For thousands of years, worlds religions has offered multiple paths to self realization to reach the ultimate state of consciousness. Depending on which sect we belonged to, the paths were faith, knowledge, self discipline or action oriented. The aspirants could choose either of these paths to attain the state of self realization based on their psychological, physical and spiritual bent.
The advent of science and increased knowledge sharing has changed the whole notion of consciousness which seems to dismantle our religious constructs. Or can we say that science is validating the core purpose of religions ? Nevertheless, consciousness is a global phenomenon today and seems to be offering a path to self realization irrespective of of our caste, creed , race or religion. Any person with an open mind and Will can approach the consciousness path with help readily available.
But how can we understand consciousness ? First step is to know that consciousness cannot be understood with an idea or description, this is a matter of personal experience in the end. Rather than taking what-it-is approach, we need to take what-it-is-not approach for marching toward it. Religious traditions has explained to us that there are different levels to consciousness where the knowledge of our parents, friends, children and everything around us being at the basic level of content of Consciousness. And emptying our minds from this content is needed to reach the next level of consciousness. But lets understand first, how is this content created in the first place? This is created by the cycle of experience, knowledge, memory and thoughts. For example, your childhood memories of visiting your grandparents home in summer is created by experience, knowledge and stored in memory. This is retrieved by the thought at a later point in your life. But why do we need to empty this from our memory to reach the next level of Consciousness ? This would be in another blog but lets go by for now that this is a necessary pre-condition for progression in the consciousness path.
So coming back to the question of whether there are different levels of consciousness? may be or may be not. Because if we think there is, then we are creating a thought or an idea in our minds which is exactly what we want to get rid of to be in the realm of consciousness. So lets not even ask this question whether there are different levels to consciousness and go from here. With me so far ?
Next, how is it possible to clear the contents of consciousness? The content includes past memories, our angers, frustrations, impulses, all kinds of desires, attachments, etc., Emptying these one by one take multiple lifetimes so we need rather a different and radical approach. My teacher J. Krishnamurthy suggests, by having a “total” Insight, it is possible to empty the content of the consciousness. Not the Insights into our memory or the Insights of knowledge, time and action but Insights into the essence of the content of consciousness. Further he explains that the essence of this content is the thought that put together the me (ambitious, greedy, aggressiveness..).
So ending this content means no center from which you are acting or thinking. Because the center is the essence of measurement which is “becoming” . Can that “becoming” end ? And once the becoming ends what is next or the end state ? The end state would be “being”
So how do we start this journey ? First step is to drop something we like, this could be physical or psychological and can Include anger, desire or anything which gives us pleasure. Its Important to remember that there should not be any motive in doing this, because motive involves thought which is the very thing we want to end. Correct ? For example, can you end fear or desire for a favorite food without the thought that I want to end it ? Ending something we like means we are moving away from selfishness and also moving away from our center. We are shifting from “becoming” to “being”. Being means there is no center, it is pure awareness. This would be a gradual and long process but sure to have put us on the right path.