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R Smoley

The Kabbalah, a mystical teaching rooted in Judaism, has played a central role in the Western esoteric traditions for hundreds of years. In this four-part webinar, Richard Smoley will explore the history and ideas of this tradition. He will explore the Kabbalistic diagram known as the Tree of Life and show how it relates to human life and consciousness. He will also introduce some new material on the Sefer Yetzirah, the oldest and one of the most mysterious Kabbalistic texts. The course will be accessible to beginners, but it should interest more advanced students as well. Richard Smoley, editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America, is the author of nine books on spirituality and mysticism. His latest is How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible.

 

By Richard Smoley

Originally printed in the Spring 2010 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Smoley, Richard. "What Is Consciousness?" Quest  98. 2(Spring 2010): 70-71.

RichardSmoleyOne of the most basic and yet most elusive teachings of Theosophy is that consciousness is everywhere. Everything in the Universe, through all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. . . . There is no such thing as either dead or blind matter, as there is no Blind or Unconscious Law.(Secret Doctrine, I, 274).

Nevertheless, as this passage suggests, it is very hard to characterize consciousness without resorting to some sort of circularity: to be conscious is to be endowed with consciousness. The problem remains if we define consciousness in terms of awareness, perception, or some similar term. What is consciousness? Awareness. What is awareness? Perception. What is perception? Consciousness.

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