What is a consciousness?
All I do lately is bang on about all things conscious: conscious fashion, conscious lifestyle, conscious awakening and conscious journeys – even conscious coffees. Mindful this and mindless that. I’m adding the word conscious into most sentences so much that it’s even at risk of taking over my all-time favourite Scouse word, Boss.
So it’s no wonder I’ve had a lot of questions from friends asking what I actually mean.
I find most questions hard to answer with a one-liner, most of them remind me of a story I have to tell or take me off on thirteen different tangents before actually getting to the point. But this one is particularly hard.
All I can really say is that if you sit with me through all our lifetimes, maybe together we’ll find the answer.
LAYERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
I know through reading up on it all there are all sorts of different opinions on the subject. Some say there are ten levels of consciousness, some believe there are eight paths to get there, some say it’s seven steps and others say there is only one.
I could do some heavy research and regurgitate up some Google search paraphernalia on this page, but what I’d rather do is tell you what I know, or what I’ve felt so far.
Consciousness is like three onions in a row
(Bear with, bear with)
The first onion is our basic level of consciousness. It’s the fundamental level of awareness that we’re all born with. It’s our human mind, taking note of our surroundings. It means our eyes are open, our brains are in gear and we’re awake.
The second onion is our subconsciousness. This is when our eyes are closed, our bodies are rejuvenating and we dream.
As our bodies fall into a deep sleep in the world we know, our minds wake up in a different realm. It’s where our thoughts and imagination play together on the vast fields of possibility and where, without even realising it, we come closer to understanding our true reality.
And thirdly, onion number three is our deep consciousness. This is where the mind shuts up and truth gets to speak. This is when we’re meditating, or finding some other way to tap into it all.
And what do all three onions have in common?
They have layers.
We all coast through life peeling our way through onion number one and trying to reason with onion number two but in recent years, more and more of us are focusing on onion number three.
There’s a definite shift – a tidal wave of consciousness is washing over the planet.
You can see it in the rise of teachings from the Ancient East, in yoga practice, in meditation. It’s in the books we read and the things we Google. It’s in our sudden questioning of morals, our changes in behaviour and our Instagrammed desperation for a deeper understanding of self.
Maybe it’s the advent of the internet and its dissemination of information that’s making us curious. Maybe we’re remembering how much goodness we can put out into the world if we want to. Maybe its a miracle en masse and the universe is speaking to us.
It’s written in the stars and we’re reading it in hashtags.
It’s almost like if you floated about planet earth and looked down on the seven billion dots that inhabit it, they’re lighting up like little tiny light bulbs one by one.
And one thing I do wonder is do we need to go some sort of serious suffering to just discover it? I know I did. I know Eckhart Tolle did. I know Oprah did. And I know the majority of people listening to their podcast did. In fact, everybody I speak to about it has.
All of those religions I rebelled against listening to talk about it.
Christianity says that Jesus suffered and died on the cross and rose again. In Judaism, the Tenakh says that is a test of faith and will be rewarded in this life or after death. According to Islam, the great struggle, or jihad, of human life is the struggle to perfect one’s heart and live in total submission to God.
And according to Buddhism, Buddha sat beneath a Bodhi tree and relived all of the suffering of mankind until he became enlightened.
While on the surface level all of these religions seem to bicker over the details or use religion as an excuse for greed and power. Underneath it all they seem to agree – you need to go through darkness to see the light.
Maybe deep down we know this level of consciousness is there but we use our clever human method of selective thinking to block it out. We focus on the other two onions. We know that even though onion number three will probably taste the best, it might make us cry.
And that’s where I was before now; deliberately mindless.
I knew that if I took the lid off Pandora’s Box and started questioning the universe, my head would explode. Plus, back then I had far better things to do like find a pair of shoes for my Sunday brunch or decide on where to go on holiday next.
But as they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.
You can’t just command “deep consciousness awaken-ye from thy bed” and it rises up and to say hello. Well I don’t think you can – I haven’t actually tried it.
It just seems to happen to you or rather, for you.
And whatever it is, I’ve felt it. I’ve developed a belief from within that connects me to all of those faiths and all of those creeds and every one of those seven billion dots on the planet, whether or not they’re lit up.