Dear Francis, I heard you say in one of your videos that freedom was the recognition of the independence of consciousness from the objects. Although it is clear that consciousness is prior to the manifestation, since the objects appear and disappear in it, it is hard for me to grasp how it would be possible to experience consciousness without objects. Up until now, I thought that non-duality was precisely the union of consciousness and the manifested world. I understand that consciousness could exist without forms, but it seems to me that a form is needed for consciousness to be aware of itself, a form in which it can see a reflection of itself. Could you please clarify this point for me?
Let’s investigate the nature of the experience from which we derive the certainty that there is consciousness. We generally believe that this certainty originates from objective experience (thoughts, bodily sensations, and external sense perceptions). However, upon closer scrutiny, we realize that it is not so, for the objective experience, the experience of thoughts for instance, doesn’t logically lead to the conclusion that there is consciousness, but simply to the conclusion that there are objects, for example thoughts. If we didn’t have a real experiential knowledge of consciousness, we wouldn’t have this absolute certainty of its existence. Such a certainty must be rooted in a direct experience of that which we are certain of, not derived from an inference which always leaves a margin of uncertainty. The existence of an external world in the absence of perception is such an inference which, although widely accepted as common sense, leaves us with a residual doubt about the continuity of the world: since during our dreams we are not aware that we are dreaming, the world around us could be a illusion similar to the world that appears in our dreams, similarly devoid of existence when not perceived.
We must therefore reach the conclusion that the certainty of consciousness has its roots in a non objective experience that corresponds to a different mode of knowledge, in a subjective “apperception” instead of an objective perception. In this apperception consciousness knows itself by itself directly. This apperception is timeless and takes place beyond the mind. Seen from the vantage point of the mind, it appears as an instantaneous comprehension, a glimpse of reality, an absolute evidence that changes the mind, a mind which has no direct knowledge of the agent of its own transformation.
Consciousness doesn’t need a form to see itself, but without the mirror of consciousness forms couldn’t possibly appear:
“The beings have their roots in Me, but I don’t have my roots in them.”
The duality form-consciousness is only an illusion similar to the duality reflection-mirror.