I recently decided to start a podcast to explore the topic of Truth. In my mind as I currently have it, this will be a six-part series entirely focused on the workings of the inner voice. Below is the transcript for episode 5. You can listen to the episode on Spotify, or by clicking here.
Transcript to the Podcast:
Episode 5: Consciousness
Hello. Welcome to Always Say the Unsaid. This is the final episode in my 6-part series on capital-T Truth.
I created this podcast because I wanted an opportunity to focus on truth, on truthfulness, on authenticity. I wanted to really dig into the meaning of what it means to operate from a place of truth. Today’s final episode is really about getting down to the heart of the matter, of really narrowing down that definition of inner truth. Essentially, it all comes down to one word: Consciousness.
I’ve heard this word “consciousness” a lot over the years. Obviously there are popular spiritual thinkers such as Eckhart Tolle who have promoted this word quite a bit. But I didn’t truly understand it until just this year… I even went to go see Eckhart Tolle speak live about 4 years ago, and he is really the cutest and very funny and humbling, but things didn’t sink in for me back then. I wasn’t open enough to understanding. And then this year I finally read A New Earth, 25 years after it was written (and, really, I do wish I had been understanding enough to read it 25 years ago), and finally, finally, finally, it sunk in. I believe “we read the books we’re meant to read in the moment we’re meant to read them,” and this was a perfect example.
So, then, what is consciousness?
It’s the easiest thing. It’s pure simplicity.
Consciousness is the God within us. It’s our most true selves. It’s who we are. It’s life itself, and it’s beyond life, too. Consciousness is without dimension.
Does that make things any clearer? 🙂
There is our thinking mind, which is often beyond our control. We try to control it, but it is a bit of a wild horse. The more we try to control it, the more out of control it gets. But when we move beyond the crazy that is the thinking mind, when we speak to ourselves on a deeper level, when we’re communicating with the things that feel right, feel true, that make us feel free or feel love, that is communicating with consciousness. The happy side effect is that the stronger our communication with consciousness becomes, the healthier our thoughts become.
So, let’s ask some questions.
How does one connect with consciousness?
First of all, I’d suggest you read A New Earth. It really is very, very good.
In this field I am a student, not a master, therefore go to the masters for specific answers to your questions. But as a student, this is what I’ve learned:
Everything begins with awareness. When I take the dog for a walk, I pay attention to everything along the way. The smells in the air. The way the wind makes my skin feel. The sounds all around me, even the faintest of sounds from afar, I pay attention. If you think about it, everything is one, everything has energy, everything comes from the same source (I mean, that is how I think about it anyway…), therefore by paying attention, you are connecting with the energy around you, and in doing so, connecting with your own energetic source at the same time. This is the best place to start, simply with awareness.
How do you know if you are connected with consciousness?
Short answer, it feels like home. You feel good when you are connected. You feel whole.
Some things in life you just know. And if you don’t feel that knowing, then it hasn’t happened yet. You will know.
I’m going to circle back to this one a little more later.
What about the times when I feel connected, and am feeling really good about myself and my life and my insides are all warm and fuzzy, and then my spouse and kids come home and make a lot of raucous and fight each other and fight for my attention and I lose complete focus over my connection?
This happens to me all the time. My house is very loud and boisterous and I easily fall out of the zone, especially as an introvert. Or even, as I’m walking my dog and everything is feeling great, and then she spots another dog down the block and starts barking like mad. It can be hard to remain calm, keep the vibe, and not fall into irritability. I mean, the fact of the matter is, we’re human. This is humaning. All I can suggest is practice. Practice. Be aware of what’s happening. Practice some more. And also, accept that distractions will happen, that you will lose your focus, and that you’ll find it again. There’s no point in fighting against real life scenarios. Through acceptance, and through the art of practicing awareness, a deeper sense of calm can be achieved.
What about when I’m around someone that really grates on my nerves and rubs me the wrong way? Or when someone makes a comment that I find mean or insensitive or inconsiderate? How do I maintain my connection to consciousness in these moments?
Here again, the answer is awareness. This one is really tough, because often it requires you to admit something about yourself. It was a hard pill for me to swallow the day I understood that the people in my life that irritate me the most are actually there on purpose to teach me something about myself. In my life, pretty much every time someone rubs me the wrong way, it’s because I haven’t established strong personal boundaries. I’m allowing people to have their way or not standing up for myself or not responding to inappropriate comments in a self-respectful way. Every time, for me, it comes down to me having weak boundaries, and then being mad at others because of it. Projecting my feelings outwards.
