The only activity the separate self is really engaged in is the discovery of peace, freedom and happiness. It first tries to do this by uniting with objects, substances, states and relationships, but at some point it gets to the end of that adventure. It realises that it can never be fully satisfied by objective experience, and that is when the real journey back home begins.
That is when Jane on the streets of New York asks herself, ‘What is the nature of my mind?’ Jane notices that nothing in life really satisfies her. She has numerous relationships, she tries all sorts of substances, and they all give her temporary relief, but none of them give her the lasting happiness she truly desires.
At one point she begins to explore the only direction left: the nature of her own mind. That exploration takes her mind on a journey backwards towards its source, the subject of experience, rather than outwards towards the object. On this return journey, the mind is divested, in most cases progressively, of its limitations and at some point stands revealed as infinite Consciousness. Jane’s finite mind is revealed as Mary’s infinite Consciousness. That is the experience of happiness; that is the experience of love.
Happiness or love experienced by the person, because the person dissolves in that experience. The person who seeks happiness and love is like the moth that seeks the flame. The moth longs for the flame above all else but it is the only thing the moth cannot experience. To experience the flame means to be consumed in it, to die into it. That is the experience for which the moth longs.
The only experience that the apparently separate self longs for is the experience of happiness or love. The experience of love is the dissolution of the limitations of the self. It is not an experience that the separate self can have; it is an experience in which the separate self dies.
Infinite Consciousness overlooks the knowing of its own Being to bring manifestation into apparent existence. It freely assumes the form of the finite mind in order to know the finite world.
That is why we always seem to know the world from the point of view of an inside self. Even in a dream, the world we experience is seen from the point of view of a self in a body. It is infinite Consciousness itself that divides itself into two parts — mind on the inside and matter on the outside — but matter is only matter from the illusory point of view of the finite mind, the self in the body.
From the point of view of infinite Consciousness there is no such substance called matter. There isn’t even any substance called the finite mind; there is only its own infinite, intimate, indivisible Being, which never actually ceases to be itself. It never comes in contact with or knows anything other than itself.
This means that all of this, our current experience — and I’m not talking abstract philosophy here; I mean the very experience that each of us is having now — is only infinite Consciousness itself assuming the form of the finite mind and appearing to itself as a world.
It means that the substance that our current experience is made of itself has no dimensions. It means this ordinary experience of four dimensions of time and space, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, activities, relationships, this very experience that each of us is having now, has no dimensions at all. Don’t try to think of that. It’s not possible to think of something with no dimensions.
Could it be that what is called the Big Bang is not an event that happened millions of years ago, but the event that is continually happening every time infinite Consciousness assumes the form of the finite mind and appears to itself as the world?
Could it be that the Big Bang is happening over and over and over again, always in the same Now? And yet, when Consciousness does assume the form of the finite mind and appear to itself as the world, no real world made out of matter comes into existence.
Existence comes from two Latin words, ex and sistere, meaning ‘to stand out from’. Nothing stands out from Consciousness; nobody has ever found a place outside Consciousness. No thing comes into existence. Objects borrow their apparent existence from God’s infinite Being, the only Being there is.
The very ‘I’ that each us is now feeling as ‘myself’, the ‘I’ that I am, is infinite Consciousness itself, God’s infinite Being. It is the reality, the substance out of which all experience is made.
No object ever comes out of Consciousness; no object ever exists in its own right. The seeming existence of all things belongs to infinite Consciousness, just like the apparent existence of characters in a movie belongs to the screen. There are never any divisions in the screen itself. The divisions are always in the appearances, never in the reality.
This means that this very experience that each of us is experiencing is God’s infinite Being alone. There is nothing being experienced now other than infinite Consciousness, and it is infinite Consciousness itself that refracting itself into a multiplicity of finite minds and appearing to itself as a multiplicity of finite worlds. But from Consciousness’s point of view it is never experiencing anything other than its own intimate, infinite Self.
When the Sufis say, ‘La ilaha illallah’ they mean, ‘There is no god but God.’ In other words, no thing has an existence of its own, no thing is a thing unto itself. All things borrow their thingness, their isness, their reality, from God’s infinite Being.
God’s infinite Being shines in each of our minds as the knowledge ‘I am’. That is why the ultimate spiritual practice is to give the ‘I’ that I am our attention, to allow the mind to sink back into its subjective source. As it does so it is temporarily, in most cases, occasionally suddenly, divested of its finite limitations and stands revealed as infinite Consciousness, God’s infinite Being, the only Being there is, the heart that we all share, the heart we all are.
I would suggest that the experience of love is simply the knowledge of our shared Being. When we love, we feel one with the other. Love is the experience of our shared Being. Is there any experience the separate self desires more than the experience of love?
What the separate self longs for above all else is simply to be divested of its separateness. So as a concession to the separate self, we can say that all the separate self needs to do to find this love for which it longs is to ask itself, ‘What is the nature of the knowing with which I know my experience?’
All Jane needs to do to be relieved of her suffering on the streets of New York is to ask herself, ‘What is the nature of my mind?’ If Jane enquires deeply enough into the nature of her own mind she will discover that her agitated, finite mind is made of Mary’s peaceful, infinite mind. That’s all there is to Jane’s mind. All there is to each of our minds is the inherently peaceful presence of infinite Consciousness.
love is a place
and through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
and in this world of
E. E. Cummings
from his talk at Titignano, Italy 2015