We mean by transcendental consciousness a fundamental mode of consciousness as opposed to mundane or natural consciousness. Natural consciousness is our everyday consciousness; it is the consciousness by which we perceive ourselves as human beings in a world, a world that has religion, science, philosophy, art, etc. as phenomena inside it. In other words, natural consciousness is consciousness of a world; it is a mode of consciousness that perceives itself as a finite part inside a whole that it perceives as the world. We must note that this world, which includes me and my attributes, science and its findings, etc. is primarily something phenomenal before it is something material, a fact also discovered by Quantum Physics; this world is first and foremost something known through experience, in and through consciousness, and it is only later that I attribute to it the idea of materiality and independent existence, this attribution itself being something done by and within consciousness. Thus, this world which is essentially phenomenal than material is subject to the laws of phenomena before it is subject to the laws of matter, laws of physics and other modern sciences. The laws of phenomena, and the method of moving from natural consciousness to transcendental consciousness, are derived within the science of Phenomenology and also hinted at in Advaita Vedanta Metaphysics whose final aim is the direct realization of transcendental consciousness which is the same as Deliverance or Supreme Identity in which the individual self realizes that it is essentially identical with the Universal Self, Atman, and that it is in fact our ignorance about this Universal Self that gives the individual self, and the world, the illusory appearance of existence.
It is in natural consciousness that we perceive ourselves as individuals with personalities, thoughts and emotions, hopes and aspirations, etc. This natural consciousness is the consciousness of a phenomenal world. It is important to note that my individuality, my humanity, my thoughts and emotions, etc. are all parts of this world phenomenon, they are all phenomena embedded within the world phenomena; they are all objects of knowledge of consciousness, for after all I am constantly aware of myself as a human being aware of a world and also aware of himself being something inside this world.
Therefore, everything that is, in the broadest sense, is a phenomenon of consciousness, and hence this consciousness cannot itself be a phenomenon or anything inside the world, for if we claim that consciousness is a phenomenon inside the world, then who is it that knows and says this?! An object, or a person, that has always been inside something else and has never been outside it cannot possibly know that it is inside something else. Therefore, the claim that consciousness is a phenomenon inside the world entails that there be a consciousness that is, or at least has been, somehow outside the world, for otherwise it cannot make the above assertion.
This natural consciousness, or the natural attitude of consciousness, which has the same essence as transcendental consciousness is not anyone’s personal possession; it is not the human consciousness, simply because our humanity is itself something experienced in light of this consciousness, itself being an object of consciousness. Thus, by consciousness we do not imply a production of individual brain or something personal, since brain, personality, science, etc. are all things always already experienced as objects of the ever-present consciousness; they are phenomena within an impersonal consciousness that we falsely attribute to our own individual existences.
Transcendental consciousness, which is the nondual state of consciousness, is opposed to natural, or dual, consciousness in that it is no more a consciousness of a phenomenal world. This transcendental consciousness is not a state of my individual consciousness; it is not a higher state of human consciousness as such; rather, my individuality, my personality and all the things I attribute to myself, are only ideas within transcendental consciousness. More precisely, transcendental experience is not a human possibility; rather, it is humanity that is a transcendental possibility; humanity is itself a possibility within transcendental consciousness. As a natural consequence, the transition from natural consciousness to transcendental consciousness is the transition from human state of consciousness to the unconditioned, supra-human and supra-individual, state of consciousness which leaves no trace of humanity or individuality as such. To put it differently, transition into transcendental consciousness amounts to dehumanizing our consciousness, that is, to release it from the bondage of world and individuality.
My human individuality and the world are the two poles of natural consciousness and hence depend on one another. When I enter into transcendental consciousness I lose the individuality, the ego sense and everything superimposed on it; losing this I-pole I also lose the world-pole, the whole of the phenomenal world. Thus, it is natural that upon transition into transcendental consciousness, which is a sudden and discontinuous transition very similar to a quantum jump, not only my individuality disappears but also with it the totality of phenomenal world vanishes instantly, all this being a very sudden and instantaneous change rather than a gradual transformation. The instantaneous and discontinuous nature of this transition stands in sharp contrast with human spiritual or mystical experiences which are gradual transformations and never go beyond the individual order, and hence are essentially natural experiences marked with subjectivity and sentimentality. The mystic even in his/her loftiest states of ecstasy and divine union is still bound to the individual order and far from realizing the Supreme Identity or Deliverance which amounts to the annihilation of his individuality and along with it of all his/her religious, spiritual, and mystical notions including God and union with Him. Transcendental experience, however, by the mere fact that it belongs to the supra-individual order is beyond all subjectivity and is not followed by any human sentiment and spiritual/mystical notions, for in transcendental experience our humanity is already transcended; thus, no human notion or idea, or any individual possibility whatsoever, survives the transition into the transcendental state: Everything has to die for Atman to arise.
