We all take consciousness for granted, as though it was our right to have it. As though we could do anything we wanted to with it and never have to answer for it.
Awareness seems to be coin we are given to spend for free. There always seems to be an unlimited amount of it within our lifetime -- there is so much consciousness, so much awareness available to us, at least in our fantasies--that when we encounter a moment we do not like or are bored with, we wish it away, ignoring it under the assumption that some later moment will be better.
This may well be what Jeanne DeSalzmann was referring to when she said, "we don't want to be here."
We don't feel any obligation to inhabit our lives or live with in the present moment. Why should we? After all, it all belongs to us, doesn't it?
Perhaps we have all this wrong.
We are, in reality, stewards of consciousness--not owners of it. Each one of us, as a vessel that receives impressions, contains within ourselves the entire universe.
This is a bit difficult to explain -- the mind alone cannot grasp it -- but within each vessel of consciousness the entire universe is created, retained, and maintained ...I believe the Zen idea of polishing a tile to make a mirror touches this idea, but I'm unable to describe what I taste there in words.
Men consistently make the mistake of confusing stewardship with ownership. Human beings, for example, think that they own material things, or that they own land, when it is absolutely clear that the material things, and the land, last long after the humans are dead. The human ego, however, is perfectly happy with its fantasies of power and ownership.
Consequently, everyone on earth conveniently agrees to lie to each other about the temporary nature of our existence. This allows us to excuse ourselves from responsibility. If you want to know why the planet is in the shape it is right now, you can start looking right here.
It's easy enough to apply this idea to the environment. It takes a leap of understanding to apply it to the nature of consciousness itself. If we truly understood that we are stewards of this thing we call Being, or awareness, and that a responsibility is thereby conferred upon us, we might act quite differently.
Within an inner sensation of self, and the development of a more whole connection between the parts, perhaps we can discover moments when it's more apparent that we contain the entire universe within us in the reciprocal act, and state, of consciousness. I refer here to an organic sensation of what Gurdjieff called "World creation and World maintenance."
This sensation is not an experience of megalomania; it isn't born of ego. It is, rather, a simple state of re-cognition: seeing again, or, if you will, self-re-membering. Reassembling the "limbs" and organs of the self, which are the body of the entire universe itself.
Within this lies an inherent recognition of responsibility: the understanding that we are responsible--accountable-- for our consciousness.
I know this sounds highly theoretical, but I don't mean it theoretically. To seek a more direct and physical understanding of this possibility is worth the "inner reach."
The idea is not far off of what all religions teach: that we are responsible for our actions, that there is a price to be paid for everything we do and all that we are.
Extending the concept into the very act of being conscious itself, rather than just the deeds we do and the way we behave, takes a much deeper step into the question of Self. I think this sensation is close to the Heart of Zen--as well as every other Work.
Can we assume responsibility for our awareness? Can we attempt to see that we are everything--that everything is us?
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.