There was a time in my life when I was in a state of despair– the sort of existential crisis that spiritual awakening, or traversing a spiritual path with depth– creates. I looked out on the world and saw darkness, I saw the diseases and imbalances and masks and lack of truth that people carried with them. I saw the conditioning that they were under, and how they reacted unthinkingly, and unconsciously, and based on fear and other emotions rather than any type of clarity.

At this point I was actually well paid for seeing this, and had made it my career. People came to me for body work, for energy work, and for spiritual healing and I was able to see right through them– to see the blockages, pain, and diseases that their body and soul had made. I still do this, I still have this capability, but it no longer creates a state of angst for me.

At a certain point in my path I looked outward and all I could see was falseness. I could see my own patterns and blockages and that of the world. I could see how people were acting in a sort of play, and most of them did not realize that they were actors in their own lives.

This was a difficult crisis to reconcile, as it required me to switch my vantage point.

But what does this actually mean? It means that I sat with this pattern, this realization, this darkness. I didn’t chase it away, I didn’t tell it that it was wrong, or angry, or react to it based off of it making me feel isolated, based off of it making me want to isolate. I sat with it to understand it, to offer it my ear, to finally listen to it.

And it told me that people are doing the best they can, or the best they think they can. That I am doing the best I can, or think I can. We all are doing the best we can, or more accurately, we think we can.

The more I realized this, the better I was able to interact with others, to see where they were coming from, and to offer them compassion. We all are doing the best we can, or the best we think we can.

And more than that I am able to look out at the world and see people awakening, claiming their inner light, and realizing who they are. To go beyond what has been given to them or created for them by various sources. To want to heal and become more whole. Most of us struggle with this– we are so used to our own creations, the illusions we are under, the play that we are in, and the thoughts and understandings we have been given.

It is a rare and beautiful quality when we are able to consciously and critically think.

Because many of us simply are not capable of it. Without realizing it we think the thoughts of our father and mother, of the wounds and patterns of our past lives and ancestry, what society wishes and creates for us to think, repeat the thoughts and ideas of our teachers and gurus (who rarely have created such thoughts themselves), and allow for our minds to create a reality based on our fears, the above patterns, and what we already know to be “true”.

We unconsciously look for words, ideas, and teachers that can placate us, that can keep us who and what we are. That fit what our mind requires to feel safe– to not grow, to not unfold or move forward. This is why there is such popularity with certain teachers who tell us that all we need to do is to think positively and we will have a new car, that if we “awaken” we will be an immortal millionaire in perfect health, that there is no such thing as evil, and that if something bad happens to someone, they on some level must have asked for it.

We have a plethora of teachers out there who are more than willing to cater to this, and who are willing to make simplistic, easy to digest mentally one-for-one associations (what a particular “power” animal means, if you have thyroid issues you must hate yourself, and so forth) that will allow for us to not think at all critically about what the events, symbols, and ideas that are coming into our lives mean.

I will illustrate this with an example that not many people are aware of. Many people are aware that Reiki, an energy healing modality, did not originally have to do with the chakras. But the chakras themselves were standardized in the “rainbow” format by Christopher Hills (in the late 70’s, early 80’s I believe) through his book Nuclear Evolution. Before that time, and by the accounts of many people who can actually see the chakras and the energy bodies that surround us, the chakras do not have a ROYGBIV (rainbow) format at all (actually a really good representation of what actual clairvoyants see is Dora Kunz’ The Personal Aura if you can still get your hands on it– it shows how all energy fields and their colors are different based on thoughts, experiences, and imprints of the individual).

But we all believe this to be true. This is what we were taught in our Reiki classes and through basic exploration of the chakras and books about the chakras.

In fact, I have had several natural healers and clairvoyants go to Reiki classes and be told they were seeing “wrong” and what they were doing naturally to heal people was “wrong” because it didn’t fit their teachings, and they came out of the classes confused and much worse healers than they were to begin with. 

So we can see how easily we are taught how not to think and to take up teachings without conscious thought. Now, I know many of you reading this are saying that you are not clairvoyant, and so the idea of seeing the chakras in another manner wouldn’t be possible for you. But you can still have your direct experience of them, however you wish to.

By this I mean that once you learn something, thoroughly and respectfully (always respect teachers, of course) you can “throw out” the teachings and experience for yourself. Does this chakra really seem red? Did what my teacher tell me make sense to me logically? What do I actually think about it?

Because what we are taught comes through the filters of another and their experiences, their beliefs, and more basically… what they were taught. It is often like a bad game of Telephone (the old parlor game where there would be multiple people standing in a row and the original person would say a simple phrase like “monkey eating a banana” and by the time it was passed down to the last person in line it would have turned into “mon senior has a bastien”.

Most of us simply repeat what our teachers say, what we were taught in school, and the patterns and thoughts we have been given. If we come across a thought that doesn’t fit into our proverbial wheelhouse, we either are not able to process it (cognitive dissonance, basically), or we outright reject it with an emotional reaction (either to ourselves, or more frequently, heaping our emotions onto the speaker, teacher, book, etc that has given their thoughts that do not fit into our own constructed universe).

So how to critically think? How to Consciously Think?

This is the real question. Look to your own thoughts and ask what would happen if they were not true. This is not an easy task, so start out asking if what you believe to be true about yourself or about the world could be slightly less “true” than you perceive it to be now.

But practically, read, watch, and see things that are outside of your comfort zone. Read a book you never would otherwise. Since this is a spiritual blog, I will say that a lot of people react when I tell them that I have studied and worked with many religious and spiritual paths– including the occult, magic, Hoodoo, Vodou (this one tends to be the big one), and folk practices from around the world.

Because of what we have been taught we would never educate ourselves on what Vodou actually is. We would never learn that it actually, first and foremost, a beautiful system and path of ancestral worship. We will never learn that the occult is just as concerned with “awakening” as new-age paths are, and that it can offer things that many “shamanic” or “spiritual” paths cannot– such as an understanding of how to work with the energies that comprise the Universe, how to actually communicate with angelic presences (beyond the new-age appropriation of them). How folk magic practices are inherently simple, effective, and can improve our finances, love life, clear energies off of us, and open our “road” so that we can have more ease in our lives.

But most of us will never learn this because we fear what we do not know. I recently read a book on Scientology, which I admittedly have biases towards (especially after watching a documentary about it). I state this because all of us should be continually learning, continually unfolding, continually questioning what we as individuals think and believe, and our inherent biases.

But we can do this in many ways. Go see a movie you wouldn’t normally see, a documentary, go hang out with people from a different culture, class, or religion. Participate in an activity that you have been holding yourself back from experiencing. Find people and thoughts different than you and experience them and let them change what you think. 

Most of us are unable to think beyond ourselves and what we have been given. This means that we surround ourselves with “us” – with the books, gurus, teachers, people, and experiences (food, culture, and pretty much everything) that is within our already created parameters. Much of what is wrong with this world (racially, culturally, financially, politically, and just in general) is this– that we cannot see outside of ourselves and think that the World has to cater to our constructed illusions and beliefs that have been given to us by others.

If we do so, if we are able to do so, we become more conscious. We start to become able to think for ourselves logically. We stop reacting based off of fear, off of emotion. We begin to see the world with clarity. We begin to experience the world with clarity, instead of the unconscious emotional reactions that we normally do. We let go, we release, we become happier, more accepting, and understand more about the world around us.