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Brahman = Atman = Awareness = Consciousness = You
Conrad: Thank you so much for your writing, which provided further/fitting fuel for contemplation.
The repeated pointing really helps (“you are obvious,” “every experience means just you,” “every experience is just an object,” “you are obvious”)!
Shams: Meaning that we don’t need more experiences, but the right knowledge.
Conrad: It is clear that any thought/feeling/emotion/mood/sensation/perception/experience is a cloud in the sky, which arises, vanishes, “in a way, very real,” and at the same time as good as non-existing, a reflection – all appearances of/on me (Me), that what/who always was thought to be “me” is a narrowing/projection of, a play of, the stage for, its/my real nature, Consciousness/Existence (the formulation incorrectly implying “it” being an object. ☺
On the experiential level, this (further) falling away of ignorance also translates as a (further) waking up to (realizing) the mere wonder of Existence/Consciousness, of “being here/now” in the first place/itself, of who/what I am, while indeed as reported and as I always have known to be true, at the same time it is nothing spectacular whatsoever.
Shams: Yes. We can call consciousness many names; “existence” is one of them. But it’s important to remember that this existence is just awareness, not the act of existing. Strictly, we could say that consciousness is free from existence, as the self doesn’t cease to be when there is no world or experience.
Conrad: I, anew, take a stand as That (the words are just pointers):
small/simple/empty and immense/full/absolute Light on (the apperance/sustenance/disappearance of ) being;
actionless/effortless Lamp – without off-mode;
although attributeless, with the flavors of Source/Silence/Openness, Clarity/Revelation/Wit and Joy/Love/Serenity.
Shams: And, after all, nothing extraordinary, just you.
Conrad: Apart from this, a question for better understanding, about the term “the Absolute” that is used in some (quasi) Advaita Vedanta contexts, this “Absolute” then being “prior to consciousness.”
Shams: If we are talking Vedanta, why would we want to add an external term? Words are only useful in their context, as we could say that “absolute” is one thing for a philosopher like Hegel and another very different thing for the “Vedanta” context that you refer to. If we needed the term, for sure we would use it, but only after explaining what we are pointing to. Why? Because there is no “absolute.” There is not even an “awareness” or a “self” or “love” or “Paramatman.” Those are just words that we use in order to point actual objects, but words have no meaning by themselves. Vedanta is pointing to you.
In this case, we don’t use “absolute” too much, because it’s not as useful as other words that are less abstract and have a more direct meaning, but sometimes the English word “appear,” meaning something that is total and whole, i.e. another description for consciousness. If you read about something that is “prior to consciousness,” you can be sure that it is not Vedanta. For sure, they can use the word “absolute” to mean anything they want, as words belong to everybody. That they are not speaking the truth is also true.
Some lines of thought refer to consciousness as the mind, but we had discarded the mind as a subtle object appearing in consciousness, so we use consciousness to mean the self free from objects (experience) where all the objects appear. There’s nothing prior to that, and you are nothing but that at this very moment.
Conrad: I would say now that (comparable to the term “higher self” from the last email) the term simply refers to Atman, the Self, and that consciousness, here, has to be written with a small “c.”
Shams: There is only one consciousness. Maybe we need some editorial standardization here because sometimes we use a big “C” and other times a small one. But we are referring to only one consciousness, or awareness.
As in the last email, the conclusion is that there is no such thing as a “higher self,” there is not an absolute prior to consciousness and there is not a Consciousness with a consciousness. There is only awareness, one consciousness.
I know it sounds strange but it’s not complex at all, and the seeker’s mind came prepared for big complexities. But that is the cosmic truth, laughably simple: just you.
Conrad: And/or maybe it’s (even?) more correct to say that this term refers to, or equals, the Brahman-aspect (knowing that Atman is Brahman)?
Shams: Knowing that atman is brahman is realising that there is not an inch of difference between them. Those two words are used (words are “used,” as they don’t signify anything by themselves) to refer to the same thing from two different perspectives: atman is the essence of the individual soul, and brahman is the essence of the cosmos. But that essense is exactly the same, so we could also correctly say that atman is the essense of the whole cosmos, and brahman is the essence of the individual.
So we come to this equation:
Brahman = Atman = Awareness = C(c)onsciousness = You.
Please, note that there are no levels here. There are no complexities. Any elaboration would be an experiential construct, and the whole Vedantic castle was built in order to negate it and to point to the witness: you.
Conrad: Hello, Shams. Thank you for your email, which, as said, was clear and confirming, which, in a way, feels like, at least for now as I can judge, at last things being put in their right place.
I, as this apparent body/mind/intellect/person, realize, at least more than ever before, my true identity/essence as Light/Life/Love (realizing all these are just words).
Silence is the better language here. ☺ Besides, a new subtle inner joy and a kind of release which is felt these days, at times, in the midst of the more common feelings.
Shams: Hi, Conrad. I hope the knowledge is still firm and getting firmer.
As you will see, karma and its vasanas keep appearing in you the same way, as always.
But knowledge shows us that we don’t need to change the experience, only the understanding.