The man at a kitchen table in Minot, North Dakota, looked inscrutable. He gazed through low-lidded, compassionate eyes. Temporarily distracted by his slender, wiry, black moustache and tapered beard, I marveled he was a full-blooded Mandan; he looked like Lao Tzu. Flustered by my own irreverent musings, I realized I should attend more to the message than the medium.
Cedric Red Feather explained the nature of consciousness. His wisdom glinted like stars glancing the waves on a dark lake. All my life, I had wished for my true teacher to appear. Here he was, explaining that we were all just like droplets of water, each perceiving himself to be separate. Eventually, we return to Source, which, in the allegory, exists as an immeasurably vast ocean. We join a long-winding river, making its journey back to the sea.
Once in the ocean, each droplet relinquishes the perception it flies solo. Now, it is more than itself: it has become water. Each shimmering drop is now part and parcel of the same substance from which all other drops were created; it is again one with Source.
By one path or another, we find our way back. Now it makes sense to me, the poet T.S. Eliot’s sagacious suggestion in The Four Quartets that “the way forward is the way back.” Thinking of Cedric’s story, it becomes obvious why expanding consciousness would interest us: we are all on this journey.
Another way to think of conscious growth is to imagine consciousness as concentric spheres. Once we “master” awareness at one level, we “pop out” into the next concentric sphere. Ultimately the last “bubble” will burst, and we will emerge in the Infinite Expanse of Everything That Is.
So how do we go about the business of consciousness expansion? Seemingly ironically, we arrive by not going; we gain by giving everything up; we expand by letting go and not doing.
We are not in control of anything. Remember the old ’60s television series, “The Outer Limits?” Each episode began with this voice-over reciting, “There is nothing wrong with your television set; do not attempt to adjust the picture.” Then we were told to turn over control. That is the way life is. What’s needed is an active surrender where we accept with humility our tiny part in the vast cosmic drama.
It’s not about acquisition; it’s about seeing what’s already here. I can’t believe how many of us still want things: beautiful homes, designer clothes, trips abroad — let it all go. Irretrievably poignant moments more often arrive from seeing a baby girl’s twinkly-eyed, dimpled gaze; catching a whiff of ozone and then the first heavy drops of spring rain; receiving visions or psychic readings that reveal the true meaning of our spirit’s presence on Earth.
It’s not about attachment; it’s about letting go. When we love, we make it clingy. We try to adhere, and the opposite occurs: we lose what we try so hard to hold onto. We find friends who are kindred spirits and then spend most of our energy attempting to influence them. We try to teach them to tolerate our mood swings, think and talk as we do, agree and side with us. Genuine love, though, only exists where each recognizes the other’s free will.
Consciousness cannot grow in the heavy adhesive of attachment. We must practice not wishing, wanting or creatively visualizing with expectation. The most effective “technique” is to raise your energetic vibration as high as you possibly can by remaining positive and love-filled moment-by-moment. You may find that everything you wish for will come to you naturally when you are most ready to receive it.
We tend to worry about what others are doing, but that is not necessary. It need not concern us that others do not pick up the growth gauntlet. We are all players in a little psychic drama; each must play her part, then the whole story just unfolds naturally. That is where Lao Tzu said it most economically and eloquently: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.” Work on yourself persistently, for that is the ultimate key to expansion.