OK, calm clear consciousness isn't really a mantra for me, notwithstanding the title of this blog post.
Those are just three words that I've been saying to myself a few times a day, because they do a good job of summing up my current approach to meditation and spirituality.
Here's some additional words that explain part of the meaning that I attribute to calm clear consciousness.
Consciousness. Everything we have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience is dependent on consciousness. No consciousness, no experience.
But there are degrees of consciousness.
There's a big difference between someone comatose, in a dreamless deep sleep, awake, and so on. We also can be conscious but not aware, such as when we do something yet don't know that we did it -- like locking a car and then wondering if the car is locked as we walk away from it.
And consciousness is inherently subjective. Humans have a different form of consciousness from other primates, and even more different from bats, birds, bees, and the many other living creatures that appear to possess consciousness to one degree or another.
Thus consciousness is private. No one has direct access to anyone else's consciousness. At least, there is no demonstrable evidence of this.
Some people view consciousness as something separate from what we are conscious of. I'm skeptical about this, since I have no idea what consciousness without some conscious content would feel like or be like.
That, though, is a peripheral issue for me. The brain produces consciousness. Whether consciousness is something that can stand alone, or is always associated with some conscious experience -- that's scientifically unanswerable at the moment, and may always be.
Clear. We don't see things as they are, but as they appear to us. That's the nature of conscious experience. Just as there are degrees of consciousness, so are there degrees of conscious clarity.
This is difficult to put into words, though I think almost everyone knows what I'm talking about.
Sometimes life seems murky, shadowy, difficult to discern. In my experience, this occurs most often when too many things are competing for my attention at the same time, since the human brain isn't equipped to multi-task.
Typically we can do one thing at a time well; two things with some difficulty, like driving while having a phone conversation; three things at a time is very difficult, like driving, talking on the phone, and changing the station on a car radio.
So to me, "clear" has a lot to do with being mindful.
Meaning, knowing what we're experiencing while we're experiencing it. If I lock my car, that's an experience. However, if i don't know that I've locked the car because I was thinking of what to have for dinner while performing this habitual action, i'm into murky conscious territory, not clear territory.
In other words, I aim to be as clear as possible about what I'm doing, feeling, thinking, and otherwise experiencing. Not in the sense of watching myself as an outside observer, but rather as a conscious undistracted subject.
Calm. Even if water isn't murky or clouded, it still can be difficult to see what's beneath the surface of it if the water is rocked by waves.
Likewise, even if my consciousness is quite clear, if I'm focused on one thing and am well aware of it, my emotions can make it difficult to really tell what is happening with my experience. Or, can make it difficult for me to respond appropriately to what I'm experiencing.
For about 30 years I've practiced some form of martial arts. Karate at first, then a mixed form of martial arts, and Tai Chi for the past 16 years.
So this has offered me a lot of direct experience of what happens when my mind isn't calm. Being anxious about getting hit in the face doesn't help with not getting hit in the face. All it does is make me tense up, which reduces my ability to dodge a punch and respond in an effective fashion.
Likewise with other situations where I'm not calm. Arguing with someone when I'm angry doesn't help me "win" the argument (assuming anyone ever wins an argument; I just can't think of a better word).
But I've also found that it doesn't help to pretend that my mind is calm when it actually isn't.
Which gets me back to mindfulness. Simply saying to myself, "I'm upset," has a way of making me less upset, because speaking those words to myself creates some distance between the emotion and my awareness of it.
Anyway, I'm enjoying playing around with using calm clear consciousness as words that represent a sort of goal for me.
I'm a believer in the power of our unconscious or non-conscious mind, which modern neuroscience and psychology tell us is by far the greatest part of our mind. Since most of us talk to ourselves a lot, it makes sense to me to speak some words, now and then, that point to how I'd like my mind to be.
Not all of the time, obviously, since I don't have that much control over my mind. But more of the time.
Calm clear consciousness. Something to aspire to.