The “New Consciousness” – or “New Pattern” of activity and consciousness on the planet – is both the knowledge and experience that All of Life, and everything in Nature, is One Whole and Indivisible System of Being. This One Whole System has countless layers of individuals and collectives expressing all manner of possibilities, and yet there is only One Process going on.
Naturally, what is one and indivisible cannot truly be separated into, for instance, Evolutionary Leaders and not-Evolutionary Leaders, even though we may speak that way as a convenience. The experience of our physicality becomes supremely joyful when we realize that, whatever the appearances, there is nothing outside of our One Shared Being, and nothing can ever be “other.” The genius of Creation is that what appears to be outside according to the five senses is always present in some form on the inside. There is always a correspondence that can be discovered, and especially when we are curious about how the One Whole System functions, our abilities to tune into Nature’s subtle, though always available, information channels are awakened.
Since there is only a single Whole Living System, it is true that, to paraphrase Chief Seattle, “whatever we do to the Web of Life, we do to ourselves”… and this applies equally to our fellow beings. To condemn anyone or anything that appears to be outside of us gives rise to external conflict and produces disease inside of us. Similarly, to condemn anything on the inside energizes conflict on the outside as well as disease processes within. Each and every form of rejection, no matter how subtle, produces conflict within our One Shared Being. This conflict will eventually show up as challenges for our individual and collective bodies, and these challenges will be experienced in one form or another by all. All such episodes are a call to the New Consciousness; they are a means of getting our attention so that we might choose to step into the greater wisdom that is beckoning. Wherever there is conflict in any form, there is the opportunity to realize the New Consciousness more fully. And in this New Consciousness, there are much more empowered ways of transforming and healing the world.
For one living in the New Consciousness, the richness and texture of life are radically enhanced, and there can be experiences of an almost overwhelming joy. One who lives in this New Consciousness experiences a state of vastly expanded identity without losing the beauty of individual experience or the ability to attune, discern, enjoy life, and make decisions from wisdom. Individuality is fully expressed within the New Consciousness, and at the same time one’s words and actions are naturally harmonized and aligned with the Whole of Nature, offering immeasurable benefit to the One Whole System. Thus we come to realize that there is actually no trade-off between the good of the individual and the good of the Whole. Instead, there is Synergy. The individual and the Whole are indivisible, and the well-being of one is the well-being of All. At the same time, the diverse multitude of temporary distinctions and expressions becomes the basis for the experience of… Beauty.
From the perspective of the New Consciousness, the entire progression of human events is seen as a movement from the entrenched belief in separation and the myriad painful reflections of that belief, to ideas and experiences of interconnectedness, and finally to the direct knowing and joyful experience of underlying indivisibility. Although codes of conduct and moral injunctions have served to maintain a semblance of coherence on the playgrounds of earlier stages, these structures are successively released as one’s capacity to move in a way that is attuned and aligned with the Whole increases. Thus the individual who lives in this New Consciousness has realized the natural, comprehensive, and spontaneous harmony, which cannot be imposed or even taught, but which must inevitably awaken. Once the New Consciousness has awakened, the true and lasting Peace is finally lived as the obvious and most fulfilling choice.
Three key questions have been coming up recently for entrepreneurs I work with who are “changing the game” in their respective industries:
To what extent am I accepting all available help? (Shatters ego)
To what extent am I offering all optimal assistance? (Shatters laziness)
To what extent am I willing to steward something that could be truly big? (Shatters the comfort zone)
When I check in, I get that pretty much all gamechangers – people driven by a strong sense of mission – aren’t even close to being fully willing to steward something that could grow to the scale that changing the game requires. No wonder there are so many energetic roadblocks on the journey. We want it, but where the rubber meets the road we’re still lazy, egoic, and comfortably small in our aspirations. However, when we decide deep, deep down in the roots of our being to accept all available help, offer all optimal assistance, and be willing to play truly big, THEN we can change the game.
