Every transition to a new level of consciousness is characterized by pain, hesitation, and learning to live in the new realm. It is like learning to walk again in a new world. I can identify and remember two such periods of transition in my life. The transition to cosmic consciousness is the greatest transition of all, since the way to it goes trough deep shadows. Actually, the transition consists of three phases: learning to face our shadows, breaking free of them, and owning our belonging. When our mind is humming in pain or fears, we are somewhere else than in the present world around us. When we were small and powerless, our inner child collected devastating stress that he did not know how to process. Now we have been learning to face our wounds, and we have been with him during times of terror, panic and suffering. Letting go of his pains, fears and shame is necessary for us to own our belonging. Eventually, but maybe slowly, we will enter a peaceful and enjoyable form of existence. It is no wonder that it is called enlightenment, firstly because we enter the Light after the Shadow, and secondly, we find and experience a rich world in ways we never did before. We will lose ourselves, but only then we can be truly present in whatever we do. Then we find ourselves again, and there is nothing between us and our place. Our existence becomes a bliss, and the present moment is full of joy previously unknown to us. At the same time we feel overwhelming pleasure and great peace. We are satisfied and at rest wherever we are. We are truly present wherever we are, and with all of our senses. Our consciousness is with us and under our command. It does not drive us, but we gently master it.
Cosmic consciousness and belonging arise gradually. At first we may feel it for a few minutes at a time. The first experiences I had made me shiver of joy and excitement while at the same time I was humble and felt deep respect towards all that is. Gradually it has become more common. At times it lasts for the whole day, and it is gradually becoming an everyday state of my existence. Sometimes old pains or fears arise in such a way that I merely gaze at them, losing my belonging for a while. This is a part of healing, and a part of entering the cosmic consciousness. I own it at rest. Cosmic consciousness can not be forced, and actually willful forcing and concentration are its enemies. It is reached by surrender, and a part of the surrender is owning the process of entering it. It is gradual, and filled with joy of adventure in a new realm. It is also filled with rest. When we begin to leave the long Night of the Shadow, we have to learn to walk again, and everyone learns it in his way. Instead of trying to describe the whole process, I write about some experiences that I think have been important issues. For a quick summary of the levels of consciousness, see Forewords.
Staying in the Present Moment
When our mind hummed with pain and fears, we could not be present in the now. Our pain directed our mind towards the past, and our fears towards the future. When our pain begins to fade away and our fears dissolve, we begin to experience short moments of being fully present in the now. This presence can be increased by conscious surrender. When we notice that we think of something in the future, in the past, or something that is not present where we are, we can let go of the thinking. If we e.g. wash dishes and notice that we think of a person who is not present, we let go of the thinking and concentrate on looking at the bubbles, or the way the water flows. Or we may let go of the washing for a while and concentrate on thinking of the person. We may also decide to concentrate on our dishes first, and then take the time for thinking of the other person. However, we should not try to force our mind. We merely let go of the person, and let the light shining on the water bubbles enter our mind. If we can not do it, we accept the fact that we could not be fully present in the now. Anyway, we are present as wholly as we can, and we accept it with thankfulness. In doing this, we gradually become more aware of ourselves, and we begin to recognize at once when our mind leaves the present moment.
Naturally, there are times when we think of something that is not present. We make plans, we reflect on our past, and we reflect on other people or events of life. However, when we do so, we are aware of the fact that we do so, and we want to do so with all of our qualities in the now. We may also wish to do two different things at the same time, but then again we are aware that we do so. We know that we could choose to concentrate on one or the other issue only, but we want to concentrate on both issues, and we do so consciously, as our free choice.
In order to own our belonging, we stay in the present moment. However, it is not our goal. Our goal is to become aware of ourselves in such a way that we can identify when we are or are not in the present moment. The first thing that we will learn is that we are often somewhere else, in another time or place. The more we can let go of our history, our future, and other people, the more we can discontinue our mind from wandering around. We dot try to force ourselves into analyzing what we are doing, but we try to allow ourselves to experience what we are doing. The best way to start is to follow our senses. When we wash dishes, we allow ourselves to feel the flow of the water, to hear its sounds, to hear the hullabaloo of the plates, to smell the soap, and to see the light reflecting in the bubbles. We do not try to think of them, but we allow the reality to flow into us through our senses. The more we can do so without analyzing, the more we are beginning to own our place in the present moment and where we are. If thoughts arise, we do not try to chase them away, but merely ignore them. We act as if we were watching a movie, and people in front of us began to behave restlessly. We do not concentrate on them, or we do not try to increase our concentration to the movie. We simply ignore the people in front of us. We can actually imagine that our thoughts are such issues between the reality and us - we ignore them and keep looking at the reality over them. If we approach reality in willful concentration, we approach it in domination, and the reality will not surrender to us. We are a part of a gigantic reality, and we surrender to the reality - not the other way around.
