Chapter eight offers some practical information and tools that help you deepen your experience of the silence. I also address some of the issues that we are currently facing. As we move into higher consciousness, we need to create fertile ground within us. Clearing away illusionary beliefs and reaching toward unity consciousness helps us create the fertile ground we require.
Moving Beyond the Current Reality of What IS
Positive Affirmation: I accept the world around me. Nothing needs to change for me to be at peace.
When we no longer feed the illusions of life, we free ourselves to move forward with change. By reaching toward a conscious life, we will deeply impact the collective consciousness. How do we get there? The answer to this question is complex. The first step is letting go of our limiting beliefs about ourselves and moving into a relationship with our inner silence. Embracing each other is another step that greatly impacts consciousness. As we embrace each other, we begin to wake up to the reality of unity. We learn to live a more conscious life in small steps, each one important, each one rippling into the world and raising our collective consciousness.
The Condition of the World Reflects Mass Consciousness
When we observe what is happening around the globe, the quality of our collective consciousness becomes evident. The qualities we like should be embraced, but those we don’t like are the very things we need to address in ourselves. I noticed that the aspects of myself that I needed to heal were always qualities I was intolerant of in others.
During my middle years, the world around me held a great deal of my attention, but my endless list of complaints and worries kept me from seeing how my unconscious behaviour only added to the problems that disturbed me. I felt the world was the problem and that I was powerless to change anything. As I began my healing journey from the wounds of my early adolescence, I slowly realized that the world around me was never the problem. The biggest obstacle was me. Yes, collectively we are the world, but if we don’t like what we see, the invitation is to change ourselves.
Early into the year 2020, a pandemic started to sweep over the world. It quickly moved from country to country shutting everything down. Next came the rules that our governments began to impose on their citizens to control the spread. As we put on our masks and distanced ourselves socially, my initial thoughts were, This is ironic. We’ve been wearing masks and distancing ourselves from others long before they were required.
Wearing a Masks and Social Distancing
Social media has changed how we connect and communicate with each other. On social media, we display our lives as a highlight reel, posting all of the wonderful things we are doing. However, that reel fails to display an authentic or accurate depiction of our lives. We put on a mask and cover up the parts that we don’t want others to see.
The dramatic irony of social media is that it has created distance between people. What started as an alternative way to connect with others has, in many ways, accomplished the opposite. The cyber barrier of social media has given us a false sense of connection while we hide behind our phones and laptops. We have fewer real-time conversations and face-to-face interactions. Clicking “like” on a post or posting a one-to-three-word comment has replaced meaningful engagement with our friends and family. We’ve been slowly distancing from each other for more than a decade, long before our government put these rules into place.
Embracing Each Other and Reversing Social Distancing
Reversing social distancing is the first step to helping us move beyond our current reality. In every type of relationship, the single most essential ingredient is communication. We connect and communicate and openly share ourselves when we come together with others. The other side of communication is taking the time to listen and appreciate the experiences of our friends and family. Here are some ways to remove the distances we’ve created:
- Instead of brief comments on social media, take a minute and write an actual sentence or three.
- Call a friend instead of texting or messaging.
- Create opportunities to gather face-to-face.
- Allow yourself to be honest and vulnerable on social media and in face-to-face interactions.
- Take time to get to know people. Engage others with questions and genuine curiosity about how they are doing. Find out what’s going on in their lives and what’s important to them.
- Celebrating another’s successes and taking the time to share in another’s joy is a fantastic way to reverse social distance.
These are just a few ideas for making real connections with people. By committing to reverse social distancing, we can begin to make small changes. Whenever I’m on the phone with a business, for example, I start my conversation with, “Hello, how are you today?” I make it a practice to always treat others as real people, whether or not I know them. I try to create positive interactions with people. Another example is to make eye contact with a cashier in a retail store or the drive-thru attendant. Engaging and embracing others helps bridge the gap between us.
If we balance our preoccupation with achieving our goals with authentically connecting to the people who flow into our lives, we experience deeper intimacy with the world. Instead of an “everyone for themselves” mentality, it’s time to apply a “we versus me” approach.
