Resting as that, you are infinity.
Consciousness and The Absolute, an Exploration:
Recognizing The Self that is Consciousness (Atman)
What is the formless light of consciousness?
You are, your own subjective nature is.
Okay, what is that then?
Only you can discover that. It is something that you must do alone.
I can point you there, but you have to look for yourself. You must do
your own self-inquiry, you must use your own discriminating awareness,
otherwise it's just information.
I guess I'm asking you for some pointing then.
Very good then, let's take a look. There's no time like the present.
What do you find when you look now?
Well, I find that I have a body and a mind.
The body and the mind.
And the "I".
Yes the "I" as in: " ‘I' have a body and a mind." Who is this "I"?
Yes, who is that? What is that "I" that is aware of body & mind, the
"me". Who is this subject that you call "me", to whom the body and mind are
I guess I'm not sure.
Is that your question? ‘Who am "I"? What am "I"? Who is The Subject of my
I'm not sure that's all that I'm asking, but that would be a good start.
Do you really want to look into this deeply now?
Okay, let's start very simply then. You're wearing a watch aren't you?
You are aware of your watch aren't you?
So, in this sense the watch is not you, you are aware of it.
Yes, that's right.
You are the subject and your watch is the object, right?
Okay, very well. Simple enough. You are the Subject and you are aware of
the object, so you are not the object but you are the subject, correct?
Yes, that's correct.
Can you close your eyes?
Good, now see if you can bring your attention to the feeling-sensation of
You are aware of the feeling sensation of your feet, are you not?
So you are the subject and in this sense the feeling of your feet is an
object to you.
Yes, okay yes, I can see that my feet are an object to
me because I, who am the subject, am aware of them.
Exactly, so now allow your attention to open up and include your
feeling-sensation of your legs, your torso, your arms and your head, slowly
include all of the sensations of your entire body. Take your time…
You are aware of your whole body, are you not?
In this sense you are not your body, it is simply an object to you. You
are the subject and the body is an object.
Yes, I can feel that, I experience that.
Good. Now allow yourself to get a sense of the room, can you
feel the room? In your own way, get a sense of the feeling of the room,
including all the objects and all of the people in the room. It probably
won't be exactly the same as what you'd see if you opened your eyes, but you
have your own feeling of the room here. Even if you opened your eyes, you'd
still have your own feeling sense of the room now.
Okay, I have my own feeling-sense
of both my body and the room and everything in it, I am aware of that.
So notice how all of these objects are felt or sensed
together, the whole field of feeling-sensation can be experienced at once
now, this is sometimes called the kinesthetic Field.
Notice that all these sensations together are the kinesthetic or
feeling-sensation field and this field can be experienced as an object to
you. You are aware of it, you are the subject and the entire field of
feeling-sensation is something that you experience, it's an object to you,
therefore in that sense; you are not it, because you are aware of it.
Yes, I can feel this, I am the subject and
everything that I can feel is an object to me, so it's not me.
Right. Now bring your attention to the sounds in the room… and include
the sounds outside the room… also include any sounds inside the body like
the breathing or heart beating. Just notice that this is the auditory field
and that it is also an object to you. You are aware of it and in this sense
it is not you, it is not the subject, it is an object to you.
Yes, I hear you, I get it.
Now include your sense of taste and smell, these fields are also simply
objects to you.
Also bring your attention to the Lights behind your eyelids and anything
that you can see with your eyes closed. Notice that this is all the visual
field and that you are aware of it, so (in this sense) the whole visual
field is an object to you.
Good, now notice your emotions; include in your attention whatever
emotions you are feeling in response to this self-inquiry. Whether you feel
good about it or feel some resistance, whatever you're feeling include that
in your attention.
Whatever emotions you are feeling, notice that these emotions are also an
object, are they not? You are aware of them, you are the subject, and they
are the object. Therefore you are not them, you are simply aware of them.
Yes… thank you.
You're welcome, now noticing that all experience, anything that you sense
or are aware of, is an object to you, and you are the subject. Now include
your thoughts also. Thoughts keep on changing, they are passing objects to
you, you are aware of them and in that sense you are not them and they are
not you. Discursive mind is the movement of thoughts and you are simply
aware of these thoughts.
But I am usually identified with thoughts; I feel
them to be me.
Yes, yes. It is certainly possible to feel yourself to be thoughts, to be
the mind. It is certainly possible to identify with thoughts. In fact that
is what is expected of us by most of the world, that we should identify with
our minds. This is a possible mode of experiencing life, and for humans at
least; it is the most common. But right now, we are engaging in
self-inquiry, clarifying through discriminating awareness. I'm simply asking
for the sake of sorting things out, for the sake of clarifying what is the
formless light of consciousness. You can always go back to identifying with
thoughts any time. Using this discriminating awareness, can you notice that
it is possible to see your thoughts as objects to you?
Yes, I can.
Very good, now do you have a sense of "me"?
Yes "me-ness", a sense of yourself. Say your name silently to yourself
and see if you can get a sense of your "me-ness", of who you are as an
Do you have a sense of "me-ness"?
