Although meditation has become widely popular, higher consciousness baffles and intimidates people. It seems like a faraway exotic attainment, and perhaps more myth that reality. But higher consciousness is just a convenient catch-all for expanded awareness. Reaching any higher state depends on a simple, very basic axiom: You cannot change what you are not aware of. Grasping this statement takes only a minute, but the point is critically important.
To be aware is also called being mindful. It is very desirable to be mindful. It keeps you in the present moment. It involves being alert and open to new experiences. Mindfulness is detached: you are open to the present moment but are not attached to any outcome that you either desire or fear.
Yet mindfulness has a built-in catch. How do you remind yourself to be mindful when you have drifted away from the present moment? Mindfulness is the very state you are not in. Telling someone to be mindful is like saying “Don’t forget to remember.” Fortunately, you can get past the catch. It involves the simple act of noticing. Your mind is designed to notice things all the time and sending the signal to you.
When you notice a friend in the crowd or something appetizing on a restaurant menu or an attractive stranger, what actually happens? You flick a switch and start to pay attention. The thing you notice is selected from lots of other things you are not noticing. When you see a friend in the crowd, you ignore the other people all around.