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12 Ways to Expand Your Consciousness ~ What Can We Learn from Islamic Teachings?

I was reading this great article by the website called Fractal Enlightenment that talks about "11 Ways to Expand Your Consciousness". Its a great little article and while reading it, I was reminded of the parallel of the teachings in Islam that has the same goal, which is to expand consciousness of human beings.

So I thought of expanding on that article and add another point which is also the Heart of Sufism (called Ihsan) and possibly the greatest mean of expanding the Consciousness given to humanity. I have added that point as the 12th Way.


Spiritual Path is about moving towards a more complete human experience, becoming a more wholesome human being (those who were whole we used to call holy in our human vocabulary), so complete that it is almost perfect, and so perfect that you tend to remember and acknowledge that human being with a capital H.

The 30th Sign of the 30th Chapter has a very interesting message about human being which begs deeper explanation and even deeper contemplation. Without going into details let me share the Sign here:

So direct your face toward the Path (Deen), inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the Nature (Fitrah) of Allah upon which He has created humanity. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct Path, but most of the humanity do not know. (30:30)

The keyword above here is Fitratallah, Nature of Allah.

In order to understand the Nature of Allah, we need to look at the nature of human being. Perhaps then we may come to recognize the mysterious link.

Human being has both body and a very subtle mysterious unseen element which is the Soul. While body is confined to space and time, soul is not. The relation of God with creation is same as the relation of Soul with the body. God is la-mokam, not function of space or beyond space, you cannot confine and limit God within the creational dimensions, even though He is immanent and intimately entangled.

Same is true for soul or spirit. The soul is what makes the body alive, make it move, prevent it from decay and disintegration; and yet with so much scientific advancement we can't even put a finger and say, 'here is soul in human body, we have located it in XYZ organ.' No you can't pin point the location of soul in body become its also la-mokam, its place is placeless, beyond the dimensionality and space of body and yet it is super subtle and immanent and entangled with every cell of the body.

This Soul is the reflection of God's Essence placed strategically within human body, not found in anything else. Now in Eastern Tradition, the Divine Being is often identified or understood as the Ultimate Consciousness. Thus when Jesus says, Be ye Perfect, for your Father in Heaven is Perfect; is almost similar to saying, expand your consciousness for the Divine Being is the Ultimate Consciousness.

So taking on the Color of Allah (Sibghatillah, 2:138), expanding your consciousness, become perfect like Father in Heaven and be Rabbani (taking up the characteristics of al-Rabb, the Lord) are all points to the same reality and the Spiritual Journey no matter through which tradition you wish to understand it, will take you to this summit. Thus as human being it is almost an imperative, a commandment to the seekers of Truth that they must work tirelessly to expand their consciousness.

Allah is the Ultimately Conscious, al-Khabir, the Supremely Aware and we human being who are bestowed this grand and joyful position in the cosmos to walk as God's vicegerent on earth, His representative, His Image, carrier of His Fitrah - must also strive to expand our consciousness. Allah says, nothing can contain me but the heart of My Devotee and to contain that Supreme King, the Seat of our Heart must have that infinitely expanding nature. Just as the cosmos is expanding, our consciousness of our heart go on expanding, for it is the Seat of the Supreme.

“It’s not the world that needs to change – it’s our consciousness we must raise”
– Rasheed Ogunlaru


To raise your consciousness gives you power to create a happier and fulfilling life. Its about opening yourself to newer possibilities, reconnecting with your inner self, embracing the divine within you and most importantly, free yourself from the pain and suffering that has been holding you down. It is a beautiful journey towards becoming more conscious in all aspects of your life. Heightened consciousness breaks the walls of perception, perceived reality, and false beliefs. Here are 11 ways to raise your consciousness.

1) Find yourself

Once Allen Ginsberg said, “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” To find yourself first learn about yourself. Finding the real you is an enlightening experience; you are not what the society has told you to be, or the titles given to you. Don’t try to be anybody else, and live in these false illusions. Falseness is a confused loop – a temporary shelter that lowers your consciousness.

