Simply think the highest thoughts you can; feel the deepest love you are capable of; reach up or down to the highest, or deepest, Divinity that you can experience; treat others with the tenderest of kindness and the most caring of compassion that you possibly can; and if you are anywhere near the leading edge of evolution, you will directly, immediately, and instantly contribute to what Whitehead called “an ultimate of the universe”—namely, the “creative advance into novelty.” In other words, you will contribute to evolution itself.
~ pg 219-220 “The Religion of Tomorrow” by Ken Wilbur
I’m reading this book right now. It’s very interesting. The detractor that it weighs as much as a boat anchor is lessened considerably by the fact that I have always been passionate about the contents—consciousness evolution.
I was struck by this quote due to the fact that it makes important commentary in light of the COVID-19 crisis. What this quote is calling for, written in 2017, is even more apropos today.
We all have the ability, through our thoughts, to influence reality.
That’s just a given at this point, so if you haven’t caught up to that, I encourage you to dive into the Upanishads, or better yet the Dhammapada, or some other wisdom teachings that suit you from something older than the NY Times best-seller list. Remember—if it’s still published after thousands of years, there’s probably a good reason. That’s why they’re called ‘wisdom traditions,’ right?
As Lightworkers and harbingers of the New Paradigm (i.e. Shamballah, as we like to refer to it in the Western Mystery Tradition), we have the added responsibility to carefully curate our thoughts in service to molding the kind of future that we want to live into.
We make a choice every day to live in alignment with God, Unity, Source, Creator, Universal Energy—whatever you want to call the highest and most expansive, ineffable power that makes this reality possible.
The dominance of rational thought as a predictor of our lived reality was debunked thousands of years ago, by initiates in the Mystery Tradition, of course. See any commentary on Zeno’s Paradoxes for the weird and unpredictable places that rational thought and logic can take us. In short, rational thought does not lead to a rational reality.
With passion and intention, we increase the power of those thoughts.
Our emotional state has the ability to affect how DNA expresses (see most of Bruce Lipton’s recent work). Metaphysically we know that the emotion of Bliss, specifically, has an impact on how your DNA enfolds/replicates. Long story short, you are more powerful when in a Bliss state because your DNA can enfold/replicate most purely, with less (genetic) information loss, and you are more YOU as each generation of cells replicates.
This is what I really mean by ‘with passion.’ When you are passionate, you are literally and physically more YOU! Your energy flows without interference.
Any delay or obstruction to you being YOU is interference. When there is no interference in your energy flow, there is no loss between information in (i.e. intention) and information out (i.e. manifestation). This is what we mean by creating your reality—matching intention with manifest reality by reducing/eliminating the information delay/obstruction caused by you not being fully YOU.
That’s the metaphysical reason why we say, “Follow your passion.”
I’m Conscious, Right?
But not every part of us is under conscious control. In fact, we are conscious of only about 5% of our cognitive activity. The conscious mind actively pushes information processing to the subconscious to free up valuable cognitive resources for novel information. The subconscious just plays back what it’s programmed to, it’s not creative like your conscious mind.
How much of your thinking each day is novel? It takes less energy to think the same thoughts we did yesterday, and so your body is rewarded for doing so—physically and energetically.
The subconscious and conscious mind work together to mold our experience. It’s just that we spend most of our day responding to the same autonomic thoughts from our subconscious. But when we do interrupt those subconscious processes, bringing a new awareness to our reality, we see things differently.
Whatever the conscious mind focuses on, it can control. Thus, intention is necessary for us to control our reality. What we have control over, we have power over. So intention also increases the power of our thoughts.
COVID-19 is a transformational agent calling on us to create the conditions for a new world—Shamballah.
Yes, of course I acknowledge the tremendous pain and tragedy due to the pandemic. As I write, the outbreak is still getting worse in the USA. The markets are in a terrible state, and you have to arrange your grocery pick-up at least 10 days in advance to have a chance of getting anything on your list. We have to look the truth straight in the face in times like these in order to take empowered action.
