During World War II, the story goes that a study was conducted of a species of monkey living on separate islands. One day, an adolescent monkey washed his fruit in a stream before eating it, a behavior never observed before, and before long, adult monkeys began washing their fruit as well.
More amazing is that when researchers from the various isolated islands met at the end of the study and compared notes, within hours, each island’s adolescent population began washing fruit! This was an inexplicable change in behavior, a shift in consciousness that occurred simultaneously within the entire species, even though they were isolated from each other on separate islands.
Shifts in consciousness have occurred in human history as well. We can look back and see the peaks and valleys, as religions blossomed between 1000 BC and 1,000 AD, and as reason prevailed over barbarism after the middle ages. There seems to be a progression as our species accumulates experience, but the evolution is slow, and the question remains, can this evolution be enhanced by accelerating our learning curve in some way?
Deeper religions, particularly Eastern Religions and Christian mysticism, address this point, and spell out in detail how to create shifts in consciousness. The problem is, unenlightened individuals got hold of the teachings in many of the religions and crafted them to correspond to their own unenlightened thought, and things have gone off track. Careful study and sifting is required to dig into true doctrines and interpret true intent, originally designed to set people free and not imprison them in the straightjacket of mere belief and mindless worship.
But our world remains as illusory as ever. Instructors are now coaches, jobs are careers, and hobbies have turned into passions, as we attempt to make everything more enhanced and glamorous, and inadvertently keep ourselves imprisoned in our everyday minds. These kinds of minds, unfortunately, will never comprehend the release of an eternity that exists in every moment; this would involve a shift in consciousness.
People attend meditation retreats, but no longer for personal transformations; they attend in order to get something quickly to add to their bag of tricks so that they can hurry back to their same existence somehow enhanced. These everyday minds remain trapped within a time-sensitive existence where everything constantly changes, grows old and dies, but a sage sees things quite differently; a sage experiences within every moment the great realization mentioned in all the scriptures.
This great freedom, to understand without a doubt and within our hearts that there are no endings, no beginnings, and only constancy, is for which we truly search. But we look in all the wrong places, dribbling away our lives in pursuits of illusions. This is how we unfortunately live, and we wonder why we are not content.
A permanent shift in consciousness is what is required to make that leap from a confused, clouded mind, to a clear, refined mind. Without this shift, all attempts to figure out eternity and existence are as useless as a mosquito trying to bite an iron bull. We will be unable to penetrate into deeper understanding simply because all of our reference points are grounded in past, predictable experiences. Without this shift in consciousness, we can never hope to understand eternity, and therefore we have no basis to experience realization or enlightenment.
Without this realization, we remain stuck in an existence filled with greed, hatred, and illusions as we all fend for ourselves and fearfully grab whatever we can. Since there is no comprehension of Reality, that which surrounds and permeates this mundane existence, we believe that this fleeting life of ours is all that there is and act accordingly – with fear. This is the fear that holds humanity within the narrow confines of conflict and war, and where we shall remain until a fundamental shift in consciousness occurs.
If you understand what is being said and wish to become proactive in this pursuit of a shift in consciousness, to not only to take a load off yourself but off the world as well, forget all that you have psychologically learned, and don’t add additional psychological or spiritual learning to an already overflowing mind. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Simplify your mind – and your life will simplify accordingly.
And to begin simplifying, empty your mind . . . in meditation.