The topic of consciousness is coming to the fore in the popular culture. No longer is it just a preoccupation of philosophers, scientists, and mystics.
If you’re paying attention to news, and media, you may notice a certain trend: There’s much more focus on this mysterious force of consciousness which is the ultimate frontier of human understanding.
The modern consciousness movement started with exporting Zen Buddhist and Hindu traditions to the West by figures like D. T. Suzuki and Ram Dass. Then there was the New Age and the so-called “alternative science” which unfortunately was prone to wishful thinking.
There was a psychedelic revolution of the 60’s made possible with Albert Hoffman’s LSD. And then, the discovery of new, even more powerful drugs like LSD and Psilocybin made us ask the most profound questions about the nature of reality.
Philosophers talk about the “hard problem of consciousness”. They wonder how is it possible that we even have a conscious experience. How is it possible that there’s something that feels like being “you”? Is it all an illusion?
Then there are questions about free-will (or lack of thereof). Are we actually the authors of our actions? Or maybe physical and biochemical processes in the brain govern our behavior?
The questions are piling up, but it’s immensely difficult to get any definitive answers. Terrence McKenna once said that: “The universe may be stranger than we can suppose” meaning, that the ultimate knowledge may not be available to advanced primates. To think otherwise would be presumptuous.
But persist we must. We have to embrace our personal experience as the laboratory in which we get a taste of what consciousness is and how to expand it. No scientist or guru will be able to answer that for you. Your subjective experience is the only thing you’ve got.
Whether it’s a product of your brain or a part of an infinite sea of consciousness which permeates the universe, you can expand it, and there are people who thought about doing it for millennia.
Expanding Your Consciousness
What does it mean to expand your consciousness?
It may mean a couple of things:
- You’re more aware of your thought patterns and emotional states.
- You experience synchronicity more often.
- Your dreams are more vivid and powerful.
- You feel more love and compassion towards the world.
- You’re aware of other planes of conscious experience.
- You develop a powerful intuition.
- You develop mindful awareness of your surroundings and mental processes.
- You gain deeper knowledge about the world.
- You’re widely awake and fully conscious.
Below you’ll find fourteen methods which you can use to widen the spectrum of your consciousness:
1. Experience novelty as often as possible
The universe is expanding. From the moment it started, it’s becoming more complex. From simple molecules to such dense and mysterious instruments such as the human brain, the universe is producing novelty at an ever faster pace.
Be a part of it of this process. Break the habitual mental patterns that govern your behavior and throw yourself into the embraces of the unknown.
2. Experiment with consciousness-expanding drugs
It’s hard to understand consciousness if you experience only the “waking life”. From time to time, consciousness needs to be smashed. Then you can pick up the pieces and bring valuable insights from your journey to the community.
The most reliable compounds in this department are DMT, Psilocybin (you can read about my trip here), LSD, and Ayahuasca.
3. Travel the world and immerse yourself in other cultures
By traveling you’re literally stepping into other worlds. We often dream about going to Mars and different galaxies. But have you ever been outside of your country? Better yet, have you been to places so much different from where you live, that it almost feels like another planet? Like Japan or India or Morocco?
4. Practice meditation on a regular basis
Meditation is the most reliable long-term vehicle you can use to gain more consciousness skills. In fact, the whole purpose of meditation is to free you from the never-ending cycle of desire and aversion, pleasure and pain.
Awakening can be achieved, but it requires years of dedicated practice.
5. Go for a spiritual retreat
I have once been to a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. It opened my eyes to many conscious states and helped me to see life from a totally different perspective.
6. Go into the sensory deprivation tank
By depriving yourself of sensual experiences, you open up your latent mental faculties and reveal the contents of your subconscious mind while still being wide awake. A session in the tank costs around $45.
7. Read the most mind-bending books
I’m always on a quest to find the next book of secrets. These books are rare, but you can find them and they will change your life forever. Whatever calls you – pursue it with all your might.
8. Watch the most mind-bending movies
Watching movies doesn’t require imagination. The images are right there in front of you. But their power can stir you into new directions and inspire you to do great things.
Movies that will change you: Interstellar, The Matrix, Baraka, Waking Life, or Enter The Void. Here you can find more titles.
9. Learn how to induce an out-of-body experience
Once I got really close to an out of body experience, and I think that with practice, it’s possible to induce it on a regular basis.
The best book you can read about the topic is Adventures Beyond The Body.
10. Have every experience available to human beings
Try as many things as possible. Go out into the world and be open to anything new. Go in the direction of the fear. Use it as a compass that’ll show you the way to new conscious states and the development of your character. Walk the line between Ying and Yang.
11. Cultivate love towards all living beings
The highest form of consciousness is the one filled with love – the ever-expanding love that mystics talk about. The feeling of oneness with all beings and the whole universe.
You can start developing it with the practice of Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana).
12. Learn about sleep and dreams
You spend one-third of your life in sleep mode. Have you ever wondered why do you sleep? And what are dreams? These fantastic sequences of images constitute a portal to your subconscious mind, and they can teach you and guide you throughout life. One of the most revealing books on the subject of sleep if Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
Some dreams may even show you the future. It’s the strangest thing but I can see future in dreams quite regularly.
13. Learn about the phenomenon of remote viewing
By the means of remote viewing, you can see and describe objects which you’ve never seen before. This phenomenon has been well documented and it’s astounding that we don’t know more about it.
The other thing for which the evidence is mounting is telepathy and deep intuition.
14. Experience ecstasy through dance, music, chanting, or ceremony
Ecstasy is something that unfortunately almost disappeared from our culture (except when it’s induced by MDMA during electronic music parties). In the past, ecstasy was achieved by means of dance, ritual, chanting, and trance-like music.
You can bring back this feeling into your world.
How did you like this article about the methods to expand your consciousness? Do you have any of your own ideas on the subject? Any books you can recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.