In the most relaxed period of my life, photography found me; relaxed as in letting go of all the burdens of the mind. In that state of appreciation and having eyes filled with wonders for the world, I took this image. It is one of the first few images that I have taken when I got more serious into photography, it is also one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen. Some might say that it is just a pair of swans, the difference is in seeing it with the eyes or seeing it with the heart and realizing that there is grace all around us.
The scene is so beautiful because I was experiencing the shift in consciousness and my heart opened during the time of capture. Something changed in my perspective and ever since, I started to seek the beautiful among the mundane. It becomes something that motivates me to wake up each morning and to find something extraordinary in the ordinary.
“Grace of Swans” has such a deep place in my heart that I got it printed on metal and hung on my living room wall just to remind me of that moment—just in case my ego mind decides to make everything mundane again.
Consciousness is such a profound topic that it is hard to explain and it is challenging because the more you understand, the lesser words you have for it. I would attempt to describe consciousness because it is the central theme in my writings. It is necessary to understand the meaning as it is the foundation for all other things I will talk about. In a way, the true essence of consciousness cannot be described by words but can only be felt through experience. Know that when I try to describe consciousness with words, it is still in a limited nature. To truly understand consciousness, it would be through silence and not words. Words are of the mind, explaining about the beyond is way above the comprehension of the mind.
“When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the real you, or what you have been conditioned to believe is you? The two are so, so different. One is an infinite consciousness capable of being and creating whatever it chooses, the other is an illusion imprisoned by its own perceived and programmed limitations.”
Take a good look into the mirror and think about what you see. The face that can be seen, is that the real you? How can you look like this now and just years ago you looked so different. What about when you were a child, what happened to that little boy or girl now? The things that make up your beliefs of who you are, is it true? You were somebody of a different character then and through life experience, it changes you into somebody different now. That which changes so easily, is that who you really are? There is a saying that truth is one that never changes and that which changes all the time has become a lie. What then is the truth to our being, our existence and who really are?
I did not happen to seek answers to our true essence in the beginning. It happened because I was so devastated by life circumstances that I found it so hard to move on. The first half of my life was pretty messed up. I couldn’t understand all the experience I needed to go through during those times. It just felt that the world is an unfair place and I happened to be at the bottom end of it. It didn’t make sense to me as I was as unconscious as I could have been. No one can explain why certain things happen and instead of joy, anguish was all I have found. The point of this post is not to talk about the tough days in my life because I don’t want to end up whining about it. I believe that what you focus on expands and any form of attention on suffering will only expand it further. It is like fighting war with war, you will not find peace that way. What I would like you to understand is that we all share the same suffering in our life experiences in one way or another. It is exclusive to anybody having a mind and the more you think you know, the more potential for suffering there is. The reason being anything that can cause suffering have to happen first in the mind, it is the result of your beliefs versus your reality. If reality doesn’t happen the way you believe it should, it would simply cause pain because one cannot accept the reality for what it is.
If you were to think about the source of all these beliefs, realize that all the things you ever knew was collected by the mind. It is sort of like a data-mining center and all things you come in contact with were gathered. The only thing is you can’t turn it off. It works 24/7 and it goes on gathering even in your sleep. If the mind is always gathering constantly, who then is the one who is responding to the gatherings of the mind?
At the level of the mind, all problems of life cannot be fixed. The mind itself is the problem creator and it attempts to solve the problems it creates and that is a vicious cycle.