Since what we really are in the roots of our being is, and creates, the Totality of all that is and all that could ever be, to avoid playing big is to deny the aspect of ourselves that is absolutely vast. To pretend that we’re not bigness itself is to shut off creative power in our experience and become a victim of cosmic forces. At this point on the journey of awakening, denying any aspect of ourselves is going to fail miserably.
Being everything, we can explore the micro and meso scales of life – what we might call the human experience — and it is beautiful to do so in countless unique and individualized ways. But no one gets to say no to being/playing vast because no one is in any way separate from Totality.
So say YES to stewarding bigness! A while back I offered the thought experiment of imagining being completely responsible for meeting Earth’s needs. It pays to imagine something that big, and even bigger. Even the universe is tiny in relation to what we are in Truth. Infinity is a microdot on your fingertip. If you can’t feel that yet, just be open to realizing the possibility that you could be so supremely vast and you will in due course.
Let us not be so stuck in our comforts! Let us not be so lazy and self-centered at the level of personal identity! Let us be AWAKE! Nothing less will satisfy. At this stage, nothing less has a prayer of bringing health, happiness, and real prosperity. In fact, until we say the big YES, the multitude of dramas will continue with our bodies, and at the personal and transpersonal levels with colleagues and loved ones, to indicate that we are still asleep.
Building gamechaging businesses is a high spiritual path. None of us knew what we were actually signing up for. But it’s too late to turn back. There can be no more refuge in the pseudo-comforts of unconsciousness.
Awakening. It’s been around for eons. Some are living it, some are baffled by it, lots of people feel drawn to it. I first became aware of being on a journey of awakening in 2005, age 38. Yet, only recently did I see my own trajectory clearly for the first time.
To my surprise, I noticed that my experiences seemed to organise themselves into multiple “levels” of exploration. Each widening the perspective of mind, heart, and spirit. Now, this isn’t new, but what felt new was the fact that I ‘sensed’ the characteristics for each level.
How peculiar! My curiosity had been awoken. With the help of my friend and divine collaborator, Jeff Vander Clute, I decided to take a closer look.
The first characteristics of awakening to show up were: curiosity, experimentation, discipline, realisation, and mastery. Interestingly, when we looked at my experiences over the past 10+ years, they slotted in nicely with these characteristics. Who knew! We named the initial five phases: Awakening Curiosity, Awakening Experience, Awakening Insight, Awakening Realisation, and Awakening Mastery. Each name points to the focus and outcome for that phase.
The learning that followed this discovery includes knowing where my expertise is of best use, plus a better understanding of how to support someone depending on where they are along their journey.
Reflecting on this newfound clarity, I came to see that a new tool had been born, ‘Phases of Awakening’ – a guide for seekers and finders along their spiritual journey.
The scope here today is to describe the initial two phases, but first a little something about seekers and finders.
…Seeker or Finder?
We often think of spiritual people as ‘seekers’. To me, there’s something beyond seeker – there’s also the ‘finder’.
Some people consider seeker and finder to be the same thing.
I don’t. In my experience, seekers look for answers externally, finders look for answers internally.
This distinction points to a difference in how information is processed, utilised, and understood. How the seeker and finder engage and participate, and how they seek out information.
In terms of any awakening (expansion of awareness, new discovery, new learning…), the first nudge often comes from the outside. Our tendency is to look for answers externally. At least in the beginning. Then, further along our journey, we shift to look for, and discover, answers internally. What’s exciting is that changing from seeker to finder involves a shift in paradigm as inner resources come online and our understanding of who we are gives us access to new dimensions.
Interestingly, when Jeff and I mapped the resonance and the aliveness for ‘seeker’ and ‘finder’ using Resonance Mapping, we noticed that seeker spans across the first three phases (Awakening Curiosity, Awakening Experience, and Awakening Insight). While finder shows up in the 4th and 5th phase (Awakening Realisation and Awakening Mastery).
