Alec wrote in a commment:
I keep reading How to Stay Conscious 1 and some other articles of yours over and over as they have helped me to remain conscious. I am however not able abide in that state for more than a few minutes at a time.
I thanked Alec for telling me that my articles have helped him stay conscious. That’s the best praise the articles could receive.
Alec is already able to stay conscious for a few minutes at a time. That’s good. Many people would envy him. He’s well beyond the beginner stage where the attention has such a strong urge to seek thoughts that sustained consciousness seems impossible.
Every second that you stay conscious has a beneficial effect. You may not see the effect but it’s there. These effects accumulate slowly over time. The effort itself is beneficial. You can’t do this practice badly. Every effort you make to stay conscious has an effect. People shouldn’t think “I’m bad at this.” The fact that you are making an effort is the important thing. If you stick to it, the efforts add up and one day you will see the results.
Over the next few weeks I’ll write about more tips that people can use to remain conscious for longer periods of time. Here’s a tip for today. I’ll let Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj introduce it. In Seeds of Consciousness he says:
If you want this experience you must insist on your Self, your own Atma-prema [Self-love]. Don’t leave it for a moment. You insist. Do not pray to Gods or Goddesses, only see One. Keep on knowing that “I Am” and through that insistence you will know the state that you want to reach.
I added the italics. The idea, in case you missed it, is insistence. You insist that you’re going to stay conscious.
This means you make an act of will. You decide that you’re going to stay conscious. This may sound like wishful thinking but it works if you are conscious when you do it.
Maybe I better repeat that. To make this work you must be conscious when you insist.
There’s no trick or gimmick to it except you must be aware when you do it. You just simply consciously insist.
You make a decision and you really mean it.
I don’t know how to describe it better. I wish I could think of more words to say about it but I can’t. I can only tell you that I’ve done this and it works for me.
This is a short post because I can’t think of anything else to say about it. All I can do is alert you to the fact that the human mind has the power to do this.
Some readers may doubt that this power exists because they believe that people lack the ability to commit themselves to act a certain way in the future. Ouspensky and Gurdjieff strongly promoted this view of human nature. Ouspensky and Gurdjieff were right to a certain extent but they overstated their case. It’s true that people are not very good at keeping promises that they make to themselves, but it’s not true that they lack the ability completely. We do have a power, albeit a weak power, to influence our behavior by consciously insisting. The act of insisting must be repeated often and its effects are limited, but nonetheless it does change our behavior.
The Goddess once told me, “Use everything we gave you.”
This power of insisting is one of the things they gave us.
Painting: Judgment of Solomon by Franz Caucig.