In saying what it does, CIA is not attempting to tell any body what to believe or do. It is not telling another that they are wrong or right. It simply is speaking as, or starting from, the basis of the Infinity of Awareness only, and staying consistent with its premise. As said earlier, taking this Absolute stance actually is not a denial or negation of what appears as the relative—although it often is considered as being a negation. Why is it not a negation?
One of the comments said, “Advaita…typically sees the appearance world as Consciousness Itself. The appearance and perceptions are (my italics) happening within Consciousness and this is how Consciousness can experience Itself through these experiences which have no substance of their own.”
Again, much of this is semantics. First here’s an example—and realizing that examples are not “direct experience,” we’ll get into that next. This example is the often-used one of the movie screen, but with a new twist.
The pure white movie screen is pure Consciousness, Awareness. The superimposed movie image is the “appearance,” or appearing world. The “take-away” from this example seems to depend on where one “starts,” as you’ll see.
Yes, in one sense, when looking at the screen face-on, it could be said that the appearances and perceptions are happening within Consciousness (within the screen). The appearances also have no substance of their own (just like movie images—all that’s really “substantive” is the screen). Rather than say the appearances are happening within Consciousness, we would say they seem or appear to be happening. Perhaps that is how it was intended. I mention it only because it’s an important distinction, because to say appear rather than are implies less of a “reality.”
From this viewpoint it certainly appears as if Consciousness, Awareness, (the screen) included the appearance. What’s important to note is that the screen (Awareness) never changes, and the movie, the appearance, changes constantly. In one sense this could be called duality (screen and appearance). Or, as some nondualists would say, it’s not duality, it’s really One, for all that’s really there, substantive, is screen—so there are not two. This is what is behind the expression, “Emptiness is form and form is Emptiness.” “Emptiness (the screen) is form,” because the screen is right where form appears to be (underlying it). And the flip side: “form is Emptiness” because right where form, the movie appearance, appears to be, there’s really only screen.
One comes to this determination by looking at this from the picture side, as if facing the screen.
Now—what if one were to walk around behind the screen to the other side, and not face it, but look out as the screen itself? In other words, what is it to “look” from, or as, Pure Infinity?
“Looking this way,” what is there? Is there any finite picture to be seen or experienced? None at all. Yet from the other perspective, the picture appears to be there. As far as the screen is concerned, the picture or appearance doesn’t even occur. So, from here, it’s not enough, not accurate, to say there is an appearance, even though it may be insubstantial or unreal. One has to say the picture or appearance doesn’t exist at all—not even as a mere illusion.
Does this mean the screen is “negating” or “not honoring” the picture? Of course not. Does this leave another that could be either experiencing a picture or negating a picture? No. To the screen, there simply is only itself.
To the screen there is no time, and no sense of space—for those would seem to appear only in or as the appearing picture. However, now it would be a picture that is not even occurring from the standpoint of the screen itself (pure Infinity of Consciousness).
Is there any duality here? The screen itself is not dualistic, nor is it taking a dualistic stance by having something in addition to itself to negate (an appearance). Why? Because the screen is not negating anything besides itself. There isn’t anything besides itself to negate. How is it possible to negate something that never is occurring? It isn’t.
This, in a nutshell, is what CIA is saying. It’s this simple. It is “looking out as” the screen, the Infinity-only that pure Awareness IS—which is vastly different from when starting with the seeming “picture side” of things. Far better–the fact that Awareness, to Itself, is Pure Infinity, means there is only Infinity—there aren’t even any sides or faces, not two possible viewpoints or perspectives, nor any looking. Only the simplicity of Being.
We say this is the “stance” that is most consistent with what is truly present and consciously functioning, being, here, now. Infinite Consciousness Itself is the Only One being conscious, alive, here in the first place—so how can another stance legitimately be taken? Who would there be to take it? Its Infinity does not have any finite equipment with which to experience or co-exist with finity.
The point is that Awareness, Infinity, the Absolute, never, never, never is negating, nor even precluding anything. It leaves nothing besides Itself to negate or preclude. Only would-be human thinking would attempt to project that assumption upon the Absolute.
Yes, it has to be said in the book that “Absolute Awareness leaves no appearances” for purposes of explanation and clarity. But once it’s clear, MOVE ON! Do not waste a single moment saying, “There really is no appearance, no finity.” If you catch that kind of thinking going on (and it may seem to sometimes) DROP IT! Absolute Awareness has not once in Its Infinite Life ever said, “There is no appearance. There is no dream or illusion. The relative is worthless, non-existent.” Absolute Awareness isn’t saying any such nonsense! It is too busy being Changeless Purity for such a notion to even occur.