When we enter into transcendental consciousness we lose the world; the phenomenal world is no more there. Since our human individuality and all its attributes were parts of world phenomena, they too disappear in transcendental consciousness. In other words, when I enter the transcendental mode of consciousness, which we can also designate as transcendental experience or nondual consciousness, I no more am a human individual in a world, nor am a thing in any sense of the word; I am no more embodied nor do I perceive a world or space-time. Upon entrance into transcendental consciousness everything disappears instantaneously. The only thing that remains is the self-consciousness of Atman, the universal Spirit. It is not that Atman becomes the object of my consciousness, me being something separate from it; instead, in transcendental, nondual, state I am aware of myself as Atman and I am directly perceiving myself as one with it, though this direct perception is not in the natural sense of the word which derives from natural, or dual, consciousness in which perception and its object are perceives as separate things. The direct perception, or Self-perception, in the transcendental state is nondual; there is no separation, nor is Atman perceived like a spatial or temporal object but as the Absolute and Infinite Self of all things. This direct perception is totally veiled in our natural consciousness and hence we cannot think of it or grasp it, even in our loftiest thoughts and speculations, as long as we are in the natural, human state which must be entirely overcome before the veil is dropped.
The world phenomenon and its phenomenal objects only appear to us as a result of a particular point of view, or orientation, of consciousness. It is from a particular angle that world appears to consciousness, and this world, including we in it, will immediately disappear the moment consciousness tilts itself into a different, transcendental, angle. Upon changing this orientation or direction of glance of consciousness the whole world with its objects and my individuality in it disappears all at once.
Time, space, embodiment, worldliness, and all phenomena in general appear to consciousness in virtue of its particular orientation which is not an orientation in space and time but rather a transcendental orientation, entirely outside space and time, which has to do with the way Spirit, or pure consciousness, projects itself. As a result of changing the orientation of consciousness from natural attitude to transcendental attitude the phenomena of time and space too disappear; hence, the “I” becomes naked; it loses its individuality and personality and self-hood; it is no more embodied in space, nor is it something extended in time as if it had a past and a possible future. The transcendental experience of time is wholly different from our natural experience of time in which we apprehend each moment to have a before and an after. In transcendental experience time too is naked; it is not embodied, that is, it is a now that has no before and no after. Time is experienced as an eternal now, a now totally outside the natural time of our natural, everyday consciousness.
As we said earlier, in transcendental consciousness I have already lost my humanity and individuality, thoughts and emotions, ideas of past and future, and in general all world phenomena that I attributed either to myself or to world objects. The “I” that survives, the “I” that is left after entering into transcendental consciousness, is a universal I; it no more has the character of mine or thine; it is not anyone’s “I” but rather it is the “I” that shines through all of us. Since this survived “I” lies outside space and time it no more has such a thing as history, no past or future; therefore, upon entrance into transcendental consciousness it instantly becomes evident, with absolute certainty, that this “I” is never really born and never dies, not because it lives forever but simply because it is no more something in time; it is entirely free from and outside the reach of time; it is no more partitioned and conditioned by time.
The transcendental “I” which is my true “I” or essence lies outside space and time and hence not subject to temporality or duration of any kind. It has no before or after, and hence from the point of view of transcendental consciousness the questions “where did I come from?” or “where am I going” become completely meaningless and don’t even arise in consciousness anymore since they are not applicable to this “I.” In the transcendental mode I am no more perceiving myself as a thing that has a before or after; even the ideas of before and after become inconceivable in transcendental consciousness since it is by its nature a consciousness transcendent to space and time, hence free from being conditioned by space, time, and causality. As a result, the idea of creation too collapses since in that state one realizes that the phenomenal world never truly existed; there has never been a creation; time and space and causality which are the ideas presupposed in the idea of world and creation are themselves only illusory phenomena and not real, since in the absence of time the notions of beginning and duration become meaningless. Thus, our belief in the world and creation is a result of ignorance, something like an optical illusion.
