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Only Two Existential Factors
Chandra: Hello, James. I’m looking forward to seeing you sometime in Oakland later this month. Meanwhile, I have a question that I haven’t been able to answer satisfactorily yet.
In the last few months I’ve been having (on occasions) the experience that objects do not exist, that consciousness takes different forms as you look around… the way the light takes the forms of the pictures in a film (obviously, there are no objects in a film, just light with shapes and colors). No object = no subject. I guess this is an experience of non-duality. I noticed that this happens in “favorable” circumstances (walks in nature, at a concert listening to Beethoven’s late string quartets, things like that).
Other times, most notably when I am in a courtroom waiting for my case to be called, which can take a couple of hours (I work as a court interpreter), the experience is “I want to get out of here,” a rather intense experience of duality.
Yet I understand that there is no real difference between one circumstance and the other: they are both forms that consciousness takes. Following the same line of reasoning one can say that both types of experience (the non-dual and the intensely dual) are also forms that consciousness takes, but it hasn’t been very satisfying as an answer, and it leaves me with the feeling that there is something I’m not seeing clearly.
Consciousness is not an experience, I know that. Perhaps I don’t know it so clearly, and I need to deepen that understanding? If that’s the case, how should I go about it?
I was hoping that you could help me with this.
~ As always, with much gratitude, Chandra
James: Hi, Chandra. What is the common factor in these two different experiences? It is you, consciousness. You are thinking of consciousness as an object, not as yourself. The “one who wants to be out of here” is an object in you, consciousness. You are identifying with the experiencing entity, Chandra. See if she isn’t known to you. If she is, she cannot be you. There are only two factors in existence: you and the objects – read: experiences – appearing in you. Which are you?
~ Love, James