My wife and I are in Maui. We've overcome a lot of struggles to get here, as documented in "From snow to sunshine with snafus."
For example, our first class upgrades didn't get us much of a vegetarian meal on Hawaiian Airlines. The Buddha was right: life is suffering.
I like to keep things simple on Maui. Today we sat in some shade on the beach until the mid-day sun drove us into the ocean -- Laurel to snorkel, me to swim back and forth across Napili Bay.
When to lie on the sand; when to go in the water. Of such Big Questions a vacation should be made of.
It's also another good time to work on my Wu. Which involves a query of more cosmic proportions than our beach dilemma. Namely, can awareness be aware of nothing?
Intuitively, I doubt it. But as I so often say on this blog, what do I know?
My Wu Project, or anybody's, necessarily hits a major roadblock if the answer is "No." Seeking the root of whatever lies at the bottom (or top, or middle) Of It All, one is left with something within consciousness – a duality of (1) something and (2) consciousness of that thing.
I brought with me a new book, "Consciousness is All." I figured, correctly, that it'd blend nicely with the mellow buzz of my cup of Kona coffee in the morning, and more generally, with the whole laid back Maui vibe.
The author, Peter Dziuban, has an engaging style. I'm much attracted to what seems to be a complete lack of quotations in his 296 pages. He just says what he thinks, with no corroboration from holy books, gurus, saints, or seers.
After reading just a few chapters I can tell that a central thought regards the reality of pure awareness.
Awareness truly is. For this to be clear, start with pure Awareness, pure Consciousness only – entirely distinct from the body and everything else you seem to be aware of. One who is alert sees that pure Awareness, all by Itself, alone, never changes or goes away.
Hmmm. I don't know about that, though maybe I'm not alert enough to see it. Sure, for every moment of my 59+ years I've been aware (which Dziuban says is synonymous with being conscious).
I've also been aware of something for each of those moments – except when I was unconscious. Then I wasn't aware of anything, including awareness.
I like the notion of pure awareness, of pure consciousness. It just sounds so…pure. And simple. But I can't imagine what it would be like.
Neither, says my skeptical soul, do many (if not all) of the people who talk about it. Again, though, I could be wrong. It just seems to me that pure awareness is like pure existence: a concept.
How empty can awareness or existence be, and still be something that we can be aware of or know as existent? I find it difficult to imagine being aware only of awareness, or of existing solely as existence.
For one thing, it's deeply creepy. Like being dead, yet not quite. Totally alone. A nothing knowing only its nothingness.
But, hey, I'm just 21 pages into Dziuban's book. Maybe things will clear up with more Kona coffee-aided reading. And perhaps the beauty of Maui is what's making me wonder…
Can there be awareness without stuff to be aware of?
Can there be existence without stuff that exists?