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18593What Is That Consciousness

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Mar 15, 2013
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      What is that consciousness, which is expressed in each
      living act of mind and body? It is the knowing of that
      self which is present always, throughout experience.
      That's what self truly is, in each one of us, beneath
      our different personalities. It is that self which does
      not part with anyone, not even for a moment. Its knowing
      is no physical or mental act, which self starts doing
      at some time and stops doing later on. Consciousness is
      not a put on act that later can be taken off. Instead, it
      is the very being of the self, exactly what self always is.

      In truth, the self is consciousness, whose very being is
      to know. It knows itself, shining by its own light. All
      appearances are known by their reflection of its
      self-illumination. We know them only when they come
      into attention, where they are lit by consciousness.
      But then, how can that consciousness be known?

      Consciousness is not an object that is known. Instead, it
      is just that which knows. It is thus known in identity,
      as one's own self, by realizing one's own true identity
      with it. That is the only way in which it can be known.

      As a matter of ingrained habit, we think of consciousness as
      an activity of body, sense and mind. Hence what we take for consciousness appears confused with a great complexity of
      physical and sensual and mental actions.

      In every one of us, consciousness is actually experienced
      in the singular, as one's own self. But when a person looks
      through mind and body, at a world that seems outside, it
      there appears that consciousness is different and changing -
      in different persons, different creatures and their varied
      faculties. Or, if a person looks through mind alone, into
      the mental process of conception, it then appears that
      consciousness is made up from a passing sequence of
      perceptions, thoughts and feelings.

      Thus, in itself, consciousness is quite distinct from
      the differing and changing appearances that we habitually
      confuse with it. As it is experienced directly, at the
      inmost core of each individual's experience, it is pure
      self - utterly impersonal and impartial, beyond all difference
      and change. That is the inmost, undeniable experience that
      we share in common, deep within each one of us. Yet, very
      strangely, that undeniable experience is ignored and somehow
      covered up, by the vast majority of people in the world.

      It gets ignored because of a confusion that mixes self
      with body, sense and mind. For this produces a mistaken
      show of physical and sensual and mental actions, which are deceptively confused with the clear and unaffected light of consciousness. As people identify themselves with different
      bodies and with changing minds, they mistake themselves as
      jivas or persons, who are disparate and uncertain mixtures,
      made up of knowing self confused with improperly known objects.

      Such persons take an ignorantly made-up stand, upon divided
      and uncertain ground, built artificially from alien things. Accordingly, experiences seem partial and appear divided by
      our personalities, as people get unhappily conflicted in
      their seeming selves.

      But where confusion ceases, as in deep sleep or in moments
      of impartial clarity, there personality dissolves and self
      stands on its own, shining by itself as happiness and peace.
      Thus, pure happiness and unaffected peace can be seen to
      shine out in deep sleep, as manifesting aspects of the self's
      true nature.

      by Ananda Wood, a disciple of the sage
      Atmananda Krishna Menon (1883 - 1959)