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Consciousness is light.
Consciousness is light.

What is Consciousness?

"Wherever there is life, there is consciousness. Consciousness is as inherent to life as humidity is to water." —Samael Aun Weor, Sexology

Consciousness Defined

The modern English term consciousness is derived primarily from the Latin word conscius, "knowing, aware."

From various dictionaries:

  1. The state of being conscious; knowledge of one’s own existence, condition, sensations, mental operations, acts, etc.
  2. Immediate knowledge or perception of the presence of any object, state, or sensation.
  3. An alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation.

Perception is an action of consciousness. 

Consciousness is the basis of perception and understanding. Through perception, we can then understand what we perceive. 

This is also means that if we cannot perceive something, we cannot understand it.

That is why we reject mere belief and theory, and instead choose to acquire direct personal experience. It is only through conscious perception that we can understand the truth of our lives, spirituality, God, other dimensions, what happens after death, etc. To know the truth of these parts of our lives, we need to perceive them for ourselves, and to do that, we need to awaken and expand our consciousness. Therefore, we need to know what the consciousness is, here and now, and how to use it.

Degrees of Consciousness

Consciousness is the foundation of perception and understanding. This is what defines a conscious being: perception and understanding. Of course, there is great diversity in how much can be perceived, and how much can be understood.

Consciousness is the basis upon which we evolve or devolve. Our improvement or degeneration is marked by the state or level of our consciousness.

The more elevated or purified our level of consciousness, the more refined and penetrating our perception. That is why the purest individuals in our histories have also been the wisest and most perceptive, capable of seeing not only into the human heart, but into other dimensions. Conversely, the more degenerated or impure our consciousness, the more limited and confined is our perception. That is why the most impure individuals are also the most short-sighted, foolish, and dangerous. 

All religions were founded in order to encode the science of awakening consciousness, a process of purification and improvement. Conversely, there are many traditions that teach how to degenerate the consciousness by infecting it with impure, selfish, and destructive elements.

In the esoteric traditions of the Western world, the range of potential consciousness is allegorized in the Ladder of Jacob, upon which the angels ascend and descend. Thus there are higher and lower levels of consciousness, from the level of demons at the bottom, to highly realized angels in the heights. The heavens and hells are just regions of consciousness, and the condition of our consciousness determines where we reside in them.

"It is vital to understand and develop the conviction that consciousness has the potential to increase to an infinite degree." - the 14th Dalai Lama

The increase of consciousness has exact causes and conditions. Nature or evolution cannot increase our consciousness.

Consciousness is increased or reduced according to our actions. If we want to expand our consciousness and elevate our experience of life, we need to act in a very precise and sustained way.

There are many states and levels of consciousness. Every religion and mystical tradition has its own ways of symbolizing the degrees of consciousness.

"In the ancient initiatory rituals of the Persian, Greek, and Egyptian Mysteries the priests disguised themselves as composite creatures, thereby symbolizing different aspects of human consciousness." - Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages

In Buddhism, the most important reference to the consciousness is tathagatagarbha, which is generally translated to mean "Buddha nature," but it better interpreted as "essence of suchness." That suchness is the fundamental basis of everything: the Absolute, also called shunyata, Adi buddha, samantabhadra, etc. It is the primordial emptiness or voidness, a subject far beyond the ability of our mind to understand. In synthesis, our consciousness emerged from that, and it is our true nature. In us, it is undeveloped, a mere seed that can be grown into its full potential: a buddha, or "awakened one." This is accomplished only by knowing precisely how to do it. This process begins and is sustained by a continual effort to utilize awareness in each moment, by being continually aware of oneself and everything that one does, whether internally or externally. 

What the Consciousness is and is Not

Consciousness is not the intellect, emotions, brain, body, or the senses. Consciousness utilizes the intellect, heart, and body to perceive, but can perceive levels of existence that are beyond their range.