You can’t hide there for a long period of time because there is no peace in living this way. Cut your ties with falsehood. Being honest with your self raises your consciousness. Don’t choose to be a canvas, rather be the painter.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: He who knows himself, knows his Lord. There are Signs both in the Horizon and within the self, and Islam teachers that we must constantly be mindful, pay attention to those signs and when we do, we find greater truth. But this must begin by knowing one's self, one's origin, where one is now and where man is going. Everything in the world is created with truth says the Quran and we can cover up the truth momentarily with our illusion and go on feeding our delusions, but ultimately we must face truth, and no other truth is more immanent that the truth about one's self and find that truth.

2) Observe and Reflect

Have the courage to observe and reflect. Some people choose ignorance that lowers their consciousness eventually. Internal reflection will certainly help you better understand your thoughts, emotions, and provide clarity in your current life situation.

It is an important step towards growth. Acknowledge your problems and seek solutions. Meditation is a good way to start the process, even for 20 minutes daily will make a difference in your state of consciousness.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Islam actually again and again calls to reflect, contemplate and turn both outwardly and inwardly to observer and reflect. Quran again and again says that I have revealed my Book for those who think, ponder and reflect. Quran teachers that those who were given Signs in the world and yet didn't observer or reflect on them, will be raised as blind on the Day of Judgment for they have misused the gift of Signs which is to observer and recognizing the Signs in abundance of the holy truth both in the universe and within Man himself. The Prophet of Islam encouraged contemplation by saying, a moment of contemplation on the Signs of God are better in merit than 40 years of ritual worship. A moment of observing the Signs in the Horizon is better than many life time of pious devotion.

3) Be Compassionate

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes

Practicing compassion can be one of the single most powerful exercises for boosting your level of consciousness. Compassion is an ability to acknowledge the emotional state of our fellow human beings. Several studies prove that people who practice compassion experience constant change in their brain and respond positively to stress. Being compassionate towards yourself and others also helps you to not only forgive the other person but also overcome your own negative thoughts or emotions.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Among all the Divine Qualities Islam teachers to focus on the two Divine Qualities which are ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim. Both of which means a quality of deep compassion, infinite and boundless compassion, a compassion that flows ceaselessly from the Heart of hearts, the kind of compassion that fuels every mother's heart for their child, that fuels every lovers heart for its beloved, that fuels every creature towards act of compassion and mercy. The role model for Muslim the beloved of Allah is identified in the Qur'an as Mercy to all beings, all worlds (rahmatallil alamin). Being compassionate is the highest Sunnah, the highest Way of the Messenger because thats what he was and remain to be, that how he is molded by the Fashioner.

4) Don’t hold onto your past experience or your expectations

Understand the power of now and live in the present. Get absorbed into the current moment. Let go of the wretched feelings and negative emotions. Watch your pattern of being trapped into the past, and then break that pattern. Start doing something that makes you happy. Looking at the world from the window of your past is cheating on yourself. Your present is seeking you. Allow your mind to be conscious of the present.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Everytime a person stands in salah, in Islamic prayer, at the moment of prayer begin, he or she will raise their hand, face the palm in front and through the back of their hand will push away all burden and all the past. This hand gesture symbolizes leaving behind the past, the worldly concerns, the attachments and facing only the Truth. Also in sujud or prostration inside the prayer, it symbolizes unloading all the burden at the feet of the Divine. So within Islamic prayer there is a practice of letting go, leaving attachment behind and anything that holds someone back from soaring to the Only Beloved.

