Q: During meditation this morning,
the birds were chirping.
Who perceives the chirping?
FL: The perceiver-in-chief which is the ultimate perceiver,
That which really perceives,
I call it consciousness.
Q: Is it perceiving the perception of the chirping?
FL: Yes, because you don’t know what the chirping is by itself.
All you have is the perception of the chirping.
If you were blindfolded and if I was playing a CD of birds chirping,
you would feel ‘there’s a bird out there’,
but in fact it shows you don’t perceive the bird,
you perceive the chirping.
You perceive your own perception.
Whether there is a bird ‘out there’
– it depends what we define as ‘out there’.
And what we define as ‘out there’
is the source of all of our perceptions
that can be verified by peer observers.
Like this flower
– you and I we agree that’s a white orchid.
Then that’s out there,
My thought in this moment – first I thought of a white elephant, then that’s too real, and then I thought of a pink elephant but I thought I often did that, then I thought of a blue elephant.
So you didn’t perceive my thought, right?
So that’s not part of the external world.
Because the definition we have of the external world is
‘that from which the objects come
that allegedly create that subset of our perceptions
to which the intersubjective agreement applies’.
That’s the external world.
Whether there is such an external world existing…
Now the first thing to notice is that
this external world exists independently from minds,
which is often a mistake made in Advaita
that it exists only in minds.
If I leave the room, the orchid will still be there.
It’s independent from Francis’s mind.
If you leave the room, I can still perceive it,
so it’s independent from your mind.
And therefore it’s independent from both minds.
There is something out there that is independent
from minds, from human minds.
Whether it is independent from reality
– no, because by definition,
reality encompasses everything.
So it’s not independent from reality.
And since I call consciousness
‘the reality that perceives’,
and if there is only one reality,
then it is not independent from consciousness.
I cannot prove to you that there is only one reality.
But since you are that reality as consciousness,
this evidence is within us:
the evidence that consciousness is real
and the evidence that there is only one reality.
I cannot prove it to you.
Q: I understand that,
but I’m stuck with the perceiving of perceptions.
FL: Eliminate the external object.
Perceptions are that which you really perceive.