Consciousness Unconditioned


This is the transcript of a spoken contemplation that I recorded early on the morning on 22nd November 2021. I have edited it for clarity and shown, with an ellipse (. . .) where I've left words out, and with square brackets where I've added words.

Brian Holley

. . . Consciousness. Pure consciousness. That which knows without learning. That which knows and has always known and will always know. This is omniscience. It did not learn by trial and error. It does not change over the process of time. It is pure, unconditioned consciousness. It is outside of he dual state, yet the dual state arises from it. This is pure non-duality. This is that from which all things become. It is a state without beginning and without end from which everything that has a beginning and end arises. It is life itself. And is not life a conditioning of consciousness? Life involves an existence with a beginning and an end. So is life the first stage of conditioning? Perhaps not, because before that there is the conditioning of particles, of quanta, which become further conditioned into atoms, which become further conditioned into molecules and from there into cells. And life begins at the cellular level and yet it all arises from consciousness and in consciousness all things consist, hold together. Consciousness is the framework of order which brings together seemingly random events that produce all that exists.

But are these events [in fact] random? In a universe held together by consciousness every interaction does precisely what it is supposed to do because consciousness has already deemed what the outcome of every movement of every thing will be. I guess this is the philosophy of determinism.

There are certain principles at work here that are eternal. All this is so big, so complex, so complicated that we puny little creatures trying to put it all together in our minds become horribly unstuck—interpreting everything, conditioning everything, conditioning the unconditioned so that we have no sense of the unconditioned. We cannot see the pure. We can only see what our conditioned minds have made of it. We can only see what has arisen. We cannot see that from which it arose.

And yet that unconditioned consciousness is at the very heart of each one of us. This is the true Self of all. This is the source of unconditional love. We are not treated as separate from that. We are treated as perfect because that in which we consist is perfect. “In him we live and move and have our being.”1 [“He is before all things and] by him all things consist.”2 The Greek poet and Paul, caught up in duality could only speak of 'him', whereas in the Upanishads we read, “that is none other than you.”3 I am unconditioned consciousness. And, yes, I am conditioned consciousness as well but the conditioning nevertheless arises out of pure consciousness—[unconditioned consciousness.] The thoughts I have and the emotions I feel as a result, which condition who I think I am [in] my relationships with other people—good, bad and indifferent—arise from the same source and return to that source at the dissolution of this body. I am utterly held. Every breath, every heart beat arises out of that unconditioned consciousness as it flows through [me] and becomes conditioned in my body.

Who am I? Who are you? When we focus [our] conditioned minds on the awareness of this truth—this inevitable truth—this deduction which comes from looking at each step in the process—we realise that we come to the place of pure consciousness that exists without learning. That is existence. That is 'God'. The trouble is that that word 'God' is a conditioned concept and we have to get past that. It's a package and it's packaged differently by different cultures, but it's a package, it's a conditioning. Whether we call it 'God', the Tao, Brahman, Allah, Christ or the Great White Spirit, these are conditioned expressions. When the mind is turned with the senses to the heart there grows an awareness of that peace that passes all understanding. It is past all understanding because it is not a peace that is attached to the senses—it is not conditioned by the mind—it is the peace that comes from pure consciousness. [It is the state in which pure consciousness abides.] There is nothing to learn here. Pure consciousness does not need learning. Learning implies change. Pure consciousness is eternal. It has always known and it will always know. [We cannot think/learn our way to 'God.']

Our knowing is always conditioned. The conditioning process has a beginning and an end. It has levels of understanding. Pure consciousness is beyond all that. And if we think of it as 'God' who intervenes personally for specific purposes, it's a very romantic view and one that some people will want to cling to, and that's understandable, and there's no real reason why they shouldn't. But it is a conditioned view—a very conditioned view. It places 'God' firmly in the world of subject and object, of pairs of opposites, in the world of duality not the world of oneness. [Not in the Eternal.]