I see this time as a transformational opportunity, to slow down or halt certain businesses, cultures, systems and try to recreate a new way of operating coming out of the experience caused by this virus.
As Ken Wilbur notes above, when we can direct our thoughts to the highest energy, deepest love, grandest compassion, we can find something truly novel, something truly evolutionary, something new that this world has never seen.
Are you making choices based on low vibrations of fear and worry? Or are you looking for what you can give? Are you looking to be in service? Are you looking for how you can be open to Spirit? Are you thinking high, deep, and grand thoughts? Or are you thinking small, closed, fragmented ones?
This is a choice you’re making right now that will direct the course of your life for many months to come. Will the new world you create be a slightly modified version of the old, or will you try something completely new this time? Will you stay operating from the old programming of the subconscious, or will you enlist that help of your conscious, creative mind and envision a new way of living?
Meditate on that. I look forward to what you create…
Here’s a dirty little secret…”altered states of consciousness” is a total misnomer.
Altered states of consciousness are necessary and inevitable milestones on the path to enlightenment and consciousness development.
In this series of blogs (this is the first), we’ll dive deeper into why consciousness expansion and altered states of consciousness are necessary on your spiritual path.
Let’s take a look at what’s going on…
What’s actually altering in your brain
Our real-time experience is colored or informed by our prior experiences. Whenever we experience something new, our physical brain ‘expands’ by strengthening neuronal connections, essentially voting for that perceived reality next time our brain has to discern what’s happening to us. If we encounter something similar in the future, our brain will go ‘Aha!’ I have a file for that, and will go activate that set of neurons in the brain.
This happens again and again until we’ve experienced that same experience so many times, we don’t even ‘think’ about it anymore. Our brains quickly fill in the gaps, so much that we’re likely to miss out on details from a new event that reminds us of a past event. If there is anything different about the experience, our brain will actually filter that information out and replace it with what it thinks is happening instead, and we misperceive our reality.
If we do happen to notice what doesn’t ‘belong’, and if our expectations are very different than the actual experience, we experience stress. This is your brain trying to figure out how it possibly could have made a mistake, because in its world, everything should be continuing to advance along a continuum toward sameness, predictability, and stability.
You see, the brain is trying to conserve resources. If we perceived and had to think about every detail of our experience all the time, it would be just way too much information. Our brain is constantly programming the subconscious to be able to take on responses and reactions to our environment so the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain engaged in conscious processing, can focus on more ‘important’ matters, like novel experiences.
What is consciousness?
Consciousness expansion can sometimes be misinterpreted to mean simply paying more attention, or mindfulness by people outside the industry. If you’re a psychonaut, shamanic journeyer, or other regular ‘explorer’ of conscious states, you’ll note that there is nothing really expanding here. We are simply using the full capacity of our current resources to better perceive our environment, ‘raising’ our awareness rather than relying on subconscious processes to navigate reality. Humans are notorious for underutilizing their existing resources.
Consciousness expansion, rather, is about whole new perceptions in the field of information and stimulus around us. It’s not about perceiving what we already CAN perceive, it’s about perceiving NOVEL stimuli we didn’t previously have access to before. It’s like perceiving a new color all of a sudden. The color was always there, yet we didn’t have the faculty to perceive it or discern it from the information field we are accessing through our consciousness. We didn’t see it as novel or unique.
For example, in Homer’s the Odyssey, the color blue is not mentioned once in the book. This is striking in that much of the book is about a sea voyage. Homer uses the term ‘wine-dark sea.’ Blue was also the last color to appear in many ancient languages like Greek, Japanese, and Hebrew (where the oldest sample of anything blue is less than 2,000 years old). It seems that Ancient Egyptians were the first to have a word for ‘blue’ in that they were the first to produce blue dye.
Does this mean ancient civilizations didn’t see blue? Or did they just not perceive it as unique or novel in their environment? I argue that ancient people needed, and we need now, to expand our consciousness in order to experience the full spectrum of what’s available to us as human beings.
So what about this misnomer?