Reaching toward Unity
To move into our next phase of evolution, we must surrender our beliefs about the individual self. We are not single, separate human beings but a collective. Unity exists between us and others, even if we aren’t always conscious of it. When we embrace the unity we collectively share, we release the idea that we are separate from each other. Taking the first step of removing social distance is helpful, but we are still a long way off from experiencing the real depth that unity has to offer.
Embracing unity seems like an abstract idea, so how do we do it? Here are seven things to consider when embracing unity consciousness.
Meditation changes our relationship with our mind and puts us into a relationship with the silence within. Unity consciousness is a universal truth we can discover in the silence. Therefore, the more time we spend resting in silence, the more we will uncover this truth.
2. Share Yourself, Including Your Vulnerabilities
When we openly share ourselves, we let other people into our lives. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable helps others connect with us because it opens a deeper understanding. Not everyone we meet will know how to handle our vulnerabilities, nor would we share an intimate story while paying for a coffee in a drive thru. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean we are required to share our deepest, darkest secrets. It means that we allow ourselves to respond to what’s in front of us with honesty, without worrying about how others perceive us. Honest, authentic engagement naturally weaves vulnerability into our experiences with others.
3. Work toward Understanding Others
By taking the time to understand others, we naturally close the gap between us. A common trait we all share is looking for similarities when we meet a new person to determine if we have enough common ground to move closer. However, understanding others is not about being the same as them; it’s more about learning who they are. We will never escape our limited beliefs if we only spend time with people who hold the same views.
When we are secure in ourselves, it doesn’t matter if others support our beliefs. In fact, it can make for a more engaging conversation when others think differently. There have been times when I’ve met people who held different views than mine, but when we started openly sharing, I found more common ground than I thought was possible.
4. Lead with Compassion
Leading with compassion helps to create connections with others. When someone is difficult or unfriendly, we can sometimes turn around their day if we allow the grace of compassion to flow out of us. Sharing compassion automatically invites the power of love to arise between ourselves and others. By being compassionate toward others, we gain a better understanding of their struggles and learn how to cultivate love and respect for them. Compassion reduces our judgements and opens our minds and hearts to making real contact with each other.
Praise has the power to move a person from their mind to their heart. The Ishaya monks taught me that praise is a doorway into gratitude. If you pay someone a compliment, the typical response is, “Thank You.” The term “paying a compliment” suits because praise is a valuable tool. When we praise another person, we look for what we appreciate versus what we don’t like about them—and there is always something to praise in another. Praise also has a way of sparking gratitude in others.
6. Show Gratitude
Gratitude contains powerful energy because it has the potential to move us into love. Praise leads to gratitude, and gratitude leads us to love, creating a bond between you and another. We can experience gratitude in our minds, but the deepest states of gratitude are generally experienced in our heart center. We are closer to experiencing unity consciousness when we become more heart-centred.
7. Give Love, Even When It’s Not Reciprocated
We might not enjoy everyone we meet. However, just because we don’t share another’s views or aren’t attracted by their personality doesn’t permit us to hold back our love. If we remove our love because we don’t agree with another’s actions or beliefs, we have moved into conditional love versus unconditional love. Unconditional love means sharing love without any requirements.
When Separateness Falls Away
When the experience of unity moves into our consciousness, the perception of separateness falls away. In Be Love: A Book about Awakening, I dedicated an entire chapter to unity, but much more can be said. For an experience of unity to come into our consciousness, there must be fertile ground for it to take root. The silence within is the fertile ground. When we reach the point at which the silence is ever-present in our conscious awareness, the experience of unity will naturally arise. The capacity to experience unity has always been with us, but when we focus on our mind instead of the silence, unity consciousness quickly slips away because the mind believes that we are separate. A belief in separateness and an experience of the deeper reality of unity consciousness cannot co-exist. That would be like calling yourself a vegetarian and having a portion of meat each meal. The mind and unity do not live in the same house.
The more people who open up to unity consciousness, the faster we can transcend our current reality and move into one that holds a greater truth. Unity is a big step on the road to enlightenment as we continue to awaken to the reality of what IS.
