Practical Spirituality – 7 Actions To Consciously Evolve
In this article, I’ll share a few things that I implement to enhance the quality of experience in my life. They take initial effort and discipline, so if you’re not prepared to put in the work, it may not be of much help to you. Still, it might be worth reading them so they enter your awareness.
The following can be implemented straight away to access higher levels of consciousness.
1) Learn to breathe
Your body is an impeccably designed electrical machine. When we breath, we are not just taking in air and the necessary gases to live, we are taking in electricity. Natures charge that flows through everything. Check out this book by David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill for a more profound outlook on this.
The Hindus call this force Prana. A fairly well-known word, with only a few people knowing what it is. I’ll do a more in-depth video on Prana in the future.
In the spiritual sciences, it’s believed that the Creator breathed spirit into matter, and that is the life force that resides within. Nourish it, and revere your breathing. Just becoming conscious of your breathing will enhance your Life considerably. This is the reason that Yoga and meditation instructors often ask you to focus on your breath to quiet the mind and bring a sense of calm. The mind can only have one focal point (or thought) at any one time.
I’ll share a breathing technique with you that you can start straight away.
Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, breathe out for five seconds, hold for five seconds. You only need to do this for 5 minutes.
Simple as that, you’ll probably find it challenging to begin with, but it’ll get more comfortable with practice. After a week or so of practising, you can move this up to 7/8 seconds, whatever is comfortable but challenging. Don’t make a dogma out of it… you are your own experiment, nobody can tell you what is right for you.
2) Clean up toxicity
Via Negativa – Addition by Subtraction. Rather than an extensive explanation, a simple example will suffice – It is better to stop smoking 20 cigarettes a day than taking medication for diseased lungs. You can find an explanation of ‘via negativa’ in this video.
Before you add anything to your Life, take anything out that doesn’t move you towards a higher level of consciousness.
This includes both physical and non-physical things. I’ll touch on a few below.
Cut out anything processed. As a basic heuristic, remove anything that hasn’t been on planet earth for at least 500 years. If it has appeared on the planet in the last 500 years, it is probably man-made garbage. Also, fast for periods to purify your body somewhat. There is a reason that fasting is a practice in all spiritual traditions.
Brutal but necessary. If you are searching for more from Life and accessing higher levels of consciousness, then removing friends that do not support this will have to be let go of. It often happens naturally anyway as we go looking for knowledge and wisdom. Different levels of consciousness offer different qualities, and resonating at those levels tends to befriend one another. Naturally, the more conscious you become, the more aware your peer group will be. As the saying goes ‘birds of a feather, flock together’.
A great thing to cut back on is information. As Aldous Huxley feared, Truth would be drowned out in a sea of irrelevance. The internet is an ocean of content, be careful to go fishing where you’ll catch anything worthwhile.
In my day to day life, I aim to create twice as much as I consume. I often don’t hit that target, but it helps if you’re conscious of it. And make sure that your information consumption is as evolved as you are (or above)… or it’ll will drain you of energy.
3) Study alternative life philosophies and opinions to your own.
F.Scott Fitzgerald, an American novelist, said – “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
Your opinions and beliefs are not fundamentally true, yet some views and beliefs have more Truth within them than others. Regardless, by holding other life views and taking the gems within them, you’ll expand your consciousness and experience. It also encourages a greater degree of understanding.
The enormous dualistic divide we see in the political sphere is primarily due to a lack of understanding and empathy. With empathy, this dualism will not collapse. Still, it will be far less volatile… it is almost as if there are people out there who gain from this manufactured disorder? hmmm
If you’re a hardcore capitalist, go and study communism and socialism to see what you might find. You might not find much there, but at least you’ll get an understanding of where they are coming from.
If you are an atheist, go to a church and talk to the fundamental Christians. If you’re a Jew, go and learn the ways of Islam. Opposing beliefs are rarely devilish; most people are afraid to hold an opposite opinion for fear of losing identity.
If the opposing belief turns out to be truer than mine… who will I be?
We need to be more mature than that in the search for Truth.
4) Become radically truthful.
1) Be radically truthful to yourself. You’re the easiest person to fool but the most difficult person to be aware of it.
2) Be radically truthful to others. As you become more truthful with yourself, you will naturally become more honest to others. Radical honesty involves saying precisely what is within if asked to express. That isn’t to say go out of your way to be an asshole. It means you should give an honest opinion if asked for it.
