On Consciousness (Awareness, Perception)

A couple of week ago I answered a question about whether or not animals have consciousness (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/01/ask-does-each-animal-experience.html).My answer provoked several emails of questions and comments. They seemed to be about different aspects of my response but I’ve come to see that they were all related. So I am going to respond to the ideas in them here in one fell swoop.

First, let me define what I mean by “consciousness” (in other contexts “awareness” or “perception”): A mind that is capable of an awareness of Truth. While one split mind (what A Course in Miracles calls the “Son of God”) projects the entire universe of form, it projects its split mind onto only one form, the human animal. So while many animals have some degree of intelligence and many experience degrees of emotions, only the human animal suffers the conscious and unconscious psychological conflict of a mind that is split between Truth and not-Truth.

Some indicated that I said or implied that because only humans have consciousness they are somehow special or superior to other animals. I did not say this nor did I imply it. In fact, I implied the opposite with the last paragraph: since nothing at the level of form has any effect on Truth there is no part of it that is special or superior to the rest. It is no different to have consciousness than to not have consciousness. All illusion is illusion and is equally meaningless.

This brings me to another issue that was brought up. Some were disturbed by the idea that it does not matter if they are aware of Truth or not. Of course, I intended this to set them free! The freedom and joy of forgiveness is in the awareness that Truth is not affected by not-Truth (the universe of form). The take away is that you do not have to worry about what you attain or do not attain as a person. You can just enjoy the process and let it take you where it will. There are no bad consequences for not attaining a certain awareness. But “Why bother to become aware of Truth? Why bother with this process?” some asked. In my experience once one has had an awareness of Truth there is no going back. The Truth compels you because It is the Truth. And being aware of Truth does bring relief from the pain of believing in not-Truth (the universe of form). But just as pain is only temporary so is the need for relief from pain only temporary. Either way, it all falls away.

And this leads to the other issue brought up in the emails: Isn’t one’s awareness of Truth real and eternal? Isn’t this what “goes on” after the body is dead?

Remember, awareness (consciousness, perception) is only temporary, whether that awareness is of not-Truth or of Truth. Only Knowledge, which is Truth, is eternal. To be aware of Truth and to know Truth are not the same experience. The highest awareness one can have is of Truth. But that awareness is not Truth Itself. It is not Knowledge. Awareness can fluctuate and vary. Knowledge is static and absolute.

Your mind has diametrically opposed experiences: Truth and not-Truth. The experience of Truth is limitless wholeness. The experience of not-Truth is limitation and lack. Think of them as running parallel in your mind. You can experience both but they never intersect. They never blend. One never enters into or becomes the other. Since Truth is Knowledge (or Being) it is not aware of not-Truth. Knowledge transcends all awareness. And at the level of not-Truth you can be aware of Truth but never know (be) Truth. This is why if you want the endless Peace of Truth, not-Truth must fall away. It can never become Truth.


So in a nutshell: Whether or not something has consciousness or whether or not that which has consciousness is conscious of Truth is unimportant. It all passes. Only the Truth is true and eternal.

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Comments

Jon Winslow said…
Wow. Amazed of your understanding....may have to read this a few more times::)))
Deb Baczewski said…
Yes, I am in a wow at this moment.
will said…
The purpose of the course and of the individuals involvement is the Atonement (see T-2.VII.6) The whole text is a plea from Jesus to get involved. Something is going on at His level that prompted him to write the course. That's how I see it anyway.
ACIM Mentor said…
That is a part of the unfolding, Will. Some will be moved to open to Truth; others will not. That, too, is part of the unfolding. The end result is the same (the undoing of the idea of not-God) no matter one's individual role. Remember, this is all an effect; not a cause. You are part of an idea unfolding, not headed toward something that needs to be done.

I have an article on this topic coming in a couple of weeks.
will said…
I'll have to take some time to let that sink in. As soon as I read it the ego is in uproar.
What is the unfolding? If your going to talk about it in the upcoming article I can wait to read it then.
will said…
OK I see you answered what it is.
will said…
It seems like we are looking at it in two different ways. I have been seeing it (the atonement) as something that we are working towards now. Jesus wants us to bring the dream to the Holy Spirit now to awaken the sleeping mind. You are looking at it as we are watching a dream that is in replay, it's already done (I think). I have been thinking what we do now will become part of the dream that we are watching. Part of the way the atonement played out. This is hard.
Bente hove said…
Hello everyONE,

Yes, I think like Will it IS hard (and it IS for 'the ego') to grasp what ACIM really DOES say... (and that is why so many try to teach what it is NOT saying ?) - but, I think you are RIGHT ON THE SPOT, Liz ! That is how I also get it... Life here, and the Atonement, happened already ! We are just re-living 'the separation-from-God'and its effects over and over.. That is why we just have to smile a bit, take it lightly and forgive the BELIEF in it... Bless us all !
KakeSue said…
I struggled (and still do) with thinking ACIM is hard. One time while thinking Why is this so Hard?? I realized ( for me) maybe I'm the one making it so hard. This awareness and turning those thoughts over to the Holy Spirit has helped, but not alleviated Why is this so Hard?
will said…
As 'Will the person' I am part of the idea unfolding (undoing the idea of not God). A spectator in the dream, (but still an effect).

