The loops of consciousness creating a sense of separation within oneness 

When I explore what I am in my own first-person experience, I notice some of the ways oneness creates an experience of separation for itself. This seems to happen through several metaphorical folds or loops.

WHAT WE ARE 

In one sense, I am a human being in the world. That’s how I appear to others, and it’s not wrong. 

And yet, is it what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience? 

When I look, I find my nature more fundamentally is capacity for all of my experiences – of this human self, the wider world, and anything else. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. 

Thoughts can label this oneness, consciousness, love, or Big Mind. Or even, if we are so inclined, Spirit, the divine, Brahman, or something else. 

It may not be the nature of all of reality. But it clearly seems to be what I am in my own experience. 

It’s what I more fundamentally am than a human self, or a separate being, or an I or me or observer or doer or anything else. All of that happens within and as what I am. 

THE REFLECTION LOOP 

So how does this oneness create an experience of I and Other for and within itself? 

An early loop seems to be consciousness being conscious of being conscious of something. 

Consciousness is inherently low grade conscious of everything it creates itself into, and this is a loop of oneness being conscious of being conscious of something within itself. 

This early loop sets the stage for several other loops. 

THE LOOP CREATING THOUGHTS 

One of these is a reflection of an experience in mental representations including mental images and words. 

Thoughts can reflect experiences, and – as we know – consciousness can create all sorts of other mental representations that don’t directly reflect an experience. 

THE SEPARATION LOOP 

From the reflection and thought loop, consciousness can create a sense of separation for itself. 

It can create a sense of observer and observed, of being a human self in the world, and so on. 

It creates an experience for and within itself of being something within its content of experience (an I and me) and not being the rest (the wider world, the background). 

THE SEPARATION-CONSCIOUSNESS LOOPS 

This, in turn, sets the stage for all the dynamics created by separation consciousness. 

It sets the stage for all the drama we know from our own life and from humanity in general. 

It sets the stage for what we find when we ask ourselves: “What happens when I believe this (any) thought?” How do I perceive myself and the world? What emotions come up? What choices do I make? How do I live my life? 

THE RETURN 

And this sets the stage for a possible return. 

The oneness we are creates a sense of separation for and within itself, and may then find itself in a process of rediscovering itself – and its whole world – as oneness. 

This is what we call an awakening process, and it often goes through several phases: An early interest. Early glimpses. Investing in fears and hopes. Going into a more dedicated exploration. Finding itself and its whole world as oneness. Exploring how to live from this. Inviting in healing for our human self and psyche so we more easily can live from oneness in more situations and areas of life. Going through dark nights. And so on. 

CAVEATS 

This is a map, and any map is a simplification and highlights some things while leaving other features out.

It may also be mistaken in certain ways. I am sure others have far more detailed maps based on more detailed examinations and more familiarity with the terrain.

This is just how it appears to me right now, and it’s a very simplified version of even that. 

Photo: One I took in Cañón del Chicamocha


How the mind creates its experience of separation, spiritual experiences, etc.

How the mind… 
Reflects in thought
Creates sense of separation 
Creates different spiritual experiences 

….

  • different spiritual experiences
    • separation
    • awakening
    • middle ground
      • glimpses of oneness
      • sense of nature infused with spirit
      • sense of presence of something spiritual

….

INITIAL DRAFT

How the mind creates its experience of separation, spiritual experiences, etc.

As should be obvious from these articles, I have a fascination with how the mind works. And perhaps especially how it creates its different experiences for itself. So I thought I would write a bit about it here, from what I have noticed and notice and how I experience that particular terrain.

A CONSCIOUS NOTICING AND REFLECTING IN THOUGHT

Whatever is in the field of experience is consciousness is noticed before it’s consciously noticed. What we are – AKA consciousness, Big Mind – is inherently low grade conscious of what it forms itself into.

The first wrinkle or loop is when consciousness is conscious of being conscious of something.

This is the beginning of a sense of observer and observed and of I and Other. It’s a kind of proto-I and Other.

And it’s what allows for something to be reflected in thought, in mental representations – including mental images and words.

CREATING A SENSE OF I AND OTHER

This next wrinkle – of consciousness forming itself into an experience of I and Other – can happen in two ways.

One is when oneness recognizes itself as all of it.

The oneness we are notices all this happening within itself and recognizes it as a play within itself. The apparent dualities are recognized as appearances within and as the oneness we are. 

This may be expressed in a pragmatic way. In a conventional sense and to others, I am this human self in the world. It’s not what I more fundamentally am to myself, but it’s an important differentiation and it it helps this human self function.

Another is when the oneness loses track of what it more fundamentally is. It gets fascinated by the play and gets temporarily lost in it. It may take itself as most fundamentally this human self and a separate self in the world. (Or, more essentially, an I, a me, an observer, a doer, or even consciousness or oneness as opposed to something else, etc.)

This is what creates an experience of separation and all the psychological dynamics that come from a sense of separation. 

DIFFERENT SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES

If we see our nature as Spirit, we can label any experience spiritual.

Within this, we have the two extremes of either oneness recognizing itself or operating from separation consciousness.