Reflecting on my own experiences, I see clearly how I was looking for answers externally up until a certain point, then things started to shift and I discovered that I had access to answers within.
Another interesting dynamic that is related to seeker/finder is whether we think of ourselves as victims or creators, i.e. if we perceive that things are happening to us or if we are in charge.
Victim vs. Creator or Effect vs. Cause
Is your perception that things happen to you, and that you get stuck in drama and in story? Or, do you operate from a knowing that we are each responsible for how we act and react in any given situation?
If we get stuck in or thrive by drama, we oscillate and alternate between three different roles: victim, persecutor, and rescuer. This social model is explained in Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle. Here we’re powerless and at effect rather than at cause, and we’re driven by external events and circumstances.
An alternative is the Empowerment Dynamic, created by David Emerald. Here the roles are those of creator, challenger, and coach, instead of victim, persecutor, and rescuer. Here, there’s no blame or shame, instead, this model offers a life of purpose, power, and compassion toward self and others.
Similar to the paradigm of seeker and finder, the dynamic and perspective of victim (at effect) and creator (at cause) also helps to shape our understanding of each phase. It’s important not to lose oneself in the labels ‘victim’ and ‘creator’, instead focus on the underlying energy of being at cause or being at effect.
To get a better sense of what’s at play, I looked at the resonance for ‘victim/effect’ and ‘creator/cause’. Not surprising, victim/effect spans across the first three phases (Awakening Curiosity, Awakening Experience, and Awakening Insight), and creator/cause shows up in the 4th and 5th phase (Awakening Realisation and Awakening Mastery).
Once again, reflecting on my own experiences, I see how I was ‘driven by’ drama (being at effect), in different shapes and sizes. Until a certain point, then things started to change and I let that go. I became aware of being at cause. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a ‘good story’, I do, but I no longer get embedded in it.
Drama and story doesn’t define us. Both are helpful for setting a context and creating a frame for a set of circumstances. The perspective we choose from then on – being at effect or being at cause – makes a world of difference.
5 Phases of Awakening
Beyond the seeker/finder paradigm and the effect/cause perspective, there’s a number of other attributes that we’ve sourced that help to describe each phase, such as purpose, participation, perception, process, and practice. It’s quite interesting to follow where what I exposed myself to early on along my journey, fit in.
There’s no recipe for how long each phase is. The pace, and the length of a phase, is governed by how much we ‘lean in’, how much we stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone and our horizon. When I compare my own journey with the different phases I can see that I have spent around three to four years in each, give or take.
This is the first time I’ve tried to capture the essence of each phase. My knowledge about them is still evolving and expanding. What I share here is in some sense ‘bare bones’, but hopefully wets your appetite.
As this is just a model, any practices listed are just a representation, examples from my own life. The list is far from exhaustive.
Phase #1: Awakening Curiosity
In the 1st phase, Awakening Curiosity, we’re Seekers. We operate in the paradigm of looking for answers externally. Our participation is of a passive nature. It’s more of a passive acceptance, yet, there is curiosity, however the process is unconscious. We’re curious about practices such as readings, horoscopes, and astrology charts. The perspective here is one being at the receiving end, being at effect. Towards the end of this phase is when we begin to connect with the potential of that which we cannot see, hear, touch, and feel with our 5 senses.
I’ve always been curious, asking questions, pondering and reflecting on things. I was in this phase for a long time. From an early age, I was drawn to horoscopes and astrology charts, and I’ve always ‘known’ and believed that we are more than just the physical body. In my late twenties I had my first psychic reading. I still remember her name – Emily. At the time, the whole thing felt quite revolutionary as I found it extraordinary that she could know things about me without having ever met me before.
In 2003, I started to experience tingles, or pins and needles, in the palm of my hands. I ‘knew’ that it wasn’t anything physically wrong with me, yet, I couldn’t explain it. My grandmother passed away the same year, and I had some experiences that were difficult to explain.
