Awareness expansion tools and techniques are one of the four pillars that provide the foundation of spiritual exploration. They are methods to create your path. Find out to use them to your full potential.
These tools and techniques for expanding awareness are one of the four main pillars of spiritual exploration. The other three are the Analytical Tools, Progressions of Meditation, and Healing Modalities. Together, they propel us on the spiritual journey.
The Journey From Awake to Aware
Awareness is a quality of consciousness on a continuum of perception and presence. With greater bandwidth comes more clarity of thought. We are more present in our lives. When we expand awareness, we increase the ability of the mind’s intellectual and intuitive powers. Increasing awareness also has a direct effect on our hearts and conscience. Increasing your conscience will change the quality of your thoughts.
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” — Carl Jung
Awareness runs on a continuum from those who Gurdjieff calls asleep to those who are enlightened sages. Everyone falls somewhere on this graph. And, you can use awareness tools and techniques to increase our bandwidth of awareness, thereby developing our minds, bodies, and spirit.
“Awakening is not a state but a process: an ethical way of life and commitment that enables human flourishing. As such, it is no longer the exclusive preserve of enlightened teachers or accomplished yogis. Likewise, nirvana-the stopping of craving-is not the goal of the path but its very source. For human flourishing first stirs in that clear, bright, empty space where neurotic self-centredness realizes it has no ground at all to stand on. One is then freed to pour forth like sunlight.” — Stephen Batchelor
Some people are born awake and fully aware, but most people need some maturing to advance along this path. Joseph Campbell (1) did considerable research into this process. Humankind has an inborn desire to seek the unknown. He calls this common desire The Hero’s Journey, and it’s a pattern that we find in many ancient cultures.
“Philosophy is not to think deep, but simply speak life’s basics that arise, aware and awaken people who are knowingly or unknowingly in the state of sleep.” — Anuj
Some people answer the call to seek their spiritual path; others do not. Many people stay asleep psychologically and spiritually. Some people get sidetracked by religion. But, more and more are making the journey from awake to aware. They are moving on the continuum from asleep to awake.
“Tapped in a continuum of your own making. Awareness is the key that unlocks your opportunity for change.” — Truth Devour
The Continuum of Awareness
The graph above is one way to describe this continuum. On the left side are those who are asleep. On the extreme side of this spectrum are narcissists and psychopaths, and they are the most destructive, especially when in places of power. Narcissistic behaviors to mild mental neurosis are next. They will never make it from awake to aware, and they most likely will never awaken.
Next are those who are asleep but not overtly destructive make up the most significant part of the population in the modern world. This group fixates on religion and material possessions. They lead consumer-driven lives, which make them followers of trends and cultural traditions marketed as organized religion.
Then we have those awakening but fall back to sleep because they succumb to the programming prevalent in many cultures.
Those who are awake are on the right side of the continuum of awareness. These people are walking their path and becoming aware and enlightened individuals. On the far right of the graph, we have the most enlightened individuals, the Siddhas, and Sages.
“Wakefulness involves both the heart and the mind. We think more clearly and we empathize more dearly. Expanding awareness has some unintended consequences, it makes us a better and more caring person.” — Guru Tua
Spiritual exploration is a journey through life using awareness tools and techniques that provide us with a greater degree of presence, practical knowledge, and wisdom.
We are on the path alone, but we don’t have to walk by ourselves.
We learn and get guidance from others, and we help others. There will be roadblocks, challenges, and opportunities. Our friends and partners are there to help us. In the end, the rewards are worth the inner work for expanded awareness.
Humankind has always been intrigued with consciousness and awareness. Our awareness affects our whole being. Awareness is that expression of consciousness that reveals the bandwidth of our perception, and our perception deals directly with the filters that create what we experience. Those methods which help us push the boundaries of awareness are integral to a healthy spiritual practice.
Awareness Tools and Techniques
This is a list of techniques deals with increasing awareness and perception. We organized the following list of awareness expansion tools in alphabetical order, not in their order of importance. Besides these tools, several other awareness mind-hacks can facilitate the growth of perception. Don’t forget, the journey “from awake to aware” is also enjoyable and fulfilling.
Automatic handwriting is a term that refers to a technique where we allow the hand to move on paper without giving conscious thought to what we are writing. It’s one of the most valuable tools for accessing our subconscious mind. It is something that became popular when paper and pencil became a common commodity.
Many early psychology developers like Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and George Gurdjieff (3) talk about variations in automatic handwriting. The Modern Spiritualist Movement adopted this technique in the 1800s. Sadly, its association with this movement keeps the procedure out of the mainstream. It is a helpful method for accessing the subconscious mind.
The Emotional Check Process
It is a practical process we recommend with almost every kind of spiritual technology. This process helps us to keep our focus from being diverted by our emotions. Feelings have a way of sidetracking our research or progress because they can trigger our fight, flight, or freeze mechanism.
