Consciousness and awareness – an invitation to explore the inner world
An invitation by DR J KRISHNAMURTHY to an inner journey of self-discovery.
Consciousness as an idea has always intrigued me. Probably I should not refer to it as an idea any more. The theoretical idea that was with me a few years ago has now translated into a certain tangible experience, thanks to meditation practice. The experience of how my consciousness changes and responds to the outside, and impacts the environment and people around me, greatly fascinates me.
What is consciousness?
There are so many definitions in the books and on the Internet. In the beginning I was excited by what I read or heard, but eventually it ended up either confusing or tiring me. When I failed to establish any practical application of these ideas in my daily routine, it left me frustrated as well. So I turned to experience instead, and here is what I have learnt so far. To begin with, let us start with a few common ideas.
Is consciousnesses the state of being aware of something? That is, is consciousness synonymous with awareness? Or does consciousness result in certain awareness? Are they actually different?
I ask you to explore this and arrive at your own inference.
For me, it seems like consciousness is something internal, a state of being that I am in. Let us say it is a certain condition that I am enjoying inside that actually influences my awareness, which is an external-looking thing.
I would like to illustrate this with an example. When, for the first time, I faced the vast and mighty Grand Canyon, it was an out-of-the-world feeling for me inside. My heart was instantly filled with some unexplainable joy; its condition changed. It was a condition of joy. My mind that had been preoccupied with so many little things till then instantly felt liberated and opened up immensely. All of a sudden, what I was seeing and appreciating changed alongside. The change in the condition of my heart instantly changed my state of mind, and, in turn, my awareness.
So, it seems that consciousness is actually a state of being, a state that is deeper than the states of mind which actually influence my awareness or what I appreciate at any given time. These in turn influences my actions and reactions on the outside too.
Here is a practical exercise:
Next time you notice some reactions around you, observe the state of mind and consciousness behind these reactions. Note them down. Observe your own speech and action, and your underlying state of mind and consciousness as well. Note them down too.
This will become an excellent body of research and will greatly enrich your life through enhanced understanding of yourself and others. You will start observing yourself and others at a deeper level, and this observation in itself will put you in a state of pause. And if the pause becomes your second nature, you will have already mastered certain states of mind and consciousness
As you travel on this inner journey, you will realise that there are deeper levels of consciousness waiting to be uncovered. Every level enriches you and propels you towards joy and self-realization. Consistent meditative practices help you settle on a particular level of consciousness and operate from there.
Can you imagine being permanently centered in your heart, in a meditative state, filled with inner joy? Can you also then externalize the same in your thoughts, speech and action? Well, I truly believe that is the goal of every single religious and spiritual teaching. And it is quite possible with a simple effective meditation practice. I invite you to experience it for yourself.
Article by J KRISHNAMURTHY
November 01, 2017
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