Applied Consciousness Systems
Improving lives through raising consciousness
“Raising consciousness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, and the world” ~ John Smotherman
Why is Raising Consciousness So Powerful at Improving Lives?
80% of the people in the world, don’t use the most powerful half of their mind, and don’t even know it. It’s like trying to run a race on one leg.
In the simplest of terms, life is a process of converting energy into happiness. The mind is the machine that makes that conversion. However, there are some near universal problems for humans that occur in the process of making that conversion. They basically fall into three categories: 1) problems that result from our biological wiring; 2) problems that result from societal conditioning; and 3) problems that result from inaccurate or unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns that we have adopted or accepted by default. These problems interfere with and limit our mind’s ability to effectively do it’s job for us. Thus our capacity to create and experience happiness is diminished.
There is an almost endless list of reasons why raising consciousness is so powerful. So I will focus on just a few examples. Our minds are the most powerful things we have available to us. Raising consciousness is all about improving the power and effectiveness of our minds. Two important mind problems that raising consciousness helps us overcome are: 1) lack of awareness; and 2) distorted reality. These mind challenges and the problems they cause, are so common for people, they have been talked about over the centuries in almost every major school of thought that touches on the mind, such as: religion, spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. These mind problems are so common and pervasive in fact, that you could say they are the norm.
In order to explain these mind problems, I’ll use analogies. For purposes of the analogies, I’ll call problem #1 The Lug-nuts Problem, and #2 The Dog Problem
One day a man and his son were driving down an isolated stretch of highway late at night. They got a flat tire. The father pulled over, got out the tire tool and jacked up the car. He then took the hubcap off the flat tire, removed all the lug-nuts from the tire and placed them in the hubcap. Then as he went to get the spare tire, he accidentally kicked the hubcap and sent all of the lug-nuts flying out into the field. It was a pitch-dark night and they did not have a flashlight so they looked and looked and looked for the lug-nuts but couldn’t find a single one. After 20 minutes of looking with no success and not a single car driving by, the father said, “I guess we’re going to have to walk to the nearest town.”
The son said: “Well dad, why don’t we take one lug-nut from each of the other tires and that will be enough to hold the spare tire on until we can drive into town.”
The father had the lug-nuts problem in that he had a lack of awareness of any possibilities by which they could drive the car into town. The son however, was aware of a possibility that the father was not. It is the same way on the road of life. When we run out of options, we’re stuck. In this way, a lack of awareness can seriously limit the options we have, and how far we can go in life.
There were two young men, Jack and John. As a young boy, Jack had a pet dog. This dog was Jack’s best friend. They played ball and fetch and the dog followed Jack everywhere. It obeyed Jack so well, Jack did not even have to use a leash. The dog was very protective of Jack and would stand between Jack and the neighborhood bully, making it clear that Jack was not to be messed with. At night the dog would cuddle up at the foot of Jack’s bed. Whenever Jack came home from having gone anywhere, the dog was at the door, so happy to see Jack, wagging its tail and licking Jack’s hands and face.
As a boy, John did not have a dog. However, John’s neighbor did. One day John was walking home from school and the neighbor’s dog jumped over the fence and attacked John. John was mauled so badly he had to be taken to the hospital where he received numerous stitches in his face.
Later in life, Jack and John became friends. A mutual friend of theirs invited them over to watch a football game. Jack’s house was on John’s way to their mutual friend’s, so John drove by and picked Jack up and they drove together. When they arrived at their mutual friend’s house, there in the yard was his dog. John was terrified and refused to get out of the car until “that animal” had been put away. Jack hopped out, and with a big grin and a bounce in his step called the dog over to him. The dog came runner over and Jack squatted down, ruffed up the dog’s coat and scratched the dog behind its ears. Both Jack and the dog clearly enjoyed the experience with great exuberance.
So here’s the problem: because of their past experiences, Jack saw the dog as a lovable creature and man’s best friend; John saw the dog as a dangerous, viscous beast. Two completely different perceptions, yet they were looking at the same animal. To some extent, both Jack and John experienced a distorted reality. Neither of them know what that particular dog’s personality was actually like. Both of them projected their past experiences onto the dog. This made Jack assume the dog was friendly, and it made John assume the dog was dangerous. The dog could have been either one of those things or somewhere in the middle. But until they actually interacted with the dog, both Jack and John were acting on a distorted reality. They both assumed more about the dog than the facts had at that point revealed. Neither version of the dog had yet proven true. Yet in their minds, their assumptions about the dog were “true” for them. As time went by, at least one (and possibly both) of their versions would prove to be erroneous. And this is how most people go through life, they unquestioningly believe that their assumptions about and projections onto reality are “real”. For many people, more than half their reality is just such a distortion, and therefore not “real”. Obviously this leads to less than optional decision making, and can make relationships more difficult.