Phase #2: Awakening Experience
In the 2nd phase, Awakening Experience, here, again, we’re Seekers. We’re looking for answers externally but now there is an energy of imagination and experimentation present, and our participation is exploratory. Practices such as for example, meditation, Reiki, Angels, crystals, channeling, automatic writing, and tarot cards enter the scene. This is where we start to understand the concept of duality, where we become conscious of duality, and that the world beyond what we usually refer to as reality, is separate from ourselves, outside of ourselves. The perspective here is still one being at the receiving end, being at effect, however, we’ve moved from passive to active as we know there is more.
During this phase I moved back to the UK (June 2005). In October 2006, I felt nudged (out of the blue) to start blogging. I was floored! I resisted the nudge, but kept ‘getting’ (knowing) what the title wanted to be, “Little Green Men and Tall Angelic Beings”. What??! Utterly confused, I didn’t know where to turn. I resisted some more. When I finally accepted the nudge, I picked up that I was to write about my spiritual journey. This is when I made a decision to consciously believe that it was possible that there’s more to this world than what we can see, hear, and touch. At the time I started blogging I didn’t believe I had anything to say…and, yet, three years later I had written many hundreds of blog posts. In October 2007, in part thanks to my blog, I was recommended by a reader to check out a site called Avanoo. I had been looking for a new platform for my blog but didn’t feel like any of the usual spaces were a fit. One of the connections I made through Avanoo is Jeff, whom I mentioned above. We’ve founded a company together, Sourcing The Way, a consultancy that helps leaders who desire a deeper fulfilment, who want to experience a sense of spiritual connection in their work.
To some extent this phase has been the most content and experience rich as the learning curve was steep. It’s like to floodgates were opened. Now, in 2018, looking back, I can see that the blog Little Green Men captures and is a written testament to this phase.
In an upcoming post, I’ll share about the remaining three phases, Awakening Insight, Awakening Realisation, and Awakening Mastery. I hope to meet you there.
Just before the turn of the year, Jeff received the following in meditation…
Seven Practices of Thriving and Abundant Consciousness:
These seven practices necessarily expand and awaken individual and collective consciousness, and they create the experience of abundance. Together, they support an opening into Joy and Receptivity. They also support the deep work of healing, clearing, forgiving, and integrating that so many of us are drawn to at this time.
Curiously, three of the above practices – Relax, Enjoy, and Love – consistently show up in the same order in our work with The Consciousness of Money. “Relax, Enjoy, Love” is a simple formula that has already been helping people to live in much lighter and more abundantly joyful ways. Now, with the expanded set of seven practices, we have “more ways to play” as well as additional tools for staying grounded and clear.
Here’s our suggestion for the New Year: Let’s all see what happens when we celebrate and engage with these seven practices in the first few months of 2019. All of us at Sourcing The Way and The Consciousness of Money invite you to join in this fun experiment, and to let us know what starts to flourish as you do so!
This is the last part, part four, of my series on the principle that has guided my own journey and now underlies every element of my coaching, teaching, and mentoring practice: Spiritual Freedom. (Learn more at http://www.annamariaback.com)
So, how can one recognise Spiritual Freedom?
As a wise friend shared, Spirit is the oxygen of the soul. For the logical mind, Spiritual Freedom can seem challengingly elusive because it is intangible. Some say spiritual freedom is an experience. And, as frustrating as this may be, unless you’ve had the experience…well, it stays intangible.
Instead of calling it an experience, I would offer that Spiritual Freedom is more of a state. The beauty of it is that there is no fixed formula. You decide what it means to you, what makes it true for you.
As I mentioned earlier, in my view (which is only one model of many), the antithesis to Spiritual Freedom is Fear. Fear of living, fear of being oneself, fear of standing up for and to oneself, and fear of not believing in oneself, to name a few. When it dawned on me that my life lacked Spiritual Freedom, I felt confused. A part of me felt guilty because, really, what did I have to complain about?! I was a free spirit. My life was pretty awesome and comfortable.