A brilliant analogy is given by Adi Shankara, the 7th century AD Indian monk and metaphysicist. He says that the appearance of the phenomenal world is a result of a false superimposition of names and forms, Nāmarūpa, upon the unconditioned Brahman. The situation is like when we see a coiled rope and mistake it for a snake, of course because we have in our memory the idea of a snake that can curl itself into the form of a coiled rope. This phenomenal world plays the role of the appearance of snake in Shankara’s analogy: It is in fact Supreme Reality or Brahman that we are conscious of, and directly perceiving in front of us, but we mistakenly, and as a result of superimposing forms and names on it, perceive Brahman to be the phenomenal world. From this analogy, transition to transcendental consciousness amounts to realizing that the object is not a snake but rather a coiled rope. I add that Brahman itself is not something perceptible by sense organs; when I say we are directly perceiving Brahman I mean the direct perception by Pure Intuition, namely the nondual glance of transcendental consciousness which is realized only when we suspend our natural, human consciousness. Thus, Brahman is always before us and we are, as the transcendental “I,” always staring at it; however, we are instead perceiving our sense perceptions as a result of constant recourse to memory which is the depository of names and forms. We fail to perceive Brahman because we are trapped in, in the bondage of, natural, human consciousness. Only the transition to transcendental consciousness by which the whole world disappears can tear the veil, and then the face of Brahman, the face of Truth Itself, appears before us, a face that the transcendental “I” immediately recognizes as its own. This instant is the moment of waking up from the world dream and to the Supreme Reality; it is none but the attainment of the Supreme Identity; it is the instant of Deliverance, namely it is The Liberation Par Excellence.
I emphasize that the manner of Being of the survived “I,” the impersonal, universal “I,” is entirely different from the way I experience existence in natural consciousness. Transcendental consciousness and the transcendental “I” is beyond Being and Non-Being: It is not Ontic; it is Meontic, that is, beyond being and non-being. This “I” and its Self-experience cannot be spoken of, nor can it be understood at all, in terms of our natural consciousness. The natural mind which is the human mind is essentially incapable of conceiving of transcendental experience in which there is no more a subject or an object, no duality whatsoever. Our natural consciousness cannot conceive of an experience in which the subject-object duality does not exist. Therefore, any attempt at understanding or imagining the transcendental consciousness is futile; the only way of knowing it is to actually enter into transcendental consciousness which entails the sudden disappearance of the natural consciousness and the whole of the phenomenal world with it.
From the point of view of transcendental consciousness I have not come from anywhere, nor am I going anywhere, since there is nowhere to have come from and nowhere to go. Since transcendental consciousness is transcendent to all spatiality and temporality, the ideas of here and there, now and then, are entirely meaningless and non-existent. Up there there is nowhere else except the universal Here and no other time except the eternal Now and no one else except the universal “I.” Duality has altogether vanished upon my transition into transcendental state, or the ground state, of consciousness. I have always been there will always be there, for “I” am the only thing that is, however in my absolute, infinite, and unconditioned state: I am Supreme Reality itself.
27 thoughts on “Transcendental Consciousness & Supreme Identity”
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Dear Tomaj, i do not know whether you are aware of the book of Dr. Reza Shah Kazemi, “Paths to Transcedence”, a presentation of the convergent doctrines of Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart, i kindly recommend. Your post reminded me of it and made me curious whether you are familiar with Sayyed Hossein Nasr teachings – as i know he teaches at an university in the DC area and the work of Dr. James Cutsinger, both having F. Schuon as an “introducer” to the themes they are preoccupied of, as it seems so.
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Thank you Cezar for your comment. Unfortunately I am not familiar with Kazemi’s book but I am going to pick it up because the title you mentioned interests me very much. I am familiar with the works of Traditionalists, especially Guenon and Schuon, but of Nasr and Custinger I have read only a couple of books. I identify with their works. My personal approach to the issue of consciousness and reality was through Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology. But in essence the two approaches arrive at the same summit, though neither knows about the other 🙂
Yes! and no! Quoting from the end of your 10th paragraph: “This instant is the moment of waking up from the world dream and to the Supreme Reality; it is none but the attainment of the Supreme Identity; it is the instant of Deliverance, namely it is The Liberation Par Excellence.” Oh yes! However you may find that this moment is one of “seeing the Ox”, the first of ten Ox-herding pictures.
