Do you ever catch yourself passing judgment? You may unconsciously judge the homeless person on the street corner (UNLIKE), the guy at the park sporting the latest headphones (LIKE), or the woman at the interview wearing a tight-fitting top (UNLIKE… or LIKE?). On the other hand, you might have thoughts of self-judgement: “The barista LIKES me,” “My manager DISLIKES my ideas,” “My partner’s starting to LIKE my family,” and so on…
Long before Facebook introduced the LIKE button, we’ve been mentally LIKE-ing and UNLIKE-ing things at first sight. We tend to press LIKE when we come across familiar, pleasant experiences; UNLIKE when situations are foreign, weird or potentially threatening. If we’re hoping to achieve inner peacel, we need to step back and think about what’s really going on.
Jeff Warren, founder and president of Toronto’s Consciousness Explorers Club, discussed ways to deepen our consciousness at a Speakeasy session. He said that we don’t need to constantly create unnecessary friction with our LIKE/UNLIKE mentality. Instead, find equanimity, which is the easygoing acceptance of what is without bargaining with reality. At the session I learned the hard lesson myself. I’m not particularly proud of the following story, but I experienced personal growth worth sharing.
Jeff opened his presentation without a bang, or so I had thought (UNLIKE). Then without diving into the subject of consciousness too deeply, he listed the 5 Ways of the Conscious Explorer (UNLIKE). I learned he was a former journalist (LIKE – I have great respect for fellow writers). During the talk, he also guided us through a meditation (LIKE). After opening my eyes, I had a revelation. This person standing in front of us is vulnerable to my every judgement… but who am I to judge?
Jeff had a wealth of knowledge, but maybe presenting in front of large audiences wasn’t his thing. I wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable in his position either! I approached him afterwards and commended his transition from being a scientific journalist to consciousness explorer – truth seeking is involved in both roles, albeit in different forms. I also shared some writing ideas with him, which he wholeheartedly encouraged me to pursue.
If I had mentally pressed the UNLIKE button, a soulful connection with Jeff would not have happened. I learned that when you step back, you connect with something greater. You see clearer from a bird’s eye view rather than with tunnel vision. What are some moments you caught yourself judging someone? Are you curious about how to achieve greater consciousness? Here are Jeff’s five tips:
5 Ways of the Consciousness Explorer
1. Just Start
Like anything else that seems like a big risk in life (relocating for a job, starting a business, taking yoga teacher training), start wherever you are.
2. Don’t Get Hung Up on Maps
Similar to yoga teachers, maps are guides. You’re not meant to follow their instructions to a tee. In the end, your path is created from your footsteps.
3. Find a Guide and a Community
Exploring consciousness is not generally a subject in casual conversation. Find a like-minded group that can support you throughout the process.
4. Know the Risks
We all know that too much cake gives you a tummy ache. Too much mindfulness could be potentially dangerous too.
5. Know Why You’re Exploring
You gain a lot more clarity if you know why you do the things you do.
Miranda Sam is a marketing professional and fashion writer from Vancouver, BC. She believes that we all need to actively push our boundaries, whether on the mat or with our personal style. This yin yoga certified instructor will gladly help you challenge yourself with an inversion or try a new look. Check out Miranda’s latest fashion musings on www.StylebyFire.ca.