How to Live in the Eternal Present ~ by Paramhansa Yogananda

In reality time does not exist. Life can be compared to a movie, which can be run backwards or forwards. The action on the screen may cover years, decades, or centuries in the past or future, but in the projection booth, everything is happening right now. In God, everything goes on in the present. The secret of happiness is to live fully in the here and now, aware of God’s bliss.

Unfortunately, very few people even attempt to live in the present. Most live in the past, filled with nostalgia or regrets, or in the future, filled with hopes or fears born of desire. More than any other factor, desires and attachments, by keeping people focused on the past or future, prevent them from living fully in the present.

The effects of desires and attachment

Consider a typical detour: A man strolls down the street on a beautiful day. The birds sing in the trees, the sun shines brightly, and a gentle breeze carries the scent of flowers from a nearby garden. Feeling deeply contented, the man thinks, “How wonderful life is!”

All at once, he sees a beautiful bird perched on a tree limb just above his head. “If only I had a camera!” the man thinks. “I could catch this image on film and have it with me forever!” Although sudden, this desire begins to settle in his heart. The strength of this desire gradually grows until, at last, by scrimping and saving, the man has enough money to buy a camera.

With his desire for a camera fulfilled, the man now asks himself, “What new object can I possess?” Already he has seen different kinds of useful attachments for his camera. Should he buy one of those or should he buy one of the newer cameras with more advanced features? The satisfaction of one desire has set in motion a tendency in him to seek happiness by fulfilling other desires. No longer is he able to live in the present. Desires keep him living in a future that forever recedes.

Non-attachment: path to inner freedom

Life does not prepare us to be non-attached. If you think you are non-attached, but when something you own is suddenly smashed beyond repair and you grieve for it, you may be sure that you were attached to it.

Material desires are merely an expression of the soul’s longing for its native state: eternal bliss. This longing can be fulfilled only in oneself. That man strolling down the street, happily enjoying a beautiful day, was happier at that moment than he was after acquiring the camera. Sooner or later we, too, realize that we want a thing only until we get it—then we will look for “something else.”

My Master, Sri Yukteswar, said to me, “You will tire of everything but the joy of God. When you realize that God is with you every minute, then that sparkling, bubbling, refreshing spring of joy will be yours.” And you realize that, in this joy, you have found that “something else” you were seeking through the labyrinthine byways of false desires.

Live behind the scenes of relative time

Even to live your best each day is not the deepest teaching, for today belongs to the flow of time, whereas perfect joy and awareness lie beyond time, in the eternal present. It is important, therefore, to learn to live behind the scenes of relative time, in the unchanging present. Only by living properly right now, at the changeless center of each moment, can you arrive at a point of complete inner freedom.

From the time I met my Master, I experienced in my heart a continuous, ever-increasing song of devotion for God. And when my song reached its peak, I experienced my oneness with Spirit and realized I was beyond time and space. I then understood that all the past scenes of my life were happening in the eternal present, and no longer could I grieve about loved ones who had left this world. They are all ever-present in God. I can still see them wherever they are.

The Self-realized yogi watches his childhood, youth and old age as though they were movies. After death his body passes through another change, but he himself, being always concentrated inwardly upon his true Self, is not limited by time.

It is not enough for you to believe that God is beyond time and space. You are also beyond time and space, and if you concentrate on your soul, you will realize that the change of the body at death is as simple as changing an old garment for a new one. You don’t grieve about the loss of the old garment when you put on a new one.

Steps toward living in the present

1. Meditate regularly: The soul is bound to the body by desires, temptations, and worries, and you are trying to break through those chains. Meditation enables you to calm the ripples of desires on the lake of your mind and to experience the joy which is hidden within you. By meditating and concentrating within, you will become more conscious of your soul and less identified with your physical form. Eventually you will reach a point when you are no longer disturbed by life’s ups and downs, and you will begin to realize the truth of your soul-nature: that you are not limited by time and space. You will begin to realize that you are one with the Eternal Spirit.

2. Show appreciation: Always bear in mind that this universe has a divine origin. It would be a mistake to hate this world with the rationale that you love God alone. Renunciation is essential on the spiritual path. Its purpose, however, is to help you overcome attachment to desires and temptations, not to prove your love for the Creator by abhorring His handiwork. You should appreciate the world as God’s creation, but then remind yourself how much more worthy of appreciation is the Creator, who brought all of these material wonders into manifestation.

3. Fulfill your duties:
Always, whatever you are doing, think that you are doing God’s work. Each day say, “What can I do for God today?” To fulfill your duties in life may not be easy or immediately enjoyable. Attaining divine joy is a long-term proposition, but if you would attain freedom in eternity, you must discharge your duties in life, and not avoid them. Do your best today and forget tomorrow. Do not harass your soul with petty worries.

4. Disown things from your heart:
Nothing belongs to you and everything belongs to you, but once you say, “This is mine,” you have limited yourself. Never grieve for anything that is taken. Maybe in this life you will lose all things and yet, when you have God, you have everything. There is no limitation to what you can get. Enjoy the things you have, take care of them, but always try, in your heart, to disown them. It is very liberating to be able to disown all things in your heart.

5. Transcend age-consciousness: Never think of yourself as getting old. In the divine consciousness, there is nothing called “old” and nothing called “young,” only the eternal present. The Self-realized yogi watches his childhood, youth, and old age as though they were movies. He is able to see all those who have left this earth, relatives and friends, wherever they are, because they are ever-present in God. These images appear before his inner gaze because past, present, and future are nothing but pictures in space. As he grows indifferent to the illusive consciousness of past and future, he develops eternal mental youthfulness.

