Trust Only Your Direct Experience
Updated: May 14, 2020
In this post I would like to discuss how our daily experiences, such as, the waking, the dreaming and the deep sleep states clearly point to something that goes in opposite directions to the way we hold and model reality. The only way to turn upside down the materialistic model is questioning it and trusting our own direct experiences.
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it?"
- Dogen -
If you have read some of my previous posts ("Objectivity Is Your Own Creation - Part 1","Objectivity Is Your Own Creation - Part 2","Objectivity Is Your Own Creation - Part 3","From the Illusion Of Matter To The Reality Of Consciousness", "The Universe Is NOT Conscious","About Perceptions"), you have noticed my efforts to point out how the current materialistic model is absolutely not in line with our daily experiences and that a new way of holding reality is necessary to transform our self as individual and social entities.
Let's summarize some of the main points.
The materialistic model takes matter as the premise from which reality should be explained and described through physics, biology and mechanics. The current model states that some billions of years ago an event called the Big Bang caused a physical Universe to appear and through evolutionary steps we came to exist as physical human beings. This model implies that everything we perceive, such as the sun, the moon, nature, other living and non-living organisms are totally independent from our subjective experiences, that is, they exist outside our subjective faculties.
My personal journey and, more importantly, our direct every daily life experiences "prove" that everything in existence is made out of subjective faculties and ultimately Consciousness. In a nutshell, what before appeared to be an independent physical object standing out there, made out of matter and having its own existence, is in reality made out of perceptions and concepts that blending together give the illusion of the existence of some-thing being made out of a different substance.
As Bernardo Kastrup says: "Humans have not the magical power to change the Universe "out there" merely by the act of glancing at it. Reality is simply the unfolding of mind, that is, the unfolding of the observer in the process of observation". What Bernardo means is that we do not have the power of transforming physical matter from A to B just by looking at it but that there was never a physical state A to start with. The moon in the sky and the screen in your room are how reality looks like from a certain point of view, but in reality there is no-thing physical there to start with. Physicality is a reality of which you have no direct experience of.
These statements do not imply that other beings and the whole Universe are a figment of your own personal imagination like a sort of hallucination. No, unfortunately it is more radical than that. Your physical body itself is a belief of which you have no direct experience. All you know about your physical body are feelings, emotions, sensations, perception and thoughts. There is absolute nothing in your body that cannot be classified as mind. You are not a physical human being ("The Vipassana Meditation Technique").
From the time being try to relate to the world in term of subjective perceptions and not through the belief that something physical exists. Touch your body, touch a tree, smell your skin, smell a flower, listen to a song, listen to a bird. What is there? Physical bodies, trees, skin, flowers, song and birds or your perceptions and concepts of those? Get more in contact with the perceptions of reality, not with some-thing that never existed.
Ultimately, also perceptions and concepts do not represent the ultimately reality but they are made out of Consciousness. Nothing could exist without the very act of being conscious. Consciousness only seems to take the form and shape of perceptions, concepts and then matter. In reality there is only Consciousness deceiving Itself to be something different than Itself.
Do not think at this new model as something fantastical, as if something crazy has to be experienced. The limitation and confusion about this work is that we think that we need to experience some incredible states in order to grasp this new way of holding reality. Meditation, yoga, self-inquiry, mystical experiences and/or psychedelic can help you to make this shift but ultimately the goal is to look at a pen and be amazed about the geniality by which we get constantly deceived by this illusion.
In the same way people have realized that the sun was at the center of Universe, you need to realize that all there is here is Consciousness, not matter. Nothing will change visually but your entire life as a human being will automatically acquire a deep sense of awe and wonder about reality and life in general.
To me, one of the most obvious hint that reality gives us to model reality in the correct way is represented by the waking, the dreaming and the deep sleep states that by coincidence can be referred to the physical world, the mind world and Consciousness.
We used to consider our self a physical and independent point of view living in a world that is standing out there. And based on this premise we interpret reality. For instance we assume that when we go to sleep, our dreams and nightmares happen within our brain, that somehow our brain is able to produce this infinite range of amazing scenarios. However, there is no data proving the existence of a physical brain, head or body outside your own subjective faculties. Everything that you consider physical boils down to subjective experiences. Therefore mind is not present within a brain or inside a head and a body but rather brain, head and body are within and made out of mind.
As I have already discussed in my post "Your Life is a Night Dream", there are many conclusions about dreams that are not supported by our direct experience. For instance, no one has ever found a dream within a brain but we keep assuming that dreams happen inside our skull generated by the brain. More importantly, you have never experienced your body having a dream. For the matter, in a dream you do not even know that you are a body dreaming in your room but rather you are pretty certain to be the character within the dream.
In a dream what you call a body do not exist and your reality is whatever is happening in the dream. Within the dream you are able to perceive the world in exactly the same way as your waking state: you can smell, touch, hear, see and taste the environment around you and you can experience the whole spectrum of emotions that make beat your dreamed heart. With which organs do you do that? Is it really your "physical" brain generating those sort of experiences? Is it your dreamed brain? Is it something else?
An understandable reason why we tend to believe in matter is due to the presence of a reality that is shared by all of us. Since we share experiences and since we can find some regularities in the way reality is, we conclude that there must be something out there that is independent of mind. But once again the dreaming state helps us to reconcile this paradox: all the characters within the dream share the same reality and they can interact within it, but this does not prove the existence of an external reality made out of matter independent from mind. It only appears that way if you look at reality from a specific point of view, missing the context in which these experiences are happening.
