We are human beings. As humans, we have at least two abilities that set us aside from animals. We are (1) aware of our consciousness, and (2) we can change our consciousness.
Our consciousness is lowered when we allow ourselves to become affected by negative (and usually outside) influences, becoming jealous, angry or depressed. None of us seem to have any problem lowering our consciousness. But it can sometimes be a little more difficult to raise our consciousness. Meditation is the easiest way to accomplish this.
Sri Chinmoy often said that human beings are composed of five levels, or parts. These parts also have different levels of consciousness. Listing them from lowest to highest, they are: (1) our body – the physical, (2) our vital energy – the force that motivates us to take action of any sort, (3) our mind – the intellect, (4) our spiritual heart, and (5) our soul. The heart and soul are those parts of our selves that are most involved in meditation and are discussed below.
THE SPIRITUAL HEART
The spiritual heart is located near, but is not, the physical heart. The heart is where intuition, an extremely powerful tool, resides. Our capacity for oneness comes from the heart. The mind looks at the world and sees ordinary reality; the heart searches for extraordinary (but also equally true) realities. The heart is the highest level we can normally access.
The soul resides within the spiritual heart. Our consciousness emanates from the soul, spreads into the heart, and from there into the mind, vital energy, and then body. (This explains why those aspects of our selves which are farthest from the soul have the lowest level of consciousness.) Normally the soul remains hidden from us; we only catch a glimpse of it on very rare occasions. It is a “conscious” portion of God. Only very accomplished meditators will be able to contact their soul at will.
During meditation we turn inward, diving deep into the heart and expanding our consciousness, going deeper and higher than everyday ordinary consciousness.
[As a side note: when your mind is silent during meditation, you will find that your consciousness doesn’t stop. You continue to exist, to be self-aware, and able to function. This is when you truly realise that your mind is NOT YOU, but that it is simply a possession of yours to be used by your heart and soul, just as your body is. As your mind realizes that it won’t die if you shut it down temporarily, it quits fighting you and actually begins to help you meditate.]
As you continue to meditate daily on the heart, the qualities of the soul begin to percolate through you, beginning with your mind. The mind becomes sharper, more intuitive, and more intelligent. The vital energy allows itself to be controlled instead of running wild. The body even begins to be affected in a positive way.
The spiritual heart can be accessed both when meditating and during our daily life in order to operate from a higher consciousness at that time.
The raising of your consciousness is crucial to your personal happiness. True, it leads to spiritual growth, but it also leads to personal daily joy and satisfaction. And, always please be aware: in the same way that water spreads, consciousness spreads from you to others. There is no way to stop it, and it matters not whether you are in a low/bad consciousness or a high/good consciousness. You will always affect those around you.