Islam also encourages to forgive others in order to expect that forgiveness be granted by the Most Forgiving. The statement of Astaghfirullah is a statement of letting go. Tawba is turning back from all attachment, holding, past experiences and plunging into the Divine Mercy and Grace. Islam teachers and encourages one to practice Istighfar (forgiveness for one's self against one's injustice committed to the self which is a Divine Spark and deserves mercy and grace) a lot during the day and night, and to practice Tawba. Every-time one does, one renew their connection with the Ever Present Mercy and Grace of Allah and leave behind all past experiences, bitterness, grudge and things of hurt and renew and renew like a new born.

Allah is Ever Living (al-Hayy), Ever Present (la mawjuda illa Allah, Who is More Present Now than Allah?), why go to illusory past and race to imaginary future, be with the Ever Living - al-Hayy - Who is Now glancing Upon You with Her Loving Merciful Eye as if you are Her only child so feeling insecure in this orphaned world separated from the Mother of all mothers.

Fa innaka bi Ayyunina
So indeed You are in Our Eyes. ~ 52:48

5) Keep your ego in check

Ego is a small portion of the whole being. Consciousness is the higher self. Scientists have proven the fact that your consciousness never dies. Ego is like an infection to the consciousness, a hindrance that blocks the growth of consciousness. But it’s curable. Ego doesn’t let you take conscious decisions. Keep asking yourself – is it the real you or is it the ego that’s talking?

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: The entire teaching of Islam is about refining one's ego to the extent that it dissolves and merge into the Will of God. As long as ego remains it wants, but a true devotee will let go of what it wants for what Allah wants. This is surrender into the Divine Love. Islam, particularly the inner teachings of Islam is infused with teachings to work with the ego and keep it balanced and riding on it rather than be guided by it. Following the whims of the ego is something which Islam shuns very strong, rather the physicians of the heart and self in Islam teachers that the more one opposes the ego (keeping it under check) the more expanded consciousness and personality one can develop.

6) Destroy Blockages

There are multiple blockages in your mind that act as an obstruction to attain a higher level of consciousness. Being judgmental towards the self and others, your inability to forgive, having trouble accepting the reality or past emotional blocks that has been suppressed within your subconscious. It exists like a barrier in your mind which you have to break down. Set yourself free from all the blockages. Break the walls. By doing so, you will cleanse the soul and your mind will start functioning at a higher frequency.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: If anyone is familiar with Islamic teachings and practice one can easily identify all of the above said under the sub-head: destroy blockage. Islam is about not being judgmental for we believe that Allah alone can judge, He alone is al-Hakim and al-Adl. Allah is not only Judge but He is also Just. Often we are unjustified in our judgement and hence we must avoid judgement - thats what Islam teachers. It says we must find 70 excuses for our brother so that we can forgive and overlook their faults.

Blockage is about manufacturing false belief about the reality and self, and how the world interacts with one's self. The world is a mirror-room where we see in others what is within us in our deep subconscious level. When we start judging other, we actually harm our spiritual self, for then we go more and more behind the veil of ourself. Instead everytime about others bother us, we must look back to our ownself and find that fault and try to be free from it. The Prophet of Islam used to pray, "O God show me things as they really are." We also must pray thus and pray that Allah illuminate our own faults when we find faults in others and increase our capacity to purify and perfect ourselves as you Will that we be perfect and put on the robe of Your Divine Nature in which you've created us.

7) Spend time alone

“The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by anyone, ever. The true life takes place when we’re alone, thinking feeling, lost in memory, dreamingly self-aware, the submicroscopic moments.”- Don DeLillo, Point Omega

It is important to catch up with yourself. Most of us consider loneliness as a threat or an occasion to fret in the void. Spending time with yourself allows the inner self to speak to you. Follow that voice. It’s your inner voice talking. Go on a walk to listen to your own thoughts, give gratitude for everything that you have in your life, listen to music, or get involved in a hobby that inspires you.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Within Islam embed is a practice of Solitude for those who are interested to taste the sweetness of Faith and that solitude is the night vigil, qiyamul-layl or standing up in vigil, in prayer at night, praying one's tahajjud prayer. This is the practice of being alone with the Alone.

