Throughout our lifespan, our consciousness expands by the acquisition of knowledge and experience.
In this continued growth of human consciousness lies the hope of the world.
The parallel in the physical world to this expansion of consciousness is found in the equivalent physical growth of the body. An infant is undeveloped, but it is the potential life and body that will become an adult.
As the processes of the growing child become complete and coordinated so must the accompanying consciousness expand by the sensations that reach the mind through contact with the environment.
Considering the general state of consciousness which exists in the humanity today, we can see what great strides have been made from the first historical records that were written down, possibly as long ago as 5000 years.
We are being constantly challenged by our environment. We have been able to harness various forces that exist around us and the results are the material achievements of civilisation which exist today.
Unfortunately, this process has not always been constructive.
Individuals in their growth of understanding have come into conflict with others who are also in the processes of growth. As a result of this, ideas and desire for possession of physical things, which are generally believed to be the purpose and satisfaction of living, have caused humans to work against each other and have instigated many conflicts in the world.
While no one will deny the evidence of humanity’s continual conscious growth, there is still a great deal of room for further expansion.
And while we have been able to better utilise our environment and our own abilities, we have not reached the point of realising that true expansion of consciousness must lead to an understanding of the rights and abilities of others who are also involved in the same process of conscious growth.
Everything that happens in our universe has its residue of waste. For example, in the case of an ordinary petrol engine, if all the energy created by the combustion process could be converted into kinetic energy and used for the output of the machine, the efficiency of the engine would be incredible.
However, most of the energy gained through combustion is lost through heat and friction losses, and only a comparatively small part of the initial energy contained in the petrol is finally translated into forward motion in the car (12% – 30%).
Every process then is accompanied by a certain amount of waste and as we are in the process of expanding and gaining a growth of consciousness, then waste in this process is the misunderstanding of others and of ultimate purposes of the whole process.
Therefore, humanity is constantly delayed and set back in its overall growth and progress due to the fact that collectively it has not yet perfected an end or a means by which to accomplish an end in itself.
Some people have always aspired to a better state than that in which they find themselves.
Philosophers and mystics of the past have always held out an exalted state which has variously been known as Cosmic Consciousness or union with the divine source of which we are a part.
Few have come to the realisation that this state of Cosmic Consciousness, or whatever we may choose to call it, is not obtainable in its most perfect form while we are still growing.
Just as a child must go through various steps of physiological growth before the state of adulthood is achieved, so we must go through many steps before a state of consciousness, which would be one with our concept of God, is finally attained.
Therefore, while it is worthy of aspiring mystics to set high goals and to hope for the achievement of a state of Cosmic Consciousness, they must never forget that they are only in the process of this achievement, that is, in the process of developing and expanding consciousness.
Furthermore, they may only recently have begun the process.
Whenever we become aware of abilities and ideas that lie beyond the immediate range of our physical sense perception, we have made a definite step in the process of the expansion of our consciousness, and we are gradually working toward the ultimate end which will only be at the present time an ideal.
Through experience, we learn that in every action we take there are things to be considered.
We cannot create a building, invent a new machine, or apply nature’s laws in a different way without the cost of time and effort expended in experimentation and research.
In other words, it involves real effort and hard work, which ultimately leads us to the perfection of the idea which we have set before ourselves.
It is through this organising process that we learn and come to appreciate the final end to be obtained.
And so, while it may not be possible to achieve the total expansion of consciousness we aspire to, namely, the complete unity with the ultimate being and the absolute in this life, we nevertheless can realise that we are at a stage of the process which is most essential and in fact absolutely necessary as a contributing factor to the end which may be our goal.
For everyone today, whether we are aware of it or not, there is an obligation to focus and direct our efforts so that everything done is a contribution to the growth and expansion of the collective consciousness of humanity, and not merely living for ourselves.
We must all use the laws of science, philosophy and the arts in whatever practical way that provides us with a means for this growth, and a means for the growth of the collective consciousness of humanity as a whole.
We must realise that part and parcel of this process of growth requires us to have greater tolerance, wider and more encompassing knowledge of things, and a wisdom which silently guides us as to what is right and wrong.
Only then will we be better able to cope with the same problems among our fellow human beings that we face, or have faced in the past, and learn to sympathise with the challenges that others face.
In this we see that the hope of the world in which we can live constructively with each other, depends upon each of us realising that our personal growth cannot come about at the expense of the growth of the collective consciousness of humanity.
Although personal growth comes first, for we are primarily responsible for ourselves and our immediate karmic proximity, but that growth cannot be at the expense of the expansion and maturation of the collective consciousness of humanity, and this we must always keep in mind.