The Principle of Consciousness
What is Consciousness?
Consciousness has been a subject of debate since the beginning of intelligent beings manifesting on the earth. A number of questions on the subject have been debated. First among them is how to define it.
There are a number of dictionary definitions. Here is a popular one,
“the state of being awake and able to hear, see, and think.”
Obviously this is not universal enough, for Helen Keller was blind and deaf, yet all thinking people would agree that she was indeed a very conscious person.
Let us toss that aside and go on to another one:
“an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation.”
That is a little better for this one would indeed include Helen Keller but may not include the animal or insect kingdoms. They may be aware of a number of things, but lack an awareness of themselves as a distinct individual entity as do humans. This was the awareness that came upon Adam and Eve in the Genesis story when they became aware they were naked and suddenly desired to be clothed.
The family dog doesn’t have this self-awareness and has no desire to clothe any part of its body, yet we know that it possesses consciousness, just a different kind than our own.
We need a still more universal definition. Let us try this one:
The state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings
That is a little better but one could argue that we have some degree of consciousness even when asleep. For instance, in the dream world we are aware of events unfolding there and even in a dreamless sleep we are aware of the passing of time and whether the sleep we are experiencing is a good one or not. In addition, we may be having experiences that are forgotten upon awakening.
Being aware of ones surroundings is perhaps the best yet, but this still doesn’t hit the mark for we have consciousness in the dream state, but unaware of our real physical surroundings.
It looks like we need to come up with a definition more inclusive than those found in dictionaries. Now we all realize that animals have consciousness, but how about plants? After all, we know they respond to a number of stimuli eastside of themselves. Arguments have even been made that they respond to music, prayer, human feelings and other plants.
The world of metaphysics has always taught that consciousness extends beyond that which science calls organic, stating that all matter has some type of consciousness. Science is now approaching new realms of thought with experiments indicating that water and various molecules have memory and then quantum physics takes us into stranger realms still.
That said, let us formulate a more inclusive definition of consciousness by breaking it down to its prime ingredients which are:
(1) An awareness that there are other things in existence outside or inside of the entity in question.
(2) An ability to perceive some of these things.
(3) An ability to respond to some of these things.
Therefore, an appropriate definition would be:
Consciousness is an awareness that the unit, or single entity, is not the only thing in existence. It can perceive some of these other influences and respond to them.
Consciousness Beyond the Physical
Now we have defined consciousness the question that needs answering is what is the principle that creates it?
As humans it is only logical to assume that we understand human consciousness better than any other so let us explore it.
What is it, of which we are aware with our consciousness, that is inside and outside of us?
On the inside we are aware of many parts of our body. These include such things as the heart beating, the lungs breathing, the stomach digesting and much more. Then there are immaterial things such as our feelings of love and hate, joy and sorrow on the emotional level, and our thinking and imagination on a metal level. In addition to these we have the dream state which also involves a mysterious awareness.
We also perceive many things outside ourselves with the five senses. We see the world around us as well as the heavens above. We hear many sounds of nature as well as those produced by humanity. We touch many things and feel their texture and quality. We taste numerous items of food that we decide to take into our bodies. Finally we smell the flowers, the foods we cook, the people we meet and even the air we breath.
All these perceptions add to our consciousness and help to guide us in making the major and minor decisions as we go through life.
In addition to the five senses many believe we have a sixth sense. Most people who have any degree of expanded consciousness know that indeed we have senses beyond he accepted five. What many do not realize is that it is not just one additional sense but many beyond he physical.
The fact that we have extra senses is easy to prove. For instance, the pure feelings of love and hate are not felt through the five physical senses, nor are they fully communicated through them. While the act of falling in love is stimulated through actions perceived in the physical world, the feelings generated go way beyond anything a mere piece of machinery could experience.
When the person you love looks in your eyes, or smiles, or is just sitting next to you thinking loving thoughts something beyond the perception of the five senses is communicated and felt. That burning desire to be close to another person is felt by something beyond the physical.
The same could be said of hate or even plain irritation at another person. Your computer may take in all kinds of data and you can get frustrated with it and cuss it out and even shake it, but it will not become irritated in the slightest degree.
On the other hand, if your neighbor hates your dog and kicks it something inside yourself that exists beyond the pure physical state is set in motion and you will definitely feel some strong emotion which is beyond that which can be sensed by the mere five physical senses.
These are perceptions we can all identify with, but many report having perceptions beyond these such as.
