Consciousness doesn't have RelationshipsWhat is the real relationship between brain, spirit and consciousness, or could one say that the human being with a functional brain is the prerequisite of consciousness being aware of itself?
Thank you for your email. My responses are interwoven in your text.
I’m currently reading the German edition of your Book “The Transparency of Things”. I have one question in my mind, which I even asked Eckhart Tolle but didn’t get an answer. I think he gets to many question to answer them all. May be I have more luck asking you.
If the subject, I, mind/body, makes an experience of an object, which, as you expressed in your book is an illusion, because subject and object are the same pure consciousness, what happens if there is a physical defect preventing this experience.
R: Whatever is experienced, is experienced by consciousness. A so-called normal person, a blind person, a person with Alzheimer’s, a dog, an ant, a bird, a flea…..whatever is known or experienced by each of these creatures is known or experienced by consciousness. In other words, a person does not know; it is known.
If the brain is impaired, thoughts will be affected, but the consciousness that knows the thought remains the same. Consciousness is independent of the condition of the body and mind. Therein lies its innate peace and freedom.
T: For example, a blind person does not see a flower, he or she could not see the beauty of the flower.
R: Beauty cannot be seen. It is that which sees or experiences. The experience of beauty is the transparent recognition of our own being. It is always available, whatever the condition of the body or mind.
T: The visual experience is not possible, but the blind person is consciousness too.
R: You are starting with a model that presumes the independent existence of objects or world and then trying to fit the non-dual understanding into it. It doesn’t fit! You are presuming that there are things such as independent stones and blind people and then trying to imagine that they are both equally consciousness. But there is no such thing as a blind person or a stone as they are normally conceived, that is, as separate individual entities.
T: Further if a person has a brain defect, he could not think over the form of experience, as you did in your book. Everything you wrote down in your book was possible because you have a functioning brain. You have been thinking over the form of experience. You could not have written one note on this if that were not case. Doesn’t this mean the consciousness or the self awareness of consciousness is tied to a functioning brain.
R: The consciousness or the self awareness of consciousness is not tied to a functioning brain. Consciousness knows itself by itself, through itself, in itself and as itself, without the need of a human mind. And its knowing of itself is not something that comes and goes. It knows itself alone, eternally. In other words, the recognition of consciousness has nothing to do with the condition of the mind. It is already the case, even when there is no mind.
T: Imagine a person with Alzheimer, which could not stay in present awareness or even watch their own thoughts arising.
R: There is no question of a ‘normal’ mind or one with Alzheimer ‘staying’ in present awareness. Awareness does not sometimes remain in itself and sometimes leave itself. It is ‘always’ (not always in time but eternally now) ‘in’ itself. It is only thought that imagines consciousness goes in and out or off and on. Likewise, there is no possibility of a person being out of awareness. The only place a person can appear is in awareness.
T: A stone in is essence may be consciousness as every other form appearing in the space. But the stone does not know this, or is not self aware of that fact. I suppose that an animal is not aware that it is pure consciousness in is essence.
R: A stone in is not “in essence, Consciousness.” That is to start with an object, such as a stone, and consider it to be impregnated with consciousness like a sponge is saturated with water. It’s not like that. Nobody has ever experienced a stone, as it is normally conceived, that is, an an object existing independently in its own right. All we know of the stone, and indeed of the world, is perceiving. In fact, even that is not true….all we know is the ‘knowing of perceiving.’ And that knowing is made of consciousness alone. In other words, all that is known is consciousness and it is consciousness that knows itself. There are no objects, as such, to be either permeated or not permeated with consciousness. There is only consciousness.
Whatever is known is known by neither a stone, an animal or a human being. It is consciousness alone that knows. Stones, animals and human beings are known (apparently); they do not know.
T: What is the real relationship between brain, spirit and consciousness, or could one say that the human being with a functional brain is the prerequisite of consciousness being aware of itself?
R: Consciousness doesn’t have relationships. In order to have a relationships there must be two objects (duality). Consciousness does not know duality; it does not even know an object (although, as a half way stage, we may say that consciousness is conscious of objects). The only way consciousness knows an apparent object is by being it, in which case the object ceases to be an object. That is, there is never an object there to begin with. In other words, the way that consciousness knows ‘something’ is in identity, not in relationship. In other words, consciousness doesn’t know objects. Its way of knowing is far more intimate than that. Another name for this kind of knowing is ‘love.’
With warm greetings from Germany
Likewise from JFK airport!