Once you realize this, then every time you are in your zen spot and begin to feel it slipping away because of the people around you, use it as a learning opportunity, a time to learn something about yourself. What is it within you that needs to be brought to awareness so that you can deal with it and be less affected by it the next time it comes around?
Consciousness expands when we remain with our discomforts, rather than run and hide from them. Consciousness expands when we admit to our traumas, in order to surrender them, when we admit to our coping mechanisms, in order to change them, when we recognize our discomforts, in order to follow our intuition and inner guidance. All of this requires awareness.
So the next question, naturally, is how does one cultivate awareness?
I am a fan of time. By this I mean, giving ourselves time. This is precisely my definition of self-care: giving ourselves the time we need to regenerate, to fill ourselves up, to recharge the batteries, to put a plug in the drain before our internal resources get depleted. We all need to give ourselves time. Once we give ourselves that time, and once we begin to feel reenergized, we naturally begin to feel more aware. We have the natural inclination to pay attention. It might be a random thought that you find interesting or curious, it might be a situation around you that you suddenly pay more attention to, but awareness becomes possible at this point. Therefore the first ingredient toward cultivating awareness is to practice self-care.
Awareness is not something we do with our thinking minds. It is paying attention from another dimension, almost from a place outside your body. You are observing life from the space around your body, observing while also being a part of all that is around you. Therefore, the second ingredient toward cultivating awareness is space: to expand beyond mind and body and to allow for whatever else might inhabit that same space.
As you are aware, things kind of just bubble up to the surface. You can ignore these things, at which point the bubble bursts, but the weight of the thing sinks back down – and it will wait to bubble up again at a later time – or you become aware of what has bubbled up, curious about it, and follow the bubble wherever it may lead you. Awareness wants to lead us toward consciousness.
The third ingredient toward cultivating awareness is acceptance of what is. In our awareness, we might begin to experience discomfort. It’s counterintuitive but discomfort is a good thing. It’s a catalyst for positive change. Discomfort means there is something there, just below the surface, that wants our attention. When we are in a place in our lives when we feel safe enough to face these discomforts, we will make the choice to look at them, and see them for what they are, really see them, and that is when we will let them go. We won’t take this step until we feel safe – and this could take years for many people – but once we do, we will see that awareness was leading us toward consciousness, at the time when we are ready.
Circling back to what consciousness feels like, I wanted to really think about that in more detail.
On a day to day level, when you feel connected, life can suddenly feel simplified. Things that would previously have felt overwhelming might suddenly be easy. I typically always had a difficult time with making decisions, I would allow my mind to spiral and could never settle into a decision. However I find that the more I practice, the more a simple answer to my problems and questions will present itself.
You might become more in tune with “knowings”. Martha Beck uses the phrasing “what feels warm or cold” – these knowings don’t have to be deep, just subtle nudges in particular directions. When we move toward something warm we are calm, when we move toward something cold our insides send out warning signals. When we ignore the warning signals, that’s when we move away from authenticity.
In the practice of connecting with consciousness, you might, and indeed will, experience a greater sense of calm in your life. The more moments of calm you experience, the more moments of calm you want to bring in.
The more you practice, the more you trust that everything is as it should be, and the less you attempt to control everything.It in fact feels good to let go of control.
And another thing that I think we all receive, but that I don’t think everyone sees or believes in, are little signs and communications in our outer worlds that I consider little gifts from God. Often in my life they come in the form of dragonflies, a symbol of change. I remember this one time I was walking and in a real huff, my mind was spiralling into the dark places, and a huge dragonfly literally hit me in the chest and it brought me right out of my spiral. Recently, I was trying to get guidance on something very specific, and I asked if God could please show me a sign. I asked to show me something specific for one direction, and another very specific thing for the other direction. I did receive my signs. It happens all the time, and always at the perfect time. I trust in the signs.
But there are also big ways in which connection to consciousness comes into our lives. Really big, really surprising ways. And these are times when openness and curiosity are needed to maintain that connection.
Here’s a story for you..
When I was in my 20s I received my reiki level 1 attunement. I felt really good, and I very excited about my new superpower.
