Consciousness is both the Witness and Substance of all ThingsLast night I was looking for the "I". What was seen for the first time is that the "I" is not local, not connected to my body....There was no huge feeling of love, no huge feeling of peace, but there did seem to be more freedom not being confined to the body...
Last night I was looking for the “I”. What was seen for the first time is that the “I” is not local, not connected to my body. Thought continued but it continued separate from the body. “My” body was seen to be unreal, created form.
As best as I can describe it, “I” was seen to be like a container of some kind, like a theater perhaps, where “I” am both theater and director of the play, but everything else, actors, dialogue, scenery, all that, was mind created by “me”. I know that analogy is used often but that’s what it felt like.
There was no huge feeling of love, no huge feeling of peace, but there did seem to be more freedom not being confined to the body.
Consciousness certainly is a little trickster, isn’t it? All the teachers say it’s right in front of your nose, hiding inside you, and sure enough, it is. It is you! Neat trick.
So now this seems to have created more questions than it has answered for me, and I feel I need to go back and read over again to understand…but is this what I have been aiming for all this time? I guess there is doubt where I expected no doubt to be.
Consciousness does seem to have seen itself.
Yes, it is normal to first recognise one’s Self, ‘I,’ as the witness of the body. For so long we have identified our Self with the body that to begin with we often take a step back from the body so to speak and, as you describe, see that the body appears to or within our Self but is not identical with it. In this respect we know our Self to be like the ever-present space of the theatre in which, as you say, all appearances take place but which is entirely free of the limitations of each of those appearances. Hence the feeling of space and freedom that you describe.
As we become accustomed to taking our stand as this open, welcoming presence of Awareness, we discover that no particular appearance of the body, mind or world, can change, agitate, move, effect or harm this space that we are. For this reason it is known as Peace. This space is untouchable, just as the space of the theatre cannot be harmed in any way by whatever takes place on the stage. It is not that ‘You,’ the space, are peaceful but rather that ‘You,’ the space, are Peace itself. That is what the experience of Peace is – the Knowing of your own Being as it is.
Again, as we become more accustomed to abiding as this Knowing Presence that we intimately and directly know ourselves to be we can, as it were, look again at the objects of the mind, body and world as they appear. We see now that they do not simply appear IN this welcoming space of Presence, but that their actual substance, their reality, is none other than this Presence itself.
You, Consciousness, are not just the witness of all things. You are also, simultaneously, the substance of all things. As Knowing you are the witness. As Being you are the substance. Knowing/Being is One, not two. It is only an ignorant thought (that is, a thought that ignores the reality of experience) that gives the Knowing aspect of this One to the body, and gives the Being or Existence aspect of this One to the world, thereby creating two apparent entities or objects out of one seamless garment.
In other words, there are not things or entities anywhere to be found in reality. There is only Consciousness taking the shape, as it were, of the totality of experience from moment to moment.
This absolute intimacy, this giving of the entire substance of Consciousness to every appearance of the body, mind and world is called Love. Is this not what we know Love to be, this absolute intimacy, this lack of distinction or boundary with an apparent other? Love is the name we give to this non-objective experience of Consciousness recognising itself as the substance of all experience.
So, keep returning to yourself as this Knowing Presence, which means keep recognising that this is what you always have been and always are, and allow it to gradually reveal itself to you in its fullness of Freedom, Love, Peace, Beauty, Understanding and Happiness.
This ever-present non-objective experience of Love, Peace, Beauty etc. is transparent, although when the mind, body and world reappear, they reappear, as it were, saturated with the perfume of this Presence. Such an appearance may be accompanied tears, laughter, a glowing feeling in the body or illumination in the mind, but do not mistake these objective signs for the non-objective experience of Consciousness knowing itself. These experiences at the level of the mind, body and world are intermittent – if we look for Love, Peace and Happiness in them, we will always be disappointed. They do not reside there.
With kind regards,