Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spirituality For Dummies

in response to a query from a friend:

Living Spiritually in a Conscious World - But What IS Consciousness?

here is the revised explanation of the book overview: spirituality for dummies, hopefully in a more readable format. before i was worried i would exceed the character limit so everything was a bit more jumbled. i hope this is a more tolerable read than my previous explanation

this is sort of a over simplified, yet poorly constructed way of explaining what consciousness is. if i were to sum it up i would phrase it this way.

in order for you to be able to sense and perceive things, there is a whole network of neural patterns that occurs in your mind that is shaped and conditioned from your experiences. if you want to learn something new, you have to expose yourself to new things.

if you want to perceive things differently or change anything, whether its within you or if you're creating or trying to understand something outside of yourself, you must first begin with changing HOW you think.

Change begins by exposing yourself to new ideas, or thinking about the significance of what the things you see everyday really mean. Most spiritual people think that the best way to do this is to notice little things around you, like water dripping in a faucet. Think about what that the fact that you notice this phenomenon means, what this event says about waste, about how you feel about the fact that clean water exists or that it is scarce in communities of people who really need it. How do you think about what makes up that water be it the chemicals in it, the molecular structure, the changing states. How does that relate to you? Aren't you made up of this same substance?

Do you leave impressions of yourself in the water you use? Does the water that makes you up transfer your own energy patterns as it conducts electricity? Would these charged particles account for lightening? thunderstorms, the resonation of you the combined presence of mind and spirit, of vibrant energy that passes through you toward the heavens and provides cleansing and power, that stimulates your dreams? Does are skin absorb this energy, and pass these memories, these energetic influences through us? Are we all interconnected through this force or does the presence of this life force mean that we are all connected as impulsive and attractive beings?

you can take these thoughts anywhere you think that your mind can go. the point is to create and stimulate your imaginantion and neural activity to get you to focus your energy toward getting to know yourself, how you think, be mindful of your thoughts and pay more attention to what,s going on around you. to be more aware....

being aware is like people watching, only you take notice of other things, apply a significance to them, deconstruct them, or redefine what they mean to you, what they could mean to you, how this process of thought will shape you cognitive reasoning and the way that you affect the world. this process/ practice is supposed to give you a deeper awareness and sensitivity to things that happen around you so you can experience life more fully or at least be aware of your thought patterns.

it takes training and practice to build up this ability, but it is the fundamental basis for all meaningful creative thoughts and deeds. there are some who believe that this collective thought is what makes up anything that has ever been created and that we are all a part of a universal process of applying order (intelligent design) and awareness of this pattern and establishing a meaning or significance to this order
"consciousness" through awareness and recognition of patterns (understanding) in order to build new organisms or other systems.

this is why people argue about whether or not computers which are programmed will ever achieve the ability to achieve a state of awareness, or become "intelligent" beings, able to change these processing patterns on their own through practice and repetition; leading to most ethical issues regarding "A.I." or artificial intelligence.

PEOPLE WHO CHANGE things often begin by first taking notice of these recognition patterns within themselves and then APPLY this practice outward are known as creators, innovators and engineers/ architects. They direct and build because they have the ability or training to be able to deconstruct the process of how things are taken apart and reassembled to create something of value. Educators, caretakers, and even vocational technicians employ this practice in their daily lives, but may not always fully understand the significance that their work, as tedious as it may feel at times shapes the progression or lack thereof of a collective "consciousness" that exists outside of themselves. By thinking about the impact of the things they purchase and invest in, they create an entire collective consciousness or "culture" that often teaches and sets standards that limit how we think, act, and contribute to the goals of the community or take ownership of ourselves. This can be seen by comparing corporate cultures with those of activists, or underemployed communities.

Ironically the societal norms of modern cultures show that there is a higher prevalence of people taking notice of things that may not necessarily benefit them; ie the newest phone, movie, sex scandal, or incident
they don't like (like who pissed them off at the DMV that day, or how much they hate their job) rather than constructing solutions to these challenges or learning how to recognize how WHAT they notice indicates how their lives, impacts their external worlds. (ie by fighting and blaming corporations, policy makers, deadbeat exes we limit our ability, through our own thinking, to take ownership of how we contribute to our own individual and societal progression instead of creating solutions to improve these challenges or changing our thought patterns and activites that contribute toward these problems (we'll come back to that).

I think working to use this process of awareness and education to create knowledge and self discovery is the evolution of our awareness that shifts our thinking from ignorance and limiting thought patterns toward a more constructive frame of mind and awareness, often referred to as "an awakening to consciousness". Rather than settle for apathy, we begin to understand the importance and often daunting task of working on ourselves and to change our environments by mastering how we conduct ourselves. This process was facilitated for many years by churches and spiritual leaders, but as the newer generations of free thnkers, spiritualists and scientists have pushed the measurable barrier of the sciences to try and define an explanation of what can feel at times like a very spiritual or mystical awakening many people are beginning to awaken and evolve their thinking and higher levels of consciousness that have pushed these euphoric experiences out of the realm of mysticism into practical applications in our daily lives (hence why the laws of attraction became so popular).

