I usually don’t make references to traditions here since I feel that the references are implicit everywhere, and I want to keep it simple. But sometimes, it can be helpful – or at least interesting – to more explicitly look at traditions. They offer great questions and pointers for own exploration.
One of the terms from the Indian traditions is sat cit ananda – existence consciousness bliss.
What do I find when I look at each of those?
Existence, yes. Something clearly exists. There are sensory impressions and images here. When I look closer, exploring how things appear in each sense field, I find that it all seems to happen as space. Similar to a hologram, it has form but no substance. When it appears more solid, it is only because of an overlay of images telling me that – for instance – these sensations, with these qualities, are solid. But sensations and the images both are not substantial. They are like space itself, always shifting into new forms.
Consciousness. Yes. Consciousness is clearly here. There is awareness. Again, when I explore things as they appear in the sense fields, I find they not only happen within awareness, as content of experience, but they happen as awareness. What happens, is simultaneously content of awareness, and awareness itself. It seems difficult to imagine that it can be any other way, although – again – the overlay of images can temporarily make it appear differently. In my own world of images, it may appear that there is awareness and then an object of this awareness. But that falls away when I take a closer look.
Bliss. Well, one form of bliss comes and goes with situations. But there is another form of bliss – or quiet joy – that seems inherent in experience itself, and independent of the content of experience.
So when I use sat-cit-ananda as a pointer, I find each aspect of it here now. Nice that I don’t have to go somewhere, or be in a special state, to find it. What is here now is enough. Whatever happens is also – in addition to whatever else it is – existence, consciousness, and – yes – there is also a quiet joy there.
It can be very simple.
And I don’t assume this is all, of course. I am sure sat-chit-ananda refers to something more than this. But this is what I can find right now, and it seems sufficient for now.