The three stages of consciousness are concurrent. They share the same levels of consciousness. They are, however, separate in a way that one will supersede the other at any given moment. All three are not recognized as acting in unison. Frankly, they are not even conscious of each other, although one cannot be without the other.
Consciousness is being conscious of being conscious. It is the first level of consciousness and one where there are no beginnings or endings; no demarcations, limits, boundaries, etc. It is just ‘consciousness.’ The second level is self-consciousness. Being conscious of what we (consciousness and self-consciousness) come to be. We understand that we are a self with a personality, a kind of nature that leads us in one particular direction from consciousness, but, having it tarry along as a permanent object and a being that gives being to the self. The third level is the consciousness of another consciousness: an outsider who is guided by its own self that acts and reacts in the same way as its self would take it. When we view another self, when we ‘act’ out by viewing, speaking, listening, and so on, we are no longer in a mode of self-consciousness, and we are even further from the first stages of consciousness. We become absorbed in another conscience, one which holds our own consciousness in a kind of trance, although we don’t recognize it as such. We think of it as communicating, although, as we do so, we are no longer the self which we purport to be. We are now the self that acts out; the self that lingers within another realm of time. It isn’t until we are alone in thought, in our own presence, when we revisit our own self-consciousness and do away with the other. We come upon our own judgment, our own pure-self-movement. These are the absolute moments, the
moments of “infinite spirituality” when nothing comes between self-consciousness and consciousness except the reflection of one into the other. This infinite spirit is the self in recognition of itself; an embracing of its own consciousness as consciousness of something, and a negation of itself so that it could live again in the realm of its being while, at the same moment, denying its existence as being and living through the desires of the ‘self.’
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