inner world affected my outer world and vice versa. I realized that the more awareness I have, the more choice I have in how I create or respond to the circumstances of my life. When we are relatively unconscious, we simply do what we've always done, not realizing there is any other way. As we gradually become more aware, we begin to recognize that other options exist and we can make other choices in how we live.

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