French sociologist, Emile Durkheim, first introduced the term collective consciousness in 1893. It's defined as the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society. Just as our individual consciousness can evolve or ascend, so can the collective consciousness.
In last week's post, I suggested that a higher consciousness is an increasing awareness of your spiritual essence, the meaning of life and of the underlying spiritual nature in and of all things. It's elevating your awareness beyond your normal thought processes to your true nature. The same holds true for the collective consciousness.
I also mentioned last week the idea that life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of consciousness. Many spiritual leaders believe the challenges that we are currently facing as a nation and as a world is a collective challenge. Its intent is to raise the consciousness of a large group of people all at once. From a higher consciousness perspective, being challenged is a good thing and the crisis is a natural part of evolution.
Eckhart Tolle explains that sometimes as part of this evolution, we first regress backward. Two steps forward, one step back. It is a cycle, you revert backward, so you can spring forward further. He believes that right now we have regressed, but that we are positioned to bounce forward collectively.
The choice for each of us is to see the craziness, to see the challenges that are happening now, and the other is to see from a higher perspective that what is happening now is part of the evolution. Right now, whether we realize it or not, we are standing at a big fork in the road. The question is, will we stay on the same path and cling to the craziness, or be brave and bold and venture down a new path?
We can choose to work toward the evolution or to work against it. You may be wondering, how do I choose to work toward it? There are many things that you can do to foster the growth of the collective consciousness. A global shift cannot occur until we acknowledge and own our actions and then take action in the world.
We can choose to stop taking sides and fostering separation. This is not about us versus them. This is not about republicans versus democrats. This is not just about men versus women. This is not about blacks versus whites. This is not about blaming, deflecting or defending. This is about all of us working together. It's about understanding that we are all one. A collective higher consciousness means we stop acting as though we are separate, but instead work toward the good of the whole.
Practice empathy and compassion and loving kindness. What is it like to be you? As Brene Brown says in her new book Braving the Wilderness, "People are hard to hate close up, move in." Stop dehumanizing people and start humanizing. This can start with listening.
We can choose to exercise the ability to truly listen to one another. Listen without judgment. Listen with curiosity. Listen with an effort toward understanding. Listen without the goal of responding. Listen with the awareness that each of us has our own set of unique life circumstances. In this moment of stillness where you are listening you are not only aware of what that person is saying, but you can also become aware of the deeper essence in the other person that goes well beyond what they are speaking.
Do something, anything and do it with conviction. We need to quit making excuses for doing something. I can't right now because I'm too busy, maybe next week. We need to do something and do it with conviction and commitment. It's not a time for kinda sorta maybe, it's time to activate and be committed. What is your passion? Is it racial injustice? Is it homelessness? Is it human sex trafficking? Is it hunger? Is it clean water? Is it the environment? Whatever your passion is, take action toward relieving the suffering. Find your tribe, your circle of like-minded individuals who have the same passion and together create ripples. Use your voice to call attention to the suffering.
Author and spiritual teacher, Brother David Steindl-Rast, sums it up this way, "See everything as an opportunity. The current challenges that society faces is a huge opportunity. It is a moment in time that is calling each and everyone of us to step into this opportunity. It is a gift, a great gift. We have the opportunity to stretch even further than people have ever stretched before. An opportunity to stretch to understand each other more, to listen to each other more, to come to a common hope."
There is so much more to say on this topic, but this covers a lot for now. I would love to hear your feedback on this post. Please drop me a comment or send me an email.