The Podell Agency, Rachel Goldstein who is an Agent of Change and the Bird in Hand Foundation sponsored a launch lunch in the Landmarc Restaurant, Columbus Circle, New York City.
I found it really difficult to understand the word ‘consciousness’ until I spent 3 days in the Saccidananda Ashram in Tamilnadu. This ashram is a leading exponent of Hindu-Christian dialogue. Father Bede Griffiths who taught in the Ashram until his death in 1993 was a Benedictine monk. His vision was to go beyond religion and the vicious cycle of belief structures to seek a direct union with God. ‘God’ has many names. I feel ‘God’ as intuition and personal conscience – we hear and understand the term ‘clear conscience’ as a benchmark for goodness. I also like the idea of co-creating with God. This for me means doing my little bit to make the world more Godlike!
Our teacher for the 4pm talk was John Martin Sahajananda who has a degree in Spirituality from the Gregorian University in Rome. He likened the 4 stages of consciousness to a tree and described the leaves as Personal (or Individual) Consciousness (all the qualities we know we have as a person) or Waking Consciousness (unlike Dreaming Consciousness).
The branches were likened to a Collective Consciousness. He called this Dreaming Consciousness. This Carl Jung described as the ‘collective unconscious’ which is a term he coined to refer to structures of the unconscious mind that we all tap into with synchronicity and statements such as: “I was just thinking of you (when the phone rang)” or on waking from a dream state when the solution to a problem becomes clear. According to Carl Jung, the human collective unconscious contains commonly recognised universal symbols (or archetypes) such as the Great Mother, the Wise Old Man, the Shadow (those parts of our persona we bury), the Warrior, the Tree of Life etc. This level of consciousness is represented by the tree’s branches.
The trunk of the tree is the level of consciousness called Deep Sleep Consciousness and the roots are True Self Consciousness or Awakened Consciousness when a soul returns to the Source (or whatever name the Unknowable is given) The path to this level of Cosmic or Divine Consciousness is meditation. Florence Nightingale wrote that in true mysticism God is within.
Through discovering the true self
We come to discover God because the true self is
That which is eternal within us…it is that
Which unites us
With everyone and everything
- Father John Martin
On arriving home I was asked to oversee the death of friend and supporter of my work with NurseLink Foundation now called Yellow Door Foundation. This was indeed a privilege as I believe that those who are dying are our greatest teachers. This sentiment was shared by one of my mentors Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I am available to assist in the death or transition process of anyone who needs me in that role which, my Zen monk friends told me at the launch, is called being a ‘Doula.’
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