“The Infinite Cannot Know The Finite”

“The Infinite Cannot Know The Finite”

I would have to condition the statement by saying ‘the infinite cannot know the finite at its own level of reality’ – in that, inasmuch as we give this mirage of Being called Life a provisional reality (not absolute reality), we, consciousness know it, as an expression of our own Being.

Ultimately reality cannot know non-reality, Being cannot know non-Being, however, within this one reality arises the objective universe, and eventually too the facets of human experience perceiving our objective realm – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking, feeling – the collection of these objects arise within consciousness, are known by consciousness, are made of consciousness…and so from the perspective of consciousness it could be said that there is only consciousness, there are no objects, and the infinite (consciousness) cannot know the finite (anything other than consciousness).

However, we can only call consciousness infinite in relation to finite objects, and so it makes no sense to discount the borrowed reality that these finite objects owe to the one consciousness itself…in other words, if you’re going to call consciousness infinite, you really need to acknowledge the objects from which you’re referring to consciousness’ infinity, otherwise the statement makes no sense. In fact, if you say consciousness is infinite, you are implicitly acknowledging the existence of the finite from which you set the bar for your statement! We just have to say that the existence of the finite is wholly dependent upon the reality that perceives. The finite exists and it doesn’t exist – it exists as an expression of reality perceived by reality and made of reality – but it doesn’t exist as reality itself.

Therefore – ‘the infinite cannot know the finite at its own level of reality’. The absolute level of reality is object-free, but that’s not the only level of reality we experience. We cannot deny that we know life, that we know experience, if we do it’s one of those neo-advaita traps – we must acknowledge all levels of our Being.

We don’t know anything real of this life other than the reality that life borrows from consciousness; but know life we certainly do!

In R.S. terminology – Mary can’t deny that she knows Jane’s mind while she’s dreaming it, even though it is all made of Mary’s mind, ultimately.

Image source: Reddit.

what never comes and goes

one crucial question that came to me as I first ventured into what we could call the spiritual realm, a question that I knew I had to answer no matter what, was just: what is it that never comes and never goes?

there had to be something.

everything fades, falls away, nothing that arises seems to last. what of our perceptions remain when the day is done and we lay ourselves down, stripped of all our past?

all the thoughts, the emotions, the feelings, the relationships – friends, lovers and everyone else, all the things I had that I thought I could count on, would disappear eventually. all the grand plans, the projects, the promises of the future, everything I thought I was becoming, was not, in fact, to be my destiny, that much I could see. 

life was up or it was down.

what is it that I can hold on to, that never comes and never goes?

I had to see, finally, that there was something I could never lose. this something, in fact, I had no recollection of ever having gained – and so it was easy for it to slip under the radar, unnoticed. it was closer than all those things I thought mattered, closer than close. in fact, you can’t get any closer.

it was me.

I am whatever is left when everything leaves.

these thoughts can’t be me – they come and go like the wind.
these feelings can’t be me – evolving, changing, disappearing into the next.
these perceptions can’t be me – because anything I perceive with my senses falls through my grip,
and even the image I see in the mirror – I intuit, as we all do I think, that there’s much more to the picture than that.

I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my perceptions or my image.

…but I Am, still. I know that I am.

I am, and I am aware of all these things.

I am aware.

I am whatever is aware of this changing movement of experience.
I am whatever is aware of this life.

where could this life arise, but in my awareness itself,
and what of my life has ever affected the fact that I am aware of it?

the space my life arises in is my Awareness,
detached from all these events, but openly welcoming them, like the sky to the clouds.

this Awareness that I am never comes and never goes,
because I never come and go, and I am aware.

I can hold on to this Awareness, in a matter of speaking, because it’s always here:
never letting me down, never moving somewhere else,
never judging, never blaming, never believing…

this Awareness is real.

within the knowing space of this Awareness, my life began to come to a greater ease…
I was recognizing my identity with this open, empty space, perceiving everything within it.

it’s not a cold space, empty of heart,
it’s friendly somehow, benevolently allowing everything to arise in its loving freedom.

