It is a time of unprecedented change. We have never lived through something quite like this coronavirus. Many of the processes that have been operating in our daily lives are at a standstill right now. And when something in the physical world forces us to stop, there is an opportunity – an opening – for a pause in our trains of thought, in our knots of consciousness.
We have an opportunity right now to shift into the new consciousness. When I say ‘new consciousness’, I mean that there is an alternative to the way we have been collectively operating, and now is the time to find it.
We have been running on fumes and surface-level ego worries for a long time. We have become entangled in a knot of consciousness, a knot that manifests as depression, anxiety, mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, overconsumption, all forms of addiction, cruelty, manipulation, control.
What is being asked for right now is a shift in our conscious awareness. It has been said that we can’t solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created the problem. And we can’t get out of this knot of consciousness with the consciousness itself. In fact, we can’t get out of the knot by looking at the knot. Looking at our problems only entrenches us deeper into them.
No – what we need is something completely new and fresh. We need to step out of the knot and create a new way of thinking.
We don’t need to fully understand the old way of thinking, we only need to embody the new way.
The new consciousness is already here. It is available and accessible to absolutely all of us. It doesn’t need to be created from scratch, it doesn’t need to be thought-out, it is simply here to be discovered and embodied.
I know this because I have experienced it, on my own and with others. I know that there is a state of awareness that is deeper than the usual state of collective consciousness. It is a state of awareness that is completely grounded and present. It is perceptive and sharp. It is focused. When I am there, I am completely conscious of my actions. In this state of awareness, every action becomes purposeful and effective. I don’t waste time and energy on empty words, small talk, lies, fear. This state of awareness is above fear.
In yogic terminology, this is the Buddhi mind, which is the part of the mind that is associated with the intuition, with greater perspective, with correct perception. Most of us in the Western world have grown up learning to be dominant in our Ego mind, or Ahamkara. This seems to be true on the individual level as well as the collective level. And this is, fundamentally, what needs balancing. For when the ego is allowed to rule the mind, destruction ensues.
The task that is before us now is simple: come to the new, deeper state of awareness, and practice living from that consciousness rather than the old, egoic consciousness.
You can drop into the new consciousness right now, if you are paying attention to this piece of writing and not multitasking. I invite you to slow down while you read the next lines, and experience sensations as prompted.
First, gently bring some of your awareness into the body. Without changing anything, notice the breath. See if you can feel the sensation of your breath. Feel it at the tip of your nose, feel the rise and fall of your abdomen and chest. Simply breath, and allow yourself to be attuned to the experience of breathing.
As you come into a greater body awareness, notice the natural relaxing that happens in the face, the shoulders, the diaphragm. Allow the belly to relax, and the breath to deepen. Close your eyes and give yourself three long, deep, slow breaths, with full awareness.
Notice how you feel. Notice if the state of mind has shifted. Notice if the sensation in the body has shifted. Simply notice.
Every time we deepen the breath, we invite new energy into the body and we force the mind to slow down. The mind is very tied to the breath. This is why yoga teaches us to slow down our breathing – it is much easier to control the breath than to control the mind directly. Breath is our first and most powerful tool to slow the mind down and come into a deeper awareness.
From the breath, we can go deeper into practices of meditation and yoga. We can use sound and channeling and movement. We can go into ceremony with or without plant medicine. There are many paths, and the paths are becoming easier and easier to walk as more of us find our way to that deeper state of consciousness. Truly, it’s never been easier to make the shift than now.
The Work of Staying Awake
Keeping the state of consciousness, once you’ve found it, requires attention. It is a lot like walking on a balance beam while keeping balance. It is easy to correct slight imbalances in the moment, when you are alert and attentive. It is impossible to stay up on the beam while asleep or multitasking.
One thing that has to be let go of completely is multitasking. When we multitask, we split our awareness and make it more shallow. This makes us vulnerable, puts us back into the place of shallow awareness where we are easily distracted and out of our power. If we work to get to the place of deeper awareness, then we also need to work to keep it deep, and this means focusing on one thing at a time.
The desired state of consciousness is something that we cultivate, which means we need to return to our practices again and again. Whatever we do that helps us get there – recognize this as food for the soul. The soul needs to be fed regularly.
We are breaking habits of consciousness – it is common to experiences backsliding into egoic fear consciousness. And it is unreasonable to expect perfection in the experience of shifting consciousness – it is a process. Just know that you can realize you are in the old consciousness by the prevalence of ‘problems’ in your experience. Only the ego perceives problems and struggles with attachments. The Buddhi mind sees Reality as it is, with a neutral mind, purpose, focus, and love.
When you get off balance, first seek to get back in balance. Give yourself the gentle, loving gift of a conscious breath. Be the kind steward of your consciousness; it creates every aspect of your life.
Building New Awareness Into The Collective Consciousness
While our tools for greater awareness are powerful on the individual level, the effects are amplified when practiced together in groups. Now is the time to create new spiritual community together. We have all this time on our hands; what do you imagine would happen if we synchronized our efforts to deepen our awareness through group practices of meditation, prayer, yoga, chanting, singing? How could you imagine us connecting together right now most powerfully?
I thank you for being here and send you my blessing for increased happiness and health as we move through this transition.