16 February 2009
Hi again Ed, I know that you want me to dwell in emptiness, in true existence as much as possible. But last night, I was reading Robert's Collected Works and would appreciate your clarification if it's alright. If I shouldn't even be asking this, I understand. It relates to, but is also different from the original question I asked you about deep sleep.
Robert states: "Once you go to sleep, the world no longer exists for you and you are is a state of dreamless sleep. The state of dreamless sleep is like jnana, self-realization, except you have consciousness. But there is no denying that you exist, for when you wake up you say, "I slept well." The state of dreamless sleep is like a person who died. It gives you an idea of what happens to you when you die, so to speak....So the first state of consciousness is dreamless sleep, and you exist in dreamless sleep."
This does not feel true for me as there are often times in which I am not aware that I had been sleeping (only the clock tells me) and so Robert's statement does not for me, "confirm" my existence, my undying consciousness. In fact, deep sleep seems to be the exception to the recognition that I exist. I do realize that my question is also rooted in an egoic fear, in old family history, but it snags me.
In your own writings you say: "Even the deep sleep state is a state of consciousness. The brain, mind and body are shut down during that ‘time’. All is forgotten because remembering requires mind. Mind is shut down during deep sleep as is the brain. Both are forgotten. But an underlying tone of awareness continues. Many people after some practice "feel" the presence of the sleep state even when awake. YOU are that which can simultaneously be aware of both waking and sleeping, even though you are primarily the waking state at the time.....There is no argument that can prove there is an observing consciousness or existence in sleep. All arguments that there is consciousness in sleep depend on argumentation and inference. They try to convince the reader that this is their direct experience by inference. This is a weakness of all Jnani-style expositions: he mystery of the deep sleep state..."
What you write is true, isn't it? Unborn existence or awareness cannot be confirmed in deep sleep, the one state free of mind. Awareness in deep sleep appears to have been unquestionably true for Robert as an exception. Still any clarification would again be helpful.
Ahh, you lost it. That is to be expected.
Robert was repeating the standard Jnana-Advaita argument that just does not wash. It is a ridiculous argument.
BUT, you are still looking for a waking-type of awareness in deep sleep. It won't happen. Ever.
The question again comes from a place of identification with waking consciousness as the only "real" consciousness.
However, the waking consciousness is an artifact of having a body and depends on the state of the body. It is weak, feeble and temporary. Ditto dream sleep.
Dream sleep is the imaginal world weakly illuminated by waking consciousness.
The real argument is that you are That which is aware of the coming and going of waking consciousness.
The analogy I used was a candle flame. The flame itself, if conscious, would not be aware of its non-existence. Only the wick and the observer would be aware of the coming and going of the flame.
So too with you. You are aware you are aware now, and you are also aware you will not be aware 12 hours from now.
That you is like the wick or the observer.
You can argue that it is only the conscious mind that knows it will not be a few hours hence and not something beyond, yet, when you wake up and when you go to sleep you do watch the coming and going of sleep. It is not the waking mind that observes that, it is the underlying consciousness associated with having an alive body, Turiya.
It is this recognition that you see the coming and going that creates the knowledge you are beyond all this. You can never see That which is beyond it, but you become rooted in it with that knowledge.
I go one step further than most Advaita. Most take that emptiness and Void they perceive to be that out of which the world and body arise, but the Void is merely another percept. You perceive it. You are beyond by having no property at all, not even void or space, just as when you sleep.
That is, without a body you are nothing at all, not even sentient. You are the witness of all sentience including waking consciousness.
I never asked Robert if he had a waking consciousness with memory at night. I think if I were to ask him, he would say he did not.
You have to lose hold of waking consciousness as being the measure of all existence. It is not.
Wow Ed, Thank you for your response. Everything you say is extremely clear. Formless, aware presence "returned". No qualities or properties here, not a mark. This reality is so real, yet of nothing. Also today, I directly saw the made-up quality of my fear. So made up! I heard that people laugh when seeing this, but I never did. Today though, the seriousness with which I had taken this storybook sense of reality made me laugh. I also see that I have always known this true reality.
I do have another question that rises from this awareness.
Last week I wrote this down: There is no separation between mind and no mind, even though mind is a conceptual overlay. Paradox vanishes. Even untruth is of the One and yet not, infused, supported by an emptiness that cannot be described. Thought does not bother me. I engage in the world as a play and though unreal, is loved as the All.
