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The Evolution of Consciousness: The Subtle Body & How It Evolves – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, Kamlesh D. Patel described the three main bodies that together, form the base of life forms on earth. In this second article of the series, he explores one of these in depth; the subtle body, and how it evolves.

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In Part 1 of this series, Kamlesh D. Patel described the three main bodies that together, form the base of life forms on earth. In this second article of the series, he explores one of these in depth; the subtle body, and how it evolves.

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THE SCIENCE OF SPIRITUALITY


Which body evolves?

Understanding that we have these three bodies – physical, subtle, and causal – we can then ask, which of these bodies is evolving?

The soul is immutable. It is pure, absolute and unchangeable, and so the causal body does not evolve.

The physical body cannot change much. Its structure is fixed, although some minor changes can occur in weight, posture and fitness etc., but we cannot grow extra arms, wings to fly, or a tail in this lifetime.

It is the subtle body that can evolve, so that we can design our destiny. It changes according to how we purify and simplify it, so that the joy of the soul shines and radiates from within, and through this process we find the evolution of consciousness.

The Subtle Body

The subtle body is a vibrational field; the heart-mind field. Depending on how we manage this field, it can either be turbulent and complex, like a roaring ocean during a storm, or, at the other extreme, it can be like a still pond where even a feather landing on the surface creates ripples. This is where a spiritual practice has a vital role to play, as it gives us the techniques to regulate, purify, and simplify this field, bringing clarity, stillness, and peace.

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In yogic philosophy the heart is known as the field of action for the mind. This is a vast topic. Let’s start to explore what this means.

There are four main functions of the subtle body within this vibrational field – consciousness (chit), thinking and feeling (manas), intellect (buddhi) and ego (ahankar). They work in an interactive way together to make up what we know as the mind.

Of these four, consciousness is our focus here. The other three have their existence in consciousness. Consciousness is as good as a canvas to a painter, and within consciousness the play of the other three bodies is orchestrated daily.

How do we actively allow our consciousness to expand and evolve? It is not enough just to wish it so. We need to understand how a spiritual practice contributes towards this evolution by creating the conditions for stilling the mind progressively at deeper and deeper levels, and opening up the inner universe.

At a physical level, when I want to strengthen my body muscles I have to exercise my body. Similarly, for the mind to evolve so that consciousness can expand, I must use what belongs to that subtle plane of existence. First, it is important to understand that the evolution of consciousness has nothing to do with the acquisition of knowledge. Second, consciousness in itself will not expand or evolve without the help of buddhimanas and ahankar to free it. Intellect has to evolve to help expand consciousness and ego must evolve, contributing to the evolution of consciousness.


Unless and until we meditate properly, and unless and until we regulate
our minds properly, our consciousness will not evolve.

Meditation

What does meditation have to do with this? We meditate to regulate our minds. An unregulated mind is pulled by wishes and desires, fears and habits, in many different directions. The mind becomes weak as it scatters in many different channels. In contrast, a regulated mind brings focus, and promotes well- being. Unless and until we meditate properly, and unless and until we regulate our minds properly, our consciousness will not evolve.

Manasbuddhi and ahankar are all refined and developed through meditation, especially manas as we learn to simplify our thinking process from many channels to one channel, then deepen it to feeling. Thus the habit of ‘feeling’ is slowly cultivated from ‘thinking’.

Developing the Meditative State Further

Holding and nurturing the condition received in meditation throughout the day is a byproduct of good meditation, and helps us regulate and deepen the mind to an even higher level. When we are in this state of constant awareness or remembrance of the inner state, we do not allow our canvas to be spoilt, so consciousness remains afresh. The canvas remains clean and is not destroyed by the multifarious impressions we form.

Imagine the heart-mind vibrational field having a spectrum of consciousness spanning the subconscious, conscious, and superconscious states. Swami Vivekananda once said, “Consciousness is a mere film between two oceans, the subconscious and the superconscious.” Or you can imagine the subconscious as being like the ocean, consciousness like the surface of the land, and superconsciousness like the sky going out into the universe. As we evolve, our consciousness expands into both the subconscious and superconscious realms, traveling through the vast infinity of the human potential. Another way of saying this is that we go deeper and deeper into the vastness of the heart, from our starting point at the surface.


