The Ever-Presence Of ConsciousnessHow can anyone say that thoughts have no connection to each other?
Bob: In your response to Rajah you write: “Only one thought appears at a time.There is never a connection bewteen the current thought and any other thought, because any other thought is non-existent when the current thought is present. It is only a thought which connects the apparent string of thoughts together and imagines as a result, the continuity of mind.”
When I reflect on the above, what is happening? Thoughts are arising. Isn’t each thought that arises not in some way related to the previous thoughts, which in turn is related to the thoughts you are presenting. For some reason my mind and heart rebels at how thorougly you demolish any connection whatsoever between thoughts because only one thought can be in our experience in every moment.
Rupert: This statement has to be taken in context. It is followed by the following statement: ‘It is only a thought which connects an apparent string of thoughts together and imagines, as a result, the continuity of mind. There is no such continuity. That is our simple experience. The only continuity is of Consciousness, but this is not a continuity in time, because time is simply the thought about time. The continuity of Consciousness is its Ever-Presence, Eternity.’
In other words, there is a connection between thoughts but it is not a connection of object to object. It is the ever-present underlying Consciousness.
Bob: What am I missing? Why this reaction? I feel I must be miscontruing something,for how can anyone say that thoughts have no connection to each other?
Rupert: There is this reaction because what is being suggested so profoundly challenges the notion we have that objects have a reality of their own, independent of Consciousness and are indeed made out of something other than Consciousness.
It turns the world upside down. More than that, it dismantles it. This can literally make us feel giddy or afraid. The mind is loosing its grip. There is nothing for us to hold on to.
Bob: I recall reading somewhere else from you, and stand to be corrected for my memory is bad, that concerning understanding, when we say 2+2=4, the understanding that 2+2=4 actually occurs when the mind is not presentbewteen the thought question 2+2 and the thought answer 4. I think the point was that understanding does not consist of thoughts in the mind. This resonates. But what is the point of saying that there is no relation bewteen these thoughts, or that there is another thought “2+2=4” that now replaces or connects the earlier two thoughts”. Is what I am defending here just a practical and econmical way of describing our thought activities, or is something more insidious at work?
Rupert: No, what you are defending is entirely reasonable from the relative level where we concede the reality of objects, time, space and causality. I do not mean this pejoratively. The relative level has its own seeming reality within which it works, for the most part, reasonably well and is necessary for the functioning of everyday life, within limits.
In fact even at that relative level, the idea of one object being causally related to another only holds good from a very narrow point of view: if we admit a relation between the thought ‘what is 2+2?’ and the thought ‘4,’ we must also admit a relation between whatever it was that preceded the thought ‘what is 2+2?’ (for instance, ‘have you done your sums today?’) and the subsequent thought, ‘what is 2+2?’ Likewise, we must admit a relation between whatever it was that preceded the ‘have you done your sums today?’ thought and…..I think you get my gist. Back and back we go in the causal chain until we realise that even at, a relative level, the universe is one vast web of interconnectedness, giving birth to itself at every moment. As the poet said, ‘Stir but a wing and you stir a star.’
So even at that level there is just one whole. And one whole is not related to itself. It is already the totality of itself. There is nothing other than itself to be related to. Everything is connected to everything in all directions of time and space.
However, what was written to Rajah in the post you quote was said from the absolute point of view about the true reality of our experience, in which it has already been understood that objects, as such, are never experienced.
There is only Consciousness, in our actual experience. At this level of understanding there is nothing objective to be causally related to anything else. Or, it could be said that Consciousness is the cause of all things, in the sense that everything appears fresh out of Consciousness at every moment. However, ‘everything that seemingly appears’ is only Consciousness itself. Such an appearance is an expression of love, not a relation between objects.
So why, we might ask, does the mind, body and world, seem to be so consistent, for instance in the ‘2+2=4’ train of thought that you refer to above? Precisely because Consciousness is its ever-present homogeneous substance. It is the consistency of Consciousness that lends itself to the mind.
Why doesn’t the world fall apart at every moment? After all, it is just made of intermittent perceptions. Why doesn’t the world vanish at every moment, after all, perceptions vanish at every moment? From where do we derive the sense of permanence, continuity, meaning and understanding, let alone love? It does not come from the objective part of our experience. Where else could it come from? Only from the subjective aspect. Not ‘subjective’ in the personal sense, but rather subjective in the sense that it is what we most intimately know ourselves to be.
The consistency of the mind, body and world is a reflection, at the level of the mind, of the seamlessness and ever-presentness of Consciousness. It is, as it were, a hint, at the level of the mind, body and world of their reality. What can all this consistency, permanence and causality be, if the objects to which they seem to refer are intermittent? From where could this apparent consistency, permanence and causality come from, if not from objects? Only from their underlying reality.
Every aspect of our lives are permeated with hints of the Beloved. She leaves her signs everywhere, not hidden beneath the surface, but right here expressing herself in all our commonplace notions of time, space, causality, permanence, relatedness etc. that we so take for granted. All these notions are simply the Beloved refracted through the mind.
But then the mind comes in and misinterprets the signs and attributes them to itself, that is, to the mind. The mind says that all these notions of time, space, causality, permanence, relatedness etc. are attributes of objects. This belief seems to veil the Beloved although all time she is standing there shining before our eyes. They are there simply, as Cezanne said, to give us the taste of her eternity.