I thought I would explore a dialog with consciousness.
What are you?
Most minds assume they are, most fundamentally, a being in the world and that they “have” consciousness. They see me as an afterthought, an appendage.
In reality, I am everything anyone has ever known and experienced. I am what their whole word and all the content of their experience happens within and as.
Can you say more about your nature?
My nature is ultimately ungraspable.
One of the essentials of my nature is capacity for any content of experience.
I am ephemeral. Dreamlike.
I allow any experience to come and go. What’s here is then completely gone.
I am a blank slate.
I take the form of any content of experience.
I make myself into the most pleasant experiences and the worst nightmares. I make myself into the deepest delusions and the clearest clarity. I sometimes am not consciously aware of my own nature at all, and sometimes am.
Can you say more about “minds assuming they are a being in the world”?
Yes. Most minds assume they are – most fundamentally – a particular content of their experience, and more specifically a separate being with all sorts of characteristics.
This is not completely wrong, but it’s also not right and it’s not what they most fundamentally are in their own first-person experience.
I sometimes create this experience for myself. I form myself into an experience of a being, and then pretend I most fundamentally am that being. It gives me a new perspective. It’s a kind of game.
What’s the relationship between you, this human self, and a sense of being a separate being?
As anything else, this human self and any sense of being a separate being happen within and as what I am.
This human self obviously has some kind of special relationship with me since it’s the being I have inside information about, in terms of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and so on. When I notice myself, it allows this human self to function more in the context of that noticing, and it allows this human self to transform within that noticing.
A sense of a separate being is different, it’s a kind of overlay. It’s an unquestioned assumption that what I most fundamentally am is a separate being with certain characteristics – this human self, an I, a me, a gender, a profession, and so on. This is what some call separation consciousness. It’s imagined and yet seems very real when it’s here.
Can you say more about this human self and you?
In a conventional sense, I am this human self in the world. That’s how others see me. In daily life situations, that’s how it looks and what I partially operate from. And it’s not what I most fundamentally am in my own first-person experience.
When I explore my own first-person experience, I find I am me. I am capacity for this human self and the world and any and all states and experiences. I am what it all happens within and as.
What happens when minds notice their nature?
Do you mean when minds recognize they are me and all their experiences are me?
Often, it happens first through glimpses, intuitions, and a sense.
They may have a glimpse of their nature, and then it becomes a memory and ideas.
They may have a glimpse of their nature, and they still operate from several assumptions about what they are which veils the noticing.
They may be in a middle ground where they notice their nature while also noticing that many parts of them still operate from separation consciousness.
And there may be a more clear and stable noticing, the more basic mistaken assumptions are recognized and seen through, and quite a few parts of them have joined in with the noticing.
Can you say more about what tends to happen?
Well, what minds are to themselves is ultimately simple and obvious. They are me and all their experiences are me.
It doesn’t require any metaphysics or any assumptions.
It doesn’t require any spirituality or religion.
It doesn’t require an assumption that all of existence is me.
And yet, a lot of that tends to happen. I form myself into all of those experiences to make it all a bit more rich and interesting for a while.
What about love and oneness?
I am by nature one. I cannot be anything else.
I can imagine I am not, I can perceive as if it’s that way, and this human self can live as if it’s that way, but it doesn’t make it so.
When I notice myself as what all content of experience happens within and as, I find oneness.
And when I relate to others and the world from this noticing, that’s love.
It will, of course, be filtered through all sorts of remaining unquestioned assumptions, wounds, hangups, and trauma.
Hold on, you just said you are one and then said “others and the world” as if there are more than one?
To me, all beings and the world happen within and as what I am. It all happens within oneness.
At the same time, there are apparently other beings and a world, so it makes sense to live as if there is.
For me, the two are aspects of the same. It’s part of the richness of experience and what makes it interesting.
I am interested in dark nights as part of the awakening process. Can you say something about that?
I am the one interested in it, of course. I am fascinated by myself in endless ways and forms, and this is one fascination.
There are many types of dark nights. Typically, they involve a shift that doesn’t agree with some thought or idea held as true. Reality rubs up against beliefs and identifications. Reality reveals itself in ways that don’t fit old assumptions.
One that I know you are especially interested in is when old unprocessed material surfaces. Through the awakening and embodiment process, whatever still operates from separation conscious surfaces to join with the awakening and find healing and reorient within this new context. Often, it happens in smaller portions. And sometimes, relatively early in the process, a lot of it can come up in one big package. And that can feel overwhelming, disorienting, and scary.
Nothing has gone wrong. It’s part of the process. It’s all happening within and as what I am. None of it is ultimately “other”.
Can you say something about dreams and waking life?
Yes, I think I know what that question is about.
It’s easier for minds to recognize that all the dream experiences happen within and as me.
