The great equation of the Vedantic tradition states simply ‘Sat (being) chit (consciousness) ananda (happiness)’, indicating that when the being or existence that is common to all objects is revealed to be identical to the consciousness with which all experience is known, the distinction or separation between people, animals and the world dissolves, and the experience of peace, happiness, love and beauty shines. The same understanding is expressed in Buddhism as, ‘Nirvana is samsara’ and by the Sufis as, ‘There is only God’s face’. There is only infinite, indivisible consciousness modulating itself in and as the totality of experience but never being, becoming or knowing anything other than itself and, therefore, free of any impulse to fulfil or protect itself. It is, as such, unconditional happiness itself.
This recognition is said to be absolute because it is not derived from or dependent upon anything other than itself. It never changes; it doesn’t come and go; it is not relative to the finite mind; and it is known by itself alone. This understanding is the essential recognition that lies at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions. The differences lie only in the forms in which it is expressed and the means by which it may be recognised. It is for this reason that, whilst the truth can never divide people, religion almost always does.
In fact, this recognition is the only understanding that can truly unite people, because it is shared by all people equally, irrespective of race, creed, religion, health or wealth. It remains the same throughout all states and circumstances, and throughout all ages. It can never be the property of any single person, nor the provenance of any single nation or religion. It is equally available to all people and no one has privileged access to it. It does not have to be earned because it is already and always our essential, unconditioned nature. It cannot be possessed or manipulated. It shines in each of our minds as the knowledge ‘I am’, the feeling of being or the experience of love. It is, therefore, the foundation of peace in individuals, communities and nations. It need only be recognised and its implication lived in all realms of experience.
Extract from Rupert's forthcoming book, The Nature of Consciousness.