6. Be even-minded at all times: Try always to keep a calm mind. An even-minded individual is like a mirror of discretion which reflects the true nature of seemingly favorable or unfavorable events. Such a person is not misled by emotional disturbances and is always prepared to act wisely. You will gain this unruffled calmness by deeper and deeper meditation.

“Before Abraham was, I am.” In the above-quoted words, Jesus announced that in his consciousness there were no divisions of past, present, and future. Jesus did not say, “Before Abraham was, I was.” He said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” meaning that there is no time or space when he is not present.

Jesus, like all great masters who have awakened in God and forsaken the cosmic dream, had realized that time and space existed only in the imagination of God and, though temporarily real, were essentially unreal. Jesus, being one with God, was able to say, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Any Christlike soul who attains the omnipresent Christ Consciousness finds his consciousness evenly present in the past, present, and future.

You can also say, “I am,” but because you confuse yourself with the little body, you think you are limited by time and space. If your goal in life is spiritual victory, grieve not over what you have failed to accomplish so far. Concentrate all your energy on the present. Sooner or later your efforts will be crowned with glory.

Transcend the Delusion of Self-Importance: Ten Key Steps

by Swami Kriyananda

Isn’t it a curious, the way so many people boast of their accomplishments – when nobody likes a boaster? The phenomenon is self-contradictory: How to explain it? Do people merely dislike having their own egos “crowded to the wall”? Surely it is more than that. Sensitive people, especially, can’t help sensing that there is something wrong about emphasizing one’s own ego at the expense of other people’s.

Their displeasure is motivated only partly by self-interest. There is an intuitive understanding that the ego, itself, is unworthy of unseemly promotion. People are wiser than they know. Most understand intuitively that they are more than they seem. They feel a certain greatness within them that is not defined by their humanity. People know, on some inner level of consciousness, that there is a greater reality to which we all belong.

The secret of a happy life

Paramhansa Yogananda described our apparent individuality with the illustration of countless tiny slivers of glass, each of us being one sliver. The light reflected from the sun of Spirit seems, in every sliver, individual. It is only a reflection, however, of the one sun. Every sliver of glass, considered individually, seems distinct and separate. What makes the sliver attractive in our eyes is the light reflected in it.

The more we manifest the spiritual light from within, the more, in a sense, we lose our egoic individuality. As individuality becomes less and less centered in the ego, a deeper sense of who we really are begins to manifest.

Certain realities are universal. All of us must, for example, cooperate with cosmic law; we cannot safely ignore it. Anything that will help to expand our consciousness, rather than narrow it in egoic self-importance, will bring us the happiness and fulfillment that we all crave. Anything, on the other hand, that shrinks our awareness into a narrower identity squeezes inward upon our happiness, deprives us of lasting fulfillment, and increases our suffering. The secret of a happy life is a minimum of self-preoccupation.

Self-esteem vs. self-respect
It is quite normal for businessmen and for anyone striving for success in life to feel a need for self-esteem. Low self-esteem is an obstacle to success. If however, a person wants true happiness, it is also necessary for him to eliminate any relish in his self-importance.

I suggest that the modern-day emphasis on self-esteem be changed. Self-respect, surely would be a better concept; it is less susceptible to misunderstanding. The problem with self-esteem is that it blocks creativity. The highest kind of creativity flows down to us from the superconscious. In that context, high or low self-esteem are no different from each other: both of them arise from excessive ego-consciousness.

When I was nine or ten years old, living in Bucharest, Romania, I made the trip from Teleajen to Bucharest by car with a few American businessmen. Their very voices conveyed vibrations of self-importance. Mere child that I was, and certainly only that in their eyes, I was more or less ignored. The car windows were tightly closed. The men puffed on cigars the whole way. As for me, I suffered in silence. At last the air was so suffocating I could bear it no longer. In desperation I rolled down my window and leaned out, gasping for air.

“Shut the window, son,” said the man seated beside me. “You’ll catch cold.” I wonder now, in retrospect, if he didn’t treat everyone under him at the office with a similar lack of concern. That ride lingers in memory even today, seventy years later, as one of the worst experiences of my life.

The difference between ego and arrogance

Most people equate the word ego with arrogance. It is important to know that those two words, arrogance and ego, have very different meanings. Arrogance means to have a superior opinion of oneself. Ego-consciousness does not, in itself, mean arrogance, which is perhaps the ego’s least attractive manifestation. Because many prominent people are deliberately arrogant, however, let us first consider this aspect of ego-consciousness in particular.

Many people desire to seem important in the eyes of others. It pleases them to be able to look down aloofly on their fellow creatures, and to treat them slightingly. Those who have this tendency focus on “things” more than people. Those “things” include their own position in the world. Snobs enjoy anything that feeds their sense of self-importance. People whose focus is especially on themselves often seek self-justification for any weakness by saying, “After all, I am only human.” The true answer to that statement is, “No. You are not yet human!”

Never excuse yourself with the words, “I’m only human.” Failings that are common to the human herd do not belong to man’s higher, divine nature. As the adi (first) Swami Shankara said, “It is very hard to reach the human level of evolution. Don’t pass over that great blessing!”

The delusion of self-importance
If you balk at the idea of ego-transcendence, I have no choice but defer to your free will. In this case, indeed, I must tell you, “Go right ahead! Become quite as self-important as you desire. Seek name, fame, a surfeit of riches, and overweening power – if those baubles still attract you. They attract most human beings. Seek those satisfactions, therefore, until you grow sick of them – as you certainly will do, someday!”

A young man living among the gangs of New York City told a woman I later met in California, “It gives me a real feeling of power to carry a gun when I walk the streets of New York. I know, then, that nobody can mess with me.”

The daughter of a prominent businessman went to Vassar College and came back – in her own eyes – a queen. At a party I attended she made a show of pulling elbow-length velvet gloves from her arm, lingering impressively on the movement until she’d released all her fingers.

