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April 23, 2008

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"They're not the same."
I guess "Consciousness is NOT all" after all ... :) (of course I simply playing with words here ...)


Brian,

You said: "I still don't know if awareness can be aware of nothing"

I don't know either. I don't know that "nothing" is actually something that one CAN be aware of. Because "nothing"... is nothing. It does not exkist, so what is ther to be aware of?

But I would rather say: How about just Awareness being 'aware' of Awareness? (awareness being aware of itself)

Because "something" and "nothing" are you know... just ideas. But this thing called awareness is obviously not just an idea. We are aware. Or so it seems.

So that's why I say:

How about... Awareness just being AWARE of Awareness.

Any comments?


Thanks, Brian for the question:'Why isn't the soul's intrinsic awareness evident when the normal functioning of the brain/ mind is interrupted?'

If this was the case, life as we know it would cease. Sleep, unconciousness and ultimately suicide would be prefered to our perpetually partially aware consciousness.

Since living in the highest degree of awareness could be the most satisfying way to live, maybe any objective to earthly living would be to work for our awareness. Why we don't just have intrinsic awareness could be, amongst others: creationism- We're at the mercy or play of an element that has tampered with our DNA- giving us a short lifespan with a fixed ceiling on our consciousness so that we can work for or be the play thing of the controlling element.
We manufactured ourselves during a long track and keep forming and re-forming in various degrees and states of awareness. The extent to which we enjoy the ride will be dependant directly on how we connect and communicate with anything in and around us. This may also determine our next consciousness and manifestation after death.

"Gosh, I'm not sure I want to be enlightened if it means I'm unaware of everything."

One of the first questions in the zen bag: If you have not been enlightened, why do you seek enlightenment? How do you know you want to be enlightened?

Are you asking these questions out of a spiritual interest, (that was interesting) or out of an emotional need, (all the various factors which lead to the primal suffering/existential angst/incompleteness etc)?

Under the belief system of modern science, you can reject an idea out of lack of proof, and as an itchy beach bather, you can say, "that doesn't feel right to me."

Awareness of awareness still holds unawareness in its pocket. We merely can not perceive being aware when we are unconscious. There is no proof that we are not perfectly enlightened in those states, it just seems like that would be a cheap ruse, perpetrated by Coyote.

Edward says:

*Awareness of awareness still holds unawareness in its pocket. We merely can not perceive being aware when we are unconscious. There is no proof that we are not perfectly enlightened in those states*

Neither is there proof that we are indeed enlightened in those states.

What would actually constitute proof that we are enlightened in those states?

Helen, excellent question. Enlightenment is an anecdotal state, something to believe in, but not really real.

No spiritual or emotional states are provable. There are physiological changes in humans, but there is no "enlightenment" any more than there is "happiness".

---Each of us gets a lot less time than the Earth to ring (maybe). Regardless, when our tone comes to an end, at least we can also say, "well that was interesting."

When I finally get to say, "well that was interesting."

I wonder how heart broken I will be.....

Brian Wrote:

"But they don't change the fact that when I got my tonsils out as a kid and had an ether-soaked cloth put over my nose, I really was unconscious and unaware for quite a while."


When people come around from deep sleep or ether soakings --- they remember being "unaware"..... we usually can put together that there was a blank spot on our tape, a piece of memory missing. However, just because we do not recall or remember does not prove that we were not aware at the time it was happening.

Some people claim they remained terribly aware during surgery even though they were supposed to be absolutely unconscious. Much to their horror, they say they felt everything, all the pain but could not communicate that. A doctor I know said a drug was being developed that made the patient simply FORGET the pain, the drug did not make them unaware of pain during surgery but would render them absolutely forgetful of it when they came around. [Sounded pretty weird and awful to me! ]

Memory. Maybe that is what our self is composed of---some autobiographical montage, of course the most self-congratulatory pieces at the fore. No memory, no self?

Also --- Severe Alzheimer’s might be instructive here....when one does not remember they were conscious 2 seconds ago.

