God is not an image. An image is a pointer. Images processed by the mind are concepts. Concepts are formed in perception. Conditioning alters perception. No two conditioned perspectives are the same. No image is perceived as it is by the body/mind. What IS, is most often colored by perception. The act of perceiving is God.
Just writing the word “God” brings forth a myriad of images. Based on your own conditioning, you might see, in the mind’s eye, an old man on a throne or a man named Jesus or a massive energy field or many other images. Those are all forms. Forms are a manifestation of the formless. Forms point to the formless but the formless can only be revealed in pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is what remains when there are no forms, when there are no subjects or objects. Form arises from within consciousness for consciousness to experience consciousness. Awareness, that is aware of awareness, is pure consciousness.
See how quickly the discussion takes us into a realm where words don’t work? See how images and concepts fall short of something that can’t be described in images or concepts?
In these posts I often refer to consciousness or awareness as the divine presence or the divine itself. And there we are again. When I use the word “itself” I’ve reduced the infinite to something finite. The mind will attempt to make concepts of the formless. It must. It is a manifestation of the formless that categorizes forms as a survival mechanism for the manifested form to interact with the world of forms.
And there we are again trying to create another form to describe the indescribable.
Still, you are not form. Your form is a manifestation of your formless essence. Why? So you might experience forms to know the formless. How? How is it that we can experience and know the formless in the world of forms? Awareness. Awareness is what we are. We are like a singular eye that sees and experiences the world as a perceived seer. When we look as this singular eye to see ourself…we can’t. The eye cannot see itself but it is aware that it is. In the absolute, there is no eye to see. There is just the act of seeing. This is the awareness that you are, the “I am” that reduces to just the “am” or beingness.
It would be more appropriate to say that God is a verb. God is the space between the subject and object that includes the subject and object. God is awareness that manifests as form to experience form. The “I” we think we are is a localized focal point of awareness being aware of form. We “see” the world but the act of seeing is what we are. All that we see is for the purposes of seeing. When we wake up from the dream of a form identity, we begin to see we aren’t a seer but the seeing. Awareness becomes aware of awareness.
I know I use these nebulous metaphors over and over again, so I thought it might be time for some practical pointers. In these next few posts, I’ll share a few of these pointers. Like the ancient Zen masters who say “the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon”, these pointers are something that will bring experience of what you are. They point to what you are and by following the pointer, you will have an experience of what you are. Like in the moon metaphor, even the moon is a pointer. The light of the moon doesn’t emanate from the moon but is a reflection of the light of the sun. This is “the way it works” for pointers. You can try the other way, the mystical way, the monastic way, the way of religious “doing” to come to the end of the ego, or you can go directly to the source. You can’t take your ego with you. You can’t form concepts in your mind. The ego and the mind become objects like the finger and the moon and even the sun. The light is what you seek and it can only be experienced as awareness experiencing awareness.
Here is our first pointer:
Imagine yourself as a 5-year-old. Maybe you don’t have a memory of being 5 so pick an age, a young age where you have a memory. Realize the memory is an imagined event. There is no such thing as remembering truth. Even in any moment, when lost to the identity of the ego, the perception of the moment is altered by conditioning. I say this because I want you to be at peace knowing that if you remember or imagine, it is the same thing. This way you won’t find yourself sucked in by some “negative memory.” So imagine a good one if that works for you.
Now, in this memory or imagined event, where are you? What is around you? Do you see your body or are you seeing through the eyes of your body? For most, they will say they see their body as a young version of their current body interacting with the surroundings of the memory. They are aware of the moment and are reconstructing in their mind the events of the moment. Maybe you even sense the emotions of the moment.
OK, if you are there in that imagined memory, who is it that is seeing this memory? Don’t think about it or rationalize or analyze. Ask yourself, as you read this post, who is it that sees “you” in this memory? You may have a sense of “another” that is watching this moment like someone watching a play. Now go deeper and ask yourself, who is aware of the one watching the play. Keep going and you will find that awareness is aware of the moment.
Now fast forward to this moment. Who is reading this post? Who is watching the one reading this post? Keep going deeper or higher or whatever works for you. At some point you will see that there is no “you” but just the sensation of awareness. Is that awareness older than what was present for the 5-year-old experience? Isn’t awareness timeless?
Let’s try another one.
Imagine you are the singular eye again. You are looking around the room as you read this post. What do you see? What is it you are experiencing? Now ask yourself, who is experiencing this moment? Who is the “you” in this moment? Is it your body? Is it your mind? Let’s say you decide it is your mind that is witnessing this moment. Who or what is it that knows it is your mind? Can you see that there is an awareness that “sees” the mind as it experiences this moment? Go deeper. Can you see the singular eye? Look hard. Is it there to be seen? An eye can’t see itself but you have a powerful sensation that something is looking to see itself. Now imagine there is no eye. Can you “see” that you are still there? Awareness is still present? This is the divine presence that you are. If you continue to go deeper, you will see that there isn’t a “you” there at all but the “you” is something that is witness as awareness.
OK, that is pretty “deep” and this practice will perplex the mind. It’s OK. That is what the mind does. In resistance to the formless, it wants to create form. Let it and see it. You might even feel a bit of frustration. This is the ego resisting what it can’t categorize. If the ego can’t make sense of something, then it is a threat to survival. This is what the ego does. It does whatever it needs to do to survive. Again, witness the ego. Feel the emotion and see the emotion. Ask “yourself” what sees the emotion?
This is called self inquiry. It is the question of “what are you?” It leads or points to ultimate truth. The ultimate truth can be known because awareness is aware. As you inquire you will meet resistance at times. Just witness the resistance. Let awareness be aware of the resistance and then ask yourself again, what is it that is aware of the resistance.
I hope these pointers help to move past the perceived confusion of the mind. We will explore some other pointers in the next few posts.