Consciousness is a term that has become synonymous to the idea of God-Being in the context of esoteric, nonconventional spirituality. This is particularly true of modern psycho-spiritual disciplines, metaphysical and naturalist movements, and nearly all systems of nondualist mysticism.
For ages, inquiries into the subject of consciousness and speculations as to its nature were the domains mainly of philosophy, mystery schools, occult teachings, and religious theological pursuits. In earlier times, eastern thinkers speculated on the nature of human consciousness by means of metaphors and symbolism borrowed from the natural world around them. One such example was the comparison they drew between consciousness (or the soul of man) to the lotus plant which abundantly populated ponds and murky pools of water.
Consciousness, they said, was like a lotus flower bud that developed unseen in dark muddy waters. As the bud approached the blooming stage, its stem grew longer and the lotus bud would rise from the muddy depths up to the water’s surface level or even higher. There at the surface, the flower opened its blossom to reveal the full glory of its bloom. In some cases, the bud would shoot up beyond the water level where it blossomed above the water in the air. In any case, the flower’s blossom was an amazing display of hidden brilliance, purity and clarity of color, an aesthetic radiance to behold, a floral beauty so clean and pure in contrast to the murky water depths of its origin.
It was said that, like the lotus flower, the soul or consciousness of man comes from some dim murky region from where it originates. Then the soul grows and develops through the dark muddy water of its spiritual ignorance until the soul emerges out of it and reaches the awakening light of truth at the surface of its enlightenment. Finally the soul blossoms into the full glory of its being, much like the lotus flower does.
Consciousness is the greatest mystery there is. Now, prepare to unravel its mystery.