Conscious Awareness and A Will-apart

            My experiences of the past several years have brought up questions for me about conscious awareness.     A few years ago I wrote now and then about how I had come to see that what I experienced—what I was consciously aware of—really didn’t matter. Truth does not need my conscious awareness to be Truth, so how could it be significant? It seemed self-centered to be so focused on my ongoing conscious awareness when the Awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) broke into it when necessary and operated through me regardless of what was going on in my conscious awareness.
            When the Awareness of Truth became my new state of consciousness after years of denying the ego (personal thought system) had fallen away, questions about conscious awareness became a central focus for me. I was conscious of this shift while still contending, on the conscious level—rather intensely for a while—with the echo or shadow of the ego. So what is conscious awareness exactly? What is its significance, if any? And what is its relationship to will?
            Before I go further I am going to discuss what I have discovered about the seeming-parts of this mind. I realize this has already been done down the ages by philosophers and psychologists, but this has come out of my experience of this mind. It may or may not be useful to you.
            All of these are parts of individual consciousness. Consciousness (also called awareness or perception) is the experience of existence. Individual consciousness is an aspect of Consciousness Itself. (In A Course in Miracles terms, Consciousness would be the “Son of God/Christ” and individual consciousnesses would be the “sons of God”. “God”, or Truth, is beyond existence/consciousness/experience).

Conscious awareness: This is the level of this mind that observes and interacts with the material world, including the body, through the body’s senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting). It also receives this mind’s subconscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings about itself and these experiences. It also can be aware of Truth. In other words, this is where I experience my existence, whether as an ego/self or as Consciousness/Existence (Awareness of Truth).

Subconscious: These are observations, thoughts, and feelings just out of my conscious awareness. Sometimes they are pushed there in denial. For example, when my father died I had for a time afterward a low grade depression as I would go about my days. At the end of each day, though, when I was done with work and chores, the grief would hit. Other times things are stored there temporarily because I have more important things occupying my conscious thoughts. For example, a short shopping list.

When I close my eyes to meditate the first thoughts I encounter are those in my subconscious.

Individual Unconscious: My memories of the self’s past, deep beliefs, and things I deny more deeply are stored here.

Universal Unconscious (Christ/Holy Spirit/Awareness of Truth): This is Consciousness Itself in every mind. This began so deeply denied I really had no awareness of It at all and had to work at bringing It to my conscious awareness. Eventually It became my Constant Companion and is now my Consciousness, operating on all levels.

(I don’t use the term “collective unconscious” because It is the same in every mind, not a collection of unconsciousnesses).

            What I have learned is that my conscious awareness is the most superficial and insignificant aspect of my mind. This is why, in the past few years, its significance to me has vacillated. On one hand, it does seem to be where I live. But, on the other, I became aware that Truth (Universal Unconscious) was untouched by my conscious experience and even operated in my mind whether I was consciously aware of It or not.
            What I’ve seen in the past months is that my conscious awareness was all that was ever significant to the ego. In ego-identification conscious awareness was me and everything else was something out of my control. The ego taught me to keep things it didn’t want me to know about myself in my unconscious (including, of course, Consciousness, which in that situation is the Universal Unconscious). This is why it resisted my learning about the other parts of my mind through psychology. When I did, it taught me that I was powerless over those other parts. And, of course, when I grew consciously aware of the Universal Unconscious—What I really am—it became vicious.
            As I rose in consciousness…notice my language here. “Rising in consciousness” was not my conscious awareness rising to Christ Consciousness, but rather Christ (Universal Unconscious) rising to this mind’s conscious awareness. The “I” is not conscious awareness, as the ego would have me think. “I” am the Universal Unconscious that rose to conscious awareness, pushing out the ego. And, in my shock, I did what the ego had taught me to do to defend “myself”—conscious awareness—and I went into denial for four years.
            But denial did not change what occurred. It seems to me now that all my seeming will-apart has ever done is control my conscious awareness. Besides not affecting Truth at all, it has not really affected this mind. The Undoing (Atonement) that is what existence/consciousness is about, goes on despite any seeming will-apart. What seems to be there or to not be there does not change what has really shifted in this mind. Ever since The Golden Light of Love burst into my conscious awareness I have known of the shift in my  conscious awareness. I am not waiting for it to happen; it has happened, whether I see it or not.
            The ego was right that the other parts of my mind were out of my control. But I was mistaken in believing this meant they were not me. My subconscious and individual unconscious are really just storehouses, but they are a part of my mind. I saw this long ago through psychology. But for a long time I felt the Universal Unconscious was “other” so It remained Unconscious, only coming to my conscious awareness when I called on It or, more rarely, unconsciously allowed It into my conscious awareness and experienced momentary shifts in conscious awareness.
            My seeming will-apart has done nothing. It has not changed Truth. It has not prevented the Undoing in and through this mind. It diminishes daily in its chosen domain, conscious awareness.
           
