When you really break it down to the absolute, totally raw, and completely-stripped-of-any-pretense observations you are left with only seven things. One could call this an exercise of “observable phenomena,” but let’s think of it in terms of “experienced phenomena,” or simply what it is that you experience directly. The three most basic categories to start with are:
3) The 5 senses
All of your experience can fit into those three simple categories, or up to seven if you count each sense as its own but for the sake of simplicity we are calling the five senses one “thing.” That is it. Then the only other thing to really say for all that experienced phenomena is that they can happen in different states of consciousness. These states also fall into three basic categories:
1) The Waking Physical World
2) The World of Dreams
3) The Void of Dreamless Sleep
It is possible to be fully self aware in any of these three states and in many states that could be called in between or related states, but it is fair enough to simplify and say that your conscious experience fits into one of those three at any given time.
That is all there really is to it. Whatever this life is we are constantly overthinking it. The experience of three kinds in three possible states can summarize the whole of our observable experience. But is that truly all there is? Well, there is one more thing to mention: the state of being that is paradoxically aware and yet is non-existent, the gap between conscious experiences. It is always there as what is transcendent of observation and experience, and it is possible to fully embody and experience yourself as it but to do that is perhaps another subject all together. It is the underlying awareness of all things. For now knowing that it is there is very good and can do wonders to be in touch with at all.
The Seven Things:
3) The 5 senses
4) The Waking Physical World
5) The World of Dreams
6) The Void of Dreamless Sleep
7) The Underlying Awareness of All Things
The seventh thing also implies your very consciousness that is experiencing the other six things and that is because your consciousness is an invisible non-thing that is at the center of all else. It is transcendent of any definition or observation as it is the invisible thing doing all the observing.
There it is, our whole universe of possible experiences (that we know of) boiled down to seven simple things. Why then do we struggle so much? Why do we forget what we really are? I don’t know but remember these seven things and don’t add any further meaning to them, don’t add spin or a story, and then see what happens. Boil it all down to this when you have a lucid moment, know yourself to be the experiencer of all phenomena, not just the observer. “The witnessing state” after all while perhaps blissful still implies a subtle separation between the witnesser and what is witnessed. Remember this in those moments when the pangs of suffering or discontent come in. Experience those emotions. Be the experiencer of the phenomena of those emotions and I mean really be that full on and see what that does for you. Then keep coming back to it.
I have been labelled and diagnosed as Bipolar and while I don’t reject that in a conventional sense I do object to the idea of a disorder. That is just a subjective linguistic way to put it when really all it is is more phenomena. It is a full spectrum of emotional phenomena that can lead to much suffering as well as much bliss but that is still all it is. I have loved and lost and contrary to the saying it is not better to do so than not at all, it is an unbearable continual pain. Once when I was about to turn eighteen and cross the bridge adolescence into young adulthood I was faced with an unexpected and excruciating initiation: I did not sleep for two weeks straight. Having no experience of a gap and the madness from that made me eventually realize not only how necessary it is to but how inevitably true it is as the very core of what I am. You can resist it but you may also find yourself pushed to your very edge of the waking state unable to sleep until it relentlessly drives the point home. Those are just a couple examples from my own experience of phenomena.
But If I can remember these seven things and use this way of thinking to transcend the thought and emotional experience of bearing such burdens and to help reduce my own suffering then I am very certain that you can too if it appeals to you to try. Then like me you could keep trying. And I am nothing special, I am just an ordinary person. You too could know yourself to be the invisible thing (the seventh) that experiences all the rest (the other six) and when and if you forget you try to remember again. And you will remember. But don’t just take my word for it, experience it directly for yourself.
You are the experiencer of all observable phenomena. You are the gap in between and underlying everything. You are the invisible presence at the center of every “thing” that makes up your experience. All experienced phenomena arises and falls back into that center, in the middle it pivots around your first-person view of it all.
Remember the seven things.