“Awareness is a precious commodity. But, awareness cannot be purchased outright. Although there are many religions and other snake-oil salesmen who claim to be able to package and sell it.” — Guru Tua
Awareness is the bandwidth of wakefulness. It is the conduit which governs our capacity for perception and our ability to understand. So, it is vital to our overall health and wellness. And, it’s an essential element in spiritual exploration.
Awareness is like a Wilderness
The beauty of the wilderness is very much like the beauty of our awareness. So, we should cultivate awareness in the same way one does a wilderness. If there is an area that has been damaged by man, we can help nature replant a wilderness. To do this we need to pick the right plants. Plants need to be picked for the climate and soil. We could just wait for nature to do it on its own, but this could take decades. Sometimes, nature can’t recover. So, rather than wait, we can help nature. But, we need to make the choices. The same with our awareness.
The nature of the mind is like the wilderness. If left alone with the right ingredients it will grow. It will develop greater levels of awareness and consciousness on its own. But, we’ve tampered with the soil of the mind. Almost everyone is subject to massive amounts of cultural programming.
So, we need to tend the soil and plant some new seeds. We need to take out the weeds. The weeds come primarily from beliefs that create boundaries. These are typically around our spiritual beliefs. The new soil and seeds are tools that expand awareness and open us to higher states of consciousness. There are a number of these which have been passed down through the generations. The right seed tools depend upon the person. Everyone has their own personality and instincts. And of course, we live and work in different cultures and environments. As a result, our awareness shrinks. We end up believing what we are told, instead of being able to reason and make our own choices.
the effects of the culture on awareness
The cultural environment plays a huge role. It can contribute to our growth and expansion of awareness, or it can cause us to regress. You can tell where you are at on the continuum of development by asking yourself some questions.
- Does the belief structure promote or cause you fear or anger?
- Do you feel you have the need to defend your beliefs about spiritual reality?
- Do your beliefs contain elements that are harmful to you, others or the environment? In other words, does it contain justification for harming or discriminating against others?
- If your belief system has a hierarchy does this promote more value or human rights for certain classes, ethnicities or genders? In short, does it value some people more than others?
- Do your beliefs place boundaries on what you can think, what you value, what you can do? If so, are these boundaries applicable to everyone, or are some exempt?
- If there are boundaries are they around what you can believe about physical or spiritual reality?
- Are there boundaries for what is acceptable spiritual practice? Are you permitted to engage in your own spiritual exploration?
An affirmative answer to any of these questions means you are subject to structures harmful to the health of your awareness. You have two choices.
Choices regarding your awareness
Your first choice is to ignore it and go back to sleep. Or, the second choice is to push back. Seek ways to expand your awareness as your individual situation allows. There are many cultures that are oppressive and restrictive. So, your expansion of awareness may need to be kept private. Sadly, there are societies where is not safe to be a freethinker. Oppressive cultures exist around the globe. People think that the West is a bastion of freedom and tolerance for people of all backgrounds. Perhaps this was the case long ago. However, even in North America, one needs to be cautious and prudent.
Promoting the expansion of healthy awareness
Here are some practical things you can do if you chose to increase your bandwidth of awareness.
- Eliminate or at least minimize your contact to the major mainstream news media. If you are a news junkie switch to independent sources.
- Eliminate your exposure to voluntary social and cultural programming. This is important but it’s hard to do since it’s this comes under the guise of religion. Specifically, Western Organized Religion under the umbrella of the Abrahamic Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). If you can’t disengage the counteract the social programming by doing independent sources. Study and learn how to employ logical reasoning. This is absolutely imperative. Otherwise, the longer you are subject to this social conditioning the harder it is to reason objectively.
- Find other truth-seekers. If you can research together that is a great strategy. If the culture you are in is oppressive. You is your own but that doesn’t mean you have to walk it alone.
- Be careful not to share your new awareness and knowledge with those who would use it to persecute or ostracize.