Question: What does it mean to reboot consciousness?
Michael Richardson-Borne: There is no way to reboot consciousness. Consciousness is effortlessly present. It’s always perfectly still in the background of the identity stories that swarm and control the attention of your mind. Consciousness is “just so.”
Rebooting is a way to recover from an error. But, consciousness has no errors. There are only perceived errors that appear as expressions of consciousness. The errors are outcomes based on the comparison of two false stories – the way things are supposed to be and the way things are. Neither of these stories has an individual existence that would make it an overarching definition of reality. And yet, they are treated that way when a separate self is accepted as the totality of your existence. Accepted constriction manifests constricted beliefs that pull you away from your true being – which is Non-separation.
Asking about rebooting consciousness is like asking how to turn on a computer that is already on. It’s impossible and reveals confusion. Consciousness has no power button. Pressing control, alt, delete or clicking restart has no impact on consciousness because the action is consciousness. Getting outside of consciousness in order to perform an operation on it is not the truth of your non-separative existence. It is the imagined truth of separative experience. What is believed to be rebooting consciousness only has the effect of adding a story to the mind that a rebooting has occurred. But, the addition of this story leaves who you are unchanged because consciousness is changeless. Also, notice the deficiency of language here – because consciousness is not an “it.”
When a person has had a major head injury and is lying in a hospital bed, we call this person “unconscious.” This is not true. The mind may not be present in the way it once was, but the person is not unconscious. Consciousness is still very much present. We can see this by the fact that consciousness is still available and aware of that which is called unconscious. In this example, the actors have isolated consciousness within a physical object, forgetting that the physical object never has ownership of a separated consciousness. Objects, such as an “unconscious” person, are reflections of an impersonal consciousness – which includes objects that may have lost access to the mind’s Original Story of individuality and the stories that define this individuality. But consciousness, as so, cannot be lost.
So, we are here to remember that who you are cannot be rebooted. We are here to remember that who you are, as the Original Story of beingness cannot be rebooted – the primary source of your identity cannot be rebooted.
But, we are also here to discover that who you are not can be rebooted to reveal the foundational individuality within consciousness that happened to you. To reboot what you are not is to reset the particulars of your identity that define a separate autonomous individual, to reset the story that defines the illusion of a separate self. This reset is a reversal, a method to remember who you are underneath of your identity stories – to remember your Original Story of “I am.” It’s a return to a stillness that has been obscured, a return to a stillness of pure personal being. It’s also an opportunity to question this personal beingness as a path to the impersonal, what I call Non-separation.
So, once again, to reboot is to reboot the mind. To reboot the mind is to clean the software of all the stories that misaligned the individual with the nature of its beginning – obscuring its true nature more and more until it becomes lost on a path that requires a reboot. But none of this changes consciousness. None of this touches Non-separation object to object.
Q: So if consciousness cannot be rebooted, why do you say humanity needs a reboot?
MR-B: Notice that I said humanity could benefit from a reboot, not a reboot of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be rebooted, but humanity’s journey to the remembrance of who they are as consciousness can be. This is the journey of Non-separation – a journey you begin by becoming familiar with the stories that make up your personality until you are able to accept that the primary assumption of humanity is the belief in a separate self. By accepting this assumption, it becomes possible to reboot the personality – which leads you to the discovery of your Original Story, the story of individuality that is experienced as the “I am.” From here, this Original Story can be questioned until it falls away into the lived existence of Non-separation.
As you sit here, take notice that humanity does not have consciousness, consciousness has humanity. Humanity is a collection of stories that live within and as consciousness. Not remembering this leaves humanity, as we know it, living in the world inside-out so to speak. With the dominant culture living inside-out, divorced from its true nature, what I call the Culture of Separation is the water we swim in. So, the reboot of humanity is the reboot of the story of separation. This reboot of humanity is needed so that we can collectively, all at once, remember our true nature as Non-separation – which will naturally reboot the culture in which we are the vehicles.
How about we take a step and begin rebooting your mind together?
Q: Ok. But before we do that, if you don’t mind, I have an important question. I definitely feel like I need to reboot my life, whatever it may be. Some days more than others, but I consistently have thoughts of what a reboot would feel like. What it would be like to start over and receive another shot at getting life right. Would you consider this a spiritual aspiration?
MR-B: It depends.
If by spiritual aspiration, you mean an action that makes the story of your separate self spiritual, then no. This kind of aspiration is a separative aspiration. It’s a desire to think of yourself as spiritual and to be thought of as spiritual. It’s an example of one of the processes that drive the Culture of Separation – a fiction that you lay out in front of you that is compared to the fiction you believe yourself to be right now. This kind of spirituality is a concept that describes the concept of individual beingness. It is an overarching label that flavors everything you are not. It is a concept that directs your attention away from the separate self just as much as any story that would be considered “not spiritual.” From this spiritualized belief in separation, there is no way to “get life right” because life is still fundamentally divided from its source.
Now, if by spiritual aspiration and getting life right, you mean an openness to realigning with Non-separation, then maybe.
Why do I say maybe? Well, to move into the conversation of Applied Awakening and the Path of Non-separation is to move beyond spirituality in the old sense – in the way it lives in the Culture of Separation. So, whether this beckons you to create a new word to describe spiritual aspiration or to update the definition of the word spirituality is up to you. Just recognize that spirituality, as it exists, is merely another institution of the Culture of Separation founded on the assumption of a separate self as real. Spirituality, as I speak of it, has seen through the separate self, the resulting Culture of Separation, and the way spirituality shows up within the separative ways of that world.
So, the question becomes, “How do you realign your life with the remembrance of Non-separation?” This is the only question of value in the Culture of Separation. How do you begin? By accepting the invitation I am making to reboot your mind.
Q: So, let’s do it right now. Guide me through it.
MR-B: Ok. So, right now, notice how there are stories arising in your mind without any effort on your part. You can completely relax, and without an ounce of strain, your thoughts, feelings, and emotions continue to present themselves to you. Who you are, at the deepest level of your individuality, simply sits and receives.
This receiver is the observer of your stories, the observer of your mind. The mere existence of this observer reveals to you that you are not your stories – it reveals that these stories do not have the absolute definitional power that you have given them up to this point. The definitions of concepts do not define you. The definitions just define themselves as they appear to you. They move in front of and cover the observer – but know that it isn’t set in stone that 100% of your attention has to be given to these stories. You can begin to peek around these stories and to see with a clarity that would otherwise be missed.
Take some time and notice this observer, and how it’s watching your stories in the same way you would watch a movie. When you, unaware of your identity stories, watch a movie, you believe it is a separate self who is doing the watching. From the observer, it is different. It is the individual experience of watching your stories watch a movie. From this deeper layer, you discover, more fully, how the mechanics of separation work.
In addition to this, because you are able to observe your stories, you are now in a position to inquire into the experience of dropping those stories. You can now ask who you are if those stories are just more objects presenting themselves to you as the observer. Answering this question is what leads you to the reboot that reveals the foundation of the mind as a singular story of separation, one that can be inquired into to show what lives the mind – the impersonal movement of Non-separation.
Q: Let’s say I reboot and remember Non-separation. How does this really impact humanity? Wouldn’t I just be a drop in the bucket?
MR-B: This is a question to answer for yourself. If you are hungry to impact humanity, discover why there is nothing you can do other than to be lived as an invitation to Non-separation. When the doer lets go and is no longer doing the living, then the answer to this question becomes apparent – and has no choice but to impact the Culture of Separation.
I will say this, though. As existence itself, there is no drop and there is no bucket. There is only Non-separation.