The heartful strategist – part 3
In the first two articles of the series, RAVI VENKATESAN introduced the Heartful Strategist framework and explored 3 examples that illustrate how consciousness levels of individuals flowed out into choices that had consequences. We saw how these led to outcomes that impacted a broad ecosystem. Here, he starts exploring how a Heartful Strategist works on consciousness in order to make the best choices.
There are many definitions of consciousness, the simplest one being “the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.” Another one I like is, “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.”
While these definitions provide a starting point, consciousness is much more nuanced and has many states. Some of these are within the limits of awareness and some are beyond. At a simple level we use the general term “unconscious” for anything that is not conscious. Subconsciousness is the term used for states of consciousness that are below the conscious level, and superconsciousness is used for states that are above active consciousness.
Another way to present it is that the state of consciousness we are aware of is “active consciousness” and states beyond awareness are sub- and superconsciousness. Though consciousness belongs to the mental and not the physical plane, at a physical level we can measure brain activity related to states of consciousness. For example, Delta waves (0.5 to 3 Hz) are associated with subconscious functions like regulating heart rate and digestion, whereas Gamma waves (25 to 100 Hz) are associated with active consciousness and high-level cognitive tasks.
There is also an aspect of the unconscious mind from where intuition and inspiration originate. We can think of this as super-unconsciousness or simply superconsciousness.
Swami Vivekananda, a 19th century mystic who spoke a lot about consciousness, said that active consciousness was like a thin film, sandwiched between an ocean of superconsciousness and an ocean of subconsciousness. The measurement of brainwave frequencies has now scientifically established this. More than 80% of our brain activity is associated with activities that are unconscious, not our active consciousness. You can also think of active consciousness as just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, how our active consciousness works is also influenced, to a very large extent, by what lies beneath.
As we go through life, we continuously gather impressions through our conscious and unconscious interactions with the world, as well as the multifarious thoughts that are part of our minds. These impressions sink into our subconscious and start collecting and forming a residue. This residue creates patterns in how we think, react, analyze, and feel. It prevents our consciousness from being free and expansive.
As an experiment, you can take a “consciousness snapshot” by answering the following questions for yourself:
What are your strongest likes and dislikes?
What is your strongest desire?
What do you feel guilty about or regret?
What do you want more of?
What is making you restless?
What is creating anger in you?
What are you afraid of?
The answers will give you insights into the effect of past impressions on your psyche. They limit our consciousness, and hence limit the choices we make. Note that the answers to these questions give you insights into what is lurking at a subconscious level.
When we make a strategic choice, we often have a perspective that is either broad or narrow. This is based on our consciousness level. For example, we might be thinking of just ourselves, or of our team, our organization, our community, our country, or maybe the entire humanity! We saw in the previous article in this series how Pope Benedict made a choice that reflected a very broad consciousness level.
So, what is it that limits our consciousness? The main factors are Fear, Desires, and Selfishness.
What is it that can broaden and allow our consciousness to expand? The main factors are Contentment, Selflessness and Generosity.
In subsequent articles we’ll explore those practices that eliminate the factors that limit our consciousness and develop those factors that allow it to expand.
Article by RAVI VENKATESAN
May 31, 2020
May 31, 2020
May 31, 2020