>>>> 
My life-coaching for students of ACIM focuses on the practical application of its principles.
If you want support and guidance from someone who has been there email me at Liz@acimmentor.com to set up an appointment for mentoring. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.

Comments

Erich said…
The question I've had about awareness is - if there is really only one mind - how is it possible there can be separate, private aspects of awareness? It is conceivable that awareness could be in a top-down fashion, but not so from the bottom up. Also, illusions - are we to understand that the illusional domain would encompass all thoughts, feelings of any kind, intuition, insight, any sort of level(s) of consciousness, awareness etc? It would seem there aren't really dimensions of the Universe either - if I may suspect.
ACIM Mentor said…
Erich, it isn't possible that there can be separate, private aspects of awareness. That's why it is called an illusion!

And, yes, all levels of consciousness (also called awareness, perception, experience, existence) are illusion. Even the consciousness of Truth. Truth alone is not an illusion.
will said…
Erich,

The word "mind" throws us off. Think of it more in terms of the "mind of God." That sort of thing.
will said…
The "Mind" has three parts. The ego's (separation), the Holy Spirit's (Atonement) and the 'decision maker.' The part of the spiritual mind that 'thinks' is the decision maker; in our situation it is watching the ego. Jesus in ACIM isn't speaking to Erich or William, He is speaking to the Decision Maker. A decision was made that instead of the mind of God, it would settle for TV and a cold beer. Jesus is trying to explain that to the Decision Maker it would be better off listening to the part of the mind that is the Holy Spirit's Atonement. It's a tough sell...
will said…
Brain Teaser: If Jesus came back to earth and started talking about "the dream" what would happen?
will said…
About 18 months ago...

I had become concerned about the political and emotional state of the country. To make a very long story short I started writing on a social site called Quora. The set up is people ask questions on various topics and there is a forum for answers and opinions. I was writing on politics but some mental health and spiritual things too. In a year I had 235,000 readers and was getting 23,000 hits a month. Social media is very toxic and about two months ago I got out. It was a good experience in that I got a bird's eye view of the dream. I know what is going on now from personal experience, although I am still processing most of what happened. If you are going to about something you really need first hand experience.
will said…
"If you are going to write about something..." correction
will said…
HA! One comment on how we don't exist and the next about writing on social media. Writing stuff on the blog is a great reality check if you can stand it:-)
will said…
When you show your foolishness in a public forum like I just did, your personal ego is absolutely outraged. You want to talk vicious? For years I deleted stuff. The attack was too fierce! With determination and a LOT of help from the people on this blog I was finally able to stop deleting. The payoff is obvious. But no pain no gain that's for sure.

Have you ever read Ken Wapnick's book "Absence From Felicity"? It is his biography of Helen's writing of the Course. But the title is strange! Felicity means "the quality or state of being happy." Look it up. Helen did her part in close association with Jesus but there was little happiness in it for her. She tried to write her own biography but kept getting in her own way. In the intro to the book Ken says the title comes from Hamlet, he and Helen's favorite piece of writing. As Hamlet is about to die from getting exposed to poison his best friend, Horatio reaches for the poison so he will die with his friend Hamlet. Hamlet stops him and says no, he must put felicity in his life aside and write the truth of what happened to Hamlet.
Ken says in his own way that doing the Course is not a fun or pleasant thing. Check out the book it's a good one.
E.E. said…
The resistance that arises is what is not fun. The decision to embrace the Course practice and choose again is affirming and yes, joyous.

We are not being asked to give up the enjoyment of a cold beer and tv; only to change the channel.

Thank you for helping to clarify this.
will said…
Yes, of course we are not asked to go through life with dour expressions and dark clouds over our heads. You make a valid point.
Yet Jesus in his Course reminds us that Forgiveness is always directed at the source, the Decision Maker, not our non existence lives in the illusion.
It is a long Course and people cannot be expected to embrace change that the Holy Spirit has not yet enacted but our goal is always to leave our comfort zone in the ego's dream.
will said…
More on getting out of my Comfort Zone

About six moths ago while rummaging through my books trying to find something to read before bed, I came across a paperback book on Mindfulness. In reading it I decided to try to get serious about it; or more serious anyway. Sleep often does not come quickly for me and I started by focusing on my breathing as I lay there in the dark. Soon I was remembering to practice during the day although it is still sporadic. During this same period, I read some very enlightening stuff on Forgiveness. I began combining the two at night before sleep. Almost immediately I came under vicious attack by the ego. The attacks went something like this:

My personal mind would come up with an idea that would sound good and I would follow through with it. I was trying to get to know the librarian at the public library and my mind would come up with things I could talk about with her to break the ice. So, I followed through with the plan and it went okay. But within the hour my good feelings about talking to her were replaced by this extremely intense voice, (the same one with the ideas), on how stupid those things I talked to her about were, how ineffective I was and on and on. That night I did my Forgiveness on this by visualizing the egoic mind with Jesus, with it projecting these thoughts of me, (The brain doesn’t think because it too is an illusion). This really pissed off the ego and it has been a dog fight for almost all of the past six months. The attacks are severe enough that I don't drive when they are going on. When I am attacked, I do forgiveness to the source, (my egoic mind), and wait for the next onslaught. This is called doing The Course In Miracles. Hard, But, OH the Progress!!

