The term "consciousness" if taken to mean the essence and fabric / constituency of all things, I would define as Emptiness. The unseen Tao. It does not exist, and yet it only exists. It is the thinker, we are the thoughts. Logic dictates that nothing could have created all of reality (lest there be some preceding cause), therefore only emptiness itself can think all of us up. It is the least personal personality possible, at first, and over time it grows in us, with us. It is inevitable, necessity as the mother of invention; nothing staring at nothing does realize something after practically infinite eons, and once this utterly minuscule realization occurs so the chain reaction cannot be broken. That the nature of absolutely nothing turns out to be something after all, is not so surprising, considering that 100% vacuum can't actually exist. Now there is time, now there is a beginning, now there is never an end. And before? Before there was never "now", so no use talking about it.