Higher Consciousness / by Geoff Harrison

A fairly unremarkable photo of inner London (presumably) you would think, except that it accompanies an article on higher consciousness.  I've always struggled with this concept, but now thanks to the Book Of Life, I get it and it's limitations.

I've gone on "spiritual retreats" before and more often than not found them tedious, even annoying.  This article explains why.  We spend most of our lives in a lower state of consciousness where our primary concerns are ourselves, our survival, and our own success, narrowly defined.  Neuroscientists call this lower brain function the reptilian mind where we strike back when hit, blame others etc.  In other words, we are entirely driven by ego.

But there are times when we have access to a higher mind, the neocortex which is the seat of imagination, empathy and impartial judgement.  We are less driven by the ego and are able to gain a more universal perspective on things.  It's usually late at night or early in the morning that we get the opportunity to access this state of mind when there are no immediate threats or demands placed upon us.

Importantly, there is no dogma being expressed here.  The Book Of Life acknowledges that we shouldn't aspire  to this state of mind permanently as there are many important practical tasks we need to attend to.  The "spiritual retreats" I referred to earlier seem to insist we go through our entire lives in a higher consciousness state.  BOL suggests we should make the most of these states when they arise and harvest their insights for a time when we need them most.