The nature of awareness

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The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:22 pm

Greetings all 'round! :-)

I gave this thread such a broad title, The nature of awareness, because I'm interested in discussing all thing awareness-related. But the specific set of questions that prompted me to start the thread is this:

Is there "my" awareness? And, by extension, your awareness, his/her awareness, their awareness, perhaps its awareness? Iow does every aware entity have its own individual "private" awareness?

Or is there only ... awareness. No my, hers, theirs. Just one big happy field of awareness? If so ... how to explain the fact that I am aware of X, but no one else is?

Or maybe: both! Each individual aware entity has its own field of awareness, and the whole has its field. Two fields: a particular* and a universal. If this is the case ... what is the nature of the relationship between these fields?

* Perhaps there are different levels of "particular" awareness fields: that of a quark, an elementary particle containing quarks, an atom containing elementary particles, a molecule containing atoms, a cell containing molecules, an organ containing cells, a bodily system containing organs, an organism containing bodily systems ... all the way up to planets, solar systems, galaxies, etc.

Looking very forward to your responses ... and pretty much anything you have share re: awareness. :-)
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby Webwanderer » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:47 pm

Great topic.

My take is this: It's all about context and perspective. In one sense there is Awareness. Infinite. Eternal. Omniscient. Omnipresent. In another there is points of awareness, individualized, unique from other such points.

A little analogy. The above Awareness represents a room. Within this room are two or more 'people'. Each perceives the room from their own unique vantage or perspective. It's the same room but seen from unique points of view.

Now consider this less a physical room and more a spacial consciousness with unique perspectives perceiving it. Those perspectives are not simply physical locations, but have different/unique experiential backgrounds. The perception of each is uniquely influenced through the nature and quality of their experience with conditions and other identifications.

Through a process of chosen preference - rejection, acceptance, beliefs, judgments, assumptions and every possible influence experience can offer - context is created within awareness that gives it a unique quality from every other perceiving point of view.

Awareness is still fundamental, context makes it unique. As awareness has as part of its fundamental nature a quality of self reflection, it has a sense of identity based on that self reflection - or self awareness. Ultimately there is One Awareness, with infinite unique perspectives and complete with a unique sense of self, even though they are ultimately of the One.

Individuation, is a context, however limited or broad, withing the One Awareness. As Individuations become more inclusive in their context, they evolve toward the One Awareness from which they were created. The process is likely eternal as the very exploration of experience by the individuations, the I dents, is expansive to Source Awareness Itself.

Well that was a fun exploration of possibilities.

WW
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:57 pm

Webwanderer wrote:Great topic.

Glad you're into it. I figure the regulars will get around to participating within the next few days. I'd love to from all of them!
My take is this: It's all about context and perspective. In one sense there is Awareness. Infinite. Eternal. Omniscient. Omnipresent. In another there is points of awareness, individualized, unique from other such points.

A little analogy. The above Awareness represents a room. Within this room are two or more 'people'. Each perceives the room from their own unique vantage or perspective. It's the same room but seen from unique points of view.

Now consider this less a physical room and more a spacial consciousness with unique perspectives perceiving it. Those perspectives are not simply physical locations, but have different/unique experiential backgrounds. The perception of each is uniquely influenced through the nature and quality of their experience with conditions and other identifications.

Through a process of chosen preference - rejection, acceptance, beliefs, judgments, assumptions and every possible influence experience can offer - context is created within awareness that gives it a unique quality from every other perceiving point of view.

Awareness is still fundamental, context makes it unique. As awareness has as part of its fundamental nature a quality of self reflection, it has a sense of identity based on that self reflection - or self awareness. Ultimately there is One Awareness, with infinite unique perspectives and complete with a unique sense of self, even though they are ultimately of the One.

Individuation, is a context, however limited or broad, withing the One Awareness. As Individuations become more inclusive in their context, they evolve toward the One Awareness from which they were created. The process is likely eternal as the very exploration of experience by the individuations, the I dents, is expansive to Source Awareness Itself.

I'm getting a bit of a Chardin's Omega Point vibe from that last bit: All beings are moving towards the light (Omega Point). This evolution is unfathomably slow (by human standards), but inexorable. Buddhism has this too, the belief that ALL sentient beings will eventually be enlightened.

My view is very similar to yours. The one in the many, the many in the one. For me, Buddha's dependent arising provides a beautiful insight into this many/One process. It basically says that everything is interconnected and that, because of this, nothing ultimately begins or ends ... it's all (part of) one big beginningless/endless process. It doesn't deny apparent individuality, rather frames it in co-dependence with other apparent individuals. A gorgeous visual/mental representation of this is Indra's Net:

Image

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering "like" stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring. — Wikipedia
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby Rob X » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:47 pm

rachMiel wrote:For me, Buddha's dependent arising provides a beautiful insight into this many/One process. It basically says that everything is interconnected and that, because of this, nothing ultimately begins or ends ... it's all (part of) one big beginningless/endless process. It doesn't deny apparent individuality, rather frames it in co-dependence with other apparent individuals. A gorgeous visual/mental representation of this is Indra's Net:


Yes. We normally understand existence to be made up of a multiplicity of things which collectively we call the whole. But as I see it, this is the wrong way round. What this is is the whole (whatever that is) presenting and patterning as the apparent things of our everyday experience. Reality without separation.