Islam encourage the night vigil because night is the best time for lovers when one can be in direct commune with the Beloved. The greatest communion of humanity always always happened in night. The Words of Consciousness (Revelation) came at a blessed Night, the Union of the beloved and the Lord (Miraj) or Holy Ascension also occurred in another blessed Night. Night always symbolizes moment for connection of the higher with the lower.

This is when the atmosphere of the earth is more refined, everyone is asleep and solitude and silence is preserved then one must rise up and remember the Lord. This was originally an additional commandment to the Prophet and by extension to the community so that it can expand the consciousness, in doing so one may attain maqam al-mahmuda, station of praise - the birthright of human beings for they are already created in the Fitrah of Allah - a supremely honored and praiseworthy station that is.

O thou wrapped up in thy raiment! Arise [to pray] in the night, for most of it - and recite the Qur'an with measured recitation. Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty Message (seed of Consciousness). Verily, the keeping the night vigil is most potent for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (framing) the Word (expanding the Consciousness by the seed of Consciousness which is Divine Words). ~ the Quran 73: Surah Muzammil

8) Step out of your Comfort Zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Step out of your comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty. You never know what it holds for you. Get imaginative. Unravel new layers of your existence. Don’t feed your fear of falling or making a mistake. There is a lesson behind each stumble and fall. If you don’t step out of your comfort zone, you’ll never learn that lesson.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Man must strive towards its Lord. Thats a Quranic confirmation. Whether we want to get gains in this world or the highest gain in the afterlife, one must leave the comfort zone behind and strive hard. That is Jihad, sadly which is hijacked by the corrupt media and paid mercenaries who wage Yankee Jihad. Quran admonish humanity that they shouldn't think that God will let them enter the Paradise without first He knowing who strives for Him out of faith and love for Him. There are trials and tests and those who are busy and blind within comfort zone shall soon know.

9) Love

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against It.” – Rumi

Some say love is a drive. Some say love is a vibration. The truth of the matter is that love cannot be labeled. It is far more sacred than these labels. Allow yourself to receive love and give love whole-heartedly and unconditionally to yourself and others. And in that whole-heartedness, you experience your consciousness expanding. You feel the bliss all around you.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Love is the cosmogensis of the universe. The Divine Consciousness was a Hidden Treasure that Longed to be Loved and hence it brought forth the creational manifestation so that they may come to Know and Love Him. The creation is a mirror in which the Beloved Contemplates His own Majesty and Beauty. Without Love there is nothing, no religion, no ideology, no angel, no Divine Throne, no Muhammad, no Ahmad, no Message and Call to Faith, no Garden of Nearness, no drama of Resurrection, no Unveiling, not even God. There is a tremendous hadith, a sacred tradition of Islam where the Messenger of Love said, "In the Hereafter, you shall be with the ones you loved in this world." So let people decide whom to love and put in their heart.

Love is the single most factor that can expand the heart and hence the consciousness. Great Masters who even send back their eager to be disciple to first go back and fall in love and then come to us before you may learn any lesson on this Path of Love. The brokenheart is a precious things and God long for broken-heartedness and promised that He is with the brokenhearted ones. May we learn to Love if we are to have any hope to expand our consciousness.

10) Embrace Nature

Connect with nature, the rustling leaves, colourful flowers, majestic trees, ever-changing clouds and fluid water. Be grateful for the nature around you because in time spent in nature never gees wasted. Feel a deep sense of peace and oneness within, and in that feeling lies the answers you seek.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: Islamic teachers that Remembrance of God is the highest. It is the highest act that human being can do, it is the highest form of worship, it is the highest essence of all devotion. Remembrance is the natural outcome of Love. We remember the one whom we love. Thats why Remembrance is so central in Islam. And in this world of appearances the most powerful place where remembrance of the Lord can be achieved is when we are in the nature. The more pristine the nature is, the more we are close to our Original Paradisal Home, Jannah, the Garden and hence a remembrance automatically occur within the heart, a longing to go back Home. Thats why Nature in Islam is sacred, nature is the open Book of God.

