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November 15, 2022


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I first came across the term 'Choiceless Awareness' from reading J. Krishnamurti. (Many, many years ago).
“By awareness, Krishnamurti meant purely being in a moment or observing without evaluating. According to J. K., our fears, anxieties, thoughts, pleasures and constant efforts of bettering comprise the content of human consciousness. Thus, our seeing or listening, or any action primarily comes from the content of consciousness and awareness can come only when we vacate the consciousness with its content.

Primarily, it's necessary to recognise what he means by the 'contents of consciousness'. Where we often see consciousness as something external to us, 'contents' is simply the information that is the mind. The mind being full of knowledge effectively ensuring we experience only via its 'store' of information. Neuroscience tells us that such memory (retrieving information) is constructed in the brain from billions of neurons.

I have some sympathy with Sri Nisargadata's take on awareness and consciousness: - “Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginning-less, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something”.

Is there then a distinction between consciousness and awareness? Could it be that what we call awareness is a quality inherent in every living cell which is felt by the whole organism and 'recognised by a brain? I wouldn't go as far as to embrace panpsychism but could inorganic matter have something akin to awareness?

A common houseplant shares the same consciousness that humans seem to think makes them so superior. The difference is, a houseplant doesn’t go about establishing superior levels of consciousness.

Perhaps if we’re lucky enough, we’ll reincarnate as a simple houseplant and gain the wisdom that our human egos so desperately lack.

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