Meta. Consciousness is our knowing that we know; that phase of knowing by which we take cognizance of our existence and of our relation to what we call environment. Environment is made by ideas held in mind and objectified. The ideas that are held in mind are the basis of all consciousness. The nature of the ideas upon which consciousness is formed gives character to it.
The subconscious mind, or subjective consciousness, is the sum of all man's past thinking. It may be called memory. The subconscious sometimes acts separately from the conscious mind; for instance, in dreams and in its work of carrying on bodily functions, such as breathing and digestion. The subconscious mind has no power to do original thinking. It acts upon what is given it through the conscious or the superconscious mind. All our involuntary, or automatic, activities are of the subconscious mind; they are the result of our having trained ourselves by the conscious mind to form certain habits and do certain things without having to center our thought upon them consciously.
Sense consciousness is a mental state formed from believing in and acting through the senses. It is the serpent consciousness, deluded with sensation. Since an individual becomes attached to whatever he thinks about, the result of his forming sense consciousness is that he withdraws his consciousness from Spirit, and loses conscious connection with his Source. To bring one out of sense consciousness a realization of the need of conscious oneness with the Father is necessary; also the determination to return to that conscious oneness with God in which one decides, "I will arise and go to my father."
Material consciousness is much the same as personal and sense consciousness. It is a state of mind based upon belief in the reality of materiality, or in things as they appear. It is carnal mind expressing its disbelief in the omnipresence of God.
A state of consciousness is a certain phase of mind built up through thinking of some particular idea. As you go on in your expression of Divine Mind you will find that you have many phases of mind in yourself with which to deal. These we call "states of consciousness."
It is very important to understand our place of consciousness in spiritual growth because, while all divine ideas--such as love, life, substance, and intelligence--are eternal and omnipresent, they are not so to us until we incorporate them into our consciousness. Unless we know this we may be satisfied with an intellectual concept of them, or deceive ourselves with the thought that, because life is eternal, our consciousness or non-consciousness of that fact can make no difference. Consciousness of eternal life places one in the stream of life that never fails. Without this consciousness, dissolution will result and spirit, soul, and body will be separated.
Man merges his consciousness with the Absolute through harmonizing all his ideas with the unlimited ideas of the Christ mind. This is accomplished by his understanding Divine Mind and its laws. The necessary food for man is the word of God. Without it there is no sustenance for spiritual consciousness, and soul and body perish with hunger.
In the study of things pertaining to religion we should keep in mind the three activities of consciousness: spiritual, psychical, and physical. The spiritual is the realm of absolute principles; the psychical is the realm of thought images; the physical is the realm of manifestation. The well-balanced, thoroughly developed man, of which Jesus is the type, comprehends and consciously adjusts his spirit, soul, and body as a whole, and thereby fulfills the law of his being. Those who are on the way to this attainment have various experiences, which are symbolically set forth in the Scriptures.