Your eleventh paragraph speaks of the inability to communicate this state, the futility of conceiving of it with our “natural consciousness”. However, by writing this excellent post, have you not done just that? Have you not attempted to translate from one ‘language’ into another, from the transcendental to the natural? Yes! As does all Sufi or mystic poetry.
To quote the first paragraph: “Natural consciousness is our everyday consciousness; it is the consciousness by which we perceive ourselves as human beings in a world, a world that has religion, science, philosophy, art, etc. as phenomena inside it.” Yes and no. Look carefully at the world with natural consciousness and you will not see religion, science or philosophy as material objects. Those phenomena occur in one location: the human skull. We project it. The Namarupa (forgive my spelling) is useful to create science, religion and philosophy.
Existence seems to predate consciousness, here on earth, and your baby picture proves it. You didn’t know that you existed until you could start to speak of your existence, but before that, you were pooping your diapers, you did exist. Each of us arrives by the same physical door. Each of us leaves by a physical door. The journey in between can often consist of seeing the Ox, taming it, and riding it back to the Marketplace. Can we take our Liberation back into the un-liberated world? Once there, what do we do with it?
I like to kick the ball back. If I’ve misunderstood your message, and I’m sure in part I have, then we just keep bouncing the ball around. Awesome post! Thanks again and Cheers!
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Thanks for your comment. I hope I have been able to translate the transcendental experience in natural terms, but what I meant by inconceivability is that from the natural point of view we cannot know “what it’s like” to have a transcendental experience. Though I have tried to give some outlines and general features as to what it is not but still one cannot imagine having the experience unless one has it. An analogy that I hear more often about this difficulty is this: A born blind person cannot know what it’s like to see regardless of how well we explain it to him; whatever picture he has in mind of seeing will be shattered when he becomes able to see for the first time. Transcendental experience too, though it has some general communicable features, but is like a higher level of seeing to which we are normally blind. It is in this sense that I meant we can’t imagine what it’s like to have the experience.
Regarding religion, etc what I meant by world is the world of experience, not just physical objects. After all, science, religion, etc are things that we experience, at least those who believe in it. They are objects of consciousness, and hence parts of the world, world in its most general sense that contains all beings, whether mental, physical, spiritual, feelings, etc. But of course as you said certain world-objects exist only in subjectivity but they are nonetheless phenomena of experience.
I do here disagree about precedence of existence to consciousness; you see, when you imagine world existing before your consciousness this itself is a thought possible only in and though consciousness. However, by consciousness I do not mean human or personal mode of consciousness but rather transcendental consciousness which is by nature transcendent to world, and world is only a phenomena in it. Individual consciousness like bubbles come and go within this transcendental consciousness. Physical world is a conception of consciousness. It is absurd to assume a world that exist independently of consciousness; besides the fact that this independent existence cannot be proven in principle, but from quantum physics we know that the fundamental constituents of nature of not material or physical but mathematical constructs conceivable only by consciousness.
So this may be the point of our disagreement: I take transcendental consciousness as the ground of the world and hence preceding existence, since existence, nature, natural processes, mater, etc are all known in and through consciousness.
I didn’t know about the ox and had to look it up; it’s indeed interesting. Bounce back the ball and let me know if I misunderstood your comments.
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Just to add another point about the relative existence of the phenomenal world, I mean its dependence on consciousness, is in transition to transcendental consciousness the world phenomenon as we know it vanishes entirely. This implies the world and natural consciousness are two poles of the same thing; when one is transcended the other too is annihilated in the sense that both natural consciousness and phenomenal world disappear in transcendental consciousness; so world cannot have independent existence or precedence over consciousness. Note that this is not a matter of speculation or abstraction but of direct experience which should be the ground of all knowledge or science.
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By the way, I have no doubt, brother Tomaj, that you have returned to the source and are entering the marketplace with helping hands, so to speak 😉 Your voice in your blog always urges me to seek further, with joy. Thank you.
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Oh, it really is not the matter of returning to the source. I had this experience from within the phenomenological philosophy and its method of Reduction which I might have mentioned with you. There are spiritual masters who reach this state but with purification of the mind and heart, and only they are in the position to teach or guide people or claim enlightenment. What I like to do is only to say that it is possible to experience higher degrees of reality from which many of our deep philosophical questions concerning “where we came from and where we are headed? can be answered. Present time is in a hopeless state; mixture of modern science and relativism have reduced people to mere psycho-physical entities, which is absolutely not true. And those who are in religion or spirituality believe that truth is a matter of faith and dogma, while it is possible to have direct perception of what traditional schools called ultimate reality, etc. This can really change people’s lives, hopefully.