A man who was on the board of directors of my father’s company boasted so extensively about his oil findings that an associate once said to him humorously, “Why, M___, you must be just about the greatest geologist in the world.”

“Oh, no,” the other replied with hastily assumed modesty. “In oil, maybe.”

People don’t realize the extent to which self-importance invites gentle mockery, and doesn’t by any means attract awe or respect. The soul intuits a divine greatness which the ego rejects in its search for merely competitive self-importance.

Egoic self-importance always disappoints

The essence of yoga principles is to emphasize the need for transcendence over the ego in oneness with Infinite Truth. If people want egoic self-importance; if they want power over others; if they hunger for name and fame; if they hope to radiate self-esteem: and if they like to manipulate others – they might do well to study Nicolo Machiavelli’s classic book of self-help, Il Principe. It has, I understand, been well received. Hitler kept a copy of it on his night table. Napoleon had a copy, discovered in his carriage after the Battle of Waterloo. The only trouble with the principles Machiavelli taught, and with the delusions I’ve briefly described here, is that they never fail to disappoint their adherents in the end.

If, on the other hand, you equate success with happiness for yourself and others, and not with the ability to exert power over anyone, then know that self-importance, power over others, and a desire to manipulate are delusive – dreams that are eventually succeeded by a rude awakening. The awakening may take time, owing to what my Guru called “the thwarting crosscurrents of ego.” When retribution comes, however, it is no longer awaits us in some distant future: It is very much right here and now – this very minute.

The nature of duality provides for everything a compensating opposite. Power and self-importance are balanced out, in time, by nullifying impotence and disgrace.

Happiness comes through self-expansion

Where your own work is concerned, remember that Maya (delusion) will always try to trick you into seeking self-gratification by ego-affirming means. In the process, Maya will carefully avoid the only thing that will ever really work for you: offering yourself into a greater reality. The way to defeat every Maya’s ego-narrowing argument is to remind yourself constantly that happiness and fulfillment come through self-expansion – a kind of expansion that is unattainable by the ego, but that comes inevitably to one who achieves release from the ego.

A final objection to overcoming ego-consciousness is the natural thought, “I don’t want to cease to exist! If cessation of my own individual consciousness is the goal of yoga, I consider that no fulfillment at all.”

Paramhansa Yogananda explained a final and supremely inspiring point in the debate between the advantages and disadvantages of ego-consciousness: “The ego, he said, is never destroyed. The only thing destroyed is attachment to ego-limitation!”

What happens, he explained, is that once the soul achieves Self-realization, it discovers that God alone was, in fact, the only Actor of very role the ego ever played. In the divine omniscience, once it is attained, there remains the memory of all one’s prior, individual existences. In cosmic memory, then, your own ego itself will continue to exist forever. You will be able to re-manifest yourself whenever the need arises – if ever, for example, someone prays for your blessings. In such cases, it is not that the Infinite Consciousness recreates something resembling you: It will be you, yourself, re-manifesting that very ego with which your being was once identified.


Ten Ways to Expand Your Consciousness

There are a number of practical ways of expanding your consciousness even while living and working in this body. These methods can be practiced anywhere. I offer a few such ways here:

1. Share with others the credit for any success you receive. Resist the temptation to call attention to any part you played in that success.

2. Try not to defend yourself against people’s accusations. Accept them silently and with good cheer. The ability to bear the negative opinions of others will lead to a growing freedom and happiness within.

3. Don’t meet praise with denial. Instead say words to this effect: “God alone is the Doer. I appreciate what you’ve said, but the credit really belongs to Him.”

4. Don’t point out to others their flaw of ego-centeredness. Remember than non-judgment will help release you from ego-involvement.

5. Laugh with people, never at them.

6. People often try to manipulate others, or the circumstances around them. Live, rather, by the principle, “What comes of itself, let it come.” You will find that, if you can reject completely the tendency to manipulate others, things will somehow flow well and smoothly for you.

7. Don’t hesitate to say “I can,” if you think you might succeed at some task. It is no sign of humility to tell others, “I can’t do that.” Remember: God, through you, can do anything!

8. When circumstances prove you to have been right in some matter, never announce smugly, “I said so, didn’t I?”

9. Be truthful, sincere, and ever kind.

10. Give to God everything you do, even if the profits of that action accrue to you personally. In this practice lies the secret of Nishkam karma – action without desire for the fruits of action. This practice leads to liberation and perfect fulfillment.


Excerpted from: Material Success through Yoga Principles, by Swami Kriyananda, Lesson 26, “The Right Use of Ego.” Crystal Clarity Publishers.

The Six Levels of Higher Consciousness: How to Make the Shift by MARY O’MALLEY

The following excerpt on higher consciousness is from Mary O’Malleys awareness expanding book What’s in the Way is the Way.

The healing you long for doesn’t come from changing anything. It comes from the ability to see and be with what is, for who you are is awareness. You are the space that your storyteller is happening in. As awareness, you can see the spells (limiting beliefs), feelings and sensations that pass through you all day long rather than being lost in the stories they generate.

When you learn how to be curious about what is going on inside of you, you discover the ability to experience what you are experiencing without turning it into a problem. You can then give the energy that was bound up in your struggles the attention and the spaciousness it needs in order to let go. This brings you back to the free-flowing aliveness that you truly are—the meadow of your being.

In order to be this curious about what is going on rather than always trying to control it, it is important to know that your life is for you. Life is not just a random series of events that happen because you did it right or you did it wrong. Instead, it is an intelligent unfolding that is revealing itself to you all day long, bringing you step-by-step from unconsciousness into a state of higher consciousness.

Take a moment now to feel how different that is from the way you usually perceive Life: as something happening to you that needs to be controlled, fixed and changed. Imagine what it would be like to let go of the whole game of resisting Life and instead to trust it. In this trust you could then open to it, listen to it, and grow from every encounter.

