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The Fourth Consciousness

Divine consciousness engages our awareness in four ways on the long journey of life. On a plane over the Midwest, I found myself thinking about its role in our spiritual awakening.

We awaken in the divine consciousness of early childhood, discovering a world of purity, enchantment and wonder. In this first consciousness, everything is fresh, new, beautiful, Edenic, captivating - consciousness illuminating Creation as a light bulb illuminates a Tiffany lamp. Sadly, the conceptual forms introduced through parental instruction, formal education, popular culture and peer beliefs soon fill this pure consciousness with thought, in time generating the dualities of self and other, sacred and profane, good and bad that create the World of Man. In this endless labyrinth of thought, we forget who and where we are, and begin the long journey back home.

Love, between parent and child, partners, or friends, represents a second influx of consciousness. As conscious beings join in loving contact, something magical happens - the merging of separate beings into unity. Though temporary, whenever and however this unity happens presages our ultimate merging with the divine.

A third form of consciousness contributes to the upheaval of midlife, a time when the soul strives to break the chains of thought, identity, time and obligation to give birth to its inborn nature and truths. Personal consciousness digging within finds the true self and midwifes its divine gifts. In this merging of personal consciousness and being, we bring forth our part of divinity. When this troubled passage is navigated successfully, the Fall season of life unleashes a wonderful new phase of creative life - the work of the soul.

Finally, a fourth expression of consciousness arises in aging as we wake up to the mind of the cosmos. Dissolving the beliefs and identities that artificially abstract us from divinity, we melt into the one all-pervading consciousness that is Creation. If we let the sun symbolize divine consciousness, it is as if aging moves us from worshipping the sun as separate from ourselves to merging with it as our truest self.

This progressive expansion of consciousness eventually integrates all four levels of consciousness, for they have always been one. As the illusions of mind and culture disappear, so does the experience individuality and separation. This fourth consciousness offers us the ultimate potential of aging in which even the separations of time - of past, present and future, of here and hereafter - disappear and we see how the One has been behind it all. We learn this lesson here and in the next world. We learn it over and over until "we" no longer exist to learn anything.
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