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Btw, I don’t know if I introduced this link to you about phenomenology, but I paste it here in case I haven’t. It is quite good in explaining the transcendental mode.
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Dimvisionary, I just fully read the ox story. It is fascinating and in essence somewhat similar to Jnana Yoga of Hinduism. However, in reference to transcendental consciousness it is the state depicted in the 8th picture, step 8 of the story rather than seeing the Ox. The reason is that up until step 8 the individuality is still present which corresponds to higher states of natural consciousness. It is only is step 8 that individuality and personality are transcended, exactly like entrance into transcendental consciousness which is a state after transcending all individuality. In transcendental consciousness, like in step 8 of the Ox story, what is left is like a pure void without any distinctions in it. But according to Mahayana Buddhists this state is not nothingness but rather void being conscious of itself as void, and this is exactly what the state of transcendental consciousness looks like.
All is in the skull: In natural consciousness the external world, the physical objects, etc. are also entirely in the skull; if we accept the physics and other sciences we know that what we perceive is an image formed in the mind by means of sense data. Thus everything that we experience, whether physical objects or mental objects such as religion, science, etc. are all in the mind, in the skull. It is the mind that assumes these mental pictures are representations of objects existing in an external world, but this assumption itself, and the idea of an external world, is nothing but another mental representation. More precisely, nothing is outside the skull, including the idea of skull itself ;). It is all conscious experience. In a way we can say there is nothing but experience, since the very assumption of things existing independently of experience is itself a cognitive act of consciousness, or something like that.
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Fascinating! and I see your point. Yes, exactly… with some caveats. You mention above: “Thus everything that we experience, whether physical objects or mental objects such as religion, science, etc. are all in the mind, in the skull.” Yes and no. Some physical objects outside of your skull, whether you know of them or not, can kill you. Even if our minds are a map of the ultimately unknowable territory, that does not stop something from the territory destroying the map. Indeed, it certainly will. We humans are limited to human experience, but the fossil record seems to indicate strongly that something existed before human experience. We cannot disregard the external world, we come out of it and return to it, physically. And the transcendent consciousness seems to visit this earth in clay jars. Let’s not confuse ourselves that our consciousness reigns supreme, the supreme consciousness likes this manifestation, it seems to like mingling with material. By the way, these are conversations I live for! Cheers!
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Yes, that is true. From an individual point of view, meaning our physical and mental aspect we are limited in the so-called material world which in is not really material at all if we go deep to its foundations. But as I mentioned in the post itself the transcendental consciousness is beyond the individual aspect and not a state of human consciousness at all. From the transcendental point of view the phenomenal world, including its science and its findings, such as fossils and evolution, etc. arise from transcendental consciousness itself. Though the events of this natural world, which really is nothing but consciousness, can kill the individual person, they cannot affect the transcendental consciousness for the simple reason that these events are already constitutions within this consciousness. I see that your point of view here is that of naturalism which drives modern science but is founded based on certain unjustifiable and unproven assumptions: First is the very idea of external world whose independent existence cannot be proven in principle. Then is the assumption that consciousness is the product of natural processes which is already paradoxical since nature and its processes, science and all its conclusions, are things known in and through consciousness. The third assumption that is severely damaged by quantum physics is the belief in the material constitution of universe. It was thought in the 19th century that world is made of matter and physical stuff, but now we know that this is not true. There is nothing material or physical at the bottom of things; there is pure information whose content depends on the observation which is itself linked to a consciousness.
If we simply dogmatically accept these assumptions, then there is naturalism and what you say about external world and its existence is simply accepted as given. But what I speak about goes before making these assumptions; if we are radical empiricists which means we should not accept anything outside experience, thus we are forced to admit that the phenomenal world, including the notion of external world, are things experienced before we can attribute to it independent existence. The idea is that experience is before everything else. The very processes involved in doing science, in excavating and finding fossils, interpreting them, etc. and giving conclusions all require for their meaning and validation the constant stream of conscious experience without which the very idea of external world is impossible, let alone scientific discoveries that attest to it. It seems to me paradoxical that we have to use consciousness to know the world and find fossils in it, and then say that fossils came before consciousness. And of course here I am with you about the confusion of individual mind and transcendental consciousness. So by saying that consciousness precedes the world I mean the transcendental consciousness, and it is not that this consciousness is there and then the world comes out of matter; there is no such thing as matter. The phenomenal world with all its possibilities, including scientific knowledge, etc. are productions of this transcendental consciousness. And the important point here is that we are speaking mere speculations but absolutely certain facts that can be directly experienced in transcendental state. The simple fact that the phenomenal world vanishes in this state is a direct proof that the phenomenal world has no independent existence.
