Another reader question on one of Adyashanti’s books that’s worth sharing. From his book, The Impact of Awakening, on page 90:
“Before consciousness there is emptiness. Emptiness is neither formless nor has it any form. Emptiness neither exists nor does not exist, for it is beyond all conceptual understanding. Neither the mind, nor the senses, nor consciousness can touch emptiness. Emptiness is the Ultimate Principle, the Self, the Source of all. That awareness of consciousness is emptiness.”
It seems Adya makes a distinction between Consciousness and Emptiness here and this is confusing to me. Actually I am confused with his definition of Consciousness, Emptiness and Awareness. Do you have any comments on this paragraph?
Well, note that he mentions mind cannot touch emptiness. It cannot really conceive what is beyond it until it is in the experience. But it is worth planting the seeds for when it is. Stir the memory of Self.
He suggests consciousness cannot touch emptiness and also says awareness of consciousness is emptiness, implying there is something other than emptiness to be aware of. Something in nothing. He is also differentiating the use of awareness and consciousness, saying in essence awareness is emptiness/Self that is aware of consciousness. The difficulty here is mainly in the lack of suitable language though.
The way I would describe it using his terms is that first there is emptiness, beyond form, existence, etc. (and yes, it’s also true that it doesn’t not exist, it simply transcends existence) Awareness stirs within emptiness and becomes conscious of itself. This causes existence and then form, although there is more detail to be seen in that process.
People describe a transcendent experience as awareness of an emptiness or “space”. More clearly as awareness of pure awareness. Awareness that the silence or space is aware or conscious. One may just be experiencing consciousness but what is experiencing? What is noticing the awareness? A much clearer experience post-waking is awareness of awareness of itself. The emptiness aware of the dynamic of Self awareness and how everything arises from it.
As I’ve written, even in 2 recent posts, I don’t describe emptiness as emptiness but rather fullness. Within silent source or “emptiness” is 2 unexpressed principles, liveliness and alertness. Even in the total absence of everything, when all expression is rolled up into nothing, it remains rich with potentiality. There is a fullness and wholeness to that that is difficult to describe. But it contains the seed principles of everything expressed, everything that has ever been expressed, and everything we might think of expressing. This is called Smriti, essentially transcendental memory*. It is the seeds of all knowledge.
The liveliness stirs the alertness into awareness and thus arises consciousness and existence. Some describe this as from Self recognizing Itself. Others as Self remembering Itself. Same.
Do you remember?
* no, this is not the akashic (space) records. It is far deeper than that, containing the records for all universes, all creations.