(1) Picking up communications from dead loved ones.
(2) Picking up thoughts and feelings of others who may be many miles away.
(3) Picking up communications from intelligent beings that do not exist on the physical plane.
(4) Picking up impressions of future events
(5) Picking up knowledge from some source beyond the physical.
The majority of us humans have perceived a number of things which lie beyond the physical world. Those who have done this realize that the physical world is definitely not all there is to be perceived and understood. Those materialists who reject that which lies beyond the physical will make every effort possible to explain any perception beyond the physical in concrete terms.
Unfortunately, for the materialists, their consciousness is limited for if one only accepts the existence of the material world to the exclusion of others then he is also limiting his consciousness.
We often hear the phrase expanding consciousness or different states of consciousness. We all accept that humans have a much different consciousness than non human living things, but many do not realize how many different kinds of consciousness there are in the human kingdom itself.
Consciousness and the Mineral Kingdom
It is interesting to consider the consciousness of the different kingdoms in nature. The first kingdom is the mineral. This is considered to be inorganic and having no consciousness.
This is not exactly correct as there is some consciousness anywhere that anything at all exists.
The elements that make up the mineral kingdom cooperated in their own creation in the beginning of this universe, which took a high degree of consciousness to initiate. Great forces are at play in the atomic world with particles moving near the speed of light, even in stones that have seemed to be still for thousands of years. An inorganic mineral or form is merely a prison that contains great forces and keeps them at bay. The power of the atomic bomb illustrates to us just how much force is constricted in matter. In the atomic explosion in Hiroshima only a couple grams of matter allowed the inner forces to escape.
What is within matter is the result of Godlike forces, consciousness and intelligence, but because of the prison like containment, actual consciousness seen by us in matter as we know it is low.
The outward matter about us only has enough consciousness to react to stimulation. It reacts to pushing, pulling, heat, cold, electricity and radioactivity.
Does it react to human thought? Normally the answer is no or only an immeasurably small amount. However, if an intelligence can bypass the outward form and speak to the inner life of matter then communication can be established and matter will respond.
The scriptures give hints concerning the possibility of the mineral kingdom responding to human thought. Remember that one of the temptations of Jesus was to turn stones into bread.
Then as Jesus was making his celebrated entry into Jerusalem and the people were crying out with joy the Pharisees said to him
Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:40-41
Intelligence in matter can respond to human thought in several circumstances.
(1) United group thought. Humans joining together in thought creates a very powerful force that can be picked up by intelligence in matter when the point of tension is reached.
(2) A master soul with great powers of focused thought can accomplish this is varying degrees.
(3) An individual who exercises great faith.
When intelligence in matter is sufficiently contacted by human thought miracles can happen. Among the possibilities are:
(2) Control of the weather and even earth changes.
(3) True alchemy.
(4) Neutralizing the gravitational pull.
When the molecular order is established we will see the beginning of humans speaking to and controlling matter. As the numbers grow of those who are united in spirit so will their power until the time will come that the elements will be under their command.
That will indeed be a great day, but how far in the future this will be is difficult to say as finding even three people who can unite in total oneness is difficult in this age. Even so, the divine spark within us all testifies to our souls that unlimited possibilities await those who do not faint and continue ever onward on the path of liberation.
The next stage of consciousness above the mineral is the plant kingdom. Orthodox science tells us that plants have no consciousness yet it is recognized that plants are alive. Can something be organically alive, yet have no consciousness? Many think this is the case.
On the other hand, investigators with an open mind have come to other conclusions. Author and researcher Michael Pollan is one of many who as concluded that plants indeed show signs of having consciousness. Whereas certain fantastic claims about plants in the past has been somewhat debunked, Michael points out some that stand on solid science and reason. Among them are:
(1) Plants have memory. He points out a study that proves a plant can actually learn something new and retain it in some type o memory.
(2) Plants respond to sound. Most of us have heard of experiments indicating that plants respond differently to different music but Pollan takes this a step further:
“Researchers, says Pollan, have played a recording of a caterpillar munching on a leaf to plants — and the plants react. They begin to secrete defensive chemicals — even though the plant isn’t really threatened, Pollan says. It is somehow hearing what is, to it, a terrifying sound of a caterpillar munching on its leaves.”
(3) They have a sense of feeling. He says, “they can sense gravity, the presence of water, or even feel that an obstruction is in the way of its roots, before coming into contact with it. Plant roots will shift direction, he says, to avoid obstacles.”
(4) Plants express intelligent movement. So how can this be since plants are not mobile? Yes, it is true that most are rooted in the ground, but they nevertheless show movement in their growth and the movement of their various p[arts. We have all seen time lapsed photography of flowers blooming. In addition, other time lapsed photography shows intelligent growth and movement of plants. For instance, Pollan illustrates this with a video on his website of vines sensing a pole next to them and stretching in its direction in an attempt to join with it. It is as if they move through deliberate choice, but are in a different time mode than are we.
Here’s a link to Pollan’s comments and video:
It is obvious that plants do not have a brain and consciousness as do us humans, but this does not mean they do not have consciousness. They indeed are conscious, but of a different nature than humans. Their consciousness is centered on the feeling nature.
They encapsulate the life of God through feeling and have perfected it to such a degree that their power to feel can almost give the appearance of an ability to duplicate all the senses of humans. They do not have eyes, yet sense light. They do not have ears yet sense sound. They do not have a nervous seem like us, yet they sense what s good for them. They do not have taste buds, but they can discriminate. They may not seem to have a sense of smell, but they produce the most beautiful fragrances on the planet.
The purpose of the plant world is to allow the life of God to perfect the world of feeling and through feeling become aware of that which is outside of the physical self.
All that has been learned in the mineral and plant kingdom is available to humans as we have plant and mineral parts. Hair is really a high quality plant and our bones and teeth are made of minerals.
Our ability to react and to feel have been gifted to us from the first two kingdoms of nature.
So… What changes as we move from plant to animal consciousness?
Quite a bit actually. The animals make a giant leap away from limitation through gaining the power of movement. To utilize this feature requires a great expansion of consciousness. To move intelligently and to avoid predators with the same ability requires the development of focused attention. This demands the physical manifestation of the beginnings of mind, beginning with a sophisticated computer brain to amplify consciousness.
Whereas the plant reacts though feeling the animal reacts through conscious calculation and computer/brain driven reactions.
Perhaps, animal consciousness is best understood by comparing it to human for the consciousness of the higher animals is not that far away from the lowest of humanity
We concluded earlier that consciousness was being aware of things outside of self. To understand animals we must ask what it is of which they are aware or not aware compared to us. Here are some things in their awareness.
(1) They have the same five physical senses that we do so they have an awareness of light and color, sound, touch, taste and smell. In some cases their sensitivity far exceeds that of humans. A dog, for instance, has an amazing sense of smell. Just like us they use these five senses to take in information from the world they live in and process it the best they can to insure quality survival.
(2) They are able to communicate somewhat with their own species and to a lesser degree with other species.
(3) They are aware of those lives who are friendly or harmless and those who are not.
(4) They have a sense that it is important to survive and obtain food. To accomplish this they learn to pay attention to a very high degree at all times and places.
(5) They have an elementary awareness of self, but not enough to be self-conscious. They have no qualms about being naked or having sex in public as do most humans.
(6) Animals have a seed awareness of all the human emotions. Many wonder if animals feel love. They do not feel it to the degree we do, but the embryonic feeling is there. This is especially manifest in their caring for their young. Some say this is just the programming of nature, and indeed this is part of the survival instinct, but for many animals it goes beyond this. Animals experience a nurturing feeling that provides a seed for the development of love in coming eons. They also select mates and associates with which they experience feelings belonging to their own nature.
A feeling of belonging is important to an animal as a feeling of being loved is to humans. You’ll notice that your pets are happiest when they sense that they have a place in the household and they belong to the family. We love and accept them and give them a feeling of belonging and they in turn find ways to let us know they appreciate us.
Whereas the great leap in advancement of animal consciousness over plant came with freedom of movement, the advantage with humans is the move to self consciousness. The development of individuality gives humans freedom of movement with the mind which is an octave above freedom of physical movement.
Self consciousness opens many doors to humans, more than seems apparent on the surface. Here are some advantages of consciousness that humans have over animals.
(1) Individuality. Instead of seeing ourselves as one of the pack we see ourselves as unique individuals, and this instills in us a desire to excel. It causes us to wear clothes and jewelry, style our hair, shave and do what is necessary to appear as unique individuals. It also forces us to learn and compete, which greatly stimulates our evolution forward.
(2) Curiosity. Whereas animals may see stars humans wonder what they are and desire to explore them. Animals seek to use their environment whereas humans seek to understand it and even change it to suit their needs.