And btw, I too enjoy such conversations which I rarely have the honor of engaging in.
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The question then, how do we organize seven billion facets of the transcendent consciousness within a finite biosphere orbiting a g-type star? One of the many lethal things outside of our skulls is other skulls.
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Well, from the transcendental perspective, as I mentioned in the post, the phenomenal world and diversity, whether in people or stars, totally vanishes. The idea that explains how this can happen is the analogy with dreams; when you dream your singular consciousness appears as dream world with multitude of objects and people, but it is still only one consciousness that creates within itself this multiplicity. In the same sense transcendental consciousness is a nondual state and compared to it our phenomenal world is something like the subconscious of that transcendental state.
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Yes, I understand all that, but you are veering close to saying that I only exist in your mind. You seem to be saying that when you reach a transcendent consciousness, I vanish. Do I only exist in your mind?
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Oh, not at all. This would be idealism which is really other than what I am saying. In a transcendental consciousness both me and my mind are vanishes, since they too are parts of the world. The “I” that is left is the same I in you, in me, in all. So you are not in my mind; in essence you are me and not separate from me. It is one thing that appears as the many in the natural state. Transcendental consciousness is not the mind. It is not my individual possession. I can refer you to that analogy. View me and you and others in this world as a dream world. Transcendental consciousness amounts to the waking up of the dreamer; all of us vanish and it turns out that we were all the one consciousness of the dreamer and not separate. You see, that is why I said despite my explanations, it is really impossible to know what it’s like to be in that state, as a result there are many misunderstandings which are by the way natural since our thinking, logic, comprehension, all derives from our natural experience and consciousness. Dimvisionary I hope I could answer your question. But either way I am enjoying this conversation. The least of it is that it lets me see the shortcomings on my explanations and the possible misunderstandings that can arise. As I said in the post, the best way, the only way, of truly grasping the radical nature of this transcendental consciousness and how the phenomenal world depends on it is to actually enter that state, one method being the Reduction. From the purely natural state what I say, no doubt, seems absurd; I know that. But experience always beats logic and commonsense.
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DV, I would like to emphasize a point here, and that is the truth that experience is, and should be, the only source of knowledge and not mere commonsense or speculative thought. I understand that from the plane of natural consciousness one cannot conceive of how the phenomenal world depends on consciousness, but what I say is a matter of experimental fact and not personal or subjective opinion. It is just what it is when it is evidenced in direct intuition, whether it makes sense to our commonsense or not. This situation is very similar to the advent of quantum mechanics. The principles of QM does not make any sense from the classical point of view; they don’t make sense in terms of human thought and logic, for example a particle being everywhere in the universe at the same time; we cannot even think it or imagine it. But our inability to conceive of it doesn’t make it untrue. It remains a fact the the tenets of QM are verified in experiments and that is the ultimate source of validity, as direct experience, especially reproducible experience is the ultimate source of validity. QM doesn’t make any sense even to physicists but it is true nonetheless. Same hold for transcendental experience. Other experience of natural consciousness, including spiritual and mystical experiences, are purely subjective, hence in the mind. But transcendental experience is beyond individual mind or anything individual. And above all it is a reproducible experience at will, unlike subjective states. That the world, including you and I and our minds in it, vanishes upon transition into that state is just matter of brute fact that can be experienced by anyone at any time; but of course as one needs to be trained to perform quantum experiments, one also needs to be trained on how to transit into transcendental state. The problem of understanding comes only when you give superior validity to mind’s commonsense than to experimental evidence. I am a firm believer that anything that lies beyond the scope of direct experience is mere dogma. And we know from examples such as QM that the logic and commonsense of the mind are by no means a criteria of validity. So I insist that you give that experience a try, and unless you see it for yourself it is absurd for me to expect you to accept what I say about that experience. But at the same time it is absurd to deny something which our commonsense cannot grasp, especially something that we know from many sources that can be experimentally verified. It is important to remain open and empirical in all matters. Experience must say that first and the last and the middle word.