“Your life is a journey from unconsciousness to higher consciousness”

At the last Hawaii retreat I led on the island of Molokai, the core focus of the retreat was “All Is Welcome Here.” On the second day, one of the participants said that whenever that phrase was spoken, she heard “All is well. Come here!” When you learn how to stop trying to make your life be what you want it to be and show up for it instead (All Is Welcome Here), you discover that all is well and it is safe to be here. You can show up for the life that Life is giving you! And when you do this you begin to shift into higher consciousness.

When Eben Alexander woke up from his seven-day coma, the first thing he said to his sister was, “All is well!” In order to open to “All Is Well” so you can truly be here for Life, it is important to recognize that the evolution which is unfolding on the Earth includes human beings. Everything is a part of this evolution, including you. You are Life evolving from unconsciousness into higher consciousness. Your life is not a random series of events. It is an intelligent and mysterious process that is for Life.

I like to call it the “flawless, methodical mystery.” It is flawless because each and every experience of your life is tailor-made to wake you up out of your unconsciousness. Also, it is truly methodical. There are basic steps we all go through on our journey out of the cloud bank of our minds back into recognition of the meadow of Life. And it is truly mysterious. Without fully understanding it, we can open to it, rediscovering what Joseph Campbell describes as “the rapture of being alive.”

The Six Levels of Consciousness

Your life is a journey from unconsciousness to higher consciousness. Michael Beckwith, minister of the Agape Church, describes this evolution in four phases. I have added two more, “Life happens in you” and “Life happens for you,” and call them the “Six Phases of Higher Consciousness.”

1. Life happens to you.
2. Life happens by you.
3. Life happens in you.
4. Life happens for you.
5. Life happens through you.
6. Life is you.

Let us take a few minutes to explore each level of consciousness. I invite you, as you read, to keep on checking in with yourself. You are being given important information in this article. Remember that the most powerful thing you can do for your healing is to have your attention and your experience together, even as you are reading this and no matter what it brings up for you.

Dip the finger of your attention into the river of your experience. Allow whatever is here to be here. You have never experienced Life quite like this and never will again. This moment in your life is unique, and it is okay exactly as it is.

The 1st Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens To You

For a good deal of your life you have probably lived like most human beings, feeling that Life is happening to you. Life is so big and if you are honest with yourself, you never really know what is going to happen next. You wake up one morning and your heart is light and happy and the next day you’re unsettled. Bosses fire you, the flu debilitates you, people you love reject you, every day you get a little older and death is always lurking around the corner.

So it is understandable that the more unconscious you are, the more often you feel like a victim to Life. When you live in the belief that Life is happening to you, you often view it as a possible threat. So you stay caught in your head, finding yourself lost in your storyteller that resists, reacts, defends and explains, hoping to figure everything out. It generally does absolutely anything except be open to Life, right here, right now.

The 2nd Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens By You

When it becomes too uncomfortable to live with this much powerlessness, you evolve into the belief that Life is happening by you. Rather than being a victim to Life, you believe you can control it. There can be a great feeling of personal power in this level of consciousness. It is a necessary step in moving out of the victimhood of the first stage of higher consciousness, but people get caught there. Men try to control women and vice versa. Religions try to control the masses. Countries try to control other countries. The majority of people try to control others who are not like them (gay, different skin color, dissimilar religions). Most of all, we try to control ourselves, hoping to make ourselves be what we think we should be.

There is an enormous amount of effort in this phase of higher consciousness. The storyteller believes that in order for anything good to happen it has to make it happen. So it loves to set goals and feels very ashamed when it doesn’t follow through (just think of New Year’s resolutions!) The storyteller eventually evolves into intentions. Goals are where you use your mind to try to make things be the way you want them. With intentions, you work with feeling what you want to generate. None of this is bad or wrong. These are important tools to use on the path of awakening and sometimes they actually work. But what would happen if you recognized that, rather than trying to make things happen, opening into Life will bring you what you most deeply long for!

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

There is a relatively new form of control where you believe you can control your reality. In this form of control, the storyteller says that all I have to do is think the right thoughts and I can make my life be the way I want it to be. The main difficulty with this is that, in the long run, it doesn’t work. To think you can control Life is like being a cork in the ocean believing it can control the movement of the ocean. Yes, it does change the movement of the water right where it is, but it can’t influence all the other powerful forces that make up the ocean.

To stay caught in this phase of higher consciousness is to be cut off from the creative flow of Life. Believing that you are in charge of Life, you are mainly identified with your conceptual world, trying to create a reality rather than showing up for reality.

When you have lived this level of consciousness long enough, you see the downside of it. First, you find yourself becoming fearful of your thoughts: I shouldn’t be thinking this way because I will manifest this in my world. Second, it can also bring forth shame, for when it doesn’t work the way the books promise, you think this is because you haven’t done it right enough or well enough. Author and speaker Carolyn Myss, who used to teach that you could manifest what you want if you just think right, evolved beyond that. When she was in Seattle in the 1990s she asked an audience of 600 to raise their hands if they had been able to create the reality they wanted. Not one person did!

As you are reading about to you and by you, your belly may have tightened again. Allow any holding you discover there to melt away. Smile and let this softening move all the way down into your pelvic floor and around to your back.

The 3rd Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens In You

You eventually begin to see that all of your reacting and controlling hasn’t brought you the ease and joy you long for. Instead of being the victim to your life and or needing to make it be any particular way, which is the endless game of struggle, you begin to get an inkling that Life is something to be listened to, opened to. This is where you start evolving into the next phase of higher consciousness, where Life is happening in you.

