What is meant by 'transparent and luminous'?
As many have commented here, these exchanges are extremely clear and helpful in shifting the understanding of reality and consciousness. That is in no small part due to the clarity of expression and the precision of the terms used. Your choice of words to capture and explain the essence is key and is the reason why what is written rings so true for many here. The words are recognised as a true expression of presence, by presence.
For this reason I would like to ask you to expand upon some words that you use a lot, both here and in your book, which I feel reflect a greater depth of understanding and presence. These are ‘transparent’ and ‘luminous’.
In The Transparency of Thingsyou say, ‘In the knowledge that “I am”, consciousness and being are one. When this is known, the mind, the body and the world become transparent and luminous. They shine with presence, as presence.’ The shining with presence is indeed part of my experience. I understand that and experience it also. I cannot say the same for things becoming transparent or luminous. Those words seem to refer to a level of perception that is not my experience.
Later in the book you say more fully, ‘Do we not find that…our actual experience of the body is weightless, transparent, luminous, spacious, open, welcoming, without limits or borders, without definition…?’ My honest answer is ‘no’. Could you please expand on your careful choice of these words, which I feel must be based upon a further level of understanding that I am not clear on? Many thanks.
In the knowledge that ‘I am’, consciousness and being are one. When this is known, the mind, the body and the world become transparent and luminous. They shine with presence, as presence.
The world is made only of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. Let us call these ‘perceiving’. Perceiving is made of mind, and mind is made of consciousness.
Consciousness has no colour of its own, and as the world (that is, perceiving) is only made out of this colourless presence, it is sometimes referred to as being transparent.
Consciousness is the light that illumines all experience, and as there is no other substance to our experience of the world than this luminous consciousness, the world is known to be luminous, made out of the light of knowing.
Consciousness illumines the apparent world and its light is also the substance of that which it illumines and knows. In other words, the knowing of the world and the existence of the world are made out of the same transparent, luminous stuff.
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Do we not find that…our actual experience of the body is weightless, transparent, luminous, spacious, open, welcoming, without limits or borders, without definition…?
The body is usually considered to be a container of skin, full of solid objects such as organs and bones. But close your eyes for a moment and go directly to your actual experience of the body. Take a sensation of the surface of the body, the skin, and also the sensation of something ‘inside’ the body, the tingling behind the eyes, for instance.
Do you experience one sensation inside another? No! Both sensations are experienced ‘inside’ consciousness.
See clearly that, in your actual experience, it is not your skin that houses various parts of your body, but rather it is consciousness that houses all the sensations that we call the body. In other words, consciousness is our true body. See clearly that all the sensations that we normally consider to be our body are actually free-floating in this limitless, borderless space of consciousness.
See that you are consciousness. Consciousness is the true body, the true container of all things, and everything is made out of its own transparent, luminous substance.
Consciousness has no weight, and if we go deeply into the sensation of weight, we just find ‘sensing’ there. How heavy is sensing? Don’t think about this. This is not theory. Go to the actual experience, divested of all interpretation.
Touch something that seems to be solid and all you will find is ‘touching’, ‘sensing’ there. How solid is touching?
With your eyes closed and referring only to sensing, imagine drawing the experience of the body on a piece of paper. That is, draw the tingling, amorphous mass of sensing that we call the body. What does the drawing look like? Just a cluster of ill-defined, loosely spaced dots permeated by the white of the paper, no border, no lines, no density, just a galaxy of tiny sensations floating in the white space of your presence.
See that this space of presence is wide open. It says ‘yes’ to everything. It welcomes everything. In fact, more than that, it loves everything. It is intimately, utterly one with everything.
All that is needed is to start with direct experience, not a concept, an image or a memory of the body, just the raw unfiltered experience. Don’t try to reason this out.
Close your eyes and just go in a childlike way to the raw experience of the body. Simply contemplate your actual experience and, divested of superimposition and interpretation, its nature will reveal itself.