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:sigh: I agree with you. That’s the big reason I like and reply to your posts. In the vain hope of brevity, let’s abbreviate Transcendental Consciousness to TC. I agree with your thorough and accurate and valid description of TC. It can be the third image or the fifth or the eighth or tenth. The experience is unmistakable and if I can be said to have faith in much, that experience among many others is undeniable. As you have pointed out, we can describe riding a bicycle, explain it in detail while wearing a Go-Pro, but until a person has ridden the bicycle, you can only guess. I agree with you.
Now what? Let’s assume that we both have street cred where the streets have no names, okay. Can we bring TC back into natural consciousness? Can we see it manifested in our waking dreams? In art and culture and human history? After all, the Teacher is faithful. It has lead us to the point of experiencing TC, given us every atom to do so. Even equipped us with the most complex structure in the known universe, with which we each seem to create our own private universes. I agree with you that those little private universes are illusion and I can grasp that the big universe is an illusion. Those are answers to the question “What?” and not “Why?”
As explorers of this TC experience, we try and fail to describe it, and the exploration continues. The final frontier. The soul’s education never stops and the Teacher is faithful. TC is the teacher and so are you and the void and the lotus and none of those. That which precedes all names can have as many names as it wants. No shortage of names or numbers or forms. Still we try to describe it. That’s why I enjoy your posts and why I write mine.
You mentioned in the comments above, and I sort of agree with you, “Present time is in a hopeless state; mixture of modern science and relativism have reduced people to mere psycho-physical entities, which is absolutely not true.” I agree that reductive perspective is limiting and not fully accurate; no, we are not reductions. And present time does seem hopeless. But it isn’t completely hopeless. The map can always look hopeless, but the territory never matches the map. How awesome is it that we can keep making new maps?! Cheers!
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That’s a great comment and makes me speechless really. First I say I really appreciate you visiting my blog and leaving your kind and wonderful comments, and I thank you for initiating conversations like this. A few times conversations starts with people who are only cynics and whose only strategy is ridicule and sarcasm which never gets anywhere. But I love the talks we have. And you are right about the relative hope we have at the present time; after all we are able to have our blogs and write about things that we believe matter; we have access to blog and literature of various cultures and religions that we didn’t before, and above all we are able to enjoy conversations like this despite being physically isolated.
I am sometimes very critical of modern science and philosophy, and ironically I love physics myself. My objection is not really to science itself which I cherish, and especially from a metaphysical point of view I see science as nothing short of a revelation. My objection, however, is to scientism, the idea that modern science which is based on third-person point of view and considers only measurable and quantitative phenomena. The idea is that the scientific picture is a perfectly working model of reality, but only an abstract model designed for purposes of prediction and exploitation. This abstract nature of science is pretty clear if we go to its origin in 16-17 centuries and see the process of making scientific theories, etc. The problem comes when we take this picture as the concrete reality itself and when people deny with absolute certainty any experience or phenomena that modern science cannot grasp. In general, giving superiority to science and its truth at the expense of marginalizing all else is scientism with which I disagree and fight. It is a matter of fact that every step of scientific creation, from simple observation to designing instrument, communicating with other scientists, thinking and abstracting, interpreting the result and formulating theories, all these steps necessarily pass through the ceaseless stream of conscious experience without which nothing can be said to be at all. In short, science derives its meaning and validity not from nature itself but from the stream of conscious cognition through which nature appears to us. It is at this front that raise my objections, to the idea that reality is material at its base while experience tells us otherwise. To say that consciousness arises from matter is the most paradoxical idea, for the simple reason that matter is itself something known and experienced in consciousness. Thus, in all my arguments naturally I do not consider or use any results from sciences, simply because their validity is derived from and depends on consciousness so they cannot be used to explain consciousness which is their very ground. I see scientific theories and findings as mere abstractions that have predictive power but having nothing to do with concrete reality.
But as a whole this may be our only difference if I am not mistaken. Maybe it is my training as a physicist that makes me emphasize direct experience over all other modes of cognition such as logic or commonsense. And I must add that, though I consider the universe being an illusion but it is an illusion only from the higher standpoint, that of TC, and from TC my own self, my individuality, mind, body, etc. are all parts of the illusion. It is not such that I am a human person experiencing illusion but my humanity and natural experience are themselves part of that illusion. However, from the natural point of view everything is real and concrete, the same way that as long as we are in a dream everything is real relative to us. In the same way that there are no real objects behind dream experiences, there are also no real objects behind our waking experiences. That is how they can vanish in TC; they have never been there in the first place.
