Question of the Month


What is the difference between consciousness and enlightenment?

Are they the same? How are they different?

Does one produce or enable the other?

How do they relate to love?


Consciousness and enlightenment are not the same. Consciousness is something we humans have. We are aware, make choices, learn, create, have beliefs, values, ideas, etc. Enlightenment is to not  believe, but to know what our purpose is: To be an instrument of the holy spirit of love. Enlightenment is to be a manifestation of total love.

Does one produce or enable the other?

Yes they can. Thinking about and talking about and meditating about things like the meaning of life, wondering, discussing about things like who am I?, Where am I?, What am I to do? Can enable, or cause enlightenment.


Consciousness: The ability to have “experiences”. For example, some maintain that only humans have consciousness — yet, when the family dog needs surgery, we anesthetize it because we believe it is capable of experiencing pain/ terror/ suffering. We don't simply consider it a squeaky biological machine the needs to be strapped down while the veterinary surgeon wears earplugs.

Enlightenment: Quite simply, it is the realization that there is a difference between the world/reality, and your story of what the world/reality is.


I think consciousness is something you are naturally born with and choose to love and nurture or shut it down because of negative conditioning. I think enlightenment is something you open your heart to after that fact and choose to embrace because you get that somehow you did shut down your consciousness and now want to be open to what is your divine right and that is love. An evolved person understands that love is the only answer.


I think there are two “levels” of consciousness – “big C” Consciousness and “small c” consciousness. Big C I feel is the macro Consciousness that is the underlying foundation of what we perceive as reality. Whether one universe or a multitude of universes, Big C underlies it all and is the source from which it all arises. Small c, we might say, is the micro consciousness or awareness we all have as individuals of the world around and within us. Enlightenment, then, is Small c (1) coming to be aware that there is a Big C, (2) connecting to the Big C, and (3) thereby realizing that all is one and learning to make that connection and realization a part of daily life.

Big C precedes all, including Small c. By definition, both are required for enlightenment. That is, if there were no Small c, there would be nothing to be enlightened. If there were no Big C, there would be nothing to be enlightened about. What’s the enabler, what’s the trigger of Small c becoming aware of and integrating with Big C? I have no idea. Clearly, a practice is required to make the process work, but what’s the initial spark? Aha moments, I suppose. Love is the glue that holds it all together. One might say that love is the same as Big C, but maybe it’d be more useful to consider it a quality of Big C. Maybe it’s the quality that fuels the enlightenment! 

Thanks for asking the questions, John. It’s been fun and “enlightening” to try to articulate some possible answers.

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