(3) Problem Solving If an animal approaches a locked door it will not occur to him that there may be a way to open it, but the human mind seeks to solve problems. To us a barrier is something that can be penetrated, given enough application of thought.
(4) Record Keeping. Humans learned to draw pictures, then write and now record in all kinds of formats. Keeping a history so we can build on past achievements is a tremendous advantage to human consciousness.
(5) Creativity Rather than merely follow programming provided to us by nature humans have a desire to create new and better things. This ranges from art, to dwellings to transportation and to all things that affect the quality of life.
(6) Love and Relationships. Humans have developed a much more complex relationship order than animals. They have created a family structure, established contracts, marriage, business and many bonding activities. Whereas some animals can feel affection, humans are able to take the feeling of love and friendship to a much higher dimension.
(7) Judgment. Humans have the ability to differentiate much more than do animals and can make decisions that go beyond the programming of our natural state.
(8) A Sense of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong. Humans have a conscience that guides us toward ever working to improve relationships and the quality thereof.
This list could be extended but the point is that the quality of consciousness for the average human is perhaps a greater leap than most of us realize or appreciate.
Now the interesting thing to consider is that there is a great difference in consciousness between humans at their different points of evolution.
Stages of Human Consciousness
Consciousness expands as it moves from the lower kingdoms to the higher and the rate of expansion greatly increases as it moves upward.
When a life becomes fully human in the worlds of form it gains the tools to accelerate consciousness. In addition consciousnesses is not only accelerated in the higher kingdoms, but within the human kingdom itself the rate of progression is much greater at the end of human evolution than the beginning.
At the beginning of the attainment of self-consciousness progress is very slow and many lives are spent just learning to survive and adapt to the human state. Then after many lifetimes when the pilgrim senses soul energy and begins to make higher contact his progress is amplified many times. At this stage he may accomplish in one lifetime what may have taken a hundred in past ages.
To understand our progression it is important to realize what is meant to the term, “expansion of consciousness.” Remember that to be conscious means to be aware of things outside or beyond the individual self. Therefore, to expand consciousness means to become aware of additional things that were previously unknown or unobserved.
When an entity first becomes a self conscious human he sets himself apart from the animal kingdom by becoming aware that he is a distinct differentiated person. He now has an ego and is aware that he is a self.
As he moves forward he becomes aware of his body, its needs and that he can make tools to insure his survival. He then becomes aware of his feelings and thoughts – that they are unique and somewhat different than any other individual. He becomes aware of that he needs to satisfy his emotions and his thoughts.
For many lifetimes his consciousness is directed to bringing satisfaction to what he sees as self and all is centered around fulfilling his desires. For many lives it seems that the only expansion of consciousness is in expanding power to satisfy the desires of self. He eventually achieves this to a high degree until he realizes that no degree of satisfaction for he individual entity has lasting fulfillment. He feels that there has to be something more.
For the first time he looks beyond self, and when he sees beyond the satisfying of his tiny self, he begins to see many things that before were not seen. He doesn’t see them because they were not present in the past, but because he is now looking. We cannot see unless we look.
The person enters the path and expands his awareness of many things beyond the self such as:
(1) There are worlds beyond the physical and kingdoms beyond the human.
(2) There are higher intelligences than human and they can be contacted.
(3) He discovers the inner voice and trusts it above the outer voices of the past.
(4) He discovers that there is greater fulfillment in serving the many rather than merely serving the one – or himself.
(5) He discovers that love has a number of levels of which he was previously unaware.
(6) He discovers that learning can be accelerated when he focuses on the spirit within, or his true Source.
(7) He finds solutions to problems that are not taught in any book.
The list could be increased but suffice it to say that the seeker will eventually achieve all the expansion possible as an entity in the human kingdom.
The next step is to enter the Kingdom of God, the fifth kingdom by linking with other lives to become a part of a greater life.
We as mere mortals can only scratch the surface contemplating where this will take us. Fortunately, as we approach the end of our human journey we get some glimpses into the kingdom to come. Here are a few things that this expansion will bring.
(1) Telepathic communication with your soul group and/or other linked groups.
(2) Access to the Akashic records
(3) Continuity of consciousness. There will be little change of consciousness during waking hours or sleep, in life or in death.
(4) You will be able to communicate with higher and lower life forms as well as lives from other worlds and dimensions.
(5) You will be able to sense higher love, will and purpose.
(6) You will be exposed to a higher vision of the Plan of the great lives who guide us.