Yes, I have a sense of "me-ness"; I have a sense of
myself that is there.
Good, so you have a sense of it, you are aware of it?
Notice that since you are aware of it; therefore it is an object to you.
In that sense it is not you… Take your time here.
Wow. I can see that, I mean I can feel that, I am
experiencing that. My felt sense of my self is actually an object to me, not
me. "I" am aware of "it".
Very good, now we've seen that all of the sense fields, all of the
objects of the subject are really objects, not the subject. So let's take a
look at this so-called subject.
Now, turn your attention to it's source. Trace attention to where it
Huh? …I'm not sure…
Take your time, bring attention to the subject, the one who is aware of
all this. Do you have a sense of it? Take your time.
It's a silent witness.
Very good, so you are aware of a silent witness?
Very good. Enjoy it….( silence).
(after a while)
Would you like to go deeper now?
Good. So you are aware of the silent witness?
Now since you are aware of the silent witness that would make the silent
witness an object to you, correct?
Hmm, well, yes. I see. Yes.
So what is it that is aware of this silent witness? What is aware of
that? Can you get a sense of it? See if you can bring your attention to find
or locate the subject that is aware of the silent witness.
Do you have a sense of it?
It's spacious emptiness.
Very good, so you have a sense of spacious emptiness?
So you are aware of spacious emptiness, are you not?
So it is an object to you right?
Oh… yes, right.
So see if you can get a sense of the subject…that which is aware of
Okay. Now I'm experiencing a sense of peaceful
So you are aware of that sense of peaceful presence are you not?
Yes and I can see that it's an object as well; it can't be the subject,
because I'm aware of it, it's another object.
Can you get a sense of the subject?
No….How can I? Any sense of the subject is not the
Any sense of the subject is another object.
Exactly! So can you say anything about the subject?
Wait, I can say one thing about the subject.
That it's me.
This is easy isn't it? Amazingly simple.
This is the mystery of being conscious; we are ultimately unfindable but
It just is. The subject is unfindable because it is outside the field of
the senses. Because of this it cannot be sensed, only realized. We already
always are it. It's never actually experienced in itself. Yet it is who we
are! It is the basis of our
entire lived existence but it can never be touched! It's amazing that so few
ever check to see who's minding the store. Everyone simply walks around
acting as though they know what they are, but no one checks.
So do we exist or not? I mean is there anyone
Zen people would smack you for such a question. We simply can't say.
All of the language about this is metaphoric, it cannot be spoken about
directly; it is beyond language.
We can't really say that it's present, but here we are! Sri Ramana
Maharshi used to say "Will anyone doubt their own existence?".
We can't really say that it's absent, but it can't be found! Lord Buddha
would challenge people to find anything like a self.
This is why throughout
sacred history "the subject" (or lack of one) has been referred to in so
many contradictory ways. It's called "Atman" or "The Self" (because it's the
subject, our intrinsic nature) and it's also called "Anatman" or "No-self"
(because it's not ever findable). We can't even exactly say that it's
"there" or "not there", because only that which is in the field of the
senses can exist or not exist.
Like light, it cannot itself be seen but it illuminates all that is seen.
We only experience light by seeing its reflections as the objects that it
illuminates. This is the formless light of consciousness; your own deepest
subjectivity, in this sense it is your own deepest Self.
Recognizing the Unmanifest Absolute (Nirguna Brahman)
Would you like to do a bit of further guided exploration?
Slowly open their eyes and allow yourself to get a sense of the entire
You can recognize that there are objects in the visual field, but if you
relax your focus you can be aware of the entire field itself. You can do
this by resting your focus on the center of the field of vision and allowing
yourself to become aware of the whole field while relaxing your gaze.
You'll notice the visual field is something like an oval or circle or
sphere. From here, without moving your eyes allow yourself to become aware
of the edges of this sphere, the edges of the visual field. Now notice that
you can "be aware" of the vast space in which the visual field is appearing.
Notice that you can allow your awareness to expand infinitely into this
space beyond the sense fields in all directions, and yet paradoxically it
has no dimensions at all because it is outside of the senses.
Notice that because it is beyond the senses we can refer to it as
"blackness", but it really has no color, it's beyond the visual field. We
can't quite say if it's empty or full, but sometimes it's called emptiness
and fullness both. We can't even exactly say that it's "there", because only
that which is in the field of the senses can exist or not exist. But we can
know it by recognition. It is the context of all our experience. By relaxing
into it’s intuitive recognition, it’s absent presence (or present absence)
expands into the field of the senses. It can set that field aglow with
radiance. This boundless space is the basis, the ground and the substratum
of all sense experience, yet it is beyond the senses.
We cannot even say that this vastness is either conscious or unconscious
(or beyond both!), yet Consciousness is inseparable from it: see if you can
you find a boundary between the two.
In India this is called the non-duality of Atman and Brahman.
This is the non-duality of our own subjectivity and the boundless space
(beyond existence and non-existence) in which everything is sensed! Resting as
that you are infinity.