Wisdom is to utilize all our faculties at their best.
Wisdom is to have the maximum output with the minimum input.

Buddhi and Prayer

In this process of diving deeper, the intellect, buddhi, becomes more and more heart-based. Intuition and inspiration develop, and buddhi becomes fine-tuned, like a sensitive antenna picking up the signals of the heart. Intellect evolves into a state of wisdom. Often we think of a wise person as someone who makes wise choices, but here we go further into a different dimension where choice is no longer required, as the heart’s wisdom is pure and correct.

There is a big difference between an intellectual person and a wise person, and here the spiritual practice of prayer helps us to move from mere intellect to wisdom. Prayer takes us into the heart, connecting us to the Source, where we are able to let go of any mistakes we have made, deciding not to make the same mistakes again. Is this not wisdom? Whereas if we succumb to making foolish mistakes day after day, hour after hour, we are not becoming wiser. We become wiser when we wish to change from the bottom of our hearts and ask for help to do so. When we live with this attitude every moment, wisdom flourishes.

Wisdom is to utilise all our faculties at their best. Wisdom is to have the maximum output with the minimum input. With minimum action we have the maximum result. Only with a meditative mind, only through meditative acts in our day-to-day life, can we expect to have such good results.

Purifying and Simplifying the Subtle Body Through Cleaning

For this to happen, the heart-mind field has to be purified, otherwise it is like expecting to see the bottom of a lake through muddy, turbulent water. There is no clarity in a turbulent mind. The spiritual practice of cleaning past impressions is therefore also necessary for consciousness to evolve.

Ahankar

The third aspect of the subtle body is ego, ahankar. Ego plays a vital role in whether or not expansion or evolution of consciousness occurs. Ego is often seen as the bad guy by spiritual practitioners of all traditions, but ego is also essential for our evolution. It is the active function of the mind – the doing, thinking function – and we need it in every aspect of daily life, even to have the craving to evolve. It gives us our identity. It is the activating or initiating force. If it is used wisely, it serves us well, like any other resource, but it is often misused, and this is what we commonly refer to as being egotistical. When ego is used for selfish purpose, we become arrogant and self-important, whereas if we constantly refine the ego, consciousness develops very rapidly.

What does it mean to refine the ego? The more humility we have, the less the egotistical proliferations. All great spiritual teachers have given so much importance to this aspect of character formation. They have valued this quality so highly that humility at any cost must be maintained, whether towards a child, a poor person, or a stranger. The philosophy here is that there is nothing wrong in thinking yourself to be great, but always think the other person in front of you is greater.

Ego can be like a black hole. It can have the greatest gravitational pull upon our consciousness. It will not allow consciousness to expand. Just as the earth’s gravitational pull does not allow us to fall into infinite space, likewise our ego can hold consciousness to its core. An example of this is a very narcissistic person, who is undergoing a devolutionary process where consciousness contracts in on itself to its core, and can become like a stone. In contrast, by transcending the relationship with the ego by refining it, becoming more and more humble, consciousness can expand infinitely.

Ego manifests in many ways. For example, in a music concert, when I am happily playing my flute as a performer, it gives so much joy and the audience reciprocates accordingly. But as an artist, I will not be happy unless I surpass my previous performances all the time. The manifested ego makes me perform well. But to think that no one can play the flute better than myself is not a welcome manifestation of ego. Ego can be our best friend in helping us outperform our own past records.


Ego can be like a black hole.
It can have the greatest gravitational pull upon our consciousness.
It will not allow consciousness to expand.

Manas

The fourth function of the subtle body is manas, which is the function of contemplation. During meditation, the first step is to bring the mind from many and varied thoughts to one thought, for example in Heartfulness it is the source of Divine Light in the heart. But it is not necessary that all throughout the meditation this thought should haunt us. The thought should leave at some point so that the object of thought can be felt in the heart.

If all you do is think this one thought throughout the meditation, you will have a headache and consciousness will not expand. This initial thought is just the springboard, to take us deeper so that we dissolve in the feeling of the presence of the Divine Light. You have to feel that presence and while you are feeling that presence slowly you disappear, and even feeling is gone. The ego is gone; you are not even there to experience it.

