Ask: Can you clarify the terms mind, awareness, etc.?
You say that we are mind but I read others who say mind does not exist. Then there are terms like awareness, consciousness, and perception that seem to be used in different ways by different teachers. I get very confused. Can you clarify?
You are correct that these terms are used by spiritual teachers in various contradictory or interchangeable ways. I cannot clarify how anyone else uses them. But I will clarify how I use them.
Before I do that, however, I want to point out that these contradictions can be useful if you are a serious student of spiritual material. Words are symbols and will never mean the same thing to everyone. Discerning how a teacher uses these words can be a way of both deepening your understanding of their teaching and your own understanding of the ideas that the words represent. So bring your confusion to the Teacher of Truth (Holy Spirit) in your mind and look at them. How do you use these words? How does the teacher that you are studying use them? Is there a difference? If so, what does it show you about what you believe? What does it reveal about their teaching? How is their teaching different from what you already believed? How is it different from what else you’ve studied? If you do not think about what you read, you are not studying, you are just reading.
I use the term “Mind”, when capitalized, to refer to the aspect of Being through Which Being knows Itself. In Truth, to know and to be are the same experience. So for me Mind and Being are synonymous. Mind/Being is formless, limitless, and timeless. It simply is. When teaching about Truth it makes sense to me to speak in terms of “mind” rather than “being” because the obstacles to being aware of True Being are thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. These are what make it necessary to speak of Mind as an “aspect” of Being as though What is One has parts.
The part of Mind where the idea of Its Own opposite seems to be I call the “split-mind”. The split-mind seems to be split-off from Mind, seems to be split between Truth (Mind) and illusion (awareness, consciousness, perception and their object, the universe of form), and seems to be split within itself into billions of different versions of itself. When speaking of it in a seemingly-individual form, as “mind”, I use the lower-case “m”. Mind in this context no longer knows its Own Being. Instead it thinks (which is a form of doing rather than being). What it thinks about is what it is aware of, is conscious of, or perceives, either Truth (Mind) or illusion (the universe of form). So it is further split into “subject” (mind) and “object” (universe of form) as its thoughts are projected away from it. It identifies in particular with one of its projected thoughts, a self (body/personality), which it thinks surrounds it.
However, every mind is really still a part of Mind and can become aware of this. So your awareness (consciousness, perception) can transcend your belief in form-as-reality and realize that formless Mind is reality. You do this first by becoming aware of the Truth (Mind/Being) in your mind and allowing this awareness (which I call the Teacher of Truth or Holy Spirit) to help you change your thoughts so that they are aligned with Truth. By attending to your mind and its activity you eventually realize that mind, not the forms it observes, is reality and is also the source of what it observes. You become aware of both the one split-mind that is the source of the universe of form and of the Eternally Unified Mind (Truth) beyond even that. In time, your awareness of the Eternally Unified Mind reaches a point where you are ready to stop all thinking with the thought system in your mind that is about being a self in a body in a world (ego/personal thought system). At this stage you perceive the nothingness of form. Your seemingly-individual mind no longer seems to be apart from the universe of form or from Mind.
This highest awareness (consciousness, perception), however, is not True Being Itself. It is a transitional stage that prepares your mind to drop all awareness (consciousness, perception) and form. You are ready for the “last step” in which your mind will blend wholly with Mind. In True Mind/Being there are no thoughts or other forms, so no awareness (perception, consciousness) and no subject-object. Just Mind/Being extending without limit.
So, the way I use the terms, awareness, consciousness, and perception are activities of the mind that can be used to stay in denial of Mind. Or they can be used to return mind to Mind, at which point they must fall away.
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