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Old November 10th, 2010, 20:43   #1 (permalink)
Kauil (Offline)
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Default Does the word 'consciousness' point to anything actual?

Okay. I thought I had this thing, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the mind and its concepts of the world and how it plays games with you to keep you believing in illusions that are never real. But something I just heard Jeff Foster say in a video almost made me angry. It literally made me think "What is this I am hearing?! Can this be true? Have I been wrong all this time?"

YouTube - Jeff Foster - pointers on Nonduality (Advaita) and Oneness - Audiobook

In the beginning of the clip Jeff is describing how there's nobody there thinking, seeing, feeling. Is this truly true (), is it so that there IS NO CONSCIOUSNESS? Is it another fable told by the mind?

I finished reading about Tolle's descriptions of the awareness being the space in which contents exist, the nothingness in which everythingness is located. But it never struck me like this.


Is there really nothing there, or is there just no 'thing' there? Is it only a thought of the mind, or are the thoughts pointing to something actual?
Is the consciousness something, or is it nothing?
Is there an "I" at all?
Is there no-one driving this vehicle that is my corporeal whole, my body in all it's atoms? Is this body just meat and brains, operating under the illusion of choice?
Is consciousness or awareness just the opening through which life operates?


I can't really come up with any more words for my question... I'm not even sure what I'm asking here...

I just felt really cheated suddenly and there was an urge to find an answer.

Last edited by Kauil : November 10th, 2010 at 21:00.
 
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Old November 10th, 2010, 22:00   #2 (permalink)
Karmoh (Offline)
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This is a deep subject and I’m sure will promote some good debate. Trying to understand consciousness is impossible you can only use pointers to help you undersatnd.


From my limited understanding, consciousness is what you are in the most basic sense, before you look to any thoughts, labels or forms appearing within awareness. Consciousness is the actual, vast, no-boundary, non-conceptual space from, and through which all appearances, including all labels, thoughts and forms seamlessly come and go. It knows no boundaries. It knows no divisions.
Consciousness is impersonal. It is not yours. Any sensation in the body that give the sense that consciousness is located in your body, either in your head, or chest, or some other part is happening in awareness. It is not consciousness itself. It is not what sees the sensation. Consciousness has no boundary and cannot be proven to be restricted to an individual.


I cannot exist by myself. I exist only in relationship to people, things, and ideas.
–Jiddu Krishnamurti

Peace
 
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Old November 12th, 2010, 09:34   #3 (permalink)
Edwin (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Kauil View Post
In the beginning of the clip Jeff is describing how there's nobody there thinking, seeing, feeling. Is this truly true (), is it so that there IS NO CONSCIOUSNESS? Is it another fable told by the mind?
Jeff Foster is an Advaita teacher.
Every ... method or religion pointing towards the same endpoint has a different description, you could say have their own language so to speak.

When Jeff says that there is nobody thinking, seeing or feeling, he is talking about the ego. No-body, there is no person or ego there, just consciousness.
And at the same time he is making a very accurate description of consciousness as well: no-thing !
So in a sense, if you knew how to describe consciousness, you would probably have made a mental image of it, and every mental image of consciousness is wrong, because mind can never grasp something that is there while it is a no-thing.

What I find interesting is your reaction:
But something I just heard Jeff Foster say in a video almost made me angry. It literally made me think "What is this I am hearing?! Can this be true? Have I been wrong all this time?"
This sounds like a typical reaction of the mind, trying to defend it's viewpoint.
Obviously mind must have made some concept of consciousness that it is trying to defend, or anger would not have risen at all...

Ask yourself "who is angry ?"
I finished reading about Tolle's descriptions of the awareness being the space in which contents exist, the nothingness in which everythingness is located. But it never struck me like this.


Is there really nothing there, or is there just no 'thing' there? Is it only a thought of the mind, or are the thoughts pointing to something actual?
Is the consciousness something, or is it nothing?
Is there an "I" at all?
Is there no-one driving this vehicle that is my corporeal whole, my body in all it's atoms? Is this body just meat and brains, operating under the illusion of choice?
Is consciousness or awareness just the opening through which life operates?
Give this some thought.
What is the difference between nothing and everything ?
If consciousness is nothing, at the same time it has to be everything.

There is no denying that consciousness exists.
You are here, you notice every moment in which your body exists that you are here.
No illusion what so ever.

However, when trying to look for consciousness, you can't find it.
I am going to use a well known example from Advaita:
A knife can cut through everything except itself.
A camera can make pictures of everything except itself.
Consciousness can see everything.... except itself.

It is impossible to see consciousness, because you allready are that.

In this thread, where Midnight gets his "moment of insight", he figures this out by himself at this post: This jarring resistance

Last edited by Edwin : November 12th, 2010 at 09:43.
 
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:28   #4 (permalink)
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I can only think of the scientific explanation of nothing being everything in that everything = condensed nothingness.

I read most of Midnight's thread and the answers therein. He describes an underlying sense of being aware of it all. I'm not sure I'm recognising that in myself.

Still, is it so that the mind must think through these things until it exhausts itself, finding no more answers through conceptual thinking? I suppose the amount of thinking exhaustion required varies from person to person. Is that what Jeff meant with "failing with the spiritual search"? The mind has to fail.

This is all feels like a great mindf*ck, if you know what I mean. And all the while the consciousness is watching and laughing at the mind's efforts in understanding something it possibly couldn't.
 
