WHAT IS THE MEANING OF CONSCIOUSNESS?
In the book “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki, she tells of a zen anecdote illustrating the concept of time.
What it means to be a being in time, and at least for the present, here, on planet earth.
The zen nun says, “A moment is a very small particle of time. It is so small that one day is made of 6,400,099,980 moments.”
6, 400, 099, 980 moments.
What a beautiful metaphor!
6,400,099,980 moments that constitute a single day, and every, single, one, of these moments provide an opportunity to reestablish our will.
6.4 billion moments to be conscious.
In each of these moments you have two choices: act consciously or unconsciously.
But what does it mean to be conscious?
I define “consciousness” as an acute, often painful awareness of the energy pulsing through my veins, powering my reality, powering the experience of my is-ness.
An awareness that, when I become conscious of it, allows me the opportunity to assert my will and add quality to my moments.
I feel so deeply, often heavily, my connection to others, the earth, the moon, and I believe strongly that I am here to do good. To act consciously.
However, if one wasn’t raised with, or adopted along the line, scripture, religion, karma, and thus otherwise lacks faith, and thus the promise of life after death, what reason does one have to act consciously?
To illustrate the importance of consciousness, I turn to the help of the great Kurt Vonnegut and an excerpt from his novel, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.
There is a scene in which the main character addresses a crowd at a science-fiction convention [emphasis added];
“I love you sons of bitches, you’re all I read any more. You’re the only ones who’ll talk about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years.
You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstandings, mistakes, accidents and catastrophes do to us.
You’re the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distances without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.”
Heaven? …or Hell?
What would you choose if you could?
It does not take religion nor promise of an afterlife to know that there are generations that will continue to exist after you are gone.
That even if you don’t procreate, there will be more of you, more life that will continue after your death.
Things made of the same stuff, space dust, that you are made of and will return to when you take your last breath.
A lot of food for thought, kitties.
Consciousness is a big word that is interpreted in many different ways, but hopefully this post scratches the surface on the interpretation the we put on it here at the kitten life.