This point of view makes sense only when we consider consciousness to be the primary reality; if we give matter fundamental reality, then we cannot digest how consciousness can create this matter. Though the issue becomes naturally resolved in TC where we see ourselves how TC constitutes the appearance of a material reality in such a way that we appear as embodied human beings in it.
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Oh, one point I need to mention. Transcendental consciousness is one and not seven billion. The 7 billion are all internal possibilities within one transcendental consciousness. So when you go in that state you don’t have your previous “I” or personality or humanity. It is the same “I” that shines in all of us. We are all like characters and objects in the subconscious of that transcendental consciousness. It is astonishingly similar to the way we write a wave function in quantum mechanics. Each particle is characterized by only one and only one wave function; but this wave function is the sum of all the possibilities of that particle, often infinite possibilities. In the same way, each human person is a possibility of manifestation for one and the same transcendental consciousness, much like that dream analogy where all objects of dream world are the many subconscious possibilities of one consciousness.
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my dear Tomajji.
I take the privilege to say that Sri.Dimvisionary inspite of understanding where you push every reader of your post either deliberately or by love to individuality alone, he doesn’t not want to take the next step required to directly experience transcendental consciousness which i guess from the following sentence he wrote. And when you repeat it the implication is that you love to share your progress.
DV:-By the way, these are conversations I live for!
TJ:-And btw, I too enjoy such conversations which I rarely have the honor of engaging in.
But for such conversation many in the world would have been deprived of freedom in real terms.
kindly pardon me if i have tried to rate DVji.
During my wandering among Sanyasis i found many with great knowledge but will resist final liberation.
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Thanks for your comment. The irony is that before I had a transcendental experience I had the same objections as DV, and I have to admit I was even harsh. The truth of the matter is that transcendental experience makes no sense whatsoever from the plane of natural consciousness. The only thing that changed my view was the experience itself which took me a couple of years to get used to because it shatters all me ideas and commonsense. And it was also different from previous spiritual experiences I had, some even on psychedelics, which were only modes of subjective experience, personal. But this was different, no more subjective or personal since the Tomaj I knew died entirely in that experience. The truth is that it goes contrary to our natural consciousness and every objection DV makes is genuine and there is no way of turning it around except direct experience. The reason it doesn’t make sense in natural terms is that our commonsense and logic derives from natural experiences. Transcendental experience, however, is not reducible to natural experience since it is above and beyond it. The best analogy as I mentioned before, and I hope there is no offense in it, is like a blind man trying to understand color. Color belongs to sight which is an experience beyond the scope of a blind person. He cannot understand color in terms of his other 4 modes of perception, like touch, smell, etc. One must see.
In reality, we are always perceiving only Brahman in front of us, for there is nothing but Brahman. But our mind and sense perception superimpose these forms on it and hence we see only objects. In transcendental consciousness we transcend all these forms and the mind itself, hence Brahman appears before us as itself, as the always shining Reality. There is no me or you anymore. There is only Brahman which is beyond all duality, all objective or subjective notions. In truth, our natural experience has no real subject. It is by mistake that we believe we are the subject of experience.
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I do kindly pardon you, Mr. sudhasarathi61, no rating is objectionable. You do take a privilege and your taking of it is noteworthy. do you see that? You took the time to type those words. What was your motivation? To be helpful? To me or Tomaj or yourself? Pause in your wandering and build on great knowledge if you can. What is this final liberation you speak of? Can you describe it? Or are you merely happy to pat yourself on the back?
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very kind of you sri. dimvisionary sir.patting on my back by me is certainly not there.the very act of self appreciation contains/restricts us not not to move beyond individuality.the first qualification for self realization is to enjoy well intentioned criticism and ignore if the critic does not not push you towards loosing personal identity. to the best of my knowledge/intention i saw a person in you who is sincere and serious on the subject Tomajji is dealing. the Brahman which is absolute reveals only when our ego/individuality melts and that is when we seize to exist divided in any form.
my honest thanks and wishes to Sri. Dimvisionaryji. each day/post is helpful in making the subject’s depth and it’s simpleness.
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