What is Consciousness


“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” 

Lao Tzu

“Ego is the immediate dictate of human consciousness.”

 Max Planck

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.“

Albert Einstein

“Consciousness is the observation of energy in all living things” Steve Hyne

The question of our existence has been the role of religions ideology through the ages. The spiritualty of humans is centred around the idea of life coming from somewhere then going somewhere in many wonderful descriptions. This article is not to convince or disprove a person own personal belief but to explore the concept of what  Consciousness is.

Coming from a very religious family the idea of Consciousness was never questioned. You had to accept the sacred text from the religious doctrine and that was that. In the Christian teachings there are thousands of different sects that teach various formats of how life was introduced and how life is different when you die. The catholic church was a major influence in Europe with the core model of beliefs. The doctrine of  sin and redemption in the Genesis account of mankind fall was formulated by St. Augustine’s Idea of Original Sin. He lived from 13 November 354 A.D – 28 August 430 A.D with a very colourful history. Examining his life  helps me appreciate that his early heritage and experiences in his life to formulate his concept of original sin. He had inner and outer conflicts with the popular philosophy and church dogma that gave him a quest to resolve existence or consciousness.  

In eastern culture the fabric of spirituality is woven into the concept of consciousness is a very different story from western civilisation. Western societies concepts on consciousness so different because of the underpinnings of Christianity and evolution. The concept of consciousness in Hinduism is complicated. I will admit my knowledge is limited to explain clearly and define their beliefs and perception on a far deeper level of a spiritual perception I can facilitate  at this moment in time. A quote from interesting reference says” When practicing the eightfold path described in the Yoga sutras, one may acquire extraordinary forms of cognition, such as knowledge of the past and future, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychokinesis, and telepathy (among others). According to the Yoga sutras (verse 1 of book 4), such powers can be acquired by birth (as the result of accumulated karma), or from herbs, but they also come in a systematic way from yoga practice. To the best of our knowledge, the scriptures do not differentiate between the effects of specific items of the eight-fold path, but one might argue, consistently with Buddhist assumptions, where one mainly expects the effects of extraordinary cognition to arise with concentrative techniques (Shamata meditation—see Buddhas, 2010) that the concentrative parts of yoga are especially suited to produce such extraordinary abilities (siddhis).” Another resource put consciousness more simply” Human consciousness is amorphous, indefinable, changeable, intangible, and subject to state. According to the Upanishads, the four main states of human consciousness are the wakeful state, the dream state, the deep sleep state and the transcendental state. There can be further states within each of them.”

Buddhist concept of consciousness is called Alaya-vijnana “storehouse consciousness”. I found it hard to conceptualise the Buddhist idea of consciousness but found this easy to grasp interpretation . The ref says” the alaya-vijnana is the foundation or basis of all consciousness, and it contains impressions of all of our past actions. These impressions, sankhara, form bija, or “seeds,” and from these seeds, our thoughts, opinions, desires, and attachments grow. The alaya-vijnana forms the basis of our personalities.” The tradition explores the 8 Consciousnesses which include 5 senses. Have an overview of Buddhist beliefs the 3 noble truths are 1. Nothing is lost in the universe 2. Everything Changes 3. The Law of Cause and Effect. In my perspective the idea of consciousness from my information is that everything is an illusion from a person mind and that is consciousness. 

All major religions  are different paths within each domain and a person’s personal beliefs of what they feel is it true for them. In summary with a very brief overview of the emergence consciousness has its roots in spiritual and religious culture worldwide. 

The concept of consciousness is abundant in every sacred text that implies it is at the heart of humanity core. Regardless of what a human believes is true , the essence of being alive every moment is often forgotten until that consciousness is interrupted in our existence. Every morning when I wake up I am so grateful for my own awareness of consciousness as a human being.

The next article I will explore the modern concepts and the scientific viewpoint of consciousness.







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About Stephen Hyne

I am creative and curious about life. I have a passion for the brain and the psychology of human behaviour. I love the renaissance art, culture and architecture. Music is my best friend follows me on my life journey of discovery.

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