Consciousness vs Awareness vs Understanding, and where does Intention fit in?
We can be aware of things we like or don’t like, and how we tend to respond to things – then we can make conscious choices of how to edit those responses as we please. We do not necessarily need to understand why we respond in certain ways in order to be aware of the responses and make better choices, but the more we understand then the easier it is to plan effective changes. This all helps us to feel more self-empowered, and so we are willing to learn more, and thus expand our knowledge and our self-awareness.
A simple example is that if we understand how exercise and food affects us, then we can plan to eat things that are good for us and to go for a walk at least once a week – we need to understand a bit about nutrition and our bodies – our own personal bodies, because foods that suit one person may not suit another. So awareness is the first level, and then you can add understanding. You can be conscious of something at any level, but consciousness expands as you give it more attention, and as you understand more, then you are more able to develop tools and effective strategies to help you live ever more consciously.
If your boss tells you not to do something then you are aware and can stop doing it, but if you also understand why then it usually makes it a lot easier. If you understand the reasoning or logic behind something, then it also helps you to figure out for yourself what other things may or may not be helpful. It also makes you feel part of a team instead of just someone who has to do what they are told. Effective managers will be aware of this, and develop their skills to encourage you.
A small child will find it easier to stop balling for sweets in the shop once you explain that you cannot give it a reward for bad behaviour and it is actually more likely to get a reward for being good, or even actively helping out. Yes you can train it like an animal by only rewarding it when it is good, so that it develops an awareness of that pattern, but it makes it a lot easier if it actually understands that if you rewarded it for bad behaviour you would actually be encouraging the bad behaviour, which upsets everyone around you. This also helps the child develop an understanding of human interaction and consideration, although it is best to teach it that love is the ideal result of good human interaction, rather than sweets. Of course love should be there anyway because we love our children unconditionally, no matter what they do, but social skills and self esteem come from understanding ourselves and others, and how we might fit in. Of course I do not advocate just doing whatever you think you need to do to please others, you also need to be yourself – develop your own ideas of who you are and what you stand for, and be prepared to stand out from the crowd sometimes. We need to be prepared to say NO to things sometimes, yet also be prepared to compromise at other times. So a conscious parent will not just train the child to please them, or just tell the child why it does not make sense for them to behave in certain ways, they will also ask the child what they think, and teach them how to present their own ideas. They will also treat those ideas as valid viewpoints and not dismiss them or brush them off, but discuss them properly. Ideally families should encourage their children to input into family matters in the same way that couples should discuss with each other how to make things work well for both parties.
Understanding can be a product of natural curiosity – if you want to know how things work then you will try to find out, say how a flower grows or how animals survive in extreme places, or how an engine works, how a house is built properly, etc. If we understand how our bodies work then we can consciously manage our lives more effectively. Trying to understand how our minds work is an ongoing conundrum – they do so many weird things along with the wonderful. But we can get more to grips with them by consciously managing them and using tools to train them to do more of what we want and less of what we don’t want. Consciousness does not reside in the mind – it seems to me to be more of a heart and soul connection with everything – and being aware of that link can help guide us from a much higher perspective.
You can be aware of what is going on in the world without fully understanding. You can consciously choose to act according to what you think about such things, but if you understand better then you will make more informed choices. Sometimes we rush to act on an issue without understanding perhaps that it is a trick to keep us occupied while some other thing can happen without us noticing. As anyone should know from playing certain games, there are bluffs and double bluffs, and there is a whole lot of media manipulation and pulling of strings going on too. If we can manage to remain unafraid of what we might find out when we dig into things, then the knowledge can empower us.
Being aware of the beautiful colours of leaves helps you to appreciate the wonders and variety we have in our world, even if you don’t understand the cycles of nature. Innocent awareness of beauty helps keep us positive in the face of all sorts of other things.
Consciousness can choose / we can choose – to purposely expand itself / ourselves. We can exercise our consciousness by focusing on consciousness raising activities. This tends to include both learning about new stuff (widened knowledge & understanding) plus increased (heightened) awareness. You have individual consciousness, group consciousness (between people who share ideals or aims), then you have human consciousness and the collective consciousness of the planet (which I believe includes the consciousness of other living things and the earth itself), and then you have cosmic consciousness (which we all ultimately belong to).
Certain experiential-based knowledge and heightened states of awareness expand consciousness – as we become aware of things outside the usual boxes we are generally encouraged to limit our thinking and our living to, and achieve an intuitive sense of gnosis (an inner knowing that feels more sound than learned knowledge) and a sense of being in touch with the wider universe.
Consciousness includes altered states – which extend our abilities beyond both awareness and understanding. The intuition, inspiration, and pure gnosis that comes from tuning into everything is awesome. You can achieve more, experience more, become aware of wider possibilities, and blissfully blend with ‘the all that is’ – revisit your original purity of form blended with consciousness, from which we all emerge and later return to.
Awareness is essential to expansion of consciousness because it provides an experiential basis to expand from. Understanding, in it’s normal sense, is not essential to the expansion of consciousness, as conscious awareness provides a conceptual understanding or knowing without us having to understand all the details. Many great scientists have had visionary experiences which have then helped them find answers to practical questions.
Of course, if we want to alter a situation, then understanding the present situation better enables us to know how to do that. Intuitive understanding can help us to make many decisions, but more detailed understanding does help too, as long as we don’t let it cancel out our intuitive and conceptual abilities – we need a balance, and should never indulge in ‘either/or’ mentality, because we need to pull all our skills together to get a proper view of the big picture.
We can have the intention to do certain things, but if we do not make those intentions very consciously then we may easily be distracted or just forget them. To set your intentions with great clarity, you could write down what you intend to do, and plan how to achieve your goals. I have a list of what my intentions in life are, so that I am sending out a signal to help keep me aligned with that reality. These are not like normal goals, they define who I am as a being. But sometimes I also use my own life-coaching systems to plan how to achieve certain things, for example paying off bills, or getting enough exercise, or running workshops. Copies of all the relevant information and forms to help you are available via our website if you would like to access these tools for yourself – http://www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides.htm They assist you to make choices, as well as to plan your steps, put support systems and rewards etc in place, and also keep you focussed. If you have a plan set out, then your mind does not chew things over all the time, and you can just get on with it.
I discuss consciousness to a great extent in my book “No Paradox – Consciously Evolving Consciousness”, and my companion book to that is more about Intention and Awareness, as I do believe these are essential to expanding our consciousness and improving our lives.
Link to blog on Evolution of Communication
Link to blog on Positive Mind and Body Talk (Intention II)