So as manas evolves through a meditation practice, feeling develops, and eventually we go beyond feeling to a state of being, then to a state of becoming, and finally unbecoming to merge into the Absolute state of existence.

Chit

So buddhimanas and ahankar evolve through spiritual practice, and with this the subtle body becomes lighter, purer and simpler, like the still pond with minimal ripples. With this, consciousness is able to expand and evolve.

What do we then do with this expanded consciousness we receive? Let’s say I have a particular state of mind, and I am aware that the condition is so good. After meditation, I go off to work. It is not enough just to hold that condition; I must be able to radiate that condition wilfully, consciously, and with the confidence that wherever I go it will spread its fragrance on its own.

So after meditation think for a while that, “The condition which is within me is also outside me. Everything around me is absorbed in a similar state. When I look at people, or talk to them, or listen to them, or I am silent, let that condition spread everywhere.” Let consciousness expand wherever it can go.

To be continued…


Article by KAMLESH D. PATEL

About Kamlesh D. Patel

Kamlesh Patel is the world teacher of Heartfulness, and the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga. He oversees Heartfulness centers and ashrams in over 150 countries, and guides the thousands of certified Heartfulness trainers who are permitted to impart Yogic Transmission under his care. Known to many as Daaji, he is also an innovator and researcher, equally at home in the inner world of spirituality and the outer world of science, blending the two into transcendental research on the evolution of consciousness. Building on the insights of his first Guide, Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, he is expanding our understanding of the purpose of human existence to a new level, so necessary at this pivotal time in human history.

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Consciousness

Magic: Thoughts From Plato & Manly P. Hall To Modern Day Scientists – Is “Magic” Real?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Concept of 'magic' has been written about and explored for thousands of years. It's always been a large part of history and ancient mysticism, and today, "magical" concepts are being explored by science, mostly in the form of parapsychology.

  • Reflect On:

    Are there concepts of our reality we have yet to understand? Are there concepts we turn away from that have ample evidence, but simply push the boundaries of the mind a little too far to accept? Perhaps things are changing

“The underlying, primary psychic reality is so inconceivably complex that it can be grasped only at the farthest reach of intuition, and then but very dimly. That is why it needs symbols.” – Carl Jung

What is ceremonial magic? The works of multiple scholars, from Plato to Manly P. Hall and further down the line, suggest it is essentially the use of rituals and techniques to invoke and control “spirits” or lifeforms that could be existing within other dimensions or worlds. For example, according to Hall, “a magician, enveloped in sanctified vestments and carrying a wand inscribed with hieroglyphic figures, could by the power vested in certain words and symbols control the invisible inhabitants of the elements and of the astral world. While the elaborate ceremonial magic of antiquity was not necessarily evil, there arose from its perversion several false schools of sorcery, or black magic.” (source)

Yet if we examine the works of Plato, we see he specifically condemns, both in the Laws and in the Republic, the idea that “gods” can be influenced by the performance of certain rituals — called “necromancy” or “magical attack.” He believed those who try to control the spirit world should be penalized. (source)

Socrates, about whom Plato wrote much, also spoke of an entity that guided him. It was never given a name, but references to it ranged from daemon to daimon. Socrates believed this entity was a gift, and manifested itself in the form of the voice within, something we all possess. His communication with this entity was actually used as one of the charges against him when he was put to death. Socrates believed it to be a link between mortal man and God.

Socrates seems to be an exception when it comes to using these concepts for perverse reasons, and, as Hall points out, he provided evidence that “the intellectual and moral status of the magician has much to do with the type of elemental he is capable of invoking. But even the daemon of Socrates deserted the philosopher when the sentence of death was passed.” (source)

He was put to death for “corrupting the youth” and spreading “false” information amongst the people, but looking back, he seems to be a figure more like our modern day revolutionaries than a malevolent influence, put to death for exposing the aristocracy’s secrets and encouraging people to question the true nature of reality, to question the doctrine that had been provided to the masses by those in power.

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There are also native records containing abundant evidence that the civilizations of Central and South America were heavily involved in these types of arts, both black and white magics. This is well documented in the Popuol Vuh.

If such information is true, it’s hardly surprising. Human beings have always been subject to the lure of power, driven by their ego, greed, and shortsightedness. It’s disconcerting to imagine this power of working with the spirit world in the hands of those who would use it for their own reasons, taken by the power of black magic.

