by Elina St-Onge: What does “raising consciousness” actually mean?
It is often portrayed as some sort of super-human accomplishment that will grant us spiritual super powers… but it is simply about becoming freer within ourselves. The freer we feel within, the LIGHTER we are. Becoming “enlightened” is simply about lightening up. We can now forget about becoming something more “special.” Raising our consciousness is simply the process of lightening up our load of fears and limiting beliefs so that we can travel lighter on our journey!
Here are 11 tips and insights that have personally helped me lighten up my own load and enjoy life more.
1. Be You in Every Moment
Yep, it’s that simple. Replace pretence with your presence. You don’t have to wait until you feel “good,” “perfect,” or “enlightened,” or wait for something to happen for you to relax into your own being. You don’t need to look at another’s journey and compare, judge, or doubt yourself, either. This type of thinking just tricks you out of the perfection of you in this moment anyways. No matter what you are feeling or what the situation is, just be you and let the rest unfold.
“Find that place which is effortlessly at rest within itself. Be there—be one with that.”
2. Let Go of the Fear of Feeling
This is a big one. Discovering who we are is no different than opening the door of a house — the house being a metaphor for our human mind. It’s a great step; we’re letting some light in! But does it mean we have visited it thoroughly? Does it necessarily mean we have experienced each room, opened every closet, and even spent some time in the “scary” basement? Perhaps we have quickly peaked in each room, but have we taken the time to explore them fully, meditate in them, open the windows to let some light in, and perhaps do a little cleanup? Are we okay with leaving the doors open for us and others to see?
The light of our awareness isn’t limited to entering what is comfortable and acceptable to the mind. It is here to illuminate all rooms — even those dusty closets with all of the old, emotionally charged baggage we have been reluctant to explore. What has laid dormant within each room is often ignored. But now, the winds of change are blowing all doors open and many of us are feeling and re-experiencing many emotions that we have once protected ourselves from feeling again. The only thing that blocks us from seeing the blessing in letting the wind blow us open is the fear of feeling. When we choose to not be controlled and defined by this fear anymore, we naturally keep all of our doors open knowing that it cannot break who we are, but only identities with old patterns that were limiting our inner freedom and peace anyways.
“The intent of this journey isn’t to ‘feel good,’ but rather to feel whats actually unfolding within us right now. in other words, our intent isn’t to feel better, but to get better at feeling. Our authentic state of presence is joyful, harmonious, peaceful and loving. However, to awaken to our presence initially requires journeying through the current condition of the emotional body.”
– Michael Brown, The Presence Process
3. Remove Your Masks (Even Your Spiritual Mask)
Can you identify as nothing in particular? For example, look at a bunny, a bird, or a flower. Is the bunny hopping around thinking it’s a bunny, is the bird singing because it knows “that’s what birds do,” and is the beauty of a flower experienced via its name, or is it simply witnessed in silence? The same goes with us. Let’s not dismiss the BEING within the term “human being.” The less we let ourselves be defined by rigid identities, the more space we allow for our own authentic presence to shine through, and the lighter and more alive we feel. Take a moment to breathe in this very moment and identify as NO-THING. There you are…
This is also a great reminder when it comes to letting ourselves feel. We are currently living in times where a lot of stuff is coming to the surface for release, whether it be belief systems, blocked emotions, trauma imprints, identities, or perceptions. The smoothest way to move through it all is to not only release the fear of feeling, but to not always jump to identify with what stories and emotions come through. This can be a challenge, but it helps to know that dis-identifying is not something we DO, but is something we ARE, underneath all that we’re trying to do! Underneath the mental noise, we are HERE, observing what passes and feeling all sensations without judging or identifying. When we consciously move from identification to detached observation, we shift from resistance and confusion to peace and clarity.
“Feelings are Just Visitors – Don’t Identify”
4. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
“Raising consciousness” is not a serious mission. There’s no self-judgment or “I won’t make it” kind of thinking required. Remember, we’re here to be human and awaken through this human form — not deny it altogether. We’re not lacking peace because we have allowed ourselves to be human, we lack peace because we judge and resist certain aspects of being human while chasing and overvaluing others. We are not here to make ourselves an enemy and seek to destroy our ego; we are simply choosing to become conscious of how it currently operates and make some adjustments without an ounce of judgment. We can definitely give ourselves a pat on the back, as planet Earth is one intense school. But it is with great love and excitement that our souls are intending to make a shift, not with self-judgment.
“Do you really think you can embody your true nature of peace and unconditional love by fighting and judging yourself?”
– Higher Self
5. Don’t Make Personal Growth Into a Means to “Get What You Want”
When we are identified with the ego, we believe in the thought “I lack and therefore must fill,” when in truth, we are whole and complete. Even when it comes to our own spiritual development, we can get caught up thinking “if I clear this pattern, I can then manifest the ‘ideal’ relationship, stop that experience, and get what I want instead” or, “If I clear my fear right now, I can prevent it from happening later.” As much as shifting our consciousness does shift our reality, holding on to expectations still focuses our awareness outside of us and therefore keeps us in the very state we think we want to move beyond.
Notice how in this state of expectation, we still judge our current experience — our very messenger and teacher — and look outside of ourselves for something “better.” When we are truly beyond past fears and insecurities, not “getting what we want” won’t affect our inner peace because our true source of peace is within anyways. It doesn’t mean we can’t have what we desire, it only means our entire sense of self and inner peace won’t be dependent on it. In a state of inner freedom, not only more possibilities will open up to us, but we’ll also have the eyes to see them!