To me, Spiritual Freedom is having the freedom to choose, to be who I am, to take responsibility for who I am, to be curious, to operate beyond the constricting boundaries of expectations:
It is what fires me up, what makes me want to take action, to change, to grow, to evolve.
It is my main motivation in everything I do, who I am, and also why I do what I do.
It is connected to instinct and deeper wisdom, inspiration, awareness, and autonomy.
It expands my perspective, it keeps me on my toes as it brings self-discovery and evolution into focus.
It provides me with the framework to having the courage to lean beyond my comfort zone.
It makes me feel freer, agile, alive, inspired, and energised.
It helps me fine tune my focus and have trust in turning inward.
Spiritual Freedom involves integrating spiritual practices in everyday life and not being held back by circumstances. It involves being aware of the systems I operate within, deciding who I want to be and how I want to show up.
During my ongoing self-discovery expedition, the following questions have provided direction:
Am I owning my story?
Am I living my values?
Am I showing up fully?
Spiritual Freedom is about listening to our soul’s calling, giving our inner wisdom its opportunity to shine. Feeling contentment, fulfilment, and inner satisfaction. Being confident in who we are and what we have to offer, knowing that we are enough, knowing that our spirit is awake to express itself fully.
To no longer be defined or confined by story is also part of Spiritual Freedom. It’s about being free to own whatever is within you – that which follows you through life, and beyond – your inner core, your joy and freedom.
The three questions about owning my story, living my values, and showing up fully, have been a steady companion for some time. At times I have wondered if they are clear enough, and how and if they connect to Spiritual Freedom. One wise friend recently said, “They do for me. Upon answering these questions with ‘no– no– no’, it tells me why I’m not there yet”.
If your answers to the above questions are “no” – remember, it’s not about blame. It’s about acceptance, recognition, forgiveness, and appreciation. The beauty is, as there is no fixed formula, we all have access to those, and to the freedom they lead to.
My question to you is…is Spiritual Freedom present in your life? If yes, what does it look like? And if not, would you like it to be?
This is part three of my series on the principle that has guided my own journey and now underlies every element of my coaching, teaching, and mentoring practice: Spiritual Freedom. (Learn more at http://www.annamariaback.com)
As I’ve pondered Spiritual Freedom further, I’m nudged to see that it is Timeless, Visceral, and Experiential…all at once.
Being “spiritual” usually comes with a host of connotations. For some it is the equivalent of being religious; for others, it is believing in energy healing, tarot cards, angels, fairies, and other elementals. For some, it involves being reflective, practicing forgiveness, compassion, and non-judgment. No matter which meaning you give it, our society, for the most part, doesn’t consider being spiritual as valuable as the rational mind.
For the mind, “spirituality” is this weird, challenging, and intangible thing. Some would say it is an experience, others that it’s a way of being. And more often than not, it is ridiculed or dismissed because the mind doesn’t know what to do with it, doesn’t know how to understand it.
Religion and spirituality weren’t discussed much around the dinner table when I was growing up. Looking back, I don’t quite know where my beliefs have come from. I felt an affinity for astrology early on, and I was secretly fascinated by the spirit world (to the point of being afraid of the same).
I first came across spirituality, by that name, in my early 20’s. I had recently landed my first job in accounting at a global high-tech electronics company. As I got to know the others in the office, there was one lady who stood out to me as very “colourful”. She was into theatre, dance, and – lo and behold – energy healing (whatever that was!). She was a bit “loud”, and according to my frame of the world at the time, she didn’t seem to “fit in”. I remember vividly, she wore a lot of purple plush and had wacky necklaces. She was good at her job, but I did not take her seriously. Today, I’m smiling at my youthful ignorance and immaturity.
