Location: Santa Ana California
Dear Francis, Whenever you ask us to examine being/consciousnes, you say that there is no evidence for it to be limited, and that, in truth, it is unlimited. This is where I seem to fall off the cart! I am still convinced that consciousness is limited to the body-mind. The consciousness that is typing this now does indeed seem to be very limited. I can’t read minds, I can’t see x-rays, I don’t know what is happening to my relatives unless I use body-mind communication. And I know that to imagine myself to be unlimited or immortal is just mental fantasy. So what do you exactly mean you say consciousness is unlimited? As far as I know, being what I know myself to be, ends when the body ends. I know of no consciousness that isn’t associated with the body-mind, yet I still feel there is some greater truth that eludes me. Even after decades of intensive study of advaita, I still can’t be sure of what I really am. Help! Peter
In order to learn or know anything about consciousness, we need to perceive or experience consciousness. We cannot know anything about something we don’t perceive at all. There is a distinction to be made between the experience through which we perceive an object, for example a chair, and the experience through which we directly experience consciousness, for example the experience that leads us to answer the question “are you conscious?” with a non-equivocal “yes”. The former (experiment 1) tells us everything we may know about the chair, and nothing about consciousness, except perhaps that it exists. The latter (experiment 2) tells us nothing about the chair, but tells us everything we may know about consciousness. Therefore only a type 2 experiment can tell us anything about consciousness, in particular whether it is limited or not. Our mistake is to believe that type 1 experiments can give us some knowledge about consciousness that type 2 experiments couldn’t provide. This is a fallacy.
The arguments you use, “I can’t read minds, I can’t see x-rays, I don’t know what is happening to my relatives unless I use body-mind communication” refer to objective phenomena that appear in your consciousness, to type 1 experiments. They are fallacious. Any object that appears in consciousness cannot tell us anything about the subject, consciousness, in which it appears.
By the way, if you are really interested in those matters, why not drive to Temecula on a Saturday or Sunday and ask all the questions and follow ups you may have. I wouldn’t have to one-finger-type those answers, and you may find out that the answer is not really in that which is said, but in the Presence in which it appears.