Not only can our emotions thwart our research, but they can also keep us asleep. We can spend hours in research only to find we fail to make any progress. We fail to see or reject those things that threaten our current point of view.
Fear and anger override our critical thinking abilities. So, stopping to assess our feelings is a way to get the most out of the time you spend. No matter what stage you are in the continuum of awareness, this simple emotional checking process will help you get better results.
Exploring our memories is an important exercise that we can use to complement other kinds of meditation, healing, or awareness expansion tools. Our formative time in childhood holds some interesting values and thought scripts in our daily lives. Learning about them helps us identify which ones are healthy and which ones are not to change them.
Exploring our memories puts things in perspective and so can move us from awake to aware.
Holotropic breathwork is a breathing exercise that produces an altered state which exposes our deepest emotions. Many practitioners use it in emotional healing practices. This technique is not for everyone, especially if you have a heart condition or are taking other mood enhancement drugs.
Some people classify this as a form of meditation because of the way it alters awareness. Hyperventilating isn’t a different form of waking consciousness, but it allows the subconscious mind to communicate with the conscious mind, especially the emotional center. It’s one of the “awareness tools and techniques” that’s not for everyone.
Learning How To Learn
The tactics for optimal learning is one of the first tools we use in our blended learning process. We are the accumulation of our memory. Everything about who we are is within the mysterious compartment of the mind we call memory.
Enhancing memory involves learning practical techniques to strengthen and organize the power of our memory.
The tactics of optimal learning open up the power of your memory increases your overall potential to acquire and use knowledge. Your memory is like a muscle; the more you learn to use it correctly, the stronger it becomes.
If you come to any of our workshops, one of the first techniques you’ll learn will be the framework of “learning how to learn.” These practical frameworks aren’t new. Everyone can use them. We wonder why these tactics are not a part of every child’s learning curriculum. No matter what age, no matter where you are on the continuum of awareness, these tactics will supercharge your learning ability.
Lucid dreaming is aware you are asleep and dreaming, plus exerting some level of control over your dreams. There are simple techniques you can use to open up this portal of experience. Many sages say this is the first awareness expansion technique because it opens our waking perception to synchronicities.
It is by far the most practical spiritual technology you can employ to expedite your growth on the continuum of awareness. You get the opportunity every night you go to bed to sleep.
External and Internal Self-Observation Tools
These are practical strategies to increase both internal and external observational skills. It is these skills that help us experience life in a more pristine and unfiltered way.
For example, our sixth sense is one ability we share with many living things. It’s the ability to sense danger when the threat is outside of the parameters of our five senses. We can regain this primitive observational sense by removing the cultural clutter from the programming within the mind.
These skills deal with developing interactive and situational awareness: ocular and breathing techniques and analytical tools to identify and remove harmful programming.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first technology for exploring consciousness. It is a universal gateway to a separate state of awareness found around the world. Michael Harner (2) calls this state The Shamanic State of Consciousness (SCC). The brainwaves are in the theta-wavelength 4 to 7Hz, making this partition of awareness distinctly different from our default states of waking, sleeping, and dreaming. It is also different from the 4th state of pure consciousness.
Our modern culture rebrands this process to make it more marketable under guided meditation and creative visualization. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures, and it serves as evidence of the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a crucial element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world, providing the lucid journey.
A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
Spiritual Journal or Book of Shadows
If you are looking for a place to start your spiritual practice, this should be your first tool. Your collection of spiritual journals is your best friend. It is a must-have tool because it will be your spiritual life coach.
Your handwriting contains a lot of information to help you spot roadblocks in your growth and progress. Most progress comes in small incremental steps. So, we tend to miss it unless we record our thoughts.
Third-Eye Awakening Process
Opening the third eye is an advanced process to increase your observational and perception abilities. To do this, it opens the heart chakra. When most people think of improving their observational skills, they think of the five senses. However, perception and observation are inside jobs. They deal with removing the harmful boundaries and beliefs that get in the way.
One must be careful when activating this portal because many of the effects are irreversible. Once your heart and conscience are open, you cannot “unsee” the existing inequities and challenges.
The above list of awareness tools and techniques contains the methods we have tested in workshops for nearly 30 years. We find them to be safe and effective. These tools are at the core of our blended learning process.
What you will notice is the conspicuous absence of any religious dogma. It is because the immersion into mythology and superstition has the opposite effect on awareness. When you mistake myths for facts, it creates a slippery slope that blinds our minds. Mythology sets up barriers to common sense.
The path from awake to aware is a life-long adventure. We are all on the continuum of awareness, each facing unique challenges. Find freethinkers who have the same goal for self-development, and you’ll go a long way. If you stumble and fall, it’s all part of “the great spiritual experiment” we call life.
(1) Joseph Campbell : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell
(2) Michael Harner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Harner
(3) George Ivanovich Gurdjieff: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff