The cloak of nothingness
At the core of the mind is consciousness, and at the core of consciousness is the pure non-dual, non-conceptual absolute. Consciousness manifests out of the un-manifested dark radiance of pure awareness, the pure potentiality of the Absolute.
In order for consciousness to exist, there also must exist something for it to be conscious of. This can be an object, or the lack of an object, or even an experience of being absent such as you might experience when you are in a deep dreamless sleep or under anesthesia. You are the subject of your own consciousness. Objects of consciousness can be the world around you, your mind, your body, or even an experience or idea. But pure awareness exists without the appearance of objects. It is beyond any concept of subject and object.
Imagine that you are the sun burning in space with no other things near you. You shine, but you cannot see the light or yourself because there are no other objects around to reflect your light. Without that reflection, there is no confirmation of your presence in that area. You are pure light, but you cannot know light, because knowing something about it infers that it exists apart from you.
In this way, one cannot know his or her original nature because that is what one is. Awareness cannot be known; it can only be experienced as what one is. You are awareness. You are the I am that knows that it is.
Consciousness is an expression of awareness like the sunlight is to the sun. Consciousness is similar to the reflected light of the sun, and it arises when the body-mind also arises. The sunlight can be reflected in a thousand ponds but there is only one sun. The reflected sunlight is not really any different from sunlight itself, and in the same way, your mind in a body is really ultimately the same as awareness and consciousness. The whole universe—all worlds and all objects—appear both upon and in consciousness. When consciousness then identifies with those objects, the sense of individuality, the “I am,” is born, and with it separation and suffering. At some point, consciousness realizes its mistake and remembers its true nature.
The death of the body causes the consciousness to return back to the source, which is the awareness itself. But this is just an appearance. What constitutes you has never changed in birth or in death.
You remain the primordial presence/awareness in which everything, including consciousness, comes and goes. You are not part of any one thing, you are part of the no-thing-ness that constitutes all things, and which gives rise to all appearances.
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