September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Because science only deals with relationships, the scientist can only understand consciousness in relation to objects. The scientific mind therefore explains consciousness in terms of its content. To science there is only one type of consciousness: consciousness with an object and with a subject.
In meditation we turn our awareness away from the object back to the subject. Meditation enables us to know consciousness without an object. Consciousness without an object but with a subject is Nirvana. As Subject, you are Nirvana.
Nirvana is not an object. It is not a place you enter. It is you as undefined, pure subjectivity.
Beyond Nirvana there is consciousness without an object and without a subject. This is Pure Consciousness.
Pure Consciousness is indefinable because definitions demand the use of objects. It is therefore not knowable in any conventional sense of the word because “to know” involves an act of a subject knowing an object.
Definitions of consciousness do, of course, exist. But if you look closely you’ll see that the definition either makes use of a subtle object or defines consciousness in terms of itself. A common example of the latter is to define consciousness as the power of awareness. But what is awareness if it is not consciousness?
Defining consciousness is not unlike defining time. A physicist will tell you time is impossible to define without referring to it in your definition. For instance, time is a measurement of “how long” (a reference to time) it takes for an object to move (movement involves a subtle notion of time) from one place in space to another (and space, as Einstein taught us, is inseparable from time). But just as we all know what time is even if we can’t define it, we all have some knowledge of what consciousness is, even if we can’t properly define it, either.
Consciousness without an object and without a subject is Emptiness.
Where there are no objects or form, and where there is no subject or self (i.e., the Buddhist notion of anatman) there can only be emptiness. But though it appears as empty, Consciousness Is!
In many ways, trying to define Pure Consciousness is like trying to define Pure Love. You can’t, because Pure Love also transcends both the subject and the object. One can only grasp at it, as did Elizabeth Barrett Browning when she wrote that love is the depth and breadth and height one’s soul can reach,
“…when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.”
(Number 43, Sonnets from the Portuguese)
Meditation to know one’s true nature is this same “feeling out of sight” for Being which knows no end because it has no beginning. And it is ultimately only through ideal Grace that we come to recognize our true nature as Pure Consciousness and Pure Love.