When we treat the world as the face of God, it reveals itself as such.

Presence, Presence, Presence, All the Way

Does Consciousness Forget Itself?

Rupert,

There is this idea that Consciousness forgets itself, believing itself to be a separate body-mind. Of course, as you remind us continuously, there is no separate entity, and this is “self” evident when we investigate this thought.

Reflecting on this, though, is it Consciousness that forgets or purely the experience of an apparent separate entity that “forgets”? In a sense though both are true because it is all Consciousness, however, it is the illusion of separateness that is created through the perceptual limitations of a body-mind (the perceived cannot perceive), that forgets and obstructs what is real. But also since Consciousness is alive and awake as the body-mind,there is the innate capacity to for us to remember who we are. Still isn’t it this identity (and arrogance) as a body-mind that presumes it is something which is conscious and can become more conscious (though practice, over time), that is the fundamental error. There is no waking up for the body-mind any more than a rock or a flower because there ha never ever been anything other than Awake Being.

Just seeking your clarification on this.

Thanks, Ed


Dear Ed,

As a general point I would remind us that nothing that is said here is absolutely true. Everything that is said here is provisionally true in relation to the statement or question to which it refers but may, from a higher perspective or understanding, turn out to be untrue or at least limited.

Ed: There is this idea that consciousness forgets itself, believing itself to be a separate body-mind.

Rupert: For clarity, it would be more accurate to say that Consciousness takes the shape of a particular thought which identifies Consciousness with a body. This apparent mixture of unlimited Consciousness with a limited body produces the appearance of a separate entity (and its corollary, the separate, outside world).

In this way the ‘I,’ which properly belongs to Consciousness alone, takes on the limitations of the body and seems, as a result, to become limited and located.

Ed: Of course, as you remind us continuously, there is no separate entity, and this is “self” evident when we investigate this thought. Reflecting on this, though, is it Consciousness that forgets or purely the experience of an apparent separate entity that “forgets”?

Rupert: Consciousness always knows itself. It cannot not know itself. Because it is Knowingness itself, simply by being itself, it knows itself.

However, by taking the shape of a particular thought (described above) it SEEMS to veil or forget itself, just as a two dimensional screen SEEMS to be obscured by the three dimensional image that appears on it.

When it is said that Consciousness forgets or veils itself, it is shorthand for describing this process by which Consciousness takes the shape of a veiling or ignorant thought, thereby seeming to forget itself, but never actually doing so.

Nor can we say that it is the apparent separate entity that forgets. The apparent entity has no existence other than the thought that thinks it. A thought cannot forget something, or indeed do anything. It is a perceived object.

In other words, there is no true forgetting. Ignorance is an illusion. So it doesn’t really make sense to discuss who or what ultimately causes this illusion.

However, if we provisionally admit that Consciousness becomes veiled or obscured, the best we can say is that it is Consciousness itself, out of its own freedom, that takes on the shape of a thought with which it seems to veil or forget itself.

Once we have provisionally acknowledged this, we can also say that it is Consciousness that remembers itself again. This ‘seeing or knowing of itself’ in its own innate freedom is what is known as enlightenment.

Ed: In a sense though both are true because it is all Consciousness, however, it is the illusion of separateness that is created through the perceptual limitations of a body-mind (the perceived cannot perceive), that forgets and obstructs what is real.

Rupert: The limitations of the body-mind are not in themselves the cause of the illusion of separateness. One single thought alone causes the illusion of separateness, and that is the thought that exclusively identifies unlimited Consciousness with the perceived limitations of the body-mind.

In other words, ignorance, not illusion, is the problem.

Ed: But also since consciousness is alive and awake as the body-mind, there is the innate capacity to for us to remember who we are.

Rupert: Yes. Even as an apparent body-mind, or separate entity, we are still only Consciousness and, as such, we always know our self. That is, our own innate qualities of love, intelligence, happiness, peace, freedom and beauty, continue to shine through the apparent veil of separation. It is for this reason that all ‘people’ value these qualities and seek them above all else.

However, the ‘us’ who ‘remembers who we are’ is always the Consciousness ‘in us’ who remembers or recognises itself.

Ed: Still isn’t it this identity (and arrogance) as a body-mind that presumes it is something which is conscious and can become more conscious (though practice, over time), that is the fundamental error.

Rupert: That is true. However, we can only start where we are. If we feel we are a limited body-mind we are, by definition, in search of happiness, love etc.

As this apparent person we set out in the world and search for peace and happiness etc. through all the conventional means. When this worldly search fails, the spiritual search begins. At some point this spiritual search turns around, so to speak, and questions the very one who is searching. It questions the search itself.

This moment is the beginning of the end! It is the beginning of an investigation at the level of the mind and an exploration at the level of the body, through which the one who is in search of peace and happiness etc. is seen to be non-existent. At this point the search itself, with all its attendant practices, expectations and goals, collapses and we are left empty and unknowing, open to an invitation from a completely different and unknown direction, a directionless direction.

However, if this search (at whatever level of understanding we engage it) is denied, we are left not with understanding but rather with frustration and this only substantiates the sense of separation.

Ed: There is no waking up for the body-mind any more than a rock or a flower because there has never ever been anything other than Awake Being.

Rupert: Yes, Awake Being or Knowing Presence seems to veil itself through its own creativity and comes to recognise or remember itself again, by itself, through itself, in itself and as itself. It is not a person, a body or a mind that awakens. It is Presence that awakens to itself, that remembers itself.

There is no other medium, such as mind or body, through which this recognition takes place. It is Presence, Presence, Presence, all the way!

With love,

Rupert