Sometimes however and today, this is noticed: True reality is not aware of anything, not even of dream states. Only the pure, unmarked, absolute reality exists, so there is nothing else to be aware of.
When you have time, can you let me in on any sense of what is going on here? The awareness is different.
Thank you for being there.
Part of the old you is struggle desperately to stay alive--or this is how it appears.
Actually, there is a loose wheel portion of your mind that keeps spinning out of habit, generating questions and perplexities.
Sort of like having a sore tooth, but after the root canal, something seems wrong without it.
At times you let this process take over and out spins questions and perplexities.
The only light to shed is that this is a pathological part of yourself that needs passive observation and separation from.
It is almost like you just received $20,000,000 and then start asking questions about how two bills seem to have been printed at different mints, have different signatures on them, and different colors, thinking there might be some deep meaning.
You have been searching a long time and part of you would feel lost if there were nothing more to do except sit still.
Thank you Ed. Your description is so brilliantly clear that I have to laugh. I see the residual habit. I see my endearing toothache. I will sit still, passively observing. I don't mind. The old is not my only choice anymore. Thank you again for your keen guidance. I don't believe you fully know how much you help me.
07 February 2009
Since then, there were additional exchanges recorded immediately below.
She has awakened. Her experience is real. It is obvious by her comments and questions that she has been wandering in the foothills of enlightenment for some time. This will not be her last Satori.
Now that she has seen clearly who she is, she will need to hold onto it and deepen both her experience and understanding. Remember, Robert spent 17 years wandering around India making sure, as he put it, that “I didn’t miss anything.” Ramana spent years living in the basement of temples or caves speaking to no one. This is the real beginning of practice.
As Philip Kapleau told me, the initial seeing is like finding the light switch in a dark room. When the light goes on so to speak, you begin to see the wonders of consciousness and beyond.
Yesterday, I witnessed the coming and going of appearances for about ten hours. I saw that all objects are empty of inherent Being, are a reflection of mind and yet in a way, are themselves of Being, of Consciousness, because they are objects or reflections of Consciousness. I can generally embrace this, even though at times I can get a kind of ego rebellion and feel unpleasantly dead. I realize that this feeling is just another thought, an identification with mind and body, and will need to witness this too.
Anyway, here is my question. Although it is clear to me that the object world is a reflection of mind-body thoughts and perceptions, are there not objects or a world outside of the human mind-body that are also reflections of the one ultimate conscious reality? If I see a tree for instance, I can "see" that this appearance includes a product of thought and perception. However, if I tell another "person" about the tree, its appearance and location, it will be recognized by the other as the same tree.
So is there not an illusory reflection of Reality or Supreme Consciousness going on that is not an exclusive reflection of the human perceptual, thinking mind alone and that creates the appearance of a world? That is, is ultimate reality reflecting an illusory world as well as and including an illusory human thinking mind that also creates an image of a world, or is there only the human mind creating the dream of world?
If it's the later, I don't understand it, cannot reconcile the contradiction of the apparent consistency of the world even in light of the mere inferences of sensory perception. For me this makes it difficult to know how to address and live in this world even as a dream.
Thanks so much for being there. Being able to write to you is so helpful.
Why are you doing this?
The question is only philosophy, asking epistemological and ontological opinions. This is only thinking. The question is bullcrappy. It is of no more value than asking whether the numbers 2 and 5 have some actual physical existence as a logical set somewhere in space-time.
All elements of consciousness are illusion, including your question. There is no human. There is no human mind. There is no Cosmic mind or Absolute. These are just words. There is nothing behind them.
You are getting close, don't screw around "reconciling." What is there to reconcile in order to drink coffee at Starbucks?
What you are to do is investigate your experience, isolate unadulterated consciousness and dwell there.
In any event, you can answer the question yourself and see what it does for you. Ask the question and then say, "Yes there is." Then ask and say, "No, there isn't." See whether either answer helps you in any way. Perhaps you just enjoy feeling perplexed.
Have you discovered what the dark denseness experience is yet?
Hi Ed, I understand and see that what you said is so. I'll drop all this and go back to dwelling in reality, in true conscious awareness. I started already. I watched the dark emptiness for two hours when I woke up, but it remained dense. When I look at it right now, I sense it as an illusory thought form, but in this next moment, it is lighter and not truly dead. I still don't know. I will look at it through the evening and then again in the morning when the experience of the dense darkness is very strong.
