With inquiry, duality does not hold up. There are no borders between objects, where one object begins and another ends. Like nature, it is all connected, entangled and one.
If you see a rose, where are the borders between you and the rose? First we have to locate the rose. It looks as if it is out there in the garden. What happens is that light shines on the rose. The light beams meet the eyes. Inside the eyes, the rose image is turned up side down as it makes a print on the retina. The impression is transformed into electric and chemical signals passing through nerve channels into the brain, and the rose appears in the mind as an image.
The mind itself cannot experience. It is only a mental screen on which information from the senses, emotions, intellect and past conditioning appear. For the content of the mind to have any value, consciousness has to be there to experience it. The rose appear in consciousness as an experience.
Now comes the classic question: Can the rose exist if consciousness is not there to experience it? If you can answer this, and understand why, you have an idea of what consciousness is. The answer is no, because nothing exists outside of consciousness.
Consciousness can seem like a mental ability of the mind, located in your brain or head. It is the other way around. The apparent conscious mind is an object in consciousness, which is the witness and knower. Consciousness is a way beyond the mind. It is limitless, has no beginning or end, pervades everything, is everywhere and does not exist in time and space. It cannot go anywhere, because it is everywhere. There is no evolution or new consciousness, as there is no new eternity. It does not get older or count the years, because something that always exists does not apply to time. Consciousness is not a thing, even though language makes it a word.
In a non-dual reality the rose is not only in consciousness, the rose is consciousness. If there is no separation between objects, than all objects are one. There is a reality, nothing can exist outside of reality, and I am that reality. I cannot experience myself as an object seen from outside. But I experience consciousness all the time, because everything I experience is consciousness. It is a self-aware subject that cannot be objectified, as an eye cannot look at itself. It is not empty, but full, because it contains everything. Hence the big belly of Buddha, Ganesh and other spiritual symbols to illustrate that consciousness is whole, complete and full.
A way to illustrate this is that consciousness is like a swimming pool filled with water. As long as the water is completely still, it appears as if there is nothing there, empty and nothing is happening. The moment a spin or a whirl appears in the water, there is of all sudden an object that can be experienced. Similarly through movement arising out of stillness, the whole world is projected into existence. Everything that happens is like waves in the water, but the water stays the same, unaffected and unchanged. The wave is dependent on the water, but the water is not dependent on the wave. The world appears in consciousness as objects, shapes and forms in a cosmic dance or divine play, we call life. There is no separation between objects, because it is just movements within the same non-dual reality.
A mental challenge
It is hard to understand that the world we live in