The Nature of Consciousness by Rupert Spira

The Nature of Consciousness by Rupert Spira

Author:Rupert Spira
Language: eng
Format: epub, azw3
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications

* From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.



In Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, ‘Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, stains the white radiance of eternity.’ The word ‘stains’ in this context means colours rather than blemishes, borrowing its imagery from stained glass windows. Just as a stained glass window colours the light passing through it, revealing the potential inherent in light itself, so experience or the finite mind refracts the light of pure knowing into the apparent multiplicity and diversity of objective experience, thus bringing part of its infinite potential into finite existence.

Of course, the finite mind is not distinct from awareness in the way that stained glass is distinct from the light that shines through it. The finite mind is the prismic activity of awareness itself, through which its infinite, indivisible and unperceivable nature is refracted into a multiplicity and diversity of objects that are known from the perspective of an apparent subject.

In reality, no experience stains or tarnishes awareness. It is only from the limited and ultimately illusory perspective of a separate self, the protagonist of the finite mind from whose perspective experience seems to be divided into two essential ingredients – mind and matter – that life seems to tarnish or obscure its reality of infinite, indivisible awareness. From the point of view of awareness itself – which is the only real point of view because awareness is the only ‘one’ that knows experience – experience does not stain its own reality, any more than a movie tarnishes the screen on which it appears.

Having said that, awareness cannot really be said to have a point of view; a point of view is precisely what the separate self or finite mind is, that is, a location from which objective experience seems to be known. In order to know objective experience, unlocated, dimensionless awareness must assume a location, place or ‘point’ from which it can view, know or perceive objective experience, and the body is that location. However, the body is not an object; it is an appearance in the mind, that is, it is the mechanism or agency through and as which awareness locates and thus limits itself, thereby seeming to become a separate subject of experience from whose point of view it can know or perceive objective experience.

This awareness-in-the-body entity is known as ‘mind’, the seemingly separate subject of experience which borrows its knowing quality from pure awareness and its apparent limitations from the body. However, the knowing with which the awareness-in-the-body entity knows or perceives its experience is not itself located in the body, just as the screen is not located in the character in the movie from whose point of view the landscape is viewed. The body is simply the activity that awareness assumes in order to collapse its infinite potential, thereby limiting itself in the form of mind, and thus bring manifestation out of infinite being and into finite existence.


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