About Consciousness

What is consciousness?

‘What is consciousness?’ is a question that is not asked often enough. We often talk about consciousness with respect to various external/societal and internal/awareness matters, but are we talking about the same thing? Do we assume a self-evidence about this concept of consciousness? Or do we talk about it and unknowingly discuss different meanings amongst ourselves? Just like the concept of ‘love’, it is open to multiple interpretations. Does consciousness arise because our human mind ‘creates’ it, which is mostly the assumption in science, or has consciousness always been present and can we, as human beings, experience it?
Selfknowledge.today assumes the following:

The Creation Ray of Absolute Consciousness

There is only One Consciousness, Absolute Consciousness, which manifests in and as creation in myriad phenomena, forms, circumstances, and given situations. Everything known to us is manifested from subtle to gross: from causal to subtle to physical. This is called the Creation Ray.

The first ‘creation’ of Absolute Consciousness is the causal world, which consists of Prakriti, from which the non-dual Akasha Field arose, wherein all the data of all subtle (spiritual) and physical (material) phenomena are fixed as a ‘blueprint’ (or as a non-dual or holographic imprint, as Ervin László describes). Absolute Consciousness is the Creative Source of the Akasha Field.

Well… this isn’t very simple to imagine or to get a ‘picture’ of. Yet, it’s essential to at least feel it. Absolute Consciousness is the ‘instigator’ of everything that ‘is’, of everything that ‘becomes’, of everything that ‘stops’, and of everything we experience as humans and permeates all this constantly. The executive qualities that govern all this are called the Guna’s (Triguna). These three qualities are recognizable in everything, including in ourselves.

‘Personal’ Consciousness

But what about human consciousness? The consciousness we experience as ‘my own’ in our mind? We can imagine it as follows:
Absolute Consciousness is the origin of all manifestations in creation, sustains them, and continuously permeates everything. Without That, everything would dissolve into ‘nothing’, or not be able to exist. Absolute Consciousness is also the origin of the consciousness we experience as ‘my own’. This is possible because the human mind is reflective. Humans have self-reflection. Humans are capable of seeing ‘their’ consciousness as that which observes everything. Humans experience I Am, I Exist, unconditionally, without needing to add anything. This is thanks to the reflective consciousness that recognizes itself as the Observer. Try to understand this, because almost only humans have this reflective consciousness that can be experienced as individual and as ‘their own’ and recognizes itself as Consciousness. And because this seems like an individual experience, we see it as ‘mine’. The following analogy may help:

The pre-causal non-dual Absolute Consciousness (you may call this ‘God’ or the like, or as it is often said: ‘the Eye that cannot see itself’) can be metaphorically imagined as an immensely pervasive Light. In every manifestation, this Light is both the cause and the sustainer of this manifestation. Humans can realize this thanks to their self-reflective mental ability. We can see this Great Light as enlightening the mind in each individual, and our self-reflective mental ability makes us experience it as ‘mine’. As my consciousness. As individuals, we are given a share of this Infinite Light of Consciousness, but not everyone receives it to the same degree, evident from the consciousness capacity within each individual mind (psyche). The extent is largely determined by our individualized essence. Each person thus experiences this allotted Consciousness within themselves as ‘my consciousness’. But what one experiences, no matter how vast, is only a reflection of Consciousness in Itself.

From this, we can conclude that the consciousness that we experience individually in everyone is essentially the same, for the Light of Consciousness, as a source, is One. There is only one Consciousness, one Self, that is experienced in every human as an individual consciousness, thanks to the human self-reflective mental ability, which almost all other life forms do not have. Thus, we can say that the consciousness in every human is the same, but not everyone has the same degree of self-reflective ability on this consciousness.

Individual Perception of Consciousness

The reason we do not all identically (can) experience this consciousness is that our individualized essence already determines all our mental possibilities and limitations or boundaries. This makes us all experience our ‘own’ consciousness differently. In fact, it’s also more or less conscious, differing per individual. Some people experience a lot of consciousness and thus a lot of their own reflective ability to perceive it; others hardly experience it and sometimes don’t even know what you’re talking about when you bring it up. This is due to individual capacities and limitations for self-reflection, which are defined in everyone’s individualized essence.

We can recognize the Observer within us as the only non-dual point in our mind. It is a neutral observation point, as it knows no ‘duality’ and is not influenced by the psyche. It’s completely neutral. We perceive it as our highest mental organ. We recognize the Observer as our Consciousness, thanks to our ability for self-reflection, but Consciousness cannot observe itself (the Eye that cannot see itself). The Observer, as an inner organ, is the same in everyone. There cannot be two Observers, no matter how much we might want to continue to see our observation as individual. The only individual aspect is the quality of observation, determined by our capacities and boundaries, which are rooted in our individualized essence, and the coloring by our psyche.

If we assume that our individual (self-reflective) experienced consciousness is part of Absolute Consciousness, it’s reasonable to think that through human manifestation, the Eye might be able to see itself, to some extent, as if in a mirror. Thanks to the self-reflective ability of the human mind, the Absolute is capable of experiencing itself as consciousness. This is comparable to the beautiful words of Carl Sagan: “Through humanity, the cosmos is able to study itself.”

If we truly realize that individually experienced consciousness in everyone is the same because Consciousness is non-dual, and that everything becomes, exists, and dissolves because of it, and seems to be ‘distributed’ over everything, then we realize there is no ‘other’ that exists or can exist. There’s only ‘mySelf’ in countless different life forms, phenomena, shapes, processes, conditions, and given situations. So, we can say: I am you, I am the sun, I am the universe. I Am… without more. Experiencing this, however, is another matter… Acting on it, yet another.

Anyone who cherishes the idea of having individual consciousness, differing from the consciousness of others, fails to see (or has forgotten) that we Are Consciousness and has created the illusion of being a separate entity in their mind. This separation then also nurtures the formation and maintenance of an ego, which due to its dual nature will always experience opposition wherever it encounters anything differing from its own identifications. An ego is a limited, constantly self-recreating illusory minuscule self-image that doesn’t recognize or know the Self and sees itself as ‘different’. But even this individual human ego is a form of Consciousness, taking on one of countless subtle (spiritual) forms that the Absolute Consciousness assumes.

In the spiritual world, there’s often talk of developing consciousness or expanding consciousness, achieving a higher level of consciousness, even a higher vibrational level. This essentially means that self-reflective consciousness in our personal experience is understood for what it truly is and can then expand into True Knowing. From this arises True thinking, feeling, and acting. From the ‘hygiene’ obtained in each Center of our mind, we achieve the state of Self-awareness. This is what is meant by True human maturity. This is the possible evolution of humanity that Ouspensky writes about. Then we can understand that any idea of consciousness-separation (my consciousness vs. your consciousness) is an illusion born from limited understanding and maintained by limited human thinking and feeling. This, in turn, reflects in actions that strengthen individuality and separation.


Consciousness is the ultimate potential to assume any manifestation, even one that can look at itself, like humans

© Michiel Koperdraat