The first time I felt the presence, I had read something about presence, and then I merely stared at the keyboard of my PC while thinking of what I just read. Suddenly all I knew about was the keyboard that I was watching. My whole consciousness looked at the keyboard. I felt as if my chair became empty, since I was not aware of myself. All I was aware of was the keyboard. I then looked at the stains of the coffee mugs on my desk, and all I knew were the stains. It was an awesome experience, and it lasted for a few minutes. The moment was full of joy and excitement, yet everything was peace and respect. The way I experienced the keyboard and the coffee stains was incredible. I merely admired and respected them without thinking of them. Suddenly I became aware of the process of designing, manufacturing, and using the keyboard - yet I did not think of them. My consciousness merely presented them to me, and I watched the show. Although the keyboard and the stains were fixed and did not move at all, the experience contained all the dynamics of the keyboard and the coffee stains. I experienced the life behind the keyboard - the designers, the manufacturers, the sellers - everything. This made me respect the keyboard as a manifestation of many lives. I respected the stories behind every coffee stain, and many events of me drinking coffee were included in my consciousness - not as separate events, but as a harmonious element of drinking coffee that was present in the stains. Yet, I did not think about the stains - I merely watched what my consciousness presented to me. I still shiver when I think of the experience, although it has become a more constant part of my existence. The first time it really hit me, but the more or less permanent experience of presence has lost the excitement of the first time. Still, it is always a beautiful and harmonious form of existence - and a rich one.
Recently I changed the summer tires of our car. It used to be a boring task, and one I did not like very much. This time it was full of joy. When I rotated the wheels out of the garage, I felt how the surface of the tire moved along my hand. I experienced much of the contact between the tire and the road, and my feelings learned such things about it I did not know before. When I drive the car now, I am also aware of the contact between the tire and the road - without actually thinking of it. I felt the touch of steel in the tools I held in my hands, and I learned to know my tools in a very personal way. I was in no hurry. I wanted to experience the changing of tires with all of my senses, and it was a joy. I am looking forward to the next time of changing tires. I have learned to respect everything - even the sand on the carpet of the hallway of our home. It demonstrates the fact that our home is alive, and the sand can tell many beautiful stories.
In order to own our belonging, we learn to stay in the present moment. We strive towards it by opening our senses to receive the reality around us, and we surrender to their messages. We begin to let the reality flow in without analyzing it. When we take a shower, we let our senses reveal the flow of water, and the fragrance of the shampoo. The keyword here is surrender, and not concentration. When we take a shower, all we know is that we are taking a shower, and we are fully present in it. Our definition of ourselves will then be: I am the one who is taking a shower. We try to guide our mind to stay with us, and if it escapes the present moment, we gently call it back. We will become aware of how rich world we live in, all of the time. We will learn to know our world in a very intimate way, in a way never knew before. Still, this is just the beginning.
Freedom to Choose
In cosmic consciousness, there is an extreme freedom to choose. We can choose to concentrate on anything, or we can choose to surrender to the reality around us, or we can choose to enter complete rest. Our whole consciousness follows our choices. The freedom of our inner world is bound by nothing. When I walk along a path, I have several options, any of which I can choose at will. Before writing this text, I memorized the previous walk I made. What I did was e.g. the following:
To experience that my whole consciousness follows my choices is amazing. I never thought that such a harmonious state of mind is possible. I am at rest wherever I am, and I can also be somewhere else. Yet, there is one thing where my consciousness likes to direct itself to, and it is prayer. I have began to stay silent in front of my God, and I have also began to pray for other people, especially for those who suffer or need healing. Prayer has become a manifestation of my dependence on God, and of his sovereignty. It sets my mind in peace, and produces love towards other people. When there is no attachment to the past, to the future, or to other people, my mind is free of itself. There is no anxiety, no resentment, no fear. The past is at rest, and the future is under the command of loving God, who has much better intentions for me than I have. My mind is free of worry, and I am its master. I feel the greatest joy and peace when I humbly surrender my mind to its creator and the greatest lover of all - to my God. He is the one my mind wants to go to, and he is the one to whom I ultimately belong.