And then we have the middle ground of what we typically call spiritual experiences.

Our nature can form itself into a general separation consciousness, and then into…. Glimpses of oneness. A sense of nature infused with spirit. A sense of presence of something spiritual. And much more. And all of this will tend to be interpreted within separation consciousness.

Consciousness will tend to interpret this as happening to an “I”, typically to this human self, and overlook that it is creating all of these experiences – of an I with an Other having different types of experiences including spiritual ones – for itself. 

This also goes for all the different phases and wrinkles in an awakening process. For instance, an initial and deepening interest. An initial shift or glimpse. Dedicated exploration. Shifts and clarifications. Living from noticing our nature. The healing process that allows us to live from this noticing in more situations and areas of life. And so on. All of this is the oneness we are forming itself into all of it. It’s oneness expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as all of it. 

SPECIFIC MECHANISMS

We can notice and explore all of this in a general way, and we can also explore the specific dynamics of it in more detail. 

I am mostly familiar with exploring it in terms of sense fields and mental representations, and what happens when our system holds certain mental representations as true. 

I have written about this in other articles, so will just touch it briefly here. 

SMALL AND BIG INTERPRETATIONS OF AWAKENING

All of this also relates to small and big interpretations of awakening. 

In the small or psychological interpretation, we focus on what we notice in our own first-person experience. To ourselves, we may find ourselves as most fundamentally capacity for any and all our experiences – whether it is of this human self, the wider world, or anything else. We find ourselves as what the world, to us, happens within and as. This is our most fundamental nature in our own experience. It’s what we are in our own first-person experience. 

Since the world, to us, happens within and as what we are, it will inevitably appear as if all of existence has the same nature as we do. It will appear as if all of existence is consciousness AKA Spirit, God, Brahman, and so on. 

In the small interpretation of awakening, we acknowledge that we cannot know for certain if this is the nature of all of existence. We focus on what we can talk about from our direct noticing without making too many assumptions about all of existence. We leave it on the “maybe” shelf. 

In the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening, we go one step further and say that the way existence inevitably appear to us – since, to us, it happens within and as what we are – is how existence is. We speak more freely about Spirit, God, Brahman, or whatever label we prefer. 

Which one is more correct? To me, they are both valid and useful. The small encourages us to keep to what we can speak about from our own immediate experience. The big can be more inspiring, and does also better fit many little hints that life gives us – including sensing at a distance, healing at a distance, seeing energies, periods with an overwhelming amount of synchronicities, and so on. 

….

The way I talk about it will, by necessity, be influenced by

…..

Our nature and what we are – AKA consciousness, Big Mind – is inherently and low grade conscious of what it forms itself into. Whatever is in the field of experience is consciousness. It’s noticed before it’s consciously noticed.

….

This is the beginning of a sense of observer and observed and of I and Other. It’s the oneness we are creating itself into this experience, and creating this experience for and within itself. It can happen within a context of of this oneness noticing itself doing all of this, or oneness temporarily “forgetting” itself and getting fascinated by this play and loosing itself in it. 

….

That’s another wrinkle. Consciousness forms itself into an experience of I and Other.

And this can happen in two ways.

The onenes we are

One is pragmatic and without a charge. In a conventional sense and to others, I am this human self in the world. It’s not what I more fundamentally am to myself, but it helps this human self function and is an important differentiation.

Another is when consciousness loses track of what it is and mistakes itself for most fundamentally being this human self in the world, or any other self with an Other. (An I, a me, an observer, a doer, or even consciousness, oneness, etc.) This is what creates an experience of separation and all the psychological dynamics that come from a sense of separation.

…..

Whatever is in the field of experience is consciousness is noticed before it’s consciously noticed. What we are – AKA consciousness, Big Mind – is inherently low grade conscious of what it forms itself into.

The first wrinkle or loop is when consciousness is conscious of being conscious of something. That’s when something can be reflected in thought, in mental representations – mental images and words.

This is the beginning of a sense of observer and observed and of I and Other. It’s the oneness we are creating itself into this experience, and creating this experience for and within itself.

….

In a sense, any experience is spiritual if we see our nature as Spirit.

Within this, we have the two extremes of separation consciousness and oneness or what we are recognizing its own nature.

And then we have the middle ground of what we typically call spiritual experiences.

Our nature can form itself into a general separation consciousness, and then into…. Glimpses of oneness. A sense of nature infused with spirit. A sense of presence of something spiritual. And much more. And all of this will tend to be interpreted within separation consciousness.

Consciousness will tend to interpret this as happening to an “I”, typically to this human self, and overlook that it is creating all of these experiences – of an I with an Other having different types of experiences including spiritual ones – for itself. 

This also goes for all the different phases and wrinkles in an awakening process. For instance, an initial and deepening interest. An initial shift or glimpse. Dedicated exploration. Shifts and clarifications. Living from noticing our nature. The healing process that allows us to live from this noticing in more situations and areas of life. And so on. All of this is the oneness we are forming itself into all of it. It’s oneness expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as all of it. 

…..

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