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.
Awake on the dot of midnight with a wideawakeness in the brain that defies description. The brain was empty of thought yet singing with energy. Then I noticed the whole body was alive and singing with this energy and was completely at ease, although the night was hot, humid and airless.
Sitting through the night hours was an ecstasy of ease; I remember thinking at one point “I could do this forever, forever.”
Hours later, when the morning star was soaring in the eastern sky there was a perception of the world that was shocking in its luminosity and freshness and clarity. “Oh my God!” I cried out loud, and that shocked me too somehow – the sharp clarity of my own voice. I felt as though my hair was standing on end.
And then I noticed that for the first time in months the old aching exhaustion had left my body.
This continues to amaze me for it’s the last thing you’d expect, given all the hoopla and spin so often put out by both traditional and new-agey purveyors of truth:
wild wideawakeness doesn’t alter one thing
in the phenomenal world
what it does (apparently) do
is radically transform
one’s perception of it
and relationship to it
the great gap closes
the unfolding in appearance
of the eternal what-is
is the Self One IS
and always has been
wherever one goes,
all places are ‘here’
whatever one perceives,
all phenomena are ‘this’
whenever one’s alive,
all time is ‘now’
this is my acronym-based version
of the mathematician’s ‘n’ degree (nth)
– the now-ing, this-ing, and here-ing
awared by the ‘I’ thing
or rather, no-thing,
that’s their source
One of the multitudes of myths that constellate around the mega-myth of ‘enlightenment’ is that when it occurs all one’s conditioning miraculously disappears.
But so-called awakening doesn’t alter any thing; it doesn’t apply to objects.
Its effects are specific to the manner in which objects – including conditioning, the programmed, determined body-brain – are experienced.
Even a mini-whiff of awakening radically transforms the relationship between perceiver and perceived: the observed is no longer experienced as separate from the observer.
And it’s clearly seen that it never was, never could be; one just hadn’t looked correctly. One wasn’t properly awake – hence the term awakening.
It is truly a light-bulb moment.
That, which lives this body-brain
That, which breathes this breath
That, which beats this heart
grows these fingernails
orders these hormones
divides these cells
grays this hair
senses the sensuous
perceives the perceived
thinks these thoughts…
That, is Life’s unimaginable play:
it’s the dance of Shiva
it’s the shakti of Amma
it’s the poet’s Beloved
it’s the intimate Presence
of undivided Experiencing
timelessly and ubiquitously
YOU-ing the universe
twinkling flickering stars dance
on the wall of my little sanctuary
it’s easy to understand that they
aren’t ‘real’ stars, for one can also
see the brass candle-holder with its
tiny star-shaped perforations, and
one knows there’s a tea light
burning inside …
it’s less easy to understand
that the stars,
the candle container,
the candle and its flame
are all projections of perception
occurring in exactly the same manner
what is actually experienced in this little scenario?
what is experienced before the naming, the describing?
what’s the truth of the now-this-here?
the eye sees color and it sees shape
the rest is inference and story
but since “eye” and “color” and “shape” are also stories
we need go deeper,
to the source of color and shape recognition:
and then to the source of perception itself:
and then we need to find out whether
the observed can be split from the observer
can changeless awareness exist aside from
its awareing of … anything?
can anything exist without
changeless awareness awareing it?