Do objects have an independent existence of their own? - Francis Answers - 153

Francis Lucille

Location: India

Dear teacher, I see that if I see or perceive an object or a person with memory and my own prejudices it is a foggy , conditioned view not a total experience of “what is”. Objects have an existence which is not independent of awareness or consciousness and as you say they are consciousness itself. But I wondered then, Why do objects have unique properties if they are relative to perceptions. For eg: why are solids always hard, why does soap always give out lather, every time i perceive? This leads me to doubting as to maybe the objects do have an independent existence of their own? Please help me clarify this. Shiva

Dear Shiva,

When we say “objects have an existence which is not independent of awareness”, we truly mean “awareness”, not “mind”. Obviously, for any given mind, there are objects that exist independently from this mind. Francis’ thoughts and sense perceptions exist without appearing in Shiva’s mind, at least in most cases. They have therefore an existence which is independent from Shiva’s mind, but not from Shiva’s awareness, for it is the same awareness who is aware of Shiva’s thoughts and of Francis’ thoughts.

Be open to the possibility that awareness is not mind dependent, but that in fact the opposite is true: according to your own experience, mind is awareness dependent. There are no thoughts without awareness, but there is awareness without thoughts (during the interval between two thoughts, for instance). As a result, you will be open to the possibility that there is awareness without any mind, and that this awareness is the very substance every mind and everything else, stones, soap, etc  is made of.

The fact that tangible objects have seemingly constant qualities is no evidence of their having independent existence. In fact, they, too, are subject to change. Even Arunachala mountain keeps eroding every year.  Our thoughts just change faster than the mountains, but everything we perceive is impermanent. Only that out of which both our thoughts and the mountains are made is changeless.