Evolution of Consciousness


In any investigation of consciousness, the best place to start is with oneself. This does not necessarily mean that we need to resort to some kind of traditional psychological analysis, or even to the usual efforts of seekers to accumulate intellectual, emotional, or even so-called spiritual knowledge about ourselves. All of that may be included along the way, of course, but prior to any of those elaborations, there needs to be an in-depth inquiry into our core motivation — the basic script or personal narrative at the foundation of our sense of self, our identity. What is really driving us?

Upon inspection, what we can notice is that there is an underlying quality of stressfulness and dilemma that characterizes our existence. At the very root of our being, there appears to be a persistent contraction of life energy that in turn is always spawning a search for relief, whether it be of the body, the mind, or the spirit. In pursuit of an always elusive happiness, humans have sought since time immemorial to change their current state, devising and employing myriad idealistic strategies in the process.

To compound the matter, the exoteric religious teachings which humans have created infer that this human life itself is some kind of error or unfortunate occurrence — something to transcend, make right, awaken or escape from — some sin or even something of the nature of a stain on the immaculate canvas of the soul. Most even propose that our very nature is tainted simply by virtue of having taken birth in this realm. scolding nun

Indeed, there are all sorts of theories humans have devised to account for their pervasive sense of dissatisfaction about being here, such as suggesting that prior misdeeds in previous lives are responsible for this unfortunate circumstance of life on earth that we currently must suffer through. Others attribute it to the will of some Supreme Being or Beings, who manipulate our fate for mysterious reasons. By investigating comparative cultural myths, we can find all sorts of variations on that blame game.

However, if we persevere in the inquiry, we can come to recognize that consciousness manifests as form for an obvious reason. It manifests as form in order to be conscious as form, to experience itself as form. That’s the wonder and beauty of this ordinary human birth. It provides a 3-D platform for the expression of Spirit.

Our present life is not a mistake. Consciousness itself can become self-aware through this very human form! It can not only become self-aware, but can express that self-awareness through form, through our human-ness, in all of the complex and often paradoxical ways that we live and relate in this dimensional field of space and time. There is no greater purpose than just being, just living this amazing, miraculous experience of life as it is, in whatever way it is!


To be “liberated” from being a human being is not actually the point at all. Spirit touches matter, and consciousness is born. There is an urge, an irrepressible impulse, to manifest itself in this world of space and time, or else it simply wouldn’t. Nevertheless, this is where a sense of complication, or confusion (avidya), invariably arises. In the maturation process of evolving into self-awareness through materiality, consciousness seems to forget itself, its true nature, in a kind of temporary amnesia when it contracts into form.

The Formless appears as form, but in the process, “it” then imagines that it is that form exclusively — a self or person — separate and divided from all else (not-self) which is perceived to arise simultaneously within the sphere of awareness. From this apparent case of mistaken identity, a lot of toil and trouble ensues, typically revolving around issues such as hope and fear, love and hate, ignorance and integrity.


Even so, what we call “mis-identification” (when consciousness manifests as an apparently individual formation and temporarily takes itself to be that form) may actually represent a natural part of a cosmic process, the totality of which is still beyond our human comprehension, but in simple terms, consists of something along the lines of “losing ourselves to find ourselves”. In other words, it is not an aberration at all, but an aspect of the Play that we attribute a negative value to, based solely on arbitrary human concepts.

The only real “problem”, as mentioned above, is when energy and attention fixate on any temporary manifestation, halting the natural flow of the universal functioning and contracting into a tight and unyielding solidity. Such a contraction represents a quality of suffering, since the evolutionary movement of consciousness is towards infinite expansion.

Nevertheless, with the benefit of the “bigger picture” perspective derived from expanded awareness, it can be seen that all such challenges simply constitute the labor pangs of consciousness remembering its own true nature — our own original innocence. However, the ensuing developmental struggle to adapt and fully embody that recognition in all of life and relationships can and does generate a lot of stress, reflected in the pervasive conflict and discord which permeates this realm.

Adventures at the Ranch

Another way to view this condition of amnesia with which we arrive here is to use the analogy of a virtual reality game, in which we identify with the avatar to such a degree that we momentarily forget our true identity. By doing this, we are able to get the full impact of the virtual reality experience. Just so, by identifying with the human bio-vehicle, we are able to get the full experience of being human, and that appears to be our chief purpose for incarnating, but it comes with a catch — the aforementioned case of mistaken identity.

