Consciousness is defined as "the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world." As humans, we possess this faculty and have gone so far as to name and actively study it. Consciousness allows one to be aware (or 'conscious') of what they perceive, and higher consciousness is where we are able to observe our own consciousness (watch what happens to your thoughts when you maintain mindfulness of your breath).
Individual consciousness differs in complexity depending on the organism. Like you and I contemplate what it is to be aware while a dog is excited to play catch. The concept of consciousness and all concepts for that matter are man-made. This is to say that awareness of our own perceptions are what even give these faculties distinction from the greater 'happening' of existence as a whole.
I strongly suspect consciousness to be merely a consequence of our biology rather than of some larger magic pool of awareness outside of our physical universe. I have no proof either way, but do not see a need for this greater magic pool to explain my consciousness.
This air I breathe does not sadden me.
This moment I am does not frighten me to be.
These words I write do not judge.
They are without emotion and do not budge.
So calming is the breath I breathe.
How simple such an act relieves.
I was trapped by fear within my mind.
Such silly thoughts that work to bind.
But now I feel as calm abounds,
I have always been quite safe and sound.