As a child, there was a book my mother used to read quite often. It was called, “The Road Less Traveled”. And it got me thinking……. is this a good thing or a bad thing? Furthermore, what is the road often traveled?
The traditional path in life is to graduate high school, go to college, join the military, or jump straight into the workforce as a laborer. On the weekends, you may go out drinking with your buddies, and along the way, you may meet a nice man or woman and eventually get married. Of course, along the way, there will be bumps and bruises. Infedility, marriage problems, money problems, health problems, death, taxes, ect…..
However, there are some of us who prefer to take the road less traveled. What is the road less traveled? Those who take this road are the travelers, the scientists, the entrepreneurs, the philosophers, the activists, the rebels, the free-thinkers, the starving artists….. These people choose to take a more difficult route in life in order to seek a deeper understanding of themselves and the world. The Buddha and Jesus both left their hometowns around the age of 30 and became wondering monks/beggars. And after a few years they returned home with a new found perspective on life for which many admired them.
Alas, in this day and age, where everything costs money, and no one knows how to live off the land, it can be quite difficult to throw caution to the wind like this. Some of us are already married, have kids, or are extreme debt, or perhaps we just aren’t brave enough to travel half-way around the world to “find ourselves.”
I am here to tell you, that it is not entirely necessary to travel across the world to have amazing experiences. What if I were to tell you that all you needed to do in order to expand your consciousness was probably already right in front of you? Odds are, if you live remotely near a city, you can experience quite a bit.
The truth is, it does not matter how many women you have sex with, how many countries you have visited, or how much money you plan to earn, ultimately it will never be enough. There will always be a prettier girl to add to your bed-post, and there will always be some far off land that you have never been too. And eventually, this unfettered desire will eat your pocket book and your sanity.
What if there was a way to travel without moving to another country? What if there was a way to expand consciousness on a shoe-string budget? I’m here to tell you that there is such a way! The truth is, the greatest place of exploration, and the most uncharted territories in existence are those of the human mind. The only way to find true happiness is to kill your ego, to cage your desires, and to adopt a life of meaning, to have some cause in which you believe in. If you have these things, your life will increase its capacity for joy.
10 ways to explore and build a stronger Consciousness
1. Respect your Bio-Rhythms - This is definitely one I need to work on. Going to sleep before 11pm and waking before 7 am is a really good habit to adopt. Certain organ within your body operate and detox more efficiently during certain hours of the waking and sleeping portions of the day. Our bodies are on a clock that is deeply intune with the Earth’s system of day and night. Maintaining a healthy sleep/wake cycle will increase productivity and leave you feeling more alert and fresh.
2. Practice a mind/body exercise: Yoga, Tai Chi, XingYiQuan, Qigong……..all of these great exercises that utilize breathing, stretching, and moderate physical movements to increase heartrate. These exercises also require great focus and elements of single-pointedness meditation. Getting into a habit of practicing these types of exercises daily (or atleast a few times a week) help give a greater awareness of the self while promoting the healthy benefits of a stronger mind and body. Over time, you will have fun watching yourself become stronger. This will bring a sense of accomplishment and joy.
3. Try mind expanding Herbs: Marijuana, Magic Mushrooms, Salvia………all of these things will help to melt away your ego. These substances will help you realize that the finite concrete walls that you believe in are actually quite liquid. They will help you realize that some of the things in which you once held precious are indeed trivial, and some of the things you once perceived as trivial are actually quite important. Everything in this world, including you, are literally a part of an organic interconnecting ecosystem. You and your neighbor, as well as the grass beneath your feet literally breathe life into one another. Some recent studies suggest that taking Magic Mushrooms can qwell depression and bring a new sense of spiritual enjoyment that can last up to 25 years! Seeing is believing! Go get your hands on your shrooms, lay down in a peaceful forest and enjoy!
4. Spend time alone in Nature: With the hectic grind of everyday life coupled with the requests and demands from others, sometimes we all need to “escape”. Some choose to become alcoholics or to get lost in a television show/video game. However, there is nothing like taking a walk through a forest or spending the day hiking through a mountain to give a sense of “self-ownership”. In nature, there are no speeding tickets, no taxes, no control……..just you and the natural world. And I must say, it’s a beautiful feeling.