For the Formless to be fully aware in and as form, functioning unobstructed, and without contracting into a story of lack and limitation – this is the direction in which consciousness seems to be evolving. It’s a birthing from an act of indescribable Love, a Love that seeks to embody itself in matter, just as much as in the ethereal light of the higher planes.

Map to Heartbeat 7  Koehnline

Manifesting in and as these human forms is certainly not a kind of terrible mistake or punishment which we need to redress by escaping into some hopeful elsewhere, some idealized locale where we will finally be able to be what we are — we can never be anything other than what we are, limitless and all-inclusive!

In the realm of spiritual endeavor, there are those religious teachers who claim that, unless the ego is removed, one will remain in delusion. However, in this human circumstance, if the ego is removed, one would not be able to function in the objective world. We wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed.

The ego is not the problem. The problem is our obsessive fixation on the limited egoic identity, to the point that we have come to believe that it is who and what we are. In other words, the ego is a natural function of the human body-mind mechanism, but due to ignorance born of mistaken identity, we have enthroned it as an entity — an entity consumed with an instinct for survival at any cost. This is why the sages talk about transcending or subduing it, in the same sense as they suggest practices geared towards taming the self-absorbed “monkey mind”.


In any case, the ego itself is not an entity, like some ghostly person residing inside the brain, sending out commands and directives. It is a tool, and like any tool, it must be used wisely, otherwise problems ensue. To learn how to manage this function is the art of life. Trying to remove it, on the other hand, is simply perpetuating a war with oneself that can never be won, since we are jousting with our own shadow.

When the futility of that effort is finally recognized, a kind of spaciousness or free attention becomes available, which was previously occupied with cycles of alternating craving and aversion, desire and fear. Within such awaking awareness, it becomes apparent that we are not the identities we have taken ourselves to be. Rather, we seem to be more like a formless, impersonal witness, or observer, of all thoughts, emotions, memories, sensations, and perceptions.

oneness 2

We also notice how we have been linking our thoughts, emotions, etc. into a kind of narrative, or story line, that has resulted in an apparent subject-object dichotomy. This dualistic narrative has been habitually dividing consciousness into fantasies, or mental fabrications, of self and other, but as we persist in recognition, we come to realize that consciousness is actually a unity — oneness.

In the “place” where consciousness is really unified, where it sees the true nature and indivisibility of both formlessness and form as it’s own nondual truth, such phrases as “I am That” are actually true. It is no idealistic platitude, since one’s sense of self actually “expands” to include everything – all phenomena. Here nothing is really outside of the indivisible molecular presence of itself. This view of unity consciousness is even vaster than the views of formless consciousness and egoic consciousness which preceded it.


It would initially appear that this experience of unity consciousness is complete, once there is the realization that “I am That”, “I am everything”. It may seem that there is nothing more to see. Many pause and settle here, and why not? Nevertheless, if the inquiry proceeds further, there is something very simple yet crucial that is still awaiting recognition.

Even in this unity consciousness there is still an awareness of this unity consciousness. There is an impersonal aware knowing of this unity consciousness’ arising. This awake awareness has no perceivable qualities whatsoever – not even divine ones. Sometimes this open spacious awareness is called Emptiness, yet it is even empty of any qualities of emptiness, silence, bliss, or light. Here there is no self or Self, or even any Witness, which are all immediately recognizable as conceptual designations, fantasies of interpretation on perception.

water stars

It is not even a state of consciousness, and yet it does not cancel or invalidate that of which it is prior. Discursive mind cannot go there, because it is before that stage of attention — prior to consciousness’ arrival. Formless consciousness, separate self-consciousness, unity consciousness — all are arising within This, all are being birthed within this timeless aware space, this transparent “knowingness”. Nothing needs to be manipulated, modified, subtracted, or enhanced, since the nature of everything is already this emptiness — perfect as it is. Here, all states and levels are actually illuminated, and thus spontaneously “liberated” from any fixation within this embrace, as is any sense of division or impediment.

Since everything arises from the very no-beginning within this spacious awake awareness, there is nothing that needs to be eliminated. The only obstacle to the free flow and flowering of consciousness was the contracting fixation on any level, and subsequent attachment to limited perspectives. However, from this prior, unobstructed angle of vision, all states are spontaneously recognized to be manifesting non-exclusively and interdependently, as perfect expressions of an unfathomable, unconditional love.

heart vision

When this is truly and deeply Seen, and all stifling fixation has been gracefully exceeded by the recognition of Reality, the realization dawns that this awareness, which one IS, does not need to cling to egoic consciousness, to formless consciousness, to unity consciousness, to any experience, view, or position – it loves them all by granting them all the power to exist. It functions through them all, but is always already free of any story, even the story of freedom. After all, freedom implies bondage, but such dualities are tacitly recognized as mere errors of appreciation, and rendered obsolete in the shine of unbounded awareness.

space face

Here, the purpose of the evolution of consciousness would appear to be fulfilled, and yet this realization is more like a good beginning, and what now waits to be explored and discovered in the multiversal halls of Infinity is beyond any human words or concepts that could be applied. Such is the divine adventure that beckons us all, as we let go of all superimposed and limiting fixation with which we have heretofore defined ourselves.

