The Body, Mind, Consciousness and beyond. Learn how awareness forms the link.
A human being is a combination of the mind, the body, and the field of collective consciousness. Just like the four limbs may point in four different directions, there is one central node from which awareness reaches in four directions encompassing:
Thoughts and the mind
The physical body
Collective field of consciousness
Thoughts and the mind
Thoughts are very delicate and require careful handling to get the most out of them. They usually have a very short lifespan, but in that brief period, a lot can happen through them. In many ways, thoughts are like leaves on a tree. The first thing we see of a tree from a distance are its leaves.
Similarly, in the mind, we first run into thoughts. Like leaves that need the support of rest of the plant and its roots, individual thoughts cannot exist by themselves. They depend on the hidden substratum of the subconscious. Similar to the branches of a tree which connect to one main trunk, all lines of thoughts ultimately connect to the individual sense or ego. The subconscious mind is like the root system of a tree. Both are hidden, and as the roots, the subconscious mind functions to support the conscious mind and its constituent thoughts.
Collective field of consciousness
The area of collective consciousness is common to all. The ground in which the roots of a tree grow is like the collective field of consciousness. This collective field can be a local community, the community of nations, or the world as a whole. Collective consciousness in its purest form includes not just humanity but all living and nonliving entities. Every individual contributes to this field through distinct modes of thinking and living. Adding or removing an individual from this 'collective' does not impact the overall balance and harmony just as uprooting a tree from land does nothing to disturb the composition of the soil, which is infinitely vast compared to the limited reach of the roots of a tree. However, each tree contributes to the environment, both as a cleansing agent and a source of beauty. Similarly, every human being adds something, however insignificant in the eyes of others, to the collective consciousness of the world.
The nature of awareness is expansion
Awareness of the mind and body is something we take for granted. We operate through this awareness, and it encompasses every aspect of daily living. Awareness cannot be confined. Its nature is expansion. The body offers limited scope for expansion of awareness. We can be aware of some of the sensations in the body and what the senses perceive. The skin barrier becomes a limitation.
The mind offers an exponentially higher scope for the expansion of awareness compared to the body. This expansion is related to the contents of thoughts, desires, and our likes and dislikes. Desires follow a familiar pattern in most people. First, it is for survival and food. The desire for pleasure, wealth, and power then follow. These five factors form a virtual circle around the mind. They are interlinked, one leads to another, and it leads us back to where we started, which is the survival instinct. For example, once physical survival is taken care of, then comes the survival of the ego. This may then extend to making sure that the sources of food and pleasure survive. Wealth and power then get linked to the survival instinct, and when someone gets used to great wealth and power, psychological survival becomes difficult without them.
Similarly, once simple pleasures are taken care of, we tend to upgrade the complexity of the pleasures that we seek. There is great pleasure in the expansion of wealth and power. The more awareness expands in this direction; greater becomes the fear of losing them. This brings back the primal energies associated with survival. Here the physical body is not under threat, but the ego body fights for the survival of its status as part of the wealthy and powerful.
The more awareness expands into these five areas of survival, food, pleasure, wealth, and power, the more limited it gets. This limitation manifests as the constant urge for more. There is an inherent dissatisfaction in most people in spite of all riches and comforts, which at a fundamental level is a result of the awareness that remains trapped in the mind.
The moment we start including others, thinking about them and working towards their happiness, awareness expands and has a chance of leaving the confines of the mind. Love offers the vehicle for awareness to develop further. Love extends across the spectrum from a passion for the self to compassion for all creatures. Closer love gets to compassion; the higher is the freedom awareness has to expand further.
Awareness and compassion
Awareness is like a shelter. A shelter can be small and localized like an umbrella, or it could be in the form of a large building or series of buildings. Ultimately the entire sky is a shelter. It shelters all life on earth. Similarly, when the field of awareness begins to include more, excluding individual desires, the more it starts to resemble the vastness of the sky.
Like the sun which does not ask who we are and what we do before offering its warmth to us, compassion does not discriminate or set preconditions. It is warm, expansive energy that is directly reflective of the pure energy of awareness. Greater the awareness, more significant is the compassion and vice versa. Just as a thought and its corresponding action are like two sides of the same coin, compassion, and awareness, in essence, are of the same origin.
Although awareness is free to a great extent when it enters the field of collective consciousness and includes all entities, living and nonliving, there remains a subtle limitation — the gap between the subject and object. Awareness is subjective, and the collective field of consciousness is objective. There may be an ongoing experience of a significant level of oneness, but a subtle gap remains. This gap is challenging to bridge and remains on account of a very subtle residue of ego. To know compassion, even in its purest form, needs one and another. When the residue of the ego disappears, there is no longer the subject-object distinction. There is no observer or the observed. It is the realm of the "unknowable."