Thought divides knowing into a knower and the known, loving into a lover and the beloved, and perceiving into a perceiver and the perceived. As such, it is thought alone that abstracts a subject and an object from the seamless, unnamable intimacy of pure Knowing or Experiencing.

Consciousness Without An Object

As long as Consciousness-as-a-human-being appears in Consciousness, how is Consciousness ever without an object?

Dear Rupert, 

You speak of Consciousness without an object, such as in deep sleep or the interval between objects, and I’ve also seen “non-objective Awareness” written about elsewhere. But even though the mind may be at rest during deep sleep, the body continues to function - heart, lungs, digestion, etc., and isn’t the even the darkness when we close our eyes an object - something, as opposed to nothing? So, my question is: as long as Consciousness-as-a-human-being appears in Consciousness, how is Consciousness ever without an object? 

Deepest thanks as ever, and with love, 



Dear Steve, 

If we imagine that Consciousness truly has an object then it is very hard to understand or even be open to the possibility that Consciousness is present in the absence of objects. 

However, Consciousness never, in fact, has an object. The idea of Consciousness plus an object is useful for establishing the primacy and presence of Consciousness, that is, it establishes Consciousness as the witness of experience. 

However, the so called object that Consciousness witnesses is not, in fact, witnessed - it is much closer than that. It is itself ‘made out of’ Consciousness. In other words, there are never two things - Consciousness plus and object - there is always only Consciousness.

Having said that, let us look more closely to see if we ever know the experience of Consciousness without apparent objectivity. 

Imagine someone tells us a joke. We hear the punch line, there is a short delay, we get the joke and laugh. What is actually happening? When do we actually understand the joke? 

First we hear the joke and think about it - that is a thought in the mind. Then there is the understanding of the joke and finally laughter. 

The understanding of the joke takes place, by definition, between the end of the joke and before the laughter.

If we look closely at this moment of understanding, it is a timeless non-objective moment. The line of thinking about the joke has come to an end and the formulation of the understanding, which is also a line of thinking, has not yet begun. In that timeless non-objective moment, what we call understanding takes place. 

In fact, understanding always takes place outside the mind. A line of questioning or reasoning may precede it and a line of thought may formulate it but in between, when the mind is not present, understanding, which is simply the knowing of our own being or Consciousness without an object, takes place, or rather, knows itself. 

Understanding always only understands itself. It ‘stands under’ the mind. 

If you look in your experience you will find many such examples. One more, for instance…the moment we refer to when we say, “I suddenly became aware….” try to find that moment objectively and we cannot, but we refer to it from experience. 

With love,