There is but one Consciousness - A New Thought perspective
There is only one consciousness and it is You. Your experience in life is singular and personalized, but you are “part” of something much larger. The word “part” implies it can be separated and it cannot. Intertwined or enmeshed with consciousness would be more accurate. Traditional New Thought theory would say that you are an individualized piece of a whole consciousness. In other words you have taken some consciousness from the whole, and personalized it or gave it a personality. The you that is personality is/was formed by thinking and feeling, the You that is consciousness was not created, it has always existed.
It is hard to believe that your consciousness is connected to everyone’s consciousness—that we are enmeshed, intertwined together, existing as ourselves and part of a whole. Think about the ocean for a moment. If I were to take a cup and scoop out some ocean water, the cup would be your body and the water would be consciousness. The ocean would seemingly be unchanged, unaffected, remaining whole while you remain part of it. The ocean tides would continue to move, continue to rise and fall, sea life flourishes, and you are part of it, in the cup.
If we were to empty the water back into the ocean would you be able to distinguish which “part” of you is the ocean? Probably not, you would simply be the ocean, or consciousness, but you were never not that, you just had a container holding who you are. Why would you do that? The same reason you travel on vacations and enter relationships, for the experience. It doesn’t matter if it is a good experience or bad experience the whole (consciousness) is always complete. It’s like having a child, feeling your connection, experiencing their happiness with their pain all the while knowing they will be ok because they are part of you.
Here is a different viewpoint, imagine a patch of bamboo trees. All the trees share one continues root system, but they also have their own. There is one continuous root crawling through the earth and sprouting up new trees. These trees form their own roots while staying connected to every other tree. The root that crawls is consciousness, as are the roots that form the tree. The tree that sprouts up is the body and mind. It has 5 senses and can experience the world around it but it cannot see its root system, it is hidden in the earth, as is your connection to all the other trees. You experience the sun, the wind, the rain, other trees around you, but rarely the thread that connects you.
The tall bamboo tree has a circular root ball planted firmly into the ground, keeping it tethered firm while everything above is free to move. That root ball is the subconsciousness, it is the bundle of nerves in your gut that give and receive the underground information. The root ball, the subconscious is your bridge to the outer world or the bamboo tree. In the same vein your roots would then be considered your inner world. The subconscious bridge is your connection and expression outward to every living thing, to the whole experience and to what is actually happening around you. This experience of the tall bamboo tree is nice, but also limited. It is yours to experience and enjoy or … not. Below you is the deeper experience, with a pun intended.
Your root system, your subconscious, knows it is connected to the other roots, knows its connection to the planet. It sees all and yet is hidden from plain view. Because the roots are connected this way they know nothing other than connection. They only know how to be part of the whole. This part of you that exists inside your body and is part of your body, is hidden in your belly like the roots hidden in the earth. You know it is there but you can’t see it. It contains the connection to your thoughts, as well as, all which exists. So there is a part of you that only knows its connection and experiences this connection. It is what keeps the cup of ocean water connected to the entire Ocean, it is you. The you that is the cup, the personality, the thinker, has a “part” of itself that only knows the “whole” and the only thing that limits this experience is the cup, the personality, the thinker.
The funny part to this analogy is that the same thing that limits your experience, the thinker, is also what forms a bridge for you to have the experience. Everything is the result of a thought process, manifestation is the result of a thought. You are a cup of ocean and part of the entire ocean. The thoughts you have are like ripples passing over that ocean. One thought wave ripples and reproduces itself getting larger and larger as it expands across consciousness. If the thought remains and continues, then the ripple will get larger and larger. Your thoughts which are generated from your “singular” consciousness will express themselves to the entire ocean. The ocean has no choice but to hear your requests, especially if the thought is repeating. Consciousness wants to provide what it is receiving from the subconscious, because it is part of you. The ocean of consciousness can give you anything, but it cannot go against your requests, your thoughts.
You have three choices here. One you can sit on the beach and observe the waves of the ocean, watch the thoughts that are expressing themselves outward. Two you can get in the ocean and direct your thoughts expressing your will or desires, in essence you create your own waves in the ocean. Three you can float in stillness in the ocean. You can try not to have any thoughts, try to still the mind, calm the ocean, be part of it and let it direct you.
All three are very good options and all three are better then letting your mind wander aimlessly. An unconscious mind is nowhere near the ocean at that point, you are on a highway and you just keep taking the wrong exit while your navigation system tries to keep up with your choices. It is trying to get you to your destination, get you back on track, get you to the beach, if that is where you want to go. It can’t do this is you say one thing and think another.
Observing your thoughts is nothing new. It is an ancient practice that continues to gain momentum. There are hundreds of great books written dated back over a 100 years and there are modern books which present this idea in a very practical way. Essentially you observe your thoughts and just let them be. You do nothing to them, and attempt not judge them. You just let them happen. This can be done as a daily practice where you sit or lie and aim for a certain number of minutes to perform this process. If you like you can even call it meditation. You can also practice this method throughout your day, while you are moving, and you can call that mindfulness if you wish.
The end goal is that you begin to distinguish between the person thinking and the person observing the the thoughts. Even more profound is noticing over time that you are not the thinker, that your whole life you believed this is who you are, but it is not. Now, what if the person observing your thoughts is consciousness and as we said in the beginning there is only one consciousness. This means the one observing is also the one connected to all others, it is the ocean, it is the bamboo roots, it is the real you.
