Updated: Mar 30, 2021
The topic of consciousness in the western world is widely misunderstood, and for some people a taboo topic as it relates to Eastern philosophy, however, with the increasing incidence of mental health diagnosis, treatments that have produced positive results are Eastern based. By definition consciousness is personal awareness of internal and external experience. Words that describe this further are sentience, discernment, and introspection. Why has religion made the topic of personal empowerment, such as the development, and understanding of consciousness taboo?
One way to make sense of consciousness, is to dissect its opposite. The state of dissociation by definition is the disconnection from self. Psychology describes this as including mild, or severe symptoms of dissociative states that involve disconnection from immediate surroundings, to more severe symptoms like detachment from physical, and emotional experience. A deciphering characteristic of dissociation is a detachment of reality rather than the loss of reality that is experienced in psychosis. Loss of reality experienced in psychosis manifests into delusions, and hallucinations. What this looks like in a psychotic person is that they may believe external events are taking place when, in fact they are not, in addition, they may suffer hallucinations that include hearing, or seeing things that other people cannot hear, or see.
Now in the case of detachment from reality a person may be described as having depersonalization. The state of depersonalization is detachment from self. An individual may describe themselves as floating outside their body. This type of detachment from self can occur in trauma. Our mind, and body's defence system assists during trauma by creating "out of body" experience to protect us, however, the downside is that we continue on after the trauma in a disconnected state that can be disabling spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
When a person is experiencing consciousness, they are fully engaged in life's experience. They are mindful of their surroundings, and are sentient in their emotional experience. A healthy mind is able to quell distraction, as it functions in a smooth integrated way. Dissociation, on the other hand, can be understood through the study of animals. Consider the behaviour of an antelope in a lion's grasp, the antelope's body seems to go limp, and stops struggling, or appears as though it loses consciousness for a time, only to jump to its feet, and escape once out of the lion's grasp. This mental escape can be likened to what trauma survivors experience when traumatic memory is triggered. Dissociated traumatic memories are said to be walled off, split, fragmented, separated, or compartmentalized and not integrated with the rest of a person's memory material, nor are they fully connected to present awareness, or one's consciousness. It's almost as if they exist in another dimension.
The good news is that traumatic memory can be integrated, and therefore traumatized individuals can become integrated, and "conscious". The importance of this process lies in one's capacity for enlightenment. Enlightenment includes the ability to experience emotional sentience. When a person is cut off from their connection to self due to unintegrated traumatic memory, an individual cannot maneuver using protective mechanisms like discernment. This creates vulnerability. Life's journey, although extremely difficult for some means finding personal power, and living a life of full experience, one that any loving creator would want for each, and every one of us. This means facing Daemon, or the dark aspects of self created out of the darkest of experiences one has lived through, that created walled-off aspects of self that hide in the subconscious.
Although life trauma can catapult one into a lower vibrational realm of pain and suffering, or for some, "hell," this doesn't have to be permanent. The journey to self-love is the ticket to a more fulfilling life. Choosing to live consciously, with intention, and introspection reaps reward. Believing in god transcendent is much different then believing in god immanent, including seeking the divine within, versus worship of deity not identified with any aspect of self. The two extremes exist in our world, as confusing as they are, one supports personal divinity, authenticity, and consciousness, the other for some may not. Living your truth, being authentic, and growing to become a more conscious human is worth it, because we are one, and we are all worth it. Seek Bindu - the point of creation.