letting “my” consciousness shatter


“…it gets back to a purpose in life, what life is about,

what is important in life,

how to prove that my life is worth living…”

My Comment: In question and answer format, Stephen Wolinsky takes his students through a process of becoming aware of how strongly our basic concepts form our perception of the world.

In the following excerpt from his book “You Are Not” he deconstructs our usual thought patterns with remarkable results.

It takes a bit to find your way into this process, but I find it very refreshing.


Student: I just put it together with the death of my daughter. It is like somehow the unwillingness to, somehow if all of this disappears then somehow the memory of her; it’s like hanging on to her memory.
Wolinsky: The concept called of “my” consciousness is hanging on to the memory of “that” consciousness.
Student: Of that consciousness, you know she was an important part of my life and I want to remember her and I want to remember. It has all to do with that. That it is important somehow to . . . (crying).
Wolinsky: The concept called “my” consciousness which wants to keep the memory of her solidified, if for this concept called “my” consciousness could not keep the memory of her solidified, then what would that mean to the concept called “my” consciousness?
Student: It gets back to existence and somehow the existence, to exist. Existing includes having memories and not forgetting the memories and experiences and the importance of existing, the importance of one’s life, it all fits in there, it is so fascinating to sit here and just experience this. And think about that and to be, it gets back to a purpose in life, what life is about, what is important in life, how to prove that my life is worth living, it is all that stuff. It gets back to that whole thing that we weave, that I have woven in my life, that somehow I have to drag, “my” memory with me all the time so I can remember that I exist.
Wolinsky: So you exist. So the way that you exist is through the concept called memory.
Student: Right, that I have had all these experiences, and this and this and this; therefore, I exist.
Wolinsky: Now, for this concept called “my” consciousness, if it were to separate the concept called existence, and separate that concept from the concept called memory to justify existence, if it were to separate that from I am—if that were separated from, in order to know that “I” have some kind of value or worth or something, or that I am this memory; if all of these concepts, were separate; if existence is dependent upon memory, we are going to separate memory and existence. Rather than I am, I must have memory, we are separating memory and I am’s.
We are separating memory-of-daughter in order to prove that she existed just as you existed. If all of these were separate concepts, made of the same consciousness, then . . . ?
Student: It is such a relief, it is just like all the tension in my body just goes out. I could be like a puddle on the ground.
Wolinsky: Now, if all of these were just concepts being the same consciousness, including the “awarer” of all of this, and it had nothing to do with anything, then . . . ?
Student: Just, there is a feeling of joy that I am experiencing now, like a joy in it, letting it all just kind of go and I feel a lot of tears about it, maybe there has been a fear about letting it all go, somehow, I have to hang on to it and I don’t know why I feel like crying and letting it all go. I think I have been holding myself together a lot.
Wolinsky: Would you be willing to allow the concept called “my” consciousness to just fall apart?
Student: Right, just to fall apart. Yes, I have to hold myself together a lot . . . (crying).
Wolinsky: So notice how the concept called “my” consciousness holds itself solid.
Student: To not feel, not to feel what I am feeling.
Wolinsky: See if you can allow the concept called “my” consciousness to just shatter. So, if this concept called “my” consciousness were to shatter into pieces, what would be so bad about that?
Student: It feels like a tremendous relief. It does feel like a tremendous relief. Like letting go of all the solid walls that held me together. That kept me from, I guess the fear was, you know, I don’t know what. Shattering. I don’t want to reveal that at this moment . . . (crying).
Wolinsky: Now if the concept called “my” consciousness and shattering or not shattering or grief or relief, and all of these other concepts were all made of the same consciousness, including the “awarer” of all of that, then . . . ?
Student: I could just be with whatever.
Wolinsky: And prior to the emergence of the thing called “my” consciousness, were you?
Student: I feel like I am swimming. Swimming in a sea, with this. Thank you. I certainly did not expect this today._____________Long silence.

source: “You Are Not” p 161





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