Thank you for the wake up call. I am very grateful.
The darkness is only sleep.
You are always aware of all three states, deep sleep, waking and dream. Everyone is always aware of the dream state always without knowing it. It is the constant movement of thought forms and images I call imaginal space.
You are aware of all three states at once. That You is beyond them and has no characteristic they have such as waking consciousness, time, space, objects, etc.
Please read the new site very carefully. Most of your questions will be answered there. It is the blue site within the yellow/orange site.
Ed, I gasped when I read your response. After looking at the dense darkness for over an hour, I saw that it was of the mind, but did not grasp its nature. When you just said, "The darkness is only sleep", there was complete clarity. That's what I was seeing, a mind-based sleep state!! This clarity is liberating. Yet, I am also aware that I am beyond "this clarity". I am beyond this knowing, yet not separate from it. I am beyond being and not-being, beyond all concepts. I read the new site twice and will continue to read it carefully. I am so very grateful for your guidance.
Don’t lose it.
Thanks Ed. New morning. The mind "does not work" in the deep sleep state, so there is the appearance of dense darkness. I am now aware of this as an appearance, aware that this is a mind state that comes and goes and that I am not it. I am beyond all arisings in the imaginal mind. I am aware of this state, yet "have no characteristic of it". In under one week, you saved me an additional ten years of searching, or maybe a lifetime. Thank you, thank you!
05 February 2009
Hi Ed, You said that you allow for crazy questions. Here's one that has been plaguing me for a over a decade. It would be nice to be rid of it. Here it is. While literally awake, Consciousness, Bliss, etc. are accessible. All of this however, seems to totally disappear when I am in a deep, dreamless sleep. Let me qualify.
When I am waking up from this dreamless sleep, I look at what I am rising from, still half in the sleep, and it seems that there is nothing there, the absence of even a flickering light of Awareness. Instead, there seems to be only a kind of dark blankness and I become afraid that this is what death truly is. Years ago when I was under anesthesia, I woke with the profound sense that what I was rising from is what death really is, a literal and absolute dead blankness.
If Awareness is always here and truly eternal, why would there not be some taste of Consciousness when I look at the deep sleep "state" while still half in it? Now I realize that Consciousness is not a "thing" to be remembered. That is why I emphasize being between the waking and sleep states when considering this issue. The egoic self feels afraid that formless awareness may after all, just be a product of the waking brain, of the unconscious mind and this perpetuates a fear of death that I would like to be free of.
Advaita writings talk all of the time about deep dreamless sleep as that of pure Consciousness. How do they know? If this nagging concern were to abate, I would have a quieter mind. No one I have ever talked to has been able to address this question. Is this going to be one of those unanswerable questions that are free?
THIS IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION AND DILEMMA OF ALL JNANA TEACHINGS, ZEN, ADVAITA, ETC.
Not one in 10,000 get this as the central problem, know, illusion.
This is what I first wrote when I lost identification with the body and I saw waking consciousness--I Am--come and go:
I am That who is aware of the coming and going of I Am, of consciousness.
I am even before this knowledge.
I have no attibutes, I am before and beyond all attributes, knowing and not knowing.
I am and the world are little things compared to me.
Your problem is you still identify with waking consciousness and the body. Waking consciousness is trivial.
You are That who is aware of being, and then of not-being.
You are That who is aware of being, and then of not-being.
You are That who is aware of being, and then of not-being.
Being and Not Being arise in you. You are That who is aware of their coming and going.
As such, you are That who is beyond both.
This is the liberation.
At this point, just feel the dark emptiness and see what happens. It is only the sleep state in the background. It comes and goes. You are the witness of it coming and going. It is not you; it is a percept. But, when you know it, it has a welcoming nature.
The knowledge that you are not that which comes and goes is the first liberation. What you are is unknowable as an object. You are it, the witness of all. This is the beginning of your real practice after the disidentification with the body.
Next is to tease out all the extraneous added on stuff and find the Fundamental without adulteration. As of now, just take the position of the witness of the coming and going and recognize you are even beyond the knowledge that you are beyond consciousness.
Also, read closely what “Advaita writers” are actually saying. Conscious sleep means only that the thinking mind is not working. Nothing more. The mind does not work in deep sleep. So, what they mean is having no mental workings while awake. This is what they mean by waking sleep.
You have projected a meaning into what they say that they did not mean. But it is their screw up because they are not clear.