Does consciousness need the body to know itself?
Reply: It depends what you mean by consciousness. By consciousness I am referring to one reality, the ultimate reality. The one and only reality that is the reality of all experiences and the reality that IS right now independent of thought, beyond time and space. Often we confuse consciousness with the sentience of the body.
If you turn your attention to the reality of awareness/consciousness, you will notice that you are not turning your attention to any object or thought.
You are turning your attention to the objectless formless reality of consciousness that is borderless and independent of any thing.
The reality of consciousness stands on its own independent of the body mind.
Is that not your experience?
Friend: Yes, it is, but there is still the body.
Reply: Yes, the body arises as thoughts, images and bodily sensations. But consciousness does not depend on the body since consciousness ‘precedes’ what arises and, in fact, is the reality of whatever arises, such as bodily sensations or bodily images.
After all, bodily sensations depend on consciousness but consciousness IS irrespective of the body. Between one bodily sensation and another consciousness does not disappear.
Between bodily sensation A and bodily sensation B, there is no bodily sensation, but this does not mean that there is no consciousness. Consciousness IS before, during and after bodily sensations.
Friend: Then what is consciousness if the body is dead?
Reply: It remains as it is since the body is mind and consciousness is not mind. Consciousness is reality. The mind imagines consciousness as a form that depends on it. This is thought.
Your experience of consciousness is not via thought, but via Being. Not via being a body mind but via pure Being Awareness.
The metaphor of deep sleep where there is no bodily sensations nor images and yet consciousness does not disappear is a caricature of death.
Friend: I see. So, the death of the body does not affect consciousness. That is helpful.
Reply: Consciousness realizing itself occurs in the waking state. This realization is liberation from ignorance and it is upon this realization that the wheel of Samsara ends and you realize the Absolute. Common understanding of the Dharma is helpful but the revelation of the Self goes beyond the Dharma.
Friend: What do you mean beyond the Dharma. Isn’t the Dharma the ultimate teaching?
Reply: The Dharma is helpful but it is still at the mind level. The revelation of the Self is beyond all mind impressions and is inexpressible. It can only be realized.
Friend: Thank you.