NOTE: Ideally this post should be read after the original contribution: The Ghost in the Machine
In the original consideration about our experience of consciousness/awareness as something categorically separate from the 'outside world' we believe it perceives, I suggested that, 'on present evidence' the content of consciousness and the consciousness of content are always one undivided present process of human experience. I also suggested that without us coming to the direct experience of this fundamental truth of human life, we cannot but suffer the consequences of this mistaken view of things.
Allow me to explain what I mean as briefly as possible:
While reading my considerations about the simpe fact of the undivided nature of present experience, the thought might have presented itself: 'so what??'. 'What is this guy going on about?' 'What does all of this have to do with my life and living reality?'. 'Is'nt life complicated enough, for me to enter into these obscure philosophical considerations about duality, wholeness, the unity of present experience and so on?'.
For those of you who got so far as to ask these questions, my reply is quite simple: it is of critical importance for you to give consideration to these matters of wholeness and fragmentation/duality. Why? Because your very happiness depends on it.
The truth is, there is either duality (i.e. the categorical division between awareness and its content), or there is not. Both positions have profound consequences on the way we view the relationship we have with ourselves, our world, and others. Let's take the dualistic view first:
Here I am, experiencing myself as a center of awareness, fundamentally separate from my thinking, my feeling, my body, my emotions; fundamentally separate from my world; fundamentally separate from others around me. As a presumed bundle of walking consciousness going about my affairs relating to my total field of present experience as someone fundamentally disconnected to every aspect of this experience, I cannot but feel isolated, lonely, insulated, cut-off, separate and separated from my world.
Having identified myself with this sense of being the observer of everything I become aware of, I can never truly get in direct touch with my world. So, what do I do? I attempt to overcome my separation by attaching myself to all aspects of my experiencial field, and create a kind of hierarchy of things, people, ideas, emotions, forms of conditioning, knowledge and ways of viewing myself which gives me the sense that I am not, in fact, isolated from my world. I not only become attached to these, but I become deeply identified with these. I become my religion, my self-image, my country, my spiritual path, my philosophy, my self-righteousness, etc., – trying through this deep identification with these to lessen the sense of my profound feeling of being separate.
Unfortunately life cares little for identifications. It often directly interferes with, threatens or simply destroys our carefully constructed world of identified attachments. This is always very painful to the separate self-sense, as it gets reminded of its fundamental loneliness and isolation.
We also notice how our identifications make us violent and defensive. We defend our presumed right to these identifications as though our life depends on these. But in fact, it is not our life that depends on these, but the pathological psychology of the separate self-sense which gets exposed for what it is – lonely, isolated and deeply sad.
Of course this state of affairs would not have arisen had we related to our world from the wholeness of awareness and content. Here the separate self-sense does not arise. We relate to things in in a holistic manner, free from the burden we impose upon ourselves as a consequence of our mistaken identity. When we believe we are separate from our field of experience, we live a mistaken identity as we truly feel that our separation is fundamental to our being.
When we begin relate to our world from the disposition of wholeness (i.e. where the content of consciousness and the consciousness of content is no longer experienced as two separate facts of life), we are gradually healed from our wrong view of separateness. We begin to relax into the womb of life itself where separation no longer forms the basis of our relationships to everything. We become as whole as our field of present experience is. Our true identitiy is restored, and we begin to sense our profound connectedness to life.
In my book I explain these matters in considerable detail and show clear forms of practice on how to bring about this shift in our perceptive field. May I urge you to read the short essay on the 'Importance of Practice' excerpted from 'The Only Awakening' under the heading : About The Book' elsewhere on this site. Hopefully it will engender in you the inclination to look at your life more seriously and awaken in you the need for self-knowledge and introspection from where you may begin to discover your true identity of wholeness and undivided being.