Fast forward to our modern day, and you have stories like that of Dr. Johannes Faust. Through his study of magic, he was able to conjure up an extra-dimensional who served him for many years is several different ways. There is even an excerpt from The Book of Dr. Faust, Wittenberg, 1524 describing his experience. (source)

Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader, is another example. He used to tell of a “Little Red Man of Destiny,” a ‘spirit’ that appeared at a Royal Palace. Apparently when something important was happening, he would appear. This man, and what others now consider to be silly superstitions and folklore beliefs, genuinely influenced Napoleon and his actions and guided his campaigns. (source)

According to Hall, The Little Red Man of Destiny is an example “of the disastrous results of permitting elemental beings to dictate the course of human procedure.” (source)

Phenomena like these appear in various cultures during different time periods all throughout human history, so what makes us think these practices have stopped today?

There is even a modus operandi for the invocation of spirits in various texts, one being The Complete Book of Magic Science that, according to Hall, was first published in the original British Museum. This is also mentioned by other studies of occult philosophy, like Francis Barret in his Magus, where he describes the use of symbols and more things relating to the occult.

Living creatures existing in a world we cannot perceive have been the subject of lore dating back countless years. It’s embedded in the stories and passed down orally, and written about in multiple religious texts like the Bible and the Quran. I am not referring to extraterrestrial beings in this case, but rather to beings existing in realms indistinguishable to our senses.

Black vs. White Magic

A distinction is made early in the article about black magic and white magic. Basically, black magic is the process of using entities to accomplish a goal through ceremonial magic.

Hall writes:

By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy. . . . The most dangerous form of black magic is the scientific perversion of occult power for the gratification of personal desire.  (source)

According to scholars of various philosophies, there occurred, long ago, a systematic destruction of all keys to wisdom, so that no one else could have access to the knowledge. Whoever did it completely inverted the rituals of the ancient mysteries while claiming to preserve them, believing what they did was the right thing to do.

Magic also uses symbols and sacred geometry. Black magic, on the other hand, uses inverted symbolism, taking pure symbols with noble meanings and perverting them. Inverted symbolism seems to be the way to invoke spirits for malevolent purposes.

“They mutilated the rituals of the Mysteries while professing to preserve them, so that even though the neophyte passed through the degrees (Free-Masonry) he could not secure the knowledge to which he was entitled. Idolatry was introduced by encouraging the worship of the images which in the beginning the wise had erected solely as symbols for study and meditation. False interpretations were given to the emblems and figures of the Mysteries, and elaborate theologies were created to confuse the minds of their devotees. ” (1)

It appears there were many black magicians throughout history who strayed from the noble concepts that underly the core of spirituality and working with the spirit world.

White magic, on the other hand, deals with the noble, the morally pure, and cannot be used to accomplish selfish ends. Ego, greed, and personal desire have no place in white magic.

I agree with Socrates that the concepts of white magic exist within all of us and can be used as powerful tools of manifestation, provided one is pure in their heart and intention. It’s simple, and cannot be used as a means to an end, or to fulfil a specific personal desire.

A Scientific Perspective

Proponents of what we now call ‘magic’  include nearly all ancient literature from all parts of the world, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, all the way to Moses, Jesus, Milarepa and Mohammed. Donald Lopez Jr., a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and the University of Michigan provides a great example in describing the Buddha:

With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body…Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)

The crazy thing is there are also modern day examples, but they mostly come from the black budget government programs. In 2016, I published a well-sourced article providing multiple examples from a CIA document that confirms the existence of humans with ‘special abilities’ who are able to do ‘impossible’ things. It’s titled “Research into Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers.”  and it outlines how documented cases of children and adults who have the ability to teleport small objects from one location to another, using their mind. Why would the CIA archive this document? The study was done under controlled conditions.

Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has published a book called “Real Magic.” It has received praise from multiple scientists, including Nobel Laureates.

Dr. Carl Jung once stated, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” This is something we should all hold in our minds as we examine this or other claims that are not part of our current perception.

The amount of statistically significant results when it comes to this reality, usually dubbed as “parapsychology,” is very significant. We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of studies that have been conducted worldwide for decades.

