Does 'practice' imply two worldviews, one of ignorance and the other of consciousness?How are the ideas of Karma, Kalpas and Evolution reconciled with Non-duality?
1. In Message 1448 you said, ‘There is knowing presence. Within knowing presence (and made out of nothing other than knowing presence) mind arises, that is, mind in the broadest sense, comprising thoughts, sensations and perceptions.’
The ancient Indian texts too hold the same position. They are also vague and unclear about the ‘arising’ of the mind. They attribute to past kalpas (periods) accumulated ‘karma’, Hiranyagarbha, and so on. Looks to be mere explanatory artifacts compared to the scientific understanding we have on origin and evolution of universe and living things. At this stage, you also seem to imply, no harm is done.
Then you continue, ‘At some point a thought arises within presence (and made out of nothing other than presence) which identifies presence with just one of the sensations present, that is, with one particular body.’ Once again there appears to be an explanatory gap regarding the origin of thought. The Indian texts are also vague and put it finally as ‘chidabhaasa’ (a fallacious appearance). Darwinian evolution presently says it to be a consequence of survival instinct. Future scientific research may throw better light on this.
2. In Message 1537 you said, ‘Yes, the visual realm is the realm in which the illusion of duality, separation and otherness, is at its most convincing. Here is a practical suggestion: Start with your eyes closed and establish that, for instance…. As you experiment with your experience in this way it will become more and more obvious that even the visual world is made only of experiencing, that is, it is made of “you”, consciousness.’
Clearly you are suggesting an exercise for practice. Does not ‘practice’ imply training an organ in the body to a specific world view, different from what it is accustomed to? Is it not the brain which receives the training? Does this not imply that there are two ‘views’ – one we call the ‘ignorant worldview’ of and as ‘I-consciousness’ (self) and the other the oneness view of and as consciousness (Self) – within the brain itself? I can present some convincing arguments from the neuroscience point of view but that may be out of place here.
With thanks again and best regards,
1. Imagine that you were dreaming the exact same experience that you are now having in the waking state. In other words, reading this email, and so on, is all happening in a dream. That is not hard to imagine, for even a real dream appears, from the point of view of the dream itself, to be a waking state.
In this current experience (which we are imagining to be a dream) all the normal laws of nature operate. That is, when you tap the keys, letters appear; when you have a cup of tea, thirst is assuaged; when you look out of the window, you see buildings or whatever, and so on. In short, the law of cause and effect seems to be absolutely real and operative, and within the confines of the dream, it is.
In this view, for instance, there are past periods of time, past karmas which seem to create present circumstances and a survival instinct amongst species that seems to determine who survives, and so on. It all works fine within its own parameters.
However, when we wake from the dream, we realise that the time, causation, karma and evolution, whilst real from the point of view of the dream, was unreal from the point of view of the waking state. We realise, for instance, that in the dream the past did not create the present, but rather that each present moment was co-created with its own past and future – in other words, that every present moment came with its own history.
From the point of view of the dream this history was very real. From the point of view of the waking state this history was no history at all but rather a present arising. This all becomes obvious when we rise from the point of view of the dream state to the point of view of the waking state. So far, so good, I trust!
Now, what happens when we rise from the point of view of the waking state to the point of view of consciousness (if we can agree, provisionally, that consciousness has a point of view)? The laws of the waking state, whilst absolutely coherent and consistent from the point of view of that state, are seen in a very different light when considered from the point of view of consciousness. In fact, they are considered to be unreal in exactly the same way as the dream-state ideas are considered unreal from the point of view of the waking state.
In short, there is no quarrel between the ideas of kalpas, karma, evolution, and so on, and the non-dual ideas I am proposing here. They each belong to different levels of understanding and therefore to different levels of apparent reality.
In the dream and waking states, the laws of mind prevail. That is, time and space seem to be real and these give birth in turn to the apparent reality of kalpas, karma, evolution, and so on. In the dream state these laws are quite loose. In the waking state they are tighter and more predictable.
However, at the level of consciousness there are no such laws. Or we could say that only the law of love prevails there, in which everything is given birth directly from, abides in and disappears into consciousness alone. In other words, consciousness is simultaneously the origin, the substance and the destiny of all apparent things.
Another way of saying this would be to say that each law works very well for the level on which it was created. That is, in the dream world, the laws of nature allow for humans to fly and, surprise, surprise, they can! In the waking state, the laws of nature do not allow for humans to fly and, surprise, surprise, they can’t! Do the facts create the laws of nature, or do the laws of nature create the facts? Perhaps they are co-created at every moment.
On the level of consciousness anything is possible. Why? Because consciousness contains everything within itself (that is our experience) and, having no form, can take the shape of all forms, including possibly forms that are not accessible to the human mind.
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2.Both of your proposed views (the ‘ignorant worldview’ and the ‘oneness view’) are considered to take place in the brain. However, this apparent fact is itself a product of the ‘ignorant worldview’ (not ignorant in a pejorative sense, but rather in the sense that it ignores the reality of our experience). In other words, the existence of a view, an idea or the mind as a whole in the brain is simply not our experience.
Rather, it is our experience that the brain appears in the mind and the mind appears in consciousness. That is, for most of us, the brain is simply a concept, that is, a thought that appears in and is made out of consciousness. For a few of us, it is a perception and, as such, also appears in and is made out of the same consciousness.
Have you or has anyone else ever seen a thought, a perception or consciousness in a brain? No!
Have you experienced a thought or a perception of the brain in consciousness? Yes!
You see, the so-called practice I am suggesting is nothing to do with retraining the mind. It is simply an exploration of the nature of our experience and an attempt to reformulate the results of this with concepts that are in line with our experience, albeit within the limited confines of language.
In fact, it is not even necessary to reformulate our understanding. I am only doing so here in response to questions. It would be enough simply to deconstruct the old false certainties we have about the nature of experience. In doing so we cease superimposing erroneous ideas upon the reality of experience which make it appear other than it is and, as a result, we allow it to reveal itself as an expression of love from moment to moment.
With kind regards,