There was a period in my life where I desperately wanted to find out if there is anything I can do to transform my life. I was so sick of all the cards that the world has dealt me that I decided to find out how I could make the shift. I read all the self-help books I can find and even got certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming. I started to study the mind to find out the source of suffering and wanted so badly to find the answers to inner-peace. NLP was great for the moment as the techniques involved were really good for a quick fix but it is just that, a quick fix. It cannot fix something that was ingrained in our psyche for centuries—the collective consciousness; so no matter how good a seminar makes you feel, the collective consciousness of society will easily make you feel the same again given the time, especially when nothing much is changed in your environment. After much contemplation, I realized that at the level of the mind, all problems of life cannot be fixed. The mind itself is the problem creator and it attempts to solve the problems it creates and that is a vicious cycle, one that can go on a lifetime if one is not aware. Assuming the worst case scenario in that a person goes crazy, he or she does not make the so-called sane decisions by depending on the mind and logic. That person would still be alive and kicking, although behaving a bit irrational or eccentric to others. When we take away the personality, actions and behavioral patterns, that person can still be very much alive in the world. What then is this life force that drives the being irregardless of the operations of the mind? What is that which causes the body to grow and age? What really causes your existence? It is definitely not your mind that wills you to existence.
At some point, I decided to ditch all self-help books and information because it is the same game. It has its uses but if they do not point you beyond the mind, it will not transform anything. When you can relax the mind and be neutral, an awareness will arise inside you. This awareness or rising consciousness is the discovery of that something more than what you believe you are. You will discover that there is a split. A split in your being where all conversations take place. Every conversation you ever had in your mind is always between this two sides. One is the accumulation of the mind which we call the ego and the other is what we call your higher consciousness or authentic self. As you go along in your daily lives, it might become hard to differentiate between the two because we are not taught to act in full awareness from birth. On the contrary, most choices are made for us since we entered the world. Unconsciousness then becomes the default behavior. The ego self might make it feel like it is you but realize that the real you is the one that is receiving the inputs from the mind. The ego is loud, it is like the kid that wants all the attention, it overshadows the quiet kid at the end of the room but that silent child is ever observing, watching and understanding.
The hardest part of accessing this consciousness is to quiet the mind. The more active the mind, the more consciousness is repressed. The more relaxed you are, the more you can be conscious of this inner self and the deeper the relaxation, the more you can be in the here and the now. To be in the present moment is the doorway to realizing this consciousness. Time is the ultimate instrument of the mind. The mind uses time to deduce irrational logic by reminding you of the past and living for the future. In that way you miss being rooted in your being and the present moment where eternity resides. Eternity in a sense that there will only be one true moment which is forever now. The artificial concept of time is one of the greatest illusions. We are made to believe that time is ticking and passing us by but actually there is no time and we are the one that is passing by. Understand the difference, it seems subtle but there is a vast difference. If you can understand the difference, you will function from the core of your awareness each moment as our life force slowly seeps away from us. Time is irrelevant. All that ever is will only be in the present moment and it is the only precious jewel of our lives.
This consciousness that exists in you is but a small part of the universal consciousness that binds all of us together, in the same life-force that is ever-present in each tree, each animal and even each rock. When you are able to see it, your life will forever be transformed. Imagine you are the sun. you radiate with such immensity but you are hidden behind the clouds. People can’t see you and they go on telling you what you look like but what they are actually describing are the clouds. The clouds are like the contents of the mind, it is only when they move aside then the true rays of your nature can shine. When you are shining those rays on the earth, imagine how beautiful and glorified it is when the landscape uncovers from the shadows—it just changes everything you ever knew.
When you say I should be this, I want to do that, notice who is the I and who is telling who to do what. Once you know the differentiation and you are able to be consistently conscious in that state of acute awareness, you will be rooted in the center of your being, of your authentic self. When you realized who you truly are, everything that is supposed to happen will flow through you. When we talk about realizing this consciousness, we are talking about embarking on the path of awakening and spirituality to realize something more than just survival. It is said that if we can be fully conscious on the last day of our lives, we will witness a flashback of our whole life experience in a second before our death. This flashback is the learning and the growth that we have accumulated in this chapter of our story and it ends back to the beginning of the day we were born. When we are aware and fully conscious before death, we are able to watch our whole life unfold in this split second. Life then comes around in a full cycle. If we are unconscious during that time, we will be too blind to notice because we will be clinging fearfully onto the things we couldn’t let go off and we will easily miss that second which is so fast and subtle. The level of consciousness or unconsciousness during death will greatly affect you and be carried over to the next chapter of your life—if you believe in rebirth that is. That will be a topic for another post…