A Conscious, Conscient Being with a Conscience

Word games, here. But I love it, and in truth there is a lot of benefit in mining the meaning of words, ‘churning’ it, as they say in Raja Yoga. Look at the roots of the word, how it has come to mean what it means, and you often get a clue that helps you latch on to the experience of the real You. And it’s only by experiencing the real You, getting to grips with Soul Consciousness, that you can change your actions, your behaviour. Which is why we’re here in the first place, remember?

Back to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary for this one. We’re looking at the difference between ‘conscient’, which to me means an active knowledge or awareness of consciousness, and ‘conscious’, which just means… aware. Turns out the Shorter Oxford isn’t much help after all. ‘Conscient’ is now rare, apparently, and anyway it only means ‘conscious’. And of the seven listed definitions for ‘conscious’, the best one is from 1620: ‘Inwardly sensible or aware’. No reason why we shouldn’t revive ‘conscient’ though, bring it back into use a little, because although they all come from the same Latin root, these words – ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘scire’ meaning ‘to know’ – they still seem to bear a subtle difference. I’m trying to get at the idea that the Soul is ‘conscient’ energy, that is to say, energy with awareness of itself. Mind, intellect, thoughts, emotions, impressions are all part of consciousness, when it is externalised for the purposes of dealing with the physical world. Underneath all that activity, You the Soul are a conscient being, an individual item of pure ethereal, non-physical spirit, aware of itself, aware of its own nature. Self Conscious, in the sense of Soul Conscious. For your 60 seconds today, your Magic Minute, just turn your attention to that spot high in the centre of the forehead where You live, and go deep into that awareness, feel Your Self burning like a bright light. It’s a strange sensation, because you’re more than ever acutely conscious of your own being, but because the normal tools of perception –your mind, intellect, rational faculties – are in abeyance, the process of knowing Your Self has to come from somewhere else in your consciousness. Deeper, is where. Mind is no use in this particular here and now. And in fact as you get more and more of a hold on this experience, you realize that it isn’t a sensation at all, because sensation comes from the realm of Mind and Body. It’s a physical word used to describe a physical thing. Stick with ‘conscient’, it carries with it that powerful sense of Self at the same time as all the different levels of mental activity. A consciously conscient being, with a conscience.

Conscience, Oh Lord. The idea that there is some inbuilt marker of right and wrong in your conscient-ness, a mechanism that will raise a flag and ring a bell when your actions cross a line. The earlier (1745) Shorter Oxford definition is more or less the same as the entries for ‘conscious’ and ‘conscient’; ‘Inward knowledge or consciousness’. Not till we get to definition 3 do we enter the moral, ethical dimension; ‘the faculty or principle which pronounces upon the moral quality of one’s actions or motives, approving the right and condemning the wrong.’  Easier to understand how this works if you’re a committed Christian, Muslim, Sikh or Buddhist – or belong to any religion or espouse any set of moral principles, usually written, that defines right and wrong. Where does it come from, this automatic warning system? Does our conscience kick in if we just think bad thoughts, or is it only in action when we’re in action? Well, only you know the answer to that, and it’s also true that some people have more active consciences than others, and indeed that you can train your conscience either way – make it duller, allow yourself to accept actions you wouldn’t previously have countenanced, or make it sharper, pull up your moral socks and condemn actions you would previously have allowed yourself. Whether it’s lying to your boss about why you’re late, or cold blooded murder, somewhere down there is a mechanism telling you what is true to Your Self and what is not. Are your actions – and motives, indeed – driven from the mistaken sense of yourself as a body, or the true sense of Your Self as a conscient being made of metaphysical energy? ‘Churn’ that for your 60 seconds (or another day’s 60 seconds, this is quite a lot to pack in) and discover the difference.

About Aidan

The Ecology of the Soul is the culmination of a lifetime of study and practice of hatha yoga and Raj Yoga. Aidan studied with BKS Iyengar, and was a dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris, teachers of Raja Yoga, during his 20s. The basic understanding of the Soul and God is pure Raja Yoga, but it is the 'ecology' principle that drives the system's emphasis on balancing our spiritual powers. We return to our natural state of happiness, contentment, peace – and power.
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