I’m confused – am I aware or conscious?
The first thing that can be seen and understood is the use of these two words: Awareness and Consciousness. In spiritual literature, there arise readily, leaving most sensible people wondering why some teachers speak of Consciousness, whilst others refer to Awareness. Throughout this Blog and in The Counsellor, what is referred to as consciousness is one thing, and Awareness another.
Consciousness is the entire field of experience. All experiences are conscious; all things experienced are consciousness. The primary identifier is that consciousness is in a continual state of change, flux and transformation. As with all experiences, they arise merely to fall away. If they didn’t fall away, they wouldn’t be experiences. Even the so-called material objects in the world fall into line with this basic fact: Nothing (no-thing) lasts forever. A flower, a mouse, a dog, a tree, a building or even a stone. All things experienced are Consciousness and therefore are impermanent.
Awareness is your Nature, Who you truly are, though – for the sake of clarity and as an unintended insult to grammatical norms, when we use the word awareness, with have automatically made it into a noun, and if it is a “thing”, it is something that we can be conscious of; it can be experienced. Hence the confusion. Let’s be as clear as possible: Awareness is not a thing, it cannot be made into a noun, nor can it be measured, created or developed. For that reason the word Aware is used instead. As an easy analogy, Aware can be likened to the blank white screen you watch in cinemas. The flickering images that are projected onto the screen, create the illusion of that you are looking at reality. But what are you actually doing? In physical terms, you are looking at a blank white screen and without the blank screen, the projected images you call your life wouldn’t exist.
So, just to sum things up: you are Aware, you are the pure white screen on which, and within, all images, thoughts, feelings and things arise, merely to fall away. Now the strange thing is, Aware is the backbone of your existence and is as obvious as Pinocchio’s nose.