16 February 2009

The Reader Loses It Then Gets It Back Again


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.

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