28 July 2017

Without mind, you become all things.

Here is a bit of information that will help you understand both Robert Adams and Nisargadatta a little better.  Often they use different terms to signify different kinds of experiences or states.  Nisargadatta talks about two different kinds of consciousness.  One that could be best described as “bare awareness,” which is consciousness that does not move, that lacks concepts, that lacks mind.  He also calls it “BalaKrishna, “or “Baby Krishna.”  Robert Adams refers to the same state of bare awareness, BalaKrishna, as the gap which one perceives when you first awaken in the morning between the sleep state, and the moment that the mind floods into the brain.  This is awareness without awareness of either subject or object or of things.

Nisargadatta describes this well on page 97 of Consciousness in the Absolute:

“Consciousness opens the gate for you to understand consciousness.  There are two aspects; one is conceptual, dynamic consciousness which is full of concepts, and the other is transcendent consciousness.  Even the concept “I am” is not there.  Conceptual, qualitative Brahman, the one that is full of concepts and is qualitative, is the outcome of the functioning of the body.  This consciousness is dead to me; it is gone.  I have transcended that.  So whatever is, is that other consciousness, that one which is without concepts.  I abide in the state where there is no mind.”

This is the same state that Robert talks about.  He was always arguing against the mind, saying either that the mind is not your friend, or the mind is your enemy.  Seung Sahn Soen Sa would say something very similar, and actually describe subjectively, experientially, what that process is like to go from conceptual consciousness, then becoming like a rock with a brain frozen and unable to think, and then the breaking of the mind, entering the no mind state, or Turiya, by way of passing through the state of unknowing otherwise known as the Causal Body, with the inability to perceive, where body disappears, awareness disappears and there is only conscious sleep before the mind breaks and you enter the total space of the unity consciousness where all things are not separate from you anymore.  The entire world perceived by you, is you.  There is no longer a barrier between you as the meditator and the external world.  There is no longer duality between inside the skin and outside.  You are the totality of manifest consciousness.

I described the coming of these states of unity consciousness as I experienced them at Mount Baldy in 1970:

“At some point in a period of meditation, my "brain" would “freeze” and I would feel as if I were going to sleep.  My brain felt like it became hard as a rock and so dense that no thought could penetrate.  I also felt that simultaneously I was going deeper and deeper into myself, towards the center of my awareness, but it certainly was not in any physical direction.  It felt more like ‘I‘ was going deeper, but not somewhere,  such as towards the heart chakra or my gut.  Then I would totally disappear.  My awareness of myself, my I am-ness, my body, the waking mind would all disappear into a kind of waking sleep.  My mind totally disappeared and I could not remember who or what I was.  I could not even remember how to perceive.

“Then, all of a sudden, it felt like my mind had been flushed down a toilet and a whole new reality appeared. I would disappear as a body mind and awaken into a world of unity consciousness, where I was totally empty space and filled with all the sights and sounds of the world.  I would hear the sound of a bird flying overhead calling, and I would become that bird.  I felt my body in motion along with the bird, simply flying.  Then I would hear the sound of the wind, and I became the trees blowing in the wind.  I became my experience of all things around me, but I did not feel like I had a body, because there was nothing separate from me such as a body, or the world.  I was immersed in everything, the so-called totality of consciousness.

“As Ken Wilbur would say, there were no boundaries. This must have happened three or four times a day for the entire time I was at Sasaki’s Zen Center during the winter of 1970-71. I never knew what to make of these experiences of unity-Consciousness, except to enjoy them.  It felt wonderful to have such freedom to be all things rather than locked up in one small body.  I was utterly free, utterly spontaneous being-ness.  These states did not last; they took maybe five minutes to get into, and lasted 15 or 20 minutes, then I returned to the human world. I asked myself was this the true reality revealed, or just a special state-experience that meant little or nothing.”

But you see, it was just this state of no mind, of being one with everything, that Nisargadatta points to.  There is no longer an individual.  There is no longer a personality.  I identified, if one can say I identified with anything, with the totality of everything that I experienced.  Thoughts would come sometimes, but mostly rarely, and they were simple thoughts like, “My God what is this?”  I was so stunned by the change from every day human consciousness, to this wondrous state of absolute freedom from my body and my mind and unity with the world.

Nisargadatta goes on to state that the consciousness that moved and was filled with concepts, otherwise known as the mind, was dead to him.  He lived and endured as the total functioning of consciousness.

To experience this no-mind state, this non-conceptual consciousness, the gap in its fullness, one must be willing to be absolutely stupid, absolutely know-nothing.  One’s brain feels heavy.  Thinking becomes more and more difficult until it is impossible.  Within the darkness of the causal body moves into awareness and you disappear as does the world.  And then you drop through into Turiya, which is the sense of I Am before the mind arises.  Then you dwell in the utter happiness of the no mind state as long as you can in order to imbibe its flavor and formlessness from a universal viewpoint, rather than as stuck in or pasted to a physical body. 

It is not easy for most Westerners to let go of understanding, to let go of concepts and knowing, because people take such comfort in all of their wisdom and knowledge gathered in books and from reading, and from television.  And you feel utterly stupid before the mind drops out, and you wonder what is happening to you, because you are no longer in control, the totality of consciousness is everything.  As long as you hang onto any knowing, any knowledge of the external world of your own self as a psychological or physical being, you cannot enter the state.

More about this later.

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