Why are conspiracy theories so popular today....anything to do with the collective stress?
People suspect something's wrong, that life is not what we think it is or just what it appears to be, but then that feeling translates as being manipulated by outside forces----the government, secret societies and the like. This satisfies a basic need, but only on a short term basis, and tends to feed even more anxieties.
Do you have a favorite theory?
Yes, that all these theories are ways to avoid the mother of all conspiracies: that our consiousness is under the hypnotic spell of our mind's imagination, that we live lives that are totally reactive to and controlled by mental circuits or impressions that haunt us.
And why is that something that's avoided?
Because facing this condition is the most difficult, even painful, thing to confront. Instead, it's easier to let it feed our fears and anxieties that guarantee ego-mind's continued survival.
Well, it's our own mind, so why such a self-inflicted state of affairs?
This mind is simply bent on reinforcing its own limitations, its own survival. It's on auto-pilot and we've forgotten where the off switch is.
That partly answers my question, but not fully enough.
All this leads to a bigger picture dealing with the cosmic dilemma of One Real Self that includes both unconsciousness and consciousness (take a look at An Overview).
Can you update what you mean by the term 'awakening?'
It's both a single and multilayered process. But the usual use of the term here is an initial glimpse into the hypnotic sleep state of our ego-mind based consciousness and what snapping out of that spell might reveal.
So step one is seeing that we are not what we seem.
Yes, becoming aware of the overwhelming degree of our self-imposed sleep state, a kind of self-victimized state that we acquiese and hang on to. Step two is experiencing what develops from there, leading to a state where all separate selves are experienced as expressions of one Self.
Step two sounds like quite a stretch.
More than a stretch, it's cutting off our false self's life support system. It's good to keep the perspective that it's not ego-mind that awakens, rather, unconscious Self awakens to Itself and we're the tools or facilitators.
OK, the big question then: how to do it, how does it get done?
Essentially it does itself. Ego-mind has to quiet down, get out of the way, cooperate, admit defeat, relinquish the throne. As a deeper part of ourselves begin to stir, a new center of gravity is built, created by the shift of attention to that place in our being that's receptive to higher influences, a place that flowers in the presence of the Beloved.
It's like the story of sleeping beauty awakened by the kiss of the prince.
Yes, and what helps cultivate this receptivity are the methods and teachings you are drawn to. They are like the sails that are lifted to catch the wind.