Some equate this ‘Reality without separation’ (this inexplicable source, 'stuff' and totality of things) as awareness. I can fully understand why but see no reason to narrow it down as such (I prefer to keep it open.)

Obviously within this there is another ‘phenomenon’ called awareness which is localised, temporal and subject to conditions for its arising. As yet no one fully understands its nature.

I’m happier if/when these two categories are designated differently (though one is borne out of the other.) At least Nisargadatta had the consideration to call one awareness and the other consciousness. :D
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby runstrails » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:40 am

Is there "my" awareness? And, by extension, your awareness, his/her awareness, their awareness, perhaps its awareness? I


Hi rM,
Good topic and good answers.

Here is my take:

Within awareness, the universe is projected. Some projections (e.g., sentient beings) serve as limiting adjuncts for awareness. Just like light seen through a red crystal appears red even though the light itself does not actually change in any way. Similarly, it seems to be ‘my awareness’ or ‘your awareness’ but actually it’s all just the one awareness appearing through various adjuncts. Ultimately, everything resolves to the one awareness (that you are!).
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:50 pm

Rob X wrote:
rachMiel wrote:For me, Buddha's dependent arising provides a beautiful insight into this many/One process. It basically says that everything is interconnected and that, because of this, nothing ultimately begins or ends ... it's all (part of) one big beginningless/endless process. It doesn't deny apparent individuality, rather frames it in co-dependence with other apparent individuals. A gorgeous visual/mental representation of this is Indra's Net:

Yes. We normally understand existence to be made up of a multiplicity of things which collectively we call the whole. But as I see it, this is the wrong way round. What this is is the whole (whatever that is) presenting and patterning as the apparent things of our everyday experience. Reality without separation.

Some equate this ‘Reality without separation’ (this inexplicable source, 'stuff' and totality of things) as awareness. I can fully understand why but see no reason to narrow it down as such (I prefer to keep it open.)

Obviously within this there is another ‘phenomenon’ called awareness which is localised, temporal and subject to conditions for its arising. As yet no one fully understands its nature.

I’m happier if/when these two categories are designated differently (though one is borne out of the other.) At least Nisargadatta had the consideration to call one awareness and the other consciousness. :D

I wonder if the two awarenesses you describe, local and universal, are ultimately the same thing = that which Rupert Spira points to as "nonconceptual knowing" ... ?
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:37 pm

runstrails wrote:Within awareness, the universe is projected. Some projections (e.g., sentient beings) serve as limiting adjuncts for awareness. Just like light seen through a red crystal appears red even though the light itself does not actually change in any way. Similarly, it seems to be ‘my awareness’ or ‘your awareness’ but actually it’s all just the one awareness appearing through various adjuncts. Ultimately, everything resolves to the one awareness (that you are!).

I dig it. It resonates, mysteriously ... which is how I like my resonances.

Does this (far less poetic) translation to rachMiel-Speak accurately preserve your intended meaning:

Each individual is like a computer connected to the Internet. We each have a unique view of the Internet, depending on what sites we visit and how we interpret them. But all of our views are of the same Internet.

?
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby Rob X » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:33 pm

rachMiel wrote:I wonder if the two awarenesses you describe, local and universal, are ultimately the same thing = that which Rupert Spira points to as "nonconceptual knowing" ... ?


In my own spiritual adventure it’s never been important to attempt to pin down what Reality (or THIS) is. It’s been enough for me to have the fortune to discern that Reality IS and IS without a second. I’ve found that the questioning of separation has been the most fruitful avenue to explore along the way. In doing that the mystery of THIS comes into sharper relief and the status of the little me takes its rightful place as a creative play of a vast and ineffable principle.

In the past I was happy to call IT Consciousness (in fact there are many posts on other forums from back in the day where I always referred to it as Consciousness.) Then one night I had the deepest sense that I really couldn’t know WHAT it was - only THAT it was. From then on I have alternated Reality, Source, God, Life, THIS… and so on - I accept Awareness as a placeholder too.

Yes, it’s the same creative principle at work however we conceive it. But it’s very likely (immensely probable) that what IT is is beyond the conceptions of current human cognition. At the moment we more or less have the binary choice of energy vs consciousness. What if it’s neither OR includes both - but our primitive cognition cannot grasp this? (A flea doesn’t even have the binary choice.) What if its nature is something that we cannot possibly imagine or conceive of? It’s hard for us to accept that - simply because we can’t conceive it.

As far as I’m concerned none of this is bad news. If cognition is limited in the way that I think it is then our primitive (mostly materialistic) fears about death and annihilation are also unwarranted or at least based on unsound evidence.
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby runstrails » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:03 am

rM wrote: Each individual is like a computer connected to the Internet. We each have a unique view of the Internet, depending on what sites we visit and how we interpret them. But all of our views are of the same Internet.