As the Holy Spirit helps me to step back and experience (see)there are TWO parallel tracks running sided by side, Truth and Not Truth, I recognize I am not 'Will the person' on the 'not truth' track.

Over time I no longer associate with 'Will the person." I see him, know he is there just like always but also know from my blending(?) with Truth, that is not my identity. I experience that I am not 'Will the person' and his story. My 'vision' is from the stand point of the Holy Spirit who sees everything as a dream.
will said…
Liz, Make corrections or add ons.
Christine said…
Will - I don't know about "blending", there is awareness, or not-awarness of Truth....
Bente hove said…
I think it is 'scary' because 'the ego' doesn't like to be told it doesn' exist !? We are so identified with being a body that it is simply too fearful to just give up that dream. We can't just jump into Heaven, and Jesus is very patient with us, 'little willingness', 'little steps' etc. He allows us to take 'time' for the 'journey', i.e. 'unwinding the movie' back from the idea of the world to our 'home', Heaven. Let the Holy Spirit (our Inner Teacher) remind us of the Truth by and by. But, 'the end is sure', everyONE will wake up in Heaven (where the Son of God is already, as we never left). Does that make sense ? Bless...
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, you are sharing your experience. It is not my place to correct or to add to it. Your experience is your experience!
will said…
I wish it was my experience lol! I'm just at the stage of figuring it out. Probably years away from the experience. I was just putting into my own words, what I thought you were saying.
will said…
Christine, I don't know about blending either, I couldn't think of another word to use.
will said…
Bente, What I'm beginning to understand is we don't wake up in heaven. I mean Will the person.
ACIM Mentor said…
Will: Ah, okay. You know how I write about how none of this unfolded the way I expected? Just read my experience and tuck it away. Let your own path unfold. What I've written may validate what you eventually experience. It may not. But I can tell you that whatever you think I mean and whatever you expect - it will be different!
Christine said…
I had a "funny" thought so clear this morning when i was coming in the front door with one of my dogs after a short walk...the play, "Waiting for Godot" really means we are "waiting", looking for God, or the Christ Consciousness/whatever, and looking for it "out there", whereas it is really already here - within you...Our Real Self. It's just the Awareness of this fact that we are waiting for.
I never saw the play, it came on tv years ago and was so awful, i had to flip it off. But I kind of knew the story line anyway. Doesn't mean I'm right or wrong, just a thought that whizzed by!
will said…
I tried to read it. Garbage. Nihilism. Great title though.
Christine said…
Yes, and when my dogs are out in the backyard hopefully going to the bathroom - it takes so long sometimes I call the ordeal, "Waiting for Dogot".
Anonymous said…
I share these thoughts of awareness relating to unfolding . . . The experience is like my Self leading this mind out of the story with the help of the universal family. This experience involves great insight, miracle thoughts, words spoken, sleeping dreams and song. A few of my favorite songs, I Walk Alone, Tuesday Afternoon, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, She's Come Undone, Waiting for a Star to Fall.
The characters in my story were (maybe some still are) the reflection of this mind's belief in guilt with the mirroring of a bounty of forgiveness lessons revealed through the story and events of Mom and Dad and 14 siblings, one sister in particular along with my beloved late husband. It is as though they have been with me to show the way out of guilt once I accepted the “How To” from my elder brother Jesus.

I Am in the now and continue to grow my Awareness of Truth. The experience is one of more peace as I watch the unfolding story of Deb, living in the country with her three dogs “Love wrapped in fur”. In the dream, she demonstrates less fear, more joy, answers the calls for love but no longer with the need to fix. Watching what unfolds, I Am continually being shown the way out and the way in to Truth.

With the insights of sleeping dreams, I recall a forgiveness lessons just this morning as I listened to these words spoken . . . “For a smart person, you have done some stupid things”. Well judgment of self is a tall mountain to traverse but watching for the trail markers as the climb unfolds, this mind recognizes the path to the Summit does get easier. The breath of seriousness is no longer as heavy (so far) and as this mind grows Awareness of Truth, well the laughter grows too. I asked for my path to be made simple and serene and trust that if the air gets thin nearing the Summit, the necessary Oxigen will be provided. Peace!

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