For some readers, the word consciousness conjures up visions of bearded Hindu masters, to those from a traditional Christian view, consciousness is associated with the devil's white light intended to fool the eager initiate into allowing a demonic possession. But what is consciousness, really? The standard definition is simply awareness. Doctors judge levels of consciousness while prepping a person for surgery, because the level of awareness of the patient is integral to judging when a surgery can get started. It is simply a term for the level of an individual's ability to accurately percieve the environment in which they exist.
Why is consciousness so important? I've been in recent conversations with people who say that our individual truths are ours and ours alone, therefore we should just live and let live without promoting our point of view. I would agree in general to that concept, but must contend that In this unique moment in time, our collective consciousness could make or break humanity.
In truth, we are all cruising along at different levels of consciousness, unaware or entirely aware of our surroundings. This effects everything. If we are conscious of our words, we can speak with clarity and kindness, conversely, carelessness causes harm. Words hurt and cannot be taken back. Our level of consciousness directly effects the daily results we experience in our lives. Low consciousness results in pain, suffering, heartache, lack of empathy, lack of personal care for ones self, others and the environment in which we live. Growing consciousness bares fruit of positive results: understanding, peace of mind, empathy, charity, a deeper connection to others, a kinder and more thoughtful mode of speech. Furthermore, a growing consciousness reduces the level an individual places upon themself and redirects that importance to all that they affect.
Those who have taken psychedelics in a respectful environment often report observations of profound detail while looking at something completely ignored in the non-psychedelic state. In my view, this is a momentary lapse in our own preset notions about space, time and the illusory value that we place on material things. To me, it's mini-enlightenment; a momentary glimpse into the mind of the greatest spiritual leaders of all time, a rejection of self-importance and an embrace of something divinely timeless and spaceless.
The mind of Christ and the mind of The Buddha reflect a highly conscious mind, one that observes everything with clarity and performs miracles because of that deep understanding. When Jesus spoke, his disciples often talked among themselves, wondering what he meant. Jesus often became frustrated by saying things like, "How long have you been with me, and you still do not understand what I'm saying!?". The super conscious mind of a person like Buddha sounds crazy to the average, uninterested mind. In our habitual animalistic impulses, we can satiate ourselves with food and work and revelry, but we will always feel out of the loop of what we know in our gut is just beyond our grasp. We don't get the intended message because the thing is abstract to our primate minds. Yet, we know higher consciousness is possible because we have seen the words and deeds of those who operate in the realm of the super conscious.
We tend to delineate ourselves from others in an attempt to nullify our need for higher consciousness, but as Keirkergaard said, "Once you label me, you negate me". By negation, we can allow ourselves to remain comfortably numb, hidden from the trouble that surrounds us. But the time for that has passed. It is true that we all see the world a bit differently. Like Aldous Huxley said: "From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.", but our island minds are detrimental to the entire island chain of humanity. It is my belief that a heartfelt attempt at increasing our individual consciousness will result in an increase in our transition from seeing ourselves as individuals to seeing ourselves as individual parts of the same body, from microcosm to macrocosm.
The "Live and let live" model has led us to live and let die, most literally. Ignorance is bliss, because if we are not aware of a problem, then it won't keep us up at night. Our consciousness won't allow us to ignore what we see with ever increasing clarity, it won't allow us to stand by the wayside. It will instead call us to action, to change, to growth, to unification.
Consciousness is our newest friend in the fight for our survival and we must pursue greater levels of it with passion and sincerity so that we can turn the tide of humanity's charge to destruction. You and I must grow and learn and find ways to connect to the universe around us. It's not about dancing around campfires in tie-dye shirts, it's about changing our nature to the mindset of people like Buddha and Christ.
Start now by observing what you have constantly ignored. Really listen when someone speaks. Observe the ant as it forages diligently for food. Observe the honey bee as it balances on the flower. Watch the dance of the ocean's waves. Remind yourself to remember; train your eyes to see without the constraints of space and time. Be a part of the solution by becoming more and more conscious. Don't worry about others, worry about what you can do to improve your perception, your awareness and act positively to what you have observed. Take part in creation, evolution, art. It's all the same thing.
How you grow is up to you, nobody can do it for you. Though we observe the world as a universe unto ourselves, the time tested result of increased consciousness is overwhelmingly positive and this is where we can share a piece of the truth while changing the world and taking responsibility for our personal and collective evolution.