So when we put both of these problems together, we get some idea of what “reality” is like for most people. It is much like the three blind men and the elephant.
One day three blind men went out for a walk. They came across an elephant. The first blind man bumped into he elephant’s tail. The second blind man bumped into the elephant’s side. The third blind man bumped into the elephant’s leg.
The first blind man reached up and felt the elephant’s tail and said: “This feels like a rope, we must have walked under a tent. “
The second blind man reached out and felt the elephant’s side and said: “No, this feels like a wall, we must have come across a building.”
The third blind man reached out and felt the elephant’s leg and said: “No, this feels like a tree trunk, we must have wandered into the forest.”
And then the three blind men proceeded to argue for an hour over who was right and who was wrong, and whether they were in a tent, a building or a forest. So each person wasted a considerable amount of time and energy, disagreeing over how their distorted, partial reality was right and the others’ were wrong. We see this dynamic happening in politics, religion, business, philosophy, social circles, relationships and virtually every aspect of everyday life. The most surprising thing is that most people are completely blind to that fact that they’re doing this, let alone how much of it they do.
Raising consciousness is so powerful because it helps us realize how our view of reality is partial, and how it is that we have distorted it. Armed with this realization, we are equipped to be much further ahead than the next blind person. We are much more likely to “hear” perspectives outside our own, and recognize what sort of “animal” it is we have on our hands. We are also much more likely to see, what we see, more clearly and accurately. These two significant advantages make us much more successful at the game of life.
How Underdeveloped Consciousness Can Wreak Havoc In Our Lives
Here are just a couple of examples of how lapses in consciousness can rob us of a higher quality of life.
- The damaging effects of mistaken assumptions- People often make assumptions about the motivations of people they are interacting with. They make assumptions about why the person is doing what they are doing or saying what they are saying. So for example Jim says to Susan “Susan- not sure about that dress.” Susan has long wrestled with her weight and feels insecure about it. So what she interprets Jim as saying is “You look a little heavy in that dress.” This hurts Susan’s feelings, makes her feel like a failure, and makes her feel angry at Jim for his insensitivity. It ruins her day. In reality, Jim was questioning Susan’s fashion choice in wearing white after Labor Day. The comment was about color and Susan missed it. So not only did she get her feelings deeply hurt unnecessarily, she continued to wear white after Labor Day missing a fashion tip, or a conversation on it, that she normally would have appreciated from a friend.
- The damage from unrecognized conflicting agendas- Bill works in the engineering department of a company doing system repairs. He wants to do really well at work and be promoted out of the repair department because he doesn’t enjoy his work at all. He finds it boring and tedious. Bill also has a lot of original ideas and likes to create, and he does 3D computer art as a hobby. He yearns to have more creative free time, but it is very limited because he works long hours. He grows more and more frustrated at work and his performance suffers. He sees work as strangling his ability to engage in what he really enjoys doing. Eventually Bill is fired because his supervisor perceives Bill as being a poor worker. What Bill did not realize was his frustration with his work was an outgrowth of a deep desire to have time and space to engage his creative talents. Instead of requesting a transfer to the system design department which he would have enjoyed and excelled in, Bill just stayed in repair, hated his work, and held on for the day when he would be promoted, which given his loathing of his work was highly unlikely. What happened is Bill had conflicting agendas- doing well in his job, and having an opportunity to utilize his creative gifts. Bill failed to recognize the conflict and resolve it by finding a way BOTH agendas could be satisfied. Consequently, one agenda manifested as self-defeating behavior in the other agenda.
How Does Raising Consciousness Work?
In simple terms, raising consciousness is a matter of training the mind. By carefully training our minds we can significantly reduce the distortions that creep into our perceptions of reality. We also become much wiser in recognizing when and where our perceptions of a particular reality are only partial ones. Additionally, raising our consciousness makes us more aware of deeper levels of our selves, leading to much better self-understanding. This enhanced, more accurate understanding of ourselves and our relationship to the realities in which we live, enables us to make much better life decisions. Better life decisions support and advance who we truly are at all levels of our being. There are many methods and techniques that can be used to effectively raise consciousness. Simplistically speaking they can be broken down into two categories: 1) insights/understandings; and 2) life practices.
- Insights/understandings help us by providing an infrastructure on which to organize our thinking about reality, our place within it, and the course of our lives. A good mental infrastructure enables us to effectively and efficiently process and interact with huge amounts of information and events. This saves us from being overwhelmed when life throws serious challenges at us.
- Life practices train our minds how to interact effectively and efficiently with our realities. It is much life driving a car. When we first begin, the motions are awkward and we have to go slowly and think through every step. But as we get better, the motions become more automatic and fluid and our skill at driving increases dramatically. It is the same with driving the road of life. Training ourselves with good consciousness skills enables us to cover a lot more terrain much more successfully, than we could otherwise.
For program information, please contact Tammy ~ firstname.lastname@example.org