In Kabbalah, this is depicted in the same way. The Absolute is the Ain Soph, the "limitless." Existence emerges from that, and is symbolized as the Tree of Life. The highest sephiroth are impersonal, universal, very expansive qualities of consciousness. From our perspective, what we generally experience as consciousness relates to the lower sephiroth. The ones we need to understand now, to transform our life, are primarily Geburah (divine consciousness, intuition) and Tiphereth (human consciousness, willpower). What we experience as consciousness, awarness, is connected to them. They perceive through the intellect (Netzach), heart (Hod), vital energy (Yesod), and physical body (Malkuth).

Consciousness is a form of light. When we know how to handle it with awareness, we can direct that light to perceive and understand anything. We can then use our intellect, emotions, brain, body, and senses as extensions of the consciousness, but not mistake them for the consciousness itself.

"Light and consciousness are two phenomena of the same thing; to a lesser degree of consciousness, corresponds a lesser degree of light; to a greater degree of consciousness, a greater degree of light." - Samael Aun Weor, The Esoteric Treatise of Hermetic Astrology

"Wherever there is light, there is consciousness." - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion

Consciousness is Either Awake or Asleep

Spiritual people always toss around this notion of “being awake.” Someone is “awakened,” they say, but very few people know what that means. To be “awakened” is not something extraordinary or supernatural. Firstly, it is simply to be here and now, and aware of it. It is to have the consciousness fully engaged in the present moment to the fullest capacity that you have. To really use it.

To awaken the consciousness, you need to actively use the basic powers of the consciousness in the present moment.

  • Awareness: broad spatial perception
  • Attention: focused specific perception
  • Mindfulness: observation of the continuity of perception

Together, they form the experience of being here and now, aware of where you are and what you are doing. 

We call this self-observation. It is the essential basis of awakening the consciousness: to be present in the moment, here and now, continually. For the beginner, this requires great effort.

Then, in meditation, we need to learn to use another basic power of the consciousness:

  • Visualization: perception of non-physical imagery

As the consciousness expands, it accesses many additional powers. Its perception expands and becomes more penetrating.

Consciousness Can Be Conditioned or Unconditioned

Whether active or passive, the consciousness is also conditioned or unconditioned. As with light, a light can be pure or filtered, colored. 

When the consciousness is conditioned, it means that our perceptions are filtered. That means we do not see reality. 

If you wear colored glasses, everything you see is filtered by that color. You do not see what is actually there. This is what is happening to us psychologically: our perceptions are filtered by many conditions. 

On the most fundamental level, our consciousness is filtered by being in a physical body. We are perceiving through the senses of the body, and those senses have a limited range. The eyes can only see the light that the physical eyes can see. We know scientifically that there is much more light than visible light; in fact, visible light is only a fraction of the light that is surrounding us all the time. But, our physical eyes cannot see more than that. The same is true of our hearing, our sense of touch, sense of smell. Even our dogs can smell more than we do. There is a lot going on around us on every level that we have no idea about. We think we see everything and know everything — we really believe we are so incredible — but we barely perceive anything at all, even just physically. We see a very narrow range. That is simply a matter of the conditioning of the physical level, but that is not the most fundamental or the most important conditioning that we suffer. 

Our mind, our psyche, our perception, is conditioned by our past experiences, by our traumas, by our desires, our fears, our resentments, our anxieties, all our stress. All of that collected baggage, which are the results of our previous actions. Our perceptions are filtered by all of that, and we do not have any awareness of that fact. 

When we see other people, we are always translating our perceptions according to our conditioning. When we see anything outside of us, we interpret those perceptions according to our conditioning, all without awareness of it. 


  1. We need to learn to awaken our consciousness from moment to moment
  2. We need to free it from the filters that condition our perceptions

That is the only way we can learn to see the truth and understand it.

Now that you have heard about the consciousness, do not fall into the mistake of thinking that you understand it. Remember: we can only understand something when we have seen it for ourselves. To really understand about the consciousness, you must perceive all of this for yourself, and experience it. That is real gnosis.

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