Transformation Consciousness, Wisdom, and Enlightenment
Do you have a sense of separateness in relation to your body and your mind? Do you have moments when you experience a sudden vision of a deeper emotion, a greater understanding of the world around you, or an awareness of the universe?
This self awareness is intended to make you realize that there is more to your existence than that bound by cultural biases and your environment. If you are like most people, your ego rules your life. The ego referred to is not a sense of inflated self-worth but rather the organized, rational part of your mind that has been structurally defined by life events, trauma, images, other people's influences, and the senses.
Psychotherapists have done many studies trying to define the impact of perception on thoughts and the role of consciousness. And of course there are many theories that have been developed in an attempt to define consciousness. The explanations focus on introspective psychology, networks of cultural meanings, neural systems, and even bio-energies that exert force on the conscious. Yet these explanations focus on the individual's reaction to the world rather than considering what arises from within the individual as a state of awareness representing the union of the internal and external domains.
Simply stated, if you limit your state of awareness with perceptions, then you suppress the state of awareness that enables you to fully experience the inner and outer world as a unit. The net effect is that you limit your ability to become enlightened.
Dr. Tom Lombardo, director of the Center for Future Consciousness, described Walter Truett Anderson's prediction of an emergence of New Enlightenment published in The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution. Anderson is a political scientist, professor, futurist, and author. Dr. Lombardo wrote:
He [Anderson] describes enlightenment as an expansion of consciousness — a liberation from mental constraints. He sees it as involving the experience of “oneness” and connectedness, where the conceptualized boundary between the self and the world is transcended. As he notes, the boundary of self and other is frequently a protective and defensive posture, as a way to preserve stasis and prevent change within; enlightenment is the overcoming of this ego-defensive state. Enlightenment is a form of transcendence — of the capacity to stand back from everyday experience and gain a broader view of things.
Another way to state it is if you allow perceptions to limit your consicousness, then you also limit your wisdom, enlightenment, and spiritual awakening. Ken Wilber, prolific writer and lecturer recognized for developing the theory of the holon or unity, explains that transcending the ordinary means understanding that consciousness:
does not, and cannot, arise on its own…. There is no private language, there is no radically autonomous consciousness. The very words we are both now sharing were not invented by you or me, were not created by you or me, do not come solely from my consciousness or from yours. Rather, you and I simply find ourselves in a vast intersubjective worldspace in which we live and move and have our being. (“An Integral Theory of Consciousness.” Journal of Consciousness Studies)
This theory says that understanding the cosmos requires considering the interior and exterior individual, and the interior and exterior collective. These make up the four quadrants of intentional, behavioral, cultural, and social actions.
Ordinary perception is not enough to comprehend consciousness. The roots of understanding consciousness lie in mysticism, because mysticism involves eliminating the arbitrary restraints and reaching enlightenment where the collective universe is allowed to present itself. You overcome the “I,” or the self-centered egoism.
In The-Crest Jewel of Wisdom, Sankaracharya writes that man must “discriminate between things permanent and transitory” to achieve wisdom. To reach wisdom you must accomplish tranquillity, selfcontrol, cessation, forbearance, faith, and deep concentration. Sankara (known as Sankaracharya) was an Indian sage who lived from 788 to 820
This philosophy is also found in the Chinese Consciousness-Only School of Buddhism, but here there are eight levels of consciousness. The first five levels are the senses including the body; the sixth level is the cognitive process; the seventh level is the ego; and the eighth level is the storehouse consciousness.