(7) The limitations of time and space will diminish and you will even be able to be in two or more places at once time.
Try to envision how far a snail is from understanding our consciousness and then try to imagine a consciousness that far ahead of us that we will someday share.
Those who are willing to look, to see, to know and understand have more awaiting them than mortal mind can comprehend.
What Causes Consciousness?
We’ve talked about the definition of consciousness and how it manifests through the various kingdoms, but now we need to delve into the principle itself. What is it that causes consciousness to exist?
The materialists who say that the universe and all that is in it including life on earth just evolved without the aid of consciousness or intelligence have no explanation as to how consciousness and intelligence can exist in matter. And we know that these two things can exist within matter because they exist in the matter that composes human beings. This is perhaps the greatest miracle of existence – one for which the science of today has no satisfactory explanation.
So what is it then that creates consciousness? DK gives some interesting thoughts on the subject:
When these two (Spirit and matter) are inter-related during manifestation, and after the cessation of the pralayic interval or interlude between two systems, then the terms, life and form, consciousness and its vehicles, are more correct, for during the period of abstraction consciousness is not, form is not, and life, demonstrating as an actual principle, is not. There is Spirit-substance but in a state of quiescence, of utter neutrality, of negativity, and of passivity. In manifestation the two are approximated; they interact upon each other; activity supersedes quiescence; positivity replaces negativity; movement is seen in place of passivity, and the two primordial factors are no longer neutral to each other, but attract and repulse, interact and utilise. Then and only then, can we have form animated by life, and consciousness demonstrated through appropriate vehicles.
Treatise on Cosmic Fire Pg 227
The tendency of Spirit is to merge and blend with Spirit. Form repulses form, and thus brings about separation. But—during the great cycle of evolution—when the third factor of Mind comes in, and when the point of balance is the goal, the cyclic display of the interaction between Spirit and form is seen, and the result is the ordered cycles of the planets, of a human being, and of an atom. Thus, through repetition, is consciousness developed, and responsive faculty induced.
Treatise on Cosmic Fire Pg 276
(Time can be studied from the angle of) Atomic consciousness, demonstrating through successive states of repulsion and attraction. In this last definition lies the key to the other states of consciousness.
Treatise on Cosmic Fire Pg 279
The key to understanding consciousness is revealed in this statement:
“the two primordial factors are no longer neutral to each other, but attract and repulse, interact and utilize”
This sentence contains a lot of truth. First of all, it dispels the illusion that there comes a point when duality ceases to exist. In the great pralaya, duality does not cease, for it never ceases. There always exists “two primordial factors.” The only difference between existence in and out of form is that in form these two factors are no longer neutral to each other. As I have said a number of times, the whole universe is created because the particles composing it are just a little out of balance. If perfect balance were to happen then all form that makes up the universe would disappear. Life is driven through the seeking of balance. We achieve greater and greater balance until all life goes back to the Great Source for a blissful rest.
So then, what is the situation during pralaya, or the period between two manifestations? Is there really no consciousness or life? If this is the case then how could creation even begin anew?
Without form there is not consciousness and life as we understand it in our present state. This does not mean we will cease to exist. Existence continues through all cycles and that intelligence and power of decision that belongs to it always persists.
Concerning this state DK writes:
We need here to remember that it is always pralaya when viewed from below. From the higher vision, that sees the subtler continuously overshadowing the dense when not in objective manifestation, pralaya is simply subjectivity, and is not that “which is not,” but simply that which is esoteric.
Treatise on Cosmic Fire, Page 130
So we could say that during pralaya we will still have subjective life and consciousness, but it is so different from objective life and consciousness that we would have difficulty in identifying it while existing in the worlds of form.
Some may ask how consciousness can still exist when the person no longer has a physical body. The answer is that the physical is just one of the worlds of form, for form persists in three worlds which are the physical, the astral/emotional and the mental.
After death we still utilize the astral and mental states of matter and the interplay within these states of matter still creates consciousness and memory as well as providing a vehicle for the expression of the life principle.
There are certain aspects of consciousness that can only be fully experienced in the physical. This is one of the reasons that we are drawn back into the physical time and time again.
The Great Pralaya does not occur between lives but between creations. While living in this creation, in or out of the body, objective consciousness on various levels will persist.
You shall always find what you created in your mind, for instance, a benevolent God or an evil Devil. Between them are countless facets. Therefore, concentrate on the depth of your consciousness and on what you consider to be positive and good.
Copyright 2015 by J J Dewey
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