A Life of One’s Own Living
Be-Aware Living, BeWare Living Series - Part One
Majid Ali, M.D.
“Be-Aware-Living” is my term for a life lived in a
way of one’s own choosing, by one’s own script. I
coined the term“Beware-Living” for a life lived with
one’s own inner voices, not by those of others.
Be-Aware-Living is breathing one’s own air, among
one’s own elements, by one’s own senses, and guided
by one’s own life experiences. Be-Aware Living is
harmony and equilibrium with one’s own core. I
coined the term Beware-Living for living according
to expectations of others. It is a life planned for
an individual by those who consider themselves
wiser. Be-Aware Living is a life largely wasted on
searching for happiness. By contrast, BeWare Living
is a life of gratitude.
I devote seminars 3 and 4 of “Dr. Ali’s Course on
Stress” to an in-depth discussion of these core
issues for living an informed and enlightened liife.
These seminars can be downloaded from
What Is Happiness?
Happiness is an illusion. That is one reason why no
two people ever agree on what constitutes happiness.
No matter how one chooses to define happiness, it is
an empty notion—now you have it, now you don't. Few
things make people more unhappy than the search for
happiness. Struggle for happiness is essentially
Beware Living. The mind craves more of what is put
What Is Gratitude?
The best reason for practicing gratitude that I know
is that it makes getting out of the bed in the
morning less demanding. For others, it makes the
morning hours a profoundly spiritual time. Practice
of gratitude is Be-Aware-Living. The mind craves
more of what is put into it.
Practice of gratitude does not require elaborate
rituals or travel to exotic places. It can be
practiced anywhere, at any time. It requires neither
outside support nor special inner capacity. I have
seen patients live with profound gratitude even as
they suffer a progressive paralysis of body muscles
caused by multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis. I know many young people who are
incarcerated at home with disabling chronic fatigue,
yet they are grateful for simply being alive. I also
know chronically ill and angry patients for whom the
word gratitude is a cruel joke. They rage, without
quite understanding why they are consumed by
overwhelming resentment. For the former group,
gratitude is a river that flows endlessly, neither
revealing its true origin nor its destiny. For the
latter, gratitude is an impenetrable wall.
How does one practice gratitude? By first being
clear-eyed about the difference between
Be-Aware-Living and Beware-Living. How does one
learn to know, trust and surrender to the larger
presence that surrounds and permeates each of us at
all times—the divinity within each human being?
There are, of course, no simple prescriptions. First
and foremost, one must learn to live with the
essential insecurity of life. What is freedom? To
the extent that human beings can be free, it is the
freedom from the need to be free that sets us free.
To the extent that we can feel secure, it is the
recognition that there can be no complete security
in life. Thus, freedom and security are the gifts we
receive when we learn to trust that larger presence.
How does one become aware of that presence? Natural
beauty requires no endorsement from mere mortals.
Yet when we see a sun lowering behind crimson
clouds, we speak of the magnificence of that scene.
Then we try to do justice to that scene. But does
that magnificence really need our endorsement? Does
the presence in that magnificence really need us to
do justice to it? We look at the snow-capped peaks
of a tall mountain and excitedly talk about its
stunning grandeur. We strive to do justice to it.
But does the presence in that mountain really need
our justice? We witness the innocent beauty of a
wildflower, marvel at it, then seek words to do
justice to it. Does the presence in that wildflower
require any justification from us to be? How did we
get so messed up? How did we get so infatuated with
ourselves? And with the notion that sunsets,
mountains and wildflowers need our approval for
How does one become aware of that presence? I return
to the question. We cannot do so by doing justice to
that presence. Rather, we need to let that presence
do justice to us, approve and endorse our existence.
It takes a certain innocence free from the cortical
clutter to know that presence in that sunset, that
mountain peak and that windflower. That is the
The energy of that presence surrounds and permeates
us, just as geomagnetic fields do. We can discern
the magnetic fields only when we open ourselves to
them with appropriate sensors. It is a crude
analogy, but to be aware of that presence we also
need to open ourselves. Then we don't need stunning
sunsets or lofty mountain peaks to become aware of
that presence. We can do so just as well by looking
at dust particles shining in the shaft of light
entering a room through a window, or through the dim
flame of a candle reflected in a rusty door knob.
That awareness is the gratitude that sets us free.
So it follows that we can receive all the freedom
and security we need through the light reflected
from a door knob—or, when walking on a sidewalk, by
the light absorbed in a shriveled dry leaf that the
wind might blow toward us.
Gratitude may be practiced anywhere, anytime,
through any trivial object—for there is divinity in
all trivia just as there is divinity is each of us.
Healing Words and
Be Your Own Healer
Healing Words and
Modified Plants, Modified Animals, Modified People
Elements, and Out of the Head
Health and Healthful Aging
Stress - Physiology
Affairs and Recent Posts