Consciousness expansion is actually about shifting OUT of our consciousness and into pure awareness. Wisdom traditions of old have studied this shift in humans for millennia, and the Tibetan Buddhists, in particular, have extremely well-developed systems for helping humans make this shift.
If we shift too far out of reality into pure awareness, people think we’re crazy. If we never leave our current reality, we cannot grow. This is where NOT having a solid footing in social norms established by shared agreement with other humans can result in various types of psychological diagnoses related to levels of psychosis. If we can’t come back to a shared reality, we get locked up by today’s mental institutions.
Regardless of your ability to come back to this version of reality, however, it’s helpful to have a guide.
So where do I find a guide?
Go no further than the Western Mystery tradition. The reason why we call it a ‘mystery’ tradition is not because power-hungry white guys have a need to keep secrets (they may, but not because of mystical knowledge). On the contrary, we are in the ‘age of no more secrets.’ The information is available to all who would seek further knowledge and Light.
As a Guide in the Hermetic lineage of King Salomon, I’ve given my life to serve those who truly seek ‘consciousness expansion,’ or whatever you think that means. Now we know what I mean by that at least—for me, and for the mystery traditions, it’s about embodying limitless divinity, not doing more mental gymnastics with your brain (such as reading a bunch of books and thinking you understand ritual, or memorizing a bunch of correspondences but not applying them).
The term ‘mystery’ is used simply because no one has the right to tell you, a unique expression of divinity, how you ultimately will perceive reality through your pure awareness because we all have unique DNA. Thus we all have a unique perspective, both physical and spiritual, on the world. The opportunity is for you to discover your own uniqueness. To ‘Know Thyself’ (in the words of the Oracle at Delphi) and to thrive in your unique strengths and proclivities that make for a fulfilling life…for you and you alone to judge (with that know-it-all brain of yours).
Ready to dive deeper into the mystery? Download my complimentary tool, the Rapid Transition Workbook and get started on your transformational journey today!
Tune in next month for the follow-up on this topic.
When it comes to consciousness studies, there are many systems you can use as a lens to organize and develop your understanding of the different states of consciousness available.
And states of consciousness are the goal people are after—sometimes the only goal in their spiritual pursuit.
Have you ever wondered why people who seem to be able to achieve a high state of consciousness can still be assholes? This is because simply pursuing a state of consciousness doesn’t take into account one’s worldview, perspective, and fundamental life orientation. Ken Wilbur in his latest book The Religion of Tomorrow calls this a ‘stage’ of ‘growing up’ as opposed to a ‘state’ of ‘waking up.’
You may be pursuing a state of consciousness from a very egotistical or biased view. Or from a place of wanting more power, money, sex, whatever. Have you ever known anyone who can experience or attain a high state of consciousness but is still racist, homophobic, or bigoted in their worldview?
Not only do these people exist, the world has numerous examples of whole traditions that are still misogynistic, homophobic, or racist. For example, the Theravada Buddhist tradition makes a clear distinction between what and how male and female contemplatives can practice. If you study in one of their temples like I have, you’ll notice that the women are kept very separate from the men, and they do drastically different tasks as well (like cleaning, cooking, and washing).
Of course, each tradition has very good reasons for doing this. In fact, there are important energetic differences between a male and female-bodied person. So, I’m not saying the whole Theravada Buddhist religion is misogynistic, I’m saying in my two-week observation of it, as an outsider, non-practitioner, with little context (including language) ONE ANGLE of it looked pretty misogynistic.
I say this with the deepest respect for my meditation teacher, the abbot of the monastery there.
How can this be?
If you follow Ken Wilbur’s writing on consciousness studies, he provides a fairly comprehensive explanation. I won’t try to summarize Ken Wilbur’s life work in one blog post, but for our purposes here it’s helpful to look at the difference between ‘states’ of ‘waking up’ and ‘stages’ of ‘growing up’ in consciousness studies.
Stages are like points of view, a way of seeing the world. Regardless of your stage, you can achieve a very high state of consciousness, it may just be limited by the point of view or perspective of your stage. For example, if your stage believes the gods are wrathful and vindictive, then all thunderstorms may seem like an angry message from the gods above.
