The following two posts (Parts 1 and 2) are in response to some excellent questions from Roger, who commented on the previous post. As said before, these posts never are in reply to anyone personally, nor is it assumed that the questioner “needs” any answers—the post is just made in general terms for “all readers.” The questions are repeated here:
“…Obviously all the spiritual paths imply the need of a finite “I” who should get somewhere else. That’s something that your teaching avoids when you state we’re the Infinite, with no personal story or space/time limit whatsoever. From that standpoint, any perceived “something”(a sense of presence, a thought, etc.) that could claim to be the real “I” is nothing else than a finite perception, that is, not our true nature. Correct?
My questions are:
1/ Is the “finite”(objects, sensations, the sense of presence, the waking state consciousness, etc.) perceived by the “finite” or is it perceived by the Infinite?
2/What´s the relationship between the Infinite and the finite? I mean, when I wake up in the morning, before I translate that certainty of being awake into words, there’s the feeling of existence, that was not there during deep sleep. Is that waking state consciousness (prior to words or thoughts) perceived by the Infinite?
3/If it’s perceived by the Infinite, is the finite a means for the Infinite to be conscious of Itself? This last question is very important, since there are as many answers as teachers. Some say the Absolute needs the finite (that is, a body, a brain, thoughts, images, etc.) in order to know Itself. Meanwhile, others state that we, the Infinite, know ourselves without relying on a “physical support” (body, brain).
What’s your take on this? Thank you very much in advance. If this topic has already been discussed, please, just tell me where could I find your thoughts on it.”
These are great questions, and are often the subject of heated debate, as Roger indicated in 3). The points are getting down to such a fine distinction, it becomes very difficult to “say” one way or the other. So much depends on semantics and what is meant by perception, Infinite, etc.
We’ll deal with the questions as best as possible, but one definitely should ask, and emphasize, one more question: “Does it really make that much difference to ‘know’ who perceives what? Is it Awareness that wants to know this?”
First, just to clarify from the 1st paragraph. Not meaning to be nit-picky, but this is not a teaching, nor is it “mine.” Sometimes we use certain words because we have little choice, as Roger did, but some words imply certain things, and the longer they’re used, the longer they perpetuate the implication. We just try to avoid any implication that Awareness is coming from a person or that there are people to be taught.
Right here, now, “Something” which we call “Presence” is alive, aware, present. Is the saying of this, or the “noticing” of Presence, really thanks to Presence Itself, or is it merely a finite perception of Presence?
If it is assumed Presence is something supposedly being perceived or noticed by another, by a “me” that is experiencing an “IT”—and that this perceiving occurs over a period of time—then yes, that would be finite.
But who is to say whether this very present Aliveness as Presence, here, now, is not Its own Alive-ing or Presence-ing? Where could a line be drawn, as to where Infinite Presence seems to end, and a finite perception of It seems to begin? Is there any way to measure such a thing to arrive at an irrefutable answer? No.
To combine the two words perception and Infinity in the same sentence or to say they are related, is really asking for trouble, because in their deepest meaning each one precludes the possibility of the other. Perception implies something objective, or duality: subject and object. Meanwhile Infinity is not-two.
Certainly, if there were no Life, no Presence, nothing would be—not even these seeming questions. So as best we can with words and thoughts, it seems consistent to say that it is thanks to Presence being present that this can seem to be done—whether one calls it a finite perceiving of Presence, or Presence’s own “Self-knowing.”
In the strict, absolute sense, Infinity is Infinity alone, and does not allow for any seeming, nor any finity, thus no finite perception of Infinity. Because Presence is being, It is not something ongoing in time, and It leaves no other to perceive It.
The above is an explanation or answer on the basis of logic, or logically. What’s more, even experientially in “deeper” states of Pure Consciousness (such as nirvikalpa samadhi in eastern terminology, meaning Consciousness without an object) there is nothing objective, thus in a sense nothing perceived–and really no “experience”–only Self-Aliveness.
In response, some might argue or debate, “Nothhing objective? Prove it.” This can’t be “proven” but only “experienced” because at this point the would-be superimposed secondary self or mind wanting proof would have totally dissolved into Pure Consciousness.
