There are three transformational processes within the evolution of Consciousness. These are, in fact, three levels of development.
At these different levels of development, the state and functions of the Consciousness show entirely different signs.
If we are aware of these characteristic signs, we may easily recognize what state of development of the Consciousness we are in ordinary Consciousness, awakening or the level of complete freedom.
The Level of Ordinary Consciousness
This is the lowest level of the evolutional process of Consciousness. Ordinary Consciousness is rooted in and feeds on, past times. The present moment is less important for it, it is only a gateway leading to a future we long for. Future is nothing but an improved and beautified version of the past, a future in which we will be successful in the all the things in which we have failed in the past. For ordinary consciousness, only past and future exist, it lives in those and feeds on those.
In that state of Consciousness, the appreciation and opinion of others are very important for us. We want to meet the expectation directed at us, we are pleased to play the social roles that are dictated by our community. We thrive to be good parents, a good husband or wife, useful employees, and law-abiding citizens. Our willingness to play these roles is caused by our complete identification with those roles. Our entire identity is based on those roles. We do not look for true answers to the question ”Who am I?;” we are content to be told that by others.
In the state of ordinary Consciousness, the dominant character of our life is the Ego; we wish to make it larger, brighter and more individual. That is why we are learning, gathering knowledge from others, until the end of our life, in the belief that we will thus become more and more intelligent. Still, we become less and less self-confident, and we do not have enough courage to face the challenges of life on our own. We, therefore, need a guide, support. We do not long for complete freedom, we follow pre-determined rules and respect authority.
The Level of Awakening
The advent of that level is indicated by moments in our life when we wake up from our ordinary life and recognize the reality that we in fact live in the captivity of our thoughts, emotions and social roles. Under the effect of those moments, a profound desire for freedom and truth arises in us. We then begin to search for the paths leading to the desired freedom. We intend to become more conscious and alert, to find the truth for ourselves about who we are and what our mission in the world is.
We no longer want to obey the old rules, old leaders, traditions and authorities. We no longer accept ready-made, second-hand theories and explanations. We are not ready to depend on the opinion of others anymore. Instead, we want to acquire knowledge and experience from the world for ourselves. We take pleasure in discovering new things, and we embark on new journeys without fear.
It is at that level that real self-control is created in us. This self-control is not rooted in fear of punishment or hope of reward. Many people are able to develop a high degree of self-control in the fear of Hell or the hope of Heaven, or merely because they want to work together with something they regard as larger than themselves. That kind of self-control will, however, only produce temporary results, since it is based upon suppression. Its maintenance requires constant effort from us. If for some reason, the degree of effort declines, the suppressed desires, anger and emotions burst out, causing us even more suffering.
Real self-control is not born in us out of suppression, but out of the recognition and understanding of the meaning of Life. That kind of self-control will liberate our Consciousness from the state of identification with the world of Shapes and Forms. It will create a space between us and the functions of the Mind, and in that space, the ability of seeing and understanding will be born.