When the mind is stilled one may still have thoughts but underlying those thoughts is a felt-sense of resonance with pure consciousness and that . . . resonance is of the immortal, of the eternal. And as our bodies resonate in harmony with that in which all things consist then every cell, every molecule, every atom, every quantum particle is brought into harmony. This is wholeness. This is being in the conditioned self while sense-feeling the unconditioned Self—at the same time. While sitting in this chair talking into this microphone [it is] to be aware at the heart's centre of the peace that passes all understanding, of the presence of unconditional consciousness that holds my physical presence together, that enables my mind to think, enables me to speak these words. When we spend time in this precious place it is not a place with a condition—perhaps . . . [it is] a state of lowered conditioning—I am able to be who I truly am. It requires no effort. There's no struggling going on here. Everything is flowing. There is a sense of joy that is bliss. It's not high emotion. It's not using up any energy. There's no great energy going into brain power here. In fact I feel energised. This is the beginning, perhaps the very edge of [the experience of] pure consciousness.

1. Acts 17:28 (AV)
2. Colossians 1:17 (AV)
3. Kena Upanishard (i) 5ff (Eknath Easwaran)

How Zoroaster Created Christianity

From Chapter 7 of The God I Left Behind

The Zoroastrians, among whom the [Jewish] captives lived [in Babylon], also believed in one 'God', Ahura Mazda, the god of light. They also believed in an antithetical being called Angra Mainyu. This being was responsible for all evil including demonic possession, which led to sickness and disease. He was constantly trying to thwart the perfect creation of Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrian mythology described a Day of the Lord, when Ahura Mazda would send his servant, the Sayoshant, to deliver the world from evil. He would be born of a virgin and come to judge the people of the earth, dividing them like a shepherd divides his flock, black sheep to the left, white sheep to the right. Those who had not obeyed the law of Ahura Mazda would be cast into a fiery abyss of molten metal, where they would suffer until the end of the era. Then the dead would be resurrected and an earthly perfection restored. Sounds familiar?

Up to this point in their history the Jews had no concept of heaven and hell, no angels and no devil. For them the afterlife was an eternity in Sheol, a colourless place where the dead dwelt. Their only hope was to raise children, preferably sons, who would take on the family business and leave their parents a good name among their neighbours. The Zoroastrians changed all that. (.com for USA)

So, does what we believe necessarily have a direct relevance to our inner spiritual experience?

Finding 'God' in Silence

 From Chapter 19 of The God I Left Behind

The Tao Te Ching says that the mind is like a muddy pool, which if left still for long enough will become clear. The mud sinks to be bottom. We do not become still by trying hard, we become still by doing nothing. If you can be open enough and silent enough and still enough for long enough, something wonderful happens. Your ego-self, whom you have always thought you are, becomes still and you sense-feel a presence that is at peace with itself and with everything else. This is the True Self that seems to be the very source of your being. Once you become acquainted with this Self, and know how to find it, you begin to recognise it in others. Then you know that this is not your True Self but the True Self of all and everything. In my Christian days I would have called it 'God'. If I were a Buddhist I'd probably call it the Buddha-self. If I was a Taoist it would be The Tao. If I was a Hindu it might be Krishna or Brahman, if a Sufi, The Beloved or The Friend. As I am none of these, I call it 'Enabling Love.' (.com for USA)

The Ego and Silence

  It's impossible to be aware of our ego with our own ego awareness.  To do try do this would be like looking at our eyes with our eyes. This is why silence is so important. Only by bringing the ego into silence can we hope to open a way into our own unconditioned consciousness. Only in this unconditioned  state can we hope to see into our own motivations and inner workings.  The practice of Silence  is the most effective way in which real change in the  way we think  and the way we act  can be  enabled.    This not so much about what we think or what we do but how we think  and how we do it.

 The changes wrought in the human ego by silence do not come from the intellect, neither do they come from thought or the power of emotion.  They seem to be enabled simply by sitting in silence in the same way that one becomes warmed by sitting beside a fire.  It's a process of osmosis—not of our doing  but of our allowing.  All  efforts to change the ego by the ego, and there are many, are like having one armed wrestling matches against yourself.    Silence is not something you can explain to another person.  Although someone may be helped to find silence by being in the presence of one who practices it,  generally,  the only way to discover this life-changing practice is very simply to do it. 

