I know, I know. There is a lot of talk about consciousness these days: higher consciousness, expanded consciousness, raising consciousness. This is probably because, on some level, we all understand that it’s time for a change. And to really change things, to make the world a better place, requires a major shift in consciousness for the simple reason that the way we have been approaching things is not working. And our current approaches aren’t working, mostly because we are not in consciousness so much of the time. We are somewhere else in the past, in the future, in physical pain, in mental pain, in emotional pain. Because of these other things, our experience of consciousness is extremely limited and narrow. We can break out of this by focusing on the positive, sharing the light, studying healthy people, and gaining an understanding of what makes us as individuals healthy.
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But what does consciousness have to do with Slow Beauty? Everything. Developing a Slow Beauty practice will help you raise your consciousness. With this, your entire life experience is more peaceful and magical. The entire point of having a Slow Beauty practice is to feel the joy; it is through being in the highest state of consciousness that we experience joy and bliss. To achieve these higher states, we have to clear away all of the distractions that occupy us in body and in mind. This includes such things as overtaxing the digestive system by eating poorly, shallow breathing, and restricted movement.
Consciousness is the new frontier. But what is it? Where is it? Consciousness is something that can’t be directly described, so it is often described in metaphor. Most of the time the experience of consciousness cannot be described at all. To describe it would require an entirely new language. We speak the language of the waking state of consciousness. There are many other states. Mystics and seekers have attempted to explain their unique experience of consciousness for ages.
Consciousness is found both inside and outside ourself. It is something we can access when our central nervous system is calm It is a source of awareness always present, infinite, and eternal. It is always there for us; we only need to unplug from the chaos and distractions of the world and plug into consciousness instead. When we raise our consciousness, we lighten the load of our personal burdens until we reach the point where we can rise above those burdens altogether.
For many, like myself, this attainment of greater consciousness is a mission. I spend a lot of time reading about and researching consciousness because the subject fascinates me, and I’m fully committed to expanding my own consciousness. It isn’t always an easy process, and I absolutely stumble along the way, but patiently I forge ahead, identifying and facing my obstacles, being honest about my limitations and taking the time to unravel those things that catch me and trip me up, always assuring myself that I’ll have the opportunity to do it better the next time around. Because that thing that trips us up will come around again, until we make peace with it.
They offer us yet another way to transform a pressured life into a precious life. As we make and experience these recipes selecting organic ingredients whenever possible we are seizing an opportunity to slow down, to savor the moment and the silence. We simplify. In this process, we can take some inspiration from natural asceticism, becoming more mindful about what and how we consume, as well as of our relationship with consumerism Asceticism has been criticized for its extremity, and rightly so. To be clear, in the context of Slow Beauty, we’ll think of asceticism as consuming the right things in moderation.
The objective of the recipes you’ll find in this chapter is to create a state of calm and uplifted wholeness. They will help us decrease stress, anxiety, and worry. They will balance the central nervous system so that we can naturally experience more expansive states of consciousness. It is through these expanded states of consciousness that we can cultivate and maintain an ongoing sense of joy the type of joy that is like a flame that never goes out, even if it is dimmer at some points than others. Regardless of its brightness, the quality of that glowing light is always warming, calming, and uplifting; its brightness simply varies depending upon our internal season.
These recipes give our central nervous system a break, which is crucial because it is in doing this that we get to what author Peter Russell calls “the quieter underlying levels of thinking” in his blog From Science to God. It is in this withdrawal from the craziness of day-to-day doing that we are given the opportunity to tap into the expansiveness of consciousness itself. With this comes renewal and, in turn, we are able to create anew. When our central nervous system is pacified, we are open to experience the more expansive aspects of consciousness, both internally and externally.