There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. —Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

A lot of the statistical results for parapsychology are just as strong, if not in some cases more significant, than a lot of the results which emerge from hard sciences, like physics and mechanical engineering. The Department of Defense has stated that results in this area are a clear sign that these phenomena are real, despite the fact that they are still somewhat unexplainable. As far back as 1999, a statistics professor even published a paper showing the results dealing with parapsychology and mind-body connection are a lot stronger than the results used to approve some of our medications. That study was done by Dr. Jessica Utts, as statistics professor in California who had this to say about Radin’s book:

Real Magic illustrates the limitations of 20th century science and proposes a more comprehensive view that incorporates ideas that have been associated with magic throughout the ages. Blending history, humor, and plausible hypotheses, Dean Radin illustrates that there is a staggering amount of evidence for a broader view of science that offers hope for the future of humanity.”

Another review:

“A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.” —Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

Today, hundreds of scientists are coming together to emphasize that matter is not the only reality. They’ve created a manifesto, and you can find links and access more information about this initiative, which started a few years ago, in an article we published here.

“Some scientists are confident that we already know what is and is not possible. But the truth is that science is very much in its infancy. To advance our understanding requires bold excursions into domains some might consider heretical, including esoteric legends about magic that have persisted for thousands of years. This is what Dean Radin sets out to do with Real Magic. In my judgment, it succeeds in blazing new trails. Well worth the read.” — Kary Mullis PhD, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry)

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Consciousness

Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller’s Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 42-hour lecture series titled Everything I Know, by Buckminister Fuller, is now available to download at the Internet Archive.

  • Reflect On:

    Can we do things here differently on planet Earth? Do we have the potential, technological capability and solutions in order to create a new human experience that provides abundance to all?

Buckminister Fuller was truly ahead of his time, he was a humanitarian and an activist that provided multiple alternative ways of thought as well as critical questioning with regards to the human experience and how we are currently living here on planet Earth. He was one of many visionaries that could easily see how the human race could operate differently, in a manner where everybody could have their needs met, and provided ways that the human race could actually live in harmony with the planet. Fuller wrote over 30 books, registered 28 United States patents, and kept a diary documenting his entire life. These achievements and others have also made Fuller the subject of at least four documentaries and numerous books, articles, and papers, but it’s always best to hear someones thoughts straight from the source, and now you can do that. A  42-hour lecture series titled Everything I Know, is available to download at the Internet Archive.  You can listen to a part of it in the video below.

I really resonate with a lot of what Fuller shared, especially when it comes to our current system and the way we do things here, and how completely unnecessary and absurd it is. I agree with Fuller, that “One in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a wage.”  Today, we have that capability, and living in that kind of a world would be one devoid of power. It would be a service to others type of community, one that thrived off of cooperation, and not competition, and one where people who sought power would no longer be able to do so.

Imagine if the human race was free? Imagine if we didn’t have to continue doing the same thing, going to school, and finding a job so we can earn a wage to live. What would we do? I believe it’s in our natural state to explore, to be curious, I believe if we created that type of human experience we’d be travelling the stars in no time.

I won’t go into any specific examples. I’ll let you ponder how a utopian society would work, or how all of our needs could easily be provided for. Scarcity is something that doesn’t have to exist, neither does supply and demand. There are solutions and technologies out there that threaten the concept of scarcity, yet they never see the light of day. Our current economic models were all creations by what’s known today as “the 1 percent.” The system was designed to benefit them, not us. Something new needs to be created, a new way of life that requires the complete shut down and change of our current economic model. Just as Fuller said:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” 

At the end of the day, the concept of “money” alone in my mind is absolutely ridiculous.

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 33: The Ocean)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

33. The Ocean

On this morning like most every morning since the beginning, the ocean rolled its waves rhythmically onto the beach on the island of Allandon. Over time the waves had milled the sand into tiny granules, making the beach a pleasant conversation-space for the ocean and the island.

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“Today I am at peace with the rush of your waves upon my shore,” the island said, his tone on this day alive with curiosity and bereft of bitterness. “But other days it brings me unease. Why is that so?”

“I commend you for your growing awareness,” the ocean replied. “You are starting to see that ours is necessarily a relationship of love and of fear, of joy and sorrow, of acceptance and denial.”

“I don’t fully understand,” said the island.