At this level of consciousness you begin to realize something very startling: most of the time, rather than experiencing Life, you think about it, seeing only the thoughts in your head! When you experience Life through your thoughts, you stop experiencing it as it is. Or, as the well-known French author Anais Nin once said, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” You project your spells onto yourself and others rather than really seeing what is. When was the last time you truly saw a loved one’s face? If you are honest with yourself, it has probably been a long time.

It is in this phase of higher consciousness that you also realize that your suffering doesn’t come from the experiences of your life. Instead it comes from your stories about what is happening. It comes from inside of you! There could be a gray day and you’re just fine. Then on another gray day you could be miserable. You may say it is because the day is gray, but it comes from your story about the day, not the day itself.

This is where you begin to live what we have been calling the you-turn. You become less interested in being a victim to your life or even trying to make it be any different than it is. You realize that the healing you long for comes when you turn your attention within. When you get to know the spells that are the source of your suffering, you can unhook from them and come back to Life.

Do a you-turn and ask, “What is asking to be seen?” Be curious about what sits here right now.

The 4th Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens For You

The more you become curious about what is happening rather than reacting and controlling, the more you come to a wonderful realization that your life is for you. Rather than Life being something that is happening to you that you must control, you realize there are no ordinary moments! And you are one step further on the journey to higher consciousness.

Life is not a random series of events. It is a highly intelligent unfolding that is putting you in the exact situations you need in order to see and unhook from the spells that keep you separate from its flow. No matter what is happening in your life, you finally understand that Life knows what it is doing.

At this level of consciousness, rather than Life being something you have to mold and shape into what you want it to be, you begin to show up for Life exactly as it is. Yes, the flow of Life includes pain, loss and death. But resisting the pains of Life only turn them it into suffering, and the suffering that comes from resistance is always much greater than directly experiencing your pain. Instead of tightening around your experiences and turning away from them, which only thickens your cloud bank of struggle, you bring your attention to your experience, whatever it is.

“Life is not a random series of events. It is a highly intelligent unfolding.”

Even little moments of curiosity about what is going on right now sprinkled throughout your day are powerful! Every time you respond rather than react to what is going on inside of you, what was formerly bound up begins to loosen. Remember, your natural state is free-flowing aliveness. When that aliveness gets trapped in the spells, your energy and joy dim. When the spells receive the light of your attentiveness, they let go, and the trapped energy flows freely, bringing with it the bliss of openness. Remember: Life is setup, to bring up, what has been bound up, so it can open up, to be freed up, so you can show up for Life!

Close your eyes for a few moments and open into this living moment of your life. Hear it, sense it, feel it. This is the only moment that matters in your whole life for it is the only moment where Life is happening!

The 5th Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens Through You

The for you phase of higher consciousness shows you that there is no such thing as an ordinary moment in your life and helps you to see that Life is speaking to you at all moments. Becoming curious about what you are experiencing and giving it the light of compassionate attention so it can let go, you evolve into the next level of consciousness of allowing Life to move through you. This is where you recognize that Life is trustable. It is not always likable, but it knows what it is doing.

Imagine a life where you trust Life implicitly. Every morning you wake up with a sense of adventure. Your belly is soft, your mind is curious and your heart is open. Rather than struggling with Life, you open to it, even when you are facing deep challenges. If you find yourself caught in reaction, you give your reaction the attention it needs to let go.

Just as when you unkink a hose, the vibrant flow of energy that is Life can now move freely through you and this brings forth the joy and aliveness you so deeply long for. Creativity that you could never imagine on your own becomes clear to you, blessing yourself and everyone you meet with the wisdom of the meadow of Life.

You experience deep gratitude for absolutely everything. You see that your life is dependent on every ounce of creativity that has ever happened in the universe. You also see that all that has happened to you, even the difficult, has been a part of your journey back into Life. Step by step Life is bringing you into higher consciousness, into the ability to be fully here for Life. Now you can relax and show up for the adventure. As Cynthia Bourgeault so beautifully says in her book Mystical Hope, “You find your way by being sensitively and sensually connected to exactly where you are, letting ‘here’ reach out and lead you.”

The 6th Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Is You

The more you can stand with Life, allowing it to move through you rather than reacting to it or controlling it, the more you begin to get glimpses of the sixth level of consciousness in which you see that Life is you. You are no longer a separate being. Instead, you merge completely back into the creative flow of Life, understanding that everything—every rock, person, cloud, molecule and ladybug—is you. You are Life! As Eckhart Tolle said, “You are not in the universe; you are the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.”

All is well. Come here.

As you look closely at the Six Phases of Higher Consciousness, you will see that the first two are about fixing, changing, resisting and trying to control Life (Life is happening to you and by you). These phases are the world of your storyteller that doesn’t want what is here (doesn’t know how to open to Life) and wants what is not here (I can have what I want if I just think right). Throughout both of these levels of consciousness, there is a veil between you and the living experience of Life because neither phase is about showing up for the creative river of Life.

The next two phases of higher consciousness are about using your mind to be curious about what is happening rather than resisting and controlling. In Life is happening in you, you recognize that the storyteller inside of you is what separates you from Life. So rather than trying to change anything, you become interested in what you are experiencing in any given moment. The more you are here for Life, the easy and the difficult, the joyous and the sorrowful, unhooking from all of your spells, the more clear it becomes that Life knows what it is doing and it is for you.

The final two phases of higher consciousness are all about coming home to the meadow. The more you live the truth that Life is for you, the more you relax into the flow, bringing you to the joy of Life moving through you. As your cloud bank dissipates, you not only recognize the meadow again, you recognize that you are the meadow! Life is you and you are Life!

“You are not in the universe; you are the universe, an intrinsic part of it.”

