Did you know “ignorance is bliss” is actually a misquote? The entirety of the line is: “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
Unawareness is a major player on the team of ‘shit that causes us to suffer.’ Freedom is in realizing that we are not what we think or feel, but we are what observes the thoughts and feelings.
“Expand your consciousness” is just a fancy schmancy way of saying: be more aware of what you do, what you experience, how you react, and what that reaction means to show you. It doesn’t mean to feel less or do less or be different; just to be more aware, more conscious.
It’s a means to pave a path to be freer, less confined by the problems you create for yourself because you were conditioned to.
1. Listen to binaural beats if you find meditating on your own difficult. They’re just different frequencies that play and shift your brain waves (sounds scary, but will mellow you out to a meditative state.) You can download apps or songs or just listen to them on YouTube.
2. Don’t be afraid of feeling: no feeling will last, but it will return until you take what you need to learn from it. Fighting the feeling gives it the power because it brings the issue to your awareness and puts tons of ‘fight or flight survival’ energy toward it unnecessarily. You suppress it and give it all your power by doing so. You have to relearn what it means to appreciate every experience, and focus on the fact that whatever it offers in that moment is something to be conscious of and present for.
3. Your personal growth is not a means to an end. If you only want to become a better person to get a partner or to prove someone wrong or to make more money or feel perpetually and forevermore “happy,” or to appease your “God” or because it’s the “good and right thing to do,” you’re always going to be stuck on evolving toward what your partner would want, what the job requires, what allows you to avoid experiences so to not experience pain, what your particular religion of choice says is right, what you were conditioned to believe “good” is. You have to let go of framing your idea of what should be, it’s the only way to genuinely accept what is.
4. Identify the meaningless things to which you’ve assigned meaning. If you think happiness is in getting a certain thing, you’re never going to find it so long as it’s external. If you’re attached or controlling about your clothing, your hair, your home, your relationship, etc. understand that you’ve assigned a deeper, personal projection onto that thing as some reflection of who you think you are and how you think you’re doing. Rather than allowing things to reflect yourself to you, you try to control them so as to not have to see yourself clearly.
5. Grow your “little voice” into a big one by trusting in what it says, just once. If something tells you to take an umbrella with you in the morning and then you realize that it did indeed rain that afternoon, you’ll be so in awe of how powerful your subconscious is you’ll immediately start to grow it into a powerful, resounding, deep and underlying knowing as opposed to a little voice you oppress.
6. Travel to see and study how other people live. If that’s not practical, look it up online. Watch documentaries. Read. Ask a friend who’s been somewhere you haven’t. I’m not talking about what it’s like to see the leaning tower of Pisa, I’m talking about what beauty standards look like around the world, what people value. What their history books looked like in elementary school (we don’t all learn the same story.) Once you realize that there isn’t only one standard of success, fortune, happiness, beauty, wealth, whatever it may be, you will realize that the one you were holding yourself to was just made up in your mind.
7. Question your intentions. We tend to evaluate our actions based on how we understand other people will perceive them. So if we do something that looks good, even though it’s rooted in something malicious, we’ll convince ourselves that it is, indeed, good.
8. Start to analyze what you do (and how humanity at large behaves) through the Bicameral Model of the mind. Level one is when obedience is most important. Two is when being ‘right’ is most important. Three is when producing results is most important (growth, art, evolution, understanding, etc.) and you are in control of your thoughts and feelings, which is how you’re able to do so.
9. Find humility in realizing how human you are. There is something so incredibly endearing about being honest about your humanity. It’s the way people bond. The kind of honesty that matters isn’t the kind that’s easy to confess. But you have to realize that the only reason it would ever not be easy is because we are the only animals who don’t want to be animals. We think there’s something wrong with being flawed and imperfect, so we try to cover it up and fix everything to be accepted until eventually we realize that the most genuine love and acceptance comes from being honest about being not okay. (People mostly can see through things like that anyway, don’t be so naive.)
10. Act with love (or rather, realize how often you don’t.) Differentiate soul and ego. One is your essential nature, the other is your identification with the “I.” It’s the brain’s understanding of who and what you are versus the essential nature that doesn’t require definition to exist. The ego will act out of jealousy and survival and desire to be superior; the soul will act out of love and understanding and compassion. There’s a difference between your inner and outer self. Becoming aware of the root of your thoughts and intentions is the first step in understanding it.