There are two ways that I have knowledge and understanding in the world - through consciousness and through awareness. Consciousness is how I perceive the world through my body and mind. Consciousness breaks down the world into components and is analytical, judgmental, and reactive. It is the source of my asking "Why?" and is the root of my sense of wonder and curiosity. It requires an answer to my inquiries, something logical and rational. Once I have an answer I can pass a judgment and fit this new information into my overall understanding. In order to analyze further, consciousness must externalize the new information into the structure that I call objective reality. Wherever the external classification falls, because we live in a dichotomous world, it must be either bad or good, wrong or right, harmful or safe, or some such judgment rooted in previous experience. Once a judgment is made, consciousness can react to what has now become a part of my objectified experience. If something is judged positively I can react with some kind of affinity; if I judge it negatively I can dissociate or withdraw from it entirely.
Awareness is different. It is how I perceive pure spirit. When I am experiencing awareness I can engage a thought, feeling, emotion, or belief and simply embrace that experience for what it is - just an experience. There is no judgment involved, no analyzing, nor reacting. What Is, simply Is, and is accepted as such. Without analysis, judgment or reaction, I can respond freely to any thought, feeling, emotion, or belief.
Consciousness is associated with the brain's functioning capabilities, while awareness is associated with the functioning modalities of the heart. The brain analyzes. The heart just accepts experience. Because consciousness seeks to be in a steady state of analyzing, reflecting, and the drawing of conclusions, most of us face a continual mental chatter interrupted only by surges of emotional churning and physical reactions to the thoughts and emotions being generated. The only way to escape the chatter and churning is by entering into a state of calm through internal silence to bring the Is-ness that always surrounds us back into focus. We cannot find this peace by thinking about what Is, nor by attempting to feel what Is. Consciousness cannot be used to explore the inner realms. Any attempt to do so is stymied by the distraction of inquiry and judgment. Only when we evoke internal silence will awareness come to the fore. Then we can experience what Is, free of any beliefs or judgments. The inner world offers no answers to the questions that consciousness asks - why, what, when, where, and how. Only through awareness are the inner realms revealed.
I need both consciousness and awareness to negotiate a true path in the world. Awareness is the most effective way to explore and understand who I am and where I fit within the grand scheme of things. Applying consciousness is the most effective way to make the changes in life that reflect what has been learned through awareness.