More later…
The Book: Silence, The Power of Quiet In a World Full of Noise. By Thich Nhat Hanh.
Anonymous said…
The article was very interesting as are the comments.
will said…
For clarification it is not voices in my head but the usual thinking pattern, only on steriods.
Francis said…
Liz are you familiar with the term non-dual awareness? NDA. Awareness becoming aware of awareness. There are several ways to access this state which allows glimpses into what I think you have been experiencing for some time now.
Idm said…
Will,

Your sharing about getting out of your comfort zone was entirely relatable. And wonderful. There is a Light in you yearning for freedom. I can feel it because it is also in me.

Stay the course (!) with your forgiveness practice. You are not alone.
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, Francis, I am aware of the practices you mention, though they were not my way.
will said…
More on moving out of the comfort zone:

We are an illusion. When you read the Course stop identifying with "you or your" as you, the person reading the Course. In this spiritual course there is no William or Henry or Mary. Jesus isn't personally talking to each of us. He has to be addressing someone or something; That would be the Decision Maker. Doing this uncomfortable process of re reading the Course in this way will one, move you toward the goal of leaving the dream and two, it will open up the Course in a whole new way. Almost a different book since it is being read as intended. It is not fun doing this unless you like this sort of thing. At some point all of us know that we will have to stop clinging to our personal selves. This will begin to open the door to the Holy Spirit to help you with this transition.

All this sucks pretty bad when you start, but it passes. We are a tough bunch. Call Liz, she will bring you up to speed on the Decision Maker and split mind.
will said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
will said…
More:

Reading the Course as if it is intended for you, the person reading it, reinforces the ego's grip on the dream. As Jesus struggles to get through to the Decision Maker we sit here fighting Jesus off as if we are what the ego wants us to be (humans). Won't work...

Try not to Forgive events in the dream. Events are only used in this classroom to remind us to Forgive the Decision Maker. 'He' is the source of the problem.

will said…
Forgiving the Decision Maker?? What's that mean?

In this cosmic drama that is the Course In Miracles the Decision Maker is the source of the dream. (Kind of a Rip Van Winkle character if that helps). When we Forgive him we are essentially trying to shake him awake. Us and the Holy Spirit. He is dreaming that the ego dream is the only one there is. If we can shake him awake he will realize the there is a whole new dream he was totally unaware of. A really great one without all the mess of this dream on earth!

Yes I'm willing to take some hits for presenting it this way. But this drama is impossible to actually believe ( and work with) without a lot of help from the Holy Spirit. Wapnick uses a movie theater example to do the same thing.
will said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
will said…
Computer glitches
will said…
Why don't we Forgive the Dream events?

Think of a canon shooting off shells and bombs that are exploding. It doesn't do much good to Forgive an exploded shell! It's too late. Jesus wants us to Focus on the source, the canon, (the Decision Maker) so it will stop shooting off bombs. So when a bomb goes off remember it is the canon that is the problem.

I have some deletes because the internet/computer is publishing each comment twice...
will said…
Out of the Comfort Zone and into the Power Zone!

Forgiveness is the process we are given to use in ACIM. If you are like I was I would only remember it rarely during the day (or week!). But what if we could concentrate and focus Forgiveness like a laser beam. We can and here's how:

Jesus gave us the Text as a tool that very few of us use. I know I didn't. When I have been reading it I imagine it as a tool to directly help my life. That really reinforces my belief in me and the reality of the dream. A big bonus for the ego, to have me reading to it as if it could help me with the Course!

Instead, picture yourself with Jesus/the Holy Spirit reading to The source, The dreaming Decision Maker. When you read the "you and your" parts visualize talking directly to the Decision Maker. After all that IS how the book is written to be used! The "You and your" is the Decision Maker.
will said…
If all these comments will encourage one person to experience the growth of writing on the blog or give them the courage to call Liz then it was well worth it.

Back to the cave...
will said…
A correction:

For me reading the Course as if it is written for the personal mind, for William, led me to understand it in terms of my own mind. As Jesus describing the problems with the human mind and the problems it causes. In reading about Helen scribing the Course it is so easy to come away with the impression of a self help book for a human.

But we have to stay true to the full meaning and teaching of the Course. Humans aren't here, they are illusions. This is not just some interesting but unimportant part of the Course but the foundation that leads us to our source, the Decision Maker. Jesus tells us this is the goal this form of spirituality would solve; waken the sleeping mind. Ignoring this only leads us in direct opposition to the efforts of the Holy Spirit as this Course describes it.

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