Most people live in the first two phases of higher consciousness, to you and by you, never knowing that right in the middle of these beliefs is a doorway into the last four. Life is waking you up from the contraction of the first two and into the opening of the last four. This is not only for your own healing, but for the healing of all beings, because as you see through your cloud bank of struggle, you become a healing presence in the world.

There is a paradoxical truth that is important to acknowledge. Human beings are evolving from the first level of consciousness to the sixth. It is also true that most days you will experience a number of these phases. It is not about getting rid of any particular phase or making one better than the other. They are all part of Life, and as you evolve, you will recognize and be able to embrace them all.
The Truth of Trust

In order to evolve into and through the last four levels of consciousness, the tattered threads of your trust of Life need to be rewoven. You, like most people, don’t trust Life! It certainly feels untrustworthy. Life breaks your heart, brings illnesses to your body, and feels, at times, as though it gives you way more than you can handle.

If you don’t trust it, how can you show up for it, opening to all that it is offering you in every experience you have? How can you allow it to bring you, step by step, from unconsciousness into higher consciousness? There is a shift of perception that will help you immensely in relearning how to trust Life, discovering that your life, rather than being something that needs to be controlled, is something that can be opened to. The shift is: Life is smarter than you!

Most of us are so caught in our storyteller that we live in a small world. What we pay attention to all day long is the cloud bank around our heads that is made out of our spells. We don’t see what is going on here! And we definitely don’t recognize the meadow.

As a means of opening your awareness from the tight and small world of your storyteller into a more spacious perspective, I invite you into what I call a big-picture exploration. Imagine you are sitting on the moon, looking at the beautiful blue-green jewel that is our planet. See it as a living being that has been unfolding for 4½ billion years. Look beyond it into the black, velvety depth of space that is filled with more stars than there are grains of sand on every beach of the Earth!

Now bring your attention back to the Earth floating in front of you, and as you drink in its beauty, recognize that absolutely everything on this planet was created from atoms that come from the stars—and that includes you! So everything you see is made out of stardust!

Now in your imagination, see the evolution of Earth as a movie. At its inception it was just a ball of gas and dust. Fast-forward the movie in your mind’s eye and see land and water appearing as the Earth’s atmosphere forms. Then see Life beginning to come together into various rudimentary beings in the seas. Now see Life crawl out of the seas and onto the continents as a wave of green flows across the formerly barren land. Insects appear, animals emerge and dinosaurs come and go.

In the evolution of Life on this planet, there was a time when there were no creatures with thumbs, so Life could not be picked up to be used and explored. Now see life evolving a few million years ago into a form that had two arms with fingers and thumbs, along with the kind of brain that was interested in picking up Life and exploring It. Life had never shown up in this way before!

Now see early human beings coming together into tribes. As their frontal lobes became more complex, see them discovering language, figuring out how to use tools, cultivating the land, creating villages and towns, and then creating the wheel and ships that sail across the oceans.

“You are a community of 70 trillion cells that pump blood through 65,000 miles of arteries and veins”

Fast forward the movie again to just a few hundred years ago. See one set of your great, great, great grandparents being born, growing up, discovering one another, birthing one half of the partnership of your great, great grandparents and then disappearing back into mystery. This same cycle brought forth your grandparents, your parents and then you. Now see yourself appearing out of mystery at the exact place on this planet where you were born. Watch yourself evolve from a baby, to a young child, to a teenager and then into an adult.

As you are watching the movie of your life, bring it to this morning when you woke up, began your day and eventually came to the moment where you are reading this article. Realize that all of the millions of moments of your life have unfolded to this moment and this moment is the leading edge of the wave of evolution on this planet. Open to the knowing that this moment is no ordinary moment. Right here, right now, you are being given a very rare gift: the phenomenal gift of Life. For a short slice of time you get to be here, and then you too will dissolve back into mystery and Life will continue to unfold.

Pause for a moment and contemplate all of the creativity that has gone before you that allows you and everything around you to exist. This simple act of contemplation can shift you into a state of higher consciousness.

Your Story

This movie about the unfolding of Life on this planet that we just explored is your story. You are a being who is an expression of 4½ billion years of Life evolving on this planet. You exist in this body because of the vast creativity that has gone before you. Let’s take your eyes for example. The first ancestors of your eyes came from polyps on the oceans floors that created cells that were able to differentiate light and dark.

In between that first rudimentary step into seeing and your ability to see are vast amounts of creativity that allow you to see this article! And it is not just your eyes that are dependent on the entire ingenuity of Life. Your whole life, like everybody else’s, is dependent on every single act of creativity that has ever happened on this planet.

It is amazing to recognize the creativity that enabled Life to take stardust and make this planet and everything on it, including you. It is even more astounding to see that as you sit here reading this, you are a community of 70 trillion cells that pump blood through 65,000 miles of arteries and veins, send messages along your nerves at the speed of light, regulate hormones, repair cells and digest food without a single thought from you. If you doubt that there is an amazing Intelligence that permeates and penetrates all of Life, just acknowledge what is happening in your body right now.

Because you don’t recognize the Intelligence at the heart of Life, you believe you are separate from it. Believing you are separate from it, you buy into the illusion that you must control it. As soon as you believe you must control it, you become cut off from it, losing sight of the joy of being open to Life. This perspective keeps you from living in a place of higher consciousness.

You actually trust Life a lot. You trust it enough to beat your heart and breathe your breath. But you think that the Intelligence at the heart of Life has nothing to do with your daily life. You, like most people, bought into the arrogance of the human ego that says that it is in charge. Because of this belief in separation, you think your life is just a random series of events that you must mold and shape into what you think they should be.

What would happen if this was not so? What would your life look like if you understood that the same Intelligence that keeps the planets spinning, heals the cuts on your skin, and brings spring forth out of winter is with you every step of the way? Can you open to the possibility that this creative Intelligence is weaving your life out of the primal opposites of dark and light and it is giving you exactly what you need in order to evolve from unconsciousness into a phase of higher consciousness? What would it be like if you understood that the same awesome force of evolution that created this planet and brought Life out of the sea and onto land is working its magic in your life?

