Living Christ Consciousness is a lifetime journey that requires disciplined attention, discernment and love. It’s both hard and easy at the same time – it’s hard for the small self to let go and allow the simplicity of expanded awareness and joyful living to take over our lives. And yet – where there’s a will there’s a way. To live Christ Consciousness, we benefit from finding tools for the journey and courageous companions.
The key discipline for living Christ Consciousness is meditation, or contemplation. Contemplation is the older Christian term for the practice of sitting in silence and seeking gently to detach our focus from the stream of thoughts that process through our minds. When practiced daily over months and years, meditation helps us to detach from our identification with the ‘small self’, the personality we wear in this lifetime. It helps us to live in communion with the ‘higher self’ which is the closest we get to God.
Christ consciousness is the state of mind of a Christed being. Jesus showed us what that looked like, and he invited us to do likewise – he invited us all to become Christed beings. What he invited us to do includes three key intentions.
The first is to go beyond fear. The second is to balance and honour masculine and feminine and all the polarities within nature. The third is to acknowledge the inextricable link between Spirit and Nature, and experience the material world fully infused by spirit.
Going Beyond Fear
As well as being a basic animal response to a physical threat, fear has been seen by countless spiritual thinkers as the absence of love. Fear arises when we feel separate from others and threatened by them. This can result in an ‘I’m right; you’re wrong’ attitude. Fear lies beneath the aggression expressed in conflict, ghettoes and fundamentalisms It brings a sense of separation from Self, expressed in self-attack. Belief that ‘I’m not good enough’ is tragically commonplace. Fear gives rise to a sense of separation from Spirit, seen in the stories in many mythologies of a great calamity, known in the Christian tradition as ‘the Fall.’ Separation from Spirit means forgetting we are spiritual beings all emerging from a common Source. This forgotten, on the personality level we feel isolated from others and from our own essence – and we go round the vicious circle once more.
Balancing Masculine and Feminine
Most of human society has lived three thousand years or so of patriarchy. Anthropologists tell us that before that there were matriarchal societies. A look at some aspects of these societies in the mythologies that remain suggests that they were probably no more balanced than the patriarchal ones that followed. Both have given rise to much oppression. It feels as if the time has come for us to balance and harmonise our own masculine/feminine polarities. The way was prepared by Jung in his writing about animus and anima, in which he recognised that men have a feminine aspect, and women a masculine aspect, and that these need to be integrated if we are to be whole people.
Other polarities that find frequent expression in western society are those of dark and light, high and low. ‘Light’ and ‘high’ are often seen as images of ‘goodness,’ while ‘dark’ and ‘low’ tend to be viewed more negatively. The balancing of polarities that occurs in Christ Consciousness recognises the necessity and complementarity of all these qualities. The cross, adopted as the central Christian symbol, offers a picture of this balancing. The arms of the cross reach out and draw in. All things meet in the centre.
Spirit and Nature – the One and the Many
Within a spiritual worldview, Spirit is seen as Source, the unitive potential from which which Nature – the Many – emerges. A spiritual world view acknowledges that fundamentally, we all come from that same Source, and so we are all closely related. In essence, ‘we are all one.’ By contrast, in the materialistic worldview that has been dominant for around 300 years, Spirit does not exist. and the Many exist as separate and competing entities. This way of looking at things has given rise to a culture of exploitation. People have been taken into slavery. Animals have been farmed and worked with no regard for their quality of life. Soil has been depleted as a result of the economic imperative of doing things cheaply. Earth’s treasures have been scooped out, too often with scant regard for humane and safe working conditions, fair trade, or sustainability.
What does this have to do with Christ Consciousness?
‘The Christ’ is a title that was given to Jesus of Nazareth. He has become the archetypal embodiment of the Christ, but the widespread view of him as the only Christ undermines the Christ-potential in each one of us. We embody Christ, by claiming our spiritual nature in every level of our being and knowing our one-ness with other beings.
If we look at Jesus as our central example, we can see all three of the themes discussed above playing out in his life. He went beyond fear time and again in his willingness to stand with oppressed people. Ultimately, his surrender to his execution showed him going beyond fear by refusing to compromise love, even in the most extreme conditions.
Jesus also balanced masculine and feminine. In a patriarchal age the stories show he had many interactions with women. The Gospels ofPhilip and Mary Magdalene show Mary Magdalene both as his beloved companion, and also as the one to whom he revealed most of his mind, the ‘apostle to the apostles.’ But even in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it is clear Jesus associated with women. If we consider that today, in much of middle Eastern society, it is normal for men only to interact with women in their immediate family, we can see how amazing this was. The apostle Paul wrote, ‘In him there is no male nor female…’ Jesus had integrated the polarities.
Spirit and Nature were infused in Jesus’ life. The numerous stories of his miracles present a shamanic figure who was at one with nature in a way that makes sense to the world only in terms of quantum physics. This state of consciousness is described at the end of The Gospel of Thomas. And in the mainstream New Testament, St Paul wrote that the whole of nature is groaning with labour-pains, waiting for the rest of us to catch up.
Relating these themes to our world
The challenges we face today have a lot to do with these three themes. Fundamentalism, exploitation and oppression are all fruits of a human consciousness that has failed to balance the polarities, and failed to work co-creatively. Fundamental changes emerge through those – like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King – who have stepped beyond fear. When we change consciousness, we change our world. And the pathway to doing that in a way that will create heaven on Earth is to step beyond fear, into love.
Gillian Paschkes-Bell is an interfaith minister with an open spirituality and a Christ-centred path which she expresses through the Celtic tradition of the Ceile De. She has studied Christian theology as a mature student at Heythrop College, London and at Oxford University, graduating with an MTheol. She lives at the spiritual community of Findhorn,where she was co-convenor of the 2012 Into Christ Consciousness gathering. For four years, from 2006 – 2010, she was a member of faculty within the seminary of One Spirit Interfaith Foundation.