This is either extremely profound, totally unbelievable or a little scary. What if you believed you were one thing your whole life and you found out you were not. It can sound like a mental break, but it is not. The reason for this is because as you connect deeper to the consciousness of you, you are connecting deeper to everyone and everything in existence. The feeling of wholeness expands over the feeling of separation. It is more of a distinction and whenever you have it, it is actually empowering. It is empowering because when you notice you are not the person thinking you begin to realize that you can change those thoughts, essentially changing who you believed you once where. This is where the next step in the practice begins.
Now that you are observing your thoughts you can also decide to change them. This is the premise for the New Thought Movement. There are many ways to do this and again there are many ancient traditions, many New Thought practices, and lots modern applications. They are all the same thing and all effective. The simplest New Thought practice is autosuggestions/affirmations. This is the practice of repeating something over and over in your head so that no other thought can happen while you are performing this task. This way what you are repeating becomes your thought, or New Thought, hence the New Thought Movement.
If you grew up in the 90’s and remember a cassette tapes think of it this way. The old thoughts were on the cassette tape and now as you repeat different thoughts they record over the old ones. If the old thoughts are really old (90 minute cassettes) then the new thought needs a lot of repetition. Every day and as many time day as possible. You must do it for months, since you have been thinking this way for many years. Another adaptation to this practice is thinking the opposite thought. When you are observing your thoughts throughout the day and you find one you no longer want to agree with one, you say the opposite. For example you think or say “it is impossible to make any money in todays economy.” You then replace that with “there is plenty of money to be made in todays economy,” or something similar that is a statement of truth to which you can come to believe.
Now of course at first it will not be a statement of truth because you will have a hard time believing it. But as you re-recorded new tapes, many tapes, you will begin to believe. It may start small or some big monetary experience may happen, but the belief is what starts to bring power to the statement, to the thought.
New Thought theory takes this one step further by asking you to assume the thought has already happened. This is in fact the golden ticket, the key to unlocking all doors, this is your success. The reason for this is because when you add a feeling to a thought it will intensify it, like adding nitrous to a race vehicle. Many have written about this, this is not new information. New Thought practitioners were writing about it 100 years ago.
This is a practice and takes a lot of effort. First, it is difficult to track your thoughts and begin to acknowledge your old beliefs. Two adding new beliefs on a regular bases takes as much energy as going to the gym, yoga or martial arts. It is a mental practice and only works if practiced. Third believing something to work when your experience has been and continues to be the opposite requires a strong mind and belief system. Otherwise you will continue to live by old beliefs and old thoughts. You are very comfortable with these thoughts but that is only because you haven’t experienced something new, a New Thought
Let's not forget about our body. Remember in the beginning the analogy of the bamboo roots. How I said they symbolized the nerves in your gut, some might say solar plexus. Thoughts from the brain express through the gut and that is your connection to consciousness. They go down and express outward. So you can let your mind wander and that is what you express or you can direct your thoughts and that will be expressed. Consciousness will only try to fulfill your desires and it believes you because you are thinking about them so often, especially when there is a strong feeling attached. This IS how things manifest in your life. Once you add affirmations your brain and your nervous system, the part of you that feels then begins to express them. If you don’t direct your thoughts and just keep having your feelings, they will remain unchanged and your interpretation of them will remain unchanged. You will live by your feelings and this will make it challenging to regulate yourself or practice this type of mental psychology.
The third option is the opposite you try not to think at all. This is a very challenging practice because so many people have become exceptional at thinking randomly. We have become so good at random thinking that we are mostly on autopilot. Imagine a long distance runner. They do not think about every step, it just happens naturally. Our minds are the same way. Runners get into a rhythm, train daily and the steps just happen just like our continuous thoughts. Even though they are not thinking about their steps they have become very good at them. Now if that runner does not stop running and doesn’t rest, they will collapse, rest and recover are essential. The brain must be trained to rest, you actually have to concentrate on not thinking. It requires a great degree of energy but has an ultimate pay off. Through great strength of concentration the brain can relax. It sound like a contradiction and it is.
When you rest the mind this way, the thoughts you do have become stronger. It is like winding up on a pitch or a bow and arrow. Not thinking pulls back the bow and when you concentrate a thought the arrow speeds towards its target. It creates a precision to your thinking. Again, not at first, but over time. You may even find your mind not wanting to zone out, wanting less stimulation, less technology. Continue to think about it like a workout, you are strengthening your brain. There is only one way to become flexible, that is to stretch so stretch your thoughts, your beliefs and your practice.
Now sometimes it is like letting the dogs out of the cage. The mind may want to work overtime once it is rested, but that’s ok because when you get into a rhythm of using and not using the mind and it will become finely tuned. Just be careful not to let the dogs run all over the yard. Direct them to a task, they want run so use them to herd the sheep. Use your brain power and then let it rest.
If you are having a hard time stilling the mind give it a task that is the opposite of what you were doing. Classic New Thought pioneers stilled the mind by giving it something to focus on. This something was usually not of any interest and was intended to improve concentration. If you are truly concentrating, you are not thinking about anything else other than what you are concentrating on. This will strengthen one aspect of the brain while all the other parts get to relax and recover. This is a different type of concentration than not thinking at all but it is still very effective. There are many concentration practices you can do. Try to find ones that focus on only one thing for a certain period of time. There are eastern and western application to the development concentration so finding one or more that works should not be challenging. In fact feel free to share your favorite in the comment section.
You can gain a lot from one of these three practices. I believe that if you practice all three together the gains are more than tripled. In fact I feel they synergies each other in such dynamic way that your life can change dramatically, if you want it to. Float back and forth throughout your day between these practices and see what happens. You don’t have to sit and meditate, release that anxiety. Just do something, anything and the next day try to do more. Remember it is all about recording new songs over that cassette tape. If you are only able to sing one verse then that is one more verse than you sang the day before and that will create change.