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How Sweet Air Is, After We Go Without It for a While!

| Nirmala | Awareness

How Sweet Air Is, After We Go Without It for a While!

Published on
08 June 2012

Q: This journey of knowing  my own self is becoming more and more absorbing and I am not sure where it will lead me. Just one question, why does our consciousness continuously  fluctuate between an expanded state and a contracted state ? Why can't we perpetually remain in an expanded state of consciousness and feel at peace all the time ? How can we attain that state ?

A:That is a very good question. I would suggest that our consciousness itself seems to like to experience all states and all possibilities. So as wonderful and beautiful as expanded states of peace and bliss are, life seems to want to try it every which way. In part, this is because the contrast between expansion and contraction is what allows us to appreciate the expansion when it happens. If we were eternally infinitely expanded, then we would hardly know it since it would be so constant. Kind of like how we rarely really notice the air all around us because it is so constantly present. And then when we go for a moment or two without air, we suddenly really appreciate it again!

I would also suggest that there is an even bigger freedom than being constantly expanded, and that is to have had enough experiences of expansion that it simply does not matter anymore if you are experiencing it right now or not. That allows the greatest flexibility for the inner wisdom of our Being to respond in whatever way is truly appropriate to the moment. Sometimes the truest response to the moment is to contract or focus our awareness. For example when you are eating chocolate. It would be a waste of good chocolate to be in cosmic consciousness while you are eating it!

This bigger freedom does come from experiencing the full range of your Being including its capacity for peace and limitless joy, and the infinite stillness beyond all states. And as to your question of how do we attain those states or even go beyond them, I am afraid there is nothing you can do. It is really not up to you what state you experience each moment, and there is nothing you can do to directly bring about an expanded state. However, you can pay attention and be curious so that you notice the state you are experiencing, and so that you experience it fully while it is here. This applies to the ordinary states and to the most expanded states. There is nothing you can do to make the expanded states happen, but they do happen! The real purpose of spiritual techniques including meditation, inquiry, satsang, mindfulness, etc. is not to cause shifts in your consciousness, but to engage you with your consciousness so you are aware of the shifts when they do happen.