There are and will be times when worries strike, pain or regression arises, or when I feel sorrow or disappointment. Yet I can lay them aside almost whenever I want and I am free to concentrate on something else. When I return to grieve, I find my sorrow as if I did not have a break at all. Some time ago, an event occurred that showed me how greatly I was dependent on being accepted and validated by someone. A sorrow emerged and I began to process it, while I had also agreed to watch a movie with my wife. When I watched the movie, I was peaceful and able to concentrate on being together with my wife. In the middle of the movie, I had to go to the toilet, and at once when I started walking towards it, I let the sorrow rush in. My face became distorted and I groaned silently. In the toilet, I allowed my whole body to express agony, and it felt healing. When I returned to the movie, I was peaceful again. My feelings completely followed my choices. I had no need to command - they just followed. Up to this day, I have not stopped wondering the ease and rest of this kind of state. There is great harmony and peace even in grieving, and I am in serene control of the whole process.
The times of worry are a part of healing and living a human life, and also a gift of God. We learn to love trough suffering, and it is the only way we learn compassion. We will not only learn what love is, but we will become persons capable to love. We will understand what love is when we experience that we are loved in grace and truth wherever we are. We will not merely acquire new values - we will be changed to new persons. Much of it happens when our God places us in circumstances where we learn the meaning of love, and what it means to be without love. We do not learn to love by reading books or by listening to speeches. We learn to love by surrender, and often it means endurance, detaching and suffering. We learn to love in ways that leave the other person free, and in ways that advance development of a free individual. In the end, we will see love incarnating wherever we go and in whatever we do. The more we learn to love, the more we love, and the more we know that much remains to be learned. However, for us this is a promise of a future that is worth of living every day.
In the middle of people, we consciously own our choices. There will be times when we react out of our old wounds, but we are aware of it, and we accept it. They are a gift of God as he leads us forward. We are selfish, sometimes because we want to, but mostly because of our pain or because of attachment to external issues for validation. The more we find our value as free children of God, the less we desire to be defined by anything else outside of us. We are thankful for every situation that leads us towards healing, and we heal consciously. We can not be what we are not, and we do not try to force ourselves to be something else. The more we heal, the more we are free to make our own choices because we are we, and not because of pleasing people or controlling them. We give them freedom to choose, and we do not try to affect their choices through guilt, shame or power. Whatever they say or do does not define us. They are one, we are another, yet together we are one. "Whose side are you on?" will be a meaningless question for us. Even when we set boundaries for harmful behavior, we have no enemies. When express our anger, we have no enemies. We love and respect other people, and in doing so we also own our humanness and imperfection. We are we, with our strengths and weaknesses, and we are happy for being us.
Everything we do in mind, body and spirit will be a harmonious entity. I can feel the harmony e.g. when I walk - I enjoy the harmony of my mind, spirit and body. My every muscle is under my command, as well as my every thought and every prayer. This gives rise to much joy and to marvelous self-respect that is not based on being 'better' than others. It is based on being myself and enjoying it. I am happy for being myself. Being me is the best thing that has ever happened to me. How could it be otherwise?
An essential element of belonging is silence. It means silence in our circumstances, silence in our thoughts, and silence in our spirit. The modern society tends to fill all places with so many impulses that our consciousness can not process them. We have our TVs and radios constantly on, and the shops are full of all sorts of stimuli. I used to listen much to background music when I worked. I still do, but there was a time when I did not want to do so. Music, live or recorded, is a piece of art, and we can surrender to the beauty that the artist has created - like looking at a beautiful painting. Terror music was an important part of my healing for a short time when I searched for my wounds, but now harmonious and uplifting music awakens beautiful dreams and strengthens them. At times, music softens a noisy atmosphere, and at times it calls us to another world. Yet, many times I prefer complete silence.
