I. Dreaming Mind
The past, like the future, is in fact a dream-structure: sleeping or ‘waking’, night or day, we dream both. Is that not obvious? Then when are we not dreaming?
In the present? Whenever could that be? Anything it could be is long passed before the processes of perception and conception can be completed. So that is entirely imagined, and therefore all three are conceptual.
We are whatever-we-are here and now, and forever. Time and space are our objectivisations. We make up all this nonsense – ‘dream’ it as we say – and believe it to be fact – or what we call ‘real’!
‘Whatever-we-are’? Yes, of course, but not what we have been misled to believe that we are. That was a composition, concepts actualised in mind; it was our living-dream, and the apperceiving of this is surely apperceiving what we were when dreaming and acting all the parts in our dream of ‘life’ and ‘death’ in a time-context.
We have never been anything but the dreaming of our ‘lives’! What else could there be for us to be? That is also why what-we-are cannot be any objective thing soever.
This is our ‘nature’ of which the Chinese masters speak so often, and which they strive so continually to enable us to envisage.
In Ch’an this would be called ‘Prajna’, the functioning aspect of ‘Dhayana’ as which we are potential only. This essential differentiation between immanence and transcendence, inseparable noumenally but conceptually apart, does not seem to be apparent in Vedanta.
2. Tao, or The Way It Is
I – as ‘me’ – am whatever is perceived and conceived as ‘you’: ‘you’ and ‘it’ are what is perceived and conceived soever.
There is no ‘I’, no ‘you’, no ‘it’. We are the perceiving and conceiving which as perceptions conceived are then so-labelled as objects.
‘We’ as such, as any ‘thing’, as any factual object, are not at all.
Therefore there can not be any such thing as an ‘I’ perceiving and conceiving. Since there is not any entity to be cognised, there can not be any entity to cognise. This is why cognising can not be cognised, and this is why cognising – ‘Mind’ in Buddhism, ‘Consciousness’ in Vedanta, ‘Tao’ in China, ‘the Holy Spirit’ in Christianity, any of the names of ‘Allah’ in Sufism, are just symbols whereby the phenomenal manifestation of ‘cognising’ may be indicated in a spatio-temporal context.
If, in our spatio-temporal context, we are to ‘speak’ among our mutually apparent ‘selves’ on the noumenal level of this understanding, each of us would speak from the knowledge that each ‘other’ had no existence but his appearance in the mind of each, which ultimately, as ‘I’, is not plural, which is not singular either, but the conceiving of which in split-mind is necessarily multiple.
In practice this means that whatever conception A has of B, C has of B, B has of B (his ‘self’) is all that B is or could be at that moment of ‘time’. There can be no entity to be anything other than conceptual at any moment of time, for there is only cognising and neither cognising nor cognition can have an ‘ens’.
A conceptual objectification in mind is that only and no sort of factual ‘thing’, no example of which has ever existed other than as an appearance in a spatio-temporal context in what is called ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’, which are symbols for the cognising process, itself a conceptual manifestation in imagined space-time.
Symbols themselves have no ‘ens’, and it is idle to seek for anything conceptual that could express what is cognising, for cognising cannot cognise what is cognising, since no ‘thing’ IS cognising.
Why is this so? It is so because cognising seems to occur in what is conceptualised as space-time, which is to say that it manifests in spatio-temporal extension, which implies that its objects can be visualised in ‘space’ and have duration in ‘time’, the whole of which conceptual processes are what we have to describe as subjective functioning – the subjective functioning of cognising itself.
Cognising, like the other five faculties of sentience, is in fact a dualistic expression of consciousness, of being conscious, which is the prajnatic aspect of dhyana. As conscious-ness it is phenomenal, as dhyana it is noumenal. As the latter, phenomenally regarded, it is unconscious.
Therefore what-we-are noumenally does not appear (is not phenomenal), and so is referred to negatively as unconsciousness, no-mind (Buddhism), or deep-sleep (Vedanta).
Nothing further can be said, for all ‘saying’ is expressed cognition, i.e. is dualised as subject/object conceptualising by means of the relativity of opposing and interdependent counterparts. Apart from that, all that ever was, ever is, ever will be, is pure undivided noumenality, apperceiving, entirely spontaneous, phenomenally transcendent and indescribable in dualistic terminology.
Certainly available, this apperceiving cannot be produced or acquired by any means whatever subject to space-time limitations, but the basic reason for this we can guess, which is that it is what we are, all that we are, and, being it, we cannot possibly know it subject to the limitations of the dualised process of objectification.
The so-called ‘Truth’ is beyond all the positive nonsense we talk and write. We never dive nearly deep enough into the abyss of negation, for such ‘truth’ is beyond all forms of mental activity.
Negation is negative positivity.
Until negation is negated – thought is still present.
The absence of consciousness is still the presence of unconsciousness. Only in the absence of both positive and negative consciousness is the absence of the Absolute absolutely absent.
The ‘Truth’ is the absolute absence of any kind of truth.
Presence and absence are dual aspects of appearance.
An absolute is positive and present.
There IS no presence, there IS no absence,
Both are positive phenomenal concepts.
Is and is-not are positive and negative isness,
But no form of isness IS.
All saying is thinking, all thinking is mental activity.
Only absolute absence is beyond phenomenality.
A long and arduous journey? Indeed, no! Rather is it total absence of displacement.
Why is that? Because there is neither place nor placed to displace!
Impossibly difficult? Indeed, no! All phenomenality, all positivity, all negation, are conceptually dependent on extension in space and duration.
And so? The space-time continuum is a bubble that bursts in the vacuum of total negation.
Without Here or There, Was or Will be,
When or Why, Who or What,
Suchness is Such.
Behind the beyond? There is no before to have a behind,
No thing to be beyond any or no thing.
Absolute negation of appearance, total phenomenal absence,
Is ‘The Truth Of Tao’,
And there is nowhere else for it to be
But wherever I am.
4. What we mean by ‘Noumenon’ and ‘Phenomena’
The phenomenal is whatever appears, whatever is present, whatever is not absent. Phenomenally, therefore, noumenality, which is not apparent as such, is absent.
Noumenally, however, phenomenality is not present, nor is it absent; it could be called potential. It is not as such, so it is neither present nor absent; the only being of phenomenality is noumenal.
And ‘noumenon’, which is the Principal of potentiality which is appearance, can have no conceptual or objective existence, being a symbol for the origin of conceiving as such.
(© T.J. Gray, 1968)