If I had to invent a mantra about this, it would be this one: I am releasing what no longer serves to be FREE within myself, not to project outcomes.
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”
– Eckhart Tolle
6. Be More Interested in Your Reaction Than in Who/What Triggered It
If we tend to always react in the same old ways to specific scenarios, it might be time to question our reactions instead of pointing our fingers out there. I can tell you from experience: Focusing solely on external triggers leads nowhere. When we accept that outer circumstances and other souls can play certain roles to make us aware of our sensitivities, we realize it is futile to shoot the messengers. We should actually thank the messengers for the message they bring! Sure, the urge to react can be strong, but this is a perfect opportunity to apply the wisdom and simply sit with our feelings. By allowing what we feel to just be, we are able to detach from our reaction and see things from a higher perspective.
“I reacted this way because I let myself be affected by other’s judgment,” “This person attacked me because of their own insecurity,” “It upset me because it reminds me of a past scenario I have not yet made peace with…” These are examples of what realizations may occur when we take the time to observe what is taking place. When we acknowledge the core beliefs behind of our reactions and let them go, our consciousness naturally raises beyond old patterns.
“We don’t blame the mail carrier for bills that are delivered, just as we don’t blame the mirror for what it reflects. Likewise, it’s pointless reacting to reflections of our un-integrated emotional charge.”
– Michael Brown, The Presence Process
P.S. Even when it comes to the corruption of this world, it is not by always RE-ACTING in the same old ways that we are going to CREATE real change. Observing the world instead of reacting to the world doesn’t mean apathy or being passive. It is a complete acknowledgment of reality, in which we are free to create something different. Reaction tends to go in circles and perpetuate a victim mentality instead of bringing the awareness that we are all co-creators.
7. Make Friends With the Unknown
Ahhh the scary unknown… but what if it’s not that scary? What if the unknown is simply what we haven’t created yet? BINGO! That’s exactly what it is. We create moment to moment from a field of infinite possibilities. We are naturally fluid beings. If we are really afraid of the unknown, we should be screaming right now, because we’re in it! But that’s not the state we want to be in.
We want to quit dragging the past along with us and stop projecting an image of what our future should or could look like. When we do this, it is like watching three channels superposed on one screen: We have our past, our present, and an imagined future all playing at once. We can’t see clearly! However, when we dis-identify from the past and let the future be unknown, all that is left for us to see is what is real: this moment. In this moment, everything is clear and fresh, and everything is for us to experience and create with. Freedom can only be felt in this moment! After all, it’s by constantly projecting a known past into an unknown present that we get stuck in our patterns.
“It is amazing the energy we spend holding on to our past fears in order to predict our future misery. We’d rather be afraid and in control, than to dare fully enjoy the present moment.”
– François Lange
8. Don’t Over-Analyze
I’m going to quote my pal Joe Martino here: “Answers to our challenges are often quite simple. If you find yourself analyzing and re-analyzing all the time, it’s likely you are spending too much time in your head. Get out of your mind! The answers will come when they need to.”
This is a very valuable insight. We tend to believe the mind knows what is best for us and will exhaust ourselves by depicting the moment, a past event, or future potential in every angle possible. We can relax; it is not the mind’s job to “figure out” how to receive insight. The mind is a practical tool for tasks that can be completed NOW, but was never meant to go on over-drive when it’s not needed. All creativity, insight, and wisdom actually comes from the space between our thoughts — from BEING. So it can save us some time to know that not all answers are found in the mind.
“If we think about it, if we begin to analyze it, if we start to argue with it or try to “figure it out,” we’ll become lost in thought. No one gets anywhere trying to figure out a sunrise. A sunrise is something you just be with. And you get from it whatever you get from it. If you try to analyze a sunrise, the experience the sunrise has for you will go away.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
9. Be in the Body
One of, if not THE, most effective ways to connect with the moment, quiet the mind, release resistance, drop judgment, feel our inner-guidance, and raise our consciousness is to connect with our body. When we are caught up in the mind, notice how our whole attention and energy seems to be scattered around our head and body — not here, now, and within. An effective way to bring us back to reality is to connect with what is naturally present — such as the movement of our breath and the very sensations of our body. This brings our awareness out of the stream of compulsive thinking and into the silent movement of energy within.
“Go into your inner body, feel that your energy field is alive. And you’ll notice, you’re not thinking anymore. You can still listen.”
– Eckhart Tolle
10. Love Freely
Do you carry barriers and protections around your heart, preventing love to flow freely? Many of us have adopted the belief that love can hurt, or that conditions need to be met before we can allow love to flow. This one hits home for me, since I have often closed myself off when I felt rejected or saw that love wasn’t equally reciprocated. I can see now how this is a very restrictive illusion that actually creates more tension and suffering.
If we truly want to lighten up, we need to let the doors of our hearts open, even if this means releasing built up pain from the past. This will not only release our old perceptions of conditional love, but will also give us the opportunity to experience the freedom of unconditional love for others and, most importantly, for ourselves.
The truth is, love always flows effortlessly between all beings regardless of external appearances and roles. We ARE Love, and we are one! When we let go of the fear of feeling and allow energy to flow in and out of the heart, we will realize it is not love that hurts. Unconditional love is our natural state; what is “hurting” are the protections and conditions we build around it.
“How we relate, or rather how well we love, depends on how empty we are of ideas, concepts, expectations.”
– Kim Eng
11. Look at a Picture of Planet Earth
“You see how diminutive your life and concerns are compared to other things In the universe… The result is that you enjoy the life that is before you… It allows you to have inner peace.”
– Astronaut Edward Gibson