Norman D. Livergood
Find various instances and scenes of beauty: an inspiring painting, an exquisite piece of music, the kalaedescope of cloud formations at sunset, a special place in nature that encourages your "taking off."
Among other things, discover the omnipresent (yet previously undiscerned) flight of crows 1 near your home as they make their nightly trek back to their nesting place (traveling in a specific direction an hour or so before sunset). Begin to speak (not too loudly) to the crows in flight. They'll respond by flying near you deliberately (perhaps the next evening), lighting on a nearby tree, TV antennae, or a telephone or power line, or simply flying low over your house to speak with you by cawing.
Having found these elements of beauty, surrender to their influence rather than critically analyzing them. These are simple, yet definite, moments of spiritual contact with higher consciousness. Such experiences of beauty quietly yet powerfully teach you about higher consciousness. In your response to these adventures with beauty, notice the difference between the out-going expanded feeling of your self, and the in-drawn close-huddled concentration of your ordinary mental state.
Concentrate on the definite feelings in the region of your "heart" such moments of spiritual grace bring you of intangible sensations which have no organic position. Warmth is the nearest we can come to describing it. Acquaint yourself with the feelings of liberation and immersion in complete security, power, warmth and beauty of happiness.
Periodically concentrate on these sensations, enlarging and enriching them, intensifying the atmosphere of heightened awareness by associating them with your accumulated memories of harmonious moments in your life. The expansion and gentle distribution around you of this spiritual heart force will teach you the actuality of spiritual faculties.
By now you should have some sense as to whether or not you're actually gaining an experiential awareness of higher consciousness. If not, this may be an indication to you that this kind of development is not your cup of tea. Or, equally possible, you may be unaccustomed to this type of groundwork preparation so that it will require your re-studying and re-applying the ideas and exercises in this essay several times.
"There is a difference between the sloppy, sentimental, emotional thing commonly known as feeling, and the feeling of strength and stability that is absorbent of wisdom."
Stewart Edward White, Across the Unknown
The higher forces we're working to gain definite awareness of, we usually sense only as intellectual generalizations or conceptions. We must build an extension of confidence in spiritual forces in the same way we accept such unseen forces as gravity or photosynthesis. We've got to associate with them, experiment with them, as constantly and intently as people did in acquiring the laws controlling the terrestrial forces. Everything we've been accustomed to will have to be discarded. We're deliberately developing a particular attitude of mind--surety and confidence--and this is itself a force, a superlative dynamism that effects extraordinary changes in ourselves and our world.
We're working to develop definite sensations and mind-sets. These are not fuzzy, abstract, vague ideas but tangible feelings and sensations that become an integral, persisting part of us. Our habit-serving consciousness must be so trained that selected associations of ideas instantly reproduce the modifications in our brains which allow us to ascend at will to our higher consciousness.
Through attaining this ability to ascend into our Higher Self, we create an abode of emotional security, spiritual order, and demonstrable strength. We establish a safe sanctuary--a sort of room of heaven within us--by becoming accustomed to living recurrently in a state of heightened awareness.
Slowly, we gain the ability to act with a wisdom and power which is beyond our conscious mind's power to comprehend.
1 This PBS video explains how crows recognize human faces and pass that information on to the next generation and exhibit higher intelligence through the use of multiple tools.