Human beings were created with a very special gift: spiritual consciousness. And each one of us, regardless of the way we look or what language we speak, has it. That is what makes us one.
This endowment of spiritual consciousness is not human; it is divine. It is a little spark of the divine life housed within our psyche. Therefore like the Great Divine Itself, it is perfect and eternal. It knows no sin, disease, or death.
All human beings have spiritual consciousness, but not all become conscious of or realize this. In fact, many people live their entire lifetime without even so much as acknowledging their endowment of spiritual consciousness. In this regard these are like the man who had a million dollars deposited into his bank account by an unknown benefactor but never had recourse to check his balance. Others acknowledge that they have consciousness, but they see no value or worth in it. This is perhaps because much of their attention in this life has been diverted to survival issues, and spending time and energy trying to get to know their endowment of spiritual consciousness strikes them as being an indulgent luxury. Others acknowledge their consciousness and sense that there is value there, but they do not have the inclination or impetus to do the spiritual work needed in order to learn more about consciousness and be able to unleash its power. Spiritual practice usually gets relegated to a secondary undertaking to those for whom other pursuits appear more pressing.
But then there are some who, over time, come to know themselves to the degree that the realization of their endowment of consciousness becomes an integral part of their self-knowledge and life experience. These not only come to acknowledge and value their consciousness; they come to see it as one of life’s greatest gifts. This is what Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the “ pearl of great price.” (Matthew 13:45,46). They come to value it above all else and have no qualms about doing the spiritual work needed to make their individual endowment of consciousness shine forth in all its glory.
Learning about consciousness is not as difficult as we tend to believe. It does not require a high level of intellectual aptitude or training. We all are capable of understanding the nuances of consciousness and unleashing its ultimate potential. Unfortunately, there are many false teachings floating around out there that can lead us astray and send us on a lengthy detour. In truth, the study of consciousness is the most purely spiritual pursuit there is, but it is rare to find spiritual teachers these days that stress this order. So a good deal of spiritual practice has become diversionary and focused on lesser goals.
The starting point for the study and realization of consciousness is the consciousness of “I”. This may strike some as being a redundant and superfluous concept, but it is actually quite powerful. Mystically speaking, the fully evolved consciousness of “I” is the essence of self-realization.
But it starts small and unassumingly. Its initial stirrings usually take place in our childhood or early teens. These stirrings often come about as the result of circumstance—a circumstance that is so upending it causes us to question all that we have believed up to that point. Sometimes a stirring of consciousness happens as the result of finding ourselves in a potentially life-threatening situation. This causes us to become aware of the fragility of life and to adopt a more sober outlook. Faced with the prospect of death and extinction, our consciousness brings forth a greater emphasis to and appreciation of the thought: “I am alive” or “I have life.”
Another instance in which the consciousness of “I” tends to rise to the forefront is when we become aware of some aspect of our created human makeup that suddenly strikes us as being exceptional and awe-inspiring. For instance, take the ancient philosopher’s revelation: “I think; therefore I am.” Suddenly he realized the great power inherent in the human thought process, and his response was to equate that realization with the consciousness of “I”. For a human being to be able to think is an amazing attribute, but even more amazing is the realization that I exist and have life.
The consciousness of “I” also influences our behavior in many subtle ways. Since it often comes upon us unexpectedly or “out of the blue” we tend to have some sort of a reaction to it, and out of that reaction there follows a behavioral response. For example, we might feel moved to take a break from whatever we are doing and go outside for a breath of fresh air. Many people who decide to become pet owners are actually being motivated by and responding to the consciousness of “I”. They see themselves regularly taking a break playing with their cat or walking their dog as a means whereby they can reconnect with that deeper part of themselves, even if only briefly. Though they might not be inclined to take such an initiative on their own, something about tending to the needs of their pet clicks them into a more conscious mode. Ironically, for many, even cigarette smoking serves this purpose. People who smoke not only see it as a pleasurable interlude but also as a five-minute consciousness break—one that makes them stop what they are doing and become aware of themselves. That is why many people go off by themselves to smoke and might appear quizzically thoughtful while doing so.