Good analogy! I would just add that the computers do not exist without the internet and the internet itself does not depend on the computers.
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:08 am

Well there goes that analogy! Because computers DO exist without the Internet, and the Internet IS dependent upon its constituent computers.

Back to the drawing board ... ;-)

One of the charms of awareness for me is that whenever I have the feeling "I've finally nailed it!" it turns out I haven't even come close. It refuses to be fully fathomed. Gotta love that. 8)
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby turiya » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:10 am

Rob X wrote:
But it’s very likely (immensely probable) that what IT is is beyond the conceptions of current human cognition


Maybe what IT is is beyond the conceptions of human cognition. Period. (Maybe IT always was, is, and will be beyond?)
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby turiya » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:18 am

rachMiel wrote:
...whenever I have the feeling "I've finally nailed it!" it turns out I haven't even come close. It refuses to be fully fathomed.


So true! :D
Awareness is forever un-nail-able... unfathomable.... indefinable, by definition. :lol:
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:52 am

turiya wrote:
rachMiel wrote:
...whenever I have the feeling "I've finally nailed it!" it turns out I haven't even come close. It refuses to be fully fathomed.


So true! :D
Awareness is forever un-nail-able... unfathomable.... indefinable, by definition. :lol:

Yes! And I'm such an idiot ... still, after all these years, trying to use dualistic tools of the mind (thought, analysis, logic, etc.) to "find" awareness. It's a fool's errand, and apparently I'm one c'helluva fool because I / just / won't / stop!
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby rachMiel » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:54 am

Rob X wrote:
rachMiel wrote:I wonder if the two awarenesses you describe, local and universal, are ultimately the same thing = that which Rupert Spira points to as "nonconceptual knowing" ... ?

In my own spiritual adventure it’s never been important to attempt to pin down what Reality (or THIS) is. It’s been enough for me to have the fortune to discern that Reality IS and IS without a second. I’ve found that the questioning of separation has been the most fruitful avenue to explore along the way. In doing that the mystery of THIS comes into sharper relief and the status of the little me takes its rightful place as a creative play of a vast and ineffable principle.

In the past I was happy to call IT Consciousness (in fact there are many posts on other forums from back in the day where I always referred to it as Consciousness.) Then one night I had the deepest sense that I really couldn’t know WHAT it was - only THAT it was. From then on I have alternated Reality, Source, God, Life, THIS… and so on - I accept Awareness as a placeholder too.

Yes, it’s the same creative principle at work however we conceive it. But it’s very likely (immensely probable) that what IT is is beyond the conceptions of current human cognition. At the moment we more or less have the binary choice of energy vs consciousness. What if it’s neither OR includes both - but our primitive cognition cannot grasp this? (A flea doesn’t even have the binary choice.) What if its nature is something that we cannot possibly imagine or conceive of? It’s hard for us to accept that - simply because we can’t conceive it.

As far as I’m concerned none of this is bad news. If cognition is limited in the way that I think it is then our primitive (mostly materialistic) fears about death and annihilation are also unwarranted or at least based on unsound evidence.

You are one cool dude, Rob X. Love your presence in the forum!
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Re: The nature of awareness

Postby Rob X » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:04 pm

rachMiel wrote:
Rob X wrote:
rachMiel wrote:I wonder if the two awarenesses you describe, local and universal, are ultimately the same thing = that which Rupert Spira points to as "nonconceptual knowing" ... ?

In my own spiritual adventure it’s never been important to attempt to pin down what Reality (or THIS) is. It’s been enough for me to have the fortune to discern that Reality IS and IS without a second. I’ve found that the questioning of separation has been the most fruitful avenue to explore along the way. In doing that the mystery of THIS comes into sharper relief and the status of the little me takes its rightful place as a creative play of a vast and ineffable principle.

In the past I was happy to call IT Consciousness (in fact there are many posts on other forums from back in the day where I always referred to it as Consciousness.) Then one night I had the deepest sense that I really couldn’t know WHAT it was - only THAT it was. From then on I have alternated Reality, Source, God, Life, THIS… and so on - I accept Awareness as a placeholder too.

Yes, it’s the same creative principle at work however we conceive it. But it’s very likely (immensely probable) that what IT is is beyond the conceptions of current human cognition. At the moment we more or less have the binary choice of energy vs consciousness. What if it’s neither OR includes both - but our primitive cognition cannot grasp this? (A flea doesn’t even have the binary choice.) What if its nature is something that we cannot possibly imagine or conceive of? It’s hard for us to accept that - simply because we can’t conceive it.

As far as I’m concerned none of this is bad news. If cognition is limited in the way that I think it is then our primitive (mostly materialistic) fears about death and annihilation are also unwarranted or at least based on unsound evidence.

You are one cool dude, Rob X. Love your presence in the forum!


Hey, it's mutual. :D
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