As the witnessing presence of Awareness, we stand in the background of experience; as the light of pure Knowing, we stand at its heart. 

The Nature Of Space

Is "space" just as much of an illusion as "time"? They seem to be different, in that space seems to be a matter of actual perception, whereas time is not actually perceived, only thought.

Dear Rupert,

Many of your comments on this forum have been quite a revelation, so thank you again.

I have a question about time and space.  There’s a lot written on these subjects on a metaphysical level, but I’m hoping you can bring it down to the experiential level.

I “get” what you say about time in your book chapter, “Time Never Happens.”  Your statement, “The past and the future are in fact never actually experienced,” appears shocking at first, but is plainly true.  As you say, there are only thoughts and images “about” a past and future.  That’s all there is to past and future, in actual experience.

I’m less clear, however, about space.  It seems that space IS experienced.  For instance, my hands appear to be touching the computer keyboard, whereas the lamp is at some distance, and the bookshelves at some greater distance.  Maybe it’s all a mirage, but there does seem to be near and far, up and down.
 
Other spaces only exist in my thoughts.  For instance, the street outside my house:  it’s not currently being experienced.  Does that mean it doesn’t “exist,” in the same way that past and future don’t “exist”?  Does the street spring into existence when I step outside my house and it’s experienced?  Can anything be said to exist that’s not presently being experienced?
 
I may be losing the thread of my question, but I think it boils down to:  Is “space” just as much of an illusion as “time”?  They seem to be different, in that space seems to be a matter of actual perception, whereas time is not actually perceived, only thought.  
 
Love,

Michael

 

Dear Michael,

Michael: It seems that space IS experienced.  For instance, my hands appear to be touching the computer keyboard, whereas the lamp is at some distance, and the bookshelves at some greater distance.  Maybe it’s all a mirage, but there does seem to be near and far, up and down.

Is “space” just as much of an illusion as “time”?  They seem to be different, in that space seems to be a matter of actual perception, whereas time is not actually perceived, only thought.

Rupert: How far are the objects in your room from the space in which they appear? Are any of the objects closer to or further away from the space in which they appear? No! They are all at the same distance from the space in which they appear and that is no distance.

Just replace ‘space’ with ‘Consciousness’ because it is in fact your experience that everything, including space, appears in Consciousness.

*****

How far away from ‘experiencing’ is the tingling sensation behind your eyes, the colour of the walls of your room, the buildings or landscape outside, or the blue of the sky?

Is there anything in your current experience that is further away from ‘experiencing’ than anything else?

The idea of space is created with the belief that this little tingling sensation here, behind the eyes, is closer to experiencing than that little tingling vibration of blue, over there, called ‘the sky.’

Space is the imagined distance between two objects. If we consider objects to be real then space will appear equally real. Once it become clear that there is not even one object, let alone a multiplicity of objects, the idea of space loses its meaning.

If you were to take a photograph of your current perception which seems to comprise hundreds of objects, you would end up with one image, not hundreds of images. If you tried to touch this one object you wouldn’t find it. You would find only the paper, its real substance.

Likewise there is only one experience taking place at any time and if we try to touch it, as it were, we find only experiencing, which is simply another name for Knowing Presence or ‘I.’

Sit with your experience in this way. See clearly that visual perceptions (from which we derive our idea of space) appear in and are made out of the same ‘stuff’ as all other perceptions. If necessary close your eyes and see clearly that hearing, touching, tasting and smelling all take place ‘within’ and are made out of the same ‘stuff.’

Then open your eyes…..could the visual perceptions that now appear, be made out of or appear in something other than the ‘place’ and ‘stuff’ that all other perceptions are made out of or appear in?

If necessary keep opening and closing your eyes in this way until it becomes absolutely obvious that all visual perceptions are utterly intimately one with that which knows them.

Distance collapses in that experience. Of course the illusion of space continues, just as the illusion of time continues, and can be negotiated when necessary. But we no longer believe time and space to be the substratum of our experience.

*****

Michael: Other spaces only exist in my thoughts.  For instance, the street outside my house:  it’s not currently being experienced.  Does that mean it doesn’t “exist,” in the same way that past and future don’t “exist”?  Does the street spring into existence when I step outside my house and it’s experienced? Can anything be said to exist that’s not presently being experienced?

Rupert: If we think that when the street is present, it is present as an object, it will be impossible to reconcile this belief with the possibility that when the street is not being perceived it may not exist.

However, if we look closely at our experience of the street, when it is present, we find nothing there other than Consciousness, Knowing Presence, experiencing.

Once this becomes clear, the question as to whether an imaginary object remains after it is not being perceived becomes redundant.

However, we can say that the true substance of the street, which was always only this Knowing Presence, is still present in the only form in which it ever truly existed, that is, Knowing Presence.

In other words, nothing has existence as an object but the existence of all apparent things is the Knowing Presence that is seeing these words. That alone is, and all apparent things exist as that and, insofar as they continue, continue as that.

With love,

Rupert