My last newsletter was full of “changes”; changes in my life and changes in the world. I am still busy with the changes to my work, especially preparing an online business and with it my “Creative Consciousness Academy”.
“Consciousness”. What is that?
Webster’s dictionary defines consciousness synonymously to awareness. Being conscious means to be aware of one self, of external objects, of states or facts. According to Webster’s, being conscious simply means not being unconscious.
When I did some research for this article, I learned that the origin of the word ‘consciousness’ is closely linked to the Old French connotation of ‘conscience’, which means a state of ‘innermost thoughts, desires, intentions, or feelings’. In Latin we find ‘conscientia’ which translates to knowledge within oneself, related to the verb ‘conscire’, as ‘com’, meaning ‘with/thorough’, and ‘scire’, meaning ‘to know’, with or thorough knowing.
Let me tell you a true story. I met with an old (literarily) friend of mine recently, somebody who has nothing to do with mediation, mindfulness or philosophy, but rather with boats and sailing from harbour to harbour in a literal sense on all of the oceans on this planet. He told me that he had heard a woman say she wanted to “know herself better so that she could find herself”. He was laughing in disbelief. Knowing and finding oneself, what nonsense, he thought, since we know and have ourselves already. He told me that he did not need to search for himself; being in his body on this planet at this moment was finding enough. When he looked into the mirror, he said, he knew himself.
First I was taken aback by so much ignorance as I thought in my judgmental way. But on second sight, I understood that he was conscious of himself in a non-philosophical way. Good for him. I have been searching and finding myself bit by bit my entire life. Even though I always had a deep knowing of whom I was, and to my connection with all there is.
I tried to make him understand that not everybody is in alignment with mind and body as I heard he was. I told him that in my belief it is the meaning of our life to become conscious and to understand and know who we are, body, mind and soul aligned. He smiled back at me.
On the stones where the Oracles of Delphi resided, it says, “Know Thyself”. You see that the idea of being conscious is not a new one. It is as old as human beings are aware of their existence. It is vital to realize that in order to know oneself, to be aware, to be conscious, we have to have a body. Consciousness is linked to matter. Without a body there is no consciousness. As a human being I am the embodied Universe. And as such I strive to be conscious of my human existence in my human body. I want to become conscious during my lifetime, because the Universe wants to be conscious. How do I know? Easy: because I want to be conscious. I am conscious of wanting to be conscious.
So many philosophers and religious teachers were concerned with understanding our existence and the understanding of it. When Buddha talks about ‘enlightenment’, I hear him talk about ‘consciousness’, the state of awareness without thought. When Jesus says ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself’, I hear him talk about being conscious without thought or judgment, but in love. To be conscious is a state of BEING in a body, as I am a human BEING in a body.
“I have me. I need no finding.” My friend said. Is this the moment when the fool meets the wise?
Well, he is just who he is, and he is not suffering of himself. My friend is not – as Eckhart Tolle would say about suffering – in his “pain body”. My friend is in his aging body and he recognizes himself as such, is aware of his aging existence – most of the time – without thought. Aging and dying is not a ‘problem’ for him, he says, since it just is.
For most people, though, self-awareness, knowledge within oneself does not just happens by itself. It can, of course. But for most of us it is a struggle, and a constant effort of self-awareness. It is so easy to fall back into suffering, blaming and sleepiness.
Let me take myself as an example. When I think back into my past, I have the feeling that I have been sleeping most of the time. I remember situations very clearly, I remember other people’s reactions towards me, but I have little awareness of myself then. Where was I when it seemed that I was present? It is only recent that I am more and more conscious of my existence and my connection to all, to source, Universe, God …
What supports me to be more aligned to all is daily meditation, painting, Qi Gong movements, and walks in nature. Nature is always a good reminder of my transitory visit on this planet in this body. Being aware of that is a sentiment of freedom. Right now, while I am writing, I am conscious of being conscious of writing; I have knowledge within myself. Right now I have a thorough knowing
What about you? What are your ways of being more conscious? Is it at all important to you or are you like my friend says, just here? Are you more in your body or in your mind? Please share it with the readers.