Consciousness...Just What Is It?
Have you ever had your “clock punched”? You know…knocked out, done in, beat boxed? Rendered unconscious?
When I was in high school, I played football. And I was “rendered unconscious” a few times. Hit hard on the head (this explains a lot), and completely without awareness for a minute or two.
I eventually “woke up” or “came to” or “focused in” … my consciousness returned, and though my head hurt and my thinking was fuzzy, I was basically back to normal.
Unconscious…the state of being “not conscious.” Not aware. Not awake. Not clear. Not…mindful.
Scientists have argued for decades about what “consciousness” is. Is it something only humans possess? Are animals “conscious”? What about plants? Or rocks?
Does consciousness require self-awareness? If so, can “artificial intelligence” (AI) be said to be “conscious” - aware, awake, clear, mindful?
We live in a time when the concept of consciousness is becoming one of the greatest of philosophical questions - and also a very practical one, as well.
Over the past several years, many people who have been comatose (in an “unconscious” state) have been declared dead and attempts made to remove them from any life-saving effort by medical professionals. The question always emerges: they may be unconscious, but does that mean they are not “conscious”? Much research has indicated that patients who are comatose have some type of awareness - of their surroundings, or their own internal dialogues and sense of self.
Plants have been demonstrated to respond to environmental clues, and act in ways that are self-preserving. They have also been demonstrated to act in a way that protects other plants, implying a sense of communal awareness.
Dr. Masaru Emoto has demonstrated that even water molecules have some kind of consciousness…a self-awareness that responds to emotional and mental promptings coming from the environment. Can rocks be far behind?
So…what the hell is consciousness? Without going into boring recitations of the latest in neurological research, suffice it to say that consciousness is awareness…or perhaps a better word is MINDFULNESS.
“Mindfulness” suggests that: (1) there is a mind, (2) this mind has awareness, (3) it is observant, and (4) it chooses.
Somewhere in there, a sense of self is formed. Consciousness does indeed precede the sense of self.
Being aware, being observant and choosing how to relate to our environment can also said to be the very things that define LIFE.
Consciousness, then, is mindfulness…and mindfulness is LIFE.
Yoga, meditation, sensory experience, intuitive channeling…all are happening around us in response to an increasing attempt by humans to DENY the dehumanization of technology and re-connect - as humans - with that which sets us apart from and also unifies us with the rest of the natural universe…and that is consciousness.
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3-D copiers, robotic manufacturing…all of the amazing technological advances of the past 300 years have increasingly isolated the qualities of life that define humans as “human.” Not surprisingly, we are turning more and more to non-technological, non-empirical phenomena in order to “awaken” and perhaps “elevate” our humanity.
And consciousness becomes the most important part of that process. Being conscious…being mindful…means that we recognize our unique identity as (1) selves, (2) beings that experience awareness, and (3) beings that can re-act, as our selves, to that which we observe in through our awareness.
I am inspired by the amount of consciousness-raising activity that is going on around the world, in business, in families, in communities. People are increasingly mindful…of their moment in time, of their relationship to other humans and other beings (on the planet, and beyond it!), of their place in a universe that becomes more mysterious the more about it is known.
I believe that in the next few years, the Great Purpose of humanity will be to become “more awake”, “more aware” and “more conscious.” We will move to greater Mindfulness, and deeper awareness of the realities and energies that create us, and that we use to create reality. We will see that we are gods…that the divine name “I AM” belongs to all of us.
In fact… “I AM” is the ultimate expression of consciousness. I AM - I exist, I am aware, I am awake, I am powerful! If consciousness is anything…it is the reality of I AM.
Yes…we all are I AM.