The conscious self
Actions happen through consciousness. It is because of consciousness that you talk, walk, sit, cry and laugh. Consciousness expresses the three shaktis - Gyan Shakti, Ichcha Shakti and Kriya Shakti. Knowledge, action and desire. If there is co-ordination among these three, then life is very smooth. If not, then life is in doldrums.
If you desire something and it is not correlated with knowledge then it will be very foolish - like a desire that you should have a house on the moon. If there is lack of knowledge, then you are stuck with the desire. Sometimes you have some knowledge but you don't act on it. Even then you become miserable.
Many a time you say that you will do certain things or that you want to do certain things. Yet you never do it. You just keep postponing something you know is very good and that you should do it. Exercise or yoga class is the best example. Desire is there. You know it is good and you want to do it also, but then you don't. This is lack of Kriya Shakti.
Ichcha Shakti is desire, Gyana Shakti is the power of knowledge, wisdom, and Kriya Shakti is the power to act. Some people have lots of Kriya Shakti - they become restless. They keep shifting the table or chair, or wiping the same window again and again, or vacuuming the same carpet again and again, but there is no knowledge of what to do. This is due to lack of Gyana Shakti.
What is lack of Ichcha Shakti? That's when there is no strong desire. For sometime one does this, two minutes later something else.
The mind keeps changing. Lethargy - that is also lack of Ichcha Shakti. In such a person the Kriya Shakti doesn't allow one to be quiet and this causes restlessness. If a person is not so active, then he does not have so much Kriya Shakti. He will simply sit quiet but his mind will go on working. Some people will have a lot of knowledge but there is no desire in them to share with everybody. No Ichcha Shakti. So a perfect balance of these is very rare and worth having.
Yagna, Daana and Tapah - these are the three things that purify the human nervous system, the human consciousness and the human mind. When everybody gets together, chants, sings and meditates, then that is Yagna. People get depressed because all the time they are thinking about themselves. When you start thinking how you can help people around, how can depression come? Tapah is observing the opposites - meditating and observing the breath. Opposite values come and bother you. Bearing them is Tapas.
Any opportunity you get to contribute, contribute in whatever manner you can. When you are talking, talk knowledge instead of just gossiping. I am not saying that you should talk like a philosopher all the time. However, even if you want to talk some nonsense, you should be totally aware that you are talking nonsense.
States of consciousness
When you have the feeling of being completely disconnected, then do not struggle to get connected. When you are sleeping, you are totally disconnected from the person closest to you too. When you sleep, you cannot take anybody else into the sleep state of consciousness. At that moment, with a smile, see the whole creation as a dream.
It's all like soap bubbles - they are there for a moment, and they are not there the next moment. See all those people whom you met and the events and all the things which were there ten years ago, they are not there now. Everything is temporary and only you are permanent. And so you will feel the disconnection, but don't feel sad. Accept this with a smile. Meditate. Strength from deep within will arise in you. Another situation is when you feel so totally connected with everything in the world, then you are lost. Then there is no 'You' inside you. This 'I' feeling is not there. It's lost. Then also celebrate.
Respect and consciousness
How do you develop respect? Respect is an appreciation from the head. Love is an appreciation from the heart. Respect needs logic. Love doesn't need logic. Knowledge is required for respect. But for love, no knowledge is required. You just look at something and just fall in love with it.
Wanting respect is a natural tendency of adults, even adolescent children. But do we know how to respect others? It needs a little sensitivity. If you are sensitive, you are able to respect others. And if you respect others you become sensitive too. Respect and love are different yet they are very close. You cannot hate somebody and have respect for them. When you respect someone you start loving them. When you love someone, you start respecting them.
There are three causes for illness. Illness is either a violation of natural law or is imposed by nature or is a release of past impressions or Karma. The first cause is due to the Karma of the previous lives. Karma means impressions in the consciousness. Another cause is when you violate the laws of nature. Take the case of overeating. In spite of knowing what you should not eat, you eat that. The third cause is inflicted by nature. You are living according to the laws of nature, yet suddenly there is a case of common cold and everyone catches the cold. An epidemic spreads in Ethiopia and everybody suffers from yellow fever or malaria. This is inflicted by nature.
Nature itself provides the cure for these illnesses. If you have some illness it may be because there is something wrong with the food. There could be some conflicts in the consciousness, in the mind. The solution is to meditate, let go of the conflicts and have proper food. When it is detected early, all these things come to the rescue.
Health and illness are a part of physical nature. You should not worry too much about it. When you worry about illness, you are giving more power to the illness. You are a combination of health and illness. When you keep that in mind and have a positive state of mind, then illnesses change.
Atheism and consciousness
There is not much difference between the believer and the atheist. A believer says that he believes in God but he wants a sign. An atheist, on the other hand, asks for proof of God and only then will he believe. Both want to see something. Both are mistaken. When you say there is no God, then you have the concept of God; otherwise you cannot say there is no God. If I say there is no table here, then I know what a table is. I have a concept of what a table is.
The ancient people had a lot of brains. They simply made all the figures to represent certain qualities of consciousness. So they described Shiva as a figure sitting with eyes closed and a serpent around the neck. The serpent indicates alertness and a meditative state is signified by the fact that the eyes are closed.
When you sit for meditation, it is not a sleeping state. You are wakeful inside - you are calm and serene. That is the fourth state of consciousness, neither waking nor sleeping nor dreaming.
One thing that we need to understand is that what we think we know is very little. When you know that you don't know much, you become more innocent. In the innocent level of your consciousness wisdom dawns, knowledge comes and intuition arises.