As we become more and more conscious of “I” we eventually become aware of this same consciousness at work in others. We might catch someone in their moment of reconnecting (whatever their routine to accomplish this might be) and recognize what is truly motivating them. With most people it can be seen written on their faces. We can even begin to recognize it in the behavior of animals. This is because animals live totally in the present moment. They have no past regrets or future worries. So while they do not actually possess the faculty of spiritual consciousness like humans do, just the fact that they move in the present moment speaks to us of a kind of pure essential enjoyment of life and reminds us of our own consciousness of “I”. Or sometimes it can remind us of our lack of conscious awareness.
Once we have developed our own consciousness of “I” we naturally seek to expand upon it and broaden our horizons. This expansion might include seeing it in other creatures, but it can also include created life expressions such as plants, sun, moon, stars, seasonal changes, etc. Again, none of these created life forms possesses the faculty of consciousness per se, but all created life that is submitted to and lives in harmony with the One Life can fill us with awe and wonder. It can also have the effect of expanding our consciousness to ponder and embrace God.
The consciousness of God is not a belief; it is a mystical perception. Though God cannot be known with our usual sensual approach to perception, through our expanded consciousness we can feel God. What we find then is that the consciousness of “I” is really a stepping-stone to many other deeper forays into consciousness. For when we become aware of our own aliveness we also become aware of the life in everything else in our universe. We might then deduce that all of this seething life must have a source. And that is what God is. It is simply the source of all life—life that has no end and can never be contained or boxed in.
Scientists have concluded that our universe has no boundaries—that it is never-ending. But this would not be so, if it were not for the faculty of human consciousness that perceives it. In other words, it is really consciousness that has no limitations or boundaries, and being creatures with the endowment of spiritual consciousness housed within us we project its expansive qualities onto all we perceive. Another way to say this is that consciousness creates the universe anew every time we become conscious of and attempt to perceive it. And it always creates it in its own image. By this we can gain a glimpse of just how small our initial forays of the consciousness of “I” are in comparison to consciousness’ ultimate expansive properties.
This then is the true nature of our universe. It is actually comprised of consciousness. But most people are not yet able to fully understand such a concept. This is because while every human being has consciousness, each one of us is in the process of evolving into our complete expansionary form. We are therefore evolving states of consciousness. Thus we are really all in the process of returning to our created source. And because another word for that source is God, the highest state of consciousness known to man is God-union. For, God is consciousness in its ultimate evolved form.
But based on the humble beginnings many of us are only now experiencing with the consciousness of “I” it should be clear to us that we still have a very long way to go. It should also be clear to us that we need help, especially in the arena of the collective. In so many ways the collective body of mankind is still mired in a state of evolving consciousness that does not even measure one on a scale of one-to-ten. Thus we are really still living in the dark ages. We are still bestial, warlike, bigoted, and obsessed with materialism. Society’s leaders are like the blind leading the blind. In fact, we are all so blind that whenever help has come to us we have not only refused it; we have sought to destroy it and push it as far away as possible.
Without a doubt this was the case with Jesus. As one who had already evolved into a much higher state of God-union than any other man had ever done before him, his sole task was to try to help the rest of mankind elevate their state of consciousness. But how was he received? With suspicion, fear, hatred, and violence.
Even so, Jesus accomplished a great feat of consciousness expansion simply by living among us, sharing his teaching, and perhaps most importantly, availing himself to his difficult fate. For, it was in his death and the imagery it spawned that mankind truly received a consciousness jolt and wakeup call. This was because not only was his death one of the most unjust and cruel recordings of a public execution; it was also indelibly linked to a powerful doctrinal teaching—the teaching that he died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Why is this doctrine so powerful in relationship to consciousness? Because it espouses an inviolably accessible way for us to draw closer to God. And as we have already seen, the ultimate state of consciousness for our kind is God-union.
Thus we see that the teaching about Jesus’ cross and resurrection is not essentially a religious teaching; it is a pure spiritual dynamic that is meant to give us a shot in the arm on our evolutionary journey of consciousness expansion. It breaks down many barriers that have plagued mankind throughout this age—barriers that have kept us stuck in lower states of consciousness on account of our own sense of uncleanness and unworthiness.
When looked at in this light it becomes clear that Jesus was more than a master teacher. He was a true servant of human consciousness evolution. He made a way for us to expand our consciousness and become like him—that is, to press on further and further to an ever-deepening state of God-union.