Sunday, September 21, 2014


Qualities of Pure Consciousness: Patterning Principles In Literature

Pure Consciousness: We sit to meditate and the mind settles down. As the mind settles down, our awareness opens to subtler and subtler levels, ultimately to the source of thought—pure consciousness. Initially our experience of pure consciousness may contrast sharply with waking consciousness, but as we meditate over time, we stabilize our experience of pure consciousness more and more, so that it exists along with waking, dreaming, and sleeping. As we stabilize pure consciousness, we become more aware of the qualities of pure consciousness—qualities such as flowing wakefulness, expressing, transforming, expanding, and self-referral, to name a few. 

Impulses of Consciousness: Forty impulses of consciousness have been identified and correlated with their names in Vedic literature and their form in the physiology.[1] Because we have examined literature as the flow of consciousness, it is natural to pay attention to the presence of these qualities of consciousness in literature and to discover how they manifest within the text as patterns of meaning. 

Walden Pond: A senior thesis in the MUM literature department by Amber Price, titled “The Inner Landscape of Walden Pond,” employs four qualities of pure consciousness to examine seasonal changes in Thoreau’s landscape.[2] The impulses Ms. Price considers include the quality of establishing and expanding in summer; the synthesizing quality in the fall; the self-referral value of winter; and the offering and creating value of spring. Ms. Price uses these impulses of pure consciousness to trace Thoreau’s path of self-discovery, finding that “Thoreau’s inner seasons paint landscapes with the bright, brilliant hues of his inner Being” (439). This patterning of the seasonal landscape to reveal the author’s own experiences of consciousness creates a correlation that resonates with the reader’s own experience of the inner impulses of consciousness. 

Tracing the Impulse: It’s interesting to explore the presence of different impulses of consciousness within a piece of literature to discover patterns that emerge within the text.  If you would like to explore this possibility further, a list of the forty quality identified by Dr. Tony Nader appears in the accompanying chart. When you consider one of your favorite pieces of literature, is there a quality from this list that is central to the pattern of meaning in that text? What do you discover when you look at how that quality operates within the text? Click on the Comments link to share your thoughts.


"From Smaller than the Smallest to Larger than the Largest." Original drawing by Ladies SCI Class at MUM, Fairfield, IA, Spring 2007. 

"Walden Pond." Image retrieved from on February 27, 2014 under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Photograph taken by Andrew Douglas near hiking trail and former site of Thoreau's cabin on October 20, 2012.


[1] Nader, Tony. Human Physiology: Expressions of Veda and the Vedic Literature. Fairfield, IA: MUM Press, (rev) 2001.

[2] Price, Amber. “The Inner Landscape of Walden Pond” in Llewellyn, D. and Pearson, C. (Eds.) Consciousness-Based Education: A Foundation for Teaching and Learning in the Academic Disciplines, Volume VI: Consciousness-Based Education and Literature. Fairfield, IA: MUM Press, 2011.


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