The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. – Lao Tzu
Are you stuck at your current level of awareness while believing you are more aware than Jean Claude Vandamme? (You don’t know Jean Claude Van Damme? Check this video)
Have you thought about how many of your beliefs are probably wrong? Have you ever questioned in depth your religious or political beliefs?
I’m truly fascinated by consciousness and I have the conviction that an increase in the overall level of consciousness in the world is the only way for our society to evolve towards a more peaceful and loving society. Hence, my love for Jean Claude Van Damme!
A simple change of the current political institutions or economic policies won’t bring any significant results unless it is accompanied with the power of awareness.
The Mystery of Consciousness and Why Your Awareness Sucks
Certain people seem to be more conscious than others and I’ve been wondering for a while now what is it that makes them reach a higher level of consciousness. How come some people are ready to challenge all their assumptions in order to bring more truth in their life while other people live in falsehood refusing to challenge any of their beliefs?
We could start answering that question by saying that the smarter and the wealthier we are, the more room we have to display a high level of consciousness. That this is generally true but, at the same time, being smart doesn’t necessarily lead people to be more conscious. In fact, for me, one of the greatest mysteries of life is to see how common it is for smart people to be dogmatic or stubborn.
One of the greatest obstacles towards a higher consciousness is probably the unwillingness to question our current identity and change the status quo. Do you really want to become more aware?
Most of us are more worried about preserving our ego and our current identity than becoming more aware of ourselves or our surroundings. Sadly, our brain likes stability; it wants nothing more than a safe and comfortable life, which leads us to the first reason why your level of awareness sucks.
To learn more about the ego and the construction of our identity check my article What is The Ego?
Now, let me give you the 4 reasons why you level of awareness sucks
1. You Are Obsessed With Your Sense Of Identity
All suffering is caused by my identifying myself with something, whether that something is within me or outside of me. – Anthony de Mello
Your current self-image results from your belief system. Thus, questioning your beliefs is questioning your own identity, which is never easy to do.
Most of you find it more comfortable to maintain or strengthen your current identity than to change it. For instance, let’s assume you are on the left wing of the political spectrum. How likely are you to spend time every day reading right-wing newspapers looking for errors in your current political beliefs.
A more plausible scenario: every day you read left wing newspaper looking for more confirmations of your current beliefs because that makes you feel good; you are right and you know you belong to the right community.
The stronger your belief, the more you will derive your sense of identity from it; and the harder for you to see the falsehood of that belief. Awareness arises from our willingness to challenge our current beliefs.
2. You Are Dogmatic But You Don’t Know It
Monks and scholars must not accept my words out of respect, but must analyze them the way a goldsmith analyzes gold – by cutting, scraping, rubbing, melting. – Buddha
Whether you are aware of it or not, you are dogmatic in certain areas of your life. In the worse cases, some people are so dogmatic that they mistake their beliefs for the truth and reject anything that could challenge these beliefs. In a word, they are unconscious.
For instance, people love conspiracies because it gives them the illusion that they know the truth while others don’t. They feel special. It is easy to fall into this trap, believing that your religion or your political party is right.
However, it is nothing more than the play of your ego looking for a sense of belonging to strengthen its identity. Dogmatism is a way to bring stability in your life. It creates a false sense of control and power over the world but it is an illusion.
Religious fundamentalists are a classic example of dogmatism but they are not the only ones. Atheists who like to poke fun at religious people and who believe themselves to be the ones who know the truth are not any less dogmatic. They often call themselves skeptics but are they really? Most of the time they simply refuse to hear anything that is not in line with their current model of reality.
Considering, how small we are in the universe, and how little we know, I find it as pretentious to be an atheist “fundamentalist” that “knows” god doesn’t exist and believe that he can comprehend the universe with his small human mind, as to be a religious fundamentalist that claims to know what god expect from him (what he should eat or not eat, how he should behave, what he can do in god’s name…).
I personally prefer to stay open-minded, looking at evidence that comes on my way with a skeptical but non-dogmatic eye, accepting the fact that I don’t know rather than believing in either of these theories.
Of course, religion is not the only area where people can be dogmatic. Politics, economics or history for instance are other areas where people can be dogmatic.
Whether we believe in god or not, I personally feel that there are a lot of things that, rather than being ignored, deserve a closer look. Recently, my interest has been in spiritual enlightenment, life between lives hypnosis, reincarnation and near death experience. Do these things exist or am I being dogmatic? It’s my job to find it out!
What about you? Can you find areas in your life where you are being dogmatic?
3. You Prefer Confidence To Awareness
I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. – Socrates
Having strong beliefs is also a great way to build confidence. If your current belief system provides you with a clear and compelling vision of the world, you will feel a strong sense of confidence. The simpler your model of reality is, the easier and clearer your answers are. However, at the same time, the simpler your model is, the less true your thoughts, decisions or answers will be.
Personally, I’ve always struggled with assertiveness. Because of my strong desire for truth, I have always found it extremely difficult to be assertive. I perfectly know that there is no clear answer to almost any question, which makes it difficult for me to be assertive.
During my MBA, it was actually one of the things I struggled the most with: being assertive and confident when there is no reason to be. I would often witness students displaying a high level of confidence while they had obviously no way to know whether what they were saying was actually right or not.
It might sound naive to you, but the question that I’ve been asking myself is: “To what extent people who show confidence believe in what they say, and to what extent are they just pretending?” More importantly, I’ve been wondering if it were possible that confidence could have a negative impact on awareness?”
Indeed, the more assertive or confident you are, the more likely you are to distort the truth. You are in fact consciously or unconsciously refusing to think deeper preferring a simple and clear solution. You prefer simpler models of reality because it makes things easier to understand and allows you to make decisions.
What about you? How much are you distorting the truth? Are you aware of it?
As Charles Bukowski wrote “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence”.
4. You Prefer To Stay Asleep
Be aware of what you’re saying, be aware of what you’re doing, be aware of what you’re thinking, be aware of how you’re acting. Be aware of where you’re coming from, what your motives are. The unaware life is not worth living. – Anthony de Mello
Yes, trying to become more conscious is hard. It is easier for us to react to our selfish, insecure, greedy and stubborn ego than to transcend it. It is also easy to ignore how we are destroying the planet or how our favorite companies are exploiting workers to allow us, consumers, to buy cheaper products.
It is easy to get caught in the system and, as Will Smith says, to “spend money that we don’t have, on things we do not need, to impress people who do not care”. It is easier to go with the flow and to act the same as other people than to really ask ourselves is what we are doing is right.
However, if we really aspire to have a positive impact on the world, we will have to become more and more responsible for our own actions. In order to do so, we must start by understanding how our beliefs, our actions and our behaviors affect the world around us.
I believe that becoming more conscious means being willing to challenge whatever beliefs we have in order to better contribute to the world. To access to a higher level of consciousness we must put truth, compassion and love before anything else.
Unfortunately, many people are more interesting in being right than in accepting the truth. They refuse or are unable to acknowledge that their identity was created out of falsehood and that they need to change their current belief system in order to raise their level of consciousness. They get defensive each time their beliefs are challenged, and their clear vision of the world gives them a strong sense of purpose and great confidence. However, can a clear but false vision of the world be beneficial for the evolution of the world consciousness? I doubt so.
What about you? Does your awareness suck? What can you do to increase your awareness?
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