We cannot conceive of life without consciousness because it is the faculty of being aware.
Content must also be present or consciousness would have nothing to be aware of.
But consciousness and content are not all that is necessary to create the life we know.
An activating energy must also be present.
Consciousness, content and energy then, are the three fundamental elements that are the building blocks of our experience.
For the first few years of our life in the human form, our consciousness is limited because our brain has not yet begun to think about content. The activating energy of life is there but we are simply acting through the senses, just like all other sentient creatures.
As the brain begins to take in and think and about content; what is being experienced, we become aware of what is known as 'mind' - the accumulation of everything that resides in us as impulses of energy that is essentially what all content is.
The activity of mind is focused around whatever content our attention is drawn to.
This could be likened to clouds forming in the sky.
When we first begin to reflect inward, the clouds we see are those that have formed around our self-interest and experiences to that point.
With such a restricted view, we cannot help misjudging the true purpose of life or the totality of who we are.
We carry on living from this state until eventually we recognise that there is light behind the clouds.
The first real glimpse of this light is commonly called 'spiritual awakening', and this is the point at which the clouds begin to burn off.
As this process gets underway and the denseness of the clouds of self-interest reduce, feelings of hope, happiness and oneness start to arise - and our outer expression becomes more gentle towards all life.
Why is this?
Because the light is coming from the original creative source of life, and the clear sky that has always been behind the clouds.
Despite all this happening however, denser clouds are slow to dissipate and periodically will dim or obscure the light, with resulting continued confusion or selfish behaviour and resulting suffering.
When the mind does make fuller contact with the light, the quietness and peace in the centre of our consciousness seems like emptiness. But as we adjust to the light we discover the exact opposite is true - that the light is accompanied by the energy something wonderful.
It is sometimes described as divine, blissful or like pure love.
Our consciousness makes experiencing this possible, but we sense that it originates from beyond our consciousness, as the light of the moon is reflected sunlight.
Only after reaching this point may our consciousness be drawn into the source of the light.