When, through understanding, we realize that what we long for can never be found in an object, substance, activity, relationship or state, our longing loses its direction, flows back to its source, and is revealed as the love for which we were in search.

Is Consciousness Located?

Could you please explain why Consciousness is not the product of the brain and why Consciousness is not local.

Dear Rupert,

I can see that everything appears in Consciousness but it seems to me that Consciousness is the product of the brain. When the brain is in deep sleep or when it dies Consciousness stops. This also implies that Consciousness is local. I realize that these may all be beliefs but there is no evidence to the contrary either. I don’t want to replace a belief with an opposite belief. Could you please explain why Consciousness is not the product of the brain and why Consciousness is not local.

Thank you,

Aziz

 

Dear Aziz, 

Aziz: I can see that everything appears in Consciousness but it seems to me that Consciousness is the product of the brain.

Rupert: If you see that everything, including therefore the brain, appears within Consciousness, how could Consciousness be a product of the brain?

It is your experience that Consciousness is ever-present and the brain (even if you claim that it is sometimes present in your experience) is by no means always present. How could something that is ever-present be a product of something that is intermittent?

Aziz: When the brain is in deep sleep or when it dies Consciousness stops.

Rupert: How do you know that Consciousness stops in deep sleep? It is your experience that the mind stops.

If there is any validity to the belief that Consciousness stops in deep sleep, there must be something there to witness its cessation and subsequent disappearance. What would that be? It would have to be both conscious and present. That is, it would have to be what we call Consciousness.

At death we cannot even be sure that the mind stops, let alone Consciousness.

Aziz: This also implies that Consciousness is local.

Rupert: For something to be local, it must be limited, that is, it must have a boundary. If we turn our attention towards Consciousness, in other words, towards whatever it is that is seeing these words, we find nothing objective and yet it is undeniably present. How can something that is undeniably present and yet which has no experienced limitations be considered local? On what experiential basis do you make this claim?

Aziz: I realize that these may all be beliefs but there is no evidence to the contrary either. I don’t want to replace a belief with an opposite belief.

Rupert: You are absolutely right. What I am suggesting is not a proof that Consciousness is unlocated and unlimited. These words are only used to counter the unsubstantiated belief that it is located and limited.

The mind cannot know either way. However, what we can do with the mind is to see clearly that there is absolutely no evidence for our deep belief that Consciousness is limited and located, that it was born and dies, that it moves, changes, evolves etc.

This is as far as the mind can go, but it is quite far. If we have come to this conclusion from our own exploration of experience, this will leave us deeply open to the other possibility, the possibility that Consciousness is universal, unlimited and unlocated.

This confirmation of this possibility does not come in the form of intellectual understanding although it may be formulated as such when required by a situation.

Rather it comes as a moment by moment response in experience itself. Could it be that Love is the confirmation of this possibility?

If you have come to the conclusion that there is no experiential evidence for the belief that Consciousness is limited or located, why not give it a chance to prove itself to you.

We have been living for so many years with the belief that Consciousness is limited and located and have suffered the consequences. Try the other possibility. Try living as if Consciousness were universal, shared, without birth and death. Live from that point of view, not as a belief, but as a possibility. Experiment.

It is the results of this experiment that will persuade you rather than my or anyone else’s words.

Aziz: Could you please explain why Consciousness is not the product of the brain and why consciousness is not local.

Rupert: I didn’t make the claim that Consciousness is not the product of the brain. It is only in reference to such a claim that I suggest that there is no evidence for such a belief.

Could I ask you to explain why you are so convinced that Consciousness is a product of a brain which, unless you are a brain surgeon, you have never even experienced?

In the absence of any beliefs about what Consciousness is, we simply allow it to be whatever it is, without the need to formulate it or define it. It is our definitions, rather than our lack of definitions, that are problematic.

All I can say is Consciousness is, I am what It is and all experience is made out of it.

With love,

Rupert