There is a debate going on these days about whether consciousness is a function of the brain or whether the brain is an appearance in consciousness. It takes a sophisticated degree of abstract thought to even come up with this problem, for in simple present awareness Here / Now, this problem does not exist. But as someone recently pointed out in a comment to one of my posts, words like “consciousness” get used and understood in many different ways, and no one really “knows” what consciousness is, or at least, not in the way that science knows things. On the other hand, consciousness is the most obvious and unavoidable reality there is, the ever-present ground of every experience, something all of us know intimately and with doubtless certainty. It is what we are; it is what everything is. But “it” cannot be measured or seen or found as a “thing” apart from what it reveals. And the relationship of consciousness to the brain and the nervous system is only beginning to be explored scientifically.
Scientists and religious people all have many
different theories about what consciousness is, and what comes first, the brain
or consciousness. Theories and beliefs can always be doubted, and they change
as our understanding changes. But the bare actuality of present moment
seeing-hearing-sensing-breathing-awaring-being is not a theory or a belief.
Being here, aware and present, is beyond doubt. It needs no proof. We can doubt
whether this present happening is a computer-generated brain experience or
whether it is the One Self imagining the brain, but where are these doubts and
theories occurring? What is aware of all this? If we try to answer that question
with any kind of “something” (a word or a concept), that answer can be doubted.
But the experiencing itself, the self-evident knowingness of being here now,
the bare being of this present happening, the awaring of all this—that we
cannot doubt. We can doubt whether the object we see is a real lake or a
mirage, but we cannot doubt the seeing and the bare shimmering shape being
seen, the simple suchness or thusness of it.