What can I know for certain?
CONTENT OF EXPERIENCE
When I explore this, I find I cannot say anything for certain about anything within the content of my experience. I cannot say for certain anything about the world, others, God, or even myself. I cannot even know for certain I am this human self in the world that others, my passport, and my thoughts say I am. (That person could, for instance, be a dream or fantasy or simulation.)
I can say something about how something appears to me, but not anything for certain about what or how it is in itself.
And that’s OK. I can still navigate the world and be as good a steward as possible of this life and what’s in my life.
THERE IS CONSCIOUSNESS
So is there anything I can know for certain?
Yes, there is. I can know for certain that there is consciousness. There is consciousness that is conscious of all this content of experience.
If I said “I am conscious”, it would go beyond what I can know something about for certain. This “I” would be an assumption and something within the content of experience – a human self, an observer, a doer, or something similar. I can just say that there is consciousness and something happening within that consciousness, some kind of content of experience.
HOLDING IT ALL LIGHTLY
Intellectually, we can take this as a curiosity or something interesting or fascinating.
And it also has some practical real-life implications.
For instance, it means that it’s wise of me to hold any ideas I have about anything and anyone more lightly. I cannot know for certain that any of it is accurate.
This especially applies when I notice a tendency in me to hold a certain story as true, when it has a charge for me. The charge doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means there is a charge. It just means a part of me holds it as true, and that there is some identification and an emotional issue there.
And, as mentioned above, I can still navigate and function in the world. I can use my experience, discernment, and best guesses and make the best choices I can. It’s just about holding it all a bit more lightly.
EXPLORING MY NATURE
There is also an invitation here to explore what I more fundamentally am in my own experience.
If I cannot say anything for certain about this human self, or even that it is who or what I am, what does that mean? Can this human self be what I most fundamentally am? Perhaps I more fundamentally am something else?
When I look, I find that to myself, I am more fundamentally something else. I am what any content of experience happens within and as. I am what this metaphorical field of experience happens within and as. I am capacity for the experiences that are here.
Said with other words… To myself, I am consciousness and the world, to me, happens within and as this consciousness. All I know is consciousness, and it takes all the forms of the content of my experience. In this sense, night dreams and waking life are not so different. They both happen within and as the consciousness I am.
This consciousness is capacity for any experience here. It forms itself into any experience. It’s inherently one. It can take apparently infinite forms. It can even pretend it’s something within itself – for instance this human self or a more abstract doer or observer – with an “I” and “other”.
The word “consciousness” is just a pointer. My nature is something that can just be pointed to and not captured by words or mental representations. (And in that, it’s the same as anything else.)
EXPLORING IT FOR OURSELVES
We can explore this in different ways.
We can investigate it intellectually, which helps align our conscious view a little more with reality.
And we can explore it in our own direct noticing.
We can investigate any thought we hold as true and find what’s more true for us, for instance using The Work of Byron Katie.
We can explore our sense fields and what’s in each one, and how the mental field functions as a kind of overlay to make sense of the world. We can use traditional Buddhist inquiry or modern variations like the Kiloby Inquiries.
And we can explore our nature more directly using pointers from, for instance, the Big Mind process and Headless experiments.
Our nature can notice itself and metaphorically wake itself up from the dream of being most fundamentally something within its content of experience, whether this happens to be this human self, a doer, an observer, or something else. It can make this noticing into a habit. It can explore how to live from and as this noticing. It can allow and support this human self to reorganize within this conscious noticing of its nature. And so on.
This is an ongoing exploration, and it can be profoundly transforming for our perception, human self, and life in the world.
IN MY CASE
This was revealed in the initial awakening shift in my teens.
All was revealed as consciousness, without exception. And any sense of fundamentally being anything in particular within the content of experience – the world of form – was revealed as the temporary play of consciousness.
At the same time, many parts of this psyche were formed within separation consciousness and still operate from separation consciousness. And that’s why it’s been helpful with these types of explorations and inquiries. It helps get more of me on board and aligned with it.
The only thing I can know for certain and what it says about my nature
When I investigate just about anything, I find it ends up pointing to my nature.
And so also with what I can and cannot know for certain.
When I explore, I find that I can only know one thing for certain, and that is that there is consciousness and content of consciousness. I cannot know anything for certain about the content of consciousness, but I can know there is consciousness.
I also cannot say that “I am conscious” since the “I” is also content of consciousness and may not be accurate.
And that points to my nature. To myself, I am consciousness and the world happens within and as this consciousness.
Logic leads to this, although getting it logically doesn’t lead to much transformation. The transformation comes when I notice it and live from this noticing.
It can be intellectually interesting or fascinating,
Does it mean I most fundamentally am this human self, even if I cannot say anything for certain about this human self or even that it is who or what I am?
If the only thing I can say something for certain about is consciousness, what does it say about what I am?
When I look, I find that to myself, I am more fundamentally something else. To myself, I am consciousness and the world, to me, happens within and as this consciousness. All I know is consciousness, and it takes all the forms of the content of my experience. In this sense, night dreams and waking life are not so different. They both happen within and as the consciousness I am.