One of my favourite things to do is to reintroduce to myself the topic of consciousness and see where it goes. Here’s a brief musing that goes a little bit of nowhere but it’s fun for me to re-read and might provoke something…
Consciousness is that which perceives – that which is is truly reading these words right now.
It is the absolute, meaning it never comes and never goes, and is the reality upon which all things depend. It is our true nature – meaning it requires no effort to ‘be’ it or to ‘become’ it…rather it is what remains when the belief in separation is stripped away. The belief in separation is itself an effort, so we could say simply being ourselves involves more cessation of effort than effort itself, although even that isn’t quite right since no amount of effort or non-effort could move us from our true home. Ultimately, even the belief in separation doesn’t move us from our true nature – there is only one consciousness in the entire cosmos. The whole drama of separation and reunion takes places from the vantage point of a limited mind – from consciousness’ point of view, nothing has ever obscured it or ever could, for ignorance is its own creation and never dilutes the stuff of the universe.
We could subdivide the manifest universe into three properties, three categories of objective experience: thoughts, sensations, sense perceptions. Is there any other experience available to us? There is indeed a fourth category to experience, but it is an non-objective experience – the consciousness that perceives these three properties. It can be freeing even simply to know that nothing you experience objectively is other than thoughts, sensations and sense perceptions – and to have the experience of consciousness knowing itself in its independence is freedom from sorrow itself.
Ultimately, when we realize that we are consciousness and consciousness is universal, it is the dawning of a new vision of what makes us happy. We need to see very clearly that what makes us truly happy is not a phenomenal experience – that the happiness we seek cannot be found in an object or thing – that the lasting happiness we have sought our whole lives is within, what we truly are, and can never be taken from us. In fact, unlike all objects which are time-bound in the end, our happiness – our true nature – is eternal – and as our true selves, consciousness, we will remain eternally, infinitely at peace long after the coming and going of any object.
After the realization of the universality of consciousness dawns, the true sadhana begins: to align the entire body/mind organism with the understanding we now have. Deep within the body are habits firmly entrenched, remnants of our old belief – it so happens that the consequence of believing ourselves to be separate has embedded various somatic tensions and habits in the body that go along with that belief: the feeling that we are separate. Slowly, as we surrender more and more to our understanding, these somatic tensions release themselves, and we begin to feel the body as it naturally is – an expanse of feeling that has no border or boundary.