What are we to ourselves?
It’s a question explored by mystics and spiritual traditions around the world. It’s sometimes but not usually at the center of science.
And yet, what question can be more important?
We know what we appear as: a human being, a collection of cells and atoms, a holon in a larger holarchy, and so on.
And to ourselves, we are the awake nothing that our world appears within and as. It cannot be any other way.
Even if we assume we are this human being in flesh and blood, to ourselves, we have to be consciousness.
Here is the logic:
- Consciousness is required for us – or anyone – to experience anything. Without consciousness, no experience of anything.
- When we are conscious of something, what we are conscious of happens within consciousness. What we experience happens within and as consciousness. We cannot experience the thing in itself.
- To ourselves, we are consciousness. This consciousness may be connected or even come out of this human body, and that doesn’t matter. To ourselves, in our own experience, we are consciousness.
As consciousness, all my experiences happen within and as consciousness. To me, the world – this human self, thoughts, feelings, others, the wider world – happens within and as consciousness.
And what we call consciousness is perhaps more accurately called awake nothing full of the world, or awake capacity for the world.
From a purely logical view, we cannot be anything other than consciousness, and the world as it appears to us happens within and as that consciousness.
We can also notice this directly, especially if guided by some pointers and perhaps someone who can lead us into this noticing.
It’s what mystics from all traditions have described and tried to talk about, and also mystics outside of traditions.
And it’s not inherently so mystical. It’s more immediate to us than anything. It’s right here. It’s what we already are.
LIVING FROM IT
When we notice this, and become more used to noticing it through daily life, there is another question: how do I live from it?
If my world happens within and as what I am, if it’s all One to me, how would I live my life? How would I live my life here and now?
How do I invite all the different human parts of me that operate form separation consciousness to realign within this noticing?
THE TRUE NATURE OF EVERYTHING?
Another question also comes up here.
I notice that my own true nature, what I am in a most essential sense, is this awake nothing full of the world as it appears to me.
And I also notice that, to me, all appear as awake space. It happens within and as this awake nothing or space. Since I am this, and all my perceptions happen within and as this, it cannot be any other way.
Is that the true nature of everything? Of all of existence? Is all of existence inherently this awake space?
When I hear what other humans who have explored this say, it seems that this is the true nature of all humans. They can find it for themselves.
That makes it likely that this is the case of all conscious being. To themselves, they are this awake space full of their world.
And it may also be the true nature of all of existence. Several clues point in that direction: synchronicities, the effect of distance prayer and healing, sensing at a distance, and so on.
WHY ISN’T THIS OBVIOUS ALL THE TIME AND TO EVERYONE?
Since both logic and direct noticing points to this, and it’s what we already are, why isn’t it obvious always and to everyone?
One answer is habit. We are trained by parents and culture to take ourselves as an object in the world and as this human self. We are trained to take ourselves to be what others see us as. We are rarely encouraged to set this aside for a while and explore what we are to ourselves, in our own immediacy.
Another is that this noticing hasn’t been required for our survival. Our ancestors got by without noticing their true nature. They could still farm, hunt, fish, make a fire, build a shelter, and so on.
At a more technical level, we see that identification with the viewpoint of any thought creates a sense of being an object within consciousness, and a sense of separation. When we believe a thought, we become an object to ourselves. We can also explore how our mind associates certain sensations with certain thoughts so the sensations appear to lend solidity and reality to the thoughts (appear as true) and the thoughts give a sense of meaning to the sensations.
Yet another answer is that it’s all the play of existence and the divine. It’s all the divine expressing, experiencing, and exploring itself in always new ways. Including locally and temporarily as us taking ourselves to be objects in the world without noticing its true nature.
WHAT’S THE PRACTICAL USE OF THIS?
Good question. Most of us get by without this noticing.
The question of practical use is something we have to explore for ourselves, through asking ourselves: how is it to live from this? What happens?
For me, it means it’s easier to invite in healing for parts of me, and invite them to realign within this noticing and oneness. That’s true healing. And it doesn’t mean that the process itself is easy. It can be immensely difficult, confusing, and overwhelming when these parts of us come to the surface.
It also means we can live more responsibly as a part of a larger seamless whole. If all is one, how would I live?
And for some of us, it’s a deeply fascinating process. There is always something new to discover. And few things are as essential than what we are to ourselves and how it is to live from that noticing.
IS THIS SCIENCE OR MYSTICISM?
It’s however we approach it and talk about it.
We can take a scientific approach. We can take a more devotional or traditional mystical approach. We can take a poetic approach. Or psychological. Or whatever else.
If we are sincere and honest in our approach and what we find, then all of these general approaches enrich and fill in the overall picture.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
What I am to myself, my true nature, was revealed to me when I was sixteen. It happened out of the blue and turned my life upside down and inside out. It seemed so obvious, so clear. And yet, others around me didn’t seem to notice. I have since met others who do notice and live from this, I have found people talking about it, and I have found ways to help people notice – for instance the Big Mind process and Headless experiments.
To me, it also seemed obvious that all is God. All of existence is consciousness and love. And yet, I also know the mechanisms that make it appear that way (projections), and I know that a lot point to it being reality too. I find it helpful to differentiate my true nature and the true nature of all of existence. It’s honest, and it can give a slightly smaller step for people to get into it and explore it for themselves.
- what we are to ourselves
- we may appear as a human being, collection of cells, holon in a larger holarcy etc.
- but to ourselves, we are consciousness, we are the consciousness all of this happens within and as
- has to be that way, cannot be any other way
- can notice it directly, w. some pointers
- what mystics from all traditions have described, talked about, pointed to
- living from it
- notice + live from it
- reorganize our human self w/in this noticing
- true nature
- awake nothing full of our world, our own nature
- also the nature of all of existence? the divine? many things point to it
Here is the logic: Without consciousness, there is no experience of anything. Consciousness is required for any experience at all. To us, all our experiences happen within consciousness. And to us, all our experiences happen as consciousness. All we can perceive is consciousness, although it’s consciousness that takes innumerable different forms. Also, to us, we are this consciousness. We cannot be anything else.
As consciousness, all my experiences happen within and as consciousness. To me, the world – this human self, thoughts, feelings, others, the wider world – happen within and as consciousness.
This means that to me, all is one. All is a seamless whole happening within and as me.
For some of us, there is an innate curiosity and wish to explore.
For some, this noticing happened spontaneously.
Even if we assume we are this human being in flesh and blood, to ourselves, we have to be consciousness. Consciousness is aware of whatever is here, including this human self. Not the other way around. And to ourselves, we are that consciousness.