Our ordinary state of consciousness is not something natural or given, by a highly complex construction. It is a specialized tool for coping with our environment and the people in it; a tool that is useful for doing some things, but not very useful, and even dangerous for doing other things. As we look at consciousness closely we see that it can be analyzed in many parts. Yet these parts function together in a pattern: they form a system. While the components of consciousness can be studied in isolation, they exist as parts of a complex system.
Charles Tart, one of the founders of Transpersonal Psychology wrote those words in his essay, The Systems Approach to Consciousness. Tart is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. Tart’s work opens one door of consciousness and we discover that the consciousness is not what we think it is. There are other qualities of our consciousness hidden under our belief structure.
Beliefs are a culmination of different thoughts as well as the associations and influences we gather through our experiences. Beliefs about religion, duplicity, relationships, sexuality, physical reality, the universe, truth, emotions, perceptions and the senses are connected and intertwined to produce individual realities. We are constantly creating new perceptions that impact our belief structure, and once they mingle and are accepted as truths within our established belief system we alter our reality in some way. Adding or eliminating various new associations and influences tends to alter our past perceptions, and we experience change. Change is one of the constants we create in this reality.
Our consciousness is a complex entity. We like to say that we are conscious, and we are, but we are just one quality of our complete consciousness even though we feel complete as a physical consciousness. We are never unconscious about consciousness for it is an entity that fits around us and in us as we create and experience physical reality. The ego is part of the complex system of consciousness. It is the part that wants to know itself using a physical filter. The filter is self-created so we can focus on the associations and influences that expand our belief structure. That is the nature of free will.
The conscious mind receives information from the inner self and the exterior universe and that information is used to analyze and impact our focused environment, Understanding the complete system of consciousness is not our goal in this reality. We can only comprehend bits and pieces of our consciousness. The other pieces act like lotus flowers in a sea of consciousness.