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What is the purpose of consciousness expansion?

Every day we are confronted with strong sensory impressions and challenges to which our mind reacts. How can we deal with all the influences and the realities of our time without turning away, closing ourselves off or disappearing into a bubble? How do we stay connected to ourselves, to others and to the world without losing energy or getting caught up in negativity?

Most people desire change and peace within themselves, as well as in society. How do we cultivate change based on presence, mindfulness, fairness, sustainability and compassion within and without?

Change can only ever begin in the consciousness of each individual. Once I have gained inner clarity and awareness as well as strength and confidence, I can turn to the world and have a healing effect in it.

 

Awareness is the first step to change

The first step is to become more aware of your own destructive thoughts, feelings and actions. What prevents inner peace and clarity? On the one hand, this works through our mind, by reflecting and questioning ourselves.

However, lasting change does not only happen by understanding something. For a lasting transformation of consciousness, a change in our own feeling is crucial. Because feelings determine our behaviour and our behaviour determines our feelings.

It therefore takes openness and willingness to face and allow our dark feelings such as fear, anger, envy, sadness, guilt or shame. We are invited to admit to our unhelpful behaviours as well as our demanding and demanding thinking and to accept the resistance that arises.

Then we can gently explore the causes of our frustration and restlessness, our worries and obstructive tendencies, and then let them go layer by layer. In this healing process we become freer and healthy self-compassion and self-acceptance develop. Through them, in turn, we can also better understand other people and let them be more of who they are.

The combination of rational understanding, acceptance of what is, and emotional experience and recognition brings about the change of perspective that allows for a shift in consciousness beyond one’s own ego.

 

Train awareness and cultivate new ways of seeing and acting

To train our consciousness, we can use the knowledge and teachings of spirituality as well as those of spiritual and natural science. For spirituality and science are directly connected. In doing so, we can adopt the information that is coherent and applicable to our personal lives.

Just as important, however, is the knowledge that is based on personal deep insights and experiences of our being. Every human being can receive and experience these through meditation and self-enquiry.

Every human being has an inherent intelligence that provides information, knowledge and energy to accept difficulties, problems and fears as well as the highs, lows and limits of our lives and to deal with them in a healing way.

It is our core consciousness or being. It is often described in spiritual teachings as „true/higher self“, „inner voice“, „true nature“, as „essence“ or as „soul“. Without this intelligence, our body and mind would be useless. For in essence, it is being that inspires us and acts.

 

Experience and preserve connectedness

By experiencing and recognising the connectedness with Being, we can free ourselves step by step from limitations with the help of various forms of meditation and different techniques of self-enquiry. These are collective and personal imprints, unconscious programmes and negative influences. Our self grants true contentment, joy and inner peace, which is independent of external influences.

It is our senses and our mind with its outward thoughts that cause restlessness, fears and worries.

If we train ourselves through various meditation techniques and methods of self-enquiry as well as through scientific evidence and Far Eastern teachings to develop more and more awareness of being, we can consciously let our true nature flow into more and more actions.

New ways of seeing and acting can then be gained and cultivated in presence. Through presence we meet our everyday life, other people and difficult situations with more serenity and clarity, openness and discernment.

Feelings of fear and sadness, anger, helplessness or despair remain part of our humanity. Situations, circumstances or people always enter our lives that pose a challenge to us. If we train ourselves to remain anchored in the present and allow ourselves to consciously feel and accept what is there now, then we can be inspired to think and act in a solution-oriented way in the next step. Or new encounters and situations arise that provide solutions.

One of my teachers said, „In everyday life, it’s „Be here now“ and when that’s difficult, „Be where you are now and explore!“

 

Everyone is part of a whole and capable of acting

Through meditation we become more aware of our senses and clearer, also more and more healing can occur on a physical-spiritual-mental level through a regular practice of consciousness. Most people start meditating to feel better.

Through meditation we become more aware of our own environment and our fellow human beings. We experience increased sensitivity and can gain deep insights. If we are not professionally trained and accompanied in this process, it can lead to a misunderstanding of meditation and spiritual practice.

The journalist Gabriele Heise formulated the misunderstanding about yoga in her article „Gabriele, get on your mat!“ in the magazine „Psychologie heute“, which is also fitting in relation to meditation practice:

„The world around us is becoming more populist, more hateful, more threatening. And what do we do? Yoga! […]
How do we, who consider ourselves to be sensitive contemporaries, come to terms with these escalations without merely taking refuge in the various inner spaces that have become part of spiritual self-optimisation?

When I look for conversations with yoginis, I usually trigger silence and an embarrassed stammer. „I don’t know either …“, „I don’t even read newspapers anymore …“, „I don’t watch the news …“ – these answers are frequent. It seems as if there is indeed a parallel world in the spiritual milieu that tries to seal itself off from the political sphere.

The snide retorts of a yoga friend when I told him about an article in the Süddeutsche took my shoes off: „Oh newspapers – it says the same thing everywhere!“ And he says this to me who, as a journalist from my time at a broadcasting company, knows how much arguing goes on in the conferences to ensure that topics are presented properly!

The polemical talk […] seems to have penetrated deeply into the thinking of some insiders. The practical benefits are obvious: One gains a convenient justification for abandoning the toils of critical opinion-forming.“

Meditation is not an end in itself and spiritual experiences alone are not enough. Rather, it is about the world as a whole coming back into balance, step by step, so that ultimately everyone experiences an upswing. This requires a change for which every human being bears responsibility and to which everyone can make their individual contribution, even on the smallest scale. This also means turning towards the pain and the darkness in oneself and in the world.

What one’s own contribution to this looks like is revealed under the guidance of the inner voice, not through the personal expectations or demands of others. For a continuous development of consciousness, there needs to be an ongoing practice of consciousness that transforms the ego – including the spiritual ego – layer by layer. This is a lifelong process for every human being, which runs in a spiral and in which everyone can penetrate ever deeper and finer layers of consciousness with their individual perception.

As a community on a large scale as well as on a small scale – for example in the teacher-student relationship, the family or a friendship – we can inspire and support each other in this process.

„Change is only brought about by active action, not by meditation or prayer alone.“ – Dalai Lama

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