Having integrated both the light as well as the shadow elements of our nature into  dynamic balance, and having also seen through the dreaminess of fixed identification with any of it, we are now capable enough to fully “embody” or real-ize (make real) our natural potential as powerful spiritual beings and conscious co-creators with immortal Spirit Itself.

“Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever newborn; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth.”

~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe

time See also: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/stages-of-human-spiritual-development/ https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/in-search-of-self/

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Verses and ramblings on life as it is: https://writingonwater934500566.wordpress.com/ Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: https://themindthatneverwas.wordpress.com/ Verses on the Play of Consciousness: https://onlydreaming187718380.wordpress.com/ Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: https://themysteriousexpanse.wordpress.com/ Poems of the Mountain Hermit: https://snowypathtonowhere.wordpress.com/ Love Poems from The Book of Yes: https://lovesight.wordpress.com/ Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: https://travelsindreamland.wordpress.com/ Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: https://freetransliterations.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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15 Responses to Evolution of Consciousness

  1. I recently came upon the following essay, from a Master of the Thai Forest Tradition (Ajahn Maha Boowa), which provides a more illuminating and comprehensive elaboration of a very critical point in the conscious process, skillfully distinguishing between the radiant emptiness of the original self, and the pure emptiness of the fully liberated state. It is well worth contemplating:

    “When you investigate mental phenomena until you go beyond them completely, the remaining defiling elements of consciousness will be drawn into a radiant nucleus of awareness, which merges with the mind’s naturally radiant essence. This radiance is so majestic and mesmerizing that even transcendent faculties like spontaneous mindfulness and intuitive wisdom invariably fall under its spell. The mind’s brightness and clarity appear to be so extraordinary and awe-inspiring, that nothing can possibly compare. The luminous essence is the epitome of perfect goodness and virtue, the ultimate in spiritual happiness. It is your true, original self — the core of your being. But this true self is also the fundamental source of all attachment to being and becoming. Ultimately it is attachment to the allure of this primordial radiance of mind that causes living beings to wander indefinitely through the world of becoming and ceasing, constantly grasping at birth and enduring death.
    The fundamental cause of that attachment is the very delusion about your true self. Delusion is responsible for all the defiling elements of consciousness, and its avenue of escape is the ongoing momentum of conscious activity. In this sphere, delusion reigns supreme. But once mindfulness and wisdom are skilled enough to eliminate conscious activity and therefore close this outlet, delusions created by the flow of mental phenomena cease. Severing all of its external outflows leaves delusion no room to maneuver inside the mind, forcing it to gather into the radiant nucleus from which all knowing emanates. That center of knowing appears as a luminous emptiness that truly overwhelms and amazes.
    But that radiant emptiness should not be mistaken for the pure emptiness of Nibbana [Liberation]. The two are as different as night and day. The radiant mind is the original mind of the cycle of constant becoming; but it is not the essence of mind which is fully pure and free from birth and death. Radiance is a very subtle, natural condition whose uniform brightness and clarity make it appear empty. This is your original nature beyond name and form. But it is not yet Nibbana. It is the very substance of mind that has been well-cleansed to the point where a mesmerizing and majestic quality of knowing is its outstanding feature. When the mind finally relinquishes all attachment to forms and concepts, the knowing essence assumes exceedingly refined qualities. It has let go of everything — except itself. It remains permeated by a fundamental delusion about its own true nature. Because of that, the radiant essence has turned into a subtle form of self without you realizing it. You end up believing that the subtle feelings of happiness and the shining radiance are the unconditioned essence of mind. Oblivious to your delusion, you accept this majestic mind as the finished product. You believe it to be Nibbana, the transcendent emptiness of pure mind.
    But emptiness, radiance, clarity and happiness are all subtle conditions of a mind still bound by delusion. When you observe the emptiness carefully, with sustained attention, you will observe that it is not really uniform, not really constant. The emptiness produced by primal delusion is the result of subtle conditions. Sometimes it changes a little — just a little — but enough for you to know that it’s transient. Subtle variations can be detected, because all conditioned phenomena — no matter how refined, bright and majestic they seem — invariably manifest some irregular symptoms.
    If it is truly Nibbāna, why does this refined state of the mind display a variety of subtle conditions? It is not constant and true. Focus on that luminous center to see clearly that its radiance has the same characteristics — of being transient, imperfect and unessential — as all the other phenomena that you have already transcended. The only difference is that the radiance is far more subtle and refined.
    Try imagining yourself standing in an empty room. You look around and see only empty space — everywhere. Absolutely nothing occupies that space — except you, standing in the middle of the room. Admiring its emptiness, you forget about yourself. You forget that you occupy a central position in that space. How then can the room be empty? As long as someone remains in the room, it is not truly empty. When you finally realize that the room can never be truly empty until you depart, that is the moment when that fundamental delusion about your true self disintegrates, and the pure, delusion-free mind arises.
    Once the mind has let go of phenomena of every sort, the mind appears supremely empty; but the one who admires the emptiness, who is awestruck by the emptiness, that one still survives. The self as reference point which is the essence of all false knowing, remains integrated into the mind’s knowing essence. This self-perspective is the primary delusion. Its presence represents the difference between the subtle emptiness of the radiant mind and the transcendent emptiness of the pure mind, free of all forms of delusion. Self is the real impediment. As soon as it disintegrates and disappears, no more impediments remain. Transcendent emptiness appears. As in the case of a person in an empty room, we can say that the mind is truly empty only when the self leaves for good. This transcendent emptiness is a total and permanent disengagement that requires no further effort to maintain.
    Delusion is an intrinsically blind awareness, masquerading as radiance, clarity and happiness. As such, it is the self’s ultimate safe haven. But those treasured qualities are all products of subtle causes and conditions. True emptiness occurs only when every single trace of one’s conditioned reality disappears.
    As soon as you turn around and know it for what it is, that false awareness simply disintegrates. Clouding your vision with its splendor, that luminous deception has all along been concealing the mind’s true, natural wonder.”

