We are living in a time of profound sociological changes, made up of doubts but also research and discoveries. And this leads to an elevation of the level of consciousness. But, how can I come to such a conclusion at a time when we are overwhelmed by catastrophic news? It is because we should look at the signals that are there and overcome the psychological negativity bias, which refers to “the tendency of people to give disproportionate weight to negative information and events in decision-making and perception”.
So, look around you, listen, not to your usual media announcing disasters of all kinds, but to the people around you searching for meaning. There are many. Seek and you shall find. In other words, step back and increase your level of consciousness.
But what is consciousness?
There is no single definition of consciousness, but it is generally considered to be a phenomenon that allows human beings to know themselves and make moral choices. The word “conscience” comes from the Latin “conscientia”, which means “to know with”. It is formed from the words ” (with) and “scire” (to know).
In its primary sense, therefore, the word “consciousness” refers to knowledge shared between two or more persons or shared knowledge. And the story of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, came into my mind as it has never seemed more timely: To make a long story short, it was because they ate the fruits of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil that Eve and Adam were cast out of the Garden of Eden and condemned to work hard to survive.
How can we understand this symbolic narrative?
First, it teaches us that access to knowledge indiscriminately or to satisfy a personal interest can lead to a downfall: for example, ‘consuming’ ephemeral and anxiety-provoking news uncritically can lead to depression. Another example is the distortion of information or knowledge (I’m thinking here of Dark Tech for example) to acquire personal power or a feeling of omnipotence can lead to a downfall. Cultivating critical thinking is essential, just as knowing how to protect oneself from the negative influences that are conveyed by the flow of knowledge are essential posture to achieve balance and peace, also symbolized by the Tree.
Let us also not forget that the Tree of Knowledge represents freedom and responsibility for our actions. After all, Eve and Adam had a choice. This is why, over time, the meaning of the word “consciousness” has evolved to refer to the knowledge a person has of him/herself and her/his own thoughts, feelings, and actions. And to be perfectly honest, we are not free to do exactly what we like, we are only free to make intelligent choices.
How about increasing our level of consciousness?
The word Knowledge itself carries meaning: Know-ledge or knowing the ledge to avoid falling or knowing where the gold vein is. In short, access to knowledge leads to the worst as well as the best. And consciousness can be a safeguard against unfortunate choices through self-knowledge and improved discernment.
This explains the interest of psychology in consciousness, especially in the current context of a crisis of values. There was a time when religion, and before it mythology, provided answers when a problem of consciousness arose. The Gods ruled human lives, and people had to negotiate with Them to find answers. But the Gods have disappeared or at least lost their paramount power and there are no longer external entities that tell us where good and evil are. We have internalized the divine. We need to find meaning and responsibility for our actions within ourselves. And this can be difficult or painful.
How can research in transpersonal psychology and spiritual intelligence help us? I give you here some practices that I have adopted and which help me to find internal peace:
- I stop passively receiving negative information, especially if it’s only factual or judgmental. I practice doubts, the art of questioning. I try to develop critical analysis and generative listening. Generative listening is a powerful tool that can be used to improve our relationships with others and to create a more positive world.
- I meditate daily. This can take different forms and consists of focusing your attention on an object or a thought during a walk in nature, for example, or through the exercise of an art. I also use tarot or astrology as a meditation medium.
- Also practice relaxation and clear your mind. Give yourself just a few minutes a day to do this to help reduce stress and anxiety. Being aware of your breath helps you achieve this state of calm.
- Access altered states of consciousness through shamanic practices, self-hypnosis or channeling.
As you can notice, there are many tools to achieve balance and reach a higher level of consciousness. I cannot recommend you enough to try.
A few final words
Consciousness is only a parenthesis: Consciousness consists of ‘those states of sentience and awareness that typically begin when we awake from a dreamless sleep and continue until we go to sleep again or fall into coma or die or otherwise become unconscious’. (John Searle).
So make the best of it.
 Searle, J. R. (1998). Mind, language and society: philosophy in the real world. New York, Basic Books, pp.40-41.