This could go on and on endlessly.
That’s the seeming paradox when it comes to reducing this to words and thoughts. As long as there’s thought about this, there always will be two possible ways it can be; the duality is unavoidable. Yet, abiding as Pure Consciousness, or not-two, it doesn’t seem consistent to say there are two ways It can be. Consciousness Itself isn’t saying there are two ways—only thought would try to say that.
Right now, look at the very notion of perceiving or “noticing” itself. If you look very closely, it’s clear that the instant there is that very noticing—whether of a thing, or even a noticing of Presence—that noticing seems to take time. It would be time itself. A “noticing” is like a super-fine thought arising. It seems the noticing wasn’t there before, and now it is.
What’s more, the instant there is the noticing, “Yes, Presence is here,” that noticing seems to simultaneously be “leaving”… It’s not a static thing. The instant a noticing has seemed to arise or occur, it’s already a past event, and is being replaced by another seeming “new” noticing of Presence. Yet all of this noticing seems as if it is once-removed from the Actual, and it’s “old news” the very instant it has arisen.
Then you take it a step further.
You see that the very notion of there having been any prior noticing of Presence before, at a previous time a few seconds earlier—NONE of that is prior at all. All of what are assumed to be previous “noticings” aren’t back there in a past—they would be found only in this current arising thought or “noticing.” What’s more, even the thought that Presence Itself had been present before, and could have been noticed before—not even that is true, because all of that, too, is found only in this current thought or noticing.
What this means is that to this Present Awareness, ALL “always” is at the standpoint of nothing having existed or occurred before—not even ALL Itself! Thus “always” there is nothing about which anything could legitimately be noticed, known, or said to have been perceived!
If there’s a doubt about this, work it through for yourself. The only “evidence” of any thing, any perception, or even Present Awareness Itself, having existed before, is found only in, or as, a current thought. See if this can be changed. It can’t. And the moment there is an attempt to think about this, it will sound impossible, crazy, because that very thinking would be the antithesis of this.
What’s more, for any such thought or noticing of Presence to have arisen, it’s as if there first had to be an “ignoring” of Utter Presence. It’s as if Utter Presence has to somehow separate from Itself so It can then look upon or notice Itself as an object to Itself. This is how it seems to play out in time.
Yet the fact is that Utter Presence Itself is 100% being Itself, and It, Itself is not an arising. And as Its Presence, Its Un-arising-ness, is ALL, without a second, then AS THIS, arising, noticing, does not occur. HERE there is no time in which noticing or arising could occur.
Again however, even to say in words that Utter Presence is the absence of thought or arising, is itself an arising thought, a concept—so on the level of words and saying, this kind of finite/Infinite discussion never ends.
But the greater issue is, would this “knowing” of whether or not there is finite perceiving change anything as far as AWARENESS is concerned? No. It might cause a shift to different kinds of thoughts—but they’re still thoughts.
Yes, some kind of answer can be given, but it never would be completely satisfactory. The bottom line is, the real “all-purpose answer” to the questions is to not answer them on the terms on which they were asked. In other words, don’t go there. Don’t take the bait.
All of these questions (and in one sense, they’re great ones) come from thought, not history-less Awareness, never-before-Present-ness. They all mistakenly imply a past in which some uncertainty supposedly occurred, some “need to know” arose, and thought now wants to “know.”
All of the questions subtly imply a past in which finity supposedly occurred, in order to have all the questions asked about finity. They also imply that Present Awareness, too, was present prior to NOW to witness or notice finity. It wasn’t.
In all sincerity, this is not some philosophical sleight of hand, or some slick attempt to avoid dealing with the so-called “tough” questions, such as 2) and 3), over which there seems to be endless debate. Rather, this is saying, “Hey, just look super-closely at what’s actually HERE. All there is, is history-less-ness, and THIS can’t possibly be changed.
So why continue along a seemingly age-old line of questioning when, to this Present Awareness, there honestly hasn’t been any age in which such questions could have arisen in the first place.”
In other words, nip ‘em in their would-be bud.