This morning, while my Sunday morning walking, I’ve been thinking about the consciousness, and their relation with mind. There are a lot of writing about this topic, of course, so I don’t pretend to discover the secrets of consciousness in some lines, only pretend to share some thoughts derived from my own experiences in the last years, years of big changes in my life, years of meditation, introspect, and a bit, only a little bit, of self-knowledge.
Is consciousness a product of mind? Well, there are some experiences that seems to contradict the claim.
First of all, a quite common one, I think: we are walking, and suddenly, we see a wide nature landscape in front of us. At the very end, far away, the mountains. Our look, used to short distances, cross the space in a fraction of second, and for a short time all the extensive overview fills our field of consciousness. In this short time, even people that don’t use to meditate at all, experiences some feeling of oneness with all the panorama, some kind of state of no-mind. Why?
I read about this feeling time ago, in a book of Paul Brunton, and I have found it is true. The reason Brunton gives is: mind can’t react enough fast, so when our look cross the space, a lot of miles far away, our consciousness “works” without the help of our mind, there are only perception, thanks our eyes, and consciousness without thoughts. Of course, this state only lasts for a seconds, our mind reacts quickly and we return to his realm again, as usual.
Another aspect this experience tell us is: seems consciousness is a way to join ourselves, in some sense, with the objects of our awareness. With pure consciousness without a mind analyzing all the content, we are our consciousness, that contain a wide world, so we are this world too.
Another fact is, our mind make thoughts even when we are unconscious, for example in deep sleep. With practice,we can be able to recognize when we are dreaming (that is, lucid dreams, I have experienced them), and to recognize ourselves beyond our thoughts (one of the aims of meditate indeed).
So seems to me consciousness and mind are quite independent. There are another experience, of my own life, a very important one for me, that helps me to decide. I have write about it in another post, Atman awareness: the touch of God, so now I only want to resume it: in a lucid dream, my consciousness could switch between my ordinary mind (almost ordinary, I was sleep, but having a lucid dream, so I was awareness I was dreaming) and a very high state I never could imagine, and I can’t explain in detail, words become not enough. My mind formulated questions, and the answers came quick… from where?
So I think our consciousness can “plug” and “unplug” from our mind, and thanks to this feature we can experience from unconsciousness, up to higher states of awareness and oneness, beyond space and time, beyond ordinary mind.
Then, ordinary human being lives almost all the life with their consciousness absorbed in the ordinary mind, maybe with some short flashes of wide awareness. From this point of view, to achieve enlightenment is equivalent to liberate our consciousness from the mind: we still can use our mind in the ordinary life, practical and domestic stuff, but our consciousness are able to see beyond, indeed, our mind are include within, not the contrary.
I think to expand our consciousness is a direct way for overcome and control our mind (the contrary of to be controlled for it, as usual), for experience oneness, mindfulness, and enlightenment. Easy of say, of course, but hard to do.