From a materialist point of view, the brain is the sole source of consciousness for human beings. Despite this assumption, the exact source of consciousness within the brain has not yet been established. There are many hypotheses that conscious arises from multiple locations in the brain. However, non-materialists pose the hypothesis that the brain is merely a vehicle for a consciousness that originated outside the body.
No matter the nature or the source of consciousness, one thing that can be agrees upon – consciousness can be developed and expanded. You see, your mind may well be the center of your experiences and perceptions, but it is limited only by what it already knows. More pointedly, it is limited by why it knows how to learn.
It’s all Perception
The human brain is designed to allow you to be aware of information that it already knows about, and to reject information that you have not previous experienced. This is experienced with the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. You may have noticed when you learn a new word, that suddenly you hear it used all around you. The frequency of that word usage has not suddenly increased in the world, but your ability to perceive it has changed. Your brain now has the information it needs to allow you to be aware of that word’s existence in the world.
This is how we can think about expanding and evolving consciousness: it is this ever increasing ability to perceive new things. When you learn new ways of learning, you push the limits of your consciousness and perceptions into new territory. It can be exciting, and sometimes a little scary. But it is always well worth the effort.
The discipline and structure of a spiritual practice is one proven way to clear the way for consciousness to grow. However, even though the road is clear and the door is open, you still must do the work to increase your conscious capacity. Thus the road of ascension is fraught with challenges to the mind, heart and spirit. To see what you have never seen before, to feel the things you never thought possible, to contemplate that which you previously could never have imagined, and to become comfortable integrating these new experiences into your life, these are the rewards of expanded perception.
The best way of expanding consciousness is to keep your mind in motion by continuously learning new things. Allow yourself to experience subjects that challenge your notions of what is true about the world. Be open to questioning what you have come to know as spiritual truths and challenge yourself on your own beliefs. Seeking new ways of seeing things can have a profound impact on conscious evolution. Expose yourself to new forms of art, digital imagery and forms of music that you have never heard. Try to discern the qualities of those art forms and how the artists composed them.
The more things you expose your mind to, the more things it can experience. By continuously increasing the types of information your brain and mind can receive, you are continuously expanding and evolving your consciousness. It is then important to learn how to integrate these new experiences into your spiritual practice and daily life. They will lay new foundations for you to continue to build upon your own ascension process.
Simply put, learn to embrace cognitive dissonance and use it as a tool to enhance your ability to perceive new worlds all about you.