The Nature of Consciousness

There is conscious experience. Consciousness is, that is beyond any reasonable kind of debate. Consciousness is everybody’s most obvious experience. It is also obvious that everything is an appearance within that all-inclusive fundamental reality, including all the basic forces or constituents of life. Consciousness, life itself, is all, and holds everything in its embrace. All forms, whether physical, mental, ethereal or anything else, are appearances within this all-inclusive reality, that which always is. It is effortless and inevitable. Even though it couldn’t be simpler than that, it’s still the most inexplicable mystery.

It is common to think and say things like “I am conscious”, or for instance that somebody has gone unconscious, or lost consciousness, as if consciousness is something that belongs to all these seemingly individual forms. Who is conscious? It is consciousness itself. Only consciousness can be conscious, because only consciousness truly is. It is untouched by the ever-changing nature of the world of forms, and yet the world of forms is essentially just an outer appearance of what consciousness is, expressing itself in ever changing ways, never repeating anything. It is the creative and obviously intelligent reality in which everything appears and disappear.

Nobody has consciousness. Consciousness just is. All the different forms come and go. They appear and seem to exist, and disappear. That’s the world of forms and appearance, or “The ten thousand things”, as Lao Tzu said. It’s of course a much bigger number than ten thousand, but that’s an accurate enough way of expressing that deeper truth.

Consciousness is the unlimited eternal, that which never changes, that which always is, that which includes all of life, whatever that is. All different forms in all different dimensions, including time and space. It couldn’t be more obvious. It’s like cosmic hide and seek; hiding in plain sight. We can try to explain this with words, and maybe we can come up with something very clever, but we still haven’t really touched the reality and truth of it. It’s far beyond any words and forms, and yet includes all worlds and forms, all doing and non-doing.

How come that there is indeed conscious experience? That there is this undeniable reality? It’s a miracle. Consciousness itself is the true source of all religion, all spirituality, all philosophy, all human endeavour – everything flows from that eternal reality. But how is it possible that consciousness just is? That fact alone makes philosophies like materialism and atheism redundant, as if they’re just irrelevant and childish explanations of something that cannot be explained or put into words. Life is an expression on the level of form of that deeper reality of consciousness. It’s all inclusive, and identical to that which is aware of all this, whatever it is. We are that, everything is that, and yet consciousness is not just an aspect of life and existence, because all life and all existence are contained within it, or an expression of it on the level of form.

Consciousness is not something that we ‘have’, as if there is an identity or person or somebody inside us that is somehow conscious. Materialists and atheists believe that we cease to exist at the time of death, which is thought of as the end of life. The more spiritually inclined, and religious people, believe that the soul lives on and goes somewhere else. It could be heaven or hell or some kind of system of reincarnation, or whatever. However, common to all these beliefs, whether they’re materialist, atheist, religious or anything else, is the idea that there is a world that exists independently of consciousness. According to all these beliefs, the world exists as a fundamental reality in which consciousness has appeared, or can potentially appear. That’s the philosophical framework not only of materialism, but also of most religious or spiritual views of life. This seemingly more expansive world view, with its various ideas about the afterlife, higher dimensions and suchlike, essentially subscribes to the same kind of notion that there is a distinct kind of world that exists independently of consciousness, even if it transcends the so-called material.

All the same, it’s not really qualitatively different from materialism. It’s still holding on to the belief that there is a separate reality, that various distinct beings, people, souls, spirits may or may not exist within these realities, and that they can be more or less conscious. And yet, all these worlds, whatever they are, whether they are material, astral, etheric, of higher dimensions or whatever – the possibilities are endless – all appear within the wider unlimited reality of consciousness itself, which is what we are in essence.

There isn’t a separate person who is conscious, because only consciousness is, and only consciousness can be conscious, so from that point of view, nothing can ever be separate from the ultimate reality of consciousness. We are not separate entities, little egos, or big ones for that matter. We are the eternal, infinite, all-inclusive conscious, creative intelligence that truly is all that is and ever can be. It is the mystery that is beyond any explanation. The fact that everything just is, that there is conscious experience, and that consciousness is, is beyond what we can explain or define. And yet we keep on exploring this, even though sooner or later we always arrive at the point where words fall away and become irrelevant. We are left with that mystery that is far beyond absolutely anything we can ever experience, imagine, dream or think about. And yet all of that; our dreams, imaginations, explanations, philosophies, religions, and all the rest of it are just appearances within the wider reality of consciousness itself. Without consciousness, nothing could ever be, exist or appear. No experience, world, creation, appearance or anything else, could ever be possible without consciousness.

The idea of God seems like a feeble attempt at sticking a label on this ultimate reality. Such labels seem irrelevant because when all is said and done, there is conscious creative intelligence at play, of an order and magnitude that we can’t even begin to explain, or put into any kind of theory or philosophy.

The idea of separate identities is the source of all division and conflict. There is a subtle level of conflict built into the idea of being separate beings, but this source of conflict will start to fade away when we realise that the reality of all-inclusive consciousness is the true nature of what we are. The conscious, creative intelligence of life is always expressing itself in an infinite number of forms and realities, worlds and universes. The awakening to this realisation has the potential to transform the world into one of love, harmony, abundant creativity, peace and joy. At the heart of life is the love that was never born and will never die. That love is the essence of life and what we are.

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