As more people begin to assess their own thought patterns rather than try to figure out or feed their own egos (pride) or fixation upon why other people aren't doing things constructive or creating challenges (victim/ blamer mentality), they can reduce their own limited thinking by better accurately assessing what it is that hinders them from being able to make changes or recognize gifts within themselves that will empower and motivate them to want to make a difference. (ie any cinderella story you've heard about someone who comes from horrible circumstances, depression, etc. and works their way out of it by changing their attitude to get out despite the odds.)

Often times challenges stem from our own limited thinking or attitudes, negativity, or lack of interest in being accountable for our own thought and actions that hinder our own well being or our ability to have compassion for the suffering of others (clearly something that can't be changed over night).

at this point when a person goes simply from noticing these things (a state of awareness) to a state of being mindful (changing these thought patterns and actions toward trying to make personal efforts to change) through the practice of evolving their consciousness and continued education, we say that person has finally awakened to consciousness and is working toward "realization, or actualization". They are aware and becoming the kind of person they aspire to be. During this stage the thoughts become the manifestation. Like when a person wanting to learn to play an instrument or paint becomes more of an artist or musician with each completed work. Quitting eating meat, or doing community service is another example of how a person shifts their consciousness from being a part of the problem (people don't care) to becoming an activist or someone who works toward solutions; someon who affects change.

When people are then able to condition themselves to begin seeing positive opportunities and take notice of how to improve their external environments to the point where it becomes second nature, they can begin a more restorative process. by working to engage in more affirmative behavior and thought patterns they are able to communicate this with others, through their deeds and thorough experience and understanding, we say that person has become enlightened. (or better yet is working toward enlightenment because it is kind of an ongoing process).
Through this mastery of one's self through daily practice, lifestyle changes and collaboration with others to consciously achieve common goals that will benefit, both the person and others, people go through the process of learning how to teach, to share and give their gifts to others, "enlightening or easing the mental burden of others, empowering them to employ these practices for themselves, and easing the suffering of those who have been burndened by their own limited thinking, or automated thought patterns.

Those who are enlightened have the ability to inspire others and to each others to discover or awaken to themselves. This can often be done through education, spiritual practice, meditation. Some people take up causes to teach what they have learned to other people or start outreach programs on how to be self-sufficient, reduce domestic violence, or grow sustainable gardens or other outlet. Many poets and hip hop artists are beginning to incorporate more socially and spiritually conscious lyrics.

Even though the concept of enlightenment and consciousness are known to many cultures as lifestyle practices are tied into religion, there appears to be a growing shift in a more secular humanist or scientific perspective
there is a broadening of the definition of consciousness that is explained that indicates that this awakening to higher consciousness on a collective scale is believed to be the next evolution of how thought will evolve in man, in theory both spiritually and socially. If nothing else, it becomes sort of a gateway toward awakening to our most creative selves.

Quantum physics tries to justify mechanical proof that consciousness exists as an actual physical state of subatomic properties that define the possibility for interconnectedness and potential existence (hence the water example) i believe it may have been better to say that light and energy take different forms but they exist in everything, and quantum physics tries to explain that energy even manifests itself through our thoughts, leading to the whole consciousness debate. According to the uncertainty principle in quantum physics we cannot always predict where our energy comes from or where it is going. Those who advocate for consciousness believe that we can always guide or increase the chances of the reactions of our energy, (or the way that we respond to things) any way that we can always choose by channeling and directing that energy to create whatever we can condition our minds to create.

It basically comes back to the existentialist argument of free will, the question of how do we validate the knowledge we claim to be aware of and can we really claim to possess the power or state of mind to control anything outside of ourselves, or are we simply deluding ourselves into perceiving our significance as creative beings as being greater than it actually is.

There is a missing link (chiefly actual evidence, which is why physicists are scrambling around trying to find a unifying theory that ties together the fundamental behaviors of the building blocks that existence is created from to support that any of the quantum theories are correct in their entirety). Those who follow consciousness approach the theory from the other end by focusing on trying to understand how following the process, which seems to be uniform in everything will eventually lead to the theory.

According to consciousness theory, according to the pattern of creation which begins with how we cultivate our thoughts ( (how we define our intentions),
whether or not you are successful, or make a difference in this world is contingent upon whether or not you believe and are committed to finding the path to get there, not your circumstance. when you notice the positives and opportunities for growth and change and act upon them you can inspire others to follow your example and grow the movement that will spark the evolution of man into the next phase of creation and progression as humans evolve into more conscious beings.


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