Metaphysical Solipsism is the idea that we only know the contents of our own individual experience, that the subjective lens through which we see the world is inescapable and we cannot access anything outside of it. So for example, you and I can both look at the sky and agree that it’s blue, but how do we both know that what we see as “blue” is the same thing? This is the basis of solipsism, and unless you do believe in an objective reality that we can all be sure we are experiencing in the same way (which many scientists do!), then your views are already on the solipsistic spectrum.I think it’s important to understand solipsism as a spectrum because there are varying degrees to how extreme it can be. For example, on the basic level (“I can only know the contents of my consciousness at any given time”) and then an extreme level (“literally nothing and nobody exists outside of myself”). Where we sit on this spectrum depends on our level of awareness in this very moment.Have you ever read a groundbreaking book again after reading it for the first time, and read it in a completely different way, gaining new insight that you didn’t get the first time? This is because your consciousness is always expanding, your awareness is never fixed. The way you read the book the first time served you, and the way you read it the second time served you even more. So when it comes to solipsism (and anything else) how we understand and apply it at any given moment is dictated by the level of awareness we are at.
This is why Neville’s work can conform to many degrees of solipsistic perspective, because you are only reading it through the lens of your awareness and the teachings will therefore conform to this — which in itself is solipsism at work!
So it is not that the teachings are contradictory, or that the dominant voices in our community are opposing each other, it is that they are catering to different levels of awareness. Want to know where your awareness is currently at? Easy! Look at all of the different teachers and mentors in our community and see which one resonates with you the most. That is where your awareness is at. And again, because your awareness is constantly expanding, where you were a year ago is likely not where you are at now, you now may resonate with different schools of thought, and that is normal. In fact, it is a good thing. It is exactly what is meant to happen. There are no mistakes, because Source wants us to expand so that it can experience everything through us. Where you were one year ago was simply one level of consciousness, but consciousness expands forever.
My Stance on Solipsism
So now I’m going to tell you where I sit on this spectrum. I believe in solipsism to the degree that I am navigating the world through my own individual consciousness, but I also believe that my consciousness is only an offshoot of the wider Consciousness, which we are all connected to. I believe that we are a collective.If I was an extreme solipsist, I wouldn’t even be writing this article, because I wouldn’t believe that there were people outside of me that would be reading it. I would simply use Neville’s work to my own advantage and see everyone else as a puppet that I pull the strings for. This would make total sense and it wouldn’t even necessarily be selfish, because if there was literally no one outside of me, then overly concerning myself with other people would actually be a waste of time.However, I don’t believe this. For me, the idea that no one exists outside of me means that there is no separation. No one exists outside of me because we are all from the same Source. The Source Consciousness that animates me is also animating you, so we are divinely connected. I do believe that you literally and physically exist outside of me, and that the divine in me recognises the divine in you. I also think that Neville couldn’t have been an extreme solipsist either! Not when he wrote prolifically, spoke at countless lectures, and imagined lovingly on the behalf of others. If Neville truly believed that no one existed outside of himself, he would not have lived a life of service in the first place.So here is how I personally understand and apply the knowledge that Consciousness is the only reality.
Firstly, I agree that Consciousness is the one true reality, because the physical world is merely the outer expression of it. When the physical world ceases to exist, Consciousness remains, therefore it is the only reality. This is the bigger picture (macro level), and Neville says this many times, but he also talks about what this means on a smaller, individual level (micro level).Whilst Source Consciousness is the wider, infinite consciousness, there is also our own consciousness as an individual, which is still Source, but on a limited scale. This is because we are Source, but looking through human eyes as well as the eye of God. In this lifetime we see the human perspective, and this is what Source wants, or else you wouldn’t have incarnated as a human. I know this concept is little confusing, so the way I visualise it is that Source/God is consciousness on the Macro scale, and that my human consciousness is the same thing, but on the Micro scale. During my life I will experience the micro version of consciousness but when I die, I will be one with all that is. So there is Consciousness (with the capital “C”) and then there is our individual consciousness (with a lowercase “c”).Neville explains that our individual micro-level consciousness is all there is to us, because we see the world through the lens of our own subjectivity:
“The corner-stone on which all things are based is mans concept of himself. He acts as he does, and has the experiences that he does, because his concept of himself is what it is, and for no other reason. Had he a different concept of himself, he would act differently and have different experiences.”