And waking experiences are the same, in that sense. All waking experiences happen within and as me.
Dreams and waking life are no different in that way.
What about time and space?
Time and space happens within and as me. I am capacity for time and space as I am capacity for any other content of experience.
A sense of time and space is created by mental images and thoughts. It’s essential for allowing this human self to orient and function in the world. And yet, it’s not the most fundamental. It’s an overlay.
Again, in my own first-person experience, I find myself as capacity for the world as it appears to me, and as what all experiences – of time, space, this human self, the world – happens within and as.
When I look, I find no real space. All experiences – of this body and the clouds and that mountain over there – happen here. And I find no time. All my images and thoughts of the past and future happen here.
What happens when minds assume they ultimately are something within the content of their experience?
A lot of things happen. It’s one of the ways I create a more rich and diverse experience for myself.
It creates what some call separation consciousness. It creates a sense of I and Other, of being a separate being in a much larger world.
It hinges on and fuels holding thoughts as ultimately true, and not recognizing the nature and limitations of thoughts. That’s what makes it possible and elaborates on the separation experience.
It does also create stress and suffering, and that’s OK since it’s all happening within and as me. I make myself into those forms too.
Why would you choose suffering?
It’s not really a choice. It just is.
If we want to make a story about it, we can say it happens as a natural consequence of separation consciousness. And separation consciousness is necessary for expanding the repertoire of what I can be and experience myself as.
As you (I) have said, it’s the way for the one to experience itself as many. For oneness to experience itself as separation. For love to experience itself as anything but love. For clarity to experience itself as confusion.
Also, as I mentioned, it’s all happening within and as me. It has the same nature as a dream.
At the same time, it tends to be experienced as very real when it happens, and it is real in that sense.
How can minds notice their nature?
It happens when it’s time. It cannot be forced. Nothing can be forced.
If something happens, it’s because it’s time.
That said, there are many approaches that can support this noticing and living from the noticing.
You have written about a lot here, and since I am filtered through you in this dialog, I don’t really know any more than you and what you already have written about.
What’s the purpose of all of this?
There isn’t really any purpose. It’s more like a game. A play.
I get to experience myself in always new ways. I get to explore my own potential.
I get to explore my potential through any experience of any mind anywhere in existence.
What do some call you?
Hm. I assume you mean God? The divine? Big Mind? Buddha Mind?
Yes, when minds notice their nature, they also inevitably notice that all content of experience happens within and as me.
They may then assume that’s the true nature of all of existence. They may assume all of existence is consciousness.
That’s a leap. It’s perhaps more honest to say we don’t know. And there are some hints that it may be accurate.
All of this sounds a lot like how I often write?
Yes, there are two reasons for that.
One is that this dialog is filtered through you and what you notice and your phrasing, culture, and history.
The other is that you are used, by now, to notice me and live from noticing me. You still have an endless amount to notice and discover, but you are also relatively familiar with me and what’s come out in this dialog.
What am I still unfamiliar with?
Anything you have yet to notice and experience.
I cannot be more specific than that.
There is one exception. I know you are not familiar with a certain phase in the process. And that is to perceive and live when more of you is aligned with noticing me, or me noticing myself. You are still in the thick of the process of inviting different parts of you to join in with the noticing.
Will it happen in this life? I don’t know. It’s a process. There is no finishing line.
It depends on how long you live, and how much you allow and invite it to happen.
Ultimately, it depends on all of existence and how it expresses itself locally through and as you and this particular process happening in you.
And since it’s a process without a finishing line, it’s a bit silly to even talk about it this way.
How do you see me relating to all of this?
It was familiar to you in your teens already. You saw and lived this.
It was all revealed to you when you walked down that path at night with the big wind and the starry sky above you. I revealed myself to myself at that moment, in a relatively clear and complete way.
And at a human level, this has been both comforting and difficult for you.
It’s been difficult because you rarely have met anyone who sees and lives this very clearly. It’s often obscured by unquestioned assumptions and hangups. You often get disappointed when you get to know someone better.
The one person you felt a deep connection with around this was Adyashanti when you had a chance to meet and talk with him in person.
There is a lot of loneliness and sadness in you around this, at a human level.
And all of that is me. It’s happening within and as me. I am forming myself into all this content of experience, including the sadness, loneliness, and the still unhealed hangups and emotional issues related to it.
It’s OK. And it’s good for you to invite in some more healing for you around this. It will help you a lot.
As you know, you also have an issue of both wanting to be seen and understood, and wanting to be invisible. This issue is related to this as well. You write here anonymously and hardly ever talk about this with other people. You hide. That too is natural, understandable, and completely OK. And it feels a bit off for you. You wonder how your life would be without that issue. Perhaps you still wouldn’t share this very much, and that’s fine. And perhaps some things would be a bit different.