Consciousness- a metaphor

In the previous post on āsana, I briefly touched upon a metaphor for understanding the nature of consciousness. As the manifest world changes, so do metaphors. What was a clay pot, became a movie screen. The movie screen can now become the Virtual Reality game as most of us have at the least, an intellectual understanding of them.

There is a computer and a virtual reality suit. Imagine a morph suit made out of the material of Spanx. For those that may not have heard of them, see the picture of the morph suit, and as for Spanx...I've just heard they're very restrictive and compressing. Google might help you there if you need. To play this game though you need to get into this tight and restrictive suit. The suit is full of sensors and little vibrating pads. You then turn the computer on and take a seat in the suit.

You begin the game. At this stage you know you are sat playing a game. VR has come on a long way since its inception, so it's incredibly realistic. The sensors and pads in the suit make it feel as though you are moving through the visual landscape in the game. Everything happening in the game really feels as though it is occurring to you. The character in the game responds to your thought, so you don't even have to move a muscle. As you get to understand the world in this game, you find yourself more and more engrossed. The memory that you are playing a game fades away and this becomes the world! You can look around and see your arms and legs. It's even programmed so you can go crosseyed and catch a glimpse of your face. You just cannot stop now. The game also has many others, also sat in their suits playing and you can interact with each other in all the usual ways.

Every now and then there isn't all that much going on in the game. You vaguely remember you are sat in your living room wearing this restrictive suit, yet you have become so accustomed to wearing it, it no longer feels tight, but perfectly normal. And then a little further into the game you come a cropper! Game over!!! Unfortunately, due to the amount of technology in the suit, it only works for one go at the game. You remove the suit and suddenly realise just how damn restrictive it was. You feel free and liberated, but memory of the game remains. So one day, you get yourself another suit and start again.

It has been a while since you last played, but every now and then, things seem familiar. There is a memory of playing, although the game's landscape has been updated since you last played. This process happens over and over. Sometimes you get further along in the game; sometimes unexpected events occur early on and it's game over, sooner than you wished. Sometimes the suit you get is a duff one and doesn't even work! Sometimes you pause the game and remember you're just sat there. Sometimes a little glitch in the game helps you remember you're just sat there. Sometimes you even see pictures of yourself within the game, but barely recognise yourself now you've been playing so long.

And then one day, you reach the end of the game. No 'baddie' to kill off. In fact, you could say it's an anti-climax in comparison to what the reviews said. But the zip in the suit slides itself open and is no longer restrictive. The colour of the suit fades to become transparent and you can now see yourself sat there, just as you were the whole time. And that feels damn good.

Now, any normal human, being so engrossed in that game would be carrying all the trials and tribulations that came with it. But this gamer is God. It was only when the game stopped that You remembered that. It was only when the game stopped that You remembered that they bloody coded the game! Now You can play the game as and when you wish, no longer hooked into it. You don't even bother zipping up your VR suit.

No metaphor can be entirely accurate. In fact, no words can be in regards to the nature of consciousness. But in this, the gamer is consciousness, the suit is your body and the computer your mind. Please do not mistake this as a representation of consciousness as an object, a 'thing'. It is not, which is why it is actually impossible to truly write of- as soon as it is given a word, it becomes an object. Also know this is not meant to be dismissive of 'reality' whatever that may be for you. It is to start to understand it differently. The good news is that you can turn the computer off. You can remember you're wearing a suit. You can pause the game to help realise this. This is the purpose of yoga- to reveal you sat on the sofa!