Each of us discovers his own path to what is commonly referred to as a “higher consciousness” or “heightened state of awareness.” For me, the path opened up in my early twenties in New York City.
It was a very active, very exciting time of my life, filled with high hopes, eternal youth, and unlimited opportunities. I experienced new things every day, and I constantly thirsted for more. I was passionate about my work and was always on the go. Sleep was an occasional distraction; gourmet dining was a corned beef sandwich at a Lower East Side deli.
I didn’t have any money to speak of, so I got to know the less trendy parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens pretty well. I could not have imagined a more exhilarating activity than walking around Greenwich Village, taking the subway to Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, or browsing at Macy’s on 34th Street (at a time when only New York could boast of having a Macy’s store).
I usually stayed at the old Prince George Hotel on 28th Street, as it was inexpensive and more than suitable for my needs at the time. Best of all, there was an automat right across the street, and when it came to dining treats, the automat was just a notch below my favorite deli.
As exciting as those times were for me, I probably did not fully appreciate the magnificence of it all. There was a feeling of urban spirituality that I certainly will never again experience — first, because I will never again be in my mid-twenties and, second, because the world was much younger than today, much more wholesome and innocent.
To be sure, the hippie revolution was in full bloom, but most of the certitudes that formed the foundation for American culture were still in place. I had never heard such terms as “illegal immigrant,” “transgender,” or “global warming.” College and pro football players were clean-cut, all-American role models, and, for the most part, television networks reported the news fairly and objectively.
To be sure, life wasn’t always fair to everyone, but, for better or worse, it was a time of certitudes. It was comforting to know that Western culture stood strong on the foundation of a generally accepted code of conduct.
This was my world when I discovered New York City in my early twenties. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but I now realize that I was in an elevated state of consciousness as a result of my incredibly active life.
Thus it was that on a beautiful, sunny day in November, I was driving on the Grand Central Parkway on my way to JFK International Airport. My mind was exploding with a thousand and one thoughts about my life, both business and personal.
Then, just as I began steering my car south onto the Van Wyke Expressway, everything about my life seemed to coalesce into sharp focus in my consciousness. It was as though I were being given the cognitive means to solve all my business and personal problems simultaneously. A sense of being connected to an infinite source of power came over me.
Instead of having to exert the usual intense mental effort to sort out my thoughts, every item that was significant to me at the time — perhaps forty or fifty in number — instantly became clearly fixed in my mind in such an orderly fashion that I felt a sort of omniscience.
It seemed as though a bright light had suddenly brought my thoughts out of the dark recesses of my subconscious mind and allowed me to consciously focus on all of them simultaneously. It was a feeling of immense power, incredible joy, and an inner ecstasy that made me feel almost immortal.
I do not recall exactly how long my euphoric state of heightened awareness lasted, but I would estimate that it was perhaps two or three minutes. Since that time, I have had similar experiences on a handful of occasions, each of them lasting only a few seconds to a few minutes, but nothing to match the intensity of that unexpected blink of heightened consciousness I experienced on my way to JFK Airport many years ago.
My experience became more understandable years later when I read a book titled Cosmic Consciousness, by Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke, published way back in 1901. Dr. Bucke was a graduate of McGill Medical School and a prominent psychiatrist in Canada.
At age thirty-six, he experienced an “illumination” that lasted only a few seconds, but during which time he claimed to have learned more than he had in all his years of academic study. Dr. Bucke ultimately came to believe that his experience was the emergence of a new faculty in man that takes simple consciousness to a new level of awareness. He postulated that such historical figures as Jesus, Buddha, Dante, and even Walt Whitman possessed advanced consciousness on a consistent basis, while in the rest of us this aptitude is still evolving.
If Dr. Bucke was right in his assessment, the implications are enormous. It would mean that human beings, through the phenomenon of free will, have the power to break through their mental paradigms and accomplish things they have previously believed were not possible — in their careers, in their personal relationships, and, above all, in spiritual matters.
Which is where high-energy activity comes in. Who is more likely to succeed, the guy sitting on his couch, watching television, guzzling beer, and stuffing himself with taco chips … or the person who’s out and about and actively engaging the world with a high level of energy? It seems self-evident that the atoms in a person’s brain vibrate at a much higher rate of speed when he’s actively living life than when he’s sedentary.
In this regard, Lee Iacocca, the legendary automobile industry innovator, once said something that has served me well over the years. Iacocca explained that whenever he was feeling down, the one thing he found that always picked him up and got him back into high gear was rolling up his sleeves and immersing himself in work.
Plain and simple, when you raise your energy level, good things happen. That’s because when you take action, the atoms in your brain vibrate more rapidly, which in turn makes it possible to telepathically draw to yourself the things, people, and circumstances you need to accomplish your objectives.
And if you raise your energy level high enough, you may, on occasion, even find yourself in a heightened state of awareness — call it “cosmic consciousness” — that could forever change your life. I feel privileged to have experienced this phenomenon, and all I can tell you is that it’s an awesome experience.