Or the movie 50 First Dates?

Does anything stop long enough to really exist anyhow?

Hey, here is a good one: Left brain turns off, this is well worth viewing for those who have not seen it yet:

http://www.microclesia.com/?p=320

Good comments Edward and Helen. And I am glad we are back on track again after that lengthy digression and deluge of sant mat rigamarole. I am sure Brian is too. And thanks to Brian for statting a new and more intersting subject for discussion.

Now back to the point (or points) at hand...

What exactly is this so-called "enlightenment" that people talk about? We all use the term now and then. But, what is it really? Is it anything at all?

I tend to think that its mostly just an idea that people project, or hope and strive for, and believe in.

But what makes someone who is supposedly "enlightened" any different than other people? Well we all know there are the usual traditional ideas such as: happiness or bliss, deep peace, wisdom or omniscience, and so on.

Now here is what I think: Even though I sometimes use that term "enlightenment" when discussing something related, I don't really believe in it as some kind of attainment. I used to think that way many years ago, but not any longer. I now think that there is no such thing as "enlightenment" as it is commonly believed. For me, and as a reslut of my own experience over a very long time, I have come to view it as more of a process, a never ending process, a process of simply awakening to one's own awareness from moment to moment. Thus it is always something, an awareness, which is fresh in every moment. I don't see it as something, some state that reached or attained for once and for all, or permanently. That idea of permanence or enlightenment as being something attained or completed, is an illusion. Life is not an attainment. Life is never static. Even though awareness seems to be continuous, it is always ever-fresh. So any so-called "enlightenment" must and can only be an ongoing process, not something that is finally reached or attained like a college degree or a trophy.

So enlightenment, if is is really anything at all, must (imo) always be just a moment to moment sense of peace, of happiness, of understanding, wisdom, realization, or whatever. In other words, something living, not a final static attainment. It is always being sort of like newly attained in a moment to moment process of continual awakening.

As opposed to the idea of supposedly just merely awakening once and for all (as in a one-time event), and then its completed as some kind of permanent static state of so-called "enlightenment". I think that notion is a big myth. And it is a myth that many many people, many seekers, have bought into. But its not my experience or my conclusion.

My own experience tells me that any so-called "enlightenment" can only be a living ongoing process of continual awakening or awakenment. Never static, never done, never ending.

In any case, we all perceive or sense that we are what we call "aware"... at least when we are in our normal waking consciousness or in our dreams. We may also be aware when in the state of deep dreamless sleep, but since there is nothinh happening, no content, we don't remember anything about it when we wake up. The same thing goes for being unconscious when sedated or under an anesthetic.

But one thing we do know is that we are "aware" or we are "awareness" when we are awake and conscious during our daily lives. Everything we know, feel, perceive, think, believe, do, and so on, occurs within and because of this basic fundamental thing we call "awareness".

So "enlightenemt", if is is really anything at all, must necessarily be directly and fundamentally related to this AWARE-ness, that we have and that we ARE.

So then, what IS "enlightenment"?

I feel that it is simply a matter of being very conscious, very aware, on a moment to moment basis, of one's own AWARE-ness. This is what I call "instant presence".

What more could it (enlightenment) be? How could it be anything beyond that, beyond awareness?

If you can find an "enlightenment" beyond that, then please let me know. I would like to hear about it.


But once the soul has been overpowered by the Maya, and has become under the full control of Maya then the possibility of getting out of the control of Maya becomes very remote. That is exactly the situation with the most of the masses. The entire population of souls is operating under the control of the Maya. There are only a few rare souls which are eternally blessed and are not under the control of the Maya. Such souls are Puran Sant Satgurus, Puran Braham Gyanis, and remain one with the Almighty. Such souls are served by the Maya and Maya remains at their feet. There remains no difference between Almighty and such eternally blessed and enlightened souls of Sant Satguru, Puran Braham Gyanis.

