The “new consciousness” movement has been growing in the Western world for at least a decade but was of interest mainly to the healing and spiritual communities. Now, thanks to scientific discoveries, this movement is expanding everywhere. However, it is becoming a mere paradigm (a trend) for many people and industries and sometimes loses its essence. Let’s shed light on the difference between a paradigm and the new consciousness movement of the 21st century. Whereas the former implies a novelty, a branding or marketable idea for a product, or is used as propaganda, the latter is about a radical change in the way we see reality, relate to ourselves, the world, and the universe. A “paradigm” brings a different way of structuring society overall, like technology has changed our way of doing business and socializing – it is within the same worldview of the system, and we simply change pawns on the chess board.

On the contrary, a “shift of consciousness” shatters the very basic worldview and raises the simple and yet profound question of “Who am I? Who are we?” In short, the Western worldview with its dualistic perspective is now slowly shifting to Oneness as the new reality of the universe. Consequently, changes emerge culturally and are only then visible to the public. We all witness a change happening on the planet that translates as “chaos” at all levels, such as geo-politics, health, societal, business, humanitarian issues, identity questions, existential concerns, etc.

Furthermore, “new consciousness” is more than a concept. It is fundamentally a reality that leads us to a new world and way of existing on the planet – it is an existential shift. Not because of the environmental threats (which is a result) but because of so much suffering at all levels that has reached its peak. How does the new consciousness affect our cultural reality and our lives? Wikipedia defines it as:

The new consciousness means that what was once considered weird thinking has now been backed by scientific evidence. So, it has now been accepted as valid and is rapidly becoming the new norm.

The “new consciousness” is twofold. First, there is truth in Wikipedia’s statement as for the first time in modern history science and spirituality team up to offer a revisited version of reality. I remember reading in a scientific book years ago that “Quantum physics and Zen are the same. They both question the reality we live in.” And that was in the 80’s already. Quantum theory backed up some Eastern spiritual teachings and will probably continue to do so even more. While many people need science to validate their limited view of reality, many spiritual practitioners know or have experienced a much profound reality without the validation of science. Some call it “faith,” others “intuitive or spiritual experience.” As an example, quantum physics and neuroscience redefine gravity as a field of consciousness in which everything is connected, from human cells to stars and galaxies, like knots in a spiderweb. In biology, epigenetics shows that consciousness is affecting our DNA, and the latter is only the blueprint while consciousness is the architect. As a result, what was seen as absolute reality with a deterministic view and Cartesian reality (binary mind) is now broken down and brings us into an empowering reality where we are in control of our own minds, bodies, and lives. Our traditional Western metanarratives (philosophy, science, medicine, etc.) are shaken up and are adapting to, or in some cases resisting, this new understanding of reality. This is the birth of the “new consciousness.” To be more specific, we call it “new consciousness” because even if this view of Oneness is not new per se, it is only now that it grows roots in our Western societies. Any big shift of worldview takes time to become a norm.

Consequently, we are experiencing a breakdown of our traditional beliefs system and we face socio-political chaos because if we don’t trust our own foundation anymore, what is left, then? We are faced with uncertainty, paradoxes, more dualities, fear, frustrations, existential crisis, etc. It takes time to embrace a new way of life. If we add to that the environmental crisis, we may face the 6th mass extinction on the planet as many scientists like Gregg Braden stated. It is about humanity. If we do not change our way of life and thinking, we will end up like dinosaurs in Jurassic era. We need a new grounding platform with a new type of leadership based on the “new consciousness,” which is the realization that there is oneness in nature and the universe, which translates as: collaboration instead of competition; balanced life instead of performing; compassion instead of judgment; thriving instead of surviving; maintenance of health instead of preventing a disease; self-transformation instead of wellbeing; collective instead of individualism; and Oneness instead of duality. Naturally, that leads us to the second aspect of the “new consciousness” as a spiritual shift in our modern societies.

Spirituality simply means rethinking our reality and questioning the “I” that we attach to; a way of relating to oneself, others, nature, the world, and the universe for harmony and self-realization. The chaos experienced in this beginning of the 21st century triggered an existential crisis that calls for rethinking “who we are” and our life missions as humans. We all know the saying “be the change you want to see in society.” Therefore, the new consciousness refers to something deeper than just a change of lifestyle or way of life. At the core of the new consciousness is the idea of self-transformation as an active path. It is not enough to ask for a transformation of socio-political structure, for example, as if it was something outside of us. We are society. Even if the structure changes and we don’t change ourselves, chaos will still be there on a different level. We all need to self-transform ourselves. It is the foundation of everything we do, think, undertake at all levels, whether it is social, educational, political, scientific, economics, arts, healing modalities, etc. It is a shift in the way we look at ourselves, the world, nature, the universe. It is a profound shift. Not a mere paradigm, but a shift of consciousness, from “me and the world” to “oneness.” This is the only way we can push humanity forward, as many transformational speakers, mystics, and leaders have stated.

“Who am I?” is the beginning of our inner journey to self-transformation. We are more than a name, a social identity, a cultural, ideological, or national identity, more than a religious identity, and even more than our physical bodies. Yes, you know that already BUT never took real action to reach that true nature, or true Self. The new consciousness is precisely to “stop thinking or talking about it as a concept, and now attain it!” Knowing is not enough. Do it! We all practice some spiritual modalities like meditation, yoga, prayers, etc., but still do it in a dualistic way, meaning we practice to please our “ego.” We do not realize that we practice as a way out of suffering and to obtain something for our personal gains while the true practice is to go inward to remember who we truly are and drop all illusions about our separate selves to move out of duality. The new consciousness is about moving out of duality to live in Oneness. Not to ask for something that the ego needs. It takes a real and sincere practice for self-transformation, otherwise our practice remains a fashionable lifestyle – nothing more. The new consciousness is about “conscious actions” for Conscious Living.

The 21st century, then, is offering us a great opportunity to shift our small consciousness to higher consciousness and develop our true human potential for ourselves and the planet. Together, we can do it.

I am the host of “Tea Break with” podcast based upon this question of new consciousness and how it affects us on many levels and helps us move to a greater life experience. Guests in the podcast come from various professional backgrounds and offer observations, directions, reflections, suggestions on the subject and what it means in our lives. Guests also share with us how they try to make a difference in their own lives and respective fields of expertise.

Join us and be part of the 21st century!

Viviane Casimir, Ph.D.