To me, there is something that seems clear, both from direct noticing and logic.
And that is what we are to ourselves, and what the world is to us. It’s our own nature, and the nature of the world as it appears to us.
WHAT I AM IN MY OWN NOTICING
In one sense, I am a human being in the world. That’s not wrong, and it’s an assumption that helps this human self orient and function in the world.
And yet, in my own direct noticing, it is what I most fundamentally am?
When I look, I find I am something else.
I find I am more fundamentally capacity for any and all experience. I am what allows and takes the form of any and all of my experiences. I am what allows and takes the form of what happens in all of my sense fields, in sight, sound, sensation, smell, taste, and the mental field. (And any other sense fields we can differentiate out through our mental overlays.)
I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.
I am the oneness the world, to me happens within and as.
We can call this different things. For instance, consciousness.
And that brings us to the logic side of this.
WHAT I AM LOGICALLY
In our culture, most say that “we have consciousness” as if it’s a kind of appendix we happen to have. There is an assumption here that we are primarily a physical object and this physical object somehow has consciousness as it happens to have arms, legs, and physical organs.
This is a third-person view, and it doesn’t really matter in this context how accurate it is.
The more interesting question for me is: What are we to ourselves, in our own immediate experience?
Logically, if we “have” consciousness, we have to BE consciousness. There is nothing outside of consciousness somehow experiencing consciousness. What experiences and has the idea of consciousness is consciousness itself. Not anything outside of it.
Any experience happens within and as consciousness. It’s consciousness taking the form of that experience.
So to us, the world happens within and as consciousness.
The world, and any experience, happens within and as what we are.
We ARE consciousness and the world and any content of experience happens within and as consciousness, within and as what we are.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WHAT WE ARE
Both direct noticing and (this particular) logic arrives at the same answer for what we are to ourselves, and it also arrives at the same answer for the characteristics of what we are.
What are some of the characteristics of what we are to ourselves?
What are some of the characteristics of consciousness?
To me, what I am has no beginning or end in space. It also has no beginning or end in time. Any experience of space and time happens within and as what I am.
To me, I am one. I am the oneness the world happens within and as. I am what my field of experience, which my mental field differentiates in many different ways, happens within and as.
To me, I am the world and the world is me. The world happens within and as what I am.
To me, the world happens within and as consciousness. It’s like a dream in that way.
To me, any and all content of experience comes and goes. And this includes any ideas of what I may be within the content of experience (this human self) and what these ideas refer to. In some cases, I may not take myself to be this particular human self, for instance in a dream, and what I more fundamentally am is still here. What any and all experiences happens within and as is still here. (Including shifting ideas of what I am as an object in the world.)
When what I am notices itself, I find that my nature is what can be called love. It’s a love that’s not dependent on shifting states or emotions. It’s the love of the left hand removing a splinter from the right. And this love is often obscured by separation consciousness, by dynamics and patterns created from when I took myself most fundamentally as a separate object in the world.
IS THIS WHAT I “REALLY” AM?
So is this what I really am?
Yes, it is. It’s what I am in my own direct noticing.
Outside of that, I don’t know. I don’t know what my nature more fundamentally happens to be from some kind of outside third-person view. And that’s also less important, at least in my daily life.
WHY DON’T WE ALWAYS NOTICE?
If this is so obvious both in terms of noticing and logic, why don’t we always notice or take this into account?
Most likely, because we live in a culture and world where most don’t. When we grow up, we do as others do. We learn to take on and operate from separation consciousness. And that can be very convincing, at least until we start examining our assumptions – about what we are and what the world is to us – a little more closely.
IS IT IMPORTANT?
Yes and no. We humans obviously get by without noticing or examining our nature.
And yet, when the oneness we are notices itself, keeps noticing itself, and explores how to live from this noticing, it can be profoundly transforming.
It can be profoundly transforming for our perception, sense of fundamental identity, life in the world, and our human psychology.
WHY DO MANY OVERLOOK OR DENY THIS?
If this is so obvious, both in terms of noticing and logic, why do so many ignore or deny this?
Most people are not so interested in the question of what they more fundamentally are in their own immediate experience. That’s fine. They get by anyway. They have more immediate concerns to focus on and take care of.
And yet, for some people, this is their job. For scientists and especially psychologists, this is essential to their job and (I assume) interests.
So why don’t more of them explore this? Why don’t more of them take it seriously?
I am not sure.
The essential answer may be the same as above: We live in a world where we are trained in separation consciousness from we are born. It becomes the norm, so we don’t even consider questioning it. And if we do, we feel we are somehow transgressing and entering dangerous waters so we don’t take it very far or speak about it.
To elaborate a bit:
Exploring these things is a kind of taboo in our culture, especially in academic circles. It goes against our shared worldview. It goes against standard norms. (Although all of that is changing.)
Our western culture, and especially our scientific culture, value the more “objective” third-person view over first-person explorations. Again, this has been different in the past and will very likely be different in the future.
If you work as a scientist in academia or as a psychologist, you typically cannot stray too far from the mainstream. As a scientist, you risk losing (or not getting) funding. You even risk losing your job if you get too weird. And as a psychologist, you risk losing your license. (In Norway, psychologists have lost their license for exploring the possibility of past lives in therapy sessions, even if these explorations obviously deal with projections and don’t say whether or not the past lives were real or not.)
In short, cultures are systems and systems want to stay mostly stable. There are many mechanisms operating to preserve some kind of stability. There are many incentives to not explore this, and not so many opportunities or invitations to do so. (Which, again, is fortunately changing.)
At a more personal level, many people may not have the curiosity or passion for exploring this. They are happy exploring other things, and that’s fine. Not everyone needs to explore these things.
WILL THIS CHANGE?
Will this change?
It is already changing. More and more people, including in science and psychology, are interested in a more transpersonal approach and understanding.
I envision a future where the third-person and first-person approaches exist side-by-side and even hand-in-hand, including in science and psychology.
It will be a far more rich exploration of our human experience, and one that reflects a little more of the bigger picture.
ACKNOWLEDGING THE VALIDITY OF WHAT MYSTICS DESCRIBE
If or when this shift happens, something else will happen as well.
And that is an acknowledgment – in science and our culture – of the validity in what mystics across times and cultures have described.
If we look at the essence of what mystics describe, it’s exactly this.
We are consciousness, and the world to us is consciousness.
We are the oneness the world, to us, happens within and as.
Image: Created by me and Midjourney (AI image)