Via: http://www.satnaam.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=65&Itemid=15

The soul living under the control of Maya keeps remaining cycling in the Loop of Infinity for ever, and that is true with every one of us. All of the souls that are not in Sach Khand and Heaven remain either in Hell, or in 8.4 Million Species (84 Lakh Junie), or in the human life. And we are no exception as such.
via same place

You need a Sat Guru for Real enlightenment IMO

The very existence of our souls in this dark age of Kalyug, which doesn't do Naam Simran, has been described not as a soul but as a ghost – Jinn - Bhootna.

The soul which is not moving on the path to divinity, is described as ghost in the Gurbani. The souls which have already been filtered out through previous ages and have achieved the salvation have become Dhan Dhan. The remaining souls are like a dump of garbage that has been involved in the cycle of life and death in this dark age of Kalyug. We all form a part of this scum and garbage in this age of utmost darkness - we cant put it more bluntly than that.

The darkness around our soul is the creation of our own mind and wisdom, which is governed by the Panj Doots – five vices. Our soul and mind is burning in the fire of desires of owning worldly comforts – Asa, Trishna, Mansha, and involving ourselves in the heinous Dargahi crimes of doing Nindya, Chugli and Bakhili of others, without paying any attention in putting our own house in order.

This is an absolute truth and need to be understood by us all in order to make our current life worthwhile and save our birth as a human. We can do this by working and moving on the path to discovering the Truth, to achieve salvation and be relieved of the cycle of life and death.

Via same place, maybe we need a eternally blessed Sant Sat Guru?

The truth has disappeared from the world due to the dirt of all kinds of sins that are being committed by us in this dark age of Kalyug. The darkness of the Kalyug has driven all the divinity out of our souls. We are so distracted from the effects of these sins that we are committing them daily in our lives. Our soul and mind has been covered by a thick layer of darkness. A dark layer created by the mental sicknesses under the influence of five vices and the fire of desires for achieving all kinds of worldly things under the influence of Maya. This dark layer around our soul and mind has extinguished the Divine Light - Jyot inside us, due to which our souls have become like Ghosts – Jinn Bhootnas.

Naam from a Sant Sat Guru, the seed of yourself finding your true home

Sid, that's six preachy comments in a row just now. Sorry, but you need to find another blog that's better suited to your proselytizing.

Discussion is one thing. Preaching is something else. Your comments have turned into religious spam; hence, they're banned.

In general, I'm a believer in free and open discussion. But you're not interested in discussion.

The darkness of the Kalyug? Why should I believe that any more than I believe in Harry Potter?

Thankyou for your post tAo. I've copied and pasted it into a collection of posts I've made from this website because it gives me so much to reflect on, particularly where you say:

*What more could it (enlightenment) be? How could it be anything beyond that, beyond awareness?*


I like very much what Tao says also,about awareness from moment to moment.

About alzheimers..I have seen more such people and it's true that in ''the here and now'',they are at times so clear and honest and ''with themselves''.Without all the worldly made idea's so to say..

Awareness in the here and now mediation, is very beneficial, for me at least.

My experience is also that momentous awareness of being aware. I observe that I create the narrative of the rest of my life. The confusion wants to be tamed, the boredom wants to be entertained. Others' errors must be vilified, my own errors explicated.

When the rough is made smooth, I notice. When the twisted is made straight, I perceive that. It is this abatement of the dance-a-thon, (that I quite enjoy!) that comes closest to enlightenment.

edward writes

¨It is this abatement of the dance-a-thon, (that I quite enjoy!) that comes closest to enlightenment.¨

I like it Edward! The narratives of our lives as fun dance-a-thons which we begin to watch, sadly, at times. After all, watching is not necessarily as fun as dancing.

Tao,

I agree, your above post on Awareness, was a pleasure to read. The pleasure comes from its informative and common sense nature.

Not bad for a 61 year old biker dude....
hmmm.....I think I need to buy a bike...
haha....just kidding....

