Many spiritual seekers see consciousness as a positive implication. Consciousness is always on every corner of spirituality and spiritual journey. Spiritual seekers work to extend, rise, and deepen or just to become more conscious.
But there are so many other terms whose real meaning is left unfound. The terms include spirituality, energy, love, bliss, truth, freedom, and soul.
When it comes to the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, every term is defined unequivocally.
The word consciousness, when used in a familiar context, has various diverse meanings. There is a general meaning of consciousness relating to the brain. There is also an idea that consciousness can be directed or aligned to something or withdrawn.
Consciousness is when you are aware of the internal processes happening in you. You can be called a conscious person when you identify an emotion at the time it occurs rather than at a later point in time.
Observing yourself and the world, every small thing around you, knowing exactly what is going on, helps you expand or raise your consciousness. It is also widely said that mindfulness is a form of higher consciousness. Meditation or searching for spiritual inspiration is often said to be the path to attain consciousness.
The consciousness achieved by psychotherapy, meditation, energy work, and other methods is rarely defined and vague.
Advaita Vedanta and Consciousness
In the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, consciousness cannot be expanded, narrowed, lost, raised, diminished, or increased. It cannot be directed or withdrawn, and you cannot measure it in quantity.
What you think as consciousness is nothing but certain functions of your mind. This function of the mind is called buddhi, which can be named as a higher mind. When it comes to the path of Advaita, the path of understanding, buddhi is very important.
Good and well-functioning buddhi enables you to learn, and the best way to tweak it is by training it to distinguish or discern. Consciousness works, and its process has no role in this, yet they cannot be ruled out completely.
The Path of Vedanta
The path of Vedanta is not just a journey or travel from one point to another. It does not concern the outcome or the results in any form in time and space. It is more about what you discover about yourself.
When you discover yourself, you discover your true nature and, in the way, your true self. To help you discover this, the buddhi should be ready and well functioning. According to Advaita Vedanta, consciousness is already in you. Consciousness is truly who you are.
The basis of existence is consciousness. Each and everything that exists here is due to its nature of consciousness. Consciousness would exist even if there is nothing else that exists.
As you are a part of everything there is, you are by nature consciousness itself. And this becomes your true nature. Trust in the process is very important. If, until now, you thought that you had to develop certain qualities or experiences to find your true self and have failed at it, there is nothing wrong with trying a new way.
Accepting that you are conscious by real nature but have not realized it yet is everything. This acceptance is what will show you the right path to finding your consciousness.
To realize who you are, you do not have to resort to any form of consciousness work. The path of understanding lies in reflection. When you feel that you believe in something only because you want it to be that way, stop right there and reflect.
To discover who you really are, you have to be willing,
- To not give up when you do not understand something, inquire until you understand it.
- To always question your beliefs.
- To stop and think matters through thoroughly
- To apply sober analysis.
Consciousness and Energy
Energy and consciousness are mostly grouped because both concepts are something you can experience only by the five senses. But, in Advaita Vedanta, energy and consciousness are not related.
Energy exists as matter while consciousness is no matter. It exists in all forms and is universal, with no constraints.
Energy has various qualities, colors, strengths, weakness, pleasantness, high, low, and varied other factors. Consciousness is nothing but a pure neutral being without any specific qualities. It is merely an existence and cannot be defined as anything at all.
When you are on a path to find yourself, your true nature through any form of consciousness work, you are adding, removing, or changing something that is you. For understanding who you are, the need to add anything is dropped as it becomes pointless.