Consciousness is a concept that sooner or latter, all practitioners of true spirituality will come across.
Seen as somewhat esoteric, nonspecific, inconcrete and impossible to define, is often brushed aside in favor of more dramatic, spectacular and praiseworthy concepts like enlightenment, the Absolute, karma, etc.
Yet none of these concepts, and all the rest that will ever be conceived, would come into existence be it not for the consciousness.
As the spiritual teachings exhort: all is consciousness, nothing exists outside of consciousness!
Known by various names: the self of all, one sole being, chit, sattva, the sense of “I Am” and finally God. Although the last synonym is only partially valid, and depends on one’s understanding of the term: God. For when seen as the ultimate power, the Supreme, and without all those anthropomorphic attributes given to Him by the so-called highly evolved civilisations, God is the Absolute – well outside and beyond consciousness.
Because we, human, cannot “see” the consciousness, it doesn’t mean that it is unreal. In fact, it is the material, the builder and the assembly technique of our world. Put simply: from the human perspective, consciousness is real; to itself, consciousness is real. In Reality, consciousness is nothing but illusion, and to realize this is the ultimate “achievement” for any human being.
When you know the consciousness, you will use it as a thorn, to remove a thorn… that of the consciousness.
There is no other way – all you have at your disposal as spiritual practitioner is the consciousness. In fact, your body and mind are nothing but the consciousness. The trouble starts with your sense of “I Am” developing, and embracing your body and mind as your true identity.
A person, an individual being, is created once the concepts of the society, beginning from your mother’s finger pointing to your body and saying your name, start to stain your pure consciousness.
From then on, step by step, year by year, you isolate yourself from the universal consciousness. More precisely, societal illusions result in the process of isolation of a part of the consciousness, and believing it is you.
And now, the real trouble begins – happiness interwoven with sadness, pleasure with pain. By isolating itself from the consciousness, and assuming the care of your body, you suddenly have to fight for its survival, against infinite numbers of “individual beings” be it humans, animals, etc.
You begin to see your living as a constant battle and death as the ultimate end. Said Nisargadatta Maharaj: “It is only when it is understood with the greatest conviction that there is no entity, and what is happening is merely the program of the functioning of consciousness – there is merely the functioning, there is no entity who is causing it and there is no entity who is suffering – only then can the disidentification take place.”
The reality is totally different. As long as you are alive, you are and will be an integral part of the universal consciousness. You are not living a life. It is the consciousness with its infinite movements and dynamics that defines your existence. You or more specifically, your awareness (a form of consciousness) needs to understand that and move from the position of a doer to the position of a witness.
Life goes on without you playing any part in it. And whilst the whole process of your upbringing was successful in convincing that infinitesimally small part of consciousness that now you call yourself, that it is you who acts and reacts, it is the consciousness that does it all.
The real “You” knows that, and see the false. This You, which is nothing else but the highest form of consciousness, just at the (imaginary) juncture with the Absolute, is pure awareness. This is what you were when you have appeared in the field of consciousness, and this is your ultimate goal – an entry point to the Absolute.
Once awakened, this awareness will not let you rest till you remove “a thorn with a thorn” – till you remove the last remnants of your individual consciousness with the help of consciousness/awareness.
This is the whole reason behind true spirituality!
Finally, when awareness is your consciousness, you will realize that even this is unreal. You will apperceive your stand as being beyond even the most pure form of consciousness. These Nisargadatta Maharaj’s words will sound true: “I have come to the conclusion that consciousness and whatever appears in consciousness is nothing but a gigantic fraud. There is no one who has committed this fraud – it is a spontaneous happening. There is no perpetrator of this fraud.”
Don’t despair, for the arduous path to the discovery of your true self is only as long as you make it. Start and end within yourself, now!
Helpful tip: Your understanding of the consciousness will be greatly assisted by listening to Stephen Wolinsky’s talks about consciousness.
Listen in particular to: 6. A Gita for Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (Part 1) and 7. A Gita for Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (Part 2).
Do not ignore consciousness! While you are conscious, it is the only hope you have…