What is the meaning of consciousness? You have a thought about saying something but decide not to. It is your mind that had the thought, but your consciousness was in the space between the thought and the automatic action of speaking. Sometimes you do not have this gap between thoughts and speaking them. That is when your mind and speaking are on automatic and you are unconscious. You are also unconscious when you have a thought, and don’t have that conscious gap moment to refrain from acting on it, or believing the thought.
Your mind can have a thought, but it is your consciousness that can consider the thought and decide not to believe it.
Consciousness is difficult to define because it is not something we can perceive but rather what does the perceiving. Your eyes see, and yet you can not see your eyes. Your ears hear, and yet you do not hear your ears. Understanding consciousness provides us with the same challenge. I’ll first lay out some of the challenges in identifying consciousness. In other places you can learn about how to develop more consciousness, and to use it to clear away false beliefs and ego.
To learn more about what makes the consciousness different than the ego – see this resource.
We can’t prove that we have eyes, because we can’t see them. If we look in a mirror, we see our eyes in the reflection. How then do we get a reflection of our consciousness to ourselves? We can’t measure consciousness or awareness (a similar attribute) in a test tube. So proving it is kind of silly endeavor.
Others have eyes, and we know that other people are using them to see. In a way, looking at other humans is like looking in a mirror to learn about ourselves. We see what they do and by comparison learn more about ourselves.
We have seen something in people that is a type of intelligence, wisdom, or ability to perceive and act. Let’s go with that for now and assume it exists. Some people have more of this immeasurable quality and some people have less.
Not everyone has the same vision. Some people’s vision is 20/20. Others have issues of cataracts, are nearsighted, or farsighted. Things that blur the perception of your consciousness are false beliefs, and ego. A common term people use to describe this effect is filters. Your beliefs produce biases and create a filtering lens in how you view something. You don’t know the filter is there. In a way your false beliefs act as cataracts. The world looks distorted but you don’t know that you have cataracts on your eyes. You think and believe you are seeing it accurately because you have no other reference. Much like your opinions and judgments of others seem accurate to you. You feel you are making a good assessment of them.
Do you feel you make a good assessment of yourself? Does the inner critic voice put you down at times, or elevate you up above others? If so, you are experiencing the distortion of your belief system and ego. Your consciousness doesn’t view your self or others with any judgment or criticism. You might have difficulty knowing what it is to perceive yourself with no judgments. At an early stage of awareness all you may be able to do is be aware that you can’t perceive your consciousness through the fog of your belief systems and ego.
80% of people would rate themselves as above average drivers. 90% of people or more would rate themselves as having above average social skills. Some of the most capable and highly educated people in the world suffer from imposter syndrome. It is a state of beliefs causing a person to feel like a fraud. Usually people with Ph.d’s, doctors, lawyers, and engineers are affected. This is the result of their belief system filters not allowing them to see their own skills and worth clearly. Let’s call what is doing the seeing Consciousness, and what is distorting your perception false beliefs.
If you are aware of these distorting beliefs, the inner critic of the Judge, then you are using your consciousness to perceive these facets. The more aware you are of these distorting voices in your head, the more conscious you are. The more you judge these voices in your head, the less conscious you are, because now you are in the ego perspective again. And when you can move out and observe the Judge that is criticizing the voices in your head, you are moving into clearer consciousness again.
The more consciously aware you become, the more you will be able to perceive spaces and times of quiet peacefulness in the mind as well. These spaces of quiet peace will come with more calm, love and compassion as well. Expanding your consciousness means moving past just focusing on the voices in your head, and perceiving the other emotional states of love and peace that are available as well.
To learn more about my response to an email request regarding drugs and an awakening – see this resource.
Let’s say that your favorite team is playing and one of the players on a critical play gets called for a penalty. It is very likely that your assessment of a penalty call will favor your team. If the call goes against your team, it will seem like a bad call. If the call is in your favor, it will more likely seem like a good call. This is belief based bias. It is your false beliefs of identity and allegiance to a team that distorts how you see the penalty. Think about it. How often in one of those scenarios does a fan have a penalty called against them and the fan says, “Yup, that is the right call.”? When a penalty is called in their teams favor, how often does a fan say, “Nope, that call should have gone against us.”?
More likely we quietly accept the calls in our favor even if they are wrong, and protest against good calls because we prefer to have a situation favor us. These are our belief system biases at work. Now multiply that sports team bias by emotional situations in your relationship. Add a preference for your family’s well being over others, the school your children go to over others, your town over others, your state over others, your religion over others, your country over others, your race over others, your economic class over others, and you have a portion of the cataracts from the ego identity and false beliefs that make up your filters about how you see the world. These are some of the layers that prevent your consciousness from seeing yourself, clearly, and seeing the world clearly.
When you were born you didn’t have those biases.
I notice the eyes of a baby. They are bright, curious, and eager to take in the world. They have something hard to describe. Babies have this glow about them. They are bubbles of perception, and the seem not to miss a thing. What they don’t have is any language or wisdom to understand what they are seeing or what things mean. They also don’t misinterpret things either. With that glowing perception about them, they also have a joy. Provided of course their diaper isn’t wet and they aren’t hungry. My point here is that all humans at some point had this glow of awareness, curiosity, and keen observation quality. This is consciousness without a filter of beliefs.
Later in life your head is filled with thoughts, beliefs, judgments and distorting emotions. You look at something and the voice in your head begins without end a narration about what you are looking at. It tells you stuff you already know, and then adds lots more opinions that you don’t need or enjoy. “That’s a house over there. It looks old. The paint is coming off. People aren’t taking care of it very well. It’s really bringing down the look of the neighborhood. It’s an eyesore. Those people that live there just don’t know how to take care of things. They are such slobs. Their car isn’t any better. It leaks oil on the street when they park there. I know that when it rains that rainwater is going to pick up some of that oil and carry it to the sewer and into the bay. Their oil is ruining the environment. It’s people like them that are ruining the ocean for generations to come.”
How quickly the mind can go from narrating about a house to fear about ocean pollution for future generations. This is the mind. There is a component of consciousness that perceived something about a home in the beginning, and then the consciousness got covered with the monkey mind of thoughts, beliefs and opinions. These are how the cataracts cover clear perception. There is a fog of narration, opinions, criticisms, complaints, and drama stories. A baby doesn’t have that fog over their perception. They see and their mind is quiet. They have no language, and therefore no opinions or criticisms or complaints to fill their mind as they look at a house, you, or the world. This is a way to experience the world consciously, with a quiet mind, without the fog.
To perceive and feel this way as an adult means that you first quiet your mind. To do this you remove the fog of beliefs, criticisms, and opinions. Then you can quietly perceive with wonder, curiosity, and joy, the way a child does. However, you won’t be naive or innocent. You will be wise. You will know what you could label things, and you could get going with a story about a car, the oil, and the oceans to distract you from seeing the house, but you don’t. You see the option for applying narrations, but you have developed the conscious awareness and will power to refrain from polluting your mind with dirty narration. You view the house or anything else consciously, and are present with it. Without the monkey mind of chatter to distract you, and change your emotions, you will experience the world in a beautiful way.
This is what it means to perceive and live consciously. Curious, present, glowing, attentive, joyful, but not naïve awareness.
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