The Senses of Silence

03/15/2017 11:52 am ET
<strong>“Tara” </strong>from the series Advaita |  by <a rel="nofollow" href="http://petroskoublis.com/" target="_blank">petr
Petros Koublis
“Tara” from the series Advaita | by petroskoublis.com

Only silence is constant, only emptiness is ever present.

There is no trace of identity, no expression of volition inside this space. The world arises dependent on our consciousness and our senses arise dependent on the world. They both arise and collapse relying upon each other. There is no distance in between, no duality, not two things separate.

We come in touch with what is perceived as the outside reality by means of the five senses, accumulating experiences that leave their imprints in our consciousness. This process is witnessed but there is no real interference of any kind from our side. We tend to claim it as an act guided by our will, even though the process remains empty of a doer. Thus we say, I see, I hear, I smell, I touch, I taste, yet there is no volition behind any of these actions. Our eyes see based on an automated physical and mental process, interrelated to the object of our attention. If we find ourselves in a dark room, in the total absence of light, there is no way for us to tell if we have vision or not, for there are no visible objects to give rise to it. We don't create a sound and we don't order our ears to hear it. In the absence of sounds we realize that this process is empty of separate, distinctive parts as it's something that arises as a whole and it fades as a whole. The subject creates the object and the object removes the subject. This is a single process and within it we somehow remain incapable of locating the doer, the one who pulls the strings, this substance that will justify our identity as an actual presence capable of expressing itself voluntarily.

There can be no trace of identity manifesting within this appropriation of the senses from our mind. This is something noticeable in our infancy. A baby develops the sense of ownership together with the development of the five senses. The mind starts to realize the senses claiming them as its own and it does the same with the objects that appear inside these functions, wishing to take claim of them as well. If we can see something, touch it, taste it, hear it, then it can be considered as our property. It is a single process, it's experienced as a single one when we first realize it as infants and it remains a single process throughout our lives. As we grow older, the cultural imprints inside us start to give rise to a duality, a definite separation between the world that lies inside us and the world that lies around. We come to realize that an object that appears with our senses is not our property and this generates a constant craving, the various desires that dominate our lives. It is because although we have given up the object, we keep holding on to our senses as something intrinsically ours. Desire is a mental formation that derives from the false separation between subject and object, the means of perception and the object of attention. We keep inside our consciousness the imprints of property and ownership, but after our infancy, with the development of mental functions, we will also give rise to the sense of identity, which is the most deceptive claim there is. Identity is nothing more than the claim that what appears in our mind is volitional, it’s nothing more than the claim that it is ourselves.

The mind becomes the last refuge, the only place where we feel confident to recognize our individuality, a distinctive character and personality, the dimension that makes us different from the rest of the world and gives rise to our identity. Thus the mind becomes a castle, fortified with every means necessary to help it stand against the natural course of things, regardless of the pain and the struggle it brings with it. Identity is a fortification as illusionary as the castle it tries to protect, for none of them really exist.

Thoughts and ideas rise inside our mind without a master acting willingly behind them, exactly like our senses. When we see a tree or when we hear a bird, when we touch a leaf or when we taste a fruit, we are not the ones who create the tree, nor the sound of the bird, the feeling of the leaf or the taste of the fruit. There is no person acting behind this, there is no doer, only perception. They all appear in our consciousness effortlessly. Everything around us, visible objects, sounds, scents, they all rise together and never dependent on our volition. Thoughts also appear likewise. We are not able to know what thought will appear next in our mind, what ideas will arise within the next few moments. In fact we are not even able to tell what will take shape inside our mindstream the very next second. Even so, we keep assuming that this process has a master, a doer, a person that acts behind it. All thoughts rise automatically from our consciousness, every idea that appears inside us or even every word we say out loud, they all form without an actual master. They all simply manifest on the surface of our consciousness. In the effort to hold on to a personality, we claim the formations of our mindstream as our own, in a constant transition between joy and sorrow according to their impact. Thoughts and ideas are formations that appear unforced, triggered by a cause and manifested according to the imprints already left on our consciousness from previous experiences. The mind has the potential to come to this realization and instead of trying to merge with the always absent identity, it will naturally merge with the ever present consciousness, the only reality there is. For there is something continuous, something that perceives the phenomena but it's not acknowledged itself by them.

We are only awareness, which is constant and silent.

It is emptiness and ever present.

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