Higher Consciousness

You may sometimes feel stumped by the mystery of reality and your role in it. You may feel we are pointlessly pursuing trivialities without knowing fundamental answers. You may feel there's something more than what meets the eye. You probably got here either through some suffering, feeling underwhelmed after an achievement, having enough, or through prolonged contemplation. 

If this rings true, then congratulations! This a sign that you have surfaced, at least momentarily, from the grips, fog, and hustle-bustle of reality (Maya or Samsara in Hindu and Buddhist terms). 

So, what next?

This line of questioning and disorientation has the potential to be your first step on a spiritual path toward a more awakened or enlightened consciousness -  a state of dramatically higher lucidity, stillness, blissfulness, aliveness, and awareness. The state itself is not the answer but getting there can help you unlock answers (or the next question). Just like an average human presumably has a substantially better understanding of reality than an ant, a more conscious human (or civilization) will have a substantially better understanding than an average human. Even if it doesn't reveal new spiritual insights and dimensions, such a state will make you more blissful and even successful in the current reality. 

Rising to a higher consciousness

To transcend to this level is no easy feat. In most cases, the questioning and disorientation will immediately or slowly dim and drown through the tremendous powers of conditioning, environment (including people), ego, fears, desires, impatience, or non-answers and half answers like nihilism or hedonism. 

There is a scene in the first Matrix movie, where Neo doubts the path and almost gives up, and Trinity wisely convinces him: “I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing—why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.”

It may take several surfacings and resolute lifelong or multi-generational effort before one can sustainably stay afloat, swim, and make progress towards this higher consciousness. The journey is hard and solo, but thankfully the path isn't new or unknown. Several spiritual texts and guides like the Vedas, Yoga, Buddha, Gita, and Aurobindo converge on this very goal, experience, and path, referring to them as awakening, enlightenment, bodhi, moksha, etc.  But just like this blog post, they may seem outright bizarre or make little sense without some personal experience of surfacing. As the saying goes, the master only appears, when the student is ready. 

I'm also a seeker who's figuring out the path, and I have only briefly experienced these higher states (if at all). So I can't tell you how to get there other than to persist, explore and experiment on your own (as the path is rife with mystical snake oil pamphlets and salesmen). Buddhism recommends the eightfold path and several other practices. Yoga offers four different paths - love/devotion, knowledge, work, and meditation. It seems clear that you need to focus on both internal and external factors; both the mind and the body - 

(a) You must train your mind to be extremely focused, present, and free  - from ego, materialistic fears, desires, pain, pleasure, and from the transitory nature of reality and self. 

(b) You will need to nurture and create a body, practices, environment, safety, knowledge, and community that are supportive of this pursuit, potentially over multiple generations or centuries. 

It's important to remember that the journey to enlightenment is not a quick or linear one, and you will have moments of feeling lost, stuck, or like you're backtracking. However, even small moments of increased awareness and lucidity can bring great benefits to one's life and can be building blocks for larger moments of enlightenment.

Also, each person is unique, and the path will vary from person to person. It's important to find your own path, what resonates with you, and not to compare yourself to others. Finally, it's a lifelong journey, not a one-time achievement, to continue growing and expanding our consciousness.