What is cognitive dissonance and why am I writing this article you may ask? The world is going through a major shift in it’s beliefs with the COVID-19 Virus happening. This isn’t just a local phenomenon mind you, but a world-wide issue. It is affecting everyone on the planet, whether or not a person or someone they love comes down with it. People are dying by huge numbers and it is growing exponentially by the day. But where it is affecting everyone is in how it is changing the way we live and relate to one another. Quarantine, lock-down, curfew, lack of supplies like food, medicine, and dare I say, bathroom tissue has become our new norm.

It is becoming a daily challenge for all and is no respecter of persons or social status. Just look at Hollywood and people that play music for a living. This virus has leveled the playing field. Whether we like it or not, life on Planet Earth has changed drastically. I will get more into that change and what it may mean for our future, but first let me explain what cognitive dissonance is for those of you that have never heard of it.

Cognitive dissonance refers to the feelings of discomfort one gets when the new information they are receiving ends up in conflict with their current beliefs. People like consistency and don’t like change too much. It makes them very uncomfortable. A good example of this would be, let’s say you don’t believe in extraterrestrial life, specifically aliens. That is what we have been taught, right? Then, you turn on the evening news and there is a report that an alien craft landed on the White House lawn. The fact that what you believe about there not being any such thing as aliens and seeing a real alien craft landing right on camera for all to see would cause you cognitive dissonance. What you are seeing and what you believe just don’t add up. It is hard to wrap one’s head around something like that.

Personally, I had an experience like this back in 2007-2008. It was a culmination of three events actually. First, our infant daughter was born very sick and progressively got worse over 35 days until she succumbed to the multiple infections in her tiny body and everything shut down, and she went into cardiac arrest. I was as Christian back then, going on 30 years. Yeah, I believed in ‘God’. Well, she didn’t survive that event. She suffered horribly the entire 35 days and still I believed in this ‘Christian God’.

Eight months later, I had a heart attack. They tell me it was due to holding my feelings in, since I was trying to be strong for my wife. It caused undo stress in my body and already being a heart patient, it was too much. Something had to give. After a week in the hospital recovering from it, I had a third event that brought everything to a head and caused me to experience cognitive dissonance.

The first night home from the hospital I was laying on the couch in the living room as I just couldn’t sleep. In the dark, with a portrait of our daughter hanging on the wall in front of me, I cried out to the ‘Universe’. There was no clock in the room and it was night and dark as I had no lights on. I could barely see my daughter’s image on the wall. What I cried was, “If anyone or anything out there can hear me, I need answers and I need them right now!” I was quite adamant about my request as I was in a lot of pain. My intention was strong, piercing even.

The moment I cried out and on speaking that last word, ‘Now’, something powerful happened. When I tell you it happened instantly, I mean, the word still echoed in the room. In an instant my consciousness became the entirety of the Universe, but nothing at the same time. I didn’t expand into it, I was it, in its completeness! Time and Space did not exist to me. I shouldn’t even use the word ‘me’. ‘Me’ no longer existed. Only pure awareness of All That Is. Everything was interconnected, no separation. Then I was back to being aware of ‘me’. The illusion. The story I tell myself, which is ‘my’ reality. It was still dark out, but since I had no clock there in the room, I have no idea how much ‘time’ passed for me. It could have been hours or only mere seconds.

If you study dreams, you will find that you dream on average 30 dreams a night, but they happen very fast compared to how much ‘time’ actually goes by in your waking life. Crazy. This is because ‘time’ is in fact nothing but a construct of the human mind. A perception, nothing more. We experience ‘time’ due to a gravity well produced by Earth’s mass. It bends what we call Space-Time. All mass has this effect, even us, but it is more powerful the heavier the object. We don’t notice the gravity well we occupy produced by our own body. It is the reason everyone experiences ‘time’ differently. I could go on for pages, but let me move on. Go research this for yourself if you are so inclined. It is quite interesting.

Back to cognitive dissonance. That experience shattered my entire life. Everything I was taught or lead to believe was a lie. My experience didn’t line up with what I thought was ‘truth’, what I thought was ‘reality’. Like the Great and Powerful Oz, behind the curtain in the Wizard Of Oz, this physical reality was nothing but an illusion. Another analogy is from the movie The Matrix. NEO thought he knew what was ‘real’, but in fact his entire existence was a lie. An illusion. Sorry if you haven’t seen it yet. Spoiler alert. He was living in a computer simulation. Now, I am not saying that is what we live in. What I am saying is that the entire Universe is pure energy and everything is made up of that energy, thus we are all interconnected with everything, because we are everything. Mind-bending, I know, but bear with me. This is going somewhere, I promise.

There was no turning back. I didn’t know what had happened to me at the time, but over the course of two years, I questioned everything I thought I knew. In time, I came to understand I had what some call an awakening or a spiritual awakening. Now, I thought I was awake as a Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was still asleep! I questioned our entire existence and our place in the Universe.

