“We will see how very important it is to bring about, in the human mind, the radical revolution. The crisis, is a crisis of consciousness. A crisis that cannot anymore, accept the old norms, the old patterns, the ancient traditions. And, considering what the world is now, with all the misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, and so on… Man is still as he was. Is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive. And, he’s built a society along these lines.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Of all the mysteries known to us, there is one in particular that remains both incredibly elusive and frustratingly close to home: consciousness. Religions have formed over it, wars have been fought because of different claims regarding it (and still are), and scientist and sage alike have debated it down the ages. There is now even a question of whether or not our machines will one day be able to claim it.
But the one thing that is undoubtedly inarguable is the fact that we all experience it. Every sentient being is living in its own reality tunnel — having its own subjective experience of consciousness that is truly unknowable to anyone but itself.
And while there is presently no way to really know anyone else’s inner psychological state at any given time, it is possible to get a ‘feel’ for it by simply observing their actions– particularly over time. In this way, the life one leads — considering as well, of course, the environment they’re born into and the specific freedoms or restrictions it has in place — generally reflects their inner state. In the same way, the respective societies we’ve created for ourselves here on earth are a reflection of the minds that made them.
Given this, it is easy to come to some fairly bleak conclusions about what’s happening in the minds of humankind. Things are not pretty. Our consciousness, displayed, leaves quite a bit to be desired.
And this is what the ‘revolution in consciousness’ is all about: changing the minds and hearts of humanity first. It’s about learning a new way of being in the world and thus having a new experience that ripples outward and creates much the same in others.
How exactly will this look? Here are 3 defining aspects.
This is not meant in the traditional form of the word, to hold up the ‘white flag’ and give in. Sometimes there is a time to fight– a time for action –but what it does mean, in this newer context, is the ability to recognize the difference. It is a deep technique of wisdom practiced by all of the contemplatives and spiritual masters throughout history, and can be defined as simply awareness watching awareness.
It also goes by the more popular terms of mindfulness or presence (or ‘witnessing presence’) — a completely non-judgemental, totally alert, observation of all thought, emotion and action as they are taking place in you moment by moment. Indeed, a very challenging undertaking.
Yet what this does, if even only accomplished minutely, is to slowly bring an awareness to your own personal patterns in life, both good and bad, and with it an arising recognition of what’s working and what isn’t. In other words, what makes you truly joyful and what doesn’t. Out of this, you can begin:
2. Living From the Heart, Not the Head
“We need to consider the possibility of another way, another option, another path for the human race to follow… one in which we do not bow before the laws of science, but rather bow before the laws of love.” ~ Marianne Williamson
I’m not knocking the mind here. Not at all. A well-educated mind — which means, it should be noted, one that hasn’t fallen into an identity trap related to prevalent dogmas and institutional pressure, spoken or unspoken — is an incredibly important tool for all human beings to possess. In fact, maybe this point should be referred to as ‘balancing the head with the heart’ instead…
Regardless, what we’re speaking of here is actually very hard to put into words, simply because words belong to the domain of the mind. As far as the mind is concerned, the world is made of language — it doesn’t know how to perceive things as it once did: with the eyes of a small child that has yet to learn the names for everything, and the meanings attached to them.
Learning to do this is, in many ways, similar to the application of non-judgement applied to the self mentioned in the first point, yet turned outward onto the external world. As Thich Nhat Hanh once said:
For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh Click To Tweet
In this way, the world will begin to come more clear. We will start to see others, no matter how different they are from us, as unique human beings that don’t need to conform to our specific worldview, leading to:
3. A Deeper Understanding of Unity
“Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.” ~ Bertrand Russell
That quote really puts it all into perspective. There is still a very juvenile propensity, often even in academic circles, to believe that the rest of the world must think as we do, must hold the same core values and must conform to specific beliefs if they are to be at all respected or understood.
What the shift to a heart-centred awareness will do is raise our levels of compassion to a vantage point from which we are able see (or, more appropriately, ‘feel’) the similarities of the human experience, even by those we ostensibly have nothing in common with.
This of course does not mean that destructive behaviours are tolerated — from individuals or nations — but that a far more compassionate approach is taken to such matters, out of the understanding that only those who are suffering create suffering for others, and to add to that suffering would be a defeat for all, not just the offender.
These 3 aspects of the shift in consciousness will no doubt create a growing number of individuals who are happier, healthier, and more tolerant and appreciative in their daily lives.
It will lead to a world-view that is friendly and freeing in nature, as opposed to fearful and constrictive, yet it will not be naive — rather, deeply aware of both the darkness and the light, and thus creating the ability in its practitioners of knowing how to choose and be that light.
As an extra, here is a video of Krishnamurti delivering the larger speech from which the first quote in this article was taken. An excerpt from the second in the series of Zeitgeist films, it is well worth a watch, if only as a primer.