Expansion of Consciousness
By Swami Rama
The yogis say to expand, not contract, your consciousness during the waking state. When you expand yourself, what will happen? Through expansion of the waking state you can attain turiya. You make the waking state a means to expand your consciousness, to widen your little field of mind, which has got many barriers and fences. You are expanding the field of mind.
For expanding the mind, one should understand two laws of life, one is contraction and the other is expansion. In expansion, one learns to love, serve, and to give selflessly. In contraction, one goes on building the boundaries around themselves by becoming selfish, egotistical, and finally miserable. In spirituality, expansion of the mind is important and for that a student should learn to direct mind, action, and experience to the goal he wants to attain. When you expand the field of the mind, the dream state comes under the waking state. Let your dreaming state become the waking state and also let your sleeping state become the waking state, with the help of the technique of yoga nidra.
In the process of meditation there is expansion in the waking state. You are facing yourself in that waking state, and your thought patterns are coming. You have stored them in the unconscious, and when you relax your conscious mind, the thoughts come forward. Learn to allow your thought patterns to let go, and then develop introspection. The waking state can be expanded, but even if you do not want to expand it, then you should still learn how to make your mind one-pointed through meditation on a focal point.
To make progress, your samskaras need to be purified. In meditation you can ask all the impressions in your mind to come forward, so that you can examine and burn them. All these past impressions can be burnt, and then you can be free from them. The goal is to expand the conscious aspect of mind so that there is no unconscious.
The part of mind that you do not consciously educate is referred to as “the sleeping mind” or “the dreaming mind.” It is not under your control. This vast part of your mind remains uncultured, untrained, and uneducated. That vast level of mind is the unconscious. Great men know how to expand their conscious level of mind, and then there is nothing that remains unconscious for them. They expand the field of the conscious mind and reduce the unconscious. The sages are conscious of that which is unconscious for you.
A person who does not meditate does not know how to expand his consciousness. He has narrow vision as if he is looking through a window, but when he learns to expand his consciousness, it is like going through a door. It is exactly as if one were looking through a small window in a house. From the window his view is very limited, but when he goes out of the house, he has a much wider view. When he goes to the roof, he can see even more clearly. As one’s consciousness expands, his vision becomes clearer, and he understands things as they are.
Do you want to follow the philosophy of contraction or that of expansion? If you follow the path of expansion, you can go to that state of mind where you can see how your body is dropped. In that state you are legally dead, yet you are still alive. You can know the techniques and so you are not afraid of death. You can do that in this lifetime by working with the mind and meditation. When you go beyond the conscious mind, then you go beyond the unconscious mind, and then you are in the place of expansion. Before you attain the fourth state of consciousness, turiya, the state beyond, you have to go through that state of expansion.
When the conscious state is expanded, dream analysis becomes clear, and the ideas and symbols that are experienced during that state are easily understood. The harmful and injurious dreams that strain and distract the mind and its energy can be analyzed and resolved. All conflicts that are at the root of dreams can be resolved. A time comes when meditation stirs the unconscious mind and brings forward impressions from its hidden recesses. It quickens the method of analyzing, understanding, and surveying the whole dream state. Whatever dreaming reality is, it can be brought under the meditator’s conscious control. That aspect of mind that dreams and the energy that is consumed by dreaming can be brought into creative use and channeled for higher purposes.
When you follow the law of expansion, you learn that you are one with the universe. That realization should be your goal. If you remain only an isolated individual to the last breath of your life, then you have not grown—you have simply wasted your time and your life. Then, the joy that we are meant to derive on all levels remains only on the selfish level, and you do not ever fully understand the purpose of life, and how relationships with others help you to expand your personality.
When you calm your mind and make it one-pointed, it can penetrate those fields of the mind that are not ordinarily penetrated by humans, and then you will perceive the Reality within.
You are a nucleus and this universe is your expansion. You are not merely a part of the universe. By thinking that you are only a part of the universe you become very small, you reduce yourself to dust. Rather, this universe is your expansion.
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of Swami Rama of the Himalayas