After those two years I came to certain conclusions. When being brutally honest with myself, I had to admit that there was no evidence for the ‘God’ I had served for 30 years. I know, I am going to get slammed by my Christian friends and family, but this is what happened to me. At the end of the day, cognitive dissonance won out. Without the proper evidence, I could no longer subscribe to the idea of a deity that lives outside Space-Time, but within it at the same time. There simply wasn’t anything I could see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. But I should believe it, because it is written in a book somewhere? Take it all by faith, right? There are unicorns and fairies written about in books as well, not just one book. Does that make them real? Should I just take that they exist by faith? Maybe what we call ‘God’ is indeed just the Universe itself? Living Energy? Pure Consciousness? It is what I believe at the moment, due to my experience of it. No longer believe in that so called deity. We are but a drop of water in a giant ocean. Am I right in this? Who knows. It is no more ridiculous than believing a being created it all from nothing. Think about it, with what we understand about quantum mechanics, this makes perfect sense.

Now let’s talk about where we are collectively as the human race right now. No one can deny that we are connected and totally aware just how much we are dependent with one another. Sure, there are still some who have no clue and are living in their own little world, but I would like to believe that people are now becoming more aware of each other and how we are one and the same. We are One. One Consciousness. What has happened with COVID-19 has started to really change our perspective, how we interact with one another and how we see ourselves in the grand scheme of things.

Sometimes it takes a traumatic event, such as what I went through, to wake up from the illusion. It doesn’t happen to everyone the same. My wife never changed her beliefs and that is okay. She was awake in some respects, but not to the extent I was. Then again, I probably have more awakening to go. No, I do. I have not arrived yet. Some people wake up from sitting on a mountain top and watching a beautiful sunset, and poof!, they wake up. It is different for everyone. It took horrendous trauma in my life for it to get through to me.

When I say waking up, I am not talking about this ‘woke’ stuff that is going around. What is that, anyway? Maybe it is a form of waking up, but it is such a small scale, it isn’t even a blimp on the radar of what I am talking about here. Waking up, like NEO did, from the Matrix. Becoming ‘aware’ that you are more than a collection of thoughts or the story you tell yourself. Ask yourself. ‘Who Am I?’ Who is the ‘I’ that You are aware of. Who or what is looking out of your eyes and looking at the world around you?Who Is You? That is the real you. You can get to this level of awareness when you enter into deep meditation. Try it sometime.

This virus is becoming a very traumatic event that is affecting everyone on the planet. Will this be the one major catastrophic event that will cause people en mass to wake up fully? What will that world look like when this is all over and done with? Do we really want to go back to the world the way it was? So much hatred and being self-centered. Is that what we want? People all around the world have been waking up for years now and it is happening more and more over the years as it is happening exponentially. Like the shampoo commercial many years ago, “You tell two friends, they tell two friends, and so on, and so on.” Or like how birth takes place. Starting with one cell, divides in two, then four, eight, sixteen, etc. You get the picture. When we hit critical mass in waking up to pure consciousness, I believe we as the human race will evolve into something more, a higher conscious awareness. We will collectively experience a higher dimension. This is powerful. According to ancient recorded history on this planet, this has happened before. It is time for it to happen again.

Covid-19 is devastating for some and unfortunately many will die, but we as the human race will continue on, but what kind of world will we live in? I believe we can do better. I believe we WANT better. Sometimes it takes calamity to bring about positive change. It is up to us now. We are One, we are the Universal Consciousness experiencing Itself through many vessels or points of view. (Call it ‘God’ if that is what makes you feel good. I have no problem with that. It is all the same thing to me). It is time for us to evolve into a better human race. Will we let it destroy us or make us stronger, better? It is really up to us. Love really is the answer.

Be encouraged. This thing isn’t over yet. Practice health safety and this thing will eventually die off or we can spread it throughout the world until there is barely anyone left. We decide. But in the meanwhile, how will you treat your fellow human beings? Love. We got this.

So, in conclusion. What will be your cognitive dissonance? What will be your trigger into higher consciousness? How has what we are going through, collectively, changed how you view the world and our place in it? Has it even changed your perspective at all?

Take time to reflect on what I have shared through this article. Take time to sit quietly with yourself. Ask yourself, ‘Who Am I?’ Then just sit. Let thoughts leave your mind and just be in the moment, as that is all that exists. The Now. It’s not like we all don’t have any time on our hands right now.

There are plenty of good guides on meditation on the Internet. The ones where you concentrate on nothing but your breathing, and let go of all thought, except maybe the ‘Who Am I’ question and then just experience That, are the best in my opinion.

Or maybe I am just the crazy one. Who knows? Be well. Just Be.

Love and Light,

Galen Rha