Wilbur’s book Integral Psychology charts over a hundred different developmental modes or stages of ‘Growing Up’ that are used by developmental psychologists, spiritual traditions, and other authorities the world over.
States are simplified into four states: gross / subtle / causal / non-dual (dreamless). As you continue to dive deeper into meditation or dream-states you lose consciousness of manifest reality and rise into higher states of being that are not identified by any dualistic experience, but rather, an experience of oneness/Unity.
The problem arises when you achieve a high state of consciousness, but from a lower stage of consciousness, and you view your experience through the lens of that stage/perspective. So even if you’ve lived a perfect life in relation to the gods, and have achieved a high state of connection with them, well, you may become really confused when someone implies ‘them’ is actually ‘one’ god, a unity.
‘Wake Up’ AND ‘Grow Up’
The best perspective we will ever achieve on certain traditions and practices may be from the outside. Details of these systems, especially if they’re secret and reserved for the initiated, may never be revealed to us—and you can see by its fruits that the Theravada tradition, again just as an example in this case, was wildly successful in shepherding many generations of contemplatives through important breakthroughs in states of consciousness, so it’s clear they served an important purpose in human evolution.
But the question remains, do they still? Is this ‘stage’ of growth still relevant to our journey? Or rather, a better question, how do you know when you’ve moved beyond one stage to the next?
If you truly want to develop your consciousness, you must both ‘wake up’ and ‘grow up.’
You can explore that with the next guru you meet who doesn’t treat men and women, different racial groups, or sexual orientations equitably.
I for one would rather be in a stage of growth that honors all aspects of the identities of my sisters and brothers on the path to enlightenment. Unity with God is, after all, a birthright of ALL people, right?
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In the last post of this series, we covered the second stage of alchemy: dissolution. We also reminded ourselves that it’s important to remain non-attached. At the same time, you will not complete the alchemy process powerfully without uncovering your ‘burning desire’ that drives you towards your goal. Without the attractive force of this desire pulling you, you are in danger of getting lost in the journey of this alchemical transformation. Finding your way out is impossible until a concrete goal emerges.
Into a million pieces
As life continues to throw curve balls, we get thrown out of our normal routine, and start to see what the essence of our life is. Normally, this essence gets drowned in the day-to-day dross of our waking life, and sometimes we access it through the subconscious when we sleep. But overall, we are usually unaware of the influence this essence has on our thoughts, behaviors, habits, and outcomes in life.
When we get out of our normal routine, or try to alter our life in some way (like learning a new habit), it’s not uncommon for anger, resentment, frustration, and depression to emerge. We can often have trouble with emotional boundaries as well, not being sure exactly what we want, which has the unfortunate bonus feature of making us more prone to conflict in our relationships.
Have you ever felt so emotionally fragile like you could burst into a million shards of glass on the ground at any moment? That’s separation.
There is perspective to be gained by separating and distinguishing the parts of our life that often go unnoticed. Human beings are meaning making machines, and we go around constantly making up stories about what others think of us, how otherwise meaningless actions have ruined our day, and what we’re going to do about the past when we act in the future. Most times we are not actually present to (and appreciating) what is!
Taking a moment to see each of those stories for what they are, mental objects that take up time and energy, that drive our thoughts, opinions, and actions. They enable us to move those otherwise subconscious drives to the conscious mind where we can evaluate and choose our relationship with them, rather than be driven by them. Freud was a big proponent of this theory of unconscious drives, and ended up taking it further, forming the concept of the id (or instincts/drives) as opposed to the superego (or conscience), which, from a metaphysical perspective, is necessarily aligned with our Higher Self.
In this stage of alchemy called separation, we separate out the parts of the whole that we were not noticing before, and we look at them. We start to see all kinds of relationships we never saw before. We compare and contrast the different parts of ourselves that make being a human so rewarding, giving color to our experience and rhythm to our steps. We have to have the honesty and integrity required within ourselves to acknowledge those parts of us that we don’t necessarily like before we can move towards wholeness.
