Along the path towards ever expanding consciousness we will inevitably pass through certain stages. These stages or levels of consciousness are comprised of specific realizations and states of awareness. The world is currently entering into new heights of spiritual awareness and as a group, we are expanding our consciousness at an unprecedented rate.
I’ve broken down the journey towards expanding consciousness into a simplistic model that is comprised of three parts. While each of us will undoubtedly journey through our own individual, personal path towards increased spiritual awareness and spiritual growth, and will thus proceed to and through many minutely refined levels, these three levels provide an overview of the basic stages of expanding consciousness.
Often we will find ourselves moving back and forth between levels of awareness. The process of expanding consciousness is rarely a smooth or constant propulsion forward. Instead, most of us fluctuate from day to day and even moment to moment through varying levels of consciousness. This meandering, back and forth movement serves us best when we simply accept it as the means and process through which spiritual growth occurs. While it sometimes feels as though we’re regressing, no amount of awareness that we’ve gained can ever be lost.
At our most contracted level of spiritual awareness, we are in fact consciously unaware of being anything more than our physicality. At this level of consciousness, we operate solely from the ego, perceiving the physical world around us as the end all and be all and an entity unto its own that is complete and separate from that which we deem as ‘self.’
At this stage of perception, the physical world and all of its accoutrements are revered as the source of all happiness and contentment. Encompassing over-identification with the material aspects of the world emanates from this level of consciousness. Whenever we find ourselves suffering due to a perceived lack of something ‘physical,’ we are generally operating mostly from this level of awareness.
many of us who deem ourselves to be spiritual seekers have moved through and past
this level of over-identification with the physical and material, we may
still find ourselves suffering from time to time as we temporarily
‘forget’ and revert back to this contracted perspective of self and
reality. Indeed many gradient levels exist within each of these three basic
Levels of Consciousness: Stage Two
The next step or level of consciousness is the one where we recognize that we as a physical ‘self’ are appearing within and from something greater. During this stage, we come to an expanded level of spiritual awareness. This is the stage that many are now awakening to. The trappings of the physical experience lose their hold on us and we recognize that true happiness lies within, that anything we could ever want we already possess. No longer do we frantically chase after money, power or prestige. We embrace our spiritual origins and identify with that which is unseen and untouchable…the spirit within.
It is at this stage of expanding consciousness that many of us consciously eschew that which is physical in favor of that which we deem to be ‘of spirit.’ In doing so, we begin to separate our experience into that which is physical/material and that which is spiritual. This separation often causes us to label the physical/material aspects of our existence as ‘bad,’ and the spiritual aspects as ‘good.’
While this recognition of the two aspects of consciousness as being different does indeed serve the purpose of identifying with the spiritual portion of ourselves, it creates a definite dichotomy between our everyday physical experience and physical self and our spiritual experience and perceived spiritual self. This is a stage that many spiritual seekers as well as spiritual teachers get caught up in. We negate and deny the physical experience while upholding and revering the spiritual.
While this will indeed have the effect of diminishing the intensity of suffering as we cannot become overly attached to physical occurrences and things if we are purposely denying and negating them, we will also miss out on the excitement, enjoyment and pleasure that can be derived from the physical aspects of our current experience.
There seems to be a myriad of
well-intentioned spiritual teachers who in their efforts to help us towards
expanding consciousness and connection with spirit, are giving a
message that the material/physical aspects of reality are to be
eschewed. These teachers seem to hold a fear that if we embrace and
allow ourselves to enjoy the perks of physical reality, that we will
become absorbed by them and thus, necessarily experience emotional suffering. The truth
is actually very different.
Levels of Consciousness: Stage Three - Where Ego merges harmoniously with spirit...Where The Physical Meets the Intangible
The third stage along the path of ever expanding consciousness involves a unification and acceptance of both the spiritual as well as physical aspects of self and experience. At this level of consciousness, the physical experience, including the ego, is accepted as part of the ALL. The unification of all aspects of self, with none being perceived as better or worse than the other marks an important stage along the journey towards expanded awareness. Not only do we rise above the need to annihilate the ego, we actually begin to embrace and love the ego as an integral part of self.
We may very well be predominantly spiritual beings, however, we cannot deny the fact that for some reason, we are currently having an experience of living a unique and individuated, physical life.
The result of this experience will undoubtedly be expanding consciousness, learning and spiritual growth. I see this as a given of the physical experience and not something that I ‘must’ or ‘should,’ strive for.
At the third stage of expanded consciousness, we accept, allow and even embrace the physical experience fully while also recognizing that it ALL emanates from spirit/God/Source. As a creation of spirit, the physical experience, ego and all material aspects are indeed a ‘part’ of the totality of God. From this vantage point, we are free to enjoy the perks of the physical experience with complete freedom from danger of becoming overly attached. The physical/material aspects of our experience cannot cause suffering when perceived from the vantage point of our greater self. However, and most importantly, from this vantage point, we are still able derive enjoyment from our physical reality.
We really can have the best of both worlds!... As spiritual beings we can choose to frolick with reverence in our own physical creation.
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