Consciousness gives rise to interest beyond the small self-interest and concern. That is why expanding our consciousness is called for. Without consciousness, and especially without an ever-expanding consciousness, the day-to-day particulars and circumstances become the focus of our attention, fill up our days, and use up our energy.
With an ever-expanding awareness, we are more likely to be engaged in an exploration of unified, transcendent and inspirational principles that refresh and replenish our wellspring of energy, open up our creativity and call us to connect, contribute and serve the greatest good.
The first thing that we can do to expand our consciousness is let go of the judgment that others are not interested. In the world of activity and survival, people will be distracted, self-consumed, busy, weary and often afraid. When we let go of judgment of that state of being, we can consciously bring compassion to human beings who live here on Earth in the realm of duality — dealing daily with the demands of great diversity and the constraints of being embodied and, therefore, limited. We can become spiritual beings who bring wisdom and shed light where there is challenge and suffering.
In her book, When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron writes that awakening is essential. She says:
“Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical. We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here. It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The Earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others.”
This is great guidance. There is no better time than now to awaken and to expand our consciousness. Each of us has an opportunity to use up or waste energy. We can be leaders of discouragement or encouragement. We can add to the burdens and the challenges of the turbulent times we are in; or we can invest ourselves in developing our ability to sanely relate to change, to diversity, and to all of the challenges that confront us. We can become joyful leaders, bringing forth the powers of our gifts and talents.
Expanding our consciousness allows us to realize that as human beings, we are the most developed species of the most amazing creation that exists: this life, this world, all of creation. We can live in gratitude. We can live life as a privilege not a burden. And we can encourage the awakening of others and empower them to contribute their gifts as well.
How can we expand consciousness? There is no one-size-fits-all path, but here are some ideas and practices that can help, revealing your particular talent and creativity and using it for the betterment of life:
- Review your journey: What has been the central issue or theme? What is the spiritual truth that you have learned? What inspired message does your life deliver?
- What idea, precept, or virtue do you trust? You suffer when you violate it. You are lifted up when you stay true to it.
- What do you yearn to contribute? How do you envision being of service to others?
- Shed your old skin, let go of old habits, changing and healing to illuminate new ways.
- Forgiving ego; forgiving all duality without judgment or examination. Have compassion for the condition of being human.
- Change it up. Stop doing something that you are used to doing but has no life to it for 30 days.
- Pick a repetitive, common thought that you have and intentionally let it go each time it comes up for 30 days.
- Exchange energy properly, sharing for the common good, expressing your gifts through accomplishment.
- Identify any current energy drains (people or projects that drain energy); cut the cords, end the projects if you can, and minimize your exposure and investment.
- Bank some energy each day, maybe through meditation, music, downtime, walking in nature, etc. Don’t use it all up each day.
- Work on your inspired plan daily. Make inspired commitments.
Initially, expanding consciousness can reveal pain and challenge, but ultimately, it is the path to service, grace and joy.