 We will show them Our signs in the horizons… The Quran 41:53

11) Meditation and Exercise

Meditation opens up a direct link between yourself and the higher realms of consciousness. Simple meditation has tremendous benefits for the mind, body and soul. It can help you connect with your self, restore balance in your thoughts and emotions, lower stress and raise your vibrations, brings joy and clarity.

This is what Islamic Teaching Teaches us: The five times daily prayer and additional night vigil has the purpose to help man enter into a constant meditative state. The whole body movement of Islamic prayer move the major joints, the before prayers Islam teachers to take ablution, the contact of water - the most important element of our world which not only purifies externally but also soothers the nerve endings and give a wholesome experience. Ablution is like entering into the consciousness of baptism, a practice of the holy fathers of the desert, a part and parcel of holy life. 

12) Worship the Lord as if You See Him, if you Cannot Achieve that Level of Consciousenss, Know that He Sees You

This is the 12th Way and the most powerful way to expand the consciousness.

In the sacred tradition of Islam there is an incident recorded in Islamic history where the Prophet was questioned by the arch-angel Gabriel who appeared as an unknown Man. The Prophet was surrounded by his companions, so this mysterious man asked the Prophet few questions which the Prophet replied and this was a session of education and its purpose is fulfilled and successful, for after 1500 years we still have that lesson with us.

The Prophet was asked, what is excellence (Ihsan)? This excellence can be understood as the excellence of man, excellence in conduct, the best that one can achieve as human being. The Prophet replied that Ihsan is to worship God with such high degree of Consciousness that as if One is Seeing God. And then he said, if one can not achieve that level of consciousness, then excellence is to have this consciousness that God is seeing him.

We know that observation and consciousness are quite linked. Observing something sharply help on achieve higher consciousness, contemplating (seeing with the eyes of the heart) can help expand consciousness.

In the above tradition the Prophet of Islam, may peace and blessings of Allah be with him said something tremendous, very ambitious, which is to worship with the consciousness of seeing God. This to me, is the highest way for this demands creative imagination of highest degree.

This practice guarantees that everytime we stand for prayer we strive to expand our Consciousness, first by becoming more and more aware / conscious that God is seeing Us, we are right in front of God, when we are prostrating we are at His Divine Feet. This refinement of consciousness is a continuous process, thats why in Islam we are commanded to pray Five Times in a day and night. Five is the number of communication.

Everytime we stand for prayer, if we are more and more aware of He seeing us, then a day will come, even the second inshaAllah, that we will be able to achieve that level of consciousness where we see God with our eyes of the Heart when we stand for prayer. And when that even mature and becomes a station of the soul, then we may enter into constant communion when we attain, "Wheresoever you may turn, you see the Face of God."

May Allah grant us that station in this very life, in this very body, in this very breath, for what is Time but an instant when God says Be and It is. May be it so, Ameen.

Sadiq M. Alam
Al-Baraka Tower, Dhaka, Bangladesh



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Technology of the Heart: 12 Ways to Expand Your Consciousness ~ What Can We Learn from Islamic Teachings?
12 Ways to Expand Your Consciousness ~ What Can We Learn from Islamic Teachings?
Allah is the Ultimately Conscious, al-Khabir, the Supremely Aware and we human being who are bestowed this grand and joyful position in the cosmos to walk as God's vicegerent on earth, His representative, His Image, carrier of His Fitrah - must also strive to expand our consciousness. Allah says, nothing can contain me but the heart of My Devotee and to contain that Supreme King, the Seat of our Heart must have that infinitely expanding nature. Just as the cosmos is expanding, our consciousness of our heart go on expanding, for it is the Seat of the Supreme.
Technology of the Heart
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