At the Smokers Freedom School we suggest that we are all on a pilgrimage to higher consciousness, and thus that quitting smoking is not the real goal, but rather the happy by-product of our unfolding maturity on this pilgrimage. So what does “higher consciousness” look like? Where is this pilgrimage taking us? Glad you asked. Here’s one little “thought experiment” that can help us answer that question.
How to Bring Heaven to Earth:
Just for fun, let’s say you died and went to heaven. (This is already a fun thought experiment, yes?)
And let’s imagine that heaven is all you’d ever hoped for, and better. Streets are paved with gold, beautiful flowers everywhere, lining wide expanses of green lawns, and gorgeous buildings. If you are a religious person, you are met by saints and angels, welcomed maybe by Jesus Himself, or Mohammed, or Buddha, and George Burns. Everybody you ever loved is there, glad to see you again. Famous people want you to hang out with them. And of course, heaven is plentiful with virgins and/or hunky guys, if that’s your idea of heaven.
If you’re not a religious person, that’s also okay because heaven is, simply – – well, heavenly! You’re in a beautiful place with beautiful people, effortlessly moving about, your senses keen and exquisitely tuned. Maybe you play tennis (like a pro), or go surfing (catching every wave) or dancing (with the stars) or simply playing poker with old friends, and Willie Nelson, laughing and having the best time of your life. You’re in heaven, after all.
Now let’s assume that back on earth you got everything done that needed to be done before dying. You told all the people that you love that you loved them, and the ones who had done you wrong that you forgave them. You’d cleaned out your closets and got rid of your junk. You made appropriate financial arrangements for all your family and friends. You have no loose ends, back on earth. So here you are in heaven. And life’s good, real good. Or the after-life is good, real good, as the case happens to be. Congrats on a life well-lived.
Okay, now let’s look closely at the quality of your consciousness, there in heaven, that makes it feel so heavenly. What are the obvious characteristics of the consciousness that you are experiencing, there in heaven?
First and foremost, let me suggest, you are simply happy to be right where you are (there in heaven), doing what you’re doing (hanging out with saints, or surfing the heavenly waves). That’s worth repeating: you are happy to be right where you are, doing what you’re doing, with the people you are doing it with. This is the quality, the character, of one of the highest states of consciousness, the state you are in when you are in heaven. Again, congrats on a life well lived.
So now let’s come back to earth.
If we want to live in one of the highest states of consciousness possible, which also means the most practical state of consciousness, what are the characteristics of that state?
Yes, exactly: we are happy to be right where we are, doing what we are doing, with the people who are here. This is the quality, the characteristic of a higher state of consciousness.
And conversely how do we know we are in a lower state (hellish state) of consciousness?
Yes: When we are not happy being where we are, doing what we are doing, with the people who are here.
Here’s the key: higher consciousness is always available, no matter where we are, what we are doing, who we are with. When we intentionally decide, or simply agree, to enjoying where we are, what we are doing, who we are doing it with, we experience higher consciousness. We don’t have to be totally blissed out, totally happy with where we are, who we are with, what we are doing – as we might be when hanging out and drinking beer with Jesus. But simply recognizing that being happy with where we are and what we are doing is the nature of a higher state of consciousness, a more natural, more elevated, more graceful way of being—such a simple recognition allows us to move more gracefully, more effectively on this life’s pilgrimage, which some describe as “bringing heaven to earth.”
We can be happy with such a challenge, and the ongoing opportunities it presents every day, everywhere, with everyone.
Or we can say to hell with it and be crabby where we are, crabby with doing what we are doing and the people we are doing it with.
Such a simple choice, yes, between heaven or hell?