A primary question about consciousness is “conscious of what?”
What if your consciousness is based on an error?
If you become conscious of the error, you will most likely correct it and thus change your consciousness.
Metacognition is a word that is sometimes used in place of “consciousness.”
Metacognition implies awareness of how our consciousness is functioning.
Buddhist mindfulness can be defined as “active metacognition.” This implies awareness of what is in our consciousness, what the elements of its functioning are in the moment.
Buddhist practice assume that if while being mindful we perceive error in our consciousness, we will correct the error.
Metacognition requires “self-awareness” or “awareness of the functioning of consciousness.” It seems that most people do this better than most animals in most situations.
Metacognition or mindfulness requires training or practice. But training and practice can also be wrong, based on wrong views.
Many forms of selfhood are based on wrong views.
Right mindfulness is used to perceive these mistakes and correct them.
For example, a person can be trained to have an identity. They can practice having this identity and learn the emotions that go along with it.
With wrong training and practice an identity can become explosive, violent, crazy.
This is a major part of what is meant by delusion in Buddhism, having a wrong view about your identity.
Notice, that a person can have a very wrong identity and be fully conscious of it and the world around them without realizing their identity is wrong.
first posted SEPTEMBER 20, 2017