Libet’s experiments point to a general concept that a little thought shows must always be valid. This is that everything that happens must happen before we can become aware of it. Any neurological or sensory process always happens before our awareness of the thought, feeling, or sensation that represents it. In Libet’s experiments, the lag of awareness was between 350 msec and 500 msec, but the exact value is unimportant. So long as this lag exists, no matter how large or small, whether it is one hour or one microsecond, our subjective experience of an event must always come after the objective measurement of the event. In other words, the subjective present always lags the objective present, or subjective time always lags objective time. [Because the brain requires about 500 msec to process an event before we can become aware of it, it is impossible for us to be aware of any instant in which the brain ceases to function, such as the instant we fall asleep (either naturally or under anesthesia), or the instant we die.]

The consequences of this insight are extraordinary, revolutionary, and far-ranging. Every thought, feeling, sensation, or action always occurs objectively before we become aware of it subjectively and hence there is no possibility that we can avoid it. This includes any choices or decisions that are made. We inescapably live in the objective past so that the objective present and future are completely beyond our awareness and control.

Do you think the above impacts on the idea of moment by moment living?

Obed


There is a technical sticking point and a conceptual sticking point in the imposition of "lag" in the present.

First, our observation of the objective present will always be subjective, so there is no way for a lag to impact experience. If there is no experiential lag, then technically, there is no lag.

Conceptually, the present can not be moved from its position between past and future. If we have these two concepts in place as a convenience, so that "everything doesn't happen at once," the present retains its place as the now.

As to the idea of moment by moment living, that implies a passage of time, ad even in a model where there is objective present preceding subjective present, the time marches on. When does the wave hit the board? The surfer that stops to ask dies.

Obed,

How much energy does One's brain consume when processing an event? Hopefully, within Libet's experiments, such a laboratory experiment was conducted.

It would be fascinating to obtain the measured readings at the 350 msec and 500 msec time lap.

Hi Roger,
I found this on the internet.I hope it answers some
of your question.Out of interest why do you want to
know?Also in addition to what is below.Most of the
energy used in a nerve cell is in its recovery after conducting an active potential and not in its
conducting.
On average, how many calories (approx.) does the brain need during the course of a day? Does more activity (thinking more than normal) cause an increased need for calories? How many calories are used while sleeping?

Energetic basis of brain activity: implications for neuroimaging. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15271497)

The complex activities of the brain need not distract us from the certainty that it uses energy and performs work very efficiently. The human brain, which claims approximately 2% of our body mass, is responsible for approximately 20% of our body oxygen consumption. In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) follows the metabolic pathways of energy production (as glucose oxidation) and work (as monitored by the cycling of glutamate and GABA neurotransmitters). In the resting awake state, approximately 80% of energy used by the brain supports events associated with neuronal firing and cycling of GABA and glutamate neurotransmitters.


Wearable computing researcher Thad Starner, in a paper (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISJ/is_n3-4_v35/ai_18891267) he wrote (while a graduate student at MIT) on powering wearable computers with energy harvested from the human body, included a table of total body heat dissipation (the corollary of total body energy consumption):


Table 2 Human energy expenditures for selected
activities (derived from Reference 3)

Activity Kilocal/hr Watts

Sleeping 70 81
Lying quietly 80 93
Sitting 100 116
Standing at ease 110 128
Conversation 110 128
Eating a meal 110 128
Strolling 140 163
Driving a car 140 163
Playing violin or piano 140 163
Housekeeping 150 175
Carpentry 230 268
Hiking, 4 mph 350 407
Swimming 500 582
Mountain climbing 600 698
Long-distance running 900 1048
Sprinting 1400 1630
This gets us a little closer, but it doesn't answer directly questions regarding how much energy the brain uses during specific activities. As far as total energy used throughout the day, there seems to be broad agreement across multiple allied disciplines that the brain typically uses approximately 20 percent of the total body energy throughout the entirety of any given typical day. Therefore, if your total body burned 2,500 Calories (a calorie with a capital c is a kilocalorie and is the energy unit adopted as standard for food labeling; e.g., food labels state Calories and not calories) in a given day, then if you are typical and that day was typical your brain burned ~500 Calories (and mean power dissipation by your brain would be ~24 watts).

