Happiness appears as desire when it is veiled; desire is revealed as happiness when it is fulfilled.

Consciousness is Identical with Itself Alone

The sense we have that Consciousness is located as or in the body is a result of Consciousness and the cluster of sensations we call the body.

Dear Rupert, 

You said that the sense we have that Consciousness is located as or in the body is a result of Consciousness and the cluster of sensations we call the body. In my experience there is one other factor, which is memory. For me this is the stickiest part since is seems to be reinforced throughout apparent time. If we did not experience A VERY SIMILAR cluster of sensations from moment to moment or day to day, the body would not be more compelling than the fan across the room. But we open our eyes and see a seemingly unchanging reflection (of course we do not notice the subtle changes), feel consistent pain if we are wounded or ill, etc. These sensations seem more captivating than the fan because they appear with much greater frequency and reliability. I understand that the evidence for the last statement is apparent memory, which is itself only thoughts and images, but somehow these memories of the body are reinforced in our circuitry through their repetitive nature. 

Best regards, 

Loren

 

Dear Loren, 

Loren: You said that the sense we have that Consciousness is located as or in the body is a result of Consciousness and the cluster of sensations we call the body. 

Rupert: Just for clarity, it is neither the presence of Consciousness nor the appearance of bodily sensations that are responsible for ‘the sense we have that Consciousness is located as or in the body.’

This ‘sense we have that Consciousness is located as or in the body’ is simply derived from the belief  that what we are, Consciousness, is located within a bodily sensation. 

Loren: If we did not experience A VERY SIMILAR cluster of sensations from moment to moment or day to day, the body would not be more compelling than the fan across the room. But we open our eyes and see a seemingly unchanging reflection (of course we do not notice the subtle changes), feel consistent pain if we are wounded or ill, etc. These sensations seem more captivating than the fan because they appear with much greater frequency and reliability. 

Rupert: I wish that were so! I notice far more changes in my body than I do in say my car: my bodily is aging but my car is almost identical to when I bought it five years ago! Also, we tend to experience the car, the fan across the room, the kitchen sink and many other such things far more frequently than we experience the shoulder blades or the back of the neck, not to mention numerous internal organs which are never experienced as such. In fact the vast majority of the body is never actually experienced as such but this doesn’t stop the mind identifying it as ‘I.’

The fact that we seldom experience many parts of the body as such does not stop the mind identifying Consciousness with them and likewise the fact that we experience many other things far more frequently than we do the body, does not mean that the mind identifies Consciousness with these things. 

And as for reliability, the appearance of the kitchen floor, the car in the garage or the fan across the room is far more consistent than is the state of the mind or the body. Relatively speaking (and we are of course speaking relatively here) we have no idea what the mind will look like in five minutes but we are fairly sure how the kitchen floor will look. 

In other words it is not the similarity, frequency or reliability of appearances that qualifies them as our ‘self.’ 

Loren: I understand that the evidence for the last statement is apparent memory, which is itself only thoughts and images, but somehow these memories of the body are reinforced in our circuitry through their repetitive nature. 

Rupert:  Again, the apparent world is every bit as repetitive as the apparent body. 

However, let us take the qualities of similarity, frequency and reliability with which, as you say, we normally judge whether or not something qualifies as our ‘self’ and apply them to our actual experience. If these are the criteria with which we determine what constitutes our ‘self,’ we can simply ask what, in our experience, is always the same, is not just frequent but ever-present and is the one ‘thing,’ and in fact the only ‘thing,’ that is absolutely stable, dependable and reliable. 

Whatever we find is, as you rightly imply, the candidate that truly qualifies to be called our ‘self.’ 

And moreover, only those appearances of the mind, body and world share these qualities of ‘always the same,’ ‘always present’ and ‘stable, dependable and reliable’ can be considered identical with this ‘self.’

No appearances satisfy these criteria so we can conclude that our self, Consciousness, is identical with itself alone. 

Simply stand knowingly as that. 

With love, 

Rupert