What is Consciousness?

“You’re not a drop in the Ocean, but the Ocean in a drop.” -Rumi

What is consciousness?

I believe consciousness is the fundamental layer of reality beneath the physical. I think it’s the same thing as the quantum field, Aether (as Einstein called it), energy, and many names before that in history. 

Or Maybe consciousness is just another layer of reality, the edge of which we’re just now beginning to discover scientifically (though eastern religions and esoteric groups knew about this long ago)?

Or maybe consciousness is just one layer below the physical and there are many layers underneath it? 

Consciousness seems to be what humans are underneath their body, thoughts, and emotions. The body seems to be a tool that consciousness uses to operate in the physical and from which thoughts and emotions originate from. After long periods of meditation I have observed that I do not have to be attached to my thoughts, emotions, or even to my bodily sensations to a certain degree. I can observe them from a place of inner stillness and choose whether I want to engage with them or not. 

Yet, I do think certain things we sometimes label as “emotions” are a fundamental part of consciousness. Qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, self-control. These are more than emotions, but long lasting states of being that do not change over time. You may say, “some people do not have these things or have them in short supply.” You may note that these qualities do seem to change at times or we grow in our capacity of them. I would say rather that they are who we are fundamentally, but we have to work past the layer of the ego to rest and act out of them.

Is God consciousness? Or where consciousness stems from? The second is the idea of panentheism. “In him we move, and breathe, and have our being” points to this as well. Perhaps if the first were true that would point to pantheism. 

The universe does seem to have a law of evolution, expansion, and dare I say it, Love. Despite the flaws and setbacks, the universe continues to expand, and humanity continues to discover, grow, and evolve. I do believe that we are learning to love better and growing closer to a perspective of oneness. You could attribute these things to consciousness, or God, or both if they are the same thing. 

I believe the heart of religions and truth deals with understanding, learning to identify, and act from consciousness. What it is exactly is the continued journey of humanity. That is part of the mystery, beauty, and joy of life. 

What do you think consciousness is?

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