What are we if not aware? More specifically we appear to be separate points of attention, each with an individual awareness. Scientific materialists will express that this awareness is nothing but the result of trillions of cells working together and giving rise to consciousness. Trillions of little automata giving rise to a single automaton. Of course, few people believe that such a simple explanation can explain the diversity of existence, whether it be the shear multitude of life that exists on this planet alone, or the fascinating differences in personality and thought represented by the billions of human beings alive today. Still if life’s prime directive is in self preservation and perpetuation, why all the novelty? I understand that evolution is not considered to be directional by biologists, but why does all this star dust give rise to a myriad of form so miraculous and breathtaking in its scope as to truly be awesome in the original since of the word. To consider that your awareness is a matter of chance seems an odd roll of the dice, especially considering the concept of chance is a human creation based in trying to understand probabilities filtered through our limited knowledge. Then again, if the universe can be viewed as a novelty producing machine, should it be weird that things exist? How or why would we ever assume for things to “not exist” is the norm? I’m digressing from the subject at hand though.
At the end of the day, no matter what you tell yourself or come to believe, one thing will probably remain the same. You are an awareness associated with the form of your body. Strip all your ideas about yourself and the world away and this thing remains. Spirituality itself is nothing but a thought form existing within this awareness. If this can be taken as a known, then the deep spirituality exists in understanding our own awareness as best we can. This idea can be associated with the practice of Buddhist “Mindfulness.” Just a thought, but funny that an automaton would ever strive to concern itself with such a pursuit. If any act can be considered to be a demonstration of one’s will*, surely it is the desire of an organism to deepen its understanding of its own point of attention. Still, there is much more to discuss on the idea of your awareness being on autopilot, but I’ll save that rumination for another time.
Now, I won’t say for a certainty that awareness is confined to bodies alone. Why should it be? With all the thought forms we send daily over the airwaves in the form of radio frequencies, that we know exist but cannot see, why should we assume that there aren’t certain other forms of information floating around that we have yet to become aware of. Perhaps the idea that the New Agers posit, that the brain is more a receiver of thought then a producer of it, will eventually be demonstrated to hold water. In that case, all of these technologies we’ve invented to send information over the invisible airwaves would turn out to be mimicking nature herself. This idea that awareness or thought exists separate from the body works well with the supposition that everything is grounded within a unified field of awareness, and that each individual represents its own unique representation of this awareness as it comes through the given individual or other form. What would that pure awareness, separate from any association with form be though? Well the G-word comes to mind, but let’s not go there right now. It is contrived and overdone, and it really doesn’t matter what you call it. Semantics. Jeez.
If then, there exists a unified field of some “awareness stuff” or something that can be considered the property through which all awareness exists, then it is to be found in everything. From the tiniest packet of quarks, to the most ardent fundamentalist. As above so below. From the smallest to the most massive, this awareness would use matter to organize itself into more varied and novel manifestations of itself. So, why should your cells be considered little automata possessing no awareness? Does your body not know how to react to its environment on a daily basis? Perhaps it is presumptuous to call the body dumb and the mind smart. The pattern follows that your cells, these small packets of awareness in form aggregate and collaborate to produce a greater awareness, you. Further, humans aggregate and congregate to form families, societies, religions and ideas. All are resultant of our collective consciousness. They are the varied thought patterns of the collective human mind. As above so below.
What is the point then? All of our perceived notions and beliefs of reality first come through the filter of our awareness. In the end the awareness is all that we can really know. It is the only ultimate truth that can be known beyond a doubt. You are that which we would define as awareness, and it follows that your awareness can be considered to be the aggregate of smaller packets of awareness. So, if we are seeking a spiritual dimension for our lives, we must first look to the filter of our personal awareness. By understanding what it is we are truly aware of, we can start on a journey of spiritual attainment that may lead us to unknown heights of experience. At least I’d like to think so.
*Note I’ll simply refer to will as just that. The will, as I’d define it at this moment, is the driving force behind your awareness made of a combination of all aspects of your organismic motivations. I feel rather than it being a question of whether a will exists, it is more a question of your awareness of your personal will, not a question of “Free Will” versus “Determinism.” The entire argument as such is simply people trying to confine awareness and choice to semantics. I will try to elaborate on this some other time, but it is a biggie.