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The Only Knower
Questioner: Hi, James.
Could you please clarify this statement by Rupert Spira on his enlightenment? Awareness is self-aware, and realization takes place in the subtle body, which is made up on the mind intellect and ego. So how can realization not take place in the mind as Rupert claims? I have no doubt that he is enlightened and his description below in congruent with my experience as well but not sure how the statement makes sense.
“Awakening is the realisation that what we are, that is, the Awareness that is seeing these words and experiencing whatever else is being experienced at this and every moment, is neither limited nor located. This realisation does not happen to a body or a mind. It happens to itself, Awareness.”
James: It’s true that “realization” takes place in the subtle body but realization is not a special experience of one’s self as the Self. It is just the removal of ignorance about one’s ever-experienced identity. However, the subtle body is inert matter. It is only a reflecting medium, incapable of knowing, although it is an instrument of knowledge and experience. For what? For you, the Self.
The Self is the only knower when Maya is operating.* Remember, reality is unborn, non-dual existence/consciousness. It is not a knower unless Maya provides objects. Maya is the material principle, which is not sentient. It seems to be sentient because awareness pervades it, but it isn’t. When Maya is present it seemingly deludes awareness into thinking that it is incomplete, provides a world of attractive objects and convinces awareness that it can remove its sense of incompleteness if it gets the objects it is attracted to. At the same time it deludes the awareness into thinking that it is a desirable object, the attainment of which will set it free, which is impossible, because it is already free and because there are no objects in awareness to attract awareness. So when the words of the scripture/guru are heard, they are only heard by awareness since it is the only sentient being. If you subtract Maya, you cannot call awareness sentient. You can only call it existence/awareness.
I don’t know how you understand your statement that awareness is self-aware, but it does not mean that awareness is self-aware. It means that awareness is just awareness. The words “self-aware” imply duality, a self and something for it to be aware of, but that is impossible, because awareness is non-dual. There is only awareness, one without a second.
I think you are still stuck on the idea that “awakening” – I hate that word – is some kind of unique experience. It is, but only in this sense: insofar as experience exists as anything other than awareness, it is only the removal of ignorance. Every time you get a piece of knowledge, ignorance goes. The removal of ignorance about one’s nature is only noteworthy because it produces so much suffering, unlike the garden-variety daily ignorances of mundane objects.
*Experience shows that you are not two knowers. If you were two knowers, you couldn’t function. If there were two, they would have to be different, and if they were different, how would you know which one was real and which one you were?