I’ve written before about some of the basic teachings I received from my grandmother between the ages of 10 and 16, when she was my first spiritual teacher. One of the important things I took from those years was my understanding of what she called “the raincloud of knowable things”. Because she believed and lived in a sense of collective consciousness, her experience was that there is nothing in the world that “belongs” to any one person or group. In the “raincloud of knowable things”, all ideas, creative possibilities, deep understandings are available to everyone, everywhere, all the time.
As I grew up and lived into my life as a therapist, author, and teacher, I have been supported and partnered by this early learning. It has helped me consistently move away from competitiveness around creative offerings and has supported my ability to celebrate the discoveries and work of others, even when what they do is similar to what I offer.
Many years ago, and I’ve shared this in a past practice somewhere along the way, I was sitting in a hypnosis workshop at a conference where I was a presenter and watched a colleague offer an entire day of information and exercises that were stunningly similar to the book I was in the process of writing. I remember sitting in the workshop reminding myself of the “raincloud of knowable things”, reminding myself that no one owns any ideas and that this was a powerful example of how the raincloud showers everyone with the same information all the time. This colleague and I had apparently attended to a flow of inspiration that embraced the same insights and possibilities.
After her presentation, I went to say hello to my colleague and to tell her of my experience during the workshop. In an expression of friendship and grace that I’ve never forgotten, she said, “No problem. You write the book and I’ll make a quilt.” And she did…
An unfortunate quality has emerged in American culture since that time that seems to promote and encourage winning, regardless of the cost. This theme shows up in advertisements for all kinds of products, vacations, and other activities, and is now a constant in social media communication. We seem to have lost the sense that we’re all in this together, and the teachings of my grandmother around collective consciousness has always oriented me to the unreality and dangers of imagining that we are separate and that our thoughts, feelings, and actions don’t affect all of us.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to play with the idea of collective consciousness, if it’s not something you already consider a viable reality. Notice how you move through your day when you hold the thought that the same source of human wisdom, creativity, intelligence, and ingenuity touches everyone you see, just as it touches you. Also, as always, be sure to track any mixed feelings that may arise, as they tend to point to places in us that are worth knowing about.
If you’re someone who already lives in a world where collective consciousness is a given, notice what it’s like to pay even more attention to how you respond when someone expresses an idea you’ve had or does something similar to what you’ve been wanting to create. Another interesting piece of this is noting the difference in how you feel when you engage someone who agrees with your world view and then when you encounter someone whose perspective expresses an entirely different point of view.
As with all these practices, the opportunity here is to become even more aware of how you move through your daily life and, especially, to notice what supports a sense of well-being and also to notice what takes you out of being centered and present. Remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion, as curiosity opens us to the unexpected and supports discovery of something new. And, also remember to pat judgments on the head when they arise, allowing them to move on through. They are inevitable—the brain can’t help it, but you don’t have to take them seriously.