3) Allow the world to be radically honest with you. Open up to the mystery of existence. The reality is that as Human Beings, we know very little about the makeup of Life, so be open to receiving the harshest of Truths; slicing through illusion like a hot knife through butter.
The Truth is Reality. The Truth is self-sustaining and Life-affirming. Anything that isn’t reality is not Life-affirming and requires external energy to maintain. This is why lies always reveal themself with the medicine of time.
“True knowledge is not attained by thinking. It is what you are; it is what you become.” Sri Aurobindo
The Truth cannot be found in a book; it is a state of being.
5) Be fearless in self-expression
This includes vocal and creative expression.
Self-expression creates an experience. Experience is how we develop as Human Beings. Reading, writing, talking, and consuming information all have their place. I devour books, so I am not saying we shouldn’t be doing these things. But our creativity and self-expression are how we develop the Human Being.
At different levels of consciousness and Human development, different Human behaviour takes place. You ascend these levels by interacting with reality. Have no fear – up to a point; it is your most potent growth tool.
However, at some point in your ego and psychological development, the desire to express yourself in the world may fall away. Until then, interact with reality to learn through a subtle trial and error process.
When you do not feel the need to express yourself anymore, only then should you refrain from doing so. Expressing self is to interact with the world. This is healthy and shouldn’t be avoided. All of the ‘silence of the mind’ and ‘be still’ is undoubtedly true, but that happens naturally as a by-product of evolution. In the same way as it is futile teaching Quantum Mechanics to a child.
And considering creativity – it could be regarded as the tool given to Humans by God (or whatever you hold highest) to manifest the Will. Nurturing this creativity and finding your most effective form of expression is a worthy cause.
6) Study the mechanics of the unconscious mind
This isn’t as simple as it sounds. It is so incredibly complex and could take lifetimes of study. Don’t underestimate the depth of the human psyche.
If you have experience with psychedelics, you will know the barriers that break down very quickly. We are fortunate to have some great people who have put in the work to figure out some of these layers.
Begin by studying people like Freud, Adler, Jung, Erich Fromm, Otto Rank, Melanie Klein, and many others. One psychologist or psychoanalyst will lead you onto another, and you will grow an interconnected web of knowledge, with the assistance of some great minds.
The unconscious mind is running most people’s lives. When you can get a grasp on this reality, you will naturally become more empathetic. You’ll have more of an understanding for other people, cultures and Self.
Take the time to learn and make notes on this important topic; check out my article on how to remember what you read on my website for assistance on that.
7) Interact with Life, rather than avoiding it
I am conscious that this one may come across as a bit ‘fluffy’, but it is essential.
In a world where most people run, hide and distract themselves with the countless distractions created by society; being a participant with reality gives you the experiences for a meaningful life.
Joseph Campbell called this interaction the Heroes Journey. And similarly, ‘The Personal myth’ if you have studied some of Carl Jung’s work.
Avoiding reality, which is horrifically common, halts this natural process. Ultra-Modernity has put the breaks on this cycle that we have walked for millennia. Look around you; our relationship with nature is dead; mental health issues are the highest they’ve ever been. The majority of people aren’t satisfied with their occupation and yet do it for the addiction of a paycheque. This isn’t natural and is a relatively new phenomenon.
The supreme guru of your Life is reality. Interact with her and let her teach you through experience.
Our endless need for data, analytics and certainty rips the soul out of Life. Go and play with reality and walk your path in a world so full of conformity and sameness.
A few ways to begin interacting with life:
1) Take time out in nature. Spend a few days in a tent living off the land with no modern technology.
2) Start a business of some sort. It doesn’t have to be the next Apple or Facebook. As I am doing here, put your ideas and interests into the world for others to interact with. Opportunities and other interests arise naturally through interaction with the world.
3) Experience other cultures. This isn’t the simple ‘go travelling’ that is popular nowadays and the ‘digital nomad’ craze. I am talking about being a flaneur (an observer of society). Go and live with other cultures for some time. Learn the ways of societies that have a vastly different history to your own. You’ll notice the obscenities that lie within yourself and your society; and how different cultures hold wisdom that’s been lost or unseen in your own.
Life is magnificent, and you are part of that Life. Please don’t run from it; run towards it.
1) Learn To Breath
2) Clean Up Toxicity
3) Study Alternative Beliefs Systems
4) Become Radically Truthful
5) Be Fearless in Self-Expression
6) Study the Mechanics of the Unconscious Mind
7) Interact with Life, Rather Than Avoiding it