Location: Chicago, USA
Dear Francis, Is there something beyond, or prior to, Consciousness? I am referring to the seeming lack of Consciousness during deep sleep, or when one is under anesthesia where there is a lapse of Consciousness/Awareness. It is only after waking or coming out of anesthesia that one seems to be able to say that they were unconscious. In other words, consciousness seems to recognize its own absence only in retrospect. If I am not conscious of the fact that I am sleeping or unconscious due to anesthesia, is consciousness then only a temporary state? If there is more, how does one realize it? Can you please give your thoughts on this? I apologize if this has been answered before. I have only recently discovered your teachings, so I am therefore not completely familiar with all of them, but I am very grateful for what I have read and watched so far. Thanks, Mike
How could consciousness possibly experience its own absence? What or who could have this experience, if not consciousness itself? but then it requires the presence of consciousness. Therefore the experience of the absence of consciousness is impossible. You say that consciousness can have this experience in retrospect. What kind of experience is that? Experience is only possible in the now, when both consciousness and that which is being experienced are present. Since consciousness and the absence of consciousness cannot be simultaneously present, the absence of consciousness cannot be experienced. It can only be assumed from the absence of memories left from the experience of anesthesia for instance. It cannot be logically inferred from this absence either, since the absence of recollection of a past event doesn’t imply that we weren’t conscious when this event occurred. Therefore for you, and that is the only aspect that matters, consciousness can never be absent.
What a relief!