Suchness blog for Humanities Team

The Third State of Consciousness 
Of all the things Buddhism has given the world, the most enigmatic may be a concept that appears to be the heart of mindfulness. It comes from a time when the science of Yoga was blended with Buddhist thought to create a school that eventually became Zen.
In this instance, I am talking about suchness, the natural state of a quiet mind. This concept is probably best known through mindfulness, but that means many things to many people. There’s the rub. It’s easy to say but more challenging to achieve.
The problem is an upbringing in Western culture needed to give us the tools to understand it. We need a context to grasp its extreme value in life. Though it’s the same thing as an attitude of intuitive listening, one wonders why it’s so hard to achieve? So, we’ll start with the challenges of our natural identification and then proceed to the opportunity suchness provides.
Mom and Dad put together the ingredients of our physical body and their precious life force. That life force was pure potential to become our container of unchanging knowledge, later to be called the subconscious. As we grew from zygote to embryo, we began to experience sensations that developed our first preferences, like, dislike, or indifference. These three simple preferences or reactions to sensory input became the foundation for our most important concept: who we think we are. “Inside is me, and outside is everyone else.”
Of course, after we leave Mom’s luxury accommodations, the five senses kick in, and the party begins. Now this is wonderous stuff, and we spend the first seven years putting together the unchanging knowledge of direct experience, our ancestor’s inheritance, and the changing sense perceptions amplified by the outcomes of thought. The additional “changing” stuff sticks to the fabric of our originally pure subconscious, and we become infatuated with the story. This obsession is where suchness comes in.
People often seek peace of mind but can’t find it. We practice it in listening. Suchness, per the masters, is the natural state of everyone’s quiet mind. But, it’s not something. It’s nothing, which makes it very subtle and confusing. However, we all experience it in the quiet moments between thoughts of collecting experience or taking action. Mindfulness is making the time to remember who we really are, and who we are is not the outcome of thoughts.

Our understanding is that consciousness has three modes.  
First, it indiscriminately collects concepts, experiences, emotions, and things.  
Second, it creates cause and effect; doing tasks; taking action.  
The third mode of consciousness remembers its inherent nature, unaffected by collecting or doing.  
Effortless Belonging, Lanka, Chapter 2, Section IV 

This idea of suchness, sought after for millennia, has become a tremendous gift to humanity. But it is only a common and natural state of being. As where we all came from before thinking, I hear it clearly as the sounds of nature. All we have to do is put everything down and engage our magic superpower, an intuitive form of awareness, rather than our infatuation with cascading thoughts.