Expanding Awareness: A Few Suggestions For Growing Your Consciousness

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Lake Park, MN

Have you ever walked in the woods and felt yourself enveloped by the silence? Laid in the sun and lost awareness of everything around you except the warmth of the sun on your body? Or sat by the ocean and experienced the timelessness of the sand and waves, understanding your own life as a grain of sand on an ever changing beach? Or entered a cathedral and felt the history of the ages whisper in your soul? Have you encountered experiences and stories that raised every hair on the back of your neck?

All of this is information. All of this is expanded awareness, expanded consciousness. How do you go about intentionally expanding your awareness, growing your consciousness? Here are a few simple suggestions.

Pay attention to naturally occurring situations – any or all of the ones mentioned above and more – let your attention rest there and slowly expand your “gaze” to “see” or sense more. This is not necessarily seeing with your physical eyes, although it can be that too. This is seeing with your second sight, or your third eye, or your imagination – whatever you want to call it. Let a story unfold – or make one up. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. And when you know that your body is around 65% water, you begin to understand how much of what we think is real might actually be illusion.

Soften your gaze anytime, anywhere – including in your own living room, back yard, in a place with people – airports, malls. You can allow the energy that is in the space you are in float around you as if it has its own movement, its own story, its own being – because it does.

You can tap into your imagination, letting it run away in its own directions. Where does the inspiration for imagination come from anyway? Do we know it doesn’t come from some metaphysical influences?

pixies_in_the_sky-1868When you are in the woods and you soften your gaze, can you see the wood nymphs, the faeries, the elves and other entities that wander there, that call it home? (If you are wondering if it is real or if you are making it up, see the previous post – it doesn’t matter.) If you could interact with them or talk to them, what would that interaction look like or sound like? Every time I expand my conscious to invite interaction with what I cannot see with my eyes but can sense with my being, the very first feeling is one of gratitude and appreciation for the acknowledgement. “Thank you for seeing me.” And very often there is light heartedness, joy and delight. A sense of playfulness. Hmmm, yes. Playfulness and light heartedness. True story.

It seems particularly important to see and acknowledge these beings / non-beings in city parks and green areas because so much more of the city’s energy is weighted down with concrete, asphalt and other man-made building materials. Every time these beings are seen and acknowledged it fuels them, gives them additional sparks of life.

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Beach photo courtesy of Peter Moorhouse

When you are on the beach, let your imagination wander into the water and see what comes into your awareness. The sea creatures – physical, non-physical, mythical. You can see them dancing on the waves, in drops of water, in the way the rays of the sun touch the surface and penetrate the depths.

In cathedrals built eons ago, feel the blood, sweat and tears of the men and women who built these structures. Feel awe at the feat as well as the grief and sorrow of those that lost their lives, the harshness of the times and circumstances. Imagine what it was like in the day they were built and what vision and perseverance it would take to bring it into being. And all the sacred ceremony that has filled the cavernous spaces inside, still alive in the density of the air.

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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

The ways to expand your awareness, expand your consciousness are not even limited to your imagination, although they are limited by doubt, by questioning, by not believing. Allow – no, invite – yourself to play, to dream, to imagine. And learn to trust your own experiences.

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Is This Real or Am I Making It Up?

Harry_Dumbledore_limboOne of my favourite passages in the Harry Potter books is when Harry is in the in-between space – in between going back for a battle with Voldermort or moving on to another realm. He meets Dumbledore – who has passed on – in a very antiseptic looking, empty train station where Dumbledore tells him he has a choice about what to do next, it is his decision. He does not have to go back. As Dumbledore is walking away, Harry calls out, “Professor, is this real or is it all in my head?” Dumbledore pauses and replies, “Of course it’s all in your head, Harry, but that doesn’t make it any less real.”

Kathy Sacred Tattoo Design

I am often asked about this image – which is tattooed on my back – emblematic of my journey with that which cannot be seen but is, nonetheless, real.

And this is where we get caught – in the wondering of whether our experience is real or are we making it up? Not trusting our senses. I know the messages in my own mind as I began to experience an expanded consciousness were, “This is not real. I’m making it up.” I think this is the message many of us received as children. “It’s not real. You’re making it up. You have a lively imagination.”

Well, what if that imaginary friend was a non-physical guardian or a guide appearing to you? What if that vivid story you told was from a past life? What if your sense that a grandparent or other loved one, sometimes even someone you did not meet in this lifetime, what if that is also real? Faeries? Elves? Wood nympths? Magical beings? Why not? When you are told it is all in your imagination, it dismisses and diminishes your experience, causing you to lose trust in your own intuitive knowing.

The mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Napolean Hill, in Think and Grow Rich, said, “Thoughts are things. Everything is created twice – once in the imagination and once in physical form.” This is why visualization for athletes and other top performers is so important. It is why a fear response can be elicited in our bodies just by thinking about or remembering something that frightens us. Or a joy response by thinking about or remembering something that delights us. If I can imagine a world that frightens me, where I have imagined harm I cannot see and might not have experienced, then why couldn’t I imagine a world that delights me? Why can’t that be just as real as imagined evils in the world? And if it makes me feel better, more vibrant and alive, then does it matter if I’m making it up?

Being raised in a logical, rational world that depends on facts has numbed us to other experiences. When my youngest son talked about “the last time, you know, when I was a woman and grew really old”, I didn’t tell him he was making it up. When my older boys were young and their grandfather died, I asked them what that was like for them. When they told me they thought “death was like waking up, like when you are asleep and dreaming and it feels real, but then you wake up and realize it was just a dream. Maybe life – and death – is like that. You wake up and realize that “life” was just a dream.” I didn’t tell them they were wrong. Because maybe they are right. Because why couldn’t that be true?

The first awareness I had of a spirit guide came when someone else told me about one – a priest from my father’s family is what she told me. I asked my father if there was a priest from his side of the family who had passed on and he told me about Bishop LeBrie, a friend of the family whose lap I used to sit on while playing with his cross when I was a toddler. Then another person told me about another guide – a fierce wizard who grew larger when he was protecting me. Knowing they were there, I let myself sense into them and could then be aware of them – although I had no idea what to do with the information. And then there were more, arriving in all kinds of different ways for all kinds of different reasons. Because I became willing to “believe” and to trust in what was coming to me. Although language fails me still because I “see” but it is not physicality that I see. Not everyone can “see” what I see, although I have become aware that more and more people can experience the same thing as me in the same timing. There are things I become aware of that I could not possibly know – “proof” that my experiences are real. This is why I wrote Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedenss – because I am an ordinary person with what I have come to believe are ordinary experiences that everyone has to one degree or another and we need the validation that comes when we know someone else has had similar experiences – that it is real, we are not making it up.

Gold Lake 011When I stood on the mountain at Gold Lake and saw flashes and images of lifetimes long ago, I was not making it up. It was real. Even if it was “all in my head”, or in my imagination, or in my heart. When I came home and the “ancestors” came with me, other people could sense them, feel them and experience them too. The quality of my life and experience changed.

The days I walk in expanded consciousness and awareness are rich. I don’t do it all the time because I get wrapped up in the physical experience of living – of making a living, of worrying about finances, worrying about my kids and their unfolding lives. But I do it more and more and more. I learn to trust the nudges more. Reach out to a friend. Take your reiki training. Get a massage. Do energy work. Talk to your favourite psychic. Meditate. By yourself or with a friend. The less I get lost in the daily grind, the more life flows – not always as I expect it to but always it flows.