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  • Catherine Schultz, Ph.D.

Contemplating the “Water” Perspective of Consciousness

December 12, 2012 by Dr. Catherine Schultz, Ph.D.  


Almost daily, I receive an inspirational e-mail from AHAM (Association of Happiness for All Mankind), a NC group dedicated to sharing the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. This particular post caught my attention and prompted a deeper contemplation on the analogy of water being akin to Consciousness as follows:

Maharashi states, “So long as there is a sense of separation, one will be afflicted by thoughts. If the original source is regained and the sense of separation is ended, there will be peace … look at the waters of the ocean: they evaporate, form clouds, which are blown about by winds, condense into water, and fall as rain. The waters roll down the hilltops in streams and rivers until they reach their original source, the ocean, at which point they are at peace. Thus you see that where there is a sense of separation from the source, there is agitation and movement until the sense of separation is lost. So it is with yourself. Now you identify yourself with your body, and think that you are separate.”  (From “Conscious Immortality, Conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi” By Paul Brunton et al)


What struck me in this passage was that no matter what “form” it took … vapor, clouds, condensation, rain, river, ice or ocean … Water is Water and so to, Consciousness is Consciousness no matter what form of life it takes.


Consider that our brain, one of the key instruments by which we process in-form-ation to generate our perspectives on life is 70% water.


Consider also the many ways human perspectives take on the qualities of water. For example, the greater distance one has from water, the more it becomes a dense, hard surface. So to, perspectives on life that foster a ‘sense of separation’ that Ramana is addressing often appear hard, callous and dangerous at times. We can be cold and icy towards one another.


We also have the capacity to cultivate perspectives of fluidity, “going with the flow”, and those that embrace the intimacy of inseparability in the ocean of life. These can generate a sense of bliss and alignment with nature and existence. Within both forms, contracted or open, the water remains neutral as itself, and so too is Consciousness as it reflects an infinite amount of perspectives on this watery planet alone.


In this recognition of essential neutrality of our own Consciousness, there is freedom. One moment, icy coldness may appear. In another, hot intimacy. The space between the two Lovers allows for both and Beyond.


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