Consciousness Coaching: Part 2
Hello again. This week I am continuing the explication of Consciousness Coaching. The first installment appeared here in the Chronicle last week.
It is now well-documented that our brains can generate new cells and be retrained and reshaped at any age as a result of a biological process called neuroplasticity. For much more on that consult Perlmutter & Villoldo, Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment. I am postulating that neuroplasticity is the biological basis of the spiritual experience of higher states of consciousness. The brain renews and so do we, and I don’t just mean our memory improves.
An easy way for me to illustrate the idea of higher consciousness is to consider Jesus. His public ministry was one long effort to raise the consciousness of his listeners. Most of us begin by absorbing the norms of the culture around us (also known as “mainstream consciousness” or “conventional wisdom”) and quite often never question those. Things like “I should get a job,” “I should make lots of money,” “America should be Number One,” “Being a Christian means behaving nicely and going to church on Sunday,” “An eye for an eye” “Competition is good” “War is sometimes necessary,” “Respectable people have their own home and a two car garage,” “The American Dream is a worthy pursuit,” “Care about your family and let everyone else care about theirs.” etc.
Jesus comes along and upsets the apple cart in so scary a way that the lesser lights conclude that he must be put out of the way.
For example, he tries to broaden consciousness about who is my neighbor. To illustrate he chooses a roadside victim of apparently some sort of robbery or mugging. He does not just choose any victim but a Samaritan, a group to whom the Jews were hostile. Think Palestinians and Israel today or to strike closer to home think of yourself in Jesus’ audience and the victim is a member of ISIS. Three types pass by but only one stops to help and Jesus proclaims him the best neighbor to the man in distress. The point is that everyone has the same essential relationship to me as my family or my next door neighbor, it’s just that we grow up feeling differently partly because of proximity and familiarity and partly because everyone else seems to feel the same way.
Somewhere along the line there is a movement within or an experience outside us that draws us up to a higher way of seeing things. These higher beliefs (thoughts) then transform our feelings. Many veterans of the World War II in the Pacific have commented on the surprise they discovered when the Japanese surrendered: “Hey, they’re just like us”! Eventually they began having annual reunions among the former warring parties. The thought changed the feelings.
We grow then in ever more expansive, more inclusive paradigms. We leave behind the rules we once held sacred and dance freely in the Light of Love. Along the way our paradigm (i.e., our way of understanding or making meaning) shifts more and more beyond the ego and more and more towards a global or universal way of seeing things. This is not just philosophical but mystical too. There is a beautiful wave of poetic blessing and divine laughter founded on a felt awareness of unity that accompanies the higher stages of consciousness. More next month. email@example.com