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#118 Does Awareness Arise from the Brain, by Greg Goode

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Life | No Comments »

It is never our experience that witnessing awareness is not present. Therefore it is never our direct experience that witnessing awareness comes into existence based on a causal process. The process itself must appear in witnessing awareness, which was there “first.” Awareness is always and already.

There is no contradiction between nonduality and neuroscience. Neuroscience measures a subtle object. This subtle object is a kind of sentience, a local reactivity associated with a biological organism. This sentience is an arising in the witnessing awareness that is your true nature, your direct experience, infinite sweetness and unconditional love.

Nonduality and neuroscience – you can think of them as different songs.

This part on the brain is taken from a large section dealing with the body. The body is not often dealt with in nondual teachings, writings and gatherings. But it is just as much a part of experience as emotions, thoughts and feelings!

Actually, your direct experience can show you directly, in the here-and-now, that:

  • The “body” is not a physical object.
  • The “body” is not a separate object endowed with a separate sentience.
  • The “body” is not a container of awareness.
  • Rather, the body, like the world, is awareness itself.

That is, in direct experience you can discover that the “body” is actually the body of love and the world of light: pure clarity and unconditional openness. The body is actually the world – there is no difference to be found. It is the global world of experience in which there is no inside/outside, no here/there, no separation and no suffering.

But what about the brain? Many credible scientists say that awareness is a produce of brain chemistry. What about that??

…the pinkish gray meat between our ears produces the richness of experiential awareness. — Science and Nonduality Conference website

In college I dissected brains. As an undergrad student, I was a physiological psychology major. Many people, even folks attracted to nondualism, think that the brain is what gives rise to awareness. But is that our direct experience? –Greg

There is no contradiction between nonduality and neuroscience. Neuroscience measures a subtle object. This subtle object is a kind of sentience, a local reactivity associated with a biological organism. This sentience is an arising in the witnessing awareness that is your true nature, your direct experience, infinite sweetness and unconditional love. –Greg

The World

When looked at very closely, physical objects are not to be found. They melt directly into awareness. Your direct experience of a physical object is nothing more than colors, sounds, textures, sensations of hardness, softness, moistness or dryness. Each of these sensations is inseparable from its exclusive sensory modality. In other words,

  • colors are inseparable from vision,
  • sounds are inseparable from hearing
  • sensations of texture, hardness, softness, moisture or dryness are inseparable from touch
  • flavors are inseparable from taste
  • fragrances are inseparable from smell

Even in imagination, “sense objects” cannot appear apart from “sense faculties.” This is shocking if it is “grokked.” For example, if it is deeply understood how a color can never be experienced separately from seeing, then it simply makes no sense to believe that you can “see a color.” Colors aren’t objects hanging around outside awareness, waiting to be seen. Rather, the arising of color is what we mean by “seeing.” The way we ordinarily speak of seeing in the everyday sense, we allow that an object is present whether currently seen or not. In the everyday sense, if your cat runs out of the bedroom, you think of the cat as existing, but momentarily unseen. The cat can be seen, and it can be unseen. When it is unseen, it is simply “somewhere else.”

But of course in our direct experience of color, an unseen color is never experienced. The absence of a color is never experienced. If a color is not something experienced as absent, then it can’t be the kind of thing that is experienced to be present. A color, like any other “arising,” is not the kind of thing that can alternate between being present and absent. You can’t have a one-sided coin. If you can’t have one side of a pair of opposites, then you can’t have the other side either. So neither “present” nor “absent” applies to an arising.

This is our direct experience “of the world.” Neither present nor absent, but experienced as awareness itself.

(This is just half of the full article written by Greg Goode. Please read the rest of it at: http://greggoode.stillnessspeaks.com/ssblog/awareness_and_brain/)

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