The way to increase your consciousness is to become more aware of how you are truly feeling inside. But, here’s the trick: you have to become more aware of how you feel without becoming controlled by your feelings.
There is a story they tell about a famous Zen master who, when he first began studying Zen, was depressed. While practicing Zen, he became illuminated. You know how he felt after he achieved his Illumination? He was still depressed. So how did Zen benefit him? He related to his depression in an utterly different way!
As a matter of fact, he no longer thought of himself as “being” depressed. He knew that he FELT depressed, but he no longer thought of his feelings as BEING who he was. And that made all the difference for him.
You see, most people run around feeling emotions and emotional complexes that control them; they define themselves as their emotions. They do not recognize that while of course how they feel is real, those feelings are NOT who they are; and what that means for them is that they can and should have much greater control over their lives. Their emotions define who they are.
Think about one of the worst things that people do to themselves. You know what that is? They “pursue happiness”. That’s awful! Now, when the right to “pursue happiness” was written into the U.S. Constitution, yes that word “happiness” had some different connotation than it does today. But did you know that that right was shrouded in controversy? Jefferson wanted it to say “the pursuit of property” instead. He understood that “happiness” is just a mood! It’s just a set of emotions. It cannot define who someone is. It fluctuates as the events of the day fluctuate.
We throw around the word “happiness” as a simile for some other words: joy; bliss; sense of achievement; sense of well-being; love; security; and so on. But are any of those things really the same? No. This is why there are people who seem to suffer and drive themselves crazy to achieve something and people look at them and say, “They are clearly not happy. Why would they do all that stuff when they are so unhappy?” Well, those people aren’t PURSUING happiness! Their consciousness is too elevated for that! Their suffering, while unpleasant, doesn’t disturb them. They are seeking to feel something far greater than the mere lack of suffering for the sake of achievement.
To elevate your consciousness, stop pursuing happiness. That’s like trying to hold water in your hand. Instead, pursue your higher calling. Learn to feel a passion that mere “happiness” can’t touch.