The Ego

 From chapter 10, The God I Left Behind. (Identifying the ego's false self)

The idea of there being two persons within one body, “me and my shadow”, in the words of the old song. Me and my alter-ego, is a common theme in literature. We often speak of 'being in two minds' about something. Goethe's Faust says: ‘Two souls within my breast I find and each contends for mastery there.’

One of these souls is evident even at birth. Each of my babies had different ways of expressing themselves to the world and this is what Jung identified as the 'persona'. Our personas arise at the outset from genetically inherited traits and predispositions which are hard-wired and about which we can probably do little. Around this core of personality, it seems to me, we develop other traits and proclivities from our experience of life, particularly from our feelings about those experiences. These feelings may be genuine responses or may be culturally induced prejudices. Had I been adopted and brought up in a different country by different parents, although my core genetic self would be the same, I would have developed a quite different sense of self-identity because I would have a quite different set of life experiences. Even having remained with my birth parents, my sense of self identify has changed several times over the years, which is further evidence that it is a false self.

Yet within each of us, there is another self, a watching Self which is constant and consistent. This Self has not constructed a self-identity out of our experiences of life — it just is. It is the Self I encountered when, as a nine year old, I lay worrying about what my headmaster might inflict on me and then realised there was part of me he could never reach. It is the unassailable self.

Have you discovered your True Self?  How does it feel? (.com for USA)

The Bible: History or Mythology?

Read as an historical document the Bible is of academic interest. Read as mythology it is rich in symbolism and can draw the reader into a transcendent experience. The problem with fundamentalism is that it tries to make the Bible both an historical and mythological record. This sets up a conflict between the logical left brain, which is trying to make rational sense out of everything, and the intuitive right brain which seeks, not knowledge, but experience. There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible as an historical document. As such it is fascinating. But you can't do that at the same time as reading it as mythology—not if you want to get th
e full benefit of what the mythology is saying. I had to learn to read the Bible in a completely new way.

Mythological stories are full of tales of discovery and, like other symbolic language, they can be read on a number of levels. At one level they may represent meaning for a tribe or family. At another, they may generate meaning about a given situation in an individual’s life. They often represent a generic journey of self-discovery, applicable to everyone.

From chapter 9 of The God I Left Behind (The spiritual journey) (.com for USA)

Emanations that Emanate

We speak of membership, of playing our part in the family, community, society etc. In speaking like this we reflect the thought that we are isolated individuals sharing individual talents for the benefit of the whole.  But we are not parts, we are aspects.  Our physical bodies arise from the same source and are sustained by the same source.  We are emanations that emanate.  We have been led to think of ourselves as cogs in a big machine whereas we are in fact aspects of a hologram.  We have yet to realise that everything we think and do and say has an influence on all those around us. 

"I once expressed to a friend, rather eloquently I thought at the time, my alarm about humanity’s headlong rush for disaster. I said, ‘I can’t see how a ship of six billion souls can avoid running into an iceberg of its own creation.’ He replied that I was using the wrong metaphor. ‘Human beings aren’t boiler-plated together like a great ship,’ he said. ‘Rather, they’re like fishes in a shoal. Each fish is able to influence only six others in its immediate vicinity, yet that’s all it takes to make the great shoal move like a single organism.’ (The God I Left Behind.)

Thinking of ourselves as individual parts or as aspects of the whole are two distinctly different mindsets leading to distinctly different behaviours.  This leads straight back to the root of all our problems: the dysfunctional ego: wrong thinking about who we are which arises from our instincts and our culture.

Do you see yourself as a 'part' or an 'aspect'?  How would such a change of mind affect your attitude and the way you behave in the world? (.com for USA)

Consciousness Unconditioned

  This is the transcript of a spoken contemplation that I recorded early on the morning on 22 nd  November 2021. I have edited it for clari...