I think that it is worthwhile to pay attention to the stimuli in which we live. At the moment I don't like to watch any movies where people are harmed, cheated or mistreated. This may or may not be a temporary situation, but seeing such movies does not bring me joy. I already know that too many people are being mistreated. Still, for someone else they might provoke healing thoughts and desire to love. Nevertheless, many stimuli around prevent us from owning our belonging in the present moment, and cause our mind to wander restlessly.
When we approach the reality around us, we face it in humble quietness and respect. We are a part of the reality, and not the other way around. Gradually we become aware of artificial manners in which we create a false 'reality' around us. If we learn to experience 'reality' or 'God' only when certain smells, music, people, pictures, or whatsoever are present, we are not experiencing the true uncontrollable and untamed reality. Yet the very same things can awaken beautiful thoughts and promote desire to create a better world. Anyway, the more we can let go of fixed expectations, and surrender in silence to everything, the richer world will open in front of us. We will learn to own our rest and silence in traffic jams and during rush hours. We will also be able to experience the magnificent energy of life in traffic jams, and we will see their beauty and harmony, but the way to it goes trough owning our silence and peace in the middle of them.
We can rest in silence when our mind is free from panic, fears, or attachment to any other feeling or issue. If we can not rest or be still, we feel our feelings and surrender to them in the present moment. When we are sad, we cry our sorrows and own our place as people who weep. If we are terrified, the only thing we may know is our terror, and our mind is completely turned inwards. Then the world is merely a residence for our body to carry our suffering mind from one place to another. We own our place as such. We accept our internal messages as real and we respect them. Then we actually are silent, listening to the confusion inside ourselves. We rest also in the middle of our restlessness. We respect ourselves, and we stay in the present moment although staying in it means endurance, but we also understand that we are walking on a path that will lead us to peaceful pastures. Silence of mind can not be forced. It is a natural state of a mind that is free from pain and attachment to outside issues, and is not overwhelmed by internal or external stimuli it does not know how to process. At times we donít know how to live, but finally everything will become so clear that it is hard to remember the times we did not know. We begin to find belonging, and when we have found it, we can own it even in the middle of great hassle, enjoying the magnificent energy of life around us.
We come close to other people in silence. When we rest, we can listen to them, and we allow them to be themselves. We are in no hurry to speak, and we have time to pay attention to their words and gestures. They have freedom to speak until they have said everything. We are not controlling them or not demanding that they should do or say something in order to be loved. Our attitude towards them is humility and respect, and they emerge from our rest. We have our own place and purpose in this world, and so do they. When we listen silently, we are ready and willing to appreciate their personality and their dreams, and we delight in the richness of life. When our minds are silent, we can let go of assuming, and we let other people define themselves. Whatever they say or do is a definition of their existence, and not ours. When we look at them, we perceive them as distinct individuals, and there is an invisible borderline of personality between them and us. They are themselves, we are ourselves, and together we are one. We respect them since we respect ourselves. We are aware of them since we are aware of ourselves, and we love them since we love ourselves. Whatever they say or do does not weaken our love towards ourselves or towards them. They may hurt us, and we may hurt them or ourselves, but healing love remains. At times, it may call us to detach. At other times, it calls us to come closer.
When we find silence, we can move forward and follow our dreams at rest. We know that we are in no hurry, and we own our place in the world and among people. We let ourselves be where we are, and we are happy to be there. We dream our dreams, but there is no anxious need to see them become true at once. We pursue towards our goals in humility, knowing that what we can do is very little. Yet, even the little things we do can be important to individuals. We have no need to be appreciated in the middle of crowds, and we do not need to do things in order to be appreciated. We will make mistakes, and sometimes we feel sorrow for them, but every time we learn and grow. Everything we do or experience is an opportunity for learning, and we will be glad when we notice that we learn and change. We will rest and we are free to be ourselves. We are free to make mistakes and to learn from them. We will be open to live in curiosity and spontaneity - like a little child. We look at the world with the eyes of our inner child, and we will enjoy what we see. Through silence we own our right to be noisy and playful children, losing ourselves in whatever we are playing with. The world will be our playfield, and we will greet it with an open smile. In silence, we get in touch with the richness of the world, and it reaches us through fully open senses. We will not only understand what is beautiful, we will experience beauty. We will understand that it is beautiful because of our experience, and we will find beauty in places we never saw it before.
Out of Pain