Q.347 – Stone Consciousness

Q: Can you explain how it is possible that anything lifeless, for example a stone, a corpse or space,  does not have consciousness. Yet all of this is consciousness.

A (Shuka): The svarūpa (intrinsic nature) of fire is both heat and light. However, when it expresses through water (when water is heated), only the heat principle is expressed (water does not glow, but becomes hot); however when it expresses through an iron ball (when an iron ball is heated), both heat and light principles are expressed (the iron ball both glows and is hot). This is the limitation of the upādhī (medium) through which fire expresses, and is not reflective of the true nature of fire. So also, Brahman whose svarūpa is existence, consciousness and limitlessness, expresses only its existential principle when reflected through the upādhi-s such as stone, whereas it expresses both existential and conscious principles when expressed through a living being, and as īśvara (God), it expresses in all dimensions of its svarūpa.   Continue reading

Incomplete Enlightenment – Q.333

Q: As I understand, the sense of “I” (distinguished from the ultimate I/Self)  is the source of “ignorance”. “Ignorance” leads to “the fear”, which inspires us to attempt to find “enlightenment”. The attempt to find “enlightenment” is the delusion that there is something to gain. The teachings tell us that “enlightenment” is the nature of existence. What needs to happen is the destruction/removal of ignorance, rather than the acquisition of anything. I already feel as if I have approached the “screen” upon which phenomenon occurs. By practicing “neti neti”, I attempt to see what always is, which is a temporary attempt to disregard things that can be seen. Once this happens, there is the inference of blankness/darkness/all-inclusiveness/voidness. And once this practice of “neti neti” is over, I begin to see things come of themselves, from little sparks … flakes of concepts … to their blooming as a climax of a concept. The climax wanes and the concept disappears of itself just as it arose.

A short time after this attempt at enquiry, the ease I had with reality fades. The sense that reality is not okay begins to gradually return. It feels as if I missed something from this experience. At other times, I feel as if perhaps this effort is part of the problem. Maybe the enquiry is meant to be a last ditch attempt to notice the fallacy of trying to do something, or even the attempt to try to do nothing.

 Is this the realization? That effort is resistance? That surrender to this fact is the ultimate motion?

 How does it happen that one can know “in the mind” that one is free, and yet continue to fall back into the conundrum of no longer feeling this freedom? Moments of complete freedom … knowing that it’s not my business to “do” life, not even to attempt to not “do” life … and yet slowly fall back into the habit? Continue reading