When you are fast asleep, there is no thought of I or of this or that, no awareness of what is without and what within, time is not there, the mind is not, there is just being and peace. Coming out of sleep in the morning there is both the awareness of the waking state and the stillness of sleep. At some point you become conscious perhaps of the sounds of birds chirping and looking within you recognize yourself. You remain in bed, blissfully abiding in yourself. But soon enough the person and with it the schedule for the day and the rest (worries, desires, etc.) are back and you open your eyes.

That which we experience as the person is consciousness plus mind. Hidden behind mind, seen only when the mind is stilled, our inmost self is consciousness. No, not even that. The innermost is just being; awareness that is oblivious even of itself that then becomes differentiated consciousness; that is the ground in which the duality of consciousness as subject and mind as object (and hence experience) emerge. Suffer the loss of a limb and the sense of being stays unchanged. An injury to the head may well change the contents of consciousness and how the world is perceived; even so consciousness itself remains unaffected. The inmost self is always there, you cannot get away from it; that being first everything else follows; it is something so real and solid and yet so basic and subtle, the mind is unmindful of its own substratum.

The inmost self is independent, detached, without action it watches our actions from within. It is that which sees, hears and seems to think. The eyes, ears and mind are but its instruments. The inmost self has neither nationality nor race nor sex, is untainted and untouched by sin, is beyond all knowledge and beliefs, beyond all suffering and sorrow; all of which belong to mind. Ever present within, the inmost self of all, is unchanged by injury or old-age – it cannot be cut or burned, does not wither or decay. You are that, say the Upanishads; know that you are that.

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