The awareness of being is consciousness.
That awareness could change according to the perception of ourselves, what we believe to “be.”
For instance, if that awareness is of just the body; then our consciousness will dictate that in fact, we are the body. Then, our life will shift into this consciousness. A haircut becomes more important than feeling at peace. A dress becomes the status of who we “are” in life. A car becomes the image of success, which is related with “I” the one who possesses it, the one who has arrived to that place of power. That “I” has a form, a picture, a label.
In that consciousness, everything is fleeting: Beauty, health, wealth, power and that is the cause of our continuous struggle to maintain something which will change in time.
That causes suffering.
Our state of consciousness will not allow us to see something different.
Here is when we could understand religious ideas that portray the body as being “bad,” “sinful,” and to get away from it as much as possible to become “spiritual.” A belief system cannot do this fictitious separation. Only a greater consciousness can, and in that greater consciousness there is no separation, there is no denial of the body, but embracing it as part of everything.
Avyakt7 feels that the word “consciousness” expresses better our spiritual side. There are other words as well to express the same, such as spirit, soul, godly nature, etc. However, those words come already attached with a mental image, a definition which will not allow us to experience what is; that is to discover beyond definitions, images, beliefs and traditions.
That word “consciousness” could be exchanged with the word awareness.
When that awareness shifts from being only in the physical world, to the inner world, is when our consciousness will shift into something different.
Unless that has occurred, we will only live in the world of change, the world of forms, the world of beginning and end.
In the quest for consciousness, we could observe the physical world, we could observe our breathing; that is become aware of it, we could even hear our own heartbeats; this expresses another level of physical awareness.
When the observer, the one experiencing consciousness observes that in itself, is when a different level of consciousness has begun.
At this level we are in touch for the first time with what “is.”
It is at this point where consciousness could know other perspectives and perhaps realize that the answer of all of our metaphysical or existential related questions were there, in that experience.
Someone who is trapped in just the physical consciousness, will be seeking for reassurance. That person will be interested in “life insurance” for a life after his life time, that person will be interested in preserving his own life as much as possible in his “youth.” That person will be interested in gaining favors from the “higher ups” of Heaven; for in that person’s consciousness, the afterlife is a reflection of the physical world: You get something, keep it as much as possible and then fight to keep it or find someone with power to help you keep those things.
That is what the afterlife looks like for someone in that consciousness. Some religions will reflect that in their ideologies.
Once our “field of vision” is amplified due to greater awareness, we could understand someone coming from a different angle, a different consciousness, a different awareness; but this is not reciprocal.
That has been one of the major issues with all the avatars that humanity has had. Their explanations about “their reality” couldn’t be understood, that is how spiritual teachings could become easily misunderstood.
Greater awareness means to understand that “black or white” teachings merely reflect a state of consciousness. They cannot be the “absolute truth,” for everything that we perceive is according to our state of consciousness. With greater consciousness, we will be able to see the different shades of color in between the “black or white” extremes. This is the rainbow of colors needed in our lives.