Higher consciousness, also called super consciousness, objective consciousness, Buddhic consciousness, cosmic consciousness, God-consciousness, and Christ consciousness, are expressions used in various spiritual traditions to denote the consciousness of a human being who has reached a higher level of evolutionary development and who has come to know reality more accurately.
It also refers to the awareness or knowledge of an ultimate reality, which traditional theistic religion has named God and which Gautama Buddha referred to as the unconditioned element. Evolution in this sense is not that which occurs by natural selection over generations of human reproduction, but evolution brought about by the application of spiritual knowledge to the conduct of human life and of mental proficiency brought about by spiritual practices.
Through the application of such knowledge – traditionally found in traditions of the world’s great religions – to practical self-management, the awakening and development of faculties dormant in the ordinary human being is achieved. These faculties are aroused by and developed in conjunction with certain virtues, such as lucidity, patience, kindness, truthfulness, humility, and forgiveness towards one’s fellow man – qualities without which, according to moral and ethical stipulations of the various traditions, higher consciousness is not possible.
Higher consciousness refers to a developed state of consciousness in which aspects of the mind, such as thought, perception and attention, are improved, refined and enhanced. It is considered thus to be a higher level of consciousness relative to ordinary consciousness, in the sense that a greater awareness of reality is achieved.
In a secular context, higher consciousness is usually associated with exceptional control over one’s mind and will, intellectual and moral enlightenment, and profound personal growth. In a spiritual context, it may also be associated with transcendence, spiritual enlightenment, and union with the Divine.
Because the concept of higher consciousness rests on the belief that the average, ordinary human being is only partially conscious due to the character of the untrained mind and the influence of lower impulses and preoccupations – such things as power, money, ego or lust.
Thus, most humans are considered to be asleep, unaware of true reality even as they go about their daily business. Spiritual teacher and author George Gurdjieff called this ordinary condition of humanity waking sleep, an idea gleaned in part from ancient spiritual teachings such as those of the Buddha. According to Gurdjieff:
“Objective knowledge, the idea of unity included, belongs to objective consciousness. The forms which express this knowledge when perceived by subjective consciousness are inevitably distorted and, instead of truth, they create more and more delusions. With objective consciousness it is possible to see and feel the unity of everything. But for subjective consciousness the world is split up into millions of separate and unconnected phenomena.”
Attempts to connect these phenomena into some sort of system in a scientific or philosophical way lead to nothing because man cannot reconstruct the idea of the whole starting from separate facts and they cannot divine the principles of the division of the whole without knowing the laws upon which this division is based. Higher consciousness supercedes this unhealthy behavior and leads individuals to greater spirituality and cosmic understanding.
Next: How to achieve higher consciousness
Source in part: Wikipedia.com