Magdi: Ignorance is the belief that there is someone that believes.
MC: Ignorance is also the belief that no one believes.
Magdi: Indeed, it is not enough to believe that the separate self is not real, it has to be your direct experience. It is important to inquire and investigate the belief in a separate self as well as the sense and felling of separation.
MC: I think, depending on the viewpoint, we can say that there seems to be someone or there seems to be no one. I can’t say that either is necessarily fundamentally true. The heart doesn’t suffer such dilemmas – the experience is what it is. Often, in the name of transcending belief, we just fall into another set of assumptions. What do I know to be true in this moment, without referencing a set of intellectual conclusions and assertions? That, to me, is where the magic happens. We collect many trinkets in our quest and the most liberating thing is when we put that load down. When nothing is left, one can travel very lightly. At least this is an explanation of where I’m at in my particular experience. I find many minds closed in the name of being transcendent of the mind.
Magdi: Absolutely. Adopting a new belief, a no-separate-self belief, adopting a belief no matter how holy or spiritually elevated it seems, is still at the mind levee and is not Moksha.
Only the true revelation of the illusion of separation followed by the dissolution of the residues of ignorance at the feeling level can truly free the body mind from ignorance and establish the Self eternal.
You raise a very fundamental question. You ask: “What do I know to be true in this moment?”
In this moment, I look out the window and there is a soft blanket of snow falling gently on the surrounding woods, covering the entire landscape in a white cottony blanket. So beautiful.
What is it that is true in this moment?
Where do I look? If I look at the scene, I may conclude that the snowy landscape is what is true.
A moment later, a different landscape is true as I look at the computer screen. A moment later, it is the cup of tea, etc.
The changing scene seems to be relatively true since truth cannot be a moving target. Upon investigation, it is revealed that it is awareness that is true and not the images on the screen.
A more politically correct way of putting it, would be to say that the images on the screen have a relative truth while awareness has an absolute truth.
Upon inquiry, it is revealed that awareness is not a separate self. There are no borders, no dividing lines to awareness. Awareness does not belong to any particular thought. It is based upon such an investigation that we conclude with absolute certainty and beyond any doubt that, indeed, there is no separate self; consciousness is not personal.
But no one can conduct such an investigation for you. It needs to be your own revelation and not a borrowed one. The magic is the magic of awareness.
MC: I understand that idea and once subscribed. Everything I experience changes. Even consciousness seems to come and go (such as in a deep sleep) so I can’t say it’s permanent. Some say they are even conscious during deep sleep but that isn’t my experience.
Magdi: Thoughts come and go. From thoughts point of view, awareness comes and go. But we all know that we cannot rely on thought to describe consciousness, since we all know that thoughts come and go. How could something that flashes for a brief moment say anything about consciousness?
But if you ask yourself: Have I ever experienced the absence of consciousness? Now, that is an interesting question!
MC: Agreed Magdi, but if I don’t have a memory of eternal awareness, what would I base the conclusion that it exists on?
Magdi: Base it on awareness right now.
No matter what the image on the screen is.
MC: So really I can only speak about the present, not an imagined future or past. Therefore, to conceptually extend it into infinity temporally won’t really change this present moment, as it is.
Eternity refers to the eternal now and not at eternity IN time.
You see what I mean?
It is a collapse of linear time into eternity. Meaning the eternal now
MC: Yes, I see that. I don’t know if this will continue but it is present now.
Magdi: No one has ever experienced the past or the future. All we know is awareness…. with image, or no image. Awareness knowing itself.
MC: True. So “eternal” is just being used in terms of “being present now,” not extrapolating that it will always be present.
It seems that some ND folks imagine that, after death, they will be a point of consciousness in space repeating to itself, “I am, I am” eternally.
The past and future are thought occurring now.
Thoughts occurring in the now. In a way, all there is is the Now and it is not limited by past or future
MC: It is as it is. If it ends, we won’t know the difference. If it doesn’t end, the party continues!
When my Mom was on her deathbed, we were talking about death. I told her, “Either consciousness continues or it doesn’t.” Neither option seems that bad.
Magdi: Ending gives the impression that sat and future are real. What future? Awareness is eternal and is not bound by thought. Thought is its one dance among so many infinite dances…. Eternity does not continue. Only what is impermanent continues until it doesn’t. Have you ever experienced ‘no-awareness’?
MC: Things end every day. My mother is dead. So many ideas I held as “ultimate Truth” at one time are gone. I find the absence of those ideas refreshing. If there is no awareness, there would be no one to experience it’s lack. I could imagine a past or future where awareness has continuity but all I really know is this moment. No need to project it anyplace else.
Magdi: I know things end. Thingness is time impressions… arise and end.
I was referring to awareness. This moment…. how long is it? Is it not infinite? I am not referring to the images on the screen.
MC: Some say awareness is absolute. I don’t have any evidence to back up that claim, nor do I have any to deny it. Really I prefer to experience it all as it comes. I don’t need to know.
Magdi: You are awareness.
The mind cannot know what perceives it.
MC: Yes, I once believed that. I don’t anymore. I don’t know who or what I am and that feels right! Any conclusion I would come to is just an image. I don’t need images to be.
Magdi: I am not referring to an image.
I am referring to the reality, whatever it is that is real this very instant now.
This now… is not nothing.
Whatever it is that perceives this image. I call that awareness. Just a concept to refer to an actual experience.
This now is not nothing. YOU perceive these words. Whatever this YOU is, I refer to it as awareness…. But you can call it presence, intelligence, Atman, reality…
You cannot deny that you are present, right now… whatever that YOU is, I refer to as awareness… But I am not attached to that term, to that word. As long as it refers to an actual experience ad not an image or simply a concept. The concept refers to an experience
MC: I don’t need concepts to be. They could only cloud what is already clear.
Magdi: Nothing clouds awareness.
It is the mind that gets cloudy.
Photo by Sasa Gyoker