In the widest sense, the term consciousness means the experiencing of mental and higher states and processes. The body consciousness is purely neuronal. In the human body, consciousness is tied to an organisational structure of the brain.
Brainwaves in the skin of the head can give a hint on the mental state. During Vipassana increased gamma waves occur.
Recent research with imaging methods shows that unusual neural activity patterns and neuroanatomic changes can develop as a result of long-standing meditation procedures .
From a philosophical standpoint holds the theorem 'Cogito ergo sum'.
From an esoteric standpoint, consciousness is a characteristic which is a essential component of spiritual bodies. Here, up to 7 levels of consciousness are distinguished.
== Hinduism ==
In Hinduism the highest consciousness is the CHIT of the Tapoloka, which is a form of energy from which ultimately the creation derives. Here are up to 7 steps of consciousness (Bhumikas) differentiated. They are experienced in the higher bodies.
Kashmir Shaivaism knows a still higher Chit and a Chit-Shakti of Sadashiva in the divine Satyaloka, the Parabrahman of Hinduism.
== Buddhism ==
Citta-vijnana is mind or recognizing awareness.
14 functions of consiousness are taught in the Abhidhamma-commentaries(viññāna kicca).
The Jhanas describe 9 states of consiousness.
The buddhist Yogacara sess the world as 'Only consciousness'(rigpa).