5. Drink One glass of Wine per day: With it’s known antioxidant content, wine is a great alternative to liquor or beer. A glass of red wine with your dinner or before sleep, or perhaps while reading your favorite book is a great way to dissolve away some of that stagnant stress that you can’t quite seem to shake. However, I must warn my readers keep it at ONE GLASS. If you have an addictive personality, perhaps you can cross this one off your list.
6. Be Social: Often times, when we think of enlightened people, we imagine an old bearded man sitting in a cave meditating. While it’s great to explore the inner depths of our own souls, we must be careful not to turn into a hermit. Mingle and be merry with like minded individuals, and most importantly volunteer your services to others. By giving back to your fellow man, you will feel as if you were created just for that purpose……..and in believing so, you’d be right! We are all put here to make our lives richer and more enjoyable. Being content and feeling lonely are too different things.
7. Try new things: Did your friend invite you to attend a concert? Is there a fashion show coming to town this weekend? Have you always wanted to study a new religion? Start a business in order to become more independent? Have you always wanted to experiment with different hairstyles? Do it! Challenge yourself and broaden your horizons. Never be afraid of your curiosity. If interesting opportunities come your way, they should always be considered and pondered upon. Your routines and daily habits can always be returned too. As long as you do not be obsessed with “trying new things” and letting it kill your contention, trying new things can help you to appreciate the beautiful things that you already have.
8. Avoid jumping into relationships: This goes towards anyone who is young or has recently went through a breakup. Before you can fully commit to another person, you must be in a position to do so. If you are full of sorrow, doubt, or uncertainty, you must be careful. Once you tie yourself to another soul, it might not be as easy as you think to separate that bond if things go sour. Co-dependency is likely among those who have a compassionate heart. Letting go can be like going through a death. So, be sure that once you enter into a pact with another person that you are also prepared for the loss of the person. Because, even if the relationship is perfect, eventually the other person will die. Relationships should be carefully meditated upon before starting or ending them. If you are not prepared for such internal dialog then remain single. For it is easier to understand yourself alone, than it is to understand yourself as a collectivized unit. Essentially a relationship is the fusion between two spirits. And sometimes the fusion can be very destructive if both souls aren’t in alignment.
9. Spend time with the Downtrodden: I remember the first time I stayed at a homeless shelter. It was a huge wake up call. I had realized that I had been very lazy and spoiled in the way I was living. I thought to myself, “I am young, decent looking, and have a sound mind. I can’t let myself fall apart”. As I looked around, I saw disease, handicapped men/women, the elderly, and even a few men in business suits who got cleaned out in a divorce. By volunteering and spending time with those in this world who have truly lost everything, it brings our current situation into focus. “Is my life that bad?” , “What can I do to avoid ending up like these people?” It really really gets you to ask questions about your current living situation.
10. Practice Discipline: It has been said, ” Success is not an accident. It is a habit.” Find something that you enjoy and recognize actions that bring you joy, health, and clarity. And continue to do these things daily. Eating a salad full of organic ingredients, going to bed early, drinking plenty of water, praying before you eat, smiling and laughing, avoiding stress………… these things are easy to do for day. But, it takes true courage and strength to consistently make good choices. But, thanks to wiring processes within our brains, the more you do something, the easier it become. On the contrary, this can be a bad thing if you consistently make unhealthy choices. However, rest assured, habits can be made or broken within a period of 28 days (according to many research studies.) I believe that living a disciplined life is the ultimate key to happiness. Through repetition and conscious thought, we can literally re-program our brains to be happier. But, it takes an extreme amount of due diligence.
While this list is easier said than done, it is possible. Find what brings you a sense of joy and well-being, and then seek to develop it to its highest potential . And be weary of “the grass is greener on the other side” type of thought. Truth be told, everything has its pro’s and con’s. So what are you waiting for? Go outside, sit down, and then look inside! Inside yourself that is!