I, along with 19 others, have just recently returned home from yet another remarkable retreat, or “lab” as we fondly refer to them. For me this retreat was sweeter than any previous—mostly because of the new material that Jake and Hannah introduced.
In all my previous labs, we began the morning with the 4 minute meditation, followed by a sensory awareness experiment designed to help us slow ourselves down and get more in tune with our senses. This year was no different, and in addition to our usual activities to start the day, we also learned a specific meditation to help us learn to navigate our different degrees of consciousness.
Starting each day with a meditation is how I normally begin my days and so this was familiar territory for me, but what made it richer and more powerful was meditating in a group setting and becoming more adept at elevating my consciousness.
Working with consciousness
In an earlier article Jake described the 3 Degrees of Consciousness and the value and profound effect this model has had on his life. And, after beginning each morning with a meditation and working daily with my own degrees of consciousness, I too have come to appreciate and value this new aspect of the Eagles’ work.
Throughout the retreat we were asked to pay attention to what degree of consciousness we were in and then ask ourselves if we were satisfied operating in that level of consciousness. Often I would find myself in Safety Consciousness, which, if you’ve read Jake’s article, is where most of us spend the majority of our time. There’s nothing wrong with being in Safety Consciousness, but when I feel physically secure and emotionally supported I have more opportunity to operate in and explore Heart and Spacious Consciousness.
The lab environment is conducive to exploration and experimentation with a light hearted atmosphere of play and awe filled wonder at the marvels we so often miss in our every day lives. Because I started each day with a meditation designed to elevate my awareness I found myself more relaxed, more accepting and much more compassionate with myself and others. As a result, I was able to explore and work with parts of myself that I had hidden and repressed, and do so with very little anxiety or resistance.
Letting go of stories
And because I was able to shift easily into higher levels of consciousness I didn’t trap myself with old stories and old emotions. I was able to easily avoid depressing or re-wounding myself because at the heart of the Eagles’ new work is the ability to shift my degree of consciousness when I begin to lose or discomfort myself. I don’t need to return to who I was as a child, or lose myself in my “sad stories.” I simply need to witness the younger parts of me and integrate them in the present. This is part of the reason why I find this work to be so different and effective in contrast to other types of therapeutic models that encourage me to re-tell and re-live my history.
In past labs I’ve done deep work, but because I was often operating from Safety Consciousness, I wasted time and energy resisting myself. In Safety Consciousness I often feel anxious and afraid, and to avoid these feelings—I resist. This year, however, I discovered ways to stop resisting and was able to reveal and embrace parts of myself that I have kept hidden for years.
Like my mates, I have come home to extreme hot temperatures and the “shock” of the normal world. I flew home during a particularly violent and disruptive week across the globe and like many of us dismay myself at the violence expressed by our politicians and demonstrated by the police and others in our daily world. I can easily slip back into fear and anxiety, depression and hopelessness if I forget my ability to elevate my consciousness.
And like my mates, I have come home with new tools and a new awareness that I have within me the ability to elevate my consciousness and I can spend time each day in Spacious Consciousness to remind myself of a different perspective. When I am in Spacious Consciousness I can separate myself for a few moments from the details of my life and remember a higher purpose and a broader perspective.
When I elevate myself to Heart Consciousness I find compassion and sweetness and I ask myself different questions. I stop asking myself, “How I can survive in this crazy world?” and instead I ask, “How can I contribute?” “How can I share my gift and make today a better day for just one person?” “How can I be kinder?”
And because I am able to navigate the degrees of my consciousness, being kind to one person, offering a smile to a complete stranger does make a difference, not just to me and the bus driver but to my fellow passengers as well. We all have an opportunity and a responsibility to make the world a kinder place. Learning to elevate my consciousness is how I not only make my world more peaceful; I also avoid slipping back into depression or cynicism when I am faced with negativity in the world.
I encourage you to read Jake’s article and to contact him and Hannah to learn more about the meditation practices you can learn in order to navigate the higher degrees of your consciousness. I assure you, your life will be more peaceful and easy and in turn you will create a sweeter and more peaceful world—one degree, one moment at a time.