Challenging Our Beliefs
There are beliefs we hold in our minds that pull us out of deeper states of consciousness. When we challenge these beliefs, we overcome the lower states of consciousness holding us back. We hold the keys to our liberation. Here are two concepts in particular that are important to challenge and flip in order to create a more empowering mindset:
- I need to control.
- My circumstances limit me.
I Need to Control
The need to control is rooted in fear. Most of us have an underlying fear that if we don’t take charge, the outcome of what we are trying to control will not be successful. The idea that nobody but me would get it right is something I struggled with for many years. My fears did not allow for any possibilities other than those I held in my mind. The irony is that my need to control was controlling me, and the more out of control my life became, the more I felt I needed to control. I micromanaged my business and my employees as well. I held a “my way or the highway” type of attitude. I carried the same type of attitude into my relationships. Some of my control issues started when my high school sweetheart cheated on me with someone I should have been able to trust. When that trust was broken, I lost two people I loved, which left me feeling out of control and unable to trust anyone but myself and needing to control my circumstances for protection.
The opposite of control is trust. Trust can be an empowering experience that liberates us from the turmoil of needing to control. Trust relaxes our bodies and settles our busy minds.
My Circumstances Limit Me
The idea that our circumstances keep us from moving beyond our current reality is rarely true. This belief causes us to be a victim rather than a co-creator of our lives. If we believe our circumstances limit us, we have lost touch with the creative power that lies within. When it comes to living with purpose, we are limited only by our beliefs. Our position in life is no accident. When we can embrace our present circumstances—whatever they are—with a passion for serving, loving, and being present, we will experience joy from doing just about anything. There will be no limits on our imagination and creativity.
One of the tendencies of the mind is to desire what we do not have because we often think that filling those desires will make us happy. When I wasn’t content with my life, I would often daydream about the future. I dreamed about all the material objects I’d acquire and the experiences I would have. However, when I came out of my daydream and looked around me, I would feel depressed and start having thoughts like, “I will never get ahead.” Empowerment is believing we already have everything we need to fulfill our destiny. If we hold this empowered mindset, it becomes our job to utilize what we have to achieve our purpose. Maintaining trust helps us see what is flowing into our lives to support our purpose. By embracing life as creative and abundant, we position ourselves to see all the opportunities that surround us.
Challenging the Concept of Duality
The concept of duality states that everything has an equal opposite, that we are a separate, opposing force to everything around us, and that the world is bound by the physical laws of the universe. However, the reality outside of dualism is that everything in the world is a unique, interconnected expression of God. Physical reality is simply an expansion of that cosmic consciousness.
All that moves into form through the creative intelligence of God comes as a perfect expression.
The expression of God is never an opposite or a reaction to something else. Where duality depends on equally opposing forces, God’s reality is a singular breath of creation that moves and evolves until it finds its way back to the unmanifest.
The idea of good and evil is an outdated model of belief. The labels “good” and “bad” are just projections of our minds, and what appears to be bad can sometimes turn out to be the best thing that could happen. Dualistic thinking narrows our perspective and rules out the grey possibilities between black and white. Outside of duality, we find a flow of cycles and potentials always at play. And while we can’t always understand the complexity of why certain events occur in the world, faith in God can often settle our minds when tragedies happen.
The dot in the center of a circle is an ancient symbol with many interpretations. I believe the dot is God and the circle is life. When we open ourselves to the idea that life is not this or that, up or down, positive or negative, we can more easily explore the oneness of life.
Life is a constant creative process, and it will continue to change and move beyond current reality because it’s creative. The search for utopia—for perfection—can never lead us to a physical reality because it is not a specific place. Utopia already surrounds us. We cannot find God in a specific place, yet God is everywhere at the same time. This is not an expression of duality but the oneness of God. When we begin to live in God’s oneness, we arrive at the “no place” that is utopia.
- Can you identify any of the beliefs you hold that limit you? Challenge yourself to let go of any limiting ideas you have around your circumstances.
- Take some time to reflect on how you embrace and connect with others.
- Share something about yourself with a close friend or family member. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
- Take the time to learn more about whoever shows up in your day. Look for questions to ask strangers as well as the people you think you know well.
- No matter how or who shows up in your day, find a way to spread love and compassion.