Directing our consciousness

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to give due attention—and care—to our sense of consciousness. We should not just allow it to flow in any way. We need to direct it, we need to shape it, we need to fill it with something that should be appropriate to us as persons and as children of God.

We cannot allow our consciousness to be empty and passive, simply waiting for things to happen. We cannot allow our consciousness to be simply at the mercy of our bodily and worldly conditions. It has to transcend this dimension of our life, using, of course, our spiritual faculties of intelligence and will, and always asking for the grace of God.

In fact, the ideal is that our consciousness should always be engaged and excited, animated and stimulated by something that sparks it into the dynamic of love.

We should not allow our consciousness to be bored or languishing in a state of ennui. As much as possible, it has to be active all the time. Resting, as when we go to sleep, or when we fall unconscious due to sickness, is not actually knocking off our consciousness.

It is bringing it to another state where the mind disengages itself for a while from the bodily mechanisms and the physical world, but still maintains its contact with its life source—our spiritual soul, which properly speaking should be animated by the spirit of God and not just any spirit.

As articulated by St. Augustine, our usual problem is that while God is always with us, we are not always with him, in the sense that we tend to ignore him. We can never be without God. Our life is not simply a product of all the biological, physical, social elements. It is, first of all, maintained and supported by God, its creator, and that is for always.

Let us remember that in our most ideal and ultimate state of life where we are supposed to be face to face with God, the only thing that will function in us will be our consciousness. Everything else will be kind of sublimated into it. Our bodily functions, while remaining physical and material, will be spiritualized.

This, of course, is difficult to imagine. That is why we have been warned that “eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, what God has prepared for those who love him,” referring precisely to how things will be in our ultimate state of life.

But we can get some idea of this spiritualized body when we consider the resurrected Christ, our way, truth and life, the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity. The resurrected Christ had a body as attested to by the testimony of St. Thomas the doubter. But in one of the appearances of Christ before his apostles, his body managed to enter the room even without opening the door.

We need to realize that the proper state of our consciousness is when it has God as its primary object of awareness. Otherwise, it will be looking for something else, or failing in that, it will just be languishing and putting itself at the mercy of whatever would excite it, and these will just be worldly things.

Obviously, to be always aware of God in our consciousness would require the grace of faith that is actually given to us in abundance. We just have to correspond to that grace by making many acts of faith, hope and charity. These little ejaculatory prayers are like little pieces of fuel that will keep our presence of God from dying. They, in fact, help in making for a big bonfire of the presence of God all throughout the day.

It’s about time that we examine more deeply how our sense of consciousness is and do something about it to conform it to its proper state.