Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Subject
Beginning to See the Nonduality of Subject and Object in Experience
To understand that the soul is the agency, the site, and the varied content of experience will bring us a great deal of clarity about experience. Under normal circumstances, we are aware of simply having experience, but are vague and indefinite about the basics of such experience. What is experience? How does experience happen, where is it, and what exactly is it? To recognize the soul is to become clear about such fundamental questions. 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.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 24
Complete Contact with Oneself
To experience the Personal Essence through the process of disidentification makes clear its sense of beingness. One feels oneself as a presence. One feels oneself as a fullness, as a Beingness, in contradistinction to reactivity or activity. One feels oneself because one is oneself. Being is recognized by being it. The perception is most direct. The contact with oneself is complete. There is no subject separate from the Being. This is an important point about the nature of Being. One knows Being by being it, because Being is self-aware. It is self-aware because it is pure consciousness. This consciousness is not an activity, it is a presence. Since Being is pure consciousness capable of direct awareness of itself, it does not require thinking and deduction for it to know itself. This is what most distinguishes it from the personality of ego, which knows itself through reference to the past. One reason it is not easy to have a clear experience of Being is that the habit of ego is to know itself through reference to other perceptions, as in Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am.” But Being’s perception of itself is immediate and direct. The experience is more like “I exist,” felt with immediate, definite certainty. It is the feeling “I am.” “I am because I am.” The experience of Being is like being a certain medium or substance in which each point or atom is exquisitely and clearly aware of itself as pure sensation or consciousness. There is pure sensation, exquisite aliveness.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 64
In Dualistic Perception the Separateness of Subject and Object is Never Total
One characteristic of dualistic perception is that it contains traces of nonduality. The separateness of subject and object is never total. What I mean is that you never find a subject by itself. A subject always implies an object. And conversely, you can never only have an object; there is always the experiencer of the object. There cannot be an other without somebody saying, “This is an other.” So, in dual experience, there is no experience of a self or a subject by itself, and there is no experience of an other or an object by itself. Subject and object, although distinct, always arise as a unit; they are always connected to each other somehow. This is a mysterious sort of perception that most of us, when we are experiencing from the conventional view, never even consider. If you are alone in your bedroom, you might notice that you are all by yourself, which is true in a sense, but you are not simply alone as a subject. You are the subject, but your object has shifted from being somebody else to being your bed or being your feeling of aloneness.
Runaway Realization, pg. 218
One's Absolute Nature Transcends Not Only the Mind but Consciousness Itself
Even consciousness, which is not exactly a concept, can be shed. At some point, usually without anticipating it, one realizes that one is perceiving the Nameless Reality as external to oneself. One becomes aware that one is beyond the Nameless, and the world that it supports, as an unknowable mystery. The Nonconceptual Reality, which is the ground of the world of concepts, is experienced here as not absolutely real. In fact, it is experienced as a radiance, ephemeral and insubstantial, in relation to and emanating from an unfathomable Absolute. One realizes that one’s most absolute nature, which turns out to be the underlying nature of all of existence, transcends not only the mind, but consciousness itself. One is the beyond, beyond whatever can be experienced or perceived. Absence is seen as an incomplete glimpse into the Absolute. One is the ultimate subject, which cannot be an object of perception, and hence is unknown and unknowable. The Absolute is not aware
of itself, but awareness of everything else proceeds from it, while what characterizes consciousness is that it is conscious of itself.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 468
Pure Subject Which is Not an Object
As we abide in the inscrutable darkness of the absolute we recede, as if backward, from the world of manifestation. The soul feels: "I am perceiving the world and knowing I am not of it, not part of it, and not in it. When I reflect I do not find myself, either as a person or self. It seems I am some kind of emptiness that does not have any particular feeling, even of self. There is awareness of phenomena, but I am not part of what I perceive, and I am not anything in particular. I am pure subject, which is not an object. I am the source of awareness. I am not the witnessing, but I make witnessing possible." There is everything, there is the perception of everything, but no self or person, and no reference to them. The mind cannot conceive of existence without reference to the center. There is no frame of reference here. There is lightness, openness, expansion, and joy.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 380
The Boundless Dimensions Contain No Dichotomy Between Subject and Object
All the boundless dimensions of reality—realms of love, knowledge, awareness, nonbeing, and dynamism—are nondual in the sense that they contain no dichotomy between subject and object. That is to say, in the realization of the boundless dimensions, there is no separate “I” experiencing the dimension. The sense of I is the dimension experiencing itself as a unified totality. Not only is there no subject/object dichotomy between you and the boundlessness, but also there is no subject/object dichotomy between the vastness and all objects and phenomena within it. Every single form is a manifestation of the same field. Experiencing this kind of presence that is not limited by any boundaries or partitions will put pressure on the structures, beliefs, and ideas that limit our sense of self to a particular shape or size. The nondual dimensions of Total Being initially arise inseparably from our obscurations because each dimension addresses a certain level of obstruction as if it were designed specifically for that purpose. We discover that there is an inherent intelligence in reality: Our obstacles, delusions, and limitations are directly connected to the pure or free dimensions of reality.
Runaway Realization, pg. 189
The Soul is the Subject that Perceives and Recognizes Perceptions
We also normally think of ourselves as the perceiver of outer objects and events. Once we recognize the soul as the inner field that contains inner experience and events, it becomes easy to see that the soul is also the perceiver of all events, outer as well as inner. Outer manifestations can be seen to be outside the soul but our perception of them occurs within us, within our sensitive interiority, our soul. The soul is the recipient of perception; these perceptions might arise through the windows of the senses, but it is the soul that is the subject that actually perceives and recognizes such perceptions. The soul in this functions similarly to the eyes that receive the light, also similarly to the brain that deciphers the light signals, but most primarily it is the consciousness that finally sees and recognizes, the consciousness that becomes impacted by what it sees, and responds accordingly. In recognizing the soul we recognize the real self that we intuitively know is at the center of all experience, and the agent of all functioning. Our intuition transforms into a direct perception of what we have sensed to be not only the site of all inner experiences and perceptions, but also the agent of all experience, perception, and action. The soul is the experiencer, the perceiver, the observer, the doer, the thinker, the chooser, the responder, the enjoyer, the sufferer, and the inner site of all of these.