How Conscious Are You?
Wake up to a harmonious world!
Published: May 1, 2011
by Steve Taylor
A new vision of higher consciousness.
We are in the cave, looking at the shadows on the wall. Our vision of an inanimate, separate and indifferent world isn’t objective, in the same way that a blurred picture from a faulty camera isn’t a true image. This vision is the product of our psyche, of the mechanisms and structures of our mind, in the same way that the type of picture a camera produces is the result of its inner mechanism. Our psyche is structured in such a way that it hides the is-ness and harmony of the world from us. It also creates an illusion of separation, when in reality we are part of a great ocean of being which transcends the boundaries of matter and pervades all space.
The biggest mistake we can make – which most of us do make – is to believe that the view of the world that our normal psyche creates is true. Unfortunately many of our leading scientists and intellectuals make this mistake, taking their perceptions at face value and so believing that the inanimate, separate and apparently mechanistic world we perceive is absolute reality. But this is really only an extreme form of “naïve realism.”
It’s also a kind of arrogance. The underlying assumption is that we human beings are completely conscious, that our awareness of reality is complete. But there must be levels of reality beyond our awareness, in the same way that there are levels of reality beyond the awareness of an insect or a sheep. We are aware of more reality than insects and animals, and in the same way in the future evolution will surely produce beings – perhaps even human beings – who are aware of more reality than we presently are. Higher states of consciousness are a temporary awakening from this sleep.
In higher states of consciousness, or awakening experiences, we realize that our normal vision of the world is incomplete and delusory. The world around us comes to life and is filled with a sense of meaning and harmony, and we feel a powerful sense of inner well-being. We become aware that the whole world is pervaded with spirit-force spilling over the boundaries between things and folding everything into oneness. We become one with this force and therefore one with all things. And at the highest intensity of awakening, absolute awakening, the whole material world melts away and there is nothing but an impossibly powerful and radiant and harmonious force which is the ‘Ground’ of the universe, the essential reality.
To wake up is the single most important thing we can do in our life. We need to wake up for our own sake, to become free of the illusion of separation and of the psychological discord which fills our life with suffering. We need to wake up so that we can stop squandering our life and our potential in discontent, anxiety and conflict. Spiritual development is the ultimate form of therapy, healing the underlying discontent and disharmony of the human psyche.
We need to wake up for the sake of the human race as a whole, in order to free ourselves from the social chaos and conflict that have blighted the last few thousand years of history. The only possibility the human race has of living in harmony – without warfare, inequality and the oppression of women and different ethnic and social groups – is through transcending the overdeveloped ego. Only then will the impulse to accumulate wealth and gain power over other people disappear. Only then will we gain the ability to empathize with other people rather than mistrust or exploit them, to sense the shared essence which lies beneath the superficial differences of race or nationality.
The only sure way to avoid this catastrophe and learn to live in harmony with nature is to transcend our sense of separation from it and sense that it is alive and sacred.
We were always one with this universal spirit anyway. It was just that we fell asleep and forgot who we were.
Steve Taylor is an author and teacher whose main interests are spirituality and psychology.