A state of consciousness in which one experiences the totality as one’s own Self, as consciousness itself, as a collective consciousness, as pure consciousness, as nondual consciousness, is a real state of knowing. I think it is this state of knowing that is referred to by many different names in the spiritual traditions, including awakening, salvation, satori, enlightenment, resurrection, etc.
I suggest that it is what appears in consciousness when it becomes devoid of all other thought forms, because then consciousness is truly empty, pure, free, unlimited, and nondual. It is simply consciousness itself. It is no longer being limited or reduced or shaped by the thought forms in the dualistic mode of subject-object.
I like to think of pure consciousness as a smooth sea of glass, a completely empty field of being, and that includes being devoid of any sense of being a finite localized self or individual too. All the sensations, feelings, thoughts, perceptions that make us feel like a localized embodied individual person, that give us a compartmentalized identity, are thought forms in consciousness, that arise from that smooth and empty sea of glass, like waves in the ocean.
But when those fall away from consciousness, as in contemplative practices such as meditation, and consciousness becomes truly pure and void as it is in its essence, then it becomes inclusive of all beings, and is the pleroma. It is thus both void and fullness simultaneously, emptiness and form, this superposition of 0 and 1. It is an absolute darkness of ego-self (the finite individual self), but it is absolute brightness or Light of God (the universal Being). There is no more finite individual there, but rather it is all individuals, the All. It is no longer mortal because it is no longer reduced to a mortal body-mind. There is no time or space there, because these are thought forms. It is the All-Seeing Eye. It is a free and open vastness and timeless eternal life of the cosmos itself, which includes one and all.
It is a shocking realization, because up until the point of this realization, we have identified our self with our thoughts, our body, our mind, our experiences in the world, our knowledge. We have thought that our identity was that, this limited small self, this ego. We never dreamed that our identity was deeper than that, or more universal than that. Our sense of self was simply that which was arising in consciousness, but not consciousness itself as it is in its most purified state.
We now realize that as our true Self. We see that pure consciousness as our own deepest Being and truest Identity. We recognize ourself as absolutely One with God’s own Self, the Ultimate Reality, which in Christian terms is known as Christ, and in Buddhist terms is known as Buddha-nature or the Tathāgatagarbha. But this is not the egoic self, the finite personal self, but rather the pure consciousness from which all selves arise. Those selves are all incarnations of that pure Divine consciousness, that sea of glass. They are manifestations of it, in it, from it. They are that Word made flesh through its actualization, its “children,” through its movement, through the waves that emerge from that empty smooth infinite sea. God takes on form in each and every one of those waves, including what we traditionally know as you and me.
So that state of consciousness is also Ultimate Reality and Absolute Truth. It is Ultimate Reality because everything in reality arises from that ground. Everything that we know of, every perception, every thought, every conception, every being, every object, arises in and from that. It is the basis of everything, of the totality. It is its framework. It is the unified field. It is the Source from which all things arise. It is the essence from which all things derive their substance. It is the Light from which all relative realities cast their shadows on the cave wall. It is the Divine. It is God. There is nothing more true or real than this. All relative truths are derived from it, are derivatives of it, are shaped from it, take their form through it.
That pure consciousness is One, a Singularity, it is Whole, it is Love itself, because it includes all beings within it, not as things separate from it, but as manifestations of its own Being, its own potentiality, its own possibility, its own ground. Love is that deep communion, that deep relationship which is really no relationship because it shares its being, its identity, as One. When you realize yourself in the other, you are realizing Love itself, this deeper shared Being and pure consciousness that is identical in you both. As Rumi once said, “Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” They are the Love that was within them all along, their very own pure consciousness, their deepest identity, where finite and separate selves have dissolved, and Being is absolutely One.