I would see too, that what arises in this space is not separate from it,
this real space and its content are one.
that’s non-duality, in my book…

the initial openness to this question – what is it that never comes and goes – was a grace, received through Life’s persistence. it was through her constant leading me away from all that could ever let me down, towards that which is real, that which is truly natural, that which is the source and the destiny of all that Is.

towards that which never comes and goes.

behind the curtain of belief

in a moment of true availability, when the curtains of belief are withdrawn, what is glimpsed could be called that which is real. it is real because it has always been and will always be, because it is the home-ground of all experience, because it cannot be removed from its Being…it is a conscious reality, knowing itself independent of any cause or any premise. it does not become conscious, as its unchanging and irreducible nature is always consciousness. it is this very consciousness reading these words, the one that perceives and exists, this numinous entity which creates and sustains the cosmos. 

so what is a moment of true availability?

it is a moment of not-knowing, where we somehow suspend the belief to be a limited consciousness. we have to be honest – what do I really think and feel and believe myself to be – we have to be truly open to the possibility that consciousness is universal. this openness does not come from having an agenda to find something for a small ‘me’ – for the ‘me’ that would find something is already the assumption of limitation. instead, the availability comes from the innocence of an open desire, or love, for the truth. it’s a moment of honesty, and it’s a moment of grace. this moment is the initiation into the journey of Peace, which stabilizes itself, and deepens into the various realms of our life over time. it’s not that we become insusceptible to feeling and thinking we’re a separate entity after this moment – but somehow the deepest root of that belief has been severed – and if the post-awakening sadhana as it’s sometimes called is undertaken, we eventually learn to live our lives from this freedom.

that would be a way of speaking about awakening from the point of view of a human mind.

however, the moment is not really a moment – it only seemed that way from the perspective of a body/mind. our nature is timelessness itself. it only seems that somehow, in a certain location within time and space, consciousness has stopped believing itself to be a separate reality among many, and now, in a more or less stable way, remembers its universal nature. this is all a concession to the belief in limitation, an attempt to paint a picture of a journey from our original silence to nowhere else. in truth, there’s nothing to say about awakening – there’s only always been consciousness, it’s never known anything else, and primordial Peace has never even been veiled – not from consciousness itself which always remains in its home-ground. from the perspective of belief, perhaps, Peace was temporarily veiled by thoughts and feelings on behalf of a limited entity, but in truth, consciousness was only ever itself. there never was anything else to be.

that’s why many non-dual teachers speak ill of the seeming emphasis on awakening in spirituality – it’s a storyline, ultimately one that makes no sense from our true nature, and like any storyline, it can be appropriated to the mind that dreams it up. it becomes a fantasy, an escape from reality instead of an investigation into it. but at the same time, we have to acknowledge that psychological suffering has at its root the belief to be a limited entity. if we don’t acknowledge that – if we just say something like ‘everything is relative, there’s no Absolute truth, suffering and happiness are flip sides of the same coin’ which is a common refrain – then we’ve fallen into the trap of duality, the belief that consciousness is relative – and there’s always suffering around that corner, whether we admit it or not. in that sense, we can talk of awakening in relationship to suffering. if there’s suffering, an open investigation into the root cause can relieve it, eventually, by initiating us into the journey to be free from ignorance.

one conductor

this little vessel made of sand and stone – this shape that reforms itself anew at each moment – is but a moving pictogram, struck, as they all are, by the light of the origin. cascading waves of desert grain create, in the blink of the eye, a remnant of perception; a bare shift of energy within the creator’s reality. what remains after the glimpse of eternal being is that same sandstone: ever refining, ever deepening, ever opening – a dance of mind and body coagulating into the varying forms of Life’s celebration.

the wry musculature of this formed body asks for release…and simultaneously yearns to be rebuilt, a construction project built on the grounds of peace. It is a failing attempt to contain the multitudes of feeling within – failing because any container will soon overflow where Love is concerned. 

