Elevating Consciousness – A Primer for Beginners
The purpose of this primer, is to help people begin the journey towards higher consciousness. It suggests several exercises which assist in establishing habits and skills that will lay the groundwork for self-development of consciousness. Although the journey is not a short one, the long-term rewards are priceless.
One definition of consciousness, is the ability of a system to respond to stimuli.
Consciousness can also be thought of as awareness. So as it relates to these exercises, consciousness can be thought of as a person’s awareness of, and ability to respond to stimuli. The starting process for raising or expanding one’s consciousness is to increase their alertness to what is happening in any given moment. In the early stages, this means becoming more mindful of the thoughts and feelings going on inside oneself. As consciousness is raised, the additional layer of increased awareness of one’s environment is added.
Love and help are constantly coming our way. All we have to do is tune into it.
Few people recognize that the universe is constantly at work, trying to help each of us live the most fulfilling life possible. The reason so few people recognize this reality, is that they are unaware of the help that they are constantly being sent.
Love is the life-blood of our souls, which constantly work to guide us to the richest most satisfying life we can experience. It won’t always be the easiest route, but it will be the most gratifying. To help each of us on this quest, our soul continuously sends us loving guidance, using the wisdom it has gained over many, many lifetimes. If we miss out on this treasure trove of blessings, it is only because we don’t hear the messages.
Unfortunately, few people have invested the effort to expand and elevate their consciousness. Consequently, they are unable to receive and act on the guidance they are sent. This situation is like a person who wants more money, but instead of cash they keep getting rocks thrown at them. They know they’re not getting any money because there are no dollars coming their way. What they don’t realize is that the “rocks” all around them are actually gold. Because they have it in their mind that they need CASH, unless it comes in the form of dollar bills, they don’t recognize what’s happening. They don’t recognize that what they are getting is exactly what they want. Once they realize they can exchange the gold for cash, all their problems are solved.
One of the most obvious observations is that the “money” most people really want is happiness. What good would it do to be a millionaire and very unhappy? Most of the things people want, are desired because it is believed that those things will bring them happiness. This type of approach rarely works, because the source of happiness lies within who we are, not in what we have. And so the most important and critical activity we can engage is coming to a thorough understanding of who we are. This means understanding ourselves on both a physical and spiritual level.
Most people think of themselves a physical body, and the mind supported by that body. But that is only half of who we are. The other half of us is spiritual. Unfortunately, many people go their entire lives without ever developing an awareness of the spiritual side of themselves. They may believe that they have a soul, but they’ve never felt its activity within them. So they have no awareness of their soul as being distinct or different from their physical bodies. The exercises in this primer help set the stage for a realization of one’s soul and its influence on their life.
In the initial stages, elevating consciousness is a two-part process.
In organizing the initial approach to elevating consciousness, it is helpful to think of it in two parts:
1. continuously observing what you are feeling,
2. continuously observing what you are thinking.
Elevating consciousness begins with paying close attention to what happens within you. Every minute of every day, you should be keenly aware of the feelings that are going on in your body, and the thoughts that are going through your head. For the vast majority of people, these things run in the background and they are only aware of the product of these processes.
Part One: Sharpen your awareness of stimuli that influence your feelings.
Many people are aware of feelings they have, but are not aware of exactly how those feelings arose. For example a person may realize that they are angry. However, that anger may only be the end result of a complex internal process. The anger may be only a portion of what they are feeling. And while there may be many other feelings below the surface, the anger is the only one that grew strong enough to actually surface in their conscious awareness. Without stopping and thinking about it, the person may not know EXACTLY what made them angry. They may be aware that they were angered by a conversation they just had, but they don’t know which specific words rubbed them the wrong way. Nor do they know what feelings were initially triggered that led to their anger. Perhaps it was just one sentence that made them feel insulted, and bruised their pride. Perhaps it was one small comment that triggered one of their insecurities. Perhaps something came across as a threat which caused fear.
