Spiritual Evolution: Three Steps to Raising Consciousness from the Mental to the Spiritual

by Teri Goetz

Defining consciousness can be pretty elusive. However, I commonly define consciousness as who we think we are – given all the experiences, thoughts, and observations we have acquired until now. How else could we explain our awareness but with a frame of reference, namely, what we have been exposed to.  Consciousness is the awareness of self by the mind.  It is also the awareness of the world as we know it, and includes the idea of intuition.

All of this is subjective, of course. Meaning, we interpret what we see through our experiences, thoughts and observations. These are the lenses through which we decide whether or not to pay attention to something, whether something is “good” or “bad”, “safe” or “dangerous”. These are tools of the brain that evolution has given us to keep us alive.  We learn quickly to sort and categorize experiences in order to make sense of them. As we get older, we have more and more experience, have been exposed to more, and therefore, our consciousness is expanded.

But what does that mean?

These experiences have also brought a fair amount of baggage along with them. For example we often make assumptions that because something happened in the past, it will happen again. This helps if we are in the wild and assessing a potential predator or threat. However, this instinct-based skill hinders our ability to see the world in a more positive, beautiful and unlimited way: the way of spirit.

I believe there are three components to raising consciousness from a mental level to the level of spirit. In order of magnitude, they are: awareness, understanding and knowing – and I do not mean just by the brain. The brain is the tool (the lens and filter) to make sense of it all, to describe it to our world.

However, there is an inner knowing which is the divine that defies the brain’s ability to explain.  That is where real knowing resides…knowing we are the divine source of all the awareness and understandingKnowing we are the source of all. And when we get there, it’s like lying on the most comfortable bed, with the finest linens and the most heavenly pillows after a very long journey. We simply sink into the release and knowing that we are spirit.

In a somewhat mechanistic view of consciousness, I feel we must find a place for spirit to participate in consciousness-raising, and it is through these three components that we can do this.  The first two, awareness and understanding, are the building blocks to knowing, which first comes through higher and more evolved experience, and then from deep inside our truest selves.

The more we expose ourselves to things that will help us to grow in awareness, the wider our breadth and reach of information and understanding to draw on. For example, becoming cognizant that our thoughts create the way we feel, and the way we feel makes us act a certain way, is a highly conscious awareness. Applying that awareness creates an understanding of why we behave in a particular way.

Therefore, changing the way we think changes the way we feel, and therefore, our behavior. Our lives can change, simply by understanding the fact that once we are aware of our thoughts, we can use our consciousness to reframe them to live in a more successful and fulfilled way.

As we become more versed in moving our awareness into a less limited, more spirit based understanding, we move into knowing.  At first, knowing comes from being tuned in to (or conscious of) the first two building blocks.  As we become more adept at these skills, they feel like second nature. They are acted on without consciously focusing on them. THAT is part of knowing.

Taking it further, we learn that our intuition, our “divine knowing,” has something to say! When we get quiet and less trapped in the noise of our minds, for example in meditation, spirit gives us a deeper grasp of life beyond the mind. The more we tap into spirit, the more we find mastery over the mind, and therefore, expand our consciousness to include the divine.
Spend 15 minutes a day, repeating and meditating on the following affirmation. Feel free to journal about it, as well, for a higher consciousness understanding. By really contemplating the nature of spirit through awareness, learning and knowing, we begin to see how it permeates our lives in every way, that we are the creator of the thought, the emotion, the action. We are source and substance. And lie down in the comfort of that knowing.

“I elevate my thoughts to become aware of all experience as spirit. I learn I am the source (creator) of substance (thoughts). I know spirit is both the creator of the thought, and the substance that flows from the thought, the action. I know I am spirit.”

Mind Exercises to Overcome Toxic Emotions

The Tyranny of Emotions

It is natural for you to feel happy, angry, or sad at different times and often for no reason whatsoever. No amount of positive thinking will keep you from these occasional feelings. Fortunately, these feelings do not last for long. Something might remind you of a childhood sweetheart lovingly, or the school bully fearfully. These emotions are reasoned and make sense with the situation to which they pertain. But instinctual emotions are different. Instinctual emotions are toxic and can have detrimental effects to your health, your ability to think, and your creativity.

How to Tell if it is a Toxic Emotion

When you become upset during an argument and remain so long after the exchange is over, it’s a sure sign that you’re experiencing an instinctual emotion. When overcome with this kind of emotion, you walk around angry without knowing why; you’re rude to those around you; someone stops you to ask you a question, and you nearly bit off their head for no reason at all.

Instinctual emotions are produced by ancient survival instincts – often coupled with old memories of trauma – that are wired into our brain. Toxic emotions of fear, sorrow, envy, and anger, which are often passionate, sometimes violent, and always draining are never experiences of the present moment only. These emotions dredge up stories from your childhood that are superimposed onto the current moment. These toxic neural networks may not only cause you to waste precious years to an unfulfilling and frustrating job but they are very destructive to your brain health and can have long term profound physical and emotional consequences.

Create New Neural Pathways for Your Brain

Each time a situation reminds you of an actual fearful or dangerous experience from your past, and those instinctual emotions are brought up, that specific neural network is reinforced. These networks also give rise to emotions, then beliefs, that keep you favoring past pain, as well as behaviors that continually reinforce the trauma. You can have a terrific opportunity that collapses because deep down you believe you are not worthy. These toxic networks react exactly the same with just the perception of a threat because the story is stored in your mind.

Overcoming Toxic Emotions

You can allow yourself to see the world, quite literally, in a new light. With focused attention, you can change your thoughts to make a positive improvement in your life. Your job is to stop feeding the old circuitry that reinforces your fears and anger and, instead, direct your attention toward new, positive neural connections. When you do this brain will stop using the old emotional suffering networks and they will fall by the wayside. And it gets better! Research now demonstrates that if you merely imagine yourself engaging in an activity, you can create the neural connections associated with learning it – without actually performing it. Focus attention on the positive emotions to create functional networks for well-being, happiness, trust, and compassion.

Take Action Now: 

1. Create New Neural Pathways for Your Brain

Direct your attention toward new, positive neural connections of emotions you want to create. Your brain will stop using the old emotional suffering networks and they will fall by the wayside. Research now demonstrates that if you merely imagine yourself engaging in an activity, you can create the neural connections associated with learning it – without actually performing it. So, being clear, focus attention on the positive emotions such as well-being, happiness, trust, and compassion that will allow you to build the relationships you want in the world.

2. Create a Still Mind

Research shows meditation practices not only change the structure of your brain, but will help you create and express emotions in a more positive manner. Practice stillness each day. From this place of stillness you will be able to focus attention on positive emotions and heal the toxic emotions and discover inner peace.

3. Heal the Light Body – Writing a New Story

When we forgive ourselves and others, we can reprogram the toxic neural networks of our brain. It works by re-imprinting the image of a loved one over the image of someone who has wronged you. Although it will override the programming of the old story it is not an easy practice, because the mind will resist holding the image of a loved one together with that of an enemy. In your mind, or on a piece of paper, write a new story you want.

4. Be Curious about the Neuroscience

Learn the qualities attributed to enlightened beings; inner peace, wisdom, compassion, joy, creativity, and new vision of the future.

Physical exercise, calorie reduction, and cutting edge neuroscience research and therapies all affect how you relate to others, yourself and the world. By taking action now, and learning to shift those toxic emotions, you are ready to engage your life in a new and enlightened way. Learn more at: www.powerupyourbrain.com

–Power Up Your Brain by Alberto Villoldo, PhD and David Perlmutter, MD is now available at Amazon

Toxic emotions