My spiritual journey has turned my worldview inside-out and upside-down. Here are my key insights:
1. Consciousness can exist without a body.
Before becoming aware that there is something more behind the 3D visible world, I grew up with a scientific, materialistic worldview. I assumed that consciousness was just a by-product of the activity in the brain. (I use consciousness and awareness interchangeably here.)
But then I read a lot of near-death experiences (NDEs) and reincarnation stories. Later I had some meditation experiences which involved the void. And that shifted my worldview. I am consciousness with some content in it. Even after leaving this body, I will be consciousness with something in it.
2. Consciousness is a higher dimension.
What do I mean by that? When we think of life in a two-dimensional plane, for example (like in the book Flatland), then the higher dimension would be the third dimension which is perpendicular to that 2D plane.
And what characteristics does the 3rd dimension have compared to the 2D plane? It is at the same time everywhere inside the 2D plane and also surrounding it. It is above and below and inside the flat sheet of paper, for example.
Yet, even though it is everywhere, it cannot be detected easily when one is a being which is living in the 2D land because the 3rd dimension is not a 2D thing.
Only its effects can be felt in 2D land. In the book Flatland, there is a scene where the 3D sphere tries to convince a 2D being that it (-the sphere-) is real. After several fruitless attempts, it does so by punching it in the middle of its 2D-shape, something which is painful but seems supernatural enough to convince the 2D being.
For our 3D world it cannot be visualized that well, but I think of it as analogous. Consciousness is that which embraces all and permeates all.
The witnessing awareness is not just a silent and watching witness. The void (which I call the void because it is not in the realm of things and therefore we have no words for it) is the potential before manifestation.
3. Everything is connected via consciousness.
As illustrated in the following picture, one 2D being (red triangle) would be able to make a connection to another 2D being (red square) even if they are separated by a wall. The connection could simply go upwards and then downwards again, passing through the 3rd dimension.
Again, here in 3D land it cannot be visualized that well. But it works analogously. Telepathy or remote viewing are possible for some people because they can connect via consciousness. I have experienced getting messages from others in my dreams and also feeling the physical pain from from someone else in my own body. These messages were passed via consciousness.
Consciousness is one. There are not many single consciousnesses floating around. The many expressions of consciousness are more like branches of a single tree or arms of a single octopus. Individuated but not separate.
4. Thoughts create.
Some may think, ‘Duh, obvious, we have to think before we create something.’
But that is not what I mean.
I mean that thoughts, especially if coupled with emotions, can manifest stuff, literally (for an example, see post Can thoughts influence the weather?).
After I came upon that insight, I understood why it is important to learn to watch and control my thoughts, especially when the interval between thinking them and receiving the effects became shorter.
5. Inner peace is inside – and can cause miracles.
This could also be phrased as ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within.’
I used to unconsciously search happiness by rearranging things ‘out-there’.
But now my focus has turned to finding the inner peace first. (by turning the focus of attention back on awareness itself, see post Describing the ineffable)
But finding the inner peace inside first does two things. A) I can hear guidance more easily when I am at peace. And B) inner peace is the place from which miracles tend to happen. So, even though I do not necessarily change things on the outside by my action, circumstances still change for my benefit (see posts The power of forgiveness and The magic wand of inner peace)
The insight that inner peace can cause miracles is nothing new. The teachings of The Work by Byron Katie, Ho’oponopono (The World’s Most Unusual Therapist), and A Course in Miracles (ACIM), for example, all use different approaches for dealing with upsetting situations, but they have in common that they all aim for inner peace when shit hits the fan.
6. There is a guiding force behind the veil.
I was raised partially on spiritual texts that talk about ‘We are consciousness. Everything happens in consciousness. Stay as the witness. Watch your thoughts float by. Detach.‘ and so on. These are important and useful practices.
But I don’t recall any mention of spirit guides, synchronicities, and a force behind the veil which guides us (see post, Coming out of hiding). (Well, there are some mentions, like once we realize what is going on, our head is already in the tiger’s mouth and it is too late. But that didn’t prepare me for my experiences.)
So, I was very surprised when I got clear directions as to where I had to go. Even though I was familiar with the phenomenon of channeling and that there is an inner voice which can tell us wisdom, I was not prepared that this inner voice would give me directions. And not just in a polite way like a sat nav would give them, but it sounded more like a drill sergeant. Apparently consciousness is not just a silent witness, but it has a direction and a will to it. Once I had done the plunge into the void (awareness looking back at itself), it was like a new boss took over.
And resistance was futile (- surrender is still work in progress).
These insights represent what I have come with up to this point in my spiritual journey.
I did not mention every point in my worldview that has shifted. There is certainly more, for example, what about time?, what about free will?, and much more. But the ones mentioned above are the foundation.
For me, these insights are a shift in my worldview that is comparable in order of magnitude to a Copernican Revolution. What seems ‘out there’ is not really ‘out there’ as everything happens in consciousness and therefore happens in me. And reality (i.e. the ever changing content of consciousness) is more pliable than I had assumed before.
(Related post: 15 insights from the spiritual path)
This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).