A person who is consciously aware of their feelings, will recognize the instant someone says something that upsets them. They will be aware of exactly which words irritated them and why. They will also be aware of what feelings and thoughts arise within them as a result. Because of this, they can observe the chain of reactions that follow. This kind of awareness, is called source awareness. The person is aware of the source (or trigger) of the flow of thoughts or emotions that they experience. Once a person achieves source awareness they gain control over their reactions. They can control or break the chain of emotional and mental reactions that would otherwise automatically occur outside of their awareness.
Source Awareness gives us control, and opens the door to our soul.
In addition to gaining control over their reactions, people who have source awareness gain familiarity with how external events affect their thoughts and feelings. Once they have achieved this, when they encounter energy or feelings that have no apparent external source, they know the origin is likely deep within themselves. It could be arising out of their subconscious, or it could be messages coming from their soul. Having this awareness and understanding enables them to recognize the messages and guidance their soul sends them, always with the aim of helping them experience the richest and most fulfilling life possible.
Part Two: Sharpen your awareness of your assumptions, beliefs and the flow of your thoughts.
The second part of raising/expanding consciousness is expanding one’s frame of reference. This process is primarily mental and has to do with the way a person thinks and the assumptions and beliefs they hold. It involves continually expanding the points of view that one takes into account when making decisions. The more information a person has, the better a decision they can make. Likewise, the more points of view a person is capable of drawing from in evaluating a situation, the better the understanding they will have.
Elevating the mental aspect of consciousness is a process of continually expanding the frame of reference within which one operates. One example comes from the school-age years. Most people are familiar with the intense pain experienced by some “crisis” they experienced during their years in school. At the time the crisis seemed monumental. But when later viewed in the context the person’s entire life, it was really a minor occurrence. The same is true when considering present life events. When viewed from the perspective of this one life, they may seem major or even devastating. But our souls live many, many lifetimes. And when we view things from the perspective of our souls, the significance of these events shifts significantly. Likewise, viewing life from the perspective of the soul, drastically reduces fear and anxiety. The “worst” that can happen in this life (death), is of little significance to the soul.
Four Practices For Elevating Consciousness
The following practices may be helpful in forming habits that will cultivate one’s awareness and elevate one’s consciousness:
1) Solitude Time
The best way to begin raising one’s consciousness is to observe solitude time. In order to do this, it is vitally important to set aside 15 minutes each day. This time should be considered and treated as sacred time that you devote to yourself. Find a quiet place and arrange your schedule so that you will have no interruptions. Some people find it helpful to burn a candle or incense in order to set the mood. Some like to play soothing music in the background. If you choose to play background music, it should be soft, relaxing and without words. However, if you find the music distracting, complete silence would likely be a better approach for you.
Another aid to effective solitude time is selecting the right place. Ideally you should find a corner of your home or at least a chair, that you will ONLY use during your solitude time. By specifically limiting the space or chair that you use, to those periods of time when you are in solitude, it helps train your mind. You take advantage of the habitual and frequently subconscious associations your mind attaches to the things you interact with on a regular basis. You become more quickly accustomed to focusing on your inner processes.
Place yourself in a comfortable seated position. Relax completely and close your eyes. Closing your eyes helps you focus internally, within yourself. Be consciously aware of all the thoughts and feelings you experience during this time. The more continuously and clearly you can be aware of what is going on within you, the better. Building this internal awareness will prepare you for the other exercises.
2) Clearing the Hamper
During solitude time you will become more aware of the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing within yourself. As you sit quietly, thoughts will arise that often don’t surface during the active times of the day when your attention is focused on other things. Frequently things occur that trigger certain reactions that we don’t have time to deal with right then. So the mind stuffs them into what I call the mental laundry hamper for later processing. This enables the mind to focus on what is at that moment, higher priority issues. The feelings and thoughts that get stuffed in the hamper, sit there until they are processed or forgotten.
