Thursday, December 30, 2004

Higher Consciousness

“When are we gonna get to the stuff on higher consciousness?” The questioner was a participant in a meditation course.

“First let’s work on the ‘lower consciousness’ we might want ‘higher consciousnesses’ to get away from,” I said.

This was not a patent answer, but a spontaneous response which seemed right for the man in question. His feedback indicated that it was, and he took another course with me the following year.

We can only be aware now, of course, and our awareness or consciousness now is what we have to work with. As meditation teacher Larry Rosenberg says:
This is the deepest paradox in all of meditation: we want to get somewhere – we wouldn’t have taken up the practice if we didn’t – but the way to get there is just to be fully here. The way to get from point A to point B is to really be at A.

When we meditate with the hope of getting to someplace better or “higher” than where we are, we compromise our connection to the present, which is all we ever have.

If what’s happening now involves pain, confusion, fear, anger, stress, anxiety, grief, sorrow, depression, or anything else that we might not like – and our not liking what’s happening is also what’s happening – then that is what we have to work with.

To be preoccupied is to be absorbed or engrossed in something to the exclusion of other things. To be preoccupied with fantasies about higher states of consciousness to the point that we disconnect from our mortal, fleshy, wounded lives here and now is escapism, not meditation.

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