    ~ Ajahn Maha Boowa, Bhikkhu Silaratano, “Mae Chee Kaew”

  2. Bob OHearn says:

    The Cave

    The very cave you are afraid to enter
    turns out to be the source of
    what you are looking for.
    The damned thing in the cave
    that was so dreaded
    has become the center.
    You find the jewel,
    and it draws you off.
    In living the spiritual,
    you cannot despise the earthly.

    ~ Joseph Campbell

  3. Bob OHearn says:

    “The human mind is an intermediary processor and filter for information within defined parameters of consciousness. The human being will become receptive to many forms of information, on many levels, through many pathways of consciousness interactivity. The human mind is a conduit that processes and interprets information within the physical domain in a way which better enables the physical organism to coordinate and navigate itself efficiently and effectively for survival. The human mind is a learnt animalistic behaviourism of thought processing. It is learnt because, as a sentient being your consciousness adopts the parameters of thought inherent within human characteristics when you are first born. This is to say, your spirit does not think and behave like a human prior to inception as one. It is only after interactivity to mass human consciousness found within this vibrational frequency that human mind and behaviour of thought begin to become an adopted characteristic. These traits of thought and of mind are attracted to your soul as it develops a human identity of consciousness, and these traits are thus carried with you into the spirit world, where they cover and colour your divine spirit, for as long as you will of it.

    To go beyond the human mind is to go beyond the way in which you have been conditioned to process information through the filters you have inherited through physical inception. The human mind is what creates the human persona and creates the parameters through which you experience Self in this specific vibrational dimension. To seek to go beyond the mind is to seek to go beyond your current filters of experience. It is to allow information to ‘happen’ to you and become part of you through other doors and channels.

    There are many, many levels of mind which integrate and find their way into human mind. As you peel away the layer of human mind, you will discover yet another layer of mind of another origin, and beneath that another, and yet another, and so on. It can be a very long process to aspire towards no-mind. These layers are dynamics of consciousness imbedded within your conscious journey which your divine spirit has attracted upon itself over millions of years of activity within many intermediary dimensions of Self expression. So this is to say, over millions of years your spirit has attracted upon itself a great many layers of mental conditionings that form what you now understand to be your unique energy signature and vibrational frequency; the being you are today. As you peel away human consciousness you will begin to discover and experience things about yourself which no longer make any rational sense to you, or appear no longer to align to the same human values or thought processes you have been used to. Through raising your vibration the disunity between thought and feeling eventually dissolve and the two become and function as one. Questions and answers dissipate into knowingness and words become unnecessary. In this state mind functions on a whole new level and submits to the presence of the spirit.

