I can’t believe I deleted one of my blog drafts that I had written ahead – but I don’t really believe in “accidents” or “coincidences,” so there must be a reason that I deleted it. Perhaps I was meant to write on another topic… Fortunately, I have a bit of time this morning and the lady I’m sharing this room with has left for the day, so will dash something off while I have my second cup of hotel-room coffee.
When I realized I must have deleted the blog post for today, I could have decided to feel angry about it. I could have decided to let it ruin my day. But because I realize that things like this generally happen for a reason, and that the reason things happen is generally for the good, I’ve decided to go with the flow. I could have just said, “Oh, well, one of the posts is gone. Guess I won’t post anything this morning,” but I do think it’s important to honor our commitments, if at all possible, so I’m honoring the one I made to myself to post something every day. I also think it’s important to obey our inner nudges, and I did have a nudge to write something on the topic of changing our consciousness.
We talk a lot about consciousness in Eckankar, but it’s one of those notions that gets defined for us by means of our experiences as we journey through life. Most people think that if you’re asleep you’re unconscious and if you are awake, you’re conscious, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Consciousness is awareness, and there are as many states of consciousness as there are levels of awareness. We all experience many states of consciousness in the fullness of time. People who are riding in an airplane are not “better than” those who are walking on the surface of the earth or those who are driving a car, but they can see farther. People who are walking can see more details than people who are driving or flying. People who are driving can see more details than those who are flying, but they can move along faster than those who are walking. In other words, each state of consciousness has it’s advantages and drawbacks, and we experience them all at some point.
Your consciousness your awareness of who you are and what your life is all about. Some folks think they are their body, and their lives are all about survival of the body and serving the needs of the body. Others live the life of the mind, and their lives are about gaining knowledge about themselves and the world around them. Still others live the life of Soul. They identify as Soul, and they regard the body and the intellect as tools to serve Soul as It lives, moves and has Its being in the physical world, as It learns spiritual lessons through daily living.
Your state of consciousness also has to do with your attitude about life. Some people believe “shit happens, and then you die.” Others believe that life is hard, but nobody promised them a rose garden, and they believe that their hard work and sacrifice will gain them a reprieve from eternal damnation in the Afterlife. Still others believe that they are here because this physical world, with all its imperfections, is a great place to learn about Life. Some people believe that they are here more or less by accident, while others believe that they were sent here, or that they actually chose to be here.
State of consciousness affects how you respond to life’s challenges. Some people believe that they’re screwed, no matter what, and that the best they can do is to grab what small benefits life may offer, because good things don’t come around that often. Others believe that problems in life are a puzzle to be solved, and they are proud of their ability to use their intellect to meet the challenges of everyday living. Still others believe that they are never given more than they can handle – with the proviso that they may have to do some stretching and growing in ways that may be uncomfortable or even painful in order to deal with the situations they are presented with. They believe that with each challenge, they are being offered a chance to acquire a quality of Soul, such as patience, perseverance, humility, or flexibility, and they believe that these qualities are what Soul takes away from this life when It leaves the body at the end of each physical lifetime.
The thing about state of consciousness, though, is that it isn’t set in stone. We can change it, at will or by means of transformational experiences. It’s something that can be changed in the blink of an eye, because awareness is as fast as the speed of thought. When we have those “aha” moments of understanding, we are changing our state of consciousness.
Right now I’m at the 2014 Eckankar Worldwide Seminar, and I attended a workshop with the title, “Change Your Consciousness, Change Your Life.” At the workshop, the presenters illustrated the idea that when you are presented with a problem, simply changing your attitude about it leads to a whole new set of options to solve the issue. The key is that you have to be willing to make changes and be flexible, and the solution may not be anything you have thought of before. Sometimes, once you change your own consciousness, people simply respond to you differently than they have before. Problems are resolved, often in unexpected ways, and life becomes more enjoyable.
The presenters brought out three main points in their workshop. The first point was that heaven is just one step away. This was illustrated with a story about a woman who worked in a doctor’s office that was located in a building with a number of different doctors, all in separate private practices. The office where she worked was not very pleasant, and although she needed the money, the woman decided to quit her job in hopes of finding a better one. After she quit, she also upgraded her professional credentials. When she finally found another job, it happened to be in the same building as her old job, and right next door to the office she had worked in before. Her new job was pleasant and challenging. One day she realized that she was “in heaven,” now that she was doing a job that she loved, and that she had been “in hell” before, in her old job. She marveled that the only thing separating her from her old job was a wall that the two offices shared.
It’s worth considering how many times we may be building walls that keep us “in hell” in our current circumstances and separate us from the “heaven” of a better life. Sometimes all it takes is the awareness that there is a better life, and that there are options for change, if we choose to exercise them.
The second point of the presentation is that we are responsible for our own state of consciousness, and we can choose to change our state of consciousness (our awareness of who we are and why we’re here, and our attitudes about ourselves and the world around us) at any time. The third point was that we can change our consciousness at will by using the Spiritual Exercises of ECK.
ECK simply stands for Holy Spirit, the part of God that communicates with us. You don’t have to be an ECKist (member of Eckankar) to do these spiritual exercises, either. Anyone can do them. These are various imaginative techniques that help us to change and expand our state of consciousness.
The most basic spiritual exercise is to sing HU (pronounced “hue”). HU is an ancient name for God, and as such is a very highly spiritually charged word. It predates the religion called Eckankar, and it doesn’t belong to Eckankar. It belongs to the world. Many people from Africa know about HU and say that they learned it at their mother’s knee as children, before they ever heard of Eckankar.
When we sing HU – or any other spiritually charged word, for that matter – we align our own vibrations to the word we are singing. Since we are singing the name of God, we are aligning ourselves so that we can be in harmony with God. When we do this, we have an expanded awareness of life that allows is to see options that we were previously unaware of, and we find new ways to solve our problems. 🙂