To get even an inkling of what we are exploring here will allow you to let go of that grip of control enough that you can begin to feel the magic of trusting your life. The more you trust it, the more you will show up for it, and the more you show up for it, the more you will see that Life is wiser than you and is bringing you the exact set of experiences you need in order to come back to Life.

Lift your eyes from the page and recognize that in the vastness of all time this moment will never be repeated, and you have the privilege to bear witness to it.
What It Looks Like To Trust Life

When you realize that Life is smarter than you, Life becomes very interesting. Rather than being lost in your storyteller, you realize something very extraordinary is happening here: there are no ordinary moments in your life! You become much more alert to what is happening, both outside and inside of you. If one’s life is like an iceberg, most people just pay attention to the part above the water while what is really going on is happening underneath the “water level” of their everyday awareness.

“You realize something very extraordinary is happening here: there are no ordinary moments in your life”

It is true that you are driving, working, showering, cooking, arguing, making love, raising children, birthing and dying. But underneath it all is the unfolding of intelligent evolution, and you are a part of that. You are evolving from an unconscious human being into a conscious one. This is happening in every experience of your life—every experience! Life is for Life. It is supporting your shift from being asleep to being awake. Just as Life assists a peach tree in creating fruit by sustaining it with sun, rain, bees and the nourishment of the Earth, it is giving you exactly what you need in order to know the fruit of a conscious human being, which is the ability to be awake to Life.

Living from the truth that your life is for you, you begin to let go of the belief that your suffering is caused by something outside of you: other people, your job, the shape of your body, the kind of mate you have, the type of health you have, the kind of past you had, or the sort of mind you have. You begin to see that your suffering is coming from inside of you, caused by the spells. Yes, there are difficult things that happen in your life, but when you don’t get lost in your stories about them, you respond to the situation, gathering the gifts that are always embedded in the challenges of your life. This is the gift of higher consciousness, you see that life is conspiring in your favor.

As you awaken into higher levels of consciousness, you become less interested in trying to change anything in your life and more interested in what is going on inside of you, especially in difficult situations. You have a deeper sense of allowing Life to put you in the exact situations you need in order for the core spells that make up your storyteller to be brought to the surface of your awareness. It is there that you can see them, watch them in action, and discover that they are just spells that were conditioned into you when you were young and that you no longer need to buy into them.

It is almost as if these deep and ancient spells of fear, shame, doubt, jealousy, not being enough, loneliness, and anger, to name a few, are like champagne bubbles that have been trapped inside of you. As your resistance to experiencing them lessens, they begin to loosen, arising to the surface to be seen. As they are fully seen, they burst, and the energy that was formerly trapped in them lets go. Rather than being afraid of this purification process, you begin to welcome it as the longing to be fully awake to Life becomes stronger than the fear of your spells.

Pause for a moment and check into your belly. Allow any holding you discover there to melt away and let a smile fill you with its healing presence. Allow this softening to move all the way down into your pelvic floor and around to your back. Feel the essence of your unfolding higher consciousness.
The Joy of Response-ability

Whether it is an illness, pain, a difficult neighbor, a compulsion, a financial crisis or any other challenging situation in your life, it can be initially threatening to your storyteller to take responsibility (the ability to respond) for your own experience. Old reactions that come from spells can be very strong. But you learn how to become like one of those three-foot tall inflatable dolls with a weight in the bottom. When you’re in a difficult situation, you feel like the doll when it is hit and falls over. More and more quickly, however, you do the you-turn, becoming curious about what this is bringing up inside of you, and you bounce back up again just like the doll does. You see that each situation is gently nudging you to expand into even higher levels of consciousness.

“All of the joy, clarity and aliveness you long for have always been with you, right here, right now”

This is where you truly begin to trust Life. You know that difficult situations are for you. You see that just as the body cleanses itself of foreign viruses and bacteria, your being will cleanse itself of the old spells. The more you want to see your spells, the more Life puts you in the situations that will bring them up so they can be touched enough with the light of your consciousness to let go. Thus you are no longer the victim to your life.

Even feelings like aloneness, or unending sadness, or the black hole of nothingness that seem so deep and real when you are resisting them become something to say “hello” to and touch with compassion. As you stand with them, they no longer have the power over you they used to have, and the energy that was bound up in them is released, opening you to the meadow that is always with you.

It is important to remember as you are bringing higher consciousness into your daily life that you have never left the meadow; you just thought that you had. All of the joy, clarity and aliveness you long for have always been with you, right here, right now. You just haven’t seen it because your storyteller has grabbed hold of your attention and rarely let it go. The more you allow Life to put you in the situations that bring up the core spells of your storyteller, the more your cloud bank will thin and you will be able to recognize and live from the meadow of your being.

This article originally appears in the Spring 2015 Issue of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. You can download a copy of this issue by clicking here or subscribe by clicking here

About The Author

Mary O’Malley began changing her relationship with her challenges after a powerful awakening in the early 1970s, freeing her from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Mary’s new book What’s In the Way IS the Way, provides tools and techniques for healing fears, anxieties, shame and confusion, and transforming struggles into the peace we all long for. Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so they can become a part of the healing of our planet. Eckhart Tolle says “Thank you, Mary, for your contribution to the evolution of human consciousness.” Visit her website:

Rosemary Gallagher on Self Love and Self Acceptance

Published on Feb 14, 2016

Rosemary Gallagher is an author, tarot consultant, angel intuitive and lyricist. In this event she will share her story, talking about how she found her creative and spiritual voice and the road that has taken her to get her where she is today. Rosemary will touch topics such as the importance of self love and self acceptance, communication with angels, how to trust in the universe, twin soulmate connection and more. Her life and search for love had a surprising twist when she found the greatest love of all…HERSELF!
She is also the author of I AM / YOU ARE.