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:06   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kauil View Post
Is that what Jeff meant with "failing with the spiritual search"? The mind has to fail.
It is ! The worst thing you could do instead of searching for the answers yourself is to "become spiritual". Ask questions, don't act on faith alone.
This is all feels like a great mindf*ck, if you know what I mean. And all the while the consciousness is watching and laughing at the mind's efforts in understanding something it possibly couldn't.
Haha, well, consciousness isn't laughing. It is watching. And basically, that is all it does. Everything else that happens in this world, being it things, thoughts, emotions, movements, those all happen in consciousness.
And they are effortlessly seen by consciousness.

It is so hard to recognise for you because you are so very close to it.
Your very existence is based on your conscious self.
If your body would be unconscious at this time, the world may very well stop existing and you would not notice it.
First there is consciousness, and in consciousness is where thoughts, emotions, and all your senses appear.

But I feel that I may be confusing you even more instead of helping you...

Maybe it would be better to go about this like Sherlock Holmes would.
By eliminating everything it is not, the truth, however unlikely, will be left.

Try to find out who you really are.
Are you your body ?
For instance your hands, of course you can move them, but are your hands who you are ?
If a person by some accident or disease would lose their arms, would they stop being who they are ?
So, because you can observe your body, it is not who you are.
People who think of themselves as old or ugly say the same thing: When I look into the mirror the person staring back at me is not who I am.

So, you are not your body.

Who are you then ?
Is it like Descartes said "I think, therefor I am" ?
Since you are probably familiar with meditation, you will probably have noticed that even though you can sometimes get caught up in thoughts and emotions, they can be observed as coming up, and disappearing, like the cloud analogy in the free meditation course by Michael.

So, you are not your thoughts.

And emotions ? Can they be observed ? Do they come up and disappear ?

So, you are also not your thoughts.

So, if you are not your body, thoughts or emotions....

What is left ?
 
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Old November 13th, 2010, 02:06   #6 (permalink)
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I just figured something If only I could remember what it was...

So this "enlightenment" isn't something that the mind can accomplish. Meaning it never has been, and it never will be. And also that it's no "it". It's not. Difficult to put into words, yes.

So whatever this "enlightenment" is, or isn't, it always has been, or hasn't been.

This, I think, proves that enlightenment is paradoxal to the mind, and also something that always is.

Thank God for paradoxes.

----

If I am the watcher, wasn't Descartes then wrong in saying "I think, therefore I am"?
There is no I, so no "I think" either, nor an "I am". What were you implying with this?
 
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:52   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kauil View Post
I just figured something If only I could remember what it was...

So this "enlightenment" isn't something that the mind can accomplish. Meaning it never has been, and it never will be. And also that it's no "it". It's not. Difficult to put into words, yes.

So whatever this "enlightenment" is, or isn't, it always has been, or hasn't been.

This, I think, proves that enlightenment is paradoxal to the mind, and also something that always is
That is the power of self-inquiry.
You come up with the answers yourself, emenating from a truth within rather than just listening and believing someone.
Yes you are right, everybody is enlightened, but we think we are not.
Because wether you believe it or not, Self is always there to witness everything, even your belief in being a seperate person.
If I am the watcher, wasn't Descartes then wrong in saying "I think, therefore I am"?
There is no I, so no "I think" either, nor an "I am". What were you implying with this?
Wow you catch on fast !
Descartes should either have said : "I am, therefor I think",

or

I observe my thoughts, therefor I am

Could you explain why you say that there is no "I am" ?
I am not saying that you are wrong, I just want to know if you can explain that.
 
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Old November 13th, 2010, 13:26   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Edwin View Post
Could you explain why you say that there is no "I am" ?
I am not saying that you are wrong, I just want to know if you can explain that.
I am. Doesn't that imply duality? If the being a separate person is a delusion, then isn't saying 'I am' or 'You are' just a derivative of this delusion? If there is no separation, there are no separate persons, so there is no-one. There is no one. One requires the other. With not even 'one' to begin with, there's nothing else either, so there's nothing. Or rather "Nowhere's nothing." But even these are concepts to the mind... ok I'm veering off point :P

I suppose Descartes should've said: Nothing is, therefore everything is. But I suppose he was coming from a faulty assumption to begin with, the "I am."

Or perhaps it's not faulty, he just failed to include it inside "Everything is.", in which case it becomes insignificant to state "I am" in the first place. I think I'm chasing the 'Everyone is enlightened, so there is no such thing' analogy here. Someone in another thread quoted/told an ample example: If everything was blue, nothing would be blue.

You could say: "Is." There's no doer in that one. But it's not really grammatically correct and quite confusing to state just that. Is.

I feel my mind isn't so interested in spiritual seeking as it was a few months back. Maybe it's a good sign. Maybe that is so.
 
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Old November 14th, 2010, 19:30   #9 (permalink)
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I had just made a nice post for you and then the PM forum server had a hickup.
Lost !

Will post later, haven't forgotten you !
 
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Old November 14th, 2010, 19:46   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kauil View Post
I am. Doesn't that imply duality? If the being a separate person is a delusion, then isn't saying 'I am' or 'You are' just a derivative of this delusion? If there is no separation, there are no separate persons, so there is no-one. There is no one. One requires the other. With not even 'one' to begin with, there's nothing else either, so there's nothing. Or rather "Nowhere's nothing." But even these are concepts to the mind... ok I'm veering off point :P
I agree that saying "I am" makes no sense.

However the feeling "I am" is a whole different story.
The feeling "I am" points towards the fact that you are here, that you exist, it "is" to speak in your words
In this "isness" everything appears.
You could say: "Is." There's no doer in that one. But it's not really grammatically correct and quite confusing to state just that. Is.
Ok, so you allready see that consciousness is not personal.

So, if it is not personal, and you allready know that consciousness is that in which everything appears, you now need to try find it.
Consciousness has no properties, no size, no form. See if you can look inward, and find out where consciousness ends.
Just try to find out how big consciousness is.
 
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