How To Cultivate Awareness: 5 Steps To Living Outside The (Ego’s) Box


In order to develop true awareness, we must step outside the boundaries of the egoic personality. We must let our intuition sensitize us to higher-order stimuli.

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Spiritual development is ultimately about awareness.

It is the inevitable unfolding of the Greatest Self, the slow surrender of the ego into the natural embrace of the One. It isn’t about doing anything…it’s about remembering.

Remembering that you’re already doing all possible things right now.

Remembering that you are the terrestrial reflection of the entire Universe.

Remembering that you are the Divine Breath infused into matter.

And remembering that you are God, awakening into Self-Awareness.

There is no right and wrong, no Cartesian mind-body split, no essential difference between Spirit and Matter. As the Rosicrucians say, even “Light and Darkness are identical in themselves, being only divisible in the human mind.”[1]

There’s only one “real” dichotomy: awareness and lack thereof.

And as we’ll explore in this article, becoming (and remaining) aware can be the most natural and effortless thing a human being could hope to do.

It all starts with intuition

Awareness begins with intuition, which is essentially a matter of gaining and deepening sensitivity. As such, intuition is a receptive faculty, a sense that allows us to be consciously influenced by forces beyond the scope of our physiological sensorium.

It is a bridge between verifiable senuousness (what some would call “consensus reality”) and the realms of higher consciousness. Science would call these realms “unverifiable,” but a dizzying array of shamans, mystics, and yogis from across the planetary ethnosphere would beg to differ.

Anyone who has practiced meditation, undertaken intentional work with psychedelics, entheogens, and sacred plant medicines, or engaged with any other psycho-spiritual technology, can attest to one thing: experience is the greatest verifier.

Outside of such mystical experiences, intuition provides an everyday window into the inexpressible world of higher forms. It reminds us that there’s a lot more out there than the eyes can see.

You should make it a priority to gain extra-sensory experience as often as possible. The more experience you gain, the more deeply you will trust that our limited physical existence is seeded and made possible by an over-arching, energetic realm of immense order and complexity.

Edward O. Wilson called this state of heightened awareness “the naturalist trance” – a state in which we “can see the key connections producing…observed phenomena,”[2] in which we can see exactly how the Big Picture informs and guides all of its smaller details.

Get out of your head

There’s a simple lesson in all of this lofty talk: you can’t think your way to awareness.

The mind is a stunning tool, a coveted gift to the human race from evolutionary design. But although its powers reach into the non-physical world of thought-forms, they are still limited to the domain of our individual personality.

In order to develop true awareness, we must step outside the boundaries of the egoic personality. We must let our intuition sensitize us to higher-order stimuli.

This point is vitally important, so it’s worth reiterating in another manner: gaining awareness is a process of becoming sensitive to something that is larger than yourself.

The point is not to think your way into noticing new bodily and mental phenomena, but rather to open yourself to impression from that which is higher than your individual personality.

Alice A. Bailey perfectly describes how this task is accomplished: “Sensitivity to impression involves the engendering of a magnetic aura upon which the highest impressions can play.”[3]

Simply put, the body-mind system must be properly tuned or calibrated to receive higher impression.

The principles of subtle physiology and nervous system mastery are discussed in more detail in other articles. For now, let’s focus on how to develop and amplify our intuition.

Step 1: Learn to tell the difference between egoic desire and higher intuition

When you feel something pulling or guiding you, take the time to identify its source. Is the sensation coming from within your own personality, or from a higher origin?

Here’s a helpful visualization technique for undertaking this process of discernment…

Imagine that all true intuition flows into you through a luminous, vertical channel that extends out the top of your head. Now imagine that all egoic information enters the body-mind system through horizontal lines of force, with which you collide as you make your way through the world.

Whenever you want to discern the source of an impression, close your eyes and try to feel its directionality. Is it flowing downward into you through your vertical channel, or is it cascading into you from your external environment?

This may sound like a vague and abstruse practice, but you should try it…you’ll be surprised how quickly you learn to tell the difference.

Step 2: Trust your intuition unconditionally

Once you can discern which impressions are the true work of your intuition, it will be much easier to trust their integrity. And here’s the most beautiful part: the more you trust your intuition, the more purely and freely it will flow into you.

You’ll begin to create an amplifying feedback loop, wherein every received impression will deepen your trust even further.

And as your capacity to receive intuitive impression is deepened in turn, you will become aware of the multi-faceted interplay of energies within your own body, and entirely new vistas of psycho-spiritual potential will be opened to you.

Step 3: Intuit the awe-inspiring complexity of that which lies beyond the senses

We are taught to ignore that which lies beyond the senses. But if you’re still reading this article, you’ve probably spent a good portion of your life feeling that there just has to be more than meets the eye.

By learning to trust your intuition (rather than the dictates of mainstream society, which tell you to “get your head out of the clouds” and pay attention to what’s “real”), you’ll begin to intuit more strongly than ever the vast, energetic landscape of which our three-dimensional reality is a small part.

Allow yourself to be awed by the beauty of these visions, without becoming attached to them.

Step 4: Feel this complexity in your own body

Remember that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This is a fancy way of saying that the development of every living thing is a microcosmic version of the entire Universe’s development, from single-celled organism to spiral galaxy.

Keeping this truth in mind, allow yourself to see and believe that your own body is as beautiful, complex, and awe-inspiring as the higher realms from which you’re receiving intuitive impressions.

It’s easy to believe that there’s a difference between what’s inside and what’s “out there.” Whether you prefer to blame this belief system on Descartes or on the intrinsic nature of the human mind, it’s a concept that needs to be done away with.

Inner and outer are reflections of one another. As the alchemists say, “as above, so below.”

Step 5: Allow higher impression to guide your physical senses

 By dissolving the false dichotomy of microcosm and macrocosm, you will discover the greatest spiritual secret of all. You will be able to receive highest impression effortlessly, because you will know that you are this Highest Source.

This has always been your nature, of course… but the process of becoming aware of preexisting conditions is never to be underestimated.

Once again, this process is all about remembrance. Though it may seem like it, you’re not going anywhere or doing anything. You’re simply awakening into the awareness of your own infinity.

This awareness will allow you to gain spiritual mastery over your physical body, your emotions, and the destiny of your evolutionary unfolding. It will remove all barriers, open all doors, and align you with your highest potential.

May you remember never again to forget.

[1] Blavatsky, H.B., The Secret Doctrine, p. 70.

[2] Allen, John, Me and the Biospheres, p. 11.

[3] Bailey, Alice A., Serving Humanity, p. 117.


Ryan Greendyk

Ryan Greendyk is a conscious internet entrepreneur, writer, kundalini yoga teacher, psychonaut, and sacred space creator. He's pretty fond of tea ceremonies, entheogens, bass-beat wizardry and techno-shamanism, superfoods, gifting, fire spinning, alternative healing modalities, spontaneous outbursts of love, and spending quality time with God and friends. In a nutshell, he's dedicated to delivering others to their highest selves through the creation and promotion of communities, cultures, products, and programs built upon creativity, intentional play, and spiritual self-mastery. He is the Founder of Lightlab and the Producer of Lightlab Events.

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