Seeing the unseeable
After a particularly nasty breakup with his ex, Riley basically repressed her feelings for a year and it took her awhile to feel open to dating again. Understandably, when she put herself out there to date again, she had all kinds of caveats. “I’m never dating that kind of person again,” she decided. So she evaluated every prospective partner that came into her life from the lens of that list of traits she’d rather like to avoid, lest she find herself in the same position as last year, emotionally bruised and battered, closing herself off again to the happiness she was sure she could find if she just had another (not so crazy) partner.
She had one particularly memorable dating experience where, after dinner, she was feeling particularly attracted to her date, and decided to invite him over to her house for an after dinner aperitif. No sooner had they entered then the comments began. “Oh, what a nice space. I really like your sofa. How long have you lived in this house? Where did you get those curtains?” Riley was beside herself, one of the things on her list was no critical comments, because she felt emotionally shunned by her ex, who was always evaluating and criticizing her. Riley felt like she could never live up to his standard, so she ended the relationship.
Now it was happening all over again, except that it was happening with each person she became close with. Once the intimacy started to increase, she would start to get these comments. First they were relatively innocuous, but then later, there was some tension or even outright conflict. Riley didn’t know how to resolve this recurring issue.
One day, while at coffee with a friend, Riley was detailing how her most recent date wasn’t going to cut it again, when her friend stopped her and leaned over to say, “Riley, don’t you see a pattern here. Whenever you want to get intimate with someone, you immediately close yourself off, which defeats the whole purpose!”
Riley started to look at her most recent dates, and she was flabbergasted. Her friend was right, she always reacted with resistance whenever anyone got close enough to ask her a question that really mattered. She withdrew as soon as people were just getting to know her. This was no way to create a relationship.
Once Riley saw this in her behavior, she was able to catch herself going down that trail, and decided to she her experience differently. “No, he’s not trying to criticize me, he’s just curious because he doesn’t know! I haven’t shared that part of myself with him yet.”
After this, Riley was able to have a relatively long-term relationship again. Though still looking for that life partner, she is enjoying emotionally-fulfilling relationships both with her intimate partners and her friends.
“He [William S Burroughs] has no patience for my kind of neurosis, I know… But since then I’ve been facing my nature full in the face and the result is a purge.”
― Jack Kerouac, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters
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Photo by Leonardo Sanches on Unsplash
Bringing love back into your life is a continual process of death and renewal. The world’s wisdom traditions suggest that we cannot know greater levels of love without knowing greater levels of suffering.
While some people are turned off by this concept, they still accept simple karma. There is always a give and a take. For every severe action, there’s a compassionate one to bring back the balance. And I don’t think these wisdom teachers of ages past are saying that we must endure suffering, or that we must suffer in order to love.
Transform suffering into Love
Transforming suffering is a well-worn path by most Buddhist scholars and teachers, so my intent is not to revisit the theory and methods here, just to remind us that other ways of being in the world exist.
We need a fundamental re-framing of what love is. For our purposes here, let’s say that love is an appreciation of everything that I have right now in this moment. The experience of love is connection…to everything at this time—experiences of suffering and experiences of joy are equally contained within my love when I don’t run away from them, but actually lean into the experience.
Our wisdom teachings are saying that there is an opportunity to transform the experience of suffering in this way. This is more available if we are willing to show up and meet the “negative ego” face-to-face. The negative ego being that part of us that blocks the full expression of who we really are. It’s that part that holds us back from expressing the true power of our divinity.
Everyday we are challenged not to be a Buddha as much as we are to relinquish what we think we know to make space for a new way of being in the world. It’s a choice. But it’s a choice we must make whether we’re conscious of it or not.
Not everyone relates to a missed bus or a thwarted attempt at a good night kiss the same way. It can ruin some people’s mental balance if another person cuts in front of them in line. A whole day can be rocked learning that your child got in a fight at school.
These are all teaching experiences. They are all the universe asking us a deep, fundamental question: How would you like to be (in love)? As a separated, self-interested consciousness, or an aspect of universal spirit collaborating with others for our collective greatness?
It’s all love. How would you like to experience it?