Conscience vs. Consciousness

May 14, 2017 & August 18, 2015


Yep!  You got it!

There can be a big difference between Conscience and Consciousness.  They can be complementary, or they can actually occupy opposite ends of or our “right-behavior” spectrum.  And they are both “voices” among so many that flow through our mind.

Let’s take “Conscience” first.

The voice of Conscience is sourced in what Dr. Freud called our Super-Ego.  Imagine!  That which traditionally has told us right from wrong is an aspect of our ego!  Now, this voice is the imprint of much training, especially from our early childhood--parents, school and religious training.  Having been a product of Catholic schools, I usually call this voice Mother Superior—that is the principal and chief arbiter of correct or bad thoughts and actions.  This is the voice that may have instilled in us perpetual adherence to the 10 commandments, to the rules and rituals of the religion such as attendance at church on the Sabbath, unbridled respect for clergy, the habit of martyrdom or need to be a victim, the fear of burning in hell, etc. 

It may also be the memorialized voice of our parents or others who may have implanted in us the absolute need to be “perfect”.  That is a really impossible and defeating notion because when we are constantly judging ourselves against other people’s conflicting ideas of perfection, that keeps us purely unsatisfied with ourselves and our lives. It can also make us so fearful of making mistakes that we kowtow to gossip and slander, or others’ declarations of “what is right” or acceptable or orthodox, which is used to inflict their own power or control over us.  Remember high school popularity cliques, fascism, or church-based shaming?  

Or perhaps our parents or our culture have implanted a subconscious need to be rich, powerful, well-known, etc. in us.  Well, I pray that we are at last smart enough to realize that this sole course doesn’t actually bring security or happiness.  It brings the opposite.  Being rich and powerful is great when it stems from non-attachment and a sense of stewardship, gratitude and responsibility, but not when it comes from a deep sense of un-fulfillment or lack, or clawing neediness.

Any morals or embedded goals or standards that do not allow us to be our authentic Self, our True Self, our Sat Nam will always disconnect us from our deep, abiding happiness, our self-satisfaction, our true purity, our true Reality.  Often this is how we are trained as children, and it makes us become corrupt and superficial in our personal Truth-- no matter how well-meaning our superiors were.  And there is nothing more painful to be trained out of our most natural connection to Soul, our actual God-Self.

Now I am not saying that all religious and moral training or social civilizing is contrary to one’s true Self, because we do need guidelines for discipline, inspiration and upliftment in our life.  But if those guidelines squash the voice of your True Self, your Soul rather than supporting it, then they are by definition corrupt.  So, please make a practice of examining what your conscience tells you.  Judge your Mother Superior consistently by the voice of your own impeccable Soul or Guru.

Consciousness—the True Arbiter of Right Action and Attitude

On the other hand, there is another infinitely reliable voice that appears to move through our psyche.  It is that of our own True Self, our very Soul or individual aspect of the God of Who we actually are.  And it is truly accessible!

The thing is that It never is an expression of neediness, unworthiness, or fear.  No, never!

Rather it is kind, secure, without need for courage because it has no fear.  It is right for our particular situation in every moment because It knows EVERYTHING—the ups and downs, our past, our Destiny and what we need to fully realize Who we truly are and how to grow into that.  It computes every circumstance, and if we listen, It gives us such truly perfect information with limitless love and security in such a cozy way.  Soul’s answers are usually short, economical, profoundly to the point, and correct in each situation.  And it often gives us surprise answers that we would never have thought of ourselves!

Now let me be clear.  Soul’s guidance will not directly fulfill what you think you need to quell your fears, insecurities or neediness.  Oh, no.  Those demands to cover our insecurities usually point to the very things that keep us from being Who we are. 

Instead, if we follow Soul’s direction to honestly change our attitudes, let go of our attachments to what we think “should” happen, and humbly heal our hurts and fears, this is how Soul leads us to undeniable, unbreakable peace, kindness and love of ourselves and others—a huge and profound life task.  This is not an idealized concept that we found in an ancient book.  Rather this is the actual experience of so many of us who have made listening to and following Soul our dependable and regular habit!

Yogi Bhajan said so many times, “Are you consciously conscious of your Consciousness?”

When there was a slanderous movement against me and what I teach, I wanted Soul to give me strategies to protect myself against this ugliness.  But Soul’s answer was “Love them!”  Yikes!  Did I ever learn a lesson there!  So, do you get my drift?  Following Soul--no matter what, is the way of the true Spiritual Warrior.

How to Listen to Soul

Yogi Bhajan gave us so many meditations to turn up the voice of Soul in our Consciousness!  This is often called intuition, but this is definitely not psychic information or channeling.  This is a whole experience in itself.  Yogi Bhajan gave us a tremendous body of teachings on the Self-Sensory System, which is a method of discerning guidance from Soul by using any and all of our senses but on the subtle level.  Meditation definitely helps you train your psyche to be sensitive to this subtlety.  Now theses senses include hearing the “small, still voice within” as described in the Bible as well as Guru Nanak’s deep listening called “Sunniai” from his Japji Sahib.  You may also “see” flashes or long sequences of visuals, or even “taste” or “smell” information or affirmation on a subtle level as a friend of mine does.  You may feel “pulled” kinesthetically to a decision, or just deeply “know” unquestionably from within.  Or maybe you hear someone or read something that strongly strikes you as True in a most brilliant manner, way beyond your thinking mind.

Now my favorite and most easy way to switch to Soul Consciousness is to simply begin Heart Breath or honestly do a deep meditation, or kriya.  Then ask your question and deeply listen, feel, be present to Soul’s answer.  You know that you are in that Soul Dimension or place because there is no worry there, no need for courage because you are simple and unflappable; and if you open yourself to it, when you breathe deeply, you can actually feel Soul’s incredible love for you!  Then you know to trust any answer that comes to you from that amazingly calm, peaceful and experience of full potential.

Then next most important step is to impeccably TRUST and FOLLOW what Soul gives you!  Guru Nanak calls this “Mannai”.  That is when you will experience the subtle “magic” of the God essence “arranging all your affairs.”  It is a true miracle, and one that is flawless.  These are the directions that carry you one step at a time on the spiritual path to your quest of Full Union with the Infinite.  What could be better?

Be on the alert!  When you train yourself to listen to and follow Soul at every moment, you find your Truth, your Sat Nam and the real satisfaction and happiness that we humans yearn for, and do every outrageous thing to find.  But this path is so integral to every human awareness if we but look for it, and know how to tell Consciousness from conscience.

Lots of Love,

Siri-Gian Kaur

Copyright:  Siri-Gian Kaur Khalsa,  , 2019 & 2015.

You have permission to reproduce this article either in print or online as long as you keep this copyright large and closely associated with the article.

Browse hundreds of our inspiring articles at  and at