Though in many ways we are animals, and have an animal nature, we see ourselves as human beings. Saying that we are human is a lot more meaningful than referring to ourselves as just another animal. To see ourselves as consciousness is a similar leap in understanding. We are consciousness before anything else. This is shifting the paradigm from human beings to consciousness. It is realizing that you are consciousness in the very first place! We are consciousness first of all. We are that boundless space called consciousness. We are consciousness before being human. Consciousness is life's first principle.
Consciousness is infinitely more basic than your identity. Identity is not your natural condition. Consciousness is your natural condition, it is what you are, you need not develop or maintain it. Even if you were to relax completely and give up all desire to improve yourself, it would still be there, unchanged. It is what you are. You cannot improve consciousness, and it is ridiculous to be proud of it. Consciousness is never an achievement, it is already there, before you begin to achieve.
You cannot condition consciousness, it is not something you have to build, like muscles. It is you, whether you think you are a saint, or a sinner. Whatever your so-called identity. Spiritual seeker or farmer. You have done nothing to be this consciousness, yet this is what you are, without effort or strain.
Our identities are our social roles. Identity is a social thing. The I, your personality, is a social skill. It is how you communicate with people. When we are socially engaged, identity is helpful and practical! You know who I am, I know who you are, and we understand why we are talking to each other in the first place. Identity is your front, it's how you present yourself. But it's not you, you are not how you have learned to behave. Identity is not who we are! We are like actors that have forgotten that they are only playing a part! We have become identified with our names and roles.
Even when we are alone, with no one around, we continue our roleplay. We start thinking and talking to ourselves as if there is someone listening! We feel a need to be consistent with our selfimage, to maintain it. We derive a sense of security out of this consistency with our identity. Being consistent with our selfimage requires some effort though. It's work! Should we stop being consistent, no one would know who we are! Maybe even we would not know who we are.
It is the very striving to be consistent with a certain identity that creates the identity. Without our striving to be consistent with our identity, we exist without identity, we are identity-less! What is left when there are no self-images, when we stop playing roles? Consciousness is left, pristine, completely open, simple and absolutely honest.
Identity is a hindrance to freedom. Our identity is how we define ourselves. Whatever our definition, that's how we've limited ourselves. With identity, freedom becomes impossible. Freedom is being undefined, living without identity, not even an 'enlightened identity'. Being without identity. Yes, still roleplaying when convenient. But not tied to a role. And when being private, alone or with an intimate friend or lover, there's no need to play any role whatsoever.
Freedom as a human being will always be very limited. Being human is neither limitless nor our ultimate truth. The idea of being human can be a limiting paradigm if it is our final understanding of ourselves. Understanding ourselves as consciousness, we take freedom to a whole new level. We can re-acquaint with consciousness and move beyond the limits of the human being. Yes, we are human, but on a more profound level, we are consciousness. We need not deny that we are human beings, but the essence of these beings is consciousness. The foundation of our existence is boundless consciousness.
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Principles and Paradigms
» 4. Consciousness
Human Nature: Intelligence
Experience and Consciousness
- Life's First Principle
5. Alive Silence