“Of course not,” she laughed. “What would be left to do if you fully understood?”

And as had happened many times before, the island fell into silent frustration.

“My dear island, if only you could see that understanding is no greater than confusion, then you could just revel in your search for understanding.”

Still, the island was silent. And the ocean tried to soothe him with the gentle sound of her waves.

“Behold the life that has been created upon you, the trees, the flowers, the creatures that walk and buzz about.”

“Do you wish me to thank you for it?” the island asked.

“That would hardly be necessary—if you could see that you have created it.”

“And how can I see that? When I fully accept that I am a part of you?”

“It is no longer a question of accepting that you are a part of me,” the ocean said tenderly, “but rather of fathoming that I am a part of you.”

Nobody ever said the game that is the evolution of consciousness was an easy one to play. However, in a very real sense, it’s the only game in town. And we have all chosen to participate in it, just by being here. We are at a fascinating stage of the process, on the cusp of our definitive awakening, which will bring us to a collective awareness of ourselves as the fountainhead of consciousness itself, playing out as separate beings in a material world.

The great difficulty of this part of the process has been facing the intense loneliness and isolation, more profound than at any time in our history. It’s like moving out of childhood, when we get weaned off those things that give us a sense of security and belonging, and have to stand on our own two feet and become responsible for our lives. As conscious beings we have been driven ever further from the womb of creation, plunged into the darkness in order to forge a complex ‘I’ capable of self-awareness.

To make way for this move to a heightened self-awareness many of the traditional structures we have relied on at other times in our history have broken down. Blood-line ties are no longer the bond they once were. Religious structures have lost much of their power and have become splintered and fragmented. All manner of social conventions have been challenged. And those things that we once relied on to bring us together, our nationhood, our culture, our values and beliefs, are also being brought into question. So many of us feel the discomfort, either from clinging to beliefs that we have outgrown or from sensing there is no belief that we can count on at all. It is no wonder that ours is a society driven to distraction, rushing and competing, fighting and acquiring, using each other simply as a means of validation, all the time getting less satisfaction from it all.

Perfect.

For it is amid the disappointment, the despair, the dissatisfaction and the desperate seeking for something real to believe in that the definitive awakening occurs. When we grow tired of the tried and untrue avenues and feel like we have nowhere else to turn, we may finally choose to look into the teeth of our loneliness with a sincere mind and an open heart, and truly be humbled by something beyond ourselves. It is at this moment that, in spite of our disdain for religious dogmatism, we awaken to the fact that we are never really alone, that there is a loving presence that has been waiting patiently for us to open our heart in order to guide us. Once this is grasped, or more properly when it is deeply felt, a new doorway into possibility opens for us. We suddenly understand what it means to pray to be an instrument of a greater purpose.

This guiding presence answers our most sincere and probing questions, in the quietest and softest of our internal thoughts. The tone is much more subtle than our interaction with the physical world—and that is as it was meant to be. It is only when we perceive our interaction with this guiding force in freedom and choice can the experience truly impact the evolution of our consciousness. To follow the dictates of a higher force out of obligation or duty is often a helpful experience, but to do so fully out of choice is pure and utter bliss.

We have personified this guiding force in many ways: as a god such as Krishna of Hinduism or Zeus of Greek mythology; as a transcendent master such as Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed, or the founder of a spiritual tradition that has spawned a long line of gurus; as spirit guides or angels, or even a departed loved one; as animals that cross our path or indeed nature itself, the wind and the sun, the moon and the stars; as signs that emanate from our physical bodies, or our dreams; even as the synchronicities that occur in our everyday lives.

All can be valuable in putting a face to the faceless One, the Brahman, Allah, God, Dao. Which is the right one? Simple. The one that personally resonates with us the most. For they all provide clues that guide us in the direction we really want to go. All we need to do is decide whether to pay attention to them or not. This is our ultimate choice, the foundation of our free will. Do I go with the flow, or against it? Do I choose Love, or Fear? Do I live consciously, or unconsciously?

