Dear Francis, I was very interested in your comments about the distinction between “awareness” and “mind” (question no. 76). You said: “Be open to the possibility that nothing happens outside of or apart from awareness, but that many things happen outside of or apart from our human mind. The belief that nothing happens outside of a limited human mind is a form of ignorance known as solipsism.” That statement gives rise to two questions: 1. Is there really such a thing as a “limited human mind”? What I mean is, here there are thoughts, feelings, perceptions. Why presume that these thoughts, feelings, perceptions are somehow “limited”? And why presume that there is something happening outside of what you call the human mind? It seems to me that, if there is a “belief” involved, it’s a “belief” that something is happening that is not known here. So it seems that you would answer “yes” to the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” Because while the limited human mind wouldn’t perceive the sound, awareness would. But to me that seems to be pure speculation, devoid of actual experience. 2. If there are things happening in awareness of which the human mind is not aware, then who or what is aware of them? If the answer is: “Awareness itself is aware,” isn’t that akin to saying, “Omniscient God is aware”? In other words, it seems to set up awareness as a kind of diety, aware of things inaccessible to the “limited human mind.” I’m not sure how clear I’ve been (or how clear I am to myself!). I think my central question is: although you call solipsism “a form of ignorance,” isn’t solipsism what is actually experienced, and everything else is speculating about what may be happening but is not experienced? And if there is no “person” as such, and therefore no “limited human mind,” isn’t the experience of reality in effect a “solipsism for no one”? This is the nut I can’t crack! Michael
You asked several questions:
In our human experience? No, not really. There are only mentations appearing, existing and disappearing back into in awareness-consciousness. Their substance is consciousness, therefore there is only consciousness.
Because they are. For instance the perceptions of being in California and of being in Maryland are different, meaning each of them is limited: the air cannot be dry and humid as a same perception.
Because the mentations are limited. Because there seems to be California, where the body called Francis seems to live, and Maryland, where the body called Michael seems to live. You are presuming it yourself, since you are asking Francis this question. But you are right that at that stage in our investigation, it is still a belief.
It depends on what we mean by “sound” and by “no one”. If by “sound” we mean the experience of hearing, and if by “one” we mean “consciousness”, then “no one” implies no “sound” and the answer is “no”. If by “one” we mean the limited minds of Francis or Michael, the answer is “perhaps”.
Cats seem to be pretty much aware of mice, and dogs of cats. Why limit consciousness to human minds, or, even worse in the case of solipsism, to Michael’s mind? Why even limit awareness to minds? Mind (that is mentations) appears in awareness, not awareness in mind. That which appears in awareness doesn’t limit it.
Solipsism is that which is seemingly experienced when we identify the perceiving consciousness with a perceived limited body-mind. It is a shrinkage of the divine, eternal, all-knowing awareness to the tiny size of a human, mortal and limited mind. It is the epitome of ignorance, of alienation and of suffering. The solipsist, denying others existence and consciousness, remains a prisoner within the dungeon of his logically unassailable belief system, unaware that everybody around him sees what a fool he is.
But it is not true to say that it is that which is actually experienced, for that which is actually experienced is awareness and awareness alone.
Yes, Michael. It is akin to saying that. What’s wrong with it? After all, That is what you are, Awareness. Be open to that possibility, be open to your divine Presence.