At a more down-to-earth, there is the help we can give to others. We can devote our life to helping the sick, the destitute, the mentally ill, or visit the prisoners. We can do all this with a good heart and happily, without concern for our comfort or what suits us best, do so without personal motive or selfish. This is what the Hindu tradition Nishkama called Karma Yoga, the yoga of selfless action. And this too is an indirect method to raise the level of our consciousness.
We can also connect with people who have a spiritual life, especially those who are more spiritually developed than ourselves, if we can find them. Some traditions, some teachers, look at what kind of relationship as the most important indirect methods. Indian literature religious and spiritual constantly refers to as satsangh. Sat means true, real, genuine, pure, spiritual - even transcendental sangha means association, communion, fellowship. Satsangh is simply being together, often in a spirit of joy and carelessness with people who follow the spiritual path and whose predominant interest is in spiritual things. It rubs off on us almost without our having to make any effort. Satsangh is also an indirect method to raise the level of consciousness. This is what Buddhism calls Kalyana Mitrata.
And then there are the chants and the worship ritual. It denigrates the ritual much these days, especially the smartest people - I should perhaps say the most "intellectual". But it is a way to raise the level of consciousness and has been proven. The mere fact of offering some flowers or light a candle in front of a statue or an image change our minds and we are sometimes surprised to see the extent of change. We read many books on the spiritual life we can even think of trying (and perhaps succeeded), but we sometimes find that simply performing a symbolic ritual action when it is full of meaning, helps a lot more.
One could mention many other indirect methods, which can be combined with each other. Some can be combined with the direct method, with the practice of meditation. Note, however, that, whatever their value, some of these indirect methods can not lead us very far. They can raise us at all levels of consciousness. But as in most cases, we have to wait long before moving on to higher levels of consciousness, indirect methods may be useful to us for a long time. Even if, through these methods, we can get closer to these higher levels, we must still practice meditation more and more to grow higher. We will start working on the mind.
How is that?
What is the direct work of the mind?
So far I have used the general term of "meditation," because it is one that is understood in the West. But the term "meditation" does not match any word Indian or Buddhist. What we call "meditation" is at least three different things, actually covers three different ways to work directly on the mind - we could say three different stages in the development of consciousness - where Buddhism, as of other Indian spiritual traditions, a very different terms. The term "meditation" in fact covers the Concentration, absorption and penetrating view.