First, let’s be clear about what consciousness is. It’s one thing to be aware of our surroundings, our immediate environment, the objects and people closest to us physically, the smells and sounds that waft over us, the temperature of the room or the wind, and so on. Focusing on the present moment may be grounding, bringing with it a certain peace. But the level of consciousness we want to look at now is the one that monitors our reaction to these things.
Chief among our reactions, the one that matters most in our attempts to be more conscious, is fear. Of all the emotions we can experience, fear shuts us down the most. It causes our blood vessels to constrict and our breathing to become more shallow. Our hearts begin to race, and all we want to do is get away from the threat we perceive.
The great Hindu swami, Master Subramuniya, had a mantra he used when he was a little boy, whenever he found himself worrying about something. It went like this: I’m all right right now. He would say it over and over until his awareness became focused in the present moment. When our awareness is focused on an event that hasn’t happened yet, that event lives only in our imagination. Our fear is based on something that is unreal, something that we are making up. It’s not that the danger isn’t real—it most certainly is—but our story about it is total fiction.
For example, most of us are afraid of what will happen if we lose our job. The very thought of it makes us do all kinds of things that we would not do otherwise. But in reality, losing one job can very often be the catalyst to create a much better life and not the beginning of the end that our imagination would have us believe.
So, how do we stop the story? There are ten ways I can think of right off the bat: our fingertips. We have two terminuses, our hands and our feet, that connect us with the earth. They connect us in ways that our eyes cannot, in ways that our sense of smell is insufficient to record. Even our lips and tongue cannot tell us as much as our fingertips or the soles of our feet. There is something magnetic about touch that connects us with the world. It connects us in a way that is tangible.
Our fingertips only know the present moment. They tell us what is here now. And when we listen to what they are telling us, they bring us squarely into present time. We forget about the future, and our fears evaporate. We forget about the past, and our regrets disappear. It is far easier to let them connect us to the earth directly than it is to focus with our eyes and our other senses.
Touch is immediate. What we touch has arrived. What we touch, we grasp—in every sense of the word.
We already know that matter is alive, that even the most inanimate objects, like rocks and furniture, are humming with molecular intelligence. If they weren’t, they would dissolve into nothingness. Only the patterns of energy on the atomic and sub-atomic levels hold them together, patterns that are based on geometry and the immutable laws of physics.
There is nothing in the physical world that is not alive—maybe not in a “hey, how are ya” kind of way, but in a deeply profound, existential, self-awareness kind of way, a self-awareness that knows it’s own vibratory structure, a kind of knowing that is entirely without reflection, a direct knowing that exists in and of itself without the need to question or assess what it knows.
This kind of knowing is synonymous with being. This kind of knowing is what brings matter into existence, brings form into the world. You might even say that knowing is existence, that knowing gives birth to form.
But, metaphysics aside, our immediate goal is to “touch the earth,” to let the earth “be our witness.” And in that touching we find ourselves in the present moment, not in an imagined future moment that hasn’t arrived. In the immediacy of our experience—in our grounding with the earth—we find our strength, we find our eternality. The universe no longer rushes toward us with unknown intent. Rather, we become its center, that around which it revolves. We become the axis mundi, the central mountain of the world.
We live so much in our heads that the physical world has lost its real-ness. If we are here for any reason at all, it is to know this place, to connect with it and breathe our life into it. Our purpose here is not to escape from the world, but to know it, and by knowing it to bring it back into the consciousness of God. When we do this, fear no longer holds us, death loses its sting, and the infinite shines in every blade of grass, in every grain of sand.
By losing the life we imagine ourselves living, by giving up the future as something we know for certain, and by letting go of the past and all of our judgements of it, we find our true life, the life that has been ours since the beginning, from the dawn of creation right up to this present moment. That life is right here, right now. We only have to reach out and touch it.
Fear is future-dependent. Live here. Live now. And when the future arrives, you will be there to handle it.