By Gary Z McGee
“Let us curiously test new ideas and court new impressions, never acquiescing to facile orthodoxy. Philosophy may help us gather up what might otherwise pass un-regarded, for philosophy is the microscope of thought.” -A.C. Grayling
There are many conventional ways toward achieving higher states of consciousness –meditation, yoga, martial arts, a good dialectic debate, cannabis, and/or ayahuasca, just to name a few– but sometimes we may even need to think outside of thinking outside the box. Hell, with just a little imagination and a sprinkle of courage we can think outside of almost any box, ad infinitum, if we really put our soulful effort into it. So in the spirit of such efforts, I present to you my six (out of an infinite amount of) alternative ways to jumpstart your world into higher consciousness.
- Eat Your Shadow “The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.” –Jung
That’s right, ‘eat’ your shadow. Gobble it up. Let the digestive process enlighten you. In her book “Zen Miracles,” Brenda Shoshanna defines the shadow as the unacceptable aspects of ourselves that we dump into our unconscious minds. The antidote, says Shoshanna, is to “eat our shadow” –haul it up from out of the abyss and develop an authentic connection with it. This is akin to embracing the shadow so as to transform it into our ally, as opposed to suppressing it and allowing it to become our enemy. Growth, maturity and wisdom rely upon our capacity to will the whole of ourselves, the good and the bad, the dark and the light, the moral and the immoral, into an honest reconciliation that becomes a compassionate interdependent force to be reckoned with, and which launches us into higher consciousness.
- Dance with your inner-beast “Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estés
That’s right. Play jazz with your animal self. Dance the foxtrot with your instincts. Tango with your untamed body knowledge of the universe; that part of you that speaks a language older than words, and speaks it loud and clear. Reconnect with that often neglected, often suppressed, often frowned-down-upon, savage, prima material heart of Man. Because try as we foolishly may, we cannot split ourselves from the cosmos. We are born of it. We are it. Insofar as we do split ourselves, it is just our own disillusionment, dissociation, and disenchantment toward the nature of things. The sooner we get back in touch with ourselves as interdependent animals in tune with nature and with the cosmos, the sooner we can put an end to the disenchantment and dissociation, and the sooner we can once again be enchanted by the awe-inspiring interconnectedness of all things.
- Drink some Perception Overhaul Tea “To awaken to how one’s own story aligns with the story of a place, and of the planet, is to outgrow the needless omnipotent isolation that breeds so many kinds of anguish and anger.” –Craig Chalquist
Mmm, delicious! It’s called Perception Overhaul Tea, made by the good folks at Pot Calling the Kettle Black Café. It’s not just an acronym that spells “pot” it’s a metaphorical beverage that launches you into a higher state of consciousness simply by imagining that it does so, similar to a self-induced placebo effect. Drinking its contents allows for a thorough repair, renovation, and revision of our flawed outlook on life. Like Joseph Campbell’s “magic elixir” it’s a mythological symbol for psycho-physiological change. It represents the conscious intent to trump the unconscious condition. It is the lifting of the veil of inadequate perception. Whether real or imaginary, the symbolic resonance is poignant. It catalyzes by creating a state of psychological dissonance that usurps the throne of everyday comfort and control, and replaces it with open-minded awareness and flexibility, stretching our comfort zone and leaving us open to the once hidden wonders of the universe.
- Try Archetypal Mirroring “A true artist should put a generous deceit upon the spectators.” –Edmund Burke
Dive headfirst into the human leitmotif. Jump into the collective unconscious. Look into any mirror and with a little imagination you can see any archetype. The task of archetypal mirroring is similar to standing on the shoulders of giants, but with the additional tactic of symbolic mask-wearing. It can be an actual mask or an imaginative mask or, even better, an actual mask you made from your own artistic vigor. Masks are one of the oldest forms of human expression. They can be a powerfully symbolic channeling of the universal archetypes. Besides their artistic and mystical roles, masks have a psychosocial function that can actually invert the roles of a society. They have the power to free people from stagnant perceptions and give them the ability to fully express their cosmic nature. Note: these are not masks of concealing, but masks of revealing.
So feel free to don the Buddha Mask and discover inner peace by sailing the nautical ley lines toward enlightenment. Don the Christ Mask and walk upon the waters of self-sacrifice while anchoring your soul to salvation. Don the Nietzsche Mask and rage against dogmatism while surfing the waves of nihilism into eternal ecstasy and self-overcoming. Or don the mask of any of the twelve common archetypes and use them as tools to make your spirit soar beyond what you once found to be possible.
- Practice the Art of Drowning “He is a sane man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.” –G.K. Chesterton
This is the art of catharsis. Change is constant. Old unhealthy ways must die in order for new and healthier ways to emerge. But it doesn’t come easy. It is a painful process. It requires a new form of courage. It requires falling into the abyss and climbing back out again. It involves “drowning” yourself in the abyss, in your anxiety of death and your fear of oblivion. It requires dying a small death and being reborn again, realizing that you’re already a tiny oblivion in and of yourself, and that’s okay. Embrace your own existential anxiety as a means toward coming to terms with it. Smile at death. Shake hands with doubt. High-five fear. Laugh at the meaninglessness of it all. Allow all previous knowledge to drown in the dark existential waters of the abyss and then let the “cream rise to the top.” What remains is an open-minded, open-hearted platform from which all higher learning can be staged. Use it to build new and amazing progressive technologies and philosophies; ones that have the potential to launch our species into a whole new era of healthy evolution.
- Use McGee’s Guillotine “One Buddhist monk leaned over to another and quietly asked, “Are you not thinking what I’m not thinking?”” –Anonymous
Is cognitive dissonance getting the best of you? Try McGee’s guillotine. Is your worldview stifling, close-minded, rigid, and/or dogmatic? Try McGee’s guillotine. Is your weltanschauung preventing your inner ubermensch from howling? Try McGee’s guillotine, an addendum to Occam’s razor. Its single task and raison d’etre being: Worldviews should not be aggrandized unnecessarily, therefor when you’re faced with two competing worldviews that oppose each other, the healthier one tends to be the right one, and the unhealthier one should be learned from and discarded. McGee’s Guillotine chops away the ignorance of human opinion and replaces it with natural dictation. It goes beyond shedding the superfluous and cuts the human head (ego) out of the equation, so that a new healthier head (ego) can grow back: open-minded and non-dogmatic, flexible and elegant, and confident in its self-actualization of the original equation. So is your independence or codependence preventing you from experiencing interdependence? Try McGee’s guillotine. Is your cultural preconditioning preventing you from seeing that there are more ways than one to live under the sun? Try McGee’s guillotine. Is attachment to the ego preventing you from individuation and potential enlightenment? Try McGee’s guillotine. It’s free, or your money back. Shipping and handling is inherently included. Namaste.
Read more at: Fractal Enlightenment.Com