A Conversation with David Ault

Conscious Life Journal: What does the phrase “conscious mind” mean to you?

David Ault: To define what MIND is, I would remove the word conscious and start with the word MIND. Invite your readers to entertain the concept that there’s only one MIND—universal intelligence, energy, the essence that exists behind all life, the creative force that drives nature, earth’s evolution, the synchronistic patterns within our solar system, the natural laws of gravity and buoyancy. The creation
of life itself. If MIND was the macrocosm,
then we as spiritual beings having a human experience are part of that. A microcosm of the macrocosm. Conscious mind is the degree in which you and I are aware of this all-pervasive existence of MIND. Call it self-awareness. I can be a part of it and completely unconscious, but the degree that I’m conscious of my absorption in MIND is the degree in which I can take that awareness and begin to utilize all of the aspects that make up MIND, like divine harmony, intelligence, genius, love, wholeness. I always tell my students that my three favorite words are “to the degree.” If you took a drop out of the ocean and put it under a microscope, all of the elements of the ocean are in that drop. So if you look at MIND as the ocean and us
as the drop, all of the elements of MIND—the genius that created worlds and solar systems—are the genius within us. But if I’m ignorant
or resistant or operate from a stale, stagnant perception that I’m not good enough, that genius can lie dormant.

CLJ: So it seems you are using the words awareness and degree of awareness the way some people use the word God?

DA: Exactly. When you think of what makes up conscious mind, there are two aspects. The first aspect of mind is conscious, objective, or surface mind. That’s the part we choose from. I’m constantly choosing what I wear, eat, where to live, even my attitude. The other aspect is the subconscious, subjective, deeper mind. It obeys whatever is chosen from conscious mind. If I make a choice that the world is unsafe, then the subconscious mind simply says okay. It completely agrees with and is in harmony with whatever info is received from objective mind.

The subconscious is like the warehouse of all thought. Every thought of every sentient being rests within this universal subconscious. Choosing consciously is the cultivated practice of making fresh choices despite your history or cultural influence. Fresh choice means you’re not influenced by what exists in the subconscious, you’re making a fresh decision from the objective mind. When you do that the subconscious says yes. But you don’t just make a fresh choice and you’re done. You have the opportunity to make a fresh choice all the time because you and I are evolutionary beings. We never hit the ceiling of our capability.

CLJ: So where do you start to heal?

DA: Through acceptance and devotion, acceptance that it is your birthright
to heal, acceptance that you are deserving, and then devotion to choosing healing thoughts over ones that doubt the possibility. There’s always that phrase “fake it till you make it.” However, there has to be enough devotion to faking it in order to move into the realm of fresh choice. Objective mind chooses. Subjective mind obeys. From those two components we get effect. What’s so fascinating about the subconscious is that every time I make a choice of not being good enough, it aligns itself historically with all sentient beings that have ever made a choice of not being good enough. But it’s also true for its polarity. Every time I say “yes, I can” or “the world is operating in my favor” and
I stay true to that choice, then I’m aligning with all the other individuals who have made that particular decision. That’s how potent and powerful deliberate conscious thought is. The thing to realize is that the subconscious or subjective only operates deductively. It doesn’t debate the choice. If I say I’m not good enough, or I’m too old, or everyone leaves me, or whatever the excuse might be, the subconscious just says okay.

CLJ: Do you advocate that there has to be that crisis, that point of awakening where you decide that your life is no longer working?

DA: As odd as it may sound, bottoming out contains fertile territory for change. We are in genuine surrender which makes personal examination far more welcoming and allowed. In my work with people we examine our themes. We all have them. A theme can be something as simple as “I don’t have enough time.” There’s no truth to that. But if I believe it and I say it and it becomes indoctrinated
as a choice, it becomes one of my themes. And unless I rewrite a different theme, then my life will always exemplify it. So the most competent people can show up in my life, but because of my theme I’ll either disregard their gifts and talents or I won’t be able to see their gifts and talents. If we can begin to dismantle our themes and replace them, that becomes a point of healing.

We walk around with a hierarchy of values. Whatever is in my hierarchy of values is what I talk about, how I spend my money, whom I choose as my circle of friends, etc. People can come to a class or seek me out for coaching or counseling because they’re interested. But being interested isn’t enough. One has to become invested. When you become invested in something, that thing resides high within your hierarchy of values.

CLJ: So when people do become invested, what happens to their minds and (as a result of that) their lives?