Everything that is happening within a night dream feels extremely real from the point of view of the character within the dream but the real nature of the character, that is, the substance of which its life is made out of it is mind, imagination. All its friends, all the places it has visited, all its personal history, its body and all its problems can be boiled down to mind, to imagination.
There is no differences in substance between you and others, between you and the world. It is all mind. The fact that within the dream you and your buddy can describe a sunset in the same way is because both of you are "informed" by the same fundamental reality of mind. Cannot be the same happening right now in the so called "physical" reality?
I hope I could so far make you realize that physicality or the waking state are an illusory state, that is, they do not exist independently of mind. To put it in a more radical way, physicality and the waking state do not exist. Mind exists. Everything you know about those states is subjective faculties and therefore all "physicality" is within the dream, it is within mind. Mind is fundamental to the illusory existence of matter, that is to say that matter cannot exist without mind. Matter is a relative way of seeing the world but it does not represent accurately what it is actually seen.
Let's move on.
A third separate state, called deep sleep, is thought to be the period of time when our body and mind can finally have a break from all the problems bothering us in the waking state. Deep sleep is not as interesting as the waking state and the dreaming state. Nothing really happens, not much content seems to occur and when we are back to our "reality" we almost neglect this state. But not so fast. Have you ever asked yourself where the heck are you in this state? Is really just a state generated by specific waves happening in your brain? Have you ever experienced such waves? Where are you in deep sleep? Lying in your bed? Can you prove that?
Mostly no one has ever questioned these kind of things and we are used to take for granted what others claim with the risk to miss something that might change our way to relate to reality. To really make sense of many paradoxes that seems to exist in reality, we need to contemplate whether mind really represent the last and ultimate "substance" of reality.
We are used to look at reality in a dualistic way: there is A (the world) that is observed by B (you as a human being). And as I have already discussed in previous post ("Meet Consciousness", "Who is Behind The Scene") all your life you have missed the most important factor, that is, C: Consciousness, Presence, Being, Nothingness that is "supporting" both A and B. By discovering C, you will realize that A and B are illusory in the sense that their existence is totally dependent on C. As the existence of a wave in the ocean is totally dependent from water; as the character within the movie is totally dependent on the screen; A and B are literally dependent on C. Not only a wave could not exist without water but the existence of the wave is illusory. There is just water taking the shape of a wave. And the same happens for what appears to be a physical world and mind. These are existing only if you cannot see that there is Consciousness.
By discovering mind, we concluded that physicality does not exist as an independent reality but it hinges upon subjective faculties. But we tend to overlook that mind itself is known and can be pointed and identified by something else, that is, Consciousness.
By focusing on the external world you will never find C. You need to look within ("Look Within You", "No-Self: The First Step Towards You", "Neti-Neti: Who Am I?"). By self-reflecting you will realize that there is no one behind the eyes, no one looking at the world and interacting with the external reality. Through careful investigation you will realize that all you know about yourself and the world are sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts and that these subjective experiences are known. You should be able to conclude that the one that is observing and witnessing those experiences cannot be pointed because it has no objective features, it is formless. You will realize that all your subjective experiences are not coming out from a body but from You and that what you call a body is just a collection of feelings, sensations, thoughts that are known by You.
Everything in reality is impermanent, everything comes and goes, appears and disappears but Consciousness never turns off. Have you ever experienced something without being conscious of its presence or absence? Has ever happened that you had an experience without Consciousness being there? Everything that you experience in the waking state and dreaming state must be supported by Consciousness otherwise you could not experience anything. The content, in order to arise, needs the context. Try now. Are you experiencing something that is not present within your Consciousness? No, the knowing factor is always present.
We could compare deep sleep to Consciousness where there are no movements, no experiences, no content. Deep sleep, instead of being neglected, should be actually seen as the ground of all reality, the state that support both the dreaming and the waking state in the same way as Consciousness support both mind and the physical world. Deep sleep does not change its nature when mind appears and disappears, it simply takes its forms. The same happens with Consciousness: its nature has never changed, it only seems to take the shape and form of some-thing that in reality has no independent existence, your body included.
It is important that you keep in mind that terms such as waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep are only words that we have created to make sense of our experiences. The same for the physical world, mind world and Consciousness. If on one side those words are necessary to share our experiences with others, on the other side they limit and fragment reality that is ultimately one. Through concepts and distinctions, reality appears to be multiple.
The big obstacle for most of us is that we still look for this "thing" called Consciousness. But Consciousness is not a material thing, is not something you can measure or quantify. There is no such a thing as Consciousness. Consciousness is just a term to point to something that can only be realized by being It, not by looking at It. Consciousness is the ground of all reality, it is what reality is made out of, so whatever tools you will use to try to measure It, you will find yourself already a step further. Mind will never find It because mind is made out of It.
All this might sound so complicated and impossible to understand. But it is very very simple. It is what you are, so do not look outside but within ("No- Self: The First Step Towards You", "Look Within You").
I think that for this year I have given you enough food for mind to contemplate on. There is much more to say in order to remove possible doubts and paradoxes that are coming from taking reality being physical rather than being whatever it is. And I will address new topics in the time being.
I do want to thank everyone that is reading this blog and everyone that has supported with private messages my efforts in sharing my own journey. I do encourage you to make tangible steps in turning these words into your reality. I wish you to spend some conscious time with whoever you want to and make the magic happens!
Thanks for reading and see you next year!