During solitude time, we have a quiet, uninterrupted space in which we can focus on subtler things. When we relax and open our minds in solitude, things in the hamper tend to “bubble” up to the surface of our consciousness where we can think about and process them. In order to help us remember important issues, our subconscious minds have a tendency to fixate on those issues until we have dealt with them. Once the demands on our attention diminish and the opportunity arises, our subconscious will remind of us of these “back burner” items.
Keeping a notepad handy during solitude time is very useful. On it, we can write down the back burner issues that arise out of our mental hampers. As our skill at utilizing solitude time increases, we are able to dig deeper and deeper into the mental hamper. In doing so, many different issues will surface. Some will be deep, personal issues that impact how we view and experience life. We will also uncover issues which are mundane. And while these mundane issues may be important or even urgent, they don’t really relate to understanding who we are. For example, during solitude time, we may remember that we need to purchase a get well card for a friend who is ill. While this may be important, it is not the type of issue we want to focus on during solitude. But because it is important, our subconscious will tend to keep bringing it up until we get it done. However, if we write down a note to ourselves on our notepad, we recognize and preserve the concern. Knowing that this issue has been physically preserved for later processing allows our subconscious to move on to other more subtle issues.
If we regularly “dig into our hamper” and process what is in there, over time we will travel deeper and deeper within ourselves. Separating out the mundane issues and writing them on the notepad, frees us to concentrate on those issues that will actually change our lives.
3) Quieting The Mind
During your solitude time, clear your mind of all distractions. Empty it of any thoughts of responsibilities at work and home, and other chores you need to do. Write these on your notepad, as one by one you empty your hamper. Focus completely on quieting your mind and so that you are able to maintain a quiet, relaxed state of inner silence.
When first attempted, quieting the mind is difficult for most people. Without conscious attention the mind tends to produce a constant flow of mental “chatter”. Learning to quiet this chatter is an invaluable skill. If you feel your mind wandering, just gently redirect it towards quiet stillness. As your skill improves, you gain a greater ability to filter out distractions. It is like turning down the volume on a loud radio, so you can hear the quieter, more subtle sounds. Once you have the ability to quiet your mind, you can easily focus your attention on exactly what you want to. You are also able to hear the deeper, subtler messages your subconscious mind and your soul send you.
Journaling is similar to the process of clearing the hamper. Except that instead of writing down the mundane things, you write down the important things. Journaling focuses on the issues that lead to a better understanding of yourself. It serves as a log of important ideas and trains of thought on a given subject. As you wrestle with things about yourself that you want to better understand, change, or control, your journal is your record of where you have been.
Journaling serves two important functions. First it helps break circular thought patterns. It is the nature of the mind to continually work on unresolved problems until they are solved or go away. What often results is somewhat obsessive or compulsive thinking, repeating the same thoughts over and over again. Journaling entails thinking through an issue as thoroughly as possible, and then writing down all your significant thoughts on the subject. Once we do this, our mind is able to let go of it, at least until the facts of the situation change. This happens because the subject matter has been memorialized, as has every possible approach to the situation that we can think of. After this, going back to the subject and rehashing the thinking we already worked through and committed to paper, feels like beating a dead horse. As a result, our mental energy is directed to new approaches and new ways of looking at things, rather than just rehashing the same old stuff.
The second important function of journaling is to record the course of our progress. Many times, journal entries contain wisdom and insights that don’t surface until later readings. What may seem like an insignificant side comment when written, can turn out to be the exact key to solving a situation that arises weeks or months later. Additionally it records the evolution in our thinking and spiritual growth. Many people don’t realize how far they’ve come until they go back and read their journal entries from the previous year. Often times they are surprised at how “primitive” their old approaches seem. And finally, as one compiles a journal over time it creates a map of sorts. This “map” provides markers showing where you have been and the route you have taken to get to where you are. Seeing this trail often serves as a pointer, giving you a powerful hint of where you are headed in the future.
Because a journal is intended to hold the most personal and significant thoughts and feelings of an individual, it should be treated with respect. Invest in a nice writing journal that symbolizes the importance of the information it will contain. Ideally, the type and style of the journal should have personal meaning to you.
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