Consciousness Series – Part Two
Just What IS Consciousness?
By Fred Pruitt
What is consciousness? It is not a common word when speaking of Christian spirituality, so why do I use the word so much?
Let me define it in the terms I am meaning. One way to say it is that “consciousness” is an ever-growing awareness of “everything,” while at the same time being a participant in ourselves with the vision of “the everything” that we are receiving. And in terms of that, since I cannot “observe” consciousness from outside it, but can only be it, it is then a perception of my world as I am experiencing it in the moment. In other words, “consciousness” is nothing objective, out there, but rather inward and subjective, and being “subjective,” it cannot be grasped and held possessively.
In short, “consciousness” is exactly who and wherever we are in the moment. Biblically I would describe it using our common words, knowledge, understanding and wisdom, with consciousness being sort of the amalgam of all three. We start out small, but we grow into a great tree.
(Let me differentiate between certain types of “consciousness,” because I think that will make it clearer. Simply, there is “spirit” consciousness, and there is “human” consciousness. When I say “human” consciousness, I am meaning a consciousness that is rooted and established in the things of this world – not for rebellion’s sake but more for practicality’s sake. The examples I use are human things, but they exemplify the underlying Spirit truth which is the main point of it all.)
Imagine a baby being born in a modern hospital delivery room. When the baby comes out of its mother into the hands of the doctor, what is his awareness? Is the baby even aware of itself? Probably not. The mind had yet to have stimuli to get it going, until suddenly the baby is taken out of its sleepy, warm and safe place, into a cold world of unfamiliar lights, images and feelings. The baby is a blank slate, whose consciousness is yet to be formed. He is self-aware of almost nothing. He just is. Nothing registers yet.
But then imagine the trained staff of that delivery room. A doctor, some nurses, technicians, etc., all started out as clean slates, aware of nothing, just like this baby. But through life they have amassed more and more consciousness and in each successive level they assimilate and reproduce whatever that level calls for. We can see by a growth of human consciousness into adulthood they have a consciousness of everything in that delivery room, who is who, who does what, what machines do this, each of them being one with the job they each do, doctors doctoring, nurses nursing, technicians running the gizmos.
But Baby comes out into that world – and none of that stuff registers!
We all start out with realizing in some way we are “here.” Stimuli trigger our brains, which begin to record what we see, hear and feel. One day our hand catches our eye as we wave it about, and we begin to know we have hands. “O, what is this? I think this is attached to me! I wonder what it does.” And so, on it goes, each and every day, always expanding, and in each level of expansion we receive the fruits of that expansion, and take on the duties of that new raised understanding.
(I have a memory that is sort of the beginning of everything for me, at least as far as my memory goes. Suddenly, I just pop into existence [in my memory)] at my 3rd birthday party. I’m swinging in a swing at Callier Springs Country Club. Suddenly, “I am.” Later, I am chased by angry ducks who for some reason want to bite my hind parts. Welcome to the world!)
And it is the same way in the Spirit. Since we are speaking here of Spirit consciousness, it (consciousness) grows of itself by the Spirit. It happens with the speed of clock-hands when we try to gauge and judge it. We just are whoever we are, and we cannot help it.
That is why Paul said we are known and read of all men. We project our truth toward others even if it is a lie. At the same time, we project our truth if we are of the truth. Either way, our personal truth is propelled outward from us. If our personal Truth is God in Jesus Christ then we transmit that all the time, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!”
What we are, we “be.” There is no sense at pretense, because pretense is received as pretense. That is why we can say with honesty in full confidence in God to “be yourself.” (Now I know that for years many of us have been well-trained to always approach “pleasing God” with a humble attitude and a sense of never measuring up, which we piously bemoan to each other with our “we could always be better servants” rote speeches, but hey, it’s time to let that go. Nobody is fooled by it, anyway. It isn’t humility and piety that brings that attitude and confession. It is unbelief in the Life within us WHO we claim to believe! Very well then, let’s not moan and groan, but instead stand up and say, with Paul, “God works mightily in me!”)
And this is what inner consciousness is all about. What is true in our inner consciousness, where we live by faith and not by sight, is the truth we are and live. Paraphrasing Jesus, “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” If our “light” is really darkness, no pretense will hide the fact.
On the other hand, if our “eye be single, then [our] whole body shall be full of light.” (Mat 6:22-23). That is, in this consciousness, we are filled with and transmitting the True Light that flows out of and through us, and there is no need to “whump it up” or have a pep-rally to get it to work. We just are this, and walk around in the naturalness of it. This is the rest of God at the center, watching the river flow.
This is summed up by Paul in Ephesians 4: 4: 12-15. He says we are to leave the life of children, tossed to and fro by each new thing that comes down the pike, but that we arrive at the Rock, i.e., “grow up into Him, Who is the Head, Christ our Lord.” We are to “grow up” into HIS consciousness of Himself in us! That is our inheritance and it is NOW. Christ is our consciousness. We see this now. It all comes out of Him, and all wraps back up into Him as All in all. He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. All things.
The summation is that we are One in Him and as such walk as He walks, speak as He speaks, live as He lives, in the All in all of everyday life. As He has revealed Himself in us in His total completion, we walk in His total completion, coming behind “in no good work,” (yes, we labor mightily in the Lord’s vineyard!), living witnesses of the Living God, as those who have now SEEN AND HEARD, and by that now “we declare unto you that which we have seen and heard, and manifested unto us.” Like the new believers at Sychar, we can testify that we, too, see Him and know Him, because we have seen Him for ourselves and believe.
It all boils down to “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever,” and, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”