Question from a Student

What is Consciousness. First off, I’m just a seeker like you, so excuse me if I start by drawing upon Lao Tsu: the truth that can be spoken is not the eternal truth.

WARNING!!! Anything that comes after this caveat is not the truth; the stories we tell ourselves shape our consciousness and can just as easily become a prison as a useful tool!

Human consciousness is nowhere more thoroughly examined than in the third basket of Buddhist cosmology, the Abidhamma. It / they give us an analytical tool to examine phenomena which can be summed up as four questions: how does the phenomenon manifest to experience; what are its characteristics; what task does it perform, and; what is the principle condition upon which it rests. Or…

1. where does the phenomenon come from

2. what is it made of

3. where does it go

4. what does it do on the way there

There is a fifth question, and it is

5. what do I think of all this?

So consciousness. 

It manifests as matter attracting a quality of self reference. Or perhaps the consciousness attracts matter. I don’t know.

Its salient characteristics in humans, and a few other species are how it emerges from or attaches to the physical body, the emotional body, the mind body, the energy body, and, it’s said, the spiritual body. 

Its function is to keep us safe and out of danger, to keep us content and happy, to introduce imagination and to create an environment of abundance and freedom and, in the most far out function, to bind with and be in accordance with natural forces and to know Oneness, God, Brahman, Tao. Consciousness is all these things and they are it. So Humm.

My conclusion and working assumption is that I am the localized awareness of a universal phenomenon that is innately perfect and therefore so am I. I realize this is a difficult faith for many of us raised in the Academy of WEIRD Nations because I too often have trouble with it. But that’s another story.

Hope this helps 😊

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