When we fall asleep, we literally fall from consciousness into unconsciousness, thus remain mostly unaware of what is happening outside or within us.
When awake, we hover between consciousness and subconsciousness.
The subconsciousness drives our involuntary functions and reflexes which requires no conscious effort and is a quality present in all living beings.
We humans are unique amongst all creatures to possess consciousness, meaning we are conscious about time and space. Unlike other creatures we humans can visualise, and anticipate the future, we can look back and draw lessons from our experiences.
Depending on how we use this power of consciousness it can be either a blessing or a curse. Except we humans no other creature experiences guilt nor anxiety about the future, But we can also experience more than the physical and just animal existence, for we can experience the power of human intellect, and spirituality through art and culture, literature and science and myraid other ways.
Unfortunately the pathways to our inner world are blocked by us ourselves. The majority of humanity by choice or compulsion live just a notch higher than animal lives. This maybe due to a number of reasons and we will not go into that here.
What about our inner world?
What if the mind is functioning almost completely in an unconscious or subconscious manner? We squander the tremendous power and beauty that an awakened human consciousness can provide us.
Can we then say that we are alive, when we are only physically alive, without being spiritually or intellectually alive?
For us to discover ourselves, realise the maximum of our potential, transcend want and suffering our entire being has to be alive. Inspite of high levels of education, technology and access to information, unfortunately most of humanity live in a state of mere existence.
If one wishes to be totally alive, that is physically, intellectually and spiritually alive, then one can draw lessons from the Sadhus, Avatars, Gurus and Masters who advise us 'live with awareness'.
During human evolution we have had the unique opportunity to evolve mentally and coped well against threats from other creatures, and forces of nature, to become the dominant species on earth. So dominant that we are now well on the path to self destruction. That is why to live with awareness is not an option but become an urgent necessity.
Almost every so called 'mighty or great king, emperor or ruler on their deathbed had only regrets as did nearly all powerful, wealthy and famous individuals. The world may have praised them, but for themselves they had mostly sadness, regrets, sometimes even disdain.
There are many reasons for our lack of awareness.
A major impediment to awakening is for modern humans 'need for speed', where we are simply rushing through life. Imagine travelling in a vehicle at high speed, we will not be able to sense nor experience life any any meaningful way. When we do taste what life has gifted us, we want more and more food and drink and flesh we overfill our lives but remain unfulfilled.
Then how do we awaken ourselves?
Finding ourselves and awakening is not difficult.
Slowing down is always a good idea, provided one is driving through life fast, too fast.
But then one may ask, "What if I am not driving but being driven, pushed or pulled too fast by other people or systems?" It is useful to remember unless we permit someone to enslave us, we cannot be enslaved. We submit and consent to be driven by dark and negative forces either by our fear or by our greed.
Sure sometimes we have to move fast to get our meal or avoid being some other creature's meal. But when we do it all the time it is not a need, it is an aberration to our natural existence.
Since we possess consciousness, our minds are in a state of constant chatter, which we mistakenly construe as awareness, but it is only noise. All great beings are awakened beings, and if we wish to awaken ourselves, all we have to do is to journey within ourselves.
By spending more and more time alone and in silence, it is possible to bring about awareness of ourselves,
starting with 'What am I?' and arriving at 'Who am I?'
When we do this we will discover ourselves and our world within. A being that is an individual and discrete, but yet harmoniously complete and whole with Creation. This is what the Gurus mean when they say a drop within the ocean and the ocean contained within the drop. Why do they say this?
At first when we enter into ourselves we are awestruck, by the magnificence of the entire universe witnessed within ourselves. At first we are so stunned that we cannot even think, but humans will try to analyse everything we encounter, then the vastness and the complexity renders human analysis futile.
Then realisation begins to dawn upon us, the infinite vastness of Creation and our place within it we enter a phase which we can call deep meditation. Irreversible transformation begins and as we stir awake, we find our awareness expanding, finally we and the universe become one.
When this happens we will understand that you and I may be manifested differently but we are all one with every other creature. Meaning we are all one with Creation called by a million names commonly known as God.
Do we have the audacity to awaken?