The Dissolution Of MindYou say that it is Consciousness that connects thoughts so why did you write that "it is only a thought which connects an apparent string of thoughts together."?
Bob: You say that it is Consciousness that connects thoughts so why did you write that “it is only a thought which connects an apparent string of thoughts together.”?
Rupert: I should have said, ‘It is only a thought that seems to connect an apparent string of thoughts together,” although this is in fact implied in the context.
In other words, it is only a thought that imagines a connection between thoughts. However this connection is always between the current thought and a non-existent thought or between two non-existent thoughts. There cannot be a connection between an object that is present (apparently) and one that is not. The connection is imagined, that is, it is a thought. It is not a real connection.
However, from a higher point of view, we understand that when, say, thought no.1 appears its only substance is Consciousness. When thought no.2 appears, likewise its only substance is Consciousness. In other words it is the same Consciousness which is, as it were, coloured by thought no.1 and is then coloured by thought no.2. In that sense there is a connection between thoughts. The only connection is Consciousness. However, it doesn’t really make sense to speak of a connection, because there is only one thing present there in the first place - Consciousness.
Consciousness is not connected to itself, or to else for that matter, because there is nothing else present with which it could be connected.
Imagine two consecutive images in a film. The only connection between them, at the level of the images, is the thought that connects them. However, in reality, and from a higher point of view, the substance of both images is the screen. The screen is ever-present, first being coloured by the first image and then by the second image.
Bob: You continue above to make the point that our simple experience has no continuity of mind but there is not real clarity on my part as to what this means.
Rupert: Just look at your simple experience: where is the thought, image, sensation or perception that you had two days, two minutes or two seconds ago? It is utterly non-existent. Now where is the Consciousness out of which they were made? Right here shining as your self!
Mind is conceived as a vast container that houses all our thoughts, images, hopes, fears, memories etc. However, that container is never experienced. Only the current thought, image, sensation or perception is experienced. Mind, as such, is a concept, not an experience.
Bob: Does this mean that if our experience is truly simple we cannot contemplate a train of thoughts?
Rupert: No, it means that in the process called contemplation, Consciousness takes the shape, as it were, of one thought after another. The contemplation resides in the ‘knowing’ part of thinking, which remains present throughout the ‘train of thought.’ When this train of thought comes to an end, for a moment Consciousness takes no shape at all, and this is the timeless moment we call understanding. In the next moment, Consciousness takes the shape, not of understanding, but of the thought which expresses understanding.
The experience of understanding is the dissolution of the mind. It is only the mind which, when it reappears, says ‘I’ understood. However, the ‘I’ is not there in the timeless moment of understanding.
In understanding, Consciousness tastes its own self, just as it does in the experience of love and beauty. It is only the mind that claims these experiences and attributes them to itself. It considers that ‘I’ the mind understand a thought, ‘I’ the mind love a person, ‘I’ the mind see the beautiful object. However, Understanding, love and beauty are the experiences they are precisely because of the absence of mind. That is why we like them so much!
Bob: Can’t we say the objects are connected in Consciousness?
Rupert: Yes, once we have credited objects with independent reality, the best we can do is to say that they are connected in Consciousness. But when we look in our experience, we never find two objects present there at any one time. There is always just the current object.
Just ask yourself, ‘Where is the perception I had for a moment during breakfast this morning?’ That perception has utterly vanished. What remains of that perception now? Nothing. In what way is that non-existent perception related to any other perception other than through imagination. And imagination does really connect two objects. It only seems to. That is why it is called imagination!
Or we could say that the substance out of which the breakfast perception was made is now taking the shape of these words. In other words the substance of all perceptions, thoughts, images and sensations is ever-present.
In short, if we think that thoughts or objects have a reality of their own, the connection between them is imagined.
If we understand that there is only this ever-present Consciousness, then the connection (if we can call it a connection) between them is the Consciousness out of which they are both made.
Bob: I hope these comments do not serve as a distraction from the power of your words or pointing, but will serve to open more up.
Rupert: Not at all. Please come back to me if anything is still unclear.