Everpresent Consciousness?

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Wed Nov 12 23:45:26 CST 1997

Greg Goode writes:

>>Nanda Kumar, like almost everyone, I imagine, says:
>>>"In deep sleep even the conciousness is absent."

>>Is there anyone else out there who has had the experience of feeling like
>>they were wrapped in a deep sleep except for the consciousness of staring
>>at blackness?

>Does this happen all the time in deep sleep, or only some nights?

It happened during one week, following an intense experience at the end of
a 9 day Vipassana retreat.  During this week, consciousness became
restricted to the exact arising moment, without residue.  In this
one-pointed consciousness, which we have discussed briefly on-line before,
the landscape of the past and future vanished as landscapes.  Fear--even
the slightest ripple--was completely absent.
At any rate, it has never happened before or since, nor, barring another
such transforming experience, do I expect it too.  My sense is  that you
only get that kind of sleep when you have been completely awake to each and
every moment as it arises in the day.   Dreams, by this reckoning, are
out of the shadows of daytime thoughts.  During that week, there were no

>> A week of this led me to question, as I did in a previous
>>post, whether all blackouts, including deep sleep, are not actually
>>black*ins*, in which the memory of all but the last moment is remembered.

>I don't understand, could you please rephrase this one?

  > "black*ins*, in which the memory of all but the last moment is

What I'm trying to say is, assuming I had not gone mad--an unhuge
assumption--perhaps I was experiencing an extended run of
consciousness without consciousness of self (except the self as an *object*
of awareness).  When sleep came, this consciousness witnessed only what was
in front of my eyes:  i.e. blackness.  The question this raises for me is:
 when people fall into a dreamless
sleep or black out, is it consciousness that is dropping out, or merely the
sense of self, leaving consciousness intact, witnessing blackness?  If it
is merely consciousness of self, then when the person "comes to" they are
not coming to to
consciousness per se, but consciousness of self.  Some etherized patients,
example, have reported the experience of waking out of a void of a
consciousness, and feeling their own self consciousness as "something in
addition."  Does this not suggest that what we resume in the morning after
night of dreamless sleep is not so much consciousness as a consciousness
attached to a self.  Catching the self form as it comes out of this
in-between state can be a
profound experience.  The great 19th Century American mystic, Paul Benjamin
Blood, called it the Adamic Surprise of life.

>>At any rate I wonder if consciousness can ever be said to be truly

>Some teachers, such as Nisargadatta, use the words a bit differently.
>say that awareness is always there, but consciousness comes and goes with
>deep sleep, etc.  Awareness being that which watches the coming and going
>of consciousness, even the creation/dissolution of universes.

In the West, the word "consciousness" has only become frequently used in
the last 30 years or so.  I like to ride it for all its worth.  At some
point you have to stop the infinite regress.


Jonathan Bricklin
Brickmar at earthcom.net

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