From a kid to a young boy to a father, I have seen huge changes in my consciousness. It can be looked in different ways. One can say that we become mature over a period of time, i.e. we understand life better now. Another way to look at it is from a spiritual way. We are getting closer to understand our real purpose. Now most of us who are grown up can be tagged as a mature people, but very few might have seen the expansion in spiritual consciousness. In reality, we know everything right from our birth and we only uncover the truth over a period of time.
Seven years back, I visited Kanyakumari (a place in south India) where there is a big memorial of Swami Vivekananda. I went there just as a tourist and was very much impressed with the energy of that place. We all know about Swami Vivekananda as a monk through our school, but never really understood his message. I purchased his one of the books named as Raja Yoga to learn something about him and his thoughts. After coming home, I started reading the book and put it back to cupboard within 15 minutes as I could not understand a single word from that book. Not that the language was difficult to understand, but my consciousness was not ready to grasp the life changing lessons mentioned in the book. Recently, I started reading the same book again and I could at least understand few teachings of Swamiji.
I am sure most of you might have felt the same. We try to link it to the maturity which comes with the age, but I have seen even few small kids understand our ancient scriptures better than many old people. Consciousness definitely does not uncover or improve with the age. Otherwise, we would not see so much crime in the world which are done by adults. From my own experience and from the experience of people around me, I could list down few ways through which our consciousness expands. Before that, we need to understand as why we should work to expand our consciousness.
We take birth, we own many possessions, we get in to many relationship and at the end we die and leave everything behind. Something is not right in that. Our scientists have reached to moon, but we are still not sure about big bang theory. In spite of getting all the material things of the world, we still do not feel the fulfilment and we greed for more. My curiosity is to find the permanent nature of us. My curiosity is to find the real purpose of our life. All these can be answered through our own consciousness only. We have tried enough to get answers from outside world and now it is time to go inward to the source of origin. To expand consciousness, some of the ways are shown to us and in some we have to put our hard work.
Experience – Life changing experiences like losing someone or surviving death or realizing the sorrow of the world can create tornado of thoughts in our mind. We start questioning the fundamentals of our life. We start seeing the world differently as now we have different consciousness. Suddenly we see the depth in everything around us. We start valuing our life and at the same time we try to make it more meaningful. Sudden experiences like above changes our whole personality only if we learn from it. These experiences are very painful, but it is important that we realize that these are signals for us to ensure that we choose the right path.
Study – Many people become interested in spirituality just because they heard about it or because someone close to them are on that path. Studying the literature and scriptures can help them to expand consciousness, but only at the intellect level. In reality we have to practice day and night what is mentioned in those scriptures. Study also means observing your own mind. We are the best book we can learn from. Our thoughts, our behavior, our happiness, our sorrow and our existence can teach us a lot.
Guru – Consider yourself very lucky if you have found your guru who can take your spiritual consciousness to the next level. Today we see many self-proclaimed religious gurus. Stay away from those who teaches you to discriminate. Swami Vivekananda’s life changed after he found his guru Shri Ramakrishna. Many people I know are completely devoted to their gurus. Real gurus not only teaches you what is there in the books, but also gives you experience which you cannot imagine. Guru is like an engine who can add the speed to the train of your life.
Previous birth – We have seen many people who in spite of no back ground of spirituality in the family or in friends became the greatest spiritual being ever lived on earth. I am a believer of rebirth, otherwise how do you explain the level of consciousness people get without any experiences or any study. They get these gifts from previous births where they already reached to a certain state of awareness. Jesus and Buddha were the greatest teachers, but from where they got their spiritual consciousness in one birth. Neither of them had any family members reaching at that stage.
Meditation – If we want to hasten our growth in the area of mind, then there is nothing better than meditation. All the sages spends their major part of the day in meditation. This is applicable to even households. People like us are bombarded with so many thoughts in a day that we can hardly focus on expanding spiritual consciousness. We cannot even find the peace for 5 minutes. Meditation allow us to shut the doors for all the external factors and we can focus on our goals. You can use it for other areas of life as well, but it works like magic on the path of spirituality.