Chapter 15: Consciousness, Witnessing & Awareness
Awareness means that the total mind has become aware. Now the old mind is not there, but there is the quality of being conscious. Awareness has become the totality; the mind itself is now part of the awareness. We cannot say that the mind is aware; we can only meaningfully say that the mind is conscious. Awareness means transcendence of the mind, so it is not the mind that is aware. It is only through transcendence of the mind, through going beyond mind, that awareness becomes possible.
Consciousness is a quality of the mind, awareness is the transcendence; it is going beyond the mind. Mind, as such, is the medium of duality, so consciousness can never transcend duality. It is always conscious of something, and there is always someone who is conscious. So consciousness is part and parcel of the mind, and mind, as such, is the source of all duality, of all divisions, whether they are between subject and object, activity or inactivity, consciousness or unconsciousness. Every type of duality is mental. Awareness is nondual, so awareness means the state of no mind.
Then what is the relationship between consciousness and witnessing? Witnessing is a state, and consciousness is a means toward witnessing. If you begin to be conscious, you achieve witnessing. If you begin to be conscious of your acts, conscious of your day-to-day happenings, conscious of everything that surrounds you, then you begin to witness.
Witnessing comes as a consequence of consciousness. You cannot practice witnessing; you can only practice consciousness. Witnessing comes as a consequence, as a shadow, as a result, as a byproduct. The more you become conscious, the more you go into witnessing, the more you come to be a witness. So consciousness is a method to achieve witnessing. And the second step is that witnessing will become a method to achieve awareness.
So these are the three steps: consciousness, witnessing, awareness. But where we exist is the lowest rank: that is, in unconscious activity. Unconscious activity is the state of our minds.
Through consciousness you can achieve witnessing, and through witnessing you can achieve awareness, and through awareness you can achieve “no achievement.” Through awareness you can achieve all that is already achieved. After awareness there is nothing; awareness is the end.
Awareness is the end of spiritual progress; unawareness is the beginning. Unawareness means a state of material existence. So unawareness and unconsciousness are not both the same. Unawareness means matter. Matter is not unconscious; it is unaware.
Animal existence is an unconscious existence; human existence is a mind phenomenon - ninety-nine percent unconscious and one percent conscious. This one percent consciousness means you are one percent conscious of your ninety-nine percent unconsciousness. But if you become conscious of your own consciousness, then the one percent will go on increasing, and the ninety-nine percent unconsciousness will go on decreasing.