In this little corner of the infinite, I – although which I, I don’t know – learn somehow to play this instrument with a little more precision and a little more grace, to tune in to the harmonic symphony of the absolute where we all all played by the same Conductor. The conductor is fully in charge, and in fact he too is the only one musician with a million faces and a million bows. We could say he works through our bodies and minds as we learn to live in greater harmony with what is here, and all we can do is to truly disappear – to become transparent to him – to rest as our self and allow his work to be done.

Some Thoughts on the Collective Unconscious

the waking state mind is like a narrow film of seemingly concentrated objectivity, i.e. through these human minds we typically only have a thin view of the goings on here, our attention firmly attracted to the seeming density of objects. however, this objective denseness is only an assumption – through the investigation of the substance of what is here, this denseness dissolves into subtler and subtler fields, the mind becoming more and more transparent to the reality from which objects arise. in other words, through relaxation into the ‘space’ of consciousness all aspects of our perceiving, the seeming density of perceivable mentations becomes looser and less fixed, and even the waking state can become invisibly permeable to deeper realms of Mind-at-Large. these deeper realms are shared perhaps by a collective space acting behind the scenes, a realm wherein objects are only half-formed and have not yet broken through the veil of the viewable transcript of what is known in waking. creative inspiration and deep, vivid dreams are two examples of the arisings of information from a deeper realm of mind.

it is sometimes called the collective unconscious, not because it’s ultimately unconscious, but because we typically don’t have access to it in the waking state – it’s more like the ‘collectively unattended’. it is possible that our actions and thoughts and perhaps all our endeavours are informed by deeper realms of Mind to which we have no perceivable access, but when distinct material arises from this deeper well-spring it comes with the stamp of primordial, perhaps archetypal creativity. so it’s not that you can ‘see’ the collective unconscious, as per the limits of the waking state, but that what streams into this waking state can be ideas not bound to the rigid patterning of our typical mentations. the human mind has its limits of attention – but the objects arising within this attention can be informed by deeper realms as we relax into presence and openness.

Freedom Within

Is it possible that this very consciousness that is perceiving in this moment is completely free? Free from the feelings – pleasant or unpleasant – of a body, its up and downs, pains and enjoyments, moods and emotions, even the raw sensations that pulse along throughout the states. Free from the thoughts – the buzz of the mind, the projected self-image, the internal dialogue, even thoughts about the truth. And free from the world – not limited to these five human senses but ‘sensing’ itself in a dimension not quite known to man but rather, man being known through it. Is it possible that we are simply playing this game of being people – and yet we have made these bodies out of our own substance and the world they play in too, while all along we watch happily as the person lives it out, set within. Is it possible that the substance of our being is completely intimate with all seeming things, that nothing arises that is not chosen by It? This Being, this Consciousness, has not for one moment parted itself from its home. It has always been, resting in itself, contemplating itself, loving itself, being itself. This knowing, with which you know yourself and out of which all appearances are made is Freedom…

Birdfeed

The world within often draws me towards itself – to leave the cares of moving life behind and to rejoin the eternal. There, I find a jewel that I cannot give away. I might well share it if I could. I would make of it an offering, but it’s stuck in my lungs and hands and all the rest. All I can do is Be it. In the moment, it’s just this sweet sense of Being, and these words, a gesture of gratitude with my attempt at a little stamp of light.

Maybe I’ll spend the morning with the geese that hang out near here, fearless creatures they are. They stroll along busy streets causing a mess and don’t care much about the drivers who gets chuffed along the way. Sometimes I think: I am but a bird singing my song for the simple joy of singing it, not (necessarily) to attract a mate, however, just because it’s my thing. That’s a nice image, but today, I think I’d like to be a goose walking in front of traffic, for the simple joy of charting my own course, not (necessarily) to stump anyone or cause a rift, but just because I’m alive. Let’s not get too romantic about it.

There is more here than just the endless inner world, or at least, I’ll give myself, as bird-feed, the illusion that there is, and touch hands to face under the breaking light of day.