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.
‘eye-I’ melts into the world
vast transparent eye
‘me-mind’ constantly tries
to drape its veils of memory-weave
over the vastness
yet – not so constantly now…
less and less often
and with notable absence of conflict
the idea of ‘my-me’ fades
and this flowering is all there is
giggles this morning
a dear wee ‘me’ cut-out
sitting in the little lifeboat
each stroke of the oars a
pouring green tea into a cup (Kyoto and Edinburgh) scratching left armpit midges and mites and mozzies (The English Lakes and tropical Queensland) melting into coral-washed clouds (India, Kenya, France, Italy…)
around the world, faster than light
in the shimmering luminosity
of a cerebral spaceship
yet no muscle moves
and nothing affects
this oceanic stillness
who is sitting?
who is breathing?
who is painting?
who is writing?
the answer will depend on who is asking
if ‘me’-mirage is asking it will create
a response from its handy archive of memories
if story-free ‘I’ is asking
it will simply recognize ‘I’-ness
who or what this-here-now appears to be
is created by the perceiver
Life lives this I-ness
in all conceivable forms
and knows I(t)-self
via the Aware-ing of all ‘I’s
the intelligence of the spacious energy system called body-brain
is the unborn intelligence of Life;
it’s non-personal and unconditioned
intellect, however, is measurable, trainable and indispensable;
we need it to operate in the world: memory, habit, discernment …
and we like to think it’s ‘ours’
intellect has little to do with unborn intelligence
but it can spin concepts that might be useful pointers
towards that immeasurable, unknowable movement
(to what better purpose could an intellect be directed?)