How would you define Consciousness?

Consciousness! The Final Frontier.

From The Perennial Truth – Awakening of the Soul. How would you define consciousness? Is it – being cognitively aware and responsive to the environment – as scholars suggest? Is it an ability? Or is consciousness higher than its abilities, its attributes?

Scientists appear to think that consciousness is a by-product of biology. And therefore the creation of biology, which I find quite amusing, considering that it belongs to the immortal realm and is never created or destroyed.   

Some ancient yogi’s say that consciousness is intelligence. That your consciousness is the intelligence in you. But I would suggest that intelligence is just another attribute of consciousness. A powerful one, which can easily be perceived, but still only an attribute. What do you think makes one person more intelligent than another? Do they have more consciousness? Or is it something else we are observing? 

Another ability of consciousness is that it can imagine. It can create an imaginary world at will. To do this it projects imaginary subjects and objects onto the screen of the mind. You can do that right now: Imagine an apple. A red juicy one. Close your eyes for a moment and allow this apple to appear in your mind. 

This is an ability of your consciousness, your soul, working through the mind. 

The best way to describe consciousness from a Maha Tantra perspective is to compare it to a dream. Do you remember your dreams? Are they in black and white or do you dream in colour? Can you remember the detail of your dreams?

Your dream is created by your consciousness. Your consciousness contains the dream and also gives form and life to the dream objects and subjects that arise in it. The entire dream is nothing but the play of consciousness. You are the dream’s creator and you are its maintainer. You are its god. At the same time you also appear in the dream as the protagonist, viewing everything from the perspective of your ego’s residual identity. And in this dream you seem separate from everything else in the dream, even though your consciousness is everything in the dream. The whole dream is you. This represents a paradox.

As the protagonist of the dream you are not aware that you are also the creator and maintainer of the dream. You are not aware that you can change the dream at will. And yet, this is the truth. You are the holy trinity of the dream. You are the seer, the seen, and the one who experiences seeing. But through the eyes of the protagonist (hero), the ultimate truth cannot be seen – that nothing else exists in this dream but you.

Notice how the other dream subjects appear to have a will of their own. Even though you are their creator. Even though you are all of them. They are nothing but shadows of your own consciousness. 

To equate the dream to consciousness it should be considered in its entirety. It represents one entity of reflection of consciousness.  Although consciousness cannot be seen directly, the dream, which is a reflection of your consciousness, can be seen. But you have to consider the whole dream.

I would like you to pause for a moment and reflect on what you have just read before you go any further. Let it sink in. Become comfortable with this insight… 

It will help if you closed your eyes. Go to a familiar dream if you can recall one. See the truth of what you have just learnt. 

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The Perennial Truth - Awakening of the Soul

Can you see it? You are everything in the dream. Yet you are not just the dream. You are more than the dream. The dream comes and goes, but you remain. Yet the entire dream is a reflection of you. Of your consciousness. Consciousness cannot be seen directly. All the dream objects are you. All the dream subjects are you. But you are none of them. You are eternal. They are not. When you wake up the dream disappears. 

The dream can be seen, but the consciousness that has brought it to life, cannot. It has no form of its own. It brings together everything in the dream as one, as much as the “you” in the dream.

The same principles apply to the waking dream. In the waking dream you are yet again at the centre of your world – the dream viewed from your subjective perspective. But in the waking dream, others also view this dream from their subjective perspective. As a result we have as many world-views of this waking dream as there are people. Each with a world of their own. The world according to them. Waking up from the waking dream is called self-realization. It is the awakening of the soul. 

The soul brings all the parts of you together as one. When it awakens, you become one with the whole. The soul is pure consciousness, untouched by the form or function of creation. 

Excerpt from The Perennial Truth – Awakening of the Soul by TLB Kruger

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