Vic Shayne
3 min readJul 30, 2022


is there anything beyond consciousness?

vic shayne
13 Pillars of Enlightenment: How to realize your true nature and end suffering

I have written on numerous occasions that there is something beyond consciousness. It is the ineffable and cannot be defined or explained, especially when trying to convey it in words. It also cannot be known in the conventional sense, where knowing is a product of the mind and brain. It is this silence that is frequently mistaken for God or a state of bliss. No bliss, no feelings, no seeing.

I have found that consciousness emanates out of this silent, still, void of nothingness; and out of this void is everything, which is consciousness. How something arises out of nothing remains a mystery, and the active mind is wont to concoct a story or plausible explanation for that which is out of its reach.

At some point, with enough observation devoid of the sense of self, the mind shuts off entirely and only silence exists. Silence is not created, it is just hidden from the mind and the senses. Silence is the backdrop and the fundamental reality that gives rise to consciousness. It is within everything and ever-present.

Unlike silence, consciousness and the self are always changing, always moving. Thought is always of the past, and the self is made only out of thought that arises spontaneously out of consciousness. Silence is only of the present and is said to be the ultimate reality, yet paradoxically, there is no awareness of it because it is also beyond the ken of awareness.

Reality is that out of which consciousness arises. There is nothing and then there is something. This can be discovered by anyone. For some it takes decades or a lifetime, and for others it may take an instant.

Consciousness is the stuff of life, always moving, changing, growing, dying, decaying, creating, living, and so on. But in the gap between movements and transitions is silent, still space. This cannot be known intellectually, but it can be felt, recognized, realized — only when the awareness comes back into play. Yet, while you are in the midst of nothingness there is no you. So, who knows it?It is like a dream that you cannot remember, yet you know you had.

Many sages have spoken about this, but most others who have heard about it go on to misinterpret it as God. But it is not God, because it is not anything at all. In the first line of the Old Testament, God said “I am that I am.” The “I am” is consciousness, a recognition of one’s own existence compared to no existence. To my mind, God is only a metaphor, an anthropomorphization of consciousness as the creative force and the reason for all that occurs. God is the invention of human minds that cannot conceive of the magnificence of consciousness as a singular and ungraspable movement prior to the mind’s fragmentation of it into dualties.

The poet E.E. Cummings said “most people are perfectly afraid of silence.” This is because silence defies the self as well as consciousness. Silence states: “I am here always, behind and within everything and every thought and the slightest of movements, but here where I dwell invisibly, you cannot go, dream, or be seen.” The self’s biggest fear is to be annihilated, and the experience of silence can never be known to it.

When the mind is, silence is nevertheless. When the mind is not, silence alone is.



Vic Shayne

NY Times bestselling author writing about reality beyond thought, consciousness, and the self to uncover what is fundamental.