This little inspirational reversible gift book provides an A-Z of uplifting single word affirmations for those moments when life doesn’t feel quite as good as it should.

Do you want to let someone else know how special you think they are? If so then this perfect little ‘pick me up’ book is just what you need.

The simple A – Z format provides inspiring and encouraging single words of wisdom. Little words with big meanings. The words have been chosen to encourage self-love and acceptance, each one has been selected to be a friend and companion to help you to believe in who YOU ARE.

Experience each word, practice using it and believe. You don’t need lots of words to express who you are, or how you feel, sometimes ONE is perfect.Small, simple, powerful.

The I Am side of the book is an affirmation on our internal journey, who we are to ourselves, the You Are side is a statement of intention to the world on your external journey, how we would like the world to see us – they mirror each other in perfect symmetry – inner and outer meeting as one.

Between Pain and Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering by Gerald W. Peterman (Author), Andrew J. Schmutzer (Author)

Why does suffering exist? When will it end? Where is God in it?

Despite how common suffering is, we still struggle to understand it, and even more, to bear through it. Between Pain and Grace gets to the heart of this struggle. Born from a popular college course on suffering, this book answers many of our critical questions, like:

  • Is God personally involved in our pain and suffering?
  • How should Christians handle emotions like grief and anger?
  • What does the Bible say about issues like mental illness, sexual abuse, and betrayal?

Striking an elegant balance between being scholarly on the one hand and heartfelt on the other, Between Pain and Grace is useful both in the classroom and for personal reading. The authors pull together Scripture, personal experiences, and even psychological research to offer a well-rounded and trustworthy take on suffering.

Between Pain and Grace will give you confidence in God’s sovereignty, comfort in His presence, and wisdom for life this side of paradise.

GERALD PETERMAN is Professor of Bible and Director of the Master of Arts, Biblical and Theological Studies at Moody Bible Institute. Before coming to Moody he taught at Palm Beach Atlantic College in West Palm Beach, FL, spent 4 1/2 years doing church planting for the Evangelical Free Church in central Florida and in south central Iowa, and also served eight years in the Air National Guard as a Chaplain. Peterman also serves part-time at his local church. For Moody Publishers he has written Joy and Tears: The Emotional Life of the Christian (2013) and is currently co-authoring Between Pain and Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering with Dr. Andrew Schmutzer. Research interests include New Testament Greek Language and Exegesis, Greek and Roman Background to the New Testament, and Biblical Theology. Gerald has been married to Marjory L. Peterman since January 1984, with two adult daughters, Bethany and Grace.

, Trinity International University) is Professor of Biblical Studies at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Illinois). In addition to numerous articles and essays on the Old Testament, he has written the exegetical theology Be Fruitful and Multiply and two forthcoming commentaries on Ruth and Esther.

20 Quotes To End All Suffering By Byron Katie

End your suffering with Byron Katie

Byron Katie, speaker and author teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work.” The Work is a way of identifying and questioning any stressful thought. It consists of four questions and a turnaround.

The four questions are: 1) Is it true? 2) Can you absolutely know that it’s true? 3) How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? and 4) Who would you be without the thought?

Turnarounds: Could the opposite be as true? Turn the statement around to the opposite, to the self, and to the other. This is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe.

1. “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change
your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” ~ Byron Katie”

2. “Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself, and wait for the answer in silence.” ~ Byron Katie

3. “If you believe that anyone’s action is bad, how can you see the good in it? How can you see the good that comes out of it, maybe years later? If you see anyone as bad, how can you understand that we are all created equal? We’re all teachers by the way we live. A blind drunk can teach more about why not to drink than an abstinent man in all his piety. No one has more or less goodness. No one who ever lived is a better or a worse human being than you.” ~ Byron Katie

Take your fear and shove it

4. “The teacher you need is the person you’re living with.” ~ Byron Katie

5. “It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.” ~ Byron Katie

6. “All the advice you ever gave your partner is for you to hear.” ~ Byron Katie

7. “Nothing comes ahead of its time, and nothing ever happened that didn’t need to happen.” ~ Byron Katie

8. “As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” ~ Byron Katie

9. “All I have is all I need and all I need is all I have in this moment.” ~ Byron Katie

10. “I love what I think, and I’m never tempted to believe it.” ~ Byron Katie

11. “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.” ~ Byron Katie

12. “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” ~ Byron Katie

13. “I am the perpretor of my suffering – but only all of it.” ~ Byron Katie

14. “Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” ~ Byron Katie

15. “I’m a lover of reality. When I argue with What Is, I lose, but only 100% of the time.” ~ Byron Katie

16. Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” ~ Byron Katie

17. “Nothing can cost you someone you love. The only thing that can cost you your husband is if you believe a thought. That’s how you move away from him. That’s how the marriage ends.

You are one with your husband until you believe the thought that he should look a certain way, he should give you something, he should be something other than what he is. That’s how you divorce him. Right then and there you have lost your marriage.” ~ Byron Katie

18. “Thoughts are just what is. They appear. They’re innocent. They’re not personal. They’re like the breeze or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. Thoughts arise like that, and we can make friends with them. Would you argue with a raindrop?” ~ Byron Katie

19. “I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God’s. Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.” ~ Byron Katie

20. “A teacher of fear can’t bring peace on Earth. We have been trying to do it that way for thousands of years. The person who turns inner violence around, the person who finds peace inside and lives it, is the one who teaches what true peace is. We are waiting for just one teacher. You’re the one.” ~ Byron Katie

Photo image: Scott London

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