Unless we are aware of what we are doing, of what we want to be and what we want to achieve, we are almost in the realm of the animal consciousness. Very often when people speak of awareness, they mean the awareness of the mind. They feel that the mind is the sole answer to all problems. So long as we are in the mind, we can and must be fully aware of all the activities that are taking place in the physical, the vital, the mind proper and the world that is visible with our ordinary outer eye.

One who is not aware of his all-pervading inner divinity is, from the spiritual point of view, a dead soul. In our Upanishads, the seer cried out, "Arise! Awake!" Awareness is the first rung of the ladder of spirituality; the next is aspiration. Very often people are confused by these two words. A person can be aware in any sphere: In the physical, in the mental or in the vital. But aspiration is something deeper. Aspiration comes directly from our inmost inner being, from the soul, from the Self.

Awareness is the domain of the mind, but the real spiritual seekers or spiritual Masters say, "No, we have to go beyond awareness." Awareness in the mental domain is: "What am I doing, what am I seeing, what am I eating, how am I behaving?" These are all in the field of the mind, but beyond the mind there are many regions. And it is aspiration that takes us to the regions beyond the mind. Aspiration is the mounting flame deep within us, the mounting flame that climbs up to the Highest, the pinnacle.

So we have to start our journey with awareness, because unless we are aware of what we are going to do, say and become, we will make no progress and never be able to launch into the path of the Spirit. But this awareness is very limited in comparison to the soul's realisation, which we get on the strength of our aspiration.