Since the time we, the Homo sapiens had the power of thought and the opposable thumb, we have had three consequences
- Ability to change our world like no other species could before,
- Ability to feel a wider range of emotions than other earthlings; the positive ones like happiness, joy, contentment, love etc. and the negative ones being anger, anxiety, sadness, despair etc…
- A few individuals could experience a realm beyond the thoughts and emotions. These few had undergone a paradigm shift in consciousness. Let’s see what it is.
A paradigm is very simply the beliefs that we hold in our subconscious mind. This belief system guides the way you do things. It consists of the ideas about the way that something should be done, made, or thought about according to our perception and understanding. These beliefs can be either positive or negative. Along your path to becoming a more conscious soul, you will need to be aware of the need to shift your paradigm. Sometimes it does not just happen for some. A paradigm shift in general means a fundamental change in the approach or underlying assumptions.
How does it affect you?
A paradigm shift in consciousness can entail most of the below changes:
- Discovery of underlying joy irrespective of outer conditions
- Not getting effected by circumstances in life
- Able to think with greater clarity
- Ability to enjoy little things
- Losing interest in pleasures from addictions like smoking, alcohol, or other activities like shopping, food etc.
- Sensitivity to others’ thoughts and feelings
This shift is called “Enlightenment” and there have been people in all cultures and in all ages who had this shift. The other humans could sense the serenity of the awakened people and got interested in knowing how to have the same inner life. Thus, teachings were born, which lead to schools of spirituality which later became established religions. In this process, the power of the teachings has been mostly lost.
In our modern times where people feel stressed and overwhelmed quite often, interest in spirituality has risen. We can see the meaninglessness of religious dogma and recognise the depth of teachings of the historical spiritual teachers and the modern spiritual teachers alike. We are now hungry to get out of a life of frustration and misery.
The Paradigm shift rarely happens in a single instant. It takes time and effort to become aware of the timeless. Yes, it may sound contradictory but that is the best way to put it. We need to put a serious effort into giving up unhappiness and have earnestness to explore your inner state. It may need to be a conscious effort, but by shifting your paradigm you can change your life! The first step in accomplishing the shift in your paradigm, is to embrace change. That means you are mentally prepared to change. You begin to control your behaviour by self-regulation and motivation until it is automatic to you.
How do you shift your paradigm?
Let’s see the various ways we can move towards bringing the same paradigm shift in ourselves.
- Breath and Body
Start with your breathing, be aware of your breathing whenever your mind starts to think unnecessary thoughts. You can’t be aware of your breathing breath and think at the same time. Try it now! Eckhart Tolle wonderfully explains this process in his book, The Power of Now. He also explains another wonderful way to feel your body aliveness. Try it now, stretch your hands out, close your eyes and try to feel your hands. You will feel the energy in them, though you can’t see your hands you know where they are. This is the energy of your inner body. Putting attention in one or more parts of our body while we go through our daily life increases our focus and takes us closer to paradigm shift.
- Meditation Techniques
There are a lot of meditation techniques, start with one that seems to match your personality and see how it fits. Meditation techniques will calm your mind and make you open to the paradigm shift. Technically speaking feeling the inner body as we learnt in the earlier point is also meditation. Whatever you do make sure you don’t make the guru or teacher of that technique as someone who is superior to other humans. They are more close to “normal” than us. Also remember Buddha’s analogy, don’t carry the raft once you cross the river. There will be a time when you must give up your technique once you out grow them.
- Surrender: Saying yes to the now. Yes, give up the struggling self by completing accepting the content of this moment. Surrender doesn’t mean we stay still not taking any action. It means to accept a situation completely and then act. Say you have a flat tyre while driving on a rainy night. Our mind starts racing about how unfortunate it is that you must change the tyre on a rainy night, it also recalls events from the past when similar incidents happened. What if you just take the situation as it is, without calling it good or bad? You will be much saner, and be able to take the right decision. In the mentioned situation, you can call someone for help, you can take the courage to change the flat tyre on your own or you can take rest till the rain subsides. Whatever we do with acceptance will get us out of our normal insane state of being. Surrender to outer situations and surrender to inner turmoil, the turmoil loses energy.
Final step, losing desire: The desire for freedom from our spiritual unconsciousness is normal and necessary, but there comes a stage when we need to give up desire. Wanting the enlightened state will be the last hindrance to the paradigm shift. Give it up. It is like having a glass of water right in front of you, but you are praying for a glass of water with your eyes shut. Stop looking, open your eyes!!
You can change your paradigm! Paradigm shift is not like a switch that is turned on and you stay enlightened. It is more like opening a door (door to higher consciousness through any technique) which gets closed after some time (getting back to normal mode of consciousness). You keep opening the door so many times, that in time you recognise that the door is an illusion and see reality for what it is. You choose peace so many times that you eventually realise there is nothing else left. There is no need of any shift, you have arrived realising there was no place to arrive to begin with.