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Separate Observer

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Separate Observer

As We Recognize the Soul We Begin to See the Nonduality of Subject and Object of Experience

This brings us to a further fundamental truth about the soul: Since the soul is the experiencer, the fabric and container of experience, and the content of experience, then the experiencer is not separate from this content. The subject of inner experience is the soul, but so is the content, the object of experience. In other words, as we recognize the soul we begin to see the nonduality of subject and object of experience, at least with respect to inner events. For instance, if we consider an emotion that arises in our consciousness, the agent or experiencer of this emotion is not a subject that experiences it as an object, an object separate and different from this subject. The subject is the field and the emotion is a manifestation of this field, in this field. The emotion is nothing but the field itself with a certain manifestation or frequency arising in some region of it. The field is a field of sensitivity, so it is sensitive to this change in frequency or vibration. There is no distinct separate observer experiencing the emotion. The soul, a medium or field, is in its totality aware of the emotion. The soul is the agency, the medium of experience, and the experience itself. The three are not separate; they are the same thing. When we recognize the unity of the three we are truly recognizing the soul. This differentiates the experience of the soul from that of the ordinary self, whose experience is egoic. For egoic experience, the three are different and separate. The site of the emotion or other experience is not clear, or not perceived at all. The site is experienced generally and vaguely as inside. The object, the emotion in this case, is an event separate and distinct from the experiencer, who is a subject over and above this object.

The Arising of Forms and the Knowing of them do not Really Involve a Separate Observer Reflecting on Experience

So far we have seen two elements of the soul’s experience: the most fundamental dimension of the soul, nonconceptual awareness, functioning as the bare possibility of perception, and the understanding of this field of awareness as a multidimensional field of sensitivity which is a dynamic nonlinear manifold. With this foundation of understanding, we can now add the next element of the workings of the knowing soul, and see more how we are using the word knowledge to further our account of the soul’s journey. The next element is the element of recognition and comprehension of forms. In normal experience, what we experience as recognizable forms is inseparable from what we know about them; but when we can be directly aware of the presence of consciousness and of things arising in that field of conscious presence, we see that recognition is an actual discriminable step in the process of knowing. This step is not simply the discursive mind turning its attention on what is perceived, and recognizing things. From what we discussed above we can see that the arising of forms and the knowing of them do not really involve a separate observer reflecting on experience.

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