What does the internet say about the word “spirituality”? Here’s a sampling:
From the Oxford dictionary:
(1) Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
– Having a relationship based on a profound level of mental or emotional communion.
– (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.
(2) Relating to religion or religious belief.
Traditionally, spirituality refers to a religious process of re-formation which “aims to recover the original shape of man,” oriented at “the image of God” as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world. In modern times the emphasis is on subjective experience of a sacred dimension and the “deepest values and meanings by which people live,” often in a context separate from organized religious institutions. Modern systems of spirituality may include a belief in a supernatural (beyond the known and observable) realm, personal growth, a quest for an ultimate or sacred meaning, religious experience, or an encounter with one’s own “inner dimension.”
Upon reading these, I think that one way to give further dimension to “spirituality” and “being spiritual” could be to say that someone “spiritual” is more interested in the WHO than the WHAT. For example, I’m more interested in “WHO I am” than “WHAT I am”, which harkens back to one of my musings in Part #1 – that external labels is not who we are.
In Part #4, the last part of this series, I’ll be summing up my musings around Spiritual Freedom. I hope to meet you there.
This is part two of my series on the principle that has guided my own journey and now underlies every element of my burgeoning coaching, teaching, and mentoring practice: Spiritual Freedom. (Learn more at http://www.annamariaback.com)
If you have not read Part #1 you can do that here.
Back in 2005, instinct and deeper inspiration led me to move back to the UK, this time to Hertfordshire. For some time, my life had felt uninspiring, unfulfilling, on autopilot, and stuck in story. I kept asking myself the question, “Surely, this can’t be all there is…?”
New in a town where I knew nobody, I had the space to ponder things. I reflected on my experiences over the past year and a half, especially how—once I decided to leave Sweden and return to the UK—everything came together easily. Even though a move between countries was in the mix!
As I looked into my motivation for moving back to the UK, I made some interesting discoveries. I had always considered myself a free spirit, yet it dawned on me that I didn’t have spiritual freedom. At the time, I didn’t have the language or awareness to understand it in this way; the best description I could come up with was that I felt boxed in, unfulfilled, bored, and uninspired.
Now, I am a work in progress like everyone else. I have spent the past 13 years in a conscious self-discovery mode. At first, I approached the move to the UK as adding new aspects to my life; new learning, new friends, a new location, and my focus was on expanding my perspective—to lean beyond what I was used to.
The expanded perspective was great. I felt a lot freer, agile, alive, inspired, and energised. However, soon enough I felt nudged to fine-tune and be more deliberate in my focus—to turn inward. I recognised that changing only my external circumstances would never be enough— it wouldn’t fix “it”. I also needed to look at how I experienced the world, how I expressed myself in the world, and how I ultimately could create and live with more awareness.
In my experience, the antithesis to Spiritual Freedom is fear of living, fear of being oneself, fear of standing up for—and to—oneself, and fear of not believing in oneself. Ingredients that there are a lot of in this day and age.
Imagine feeling like there is not just one “right” way and you don’t have to comply with any dogma and doctrine. Imagine being genuinely open to possibility, and feeling free from judgment, mockery, and criticism—yours as well as others’.
People may feel fairly comfortable exploring spirituality in their personal lives. But we have a way to go when it comes to mixing our personal practice with our work life. Imagine having a safe place to explore the myths or beliefs that you hold about spirituality, that in turn hold you back. Myths that stop you owning your Spiritual Freedom fully, without shame, without fear of rejection, or criticism.
Imagine experiencing contentment, fulfilment, and inner satisfaction both at work and at home. Being confident in who you are and what you bring into being, regardless of your setting. Imagine knowing you are enough. This is true freedom, and has become my life work: Helping clients discover the Spiritual Freedom of being awake, aware, and fully expressed. And then, most importantly, helping them learn how to live that.
I’ll continue my journey into how to understand Spiritual Freedom in Part #3. I look forward to meeting you there.