Transcribed from a talk in October 2011
What is the relationship between Consciousness and Awakening? When we define Consciousness the general acceptable definition is that it is a state of being aware. The awareness of my thoughts, my emotions, my dreams, my desires and my aspirations, they all make me feel that I am conscious. The various experiences, the scaffoldings the knowledge, the knowingness, the name and form that I inherit from this world interpreted through the medium of my mind again reconfirms my being a conscious being.
So whatever is projected by my mind through its relationship with this world is defined by most as Consciousness. Such a definition may be popular but is not necessarily true because it assumes that Consciousness is dependent on the existence of this mind and the world that we live in. But it is not so. In sleep the mind is held in abeyance and is suspended, yet we can remain perfectly conscious. It is a different thing that we have forgotten that part on waking up from sleep. The absence of memory doesn’t mean that there is an absence of consciousness, yet we conclude that we are unconscious in sleep. It is an incorrect assumption. If we can observe more deeply and are open to exploring deeper than what our minds perceive or tell us we can remain conscious even when the mind is absent.
So, if we want to know Consciousness in its totality we must first reject, completely reject this popular and most acceptable definition and be able to explore deeper than what this waking state lays in front of me. The waking state is NOT the totality but only a small fragment of the term Consciousness. When you transcend the waking state part of Consciousness a whole new reality emerges. That reality is called awakening. This is the relationship between the two.
To awaken means to know the totality of Consciousness which you can know only when you experience your deep sleep and beyond state. Most don’t awaken from sleep, they simply arise. They only arise from bed. Therefore to truly awaken, get to know what real Consciousness is, which means get to know the reality which remains hidden in the darkness you perceive when you fall into slumber. Meditation is the only way to do that.
~ Rajiv Kapur