I have called this guiding force our Dao Self, and I do so to particularly emphasize that our guiding force is actually who we really are. But because we have forgotten who we are, we don’t fully recognize the Dao Self as Our Self, we see it as an Other Self. This allows our Dao Self to guide who we think we are—our Ego Self—into the experience of being alive. In fact it is the only way experience itself is possible. Our Ego Self is really our ticket into the material world, but in order to have the experiences that we most deeply desire, it becomes essential to let the Dao Self lead and the Ego Self follow. As the Ego Self gets more complex, it becomes more capable of choosing whether or not to follow—which then makes following the Dao Self an increasingly profound and exhilarating experience.

Our Dao Self bathes us in guidance with the regularity of waves on the beach. But this is done ever so quietly, patiently and without judgment, providing a space for us to step into when we are ready. In this way, our conversation with the Dao Self is like the new conversation. In fact it is the original new conversation, a model that has been with us since the birth of consciousness, since the first day the island awoke and noticed that it was separate from the ocean.

From that moment we have had a deep longing to return to oneness, but life itself has a longing of its own—for ever greater diversity. In the evolution of all species there is a pull towards greater variety, greater complexity. Our lives are animated by the dance between the longing for unity and the longing for diversity. Today, this dance is moving us towards a more integrated and functional relationship between our rationality and our intuition, our darkness and our light, our Ego Self and our Dao Self. These polarities are getting closer together as our evolution proceeds, but like an exponential curve on a graph, the curve approaches the axis but is never able to touch it.

While the guidance of our Dao Self can come through gods and prophets, spirit guides and angels, more and more today it is coming through each other, for we too can serve as personifications of this guiding force. Despite all our flaws and foibles, faults and failings, we are becoming better placed to be a face and voice of each other’s Dao Self—after all, we share the same Dao Self. There is only One.

For this to work, we are called to establish a sacred trust in our conversations, one that grows the more we create a space of non-judgment, and live from a paradigm that is inclusive of all others—just like our Dao Self does. The better we get at doing this, the more we are able to provide one another with the leverage and traction to evolve, to move into a self that is much bigger, more powerful, more loving than we know ourselves to be.

Certainly we are free to try to go it alone, to insist that our path is uniquely ours and we cannot be following someone else. This may get us a little ways down the path, but eventually it will leave us stranded. If we are to fulfill our deepest desire to unite, part of our mission will always involve accepting help from others. And when we become lost or stranded, the best way to find our way again is by helping another to find their way. Our purposes become ever more entwined as we get closer to the top of the mountain and sense our profound connectedness.

Brave climber, fret not

When the slope is steep and,

Anxious to ascend,

You reach up for that helping hand

And find none.

For this moment too is precious.

It invites you not

To reach up but down,

To another who may be searching

For your helping hand.

For we chase the heights together,

Tethered by purpose,

And moderated by a rhythm

That delivers the most and least likely among us

As one to the view from on high.

Herein lies the perfection of our universe. If we look at the miracle that is the human body, we see billions upon billions of individual cells working together, each with a very specific function and purpose. And these cells are in constant communication with each other, governed by a single mind, checking and testing that their own functioning is perfectly aligned with the purpose of the organism as a whole. Every one of these cells are organisms themselves, which are graced in the same way by the synchrony of each atom and molecule that constitutes them.

From on high we can see that the entire universe is a living organism, where the individual destinies of its component parts are bound by a unified purpose. From the microscopic to the macroscopic, there are organisms nested within organisms, atoms and molecules, our individual bodies, our communities and nations, our planet and our solar system and in the universe beyond. Uni-verse literally means ‘one song’, and represents a stage where we are all part of one great and harmonious choir. Chief Seattle was right when he said ‘Everything is connected’.

What is special about human beings is that we can be fully conscious of our role, and actually have been given a choice as to how we will participate in this grand process. Here we can finally understand why the all-powerful, omniscient Creator doesn’t step in to set things right when the planet goes out of balance and we are not working together. It is because we are meant to have the opportunity to realize that we are the all-powerful creators of this world.

Like the cells of our body, we are all connected by a single mind. We are forging new pathways of communication with each other in order to unite around our common purpose. The mandate of the new conversation is to bring a critical mass of people to a certain threshold, one that will rouse the whole of humanity to its definitive awakening. While we certainly don’t need to talk to every person on the planet to reach this critical mass, every human being is invited to step in whenever they choose. One conversation at a time, we are waking each other up from the slumber of unconsciousness, so that we can be present together to the wonder of our creation.

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