If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religious values, and all other human endeavours would change radically.
Amit Goswami in ‘The Self-Aware Universe
For me the term consciousness is synonymous with awareness. It is said that we are the only species who are aware that we are aware… and aware that we will die. Our awareness creates a feedback loop from our observations, to our experience and back again; from our experience to our observations. Until fairly recently modern science and medicine has focused on what can be touched, measured and evidenced whilst avoiding the subjective, subtle and metaphysical.
It could be said that there is a fine line between psychological breakdown and Spiritual Crisis, indeed the disordered cognitive states that we in the West would term ‘psychosis’, are often seen as mystical rites of passage toward transformation in more tribal cultures.
Spiritual Crisis can occur in response to an external stimulus such as an emotional shock or traumatic event, a sudden death, a betrayal of trust or it can be an intrapsychic rupture; a depressive phase, wherein our established understanding of the world and our place in it is harshly questioned. That which previously seemed certain and provided comfort, is subject to the unbounded existential doubt of our most sacredly held truths.
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) referred to these struggles as ‘the dark night of the soul’.
Health and wholeness is not only about the healing of the physical body but equally – if not more importantly – we must consider healing the heart.
This might prove to be a far more arduous journey.
I suggest healing and opening the heart has three stages: acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude.
In difficult times, when we are hurt, angry and suffering our first response is probably to ask ‘why’, perhaps we feel that circumstances are unjust and unfair.
We refuse to accept the actions of others or the cards we have been dealt.
“The body has its own way of knowing, a knowing that has little to do with logic, and much to do with truth, little to do with control, and much to do with acceptance, little to do with division and analysis and much to do with union.” Marilyn Sewell
Our physical body is a collection of 37 trillion cells living in a complex community; communicating with each other and carrying out their tasks of replication, regeneration or expiration accordingly, without the need for conscious control. How amazing is that? This is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way! Just look up at a clear, dark night sky and marvel at how wonderful your body is!
Most of us acknowledge that periods of prolonged stress are not good for our health. Studies have shown that immune system function is grossly impaired during stressful times or through continued low mood.
There are many paths to health and wellbeing. Effective healing works with all the systems of the body; the physiological, mental and spiritual.
DEATH AND BEYOND
Though we may all hope that we can live hale and hearty lives and stroll gracefully into old age, nevertheless we live in certain surety that we will die.
How we face death can inform how we live life; none of us know when that day will come; will we be ready or unfinished, satisfied with what we leave behind or incomplete? What will be important as we leave this world; our work; our successes, our failures, our loves, our regrets?
When we are young death seems a dream, a lie, a long way off; we are immortal – death happens to others. As we age we become aware of the passing of time and how quickly the decades roll by; the shadow of death becomes more solid, closer and more definite. We lose others, we lose ourselves, our youth and what might have been.
However strong our faith, our biological system is programmed for survival, therefore the concept of death, the ultimate threat to the ego, naturally fills us with fear. Fear severs us from our faith at the very time when our soul needs succour and reassurance.
Our spiritual practice can guide us well and show us that time is illusion; we only have the eternal now, being here in this moment. This is the skill gained in maturity, to live more with now, with what is. To experience things arising and coming into being, then fading and receding once more, in an eternal cycle.
The reality that death is the backdrop snaps life into focus. With sharpened perspective we can pay attention to what is important within our own values and beliefs. Death encourages us to leave aside the flotsam and jetsam that has washed in by the tide, which we waste so much energy on and only serves to distract us from really LIVING fully.
“Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life;Rachel Naomi Remen
When you help, you see life as weak.
When you fix, you see life as broken.
When you serve, you see life as whole.
Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”
If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religious values, and all other human endeavours would change radically.Amit Goswami, in “The Self-Aware Universe”
One of the most important implications of the research of holotropic states is the realization that many of the conditions, which are currently diagnosed as psychotic and indiscriminately treated by suppressive medication, are actually difficult stages of a radical personality transformation and of spiritual opening. If they are correctly understood and supported, these psycho-spiritual crises can result in emotional and psychosomatic healing, remarkable psychological transformation, and consciousness evolution.Stanislav Grof
By degrees, however, he fashioned for himself out of this tendency a philosophy that was actually serviceable to life.‘Steppenwolf’ Hermann Hesse
So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!Spencer W. Kimball Church of Latter-day Saints
Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.Mitch Albom - The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either -- or both -- when needed?Gordon B. Hinckley
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
My body has taught me many things, all of them filled with soul:Kat Duff
how to dance and make love, mourn and make music;
now it is teaching me how to heal.
I am learning to heed the shifting currents of my body
the subtle changes in temperature, muscle tension, thought and mood
the way a sailor rides the wind by reading the ripples on the water.
Now when the bardo of dying dawns upon me,Padma Sambhava - Tibetan Book of the Dead
I will abandon all grasping, yearning, and attachment,
Enter undistracted into clear awareness of the teaching,
And eject my consciousness into the space of unborn Rigpa
As I leave this compound body of flesh and blood
I will know it to be a transitory illusion.
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.Attributed to Einstein but is a paraphrase by Bob Samples in ‘The Metaphoric Mind’
The body has its own way of knowing, a knowing that has little to do with logic, and much to do with truth, little to do with control, and much to do with acceptance, little to do with division and analysis and much to do with union.Marilyn Sewell