defining awareness and consciousness


Awareness and Consciousness – these two words are often used interchangeably.  But my teachers were sticklers for using the right word in the right place and I’m a bit of a pedant as well.  So I’ve been inquiring into what I mean when I use these terms.

Consciousness is its content – or, all that is consciously known.  (Krishnamurti, Bohm)  There’s no access to perception’s data – or memory of it – without consciousness. And we can now observe it and measure it with awesome scientific instruments.

And here’s the key point:  If it can be observed and measured, influenced and affected, consciousness must be a type of object.  It has a host of functions, but they aren’t static ‘things’ so much as processes.  However, even as processes, functioning, there’s still (you must look very closely) an awareness of such processes.  Something silent and changeless watches the computer’s analysis without analysing, witnesses all the experiments and research without opinion or conclusion.  Something that cannot be objectified.

We have never yet succeeded in observing or measuring or affecting that fundamental, primordial Awareness in any way via any technology.  That’s the difference between Awareness and Consciousness as far as I’m concerned.  I equate primordial Awareness with Emptiness, and view IT as the source and substance of all the functions of consciousness.

Primordial awareness is the Beloved.
Consciousness creates ITs dream.


But don’t be deceived:
they are not two.


2 thoughts on “defining awareness and consciousness

  1. Understood. I resonate though with the word ‘Consciousness’ as being all-encompasing, as I do with ‘Spirit’. As I do with ‘chit-akasha’ (‘Intelligence-Space’), or merely with ’emptiness’, or with ‘No-thing’. As in this beautifull translation of the Mandukya Upanishad:

    ‘He is Atman, the Spirit Himself, that cannot be seen or touched, that is above all distinctions, beyond thought ad ineffable. In the union with Him is the supreme proof of His reality. He is peace and love’.

    The power of words, the power of language…

  2. Yes! That which cannot be named – The Nameless Name of the Tao – seeks to express ITself in our inadequate yet powerful word-spinning.

    Thank you for commenting dear AM. The Mandukya Upanishad quote is utterly perfect, and beautiful too.

    “peace and love”
    ~ ml

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