The purpose and aim of life is to remain in constant awareness of the reality. The whole lamp of life is lighted by that awareness, for it is the source of all knowledge. Awareness is not a thought; it is not an emotion; it is not a desire. But that which inspires thought, the power through which thought functions, the power through which emotions work, the power through which desires function—that power is called awareness.
When we talk of distinct levels of awareness, these levels are merely fixed by our mind and our understanding. Actually, there is only one awareness, but according to our minds we decide and think and feel that there are many different levels. This is similar to a man who sees only a small part of the horizon through the window, but when he gets to the roof, the horizon looks entirely different, as the greater view is then seen. Who creates this idea of limitation? Our own mind. We have to study the totality of mind, both conscious and unconscious. But before we try to study the whole mind, we should attempt to know the conscious part—that which we use in our daily life during the waking state.
It is said that dreams might reveal a glimpse of your personality, might even release some suppressed emotion, but only if you can bring that part of your mind into conscious and daily life can you become more creative. You have no control over your dreams, for you cannot even control the conscious part of your mind which you use in the waking state. When the sages searched for that state of mind which is called turiya (the fourth state), did they try to analyze their dreams? No.
First they tapped into and utilized the conscious part of the mind which functions during the waking state. They found millions of thoughts coming and going, and said, “We have no control over the conscious mind. We have no control over the voluntary system. We are not even aware that the voluntary system is under our control. Because of our lack of awareness and attention, we do not have control over either part—voluntary or involuntary.”
Now you can pick up and carry a box because you have some control over your voluntary muscles, but you cannot direct the function of your heart, intestines, or lungs, because that is being controlled by your involuntary system. Remember, however, that your involuntary functions are also being controlled by you, although you do not realize this. Which part of you controls that? If you understand that you are in control, then that part of you which is directing any set of muscles or organs can be brought under your direct control. Control is not gained by making your life topsy-turvy or disturbing your life patterns. It is foolish to say that you have to renounce the world and become a monk in order to know the reality. We can all gain knowledge of the reality within and without by cultivating the power of constant awareness.
Source: Awareness of the Reality Within lectures. Honesdale, 1975.