Are "everything" and "awareness" two separate things?
This is a great question that absolutely stopped me in my tracks. I have toyed with this question off and on over the past few months.
Here is where I am at with it. First, I will tell you what I think 'everything' is. I used to think that 'everything' was the entire Universe - as in the entire geography - whether or not "I' was aware of it. A recent guide challenged this notion in me, and pointed out the possibility that things outside of my awareness may not actually exist. I can appreciate that things outside my awareness have no reality "for me" (as I am not directly aware of them), but its harder to blankly acknowledge that they don't exist for others. For example: I can ignore the news for a week, but does that mean that a war isn't raging in another country, causing pain for others...
Therefore, I am confused about what 'everything' is. But for the purpose of your question, I am going to presume that 'everything' is relative to me only. The 'non-imagined' stuff only. Being ALL that I am aware of here and now, all that I am sensing - whether it be sight, sound, touch etc. For me, that means that 'everything' consists of the 'geography' or physical environment that I am aware of (apparently externally to my body/mind) and also the thoughts, feelings and sensations that I am aware of (apparently internally to my body/mind).
You asked whether everything and awareness are two separate things. Although I have beliefs and theories springing up incessantly arguing.... the answer is NO when I base it on my direct experience. Without the "me" here (which I know as my personal awareness or body/mind, it is hard to see how the 'geography' and 'thoughts, feelings, sensations' could be here. As there would be nothing watching. Just like when I am asleep at night. The "geography" and "me" seems to be exchanged for a different set. Though I return to the "awake-state me" consistently - whereas the "asleep-state me" is different every night.
So while I can't see how they are separate, I get confused when another person seems to have a personal awareness or body/mind that interacts with my own. They seem completely independent of me. That is why I still ultimately believe that there are separate beings with separate awarenesses walking around in a common geography.
What you see is not a belief. If you smell something, that smell is not a belief.
So, what's your experience here and now? Is there an "I" in (or as) the brain?
Actually observe and answer, please.
Wow. The statement 'what you see is not a belief" cleared a lot of stuff up for me. I am glad you added "if you smell something that smell is not a belief" as this means it covers all sense perceptions.
For some reason, pondering this question opened up the flood gates. I have had a very painful last two hours with a lot of emotion that wasn't released (and never is). I have got it together now, and can respond properly without going on and on about pain and sadness and injustice from younger years. In fact, I wrote out a lot of stuff and deleted it, as I want to keep to your question.
My experience here and now, is that there is an apparent external geography consisting of people, computers, windows, desks. There are sights, sounds and noises. My experience is that there is also an 'internal' environment consisting of a personalised awareness that is based in the body. I can turn my head and see things from a different angle. I can decide to strike up a conversation and then a series of events in the external geography will follow. There is not an "I" in (or as the brain) if I look properly. I can not use my senses to find an "I" in the brain. In fact, the apparent external geography actually seems to confirm that "I" am here. I can do things that make the external environment respond - I could yell out at my desk here, and people would notice and a series of events would follow. This then makes me think that there is an "entity" here. IN fact, this is a bit of an insight for me - its only the external geography that seems to CONCUR that there is an "I" here.
Thanks heaps. Amazing at how much emotion is coming up.