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On Being A Conscious Single
Or: The Zen of Being Single
by Joel Rachelson, Ph.D.
Unfortunately, being single today is not easy. Understatement, I guess in light of the many single ads, books, services and options which attempt to address this life status. Why is this? There are two fundamental problems here. First, it is difficult, for a number of reasons, to be at peace with being single. Second, it is very difficult to meet other singles, in most any environment much less a healthy environment or process. This search for other singles is made more difficult when trying to find others who are conscious as well.

"Conscious?" You say, "What does that mean exactly?" In dictionary terms it means "perceiving or noticing with a degree of controlled thought." In contemporary terms, it is coming to mean to have the capacity for a divided awareness or co-consciousness. All this really means is that one can take a step back in an awareness of oneself, of oneself with others, of oneself in relationship to tasks, objects, the world, etc. One has the capacity to self observe

Certainly, being conscious is one of the hallmarks of our humanness and it is in fact becoming a growth industry, both in the amount of it (thank the creator!) and in the kinds of things that are by-products of it. Those who are conscious seem to share interests in healthy, holistic living, personal growth, spirituality, metaphysics, recovery, social issues and the environment.

Being a conscious single means two things. First, that you are someone who has conscious capacities and hence conscious interests. Second, that you go about your singleness and your path to connectedness with a certain amount of awareness.

Having awareness increases one's capacity to be an adult or grownup with oneself and has three areas of focus: historical, internal and external. It is vital to be co-conscious regarding one's historical or childhood legacy, one's internal relationship with oneself, and one's external behavior. This is one of the main points I make with my clients--that it is incumbent on the grownup part of them to be present and therefore self-monitored in these areas. For the conscious single, being aware in these ways will make for a healthier, saner, and hopefully more successful life.

When we are operating with co-consciousness we are coming from a calm, centered, confident place as opposed to the anxious, needy, frantic, reactive, or insecure place.

The historical component has to do with how our family of origin has influenced us in our lives. Our childhood and family experiences create a kind of imbedded programming that is pervasive in impact. In regard to being single, our imbedded programming can be affecting how we feel about being a single person, how we search, whom we search for, what our expectations are, and even how successful we are. So it is incumbent on our conscious internal therapist to uncover the historical programming that might be interfering with us and do some editing. The first step is awareness. This programming is complex and entrenched and sometimes difficult to change. Because of space limitations, let's look at just one part of this scripting. How easy was it to get what you needed in your family? How your needs were met and what you had to do in return can, I think, influence how you feel about meeting someone, how you go about it, and what you feel you have to give to become coupled. Ponder this with awareness and see where you get.

The internal focus or one's self-self relationship is a crucial aspect or ingredient necessary to have a saner existence. Inner self awareness leads to a competent internal grown-up. I tell my clients that my job is to teach them how to develop a good internal grown-up and competent "internal psychologist." As this aspect grows they will be able to solve the problems they came to see me for themselves and then they can fire me! In terms of being a conscious single, it is imperative that we have a healthy relationship with ourselves before we can have healthy interpersonal relationships. How can we be intimate with others if we aren't intimate with ourselves? And becoming intimate requires us to be conscious and, as said earlier, internally skilled.

The external focus is simply the development of successful behavior strategies for meeting others and how to healthily go about dating. This can range from how you put yourself in a position to meet others, to evaluating your expectations, or to maintaining the basket theory of dating (as in don't put your eggs in just one).

There is much more to say and explore on the topic of being conscious and being a conscious single. What I want to do is to assist in making the journey to healthy connectedness easier and imbued with a sense of positiveness.

Joel Rachelson, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and the founder/director of Conscious Singles: The Network for Professional Connections whose goal is to create a supportive community of committed, caring and conscious singles. You can visit thier website at where this discussion continues.