I created my blog, The Culture of Awareness, to provide a place where spiritually aware seekers can read articles and messages that inspire them and help them expand their perception. I think awareness is a very important part of our existence and our entrance into the higher realms, and I, like plenty of others, want to do what I can to help raise humanity’s awareness.
I think it’s good to be aware; to live a spiritually inspired lifestyle that can motivate others to start being examples of change too. It’s clear that an entire culture has been created around social and spiritual awareness, and I want to contribute to this culture and help awaken waves of fellow seekers in the process.
With that said, I’d like to examine what some of the spiritual teachers of our past and present have said about the subject of awareness. I’m just starting to get into the material of a lot of spiritual teachers, and I’m still new to some of their terminology, but I think their teachings are very helpful and important nonetheless.
We’ve been told a lot about awareness and the formless state of consciousness it’ll lead us to, and we’ll begin our discussion with a quote from the Upanishads about the awareness that exists beyond our limited, physical perception.
“[The Turiya], say the wise, is not subjective experience, nor objective experience, nor experience intermediate between these two, nor is it a negative condition which is neither consciousness nor unconsciousness. It is not the knowledge of the senses, nor is it relative knowledge, nor yet inferential knowledge.
“Beyond the senses, beyond the understanding, beyond all expression is the [Turiya]. It is pure unitary consciousness, wherein awareness of the world and of multiplicity is completely annihilated. It is ineffable peace. It is the supreme good. It is one without a second. It is the Self.” (1)
Clearly, the state of spiritual awareness the Upanishads refer to is difficult to explain with words, because it exists explicitly outside of our physical perception. This everlasting awareness is pretty much impossible to glimpse from a lower-dimensional perspective, and the glimpses of it we’re able to have on the earth are small and fleeting.
Eventually, we’ll be back in a much purer state of consciousness and the awareness we seek will be easier to find, but for now, we can look forward to the tiny glimpses that help us gain an increasingly strong and refreshing experience of spirit, even if it only lasts for a moment.
According to Bodhidharma, ‘Buddhahood’, which is a term to describe enlightenment and alignment with the Father, is equal to awareness.
“Buddhahood means awareness. Mortals whose minds are aware reach the Way of Enlightenment and are therefore called buddhas.” (2)
We’re starting to embody the social and spiritual awareness that’ll help us find enlightenment and make positive changes to our planet, but we still have a ways to go before we can embody Buddhahood or find the enlightenment we seek.
Once we reach a state of all-encompassing spiritual awareness, our reception of the divine will grow to new heights and we’ll become the Buddha we all have the potential to become. It’ll take some work and self-discipline, but we’ll find that it was more than worth it in the end.
The vibration we’ll be on when our missions are over will be far worth any pain or struggle we experienced on earth, and however difficult our quest for real, unfettered awareness seems right now, it’ll become much easier as ‘time’ goes on and our perception grows to new heights.
Bodhidharma also tells us that spiritual awareness entails complete liberation.
“The Nirvana Sutra says: ‘… Our buddha-nature is awareness: to be aware and to make others aware. To realize awareness is liberation.’ Everything good has awareness for its root. From this root of awareness grows the tree of all virtues and the fruit of nirvana. Beholding the mind like this is understanding.” (3)
Personally, awareness has helped me navigate this otherwise difficult existence much more easily. If we’re physically and spiritually aware of certain things that hurt our growth and development, we’ll know to avoid them so we don’t spiral down into the lower state of consciousness they’d deliver us to.
Awareness will change our lives, because it’ll sharpen our sense of discernment. Our morality will be stronger, but we won’t be judgmental or self-righteous about what we think is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Instead, we’ll discern everything based on its consequences, for us and others, and we’ll be aware of the effect we make on every conscious being.
Shankara tells us that the ‘Atman’ is beyond any label or description one could give.
“The Atman is the witness — beyond all attributes, beyond action. It can be directly realized as pure consciousness and infinite bliss. Its appearance as an individual soul is caused by the delusion of our understanding, and has no reality.” (4)
While we’re on a lower vibration, we’re going to perceive ourselves as different from one another because of our individualized nature, which has been heavily played upon by the cabal in order to breed division and discontent amongst humanity. In a higher state of consciousness, however, we’ll find that everything and everybody is one.
We’re all one consciousness that’s been split and divided into individualized personalities and accompanying lower realms, and to move beyond the lower vibrations of separation and duality, it’s essential that we transcend our perception of division and understand (and act on) our oneness.
We aren’t meant to continue holding ourselves back, but if we empower the idea that we’re divided and should hate each other over outer differences that really don’t matter, we’ll keep ourselves back from the unity and oneness we’re destined to rekindle.
Swami Ramakrishnananda encourages us to seek Source and spiritual awareness in our own consciousness, instead of in external matter.
“We are conscious and God is conscious, and it becomes evident that if we want God, we shall have to search Him out in our inner consciousness.
“We must always seek consciousness in consciousness. Just as we must seek a bird among birds, not among beasts; in the same way we must not search for God in unconsciousness. What is unconscious? Matter is dead and unconscious, therefore God must not be sought in matter. We must seek him in consciousness, that is, inside our own self.” (5)
The things our society offers will only satisfy for a short time, and anyone who’s been stuck on the cycles of materialism and consumerism know that it doesn’t take long before the ‘new’ things that enamor us become unsatisfying and we seek other things in an effort to fill the spiritual void.
- Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948, 51.
- Red Pine, trans., The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma. Port Townsend, WA, Empty Bowl, 1987, 23.
- Ibid., 39.
- Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher lsherwood, Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1975; c1947, 64.
- Swami Ramakrishnananda, God and Divine Incarnations. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1986, 37.
Photo Credit: Medium’s World
Concluded in Part 2 tomorrow.