When Neville says that our consciousness is all there is, I don’t believe that he is meaning this in a literal manner. I believe he is saying that the world we see around us conforms to our level of consciousness and our own self concept, and once those things expand, the world around us changes with it. I don’t believe that he is saying that nothing literally exists outside of us. It is simply that your awareness is what illuminates what is in front of you, and what is outside that is in darkness, not because it doesn’t exist, but because you aren’t aware of it yet.So for example, I like to imagine this as if I’m driving my car on a dark road at night with no street lighting. All I can see in front of me is what my headlights are illuminating, which happens to be only a small part of the road ahead. There is a landscape outside of the glow of my headlights, but I can’t see it yet, because it is in darkness. If I switched to my fog lights, suddenly parts of this landscape would come into view. Our awareness works in the same way — it is not that nothing exists literally on the outside, because all exists and all is happening all at once, creation is already finished, but how much of that you see is dependent on what your awareness is illuminating at the time. Neville says this in a very beautiful way, he describes the physical as “the visible objective world which constantly bears witness of that which I am conscious of being.”
In all of my experience of conscious creation, I now understand that manifestation is not us creating something from nothing, but a process of bringing what is in darkness into the light. This is why creation is already finished — because everything exists already but lies in the darkness of the Unmanifested. Only our attention, whether conscious or unconscious, brings it into the physical.To me, the idea that “no one exists outside of you” doesn’t mean that other people literally aren’t there, it means that we are all connected, that no one is separate, that others are not outside of myself because we all share the same Consciousness and are all part of one mind. And I know in our community this phrase is often understood in a literal sense, the idea that literally no one exists, that if you fell unconscious then the whole world would cease to exist. This makes sense if you think that you, on the ego level, are the one that animates the whole world. I don’t believe that Neville was saying this — I believe that when Neville said “you”, he meant you as God, not you as a human.
If you fell unconscious, if you were under anaesthesia, yes, the world would cease to exist from your perspective because you are literally unconscious for that period of time, but it still exists physically and it is there waiting for you when you wake up. This is because it is Source consciousness that is animating everything, not you, not your ego self, so when you die as a human you don’t take the whole world with you because only your human body died. Source, however, remained the same, because it is eternal and it can’t be destroyed. Source continues to animate everything long after your physical body has dissolved, long after planet Earth disintegrates. Again, Consciousness, is the one true reality. It is all there is. There is the one Source consciousness, and then there is the limited expression of it, you and I. We are Source inhabiting the human costume, and because of this, we have an extra understanding: we are Source, but we are also the Ego self that it is animating. The Ego is only an issue if we see it as the totality of who we are, but when we understand it as an expression of Source, it’s no longer a problem.Neville also illustrates this using another example. He says:
“If I now become detached in consciousness from this room by turning my attention away from it, then, I am no longer conscious of it. There is something in me that devours it within me. It can only live within my objective world if I keep it alive within my consciousness.”
Here, I don’t believe that Neville is saying that if he stops focusing on the room is he in, that it suddenly disappears from existence. I believe that he is saying that if he shifts his consciousness away from the lecture theatre he is stood in and puts his attention within himself, the room no longer dominates his awareness and he is instead grounded in his own bodily experience. The physical circumstances he is in are no longer playing a role in his state of being, because he is intentionally choosing his state himself. This is a very powerful technique, and I believe that many high performers such as olympic athletes and Oscar winning actors utilise this.So the idea that the world would literally die with you if you died, or that other people don’t exist, that they literally aren’t real, for me is coming from a level of consciousness that can be somewhat fear based. This is just my perspective. I think that the idea that other people aren’t real, that they are just a projection or a puppet that we can control, is a false form of protection for the fear that we can’t have what we want any other way.In my relationship, I believe that my partner is their own person. I believe that if I react from old stories and wounds, and box them in by having an unlovely perspective of them, then that is what I will see. If I am willing to allow myself to be vulnerable and to drop any victim mentality I might have, to not blame them for my own feelings and to hold them only in high regard, then they will flourish in my consciousness.
For me, loving someone means seeing who they truly are beyond form, even in moments of conflict and misunderstanding, even when they are hurt or angry and acting out. It also means holding space within myself when I act out too. This is not to say that I’m perfect and never react, because this is something I am always working on, but it is my priority to see my loved ones this way because I know that there is no separation between us. Source is also animating them. They too, are God.In my experience of learning and testing these teachings daily, I believe that our relationships with others are formed, not because we are the puppet master pulling their strings, but because they are our mirror.The whole vast world is you, pushed out. What is “pushed out”?A reflection. The whole world is reflecting back to you the contents of your consciousness. It is bringing to your attention what is currently in the realm of your awareness. If you are in fear and lack, you will see this reflected back. If you are in love and abundance, you will also see this reflected back. The mirror does not discriminate what it reflects back to you, it goes only off your state and the self-concept that you carry. In order to change your reflection, you first must change yourself.