Excerpt About Aliveness
The distinction between essence and soul is not easy to make, because it is a subtle differentiation. The main difficulty arises from confusing consciousness with life. When one experiences essence as a conscious presence it is not usually easy to recognize that this is different from aliveness, for one has not differentiated life from consciousness. In our normal experience, consciousness and aliveness are inseparable. We rarely, if ever, experience one without the other. And when we experience pure consciousness we cannot differentiate it from life, because we tend to believe that to be conscious is to be alive. Even researchers interested in death experiences, or out-of-body experiences, tend not to explore the question of whether in these conditions the soul experiences herself as alive or only as conscious. These researchers generally believe that life ends with death, and that even though some kind of awareness survives the death, there is no curiosity about whether this awareness will be experiencing itself as only conscious, or conscious and alive the way it is in the body. The implicit assumption seems to be that the awareness will continue to be imbued with the sense of aliveness, as it is in physical life, even though the belief is that life ends with death. The main reason behind this situation is that even though everyone knows the soul, albeit not explicitly, the experience of essence is rare. When we experience essence we know what pure consciousness is, that it is beyond the sense of aliveness, more fundamental than life.