By Hamilton Hayes

Sometimes, in a Robert Frostian impulse, I take the road less traveled. To the eye, these roads have a physical essence. Such was the most recent journey that Gloria and I made to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in northern Colombia. Our mission was to support activities related to assistance to the indigenous peoples of that region. Going in, the physical, pragmatic aspects of this mission had quite a bit of clarity and to a lesser extent, so did the intellectual aspects. And as is often the case, understanding the emotional and spiritual aspects was more like trying to discern trees in a misty forest. We had to get a lot closer to the ‘trees’ before the distinct aspects of these dimensions became readily perceivable.

My belief is that every ‘thing’ in our perceived reality, is simultaneously expressed in the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions.  In this, our third dimensional incarnation, it seems to be easier for us to be proactively conscious of the physical and, to a lesser degree, intellectual dimensions, whereas the development of our emotional and spiritual consciousness is largely reactive. Roughly speaking, the mud we are standing in is a strong impediment to increasing consciousness in these other dimensions. In other words we tend to build our worldview, our model of reality, largely from sensory experience and thought. And we also tend to habituate our worldview and operate automatically with less consciousness. To paraphrase G.I. Gurdjieff, even those who think they are enlightened, are still largely asleep.

The trip to Colombia was in a class of events that I label ‘disruptive’, also known as ‘asteroid events’. In these events, the physical and mental shifts from the automatic mode are abrupt enough to awaken our emotional and spiritual consciousness as well. In Colombia, the emotional and spiritual aspects were dramatic and unexpected. Each day had its own ‘Hello! Have you forgotten to connect with your feelings and the Divine in a conscious manner?’ That seemed to be the question of the moment and we had to work hard to find a good answer.

We don’t always have the opportunity to go to a foreign land to evoke a disruptive event. Of course right now we have a major disruptive event in our society. For those wanting to expand their consciousness, this event offers a substantial quantity of dialectical forces to work with. Our worldviews are seriously challenged and questioned. How do we react…by invoking fear-based reaction…or do we reflect on whether our emotional and spiritual intelligence has been forgotten or atrophied? Reactivity based on fear is not usually a wise course to follow. Instead we have numerous life skills, such as meditation, mindfulness, exercise, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, that we can apply to such situations. Use of these skills are much more likely to yield lasting and more satisfying results.

We don’t need to create or wait for asteroid events to expand our consciousness. Recognize that for much of our existence, we are ‘asleep’ in one or more of the dimensions of consciousness. We can establish a new habit of reflection on the nature of any event, no matter how small. And since we are in a continuous flow of events, we have many opportunities to develop and refine our skills and wisdom. Thus we will be better prepared when the bigger asteroids arrive. No one said expanding our consciousness would be easy, but it is certainly worthwhile.

Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it, for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.
― G.I. Gurdjieff

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© 2016 Hamilton Hayes