    Since the dawn of time consciousness has existed as a construct to allow prime creator to experience an unlimited awareness of its Self. All things created of the light, resonating its own sound frequency, were endowed with the gift of consciousness. This gift gave to all things an inherent capacity to attain an infinite potential. As consciousness expands so too does it own capacity to create and experience new potential. Through the immersion of sacred geometry doorways of consciousness can be opened. Understanding that the human biological organism is a temple of sacred geometry one can presume many doors exist within the cellular state in which many seeds of consciousness lie. Within the original blueprint of all vibration and form lies the everpresent essence and dormant memory of prime creator [Source].


  4. Bob OHearn says:

    Total Being.

    “. . .When we know that we are Total Being, we recognize that we are everything and also that we are nothing. We are everything and we are nothing and we can experience those separately, or we can experience that we are everything and that we are nothing at the same time. When I say that we are everything, I don’t simply mean nondual experience. Nondual experience is only one kind of experience. When I say that we are everything, I mean the dual and the nondual and everything else that is neither dual nor nondual. I am sure many of you are scratching your heads right now; and you might be scratching your head for a long time. We are all naturally driven to find out who and what we are. And we must find out. However, this drive to find out who and what we are and what reality is, which is an expression of the enlightenment drive, is intermingled with the obsession to be something. We also want reality to be something, something in particular—even if that something is formless or unknowable. We are obsessed with being something, even if the something is boundlessness or emptiness or nonduality or totality. Even in those conditions, we are still being something. People say, “I’m being absolute reality and am not anything in particular.” But being absolute reality is being something. Being nondual awareness is being something. Even pointing to nondual or pure awareness is pointing toward something.”

    “. . .When we are being completely depressed or being completely enlightened, what is common to both states is that we believe we have to be that way; we believe there is no way out. That is the lack of freedom. Freedom means that we are free to be anything at any moment, and we are also free from having to be it. So there is no holding on to anything; there is a total embrace of whatever arises, whatever happens, whatever reality appears to be. However reality appears is Total Being—that is its liberating power. Fully experiencing and totally realizing any experience whatsoever—of any form, shape, or kind—is how we begin to understand Total Being. Whether we’re experiencing true nature or an egoic manifestation, if we fully embrace it and are totally immersed in it, if we understand it and inquire into it, we will recognize the perspective of Total Being.”

    A.H. Almaas. Runaway Realization : Living a Life of Ceaseless Discovery

  5. Bob OHearn says:

    As science continues to focus on the external physical world they fail to recognize the greatest discovery in the history of mankind. Based upon many decades of out-of- body exploration the universe is without a doubt a multidimensional continuum. The true structure of the universe is based upon a progression or layers of energy and the physical world is but the dense outer epidermis layer (less than 1%) of this massive projection of energy. During OBEs, NDEs and during the process of death our consciousness naturally enters the parallel, less dense, energy segment of the multidimensional continuum.

    The universe can be perceived as a projection of consciousness that manifests as a multidimensional hologram consisting of countless different frequencies. As we explore inward each dimension is progressively less dense and increasingly thought responsive. The resulting vibrational realities and dimensions coexist together – there is no separation by distance – all dimensions are here and now, existing with us. For example all radio, cell phone and television frequencies exist with us now, but each coexists within its individual frequency. In other words there are many frequencies of stable energy and only the outer crust of the continuum is matter. The end result is truly magnificent – countless energy realities all occupying the same space.

    It is mind expanding to realize that each of us currently exist as a living, conscious microcosm of the entire universe, seen and unseen. At this moment, we exist within every major dimensional frequency of the universe. Our consciousness awareness and the universe are both multidimensional. Our various states of awareness; including our dreams, lucid dreams, OBEs, NDEs and the full spectrum of trance states are all evidence of our multidimensional nature. Even our very birth and death provide solid evidence of our entry and exit within the multidimensional universe.

    For us to truly comprehend the vast universe we dwell within it’s essential for us to reexamine our dependence upon primitive beliefs and discover and practice an effective inner exploration method that resonates with us. Becoming an active explorer of consciousness is the essential key to obtaining the answers to the great mysteries of our existence. Our ability to comprehend and effectively navigate within our future nonphysical environment will depend upon what we do now to be prepared. The inner dimensional path before us is clear, become an explorer of consciousness – make it a priority today.

    ~William Buhlman

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “The world as a living being, one nature, one soul. Keep that in mind. And how everything feeds into that single experience, moves with a single motion. And how everything helps produce everything else. Spun and woven together.”

    ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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