Does more activity (thinking more than normal) cause an increased need for calories?According to Arthur Jensen, yes (and no researcher seems to disagree with that, judging by the contents of the abstracts returned by a combined search for the keywords glucose, brain and energy on PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pubmed&term=glucose+brain+energy)). Magnetic resonance studies involving glucose doped with radioisotopic tracers show more glucose use when the brain is active and show more glucose use in areas of the brain involved inspecific activities. This has allowed researchers to see which areas of the brain are activated during given specific types of cognitive activity. For example, a test subject may be asked to perform a certain cognitive task or even take an IQ test while his brain is being scanned. The areas of his brain that are activated during performance of the task are then visible to the researchers.


Another study [27] investigated glucose metabolic rate (GMR) as a function of the "mental effort" expended on a task. The investigators did not correlate GMR with the same test for each individual, but compared groups of average and high-IQ subjects (mean IQ of 104 vs. 123) on easy tasks and on difficult tasks that were equated for the same degree of either "easiness" or "difficulty" within each group. Regardless of the task's objective demands, tasks for which 90% of the responses were correct (within the average group, or within the high-IQ group) were defined as "easy" for each group, and tasks for which only 75% of the responses were correct (within each group) were defined as "difficult." In other words, the level of a task's subjective difficulty was calibrated relative to each group's ability. For example, the average-IQ group could recall 6 digits backwards on 75% of the trials, whereas the high-IQ group could recall 7 digits on 75% of the trials. The measurements of GMR during these tasks revealed a significant interaction between IQ level and "mental effort" (i.e., level of difficulty relative to the individual's general ability level). Average- and high-IQ subjects hardly differed in GMR on the "easy" items but differed markedly on the "difficult" items. The high-IQ subjects brought more "fuel" to bear on the more difficult task. This increase in GMR by the high-IQ subjects suggests that more neural units are involved in their level of performance on a difficult task that is beyond the ability of the average-IQ subjects.


27. Larson et al., 1995.

Larson G. E., Haier R. J., LaCasse L. & Hazen K. (1995). Evaluation of a "mental effort" hypothesis for correlations between cortical metabolism and intelligence. Intelligence (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01602896), 21, 267-278.
(Arthur Jensen. The g Factor (http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=24373874). pp 158-159, 168, 616-616.)
ryokan
09.08.04, 06:34
Does more activity (thinking more than normal) cause an increased need for calories?

Specific Brain activities are linked to a higher metabolic activity, expressed bot in the glucose uptake and the oxygen consumption. That is the basis of both in vivo functional imaging techniques and in vitro studies of neuronal activity.
wasteofo2

I agree with Edward.

I would also add... that the issue of a few micro-seconds of time-lag is totally irrelvant to the matter of our subjective perception of what we experience and describe as the ever-fresh "present" moment or "now".

Even though there may be a minute time lag between an actual objective object or event and our cognitive perception of that object or event, that is only on the level of sensory perception.

Awareness itself is essentially independent of sensory perception, and as such, it is not subject to what appears to be the passage of time as we experience it via our senses and as we conceptualize it via our left-brain.

Time is something that is apprehended and measured via our sensory perceptions. However, Awareness, being prior to sensory perception, is not bound by the subject-object relationships and domain of the senses, and therefore not constrained by the appearance and perception of the supposed passage of time.

Time is entirely relative to the sensory perception of observer. And it is only perceived and measured by the movement of objects in space and nature (rotation of the earth, etc), and by the vibrations and oscillations of electrial energy, and atoms, etc.

Therfore, any supposed or actual "time-lag" is only within the domain of sensory perception, not Awareness itself.

To put it another way, Awareness itself is timeless. So even if there is an apparent time lag between an objective event and the perception/cognition of that event by the brain and the senses, that difference in time has no bearing on Awareness. Awareness is prior to the sense of time. The time-lag only has bearing on the sensory perception, the subjective moment of perception versus the objective moment of the event itself.

