Higher consciousness, the words sound like something elusive to me. To achieve or attain Higher consciousness, the words themselves imply an almost impossibility.
Higher, being above and beyond, somewhere ‘out there’ in the ether world. Higher consciousness seems like a way to describe the unattainable because it is higher and far beyond my reach. If you also have had this experience, I hope that my interpretation up to now will help you.
I would like to begin with a lecture I heard from Tich Nhat Han.
Tich Nhat Han spoke of the concept of “emptiness” and posed the question “Empty of what?”
“Everything contains everything else, and when you get into that world, you are able to touch everything at the same time. You touch the nature of interbeing.”
Impermanence and non-self
Impermanence is an idea, a notion. Nothing remains the same in two consecutive moments; everything is changing at all times; everything has the nature of impermanence. Things change moment to moment, and at the end of a phase the change has become very drastic, we may not see it anymore, we may think that it has ceased to be, but in fact, our perception is wrong. Sometimes we term things as being, and sometimes we term things as non-being all these things belong to the realm of notions and concepts.
Impermanence is an instrument helping us to touch things more deeply from the angle of time we say impermanent from the angle of space we say non-self. Non-self means, there is no separate exitance.
We have talked about the flower…if you look deeply into a flower you will find out the flower is impermanent. The flower will die, it is dying now, every moment, and one day you see the flower as a piece of garbage. A flower is always on her way to becoming garbage. That’s impermanence When we look deeply into a flower we can see .may elements that we can call ‘non-flower elements’ like the sunshine. Sunshine is a non-flower element that is crucial for the being of a flower. Without sunshine, no flower can grow. A flower can not ‘be’ by itself; it must inter-be with sunshine. When we look deeply into a flower we can see the cloud, without cloud there would be no rain for the flower can grow so when I touch the flower I also touch the cloud, I don’t have to fly up into the sky to touch the cloud, I touch the cloud when I touch the flower. And when I touch the flower I touch the compost, that has been made of garbage. Garbage is a non-flower element that is very crucial for a flower I can touch the earth I can touch the mineral I can touch the farmer, I can touch the minerals, I can touch my consciousness, your consciousness in the flower
So non-self means, a flower does not have any seperate existence a flower cannot exist by itself alone it relies on non-flower elements to be; that is what is meant by, Non-Self. Sometimes we describe the flower as empty. Emptiness means…but many people think that to be empty means to be nonexistent that is not true. It would be helpful full to ask the question….empty of what? And then we say that a flower is full of the cosmos is full of everything is full of sunshine is full of cloud of earth of consciousness of everything in the cosmos except one thing, there is one thing lacking in the flower— that is the existence of a separate self. Empty of what? Empty of the of a separate self. When we say the flower is empty it is empty of a separate self. It means at the sometimes full of everything else in the cosmos. A flower is full of the cosmos it is only empty of a separate existence. Tich Nhat Han
When we speak of higher consciousness, it is helpful to understand this interconnectedness of ourselves as the flower. We are not trying to “achieve” higher consciousness. We ARE higher consciousness. We need only to broaden our awareness of the larger part of our being-ness. We need to open our minds to the awareness that this larger part of ourselves is within reach. We are not only the flower body; we are everything in the cosmos contained within the physical body. Without these elements, we would not exist. Our minds are evidence of a creative, intelligent ongoing evolution.