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Joseph Campbell

Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word ‘Sat’ means being. ‘Chit’ means consciousness. ‘Ananda’ means bliss or rapture.

I thought, ‘I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.’ I think it worked.”

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Dr. Carl Jung

By consciousness I understand the relation of psychic contents to the ego, in so far as this relation is perceived as such by the ego. Relations to the go that are not perceived as such are unconscious. Consciousness is the function or activity which maintains the relation of psychic contents to the ego. Consciousness is not identical with the psyche because the psyche represents the totality of all psychic contents, and these are not necessarily all directly connected with the ego, i.e., related to it in such a way that they take on the quality of consciousness.”

– C.G. Jung, Psychological Types, CW 6, par. 700

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What is Consciousness?

The Flammarion Engraving depicts a medieval missionary crawling under the edge of the sky to explore the Empyrean, or Transcendent, beyond.
The Flammarion Engraving depicts a medieval missionary crawling under the edge of the sky to explore the Empyrean, or Transcendent, beyond.

Transcendent Consciousness is beyond the realm of duality, it cannot be touched, manipulated or used (like electricity, or any kind of energy). It informs everything – it is the source that makes flowers beautiful, it gives the spark to all life. It is beyond the manifest yet is everywhere and nowhere. We perceive the universe, but transcendent energy consciousness is beyond the infinite; it is both immanent (in everything) and transcendent (beyond everything).

Edward Edinger, in his book, The Creation of Consciousness: Jung’s Myth for Modern Man, notes that Dr. Jung felt that “the experience of consciousness is made up of two factors, “knowing” and “withness,” ie, knowing in the presence of an “other,” in a setting of twoness” – essentially, the experiencing of opposites. While true, this is only a small part of the story.

We can explain the operation and features of the universe using the most advanced scientific understanding and the most magnificent technologies – from Higgs Bosons to Black Holes to Dark Matter and Energy. Yet, the utility of science ends at the boundaries of the known universe – space and time. What lies beyond and behind everything transcends reason and the intellect, it renders powerless our most spectacular inventions and constructs; transcendent consciousness informs and gives rise to everything manifest but it, itself, cannot be perceived, much less imagined.

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Sat-Cit-Ananda: Being, Consciousness and Bliss

SAT-CIT-ANANDA is a compound of three Sanskrit words, defined as “Ultimate Being” – “Pure Consciousness” – “Perfect Bliss.” It is a term used in various Hindu traditions referring to the subjective experience of the universal mind, or Brahman.

Experiencing SAT-CIT-ANANDA gives us a glimpse of the Sacred, the ultimate reality beyond this realm of duality. It connects us with the ultimate self or pure consciousness – Brahman, that which is both immanent (everywhere) and transcendent (beyond everything and nothing.

The Hindu philosopher Sri Aurobindo notes that while the soul is manifest in the realm of time and space through our bodies, it nevertheless maintains its connection with the transcendent. So, the concept of SAT-CIT-ANANDA puts us back in touch with our own, true identity, our connection to the sacred.