Perception of objects or events has nothing to do with Awareness itself, but only with the perception (also called 'an awareness') of an object or of an event. Sensory perception is simply not the same as Awareness itself.

The consequences of this insight are extraordinary, revolutionary, and far-ranging. Every thought, feeling, sensation,

Obed said: "We inescapably live in the objective past so that the objective present and future are completely beyond our awareness and control."

-- Yes, but I would replace the word "awareness" with the word 'perception'... so as to read: 'the objective present and future are completely beyond our PERCEPTION and control'

Obed asked: "Do you think the above impacts on the idea of moment by moment living?"

-- No, not at all. Because moment-to-moment living is always subjective anyway. An imperceptable (to us) time-lag of micro-seconds simply does not matter. (it would only matter if the time-lag was more in the realm of seconds or longer, because then we would have a problem functioning) And what actually matters is that we are abidin in or as our awareness, regardless of our sensory perception of objects or events appearing in the so-called 'present moment'.


tAo wrote: 'the objective present and future are completely beyond our PERCEPTION and control'

--None other than Hui Hai, ch'an patriarch, seems to agree:

"Perceptions employed as a base for building up positive concepts are the origin of all ignorance.

Apperceiving that there is nothing to perceive is deliverance."

--No object has any existence except as a perception conceptualized in mind. Mind also has no existence other than a conceptualized perception. In fact, this statement has no existence except as a conceptualized perception. Who is making this statement? What is meant by "who"? "Who" also is a conceptualized perception, and there was never anyone outside mind, nor any "who" to ask the question, nor any "who" to answer it. "Who is a figure of speech, a theoretical image, a symbolic personification.

What, then, is there? How could there be any such question to answer when there cannot be any subject to ask, any question to be asked, or any object to answer? The presence of the concept of an answer would constitute bondage to relativity. The absence of such a concept would MAINTAIN bondage to relativity. But the absence of both question and answer, connoting the absence of any ENTITY to ask or not ask, to answer or not answer, must constitute release from relativity. For no entity is there to be either bound or free!

Thanks people for a really very interesting discussion.I am just an ordinary person,how could I
take this information and use it on a day to day basis.For example next time my grandchild falls and has
a good cry.Is there anything of the above information
I could take to help face that moment?
Thanks again
Obed

Hi Obed,

Thanks for your reply.

Refering to: Table 2 Human energy expenditures for selected
activities (derived from Reference 3).

Are you aware of any data (human energy expenditures) specific to say,

One hour of Quiet Contemplation.
One hour of Meditation.

The definition of the above activities would be distinctly different.

Specific parameters and procedures would be required to perform the experiment.

Has your literature search revealed any such ongoing specific research?

Thanks...Roger

Hi Roger,
I had a look at Pubmed and Mindhacks.I did not find
anything.If you are interested in the brain the following links to Mindhacks and Pubmed is worth keeping
http://www.mindhacks.com/.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez.

Obed,

Again, thanks for your reply.

From your exposure to the scientific literature, have you encountered any research on the benefits of quiet contemplation as opposed to quiet meditation? Benefits, such as, the reduction of stress.

Do you have any thoughts of your own, regarding this topic?

I find myself, currently more in tuned with
Quiet Contemplation.

No big deal.......just curious..... Roger

Here is your answer: you can be aware of nothing.
From this when you become enlightened you will be aware of deep sleep. I am speaking from my experience here. And that is why they say that enlightenment or more exactly here the experience of pure consciousness is like deep sleep it is because the experience is very similar. There is nothing going on n ones mind or body, it all seems very calm and void. This is not however the same experience as pure consciousness because a mind and body do not exist. But they do feel similar from an experiential perspective.
So what they are not saying is that realized consciousness is like your current experience of deep sleep.
Once you have experience of awareness remaining in both or being the substance of both,then you can compare them.
I hope this helps

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