The one discussion topic I rarely, if ever, read coaches discussing is what it takes to shift or elevate human consciousness. And I don’t know why exactly, because consciousness is the underlying determiner of all behavior. And shifts in levels of consciousness can produce radical shifts in perception, understanding, and life experience.
Maybe it’s that consciousness itself is such a nebulous thing, and coaching to shift consciousness can seem a bit “woo-woo,” or just plain mysterious. But I’m fascinated by its potentials, and I enjoy experimenting with it in my work. So let me share an approach to it that has worked well for me.
Instead of focusing directly on shifting consciousness in a session, focus on shifting a person’s “way of being.” Our way of being is the product of our state of consciousness, a direct expression of it. And I think for most people it feels more concrete, a more tangible thing to work with than consciousness itself.
If you reflect on these questions for a moment, you’ll get a sense of it for yourself:
How would you describe your way of being in the world?
How do you show up to life?
Who do you choose to BE each day?
When a person wants to step into and fully own a new way of being, significant inner work needs to be done.
What patterns or energies do I need to let go of in my life?
Which ones would I need to open to?
Most often there is growth or expansion followed by a contraction, a return to what would be considered ‘normal’ for that person. So sustaining a desired way of being, particularly one that reflects a jump in consciousness, is neither easy nor straightforward, and coaches and clients alike need to be aware of this. (Despite what some will say, there is no magic pill or formula for this—it takes devotion and perseverance to the path.)
Take my client John, for example. Over the years we’ve worked together, he has made huge shifts in his self-view, and great progress in honoring his talents, gifts, and personal needs. He has become clear on his core values (a great place to start when determining desired shifts in being) and has found a myriad of ways to live and express those values. In his professional and social circles he is becoming known for his core values, a process which, in turn, supports his commitment to being a living embodiment of those values. He now stands as a beacon of strength, love, integrity, balanced masculinity, and honesty, and many people look to him as an example of progressive, enlightened leadership and friendship.
Years ago, when John defined his core values, he answered the question, “Who do you choose to be in this world?” But that was just the first step in a much longer journey, one of whole-hearted commitment to becoming a living expression of those values. And the journey into this state of being is absolutely consciousness shifting.
Has it been easy? Straightforward? Not by any means. The cyclical nature of change took him to new heights of consciousness and being, and then things would cycle back, tossing him “off his horse” and on to the ground, where he’d lay groaning for a bit before picking himself up, dusting off, and remounting to ride forth another day.
Like others I’ve worked with, John found those fallbacks frustrating and hard to endure; once he had tasted life at the higher rungs of consciousness, anything less than that felt constricted, painful. In time he learned how acceptance of and non-resistance to the fallbacks—which themselves indicate higher states of consciousness—supported him to return to the states of being he so desired for himself.
The process of becoming a living embodiment of a chosen way of being is consciousness shifting because it is so absolutely encompassing. In the process of embodiment, no facet of the self can be left unattended, no stone unturned. Once you choose to BE peace or integrity or joy or honesty to the core of your being, every cell in your body, every level of mind, every form of expression must radiate that choice.
It starts here, for yourself and for your clients:
From this moment forward, I choose to BE __________________ and thereby learn what it means to be that in every moment, in every situation of my life.
And your experience will become the unfolding learning of whatever that chosen way of being is.