Diane Sermon 2182017
When we practice mindfulness, a shift in consciousness occurs. While participating in the thoughts, words and emotions that arise consistently and spontaneously, it is easy to get caught up in a persistent, ordinary and limited state of consciousness. These thought forms are like whirlpools of reality blocking our view. These views of reality or our filters limit potential outcomes. Mindfulness, returning to the present moment, has the ability to shift consciousness to a new awareness, one filled with potential and eventually opening up levels of infinite possibilities!
After a person attends the Destiny Retreat, I have a couple of advanced retreats, the second of which is called Being Peace that is structured specifically to teach shape shifting. When I learned to make the Despacho, I also learned to shape shift and to tell the future reading elements in nature such as leaves, sticks, and fire. All of these skills are the same, manifesting as different paths. Shape shifting involves the movement of consciousness through layers of possible realities as you bring your issue with you in the form of a word like health or money or relationships or work. Pick a word or two that would label your issue, resistance or goal. Keep the word in your mind as I talk.
This consciousness shifting we do at Being Peace begins with this word and with a view of reality that is much more structured than mindfulness practices. It can be quite challenging as we begin in the state of snake or victim. Spending time in a state of consciousness is fairly comfortable if you know it well. However, we usually only know one state intimately and find other states of consciousness unusual and possibly uncomfortable. It can be challenging not only to spend time here in snake but also challenging to shift out of it. In this first state, you encounter desire and longing that is dependent on the whim of another.
After fully exploring snake consciousness, we move to Jaguar or predator state of consciousness. You see we are spending a better part of a day each on prey and then on predator taking along our favorite issue represented as that word you are keeping in mind, repeating silently inside your head. Much of the world constructs reality simply in these two states of either/or, black or white – choosing sides and making the other side wrong. I believe you see these two states of consciousness in the world quite easily but choosing to shift in and out is a new activity, and is one that is easily forgotten even when you experience it. It is like we are sleepwalking, wake up and then fall asleep again to dream our dream. In this jaguar state of consciousness, you encounter the fulfillment your desire dependent upon taking what you need from the other.
Do not despair. States of consciousness evolve and are malleable with practice. Just because we may find ourselves stuck in one state of struggle does not mean we must remain that way. Remember that the ego is seeking and then never finds because desires fulfilled will never eliminate desire. The hardest part is to notice the trap you are in and then surrendering to the shift because the mind prefers its usual and customary way of viewing reality. If we feel safe taking advantage of others, then we would feel weakened to shift. If we allow ourselves to be victimized by others, we might fear becoming evil to choose the other side. These games are illusions.
The pathway out of this struggle is to begin to shift above it. The third shift in consciousness is eagle or condor. As you soar above the predator and prey battle on the ground, you will see that your needs have a much more expansive way of being met outside the dark/light battle on the ground. Much in the same way as you can expand consciousness with mindfulness, your mind is taking in more of the world around you than you usually see or hear automatically. Watching the predator and prey from above, you will see the limitations in these states as well as the amazing attachments they have with each other. Moving above is like shifting dimensions. Above it, the fulfillment of your desires begins to appear in every direction. Imagine your word or issue is a bird flying freely above the ground. How does your problem look from up here?
Finally, we move our consciousness to the Luminous Being. Of this state of consciousness, I can only say that words do not describe it. However, this is the state of consciousness where ordinary reality ceases and appears to us as the realm of miracles. It is not a state of consciousness of waiting, plotting, thinking, looking for validation or even classified as doing or being. It is a state of surrender to what is and is most easily forgotten as soon as it is found, simply because it is beyond the classification the brain would crave to place upon it. However, it is here that the fulfillment your desire is revealed as nothing compared to what you already are. In other words, desire ceases. As desire recedes and as your separateness disappears, how does your tiny word appear to you here? Has it changed?
Mindfulness can allow you to first notice your customary state of consciousness. It can allow you to experience reality directly and without your opinion placed upon reality, which in fact is always false simply because it so small. Finally, with practice, you can shift to a greater and greater ability to take in more and more of the reality of which you are one. However, at the same time you can see as you are practicing mindfulness, the angst that rises and falls as you observe your self. The angst feels real until you see and hear the truth beyond self imposed limitations and into a truth that already exists.
Finally, what will you be when you grow up? If desire ceases, you begin to live life from a place of flow, observing your own irrationality and the irrationality of others. As you participate in life with this heightened view, a path of truth and meaning will choose you.
Today’s selection from The Buddha is Still Teaching (Selected and Edited by Jack Kornfield) is titled “Enormous Power” and is taken form the book Knee Deep in Grace: The Extraordinary Life and Teaching of Dipa Ma, by Amy Schmidt.
He said, “Each of us has enormous power. It can be used to help ourselves and help others.”
Let’s practice. Close your eyes and take deep connected breaths. Place your attention on the center of your chest, your heart and soul as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. For this moment in time, as you observe yourself listen to the word you have that represents your issue or your goal. Place that word inside your heart. Pull a light from as far out in universe as you can imagine. Luminous fibers of light connect you to every other creation in existence. Allow your word to be permeated with these fibers of light, transforming them into the power to walk through the world completely satisfied, on the pathway of love.