and international news coverage?
I could not fathom the difference between these words, consciousness and awareness, and yet I felt there was a difference - they were not synonyms.
Then, last November during a visit to India, I had an opportunity one day to discuss the problem - for a problem it was - with Eruch, and during our discussion, he got up from his chair, went to his desk and taking out a sheet of paper, read the following:
"Awareness is a great help to Me in My Work." - Meher Baba.
That was all I needed. I was now deeply into the search for the true understanding of the word, Awareness, as used by Meher Baba. And from this search, the following thoughts have emerged.
In common usage, the words Consciousness and Awareness are used interchangeably, and by Baba too, it would seem. The dictionary uses these words as synonyms, and Baba uses the four words: aware, conscious, awareness, consciousness, interchangeably. Used casually, they appear to mean little more than the term Knowledge. But Baba sometimes seems to give a word a special meaning, and this He may do with these two words, Awareness and Consciousness.
Baba's meaning of consciousness seems to refer to the action of the soul by which the soul imagines, perceives, or comprehends. This consciousness is complete, Baba tells us, in the human form but it is fettered and limited by the accumulation of endless ego-impressions, gathered over a period of innumerable births and deaths. Awareness, in Baba's special meaning, would be the breaking or wearing down of these fetters and bindings on consciousness. Thus; awareness could be thought of as the Expansion of Consciousness. Baba wants us to become more aware; really, awareness is a gift from Him.
When conscious activity expands, what do we become aware of? We become more aware of the One Reality, and the Oneness of all things, instead of conscious of the manyness of illusion. So to become aware must be closely tied to the awakening of intuition to a contact, or union with God within us.
As we become aware of God within, we simultaneously become aware of God without, or outside as well, and also a breaking down of the distinction between 'within' and 'without.'
This is awareness, the consciousness of God in everything. This consciousness of God's omnipresence leads to the further sense of His omnipotence that His hand is in all that happens. This, too, we may say is part of awareness.
When Baba dropped His physical form, He became more available to everyone, everywhere, because He was no longer limited to His form by our consciousness. As He tells us:
"I come amidst mankind to maintain My own creation of illusion, thereby also awakening humanity to become more aware of it . . . and through Me you automatically discard illusion when you are made aware of its falseness."
Even before dropping His physical form, Baba encouraged His followers to find Him within themselves - not to rely on His form. Now we must all seek to find Him within, for that is the true source of awareness. The more we can be alert to His Presence within, the more intuition grows and the more awareness of His One Reality grows.
Baba sowed the seed of awareness in our hearts. He is the Divine Gardener who will see that seed grow, and eventually bear fruit.
In human form, consciousness is complete - yet we have no awareness of full consciousness. We must develop full awareness in order to experience full consciousness, which, Baba says, is the beginning and ending of life. Life begins in consciousness, and if there is an end it ends in consciousness - Infinite Consciousness, Divine Love.
Awareness, Baba tells us further, is the result of impressions and as one grows older, one becomes aware of the gross world according to one's experiences.
A story from Eruch Jessawala illustrates this point.