Sense perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. More or less, these make up every human being.
Oh, and there’s one more thing: pure consciousness. Because how else can you have a sense perception without being aware of it? Consciousness enables the perceptions, thoughts, and emotions to be there.
Most humans don’t know that consciousness is right inside us. Consciousness is presence, also known as awareness.
Think of consciousness in terms of a normal room. When asked to describe the room, you would probably describe it in terms of the furniture, walls, and ceilings. But you will miss the most important essential thing about the room, the space. The essence of the room is not the objects in the room, but the space.
The space of consciousness enables everything else to be. Imagine a fish in the water asking another fish (a spiritual teacher fish) :
Why are you always talking about water, you haven’t shown it to me yet? -Fish
It is hard to put it in words, perhaps because humans are used to thinking logically.
EXACTLY it’s just like trying to find the meaning of meaning or what is the meaning of what. We know their essence yet struggle to put it in a logical definition and that’s exactly what’s with presence and being. It can be felt but can’t be described. -raq 01
You can be aware of what your mind is doing without being trapped in what your mind is doing. You can be aware of your emotions without being trapped inside your emotions.
You can sense within yourself an inner space in which everything happens. For example, a spaciousness in which you are perceiving this room. How can this moment take on this particular form that is this room? What are the ingredients of this moment? Sense perceptions (auditory, visual) and the thinking mind.
If you can be just here in a space of simple aware presence, then that is the awakened state — simple as that. If you can be aware of the kind of thoughts that your mind is thinking, then you’re halfway there. The process of dis-identification has begun from the self-talk in the head.
There is an enormous difference in vibrational frequency between the thinking state and the state of clear aware presence. Your ability to think clearly gets enhanced when a lot of that compulsive and useless thinking subsides.
Does that mean you want to go a level below the thinking state? No. You can find some peace relative to thinking, if you go towards unconsciousness.
For example, when you are so tired and hitting the pillow, you are going towards a beautiful state of dreamless sleep where you become one with the source, but you don’t know it. You can only know if for a brief few seconds or minutes when you are going towards it. You are not thinking anymore.
In the morning, you awake with an intense aliveness, known as the fullness of life. The mind says “that was a good sleep”, and the self-talk ensues for the rest of the day. Every thought pretends to be absolutely important and absolutely right. Everything thought is absolutely righteous and wants to be heard.
View more on the fullness of life.
Now, we are going to look at what Google thinks consciousness is. We are doing this by looking at the front page of Google and digging into what each site has to say.
At this moment in writing, there are 391M results on "What is Consciousness?"
According to Scientific American, consciousness is everything you experience.
Consciousness is everything you experience. It is the tune stuck in your head, the sweetness of chocolate mousse, the throbbing pain of a toothache, the fierce love for your child and the bitter knowledge that eventually all feelings will end.
Modern analytic philosophers of mind, most prominently Daniel Dennett of Tufts University, find the existence of consciousness such an intolerable argument that people either deny its existence or it can never be meaningfully studied by science.
The Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) is defined as minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any specific conscious experience. For example, what must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache? The brain can be considered an NCC: it generates experience, day in and day out.
Neuroscientists use empirical approaches to discover neural correlates of subjective phenomena, which means they found out neural changes correlates with specific experience. Take the example below, where a dog sees a human in the outside world, and in the brain, some neurons give it a conscious percept.
Sights, sounds, and other sensations of life we experience are generated by regions within the posterior cortex. Almost all conscious experiences originate from there.
This study by Melanie Boly backs up this claim, saying that regions in the "back" of the cortex, including temporal, parietal, and occipital areas, as a "posterior hot zone" consistently play a direct role in specifying the contents of consciousness. Evidence for a direct, content-specific involvement of the "front" of the cortex, including most prefrontal regions, is missing or unclear. Reports of conscious patients after bilateral frontal lobectomy demonstrate that the prefrontal cortex is not necessary for consciousness. Although it remains possible that some prefrontal regions, such as the ventromedial areas or premotor areas, may contribute specific conscious contents, such as feelings of reflections, valuation, and affect.
Challenges still lie ahead for the scientific study of consciousness. We still need to use the increasingly refined tools to observe the vast coalitions of neurons making up the brain to understand the footprints of consciousness. This effort will take decades, given the byzantine complexity of the central nervous system. Or make a better theory on why consciousness does or doesn't exist.
PsychologyToday says that very smart people have spent their entire careers trying to understand the answer to that question. It is surprising that something we all experience is so hard to explain.
David Chalmers labels the challenges to understanding consciousness as "easy" and "hard". The easy problems involve the explanation of how the mind integrates information, focuses attention, and allows us to report on mental states.
The hard problem, by contrast, may never be solved. The hard problem is determining why or how consciousness occurs given the right arrangement of brain matter. Consciousness lacks the sort of consensus that would allow us to move on and test our theories.
Some argue that the hard problem simply is unsolvable. The first argument is that the brain isn't capable of coming up with a solution to understanding conscious. The second argument is that a solution to a problem requires that you aren't a part of the problem.
Many hardcore empirical researchers believe that consciousness might be solved using a consistent theory of physics. But then again, it may never be meaningfully understood in the realm of science.
According to VeryWellMind, one of the problems with the study of consciousness is the lack of a universally accepted operational definition. Descartes proposed the idea of cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), suggesting that the very act of thinking demonstrates the reality of one's existence and consciousness.
Today, consciousness is often viewed as an individual's awareness of their internal states as well as the events going on around them. If you describe something you are experiencing in words, then it is part of your consciousness.
In psychology, consciousness is occasionally confused with a conscience. Consciousness involves awareness of yourself and the world, while conscience is related to your morality and sense of right or wrong.
Vice, on the other hand, claims that humans sure act dumb a lot of the time. This contradiction has been a fascination for Laurie Santos, a psychologist and cognitive scientist who heads Siliman College at Yale University.
Santos teaches a new course at Yale, "Psychology and the Good Life". The course outlines positive psychology concepts and recommends science-backed methods for reducing stress and living a more balanced fulfilling life.
Examples of these methods include expressing gratitude, prioritizing social connections, and focusing on "time affluence," which means setting aside substantive time to pursue passions and leisure activity. Santos' class became Yale's most popular class ever.
View more on expressing gratitude.
Santos points out that people want to be more conscious which these science-backed tools enables use to do that.
The main reason that people need this stuff is because of these biases of our mind. It’s because we have this dumb monkey mind that’s built to seek out these dumb things that we don’t actually want and we really need some help from science to teach us what we can do to be better. -Santos
Here, we will go through what the world's largest community thinks of consciousness. Here is a popular recent thread by Darkhumor03:
Consciousness seems to be energy experiencing life. It seems like consciousness for me is so closely linked to perception. I can only see life from my point of view therefore I can only know life from my point of view. -LaneeceakaCoachLyfe
A fan of Alan Watts goes especially in-depth:
That is you, you are it. To be more specific, consciousness is the light of light, consciousness can not be perceive because it is the perceiver. Attempting to perceive consciousness is like attempting to taste your own tongue or to see your own eye without using a reflection. You are it. It is not your body, or your mind, or your thoughts, those are just objects. The collective consciousness is known as “god” you are god, but so is everyone and everything else. Don’t take this realization as an excuse to discriminate against others, if anything it should fill you with love and compassion for everything. -Thatoneguy0311
If you're really interested in this I can recommend "Consciousness" - Blackmore & Troscianko. -PMMEINFORMATION
Consciousness is everywhere, it is inside of you and outside of you. The amazing thing is that you can’t recognize it as an object but as the awareness itself.
Be aware of being possessed by thoughts. Knowing there is any kind of thought there is already half the battle. Win the war by being here, in a space of simple aware presence.
Many scientist try to use empirical methods and theories to explain consciousness, and we do see activity in the posterior cortex, however consciousness still very much remain a mystery.
Students at Yale are enjoying the research being done on consciousness. They are using the science-backed tools and strategies such as expressing gratitude, social connection, and setting time aside for hobbies to relax and get in touch with consciousness.
What defines consciousness?
What is the purpose of awareness?
What is the importance of awareness?
What is gratitude?
What does it mean to be fully conscious?
How can I improve my conscious mind?
How can I train my mind to think positive?
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