DA: I think there’s a reawakening. A return to self. A realization of innate gifts and talents that were always there. Whatever people are uncovering for themselves is something that they’ve possessed all along. The spiritual path isn’t about learning anything, it’s about unlearning a lot of
stuff that has gotten in the way. It’s really
a shedding. Shedding becomes physical, metaphorical, spiritual, and emotional. People start to shed possessions because the acquisition of stuff isn’t as important anymore. There’s a deeper desire for experience and connection.

CLJ: If we are all a piece of the universal ONE, how do we explain the things in our world that are in crisis? Are they a reflection of our collective consciousness?

DA: Chaos is necessary in order for there
to be a breakdown and rebirth. Rebirth comes from deconstruction, the dissolution of what was. I love the analogy of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Most people don’t understand that the fire was actually built by the bird. The phoenix flies into the fire to destroy itself because it understands there’s a greater capacity or expression of its being. That’s what’s so beautiful about the mythology. When you think of mind as the phoenix—let’s say all of the collection of souls are the phoenix—it’s as if there’s a self- generated fire being built because that next level of expression is beckoning. What is old and common doesn’t work anymore. Look at how bizarre and ridiculous and like a circus things can become in order for the system to collapse. The higher self or the evolved part of us totally gets that, but the human part is freaking out.

CLJ: People are in fear about a lot of things. Personally and on a global scale. So where does fear fit in our journey to a higher level of consciousness?

DA: Every single feeling and emotion serves a purpose. There’s not a bad emotion
and good emotion or a bad feeling and good feeling. They’re all there for us to be able
to process and deal with situations. The instinctual part of fear that says run from the tiger or don’t stick your arm in the alligator’s mouth is a proactive use of it. When fear becomes an inhibitor then we misuse it.

Fear can be positive when we can articulate what the fear is and have a conversation with it. I’ve always loved Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” That’s me getting an invitation
in the mail from my fear and saying, “Hey, meet me.” Instead of avoiding it I answer the invitation and I meet the fear only to discover it has no value. If I see behind the curtain (like in the Wizard of Oz) and it’s nothing, the ceiling becomes my floor and there’s a new ceiling, and I start the process again. But without the fear this cycle wouldn’t manifest for my growth.

CLJ: Will the continuation of our personal growth get any easier?

DA: Hopefully we become less resistant—to change, to mystery. The term “easier” would describe our growth around circumstances and not the circumstances themselves. I think we always feel very deeply. I’m rereading the Autobiography of
 a Yogi about Paramahansa Yogananda’s life, and despite all the amazing mindfulness and expansion that he encounters, he still goes through a lot in his humanity. He still runs into blockages and betrayals, but he brings to those situations a completely different toolbox. Maybe the duration of the pain or betrayal doesn’t last a decade. Maybe he quickens the process of it. There’s a deeper understanding about how life is. I think as we grow we don’t attach ourselves to the story. The story becomes more like a cloud that drifts through the sky. So I’m going to acknowledge and be in the story while the cloud is overhead and I know it’s going to move on.

CLJ: Do you have a favorite method for increasing our awareness and raising our consciousness?

DA: If people are afraid of stillness and quiet, that’s the thing they should go into first. If they have a fear of meditation or think it’s some big ominous thing, that’s where they’ll begin to discover themselves and their themes when they begin to practice stillness. I think stillness is the key.

CLJ: If you were speaking to our readers—ranging from those who are in their first crisis and subsequent awakening to those readers growing through their 100th crisis—what’s your recommendation for a good way to a greater level of balance and freedom?

DA: Whatever the crisis is, let there be some kind of touchstone where they say to themselves my solution already exists. How
I handled other crises in the past is not how I’m going to handle this one. Because my solution already exists. Invite your readers to never stop being curious, to never stop having beginner’s mind. Beginner’s mind is that part of us that’s willing to make a fresh choice.
It’s the part of us that overrides our cynicism, that statement of “oh, I know that already.” When you understand the solution already exists, it elevates possibility into probability. You’re not going to get the whole puzzle, you’re going to get one little piece at a time. If you’re invested in putting the puzzle together then each puzzle piece will come to you in the right and appropriate time. There’s too much intelligence in the world for life to just be random. There has to be divine synchronicity to life, a harmony to it, a reason. And if I’m
a part of that I’m going to get out of the way. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I get my bloated nothingness out of the way.” And I allow myself to listen. To get quiet, to get still, to listen to the internal guidance system inside of me so I can make more conscious choices.

David Ault is an internationally known author and celebrated metaphysical teacher and speaker. He is an ordained minister through Centers for Spiritual Living and currently serves as the Senior Minister of Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. DavidAult.com