A Speck of Consciousness
By Deepak Chopra, MD
For thousands of years,
the metaphor of waking up has been applied to describe the meaning
of going from a state of ignorance to a state of enlightenment.
When we wake up, we open our eyes, which we couldn't do while
asleep. We move from an inert state of consciousness to one that
is alert and responsive; we regain the sense of identity that
was lost while asleep. Yet there is a subtle point to grasp here,
and that is that waking up implies a natural process...one that
need not be forced. We do not choose to wake up in the morning.
Rather it dawns on us.
Despite the sleepy resistance we put up, eventually we are awake.
The enlightenment that dawned upon the ancient sages was different from ours only because it came earlier. We are already moving out of deep sleep, and the process is happening at its own pace, with little outward sign.
Perhaps one such sign is wholeness. If wholeness can be recognized
by how it feels, the appropriate feeling is fulfillment. Anything
that is deeply fulfilling gives us the sense of our own completeness.
If only for a moment, one reaches a state where "I Am"
is enough, without cares...without the craving for anything more.
One is then content to live on life itself. One lacks for nothing.
Being here is its highest reward.
Few people have carried fulfillment far enough to be able to say whether complete lasting satisfaction is built into human nature, although that is exactly what is claimed in higher states of consciousness. To grow from a speck of consciousness to complete self-awareness is a natural process, although few people get to the end of it.
If you close your eyes and sit quietly, you will experience the same feeling of "I Am" that a yogi has, but this fundamental sense of self can be very limited or very large. It can so fragile that a crisis will easily shatter it, or it can be so firm that you could build your world on it.
Since we all harbor the secret thought that our level of awareness must be the right one, it seems all but impossible to credit that there is, in fact, a state of true unitary. If we believe that each of us is working our way through the process of awakening, then perhaps nothing could be more merciful than letting each of us think that our stage of growth is best.
Although there is a vast difference between different states of consciousness, each of us tends to feel as if we have found unity. "Unity" however, means a sense of being in touch with reality...of seeing things as they are. The most deluded paranoid person , who believes that some alien beings from space are going to invade tomorrow, pities the rest of the world that cannot share his or her grasp of reality. Likewise, the saint who see God in a fallen sparrow has no choice but to accept that his awareness is not shared by everyone, either.
A world suffused with awareness becomes indescribably intimate to a person in unity. There are no more separations, and the mind's shift into unity is as radical as the change from sleeping to waking, or dreaming to sleeping. Even touching a star becomes a direct experience. "Since everything is made of consciousness alone," the Upanishads declare, "there is nothing in creation that is not myself."
A shift in awareness does not require force, as I have said. A person who has achieved the level of consciousness where siddhis (spiritual practice creating a change in the physical form) are natural, can breathe change into things as softly as you or I wish and dream, using no more energy than it takes to stir a thought.
It is said that wrapped up inside you is the capacity to command every force of nature, to influence every atom in the universe. Yet, for many of you, your present state of awareness keeps you convinced that you are small and helpless.
To accept such a reality is the most crippling kind of ignorance, because it fulfills it own prophecy. If you are ignorant about your own self, your self will shrink to fit your conception. Whenever we cry out, our voices reach ourselves. When we are afraid, it is ourselves making us afraid.
The end of the false self spells the end of fear. It takes repeated dips into silence--in and out every day--for a person to accept that this immense, motionless, eternal state of being is himself. When this finally occurs, the door is flung open for the experience that truly does transform oneself and the world. The idea that the sacred is outside us makes no sense in quantum terms, because it takes our perception to construct all experience, from the sacred to the profane. When the censor is abolished, there will be no limit to what can be allowed in. All possibilities exist in unmanifest form.
©1999 New Frontier Magazine. All rights reserved. Former Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital, Dr. Chopra is the author of the NY Times bestsellers Quantum Healing and Unconditional Life. He is America's best-known holistic physician, and a regular columnist in New Frontier Magazine.