Consciousness… Week 11


a Moment for Wisdom…



A Moment for…



“The kind of spirituality I value is one in which you get great joy out of contributing to life, not just sitting and meditating, although meditation is certainly valuable. But from meditation, from the resulting consciousness, I would like to see people in action creating the world they want to live in.

Marshall Rosenberg 




Personal Wisdom:


What are the visible, tangible results of your own shifts in consciousness?


How do those results show up in the lives of others?


Societal Wisdom:


In your society, when (if ever) do people make a joyous contribution to life?



a Moment with Sharif…




Wisdom is tied to action.Consciousness is tied to action.  Spirituality is tied to action.


There are many realms, multiple dimensions, beyond these three-dimensions we all share.However, for better or for worse, WE LIVE HERE.  Good old Planet Earth.  We have human bodies, eat food, breathe the same air, drink the same water.  These things are true for a reason.  The reason is for us to have experiences in form.


In certain religious traditions, ascetics attempt to completely withdraw from earthly existence.Starving themselves, denying and even mortifying their flesh, having no human or earthly contacts… what was the purpose of them being on Earth?


In the other extreme are the people who are completely wrapped in sensory experience, and never engage their minds, hearts or higher faculties.  For them, the purpose of life is the next video game, the next sex encounter, the next meal, the next drug fix.  They do these things, but they don’t THINK about them.  They cannot be compassionate toward others, because they lack the capacity to truly love themselves.


When the tsunami devastated Sri Lanka in 2005, I learned that, even on the first day of the disaster, the nightclubs in the capital city remained full of partygoers.I remember talking to a young woman, who spent her own money to load her vehicle with bottled water and drove to the ravaged villages along the coast.  She told me that she asked her young friends to give up just one night of drinking and partying to help in the relief efforts.  Their attitude was, “What for?  I’m sure the Army has everything under control…”


The balance, of course, is to be fully engaged in our sensate reality here on Earth, AND fully engaged in the realms of consciousness and loving-kindness.  To find MEANING in our earthly experience – both the joys and the pains.  And to have that meaning inform and deepen our experiences.


Once we start to derive meaning from our experiences, and to look for a deepening of our consciousness through our experiences, two things happen:


  1. Our experiences become SIMPLER.  We don’t need elaborate tastes to shock our jaded taste buds, or elaborate devices to stimulate our bored sex organs.  We can derive more experience from less sensory input.
  2. We want our joyful experiences to spread to others, so that others can increase the field of joy in the world.  And we want to minimize painful experiences – for ourselves and for others.  Once we begin to engage our consciousness, we open the doors for compassion.


So, as my friend Marshall says, it’s not about sitting around gazing at one’s navel.  Also,
it’s not about just acting in the world, either.  It’s about compassionate meditation, coupled with compassionate action. 


And that takes practice…






Consciousness Exercises:


This week’s “Consciousness” exercises: 


  1. Many of you have had experiences that you call “consciousness shifting” or “transformative”.  The transformation may have led to a change in your own action/behavior.  For each of your experiences, write down:


    1. When the shift took place.


    1. What was the nature of the shift?  (Was it planned or a surprise?  The result of a particular teaching or modality?)


    1. How did the transformation manifest itself?  What was different in your actions/behavior as a direct result of the shift?  (You may have given up smoking cigarettes, stopped eating meat, gone on a pilgrimage, adopted a child, started doing service work…)


    1. How is the world a different place as a result of the shift?


  1. Have you had an experience of a shift or transformation that was NOT accompanied by a shift in action/behavior?  For each of your experiences, write down:


    1. When the shift took place.


    1. What was the nature of the shift?


    1. How did the transformation manifest itself (if at all)?


    1. What is different about your life (if anything)?  What is different about the world?







All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.








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