Sometimes I would be practicing on someone, and bits of information would come to me, and I just thought it was the coolest thing. Like, when my sister was expecting a baby, and I was practicing on her husband, the letter A bubbled forward, and indeed they planned to name their baby an A name.
But this one time, I was lying in bed and practicing reiki on myself. I had my hands over my stomach and I suddenly heard this very audible crrrrraaaaccckk, followed immediately by an intense bright light coming into my body. It was truly the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. It was beautiful, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it felt like the purest form of love. Afterward, I remember walking down the street and feeling like I was floating, like life was really this beautiful thing to be experienced. I felt very safe, and I felt very much a part of something larger than myself. I had experienced a direct connection with consciousness. It was a beautiful thing.
But here’s the thing. This was my personal experience. As a young and inexperienced person, I wanted to bring this feeling to other people in my life. I wanted to share it. But in truth, I wanted to prove to them that this other dimension existed. I wanted to force awareness onto them. Basically, it became about my own ego. If consciousness is water, ego is oil. The two don’t mix. It didn’t take me long to realize that no amount of forcing my new found awareness onto other people in my life would get them to see what I could see. That is not how life works. Just like no amount of me sharing my experience here will turn a non believer into a believer. I learned enough from my previous experiences to leave ego out of it, all I can do is share.
A friend of mine experienced something similar, after I used reiki on his sore knee. He also was happily floating. But once the feeling wore off, his response was of fear. He feared what he didn’t understand. If awareness is water, fear is oil. The two cannot exist at the same time. Therefore I understand that some people, even when experiencing such intense beauty, might simply not be ready to consider consciousness on another level. And while ego does want to push through and say But, but, but I know something you don’t know… my awareness tells me, it’s all ok. Truly, we can all respect our individual paths. Everything is as it should be.
Ok. Here we are, at the end of this final episode. I’d like to bring it home with some final thoughts.
We have talked about truth and authenticity. We have talked about letting go of stories and assumptions, of focusing only on what is reality, bringing peace to our lives by letting go of what isn’t true. We have talked about experiencing all our emotions, of not denying or running from what is uncomfortable, and how in facing all of our feelings, we can surrender, and bring a natural state of positivity to our lives. We have talked about how life cannot be forced if it is to be authentic, how our genuine self grows by accepting all of life’s experiences.
When you look at your life, does it look as though you have followed your consciousness all the way through, or does it look as though you have taken detours, and stepped away from consciousness? Do you ever veer back? Or have you stepped consistently away from what felt true and right? Whatever the answer, it’s ok. There is never a wrong time to step back toward consciousness.
I became interested in exploring this topic of Truth because I recognized that I have stepped away from consciousness over and over and over again in my life, and I recognized that I needed to find a way to consistently bring myself back home.
I know myself. I have always known myself. If you think about it, really think about it, you know yourself too.
Yet, I have denied so many parts of myself over the years, by feeling like I needed to be someone else., needed to care about different things, needed to priortize different things. I gave away my power too many times, I wanted to make others happy at my own expense too many times. I walked toward fear too many times. All through these experiences, I knew myself. In the quiet moments, when no one else was around to judge me, when I was comfortable enough to be honest with myself, I knew myself. And I knew I was doing it wrong.
Whether it’s for the approval of your family, the need to belong in your group of friends, the desire to impress at your job, there are a plethora of outside influences that continuously step between us and our true selves, between us and consciousness. If and when your connection to consciousness is strong, it’s easier to say no thank you, and to step around these obstacles, and continue on your path. When our connection with consciousness is weak, these obstacles feel insurmountable.
I am still a student, but what I know for sure is that I have always known myself, and that the crux of who I am, the heart of what I desire out of this life, has never wavered. It is my mind that has wavered, my feelings in response to my mind, my actions in response to my feelings. But under that, under these external responses, consciousness has remained the same. And every time I connect with consciousness I am reminded: Ah… That’s who I am. That is me. I am happy to see you again.
As I conclude this final episode, I invite you to go inward, to connect with consciousness, and to remember who you are. Who is the self within you that makes you happy every time you see them again? Who is the self within you that rings true? That has always been there? That has never wavered? Who is your inner self? This is the unsaid that I refer to in this podcast. In my life, and I truly hope in yours as well, it is time to say the unsaid.