The Gift of Consciousness (Mind)
As you read these words– the words that form this sentence, there is a part of you that is deciphering the meaning. Within you, there is an awareness that is interpreting the language and applying it to your own experience. The results of this process is that you relate. By relating, I mean, that you are conscious and that your consciousness is actively merging with the consciousness of the writer, and to varying degrees, you identify with the experience described using these words. Similarly, when someone speaks, you relate what you are hearing to similar experiences or your own and, on a good day, you know what they are talking about.
Words, of course, are only words, and not the experience itself. Language is important if we wish to share the details of our experiences with any accuracy. To the degree that we can agree on the meaning for each word, we share an understanding. If you string a few well-chosen words together, you can craft a sentence that conveys a very specific experience. However, in describing subtler experiences, it becomes increasingly important to choose words well. It also helps to go over certain key words to make it quite clear what you intend these words to represent. When we go over the word wholeness at length, we are forming an understanding together, so that we may go more deeply into that understanding and outline subtler aspects.
This process of more fully defining words will allow us to build a language together and consequently cover some experiential territory that can otherwise be quite difficult to describe, due to its specificity. Consciousness, energy and matter are all such key words. Consciousness, for example, is a word that is used so often (and in so many ways) that it is very important for us to be clear as to how we intend its meaning, and for how it is involved in the healing processes that occur in among forms and entities (an example being pyramids and human beings).
What then is Consciousness?
Consciousness is an awareness of something. Awareness, on the other hand, need not be of anything. Awareness simply is. Awareness is something we all have and share, though we may be individually conscious of different things. Again, consciousness is the awareness of something. This something can be anything, whether it is the witnessing of some outer event, or the delving into the depths of our inner experiences and imagination.
Knowing is another term that is often used in place of consciousness, and this is not what we mean when we use the word consciousness. Knowing, though this may sound absurd to those of us that pride ourselves in our academic achievements or studies, limits our consciousness, as it is the experience of retaining information. Knowing, in contrast to both awareness and consciousness, is basically the carrying of mental constructs forward. These mental constructs become a filter through which we witness the world. Knowledge is the baggage itself, and knowing is the tendency to carry it.
"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."
—Plato, The Republic.
One might wonder how one might function at all without carrying knowledge, and the answer is that it needn't be carried. This is the only mistake we make– fearing that the learned (our knowhow) will somehow fail to operate when it is needed.
Consciousness is also often graded as being less or more, but there is no special way to be conscious. Every entity and being is already conscious. The only way to be more conscious is to be less distracted by assumption or knowledge. Outside of this, we are all the same in terms of our capacity to witness experience. Some of you may, at this point, take issue with this statement and insist that there are those of us who have this area inhibited by some distortion or exalted by practice. I would argue that this only alters the terrain in which one is conscious. It changes the of, but not the capacity. Within new age and spiritual circles there are those who claim to have higher consciousness. This higher consciousness is due to lack of distraction, not an increase in capacity. These are individuals who have trained themselves to see clearly without their awareness being muddied by what is not true or real. Hence, the word seers. These are individuals who have managed to drop the baggage of presumption and knowledge and are able to experience and live as pure awareness.
The bulk of us, however, focus our consciousness on this or that and identify with a set of circumstances that we call our own. We claim it as ours and we live it as such. Still, we do all this in the present. Though we may be reflecting on the past, imagining a future, or witnessing that which is before us here and now, consciousness always takes place in the present.
Our capacity to create our reality is increased when more of our consciousness is with us due to a lack of being distracted by what we might think we know. Being less distracted and more conscious in the present moment makes more alive our present moment. Why does this matter? It matters because the quality of our experience in any given moment is all that we have. It is synonymous with our health. This is what health is: the quality or our experience. Once again, to track the understanding we are building, awareness is the ability to be conscious, and consciousness is the awareness of a thing– anything. We must be separate from a thing to be conscious of it. There are two things involved in being conscious. There is the observer and the observed.