The modern English term consciousness is derived primarily from the Latin word conscius, "knowing, aware." Thus, consciousness is the basic factor of perception and understanding.
Consciousness is the capacity for perception and understanding, and is therefore the basis of any living thing. Since living things are not equal and have a great deal of variety, so too does consciousness: it has infinite potential for development, either towards the heights of perfection or towards the depths of degeneration.
“…consciousness has the potential to increase to an infinite degree.” —the 14th Dalai Lama
Consciousness exists in every level of nature. Any given atom, any given particle, has three aspects:
From that point of view we understand that all of nature is alive. All of nature has consciousness, but in levels. That is why we study the Tree of Life (Kabbalah), which provides a map of all levels of consciousness.
"Light and consciousness are two aspects of the same thing. Where there is light, there is consciousness." -Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion (1976)
Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Sexology, the Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
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The Awakening of Consciousness
Light and Consciousness
The modern English term consciousness is derived primarily from the Latin word conscius, "knowing, aware."
Philosophers in Western civilization have struggled for centuries to define and understand consciousness, primarily because they have lacked access to the authentic science of the consciousness, which has long been preserved in secrecy by the esoteric traditions. It is interesting then, how those traditions have been widely mocked, persecuted and subject to terrible abuses by Western society.
In recent centuries, Western philosophers attempted to separate their philosophies from religion and mythology, denouncing them, thereby excluding themselves from the greatest Western sources of knowledge about the consciousness. In Eastern civilizations, the esoteric traditions were considered the pinnacle of society, and were therefore better able to inform the public and its philosophers about the consciousness and its functions. Additionally, the Eastern traditions never made the fatal mistake of attempting to separate science from religion and myth. This brief history is important, because it underscores a critical divergence of our understanding of consciousness, and reveals a central cause for the failure of modern theory to unravel the suffering of humanity. Without understanding consciousness, the problem of suffering cannot be understood, nor changed.
"Wherever there is life, there exists the consciousness. Consciousness is inherent to life as humidity is inherent to water." - Samael Aun Weor, Fundamental Notions of Endocrinology and Criminology
From various dictionaries:
Consciousness is the foundation of perception and understanding.
Consciousness is the basis upon which we evolve or devolve. Our improvement or degeneration is marked by the state or level of our consciousness.
The more elevated or purified our level of consciousness, the more refined and penetrating our perception. That is why the purest individuals in our histories have also been the wisest and most perceptive, capable of seeing not only into the human heart, but into other dimensions. Conversely, the more degenerated or impure our consciousness, the more limited and confined is our perception. That is why the most impure individuals are also the most short-sighted, foolish, and dangerous.
All religions were founded in order to encode the science of awakening consciousness, a process of purification and improvement. Conversely, there are many traditions that teach how to degenerate the consciousness by infecting it with impure, selfish, and destructive elements.
In the esoteric traditions of the Western world, the range of potential consciousness is allegorized in the Ladder of Jacob, upon which the angels ascend and descend. Thus there are higher and lower levels of consciousness, from the level of demons at the bottom, to highly realized angels in the heights.
"Whosoever awakens the consciousness can no longer dream here in this physical plane or in the internal worlds. Whosoever awakens the consciousness stops dreaming. Whosoever awakens the consciousness becomes a competent investigator of the superior worlds. Whosoever awakens consciousness is an illuminated one. Whosoever awakens the consciousness can study at the feet of the master. Whosoever awakens the consciousness can talk familiarly with the gods who initiated the dawn of creation. Whosoever awakens the consciousness can remember his innumerable reincarnations. Whosoever awakens the consciousness can consciously attend his own cosmic initiations. Whosoever awakens the consciousness can study in the temples of the internal worlds..."
The first level corresponds to the sleep of the consciousness, which is a very deep, unconscious level without any self-awareness. The physical body can be very active in this state. We are talking about the sleep of consciousness, not the body. The first state of consciousness is called Eikasia in Greek. Plato used this term to describe human imagination that perceives fantasy or that which is illusory. Eikasia is perception of illusion taken as reality.
The second level is the sleep of the consciousness with dreams, which means the consciousness has perception of imagery, of phenomena, but without self-consciousness or self-awareness. Again, this is a state of consciousness, not a state of physical inactivity. The body can be active or not. The second state of consciousness is Pistis in Greek.
The third state of consciousness is self-awarenes with conscious / objective revision of subjective mental formations (thoughts, feelings, sensations). It is a conscious form of reasoning that seeks to transcend subjective reasoning. In Greek, it is called Dianoia.
The fourth state is called in Sanskrit "Turiya," which means pure consciousness free of defilement, without any subjectivity at all. In Greek, it is called "Nous." This is a state of consciousness that has perfect, objective perception. Nous in Greek means intellect or reasoning, but it is pure objective reasoning without any obscuration at all. In other words, those who have acquired this state of consciousness have no pride, lust, anger, envy, fear; they have no ego. Turiya is a capacity of the inner Being. Turiya is the state of consciousness acquired by beings such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Moses. In other words, common people are very far from this state.
When we understand these four steps and begin to look at ourselves to acquire the self-knowledge that is the basis of Gnosis, it becomes evident that we really do not know anything experiential about the third and fourth states of consciousness. It becomes clear that the vast majority of our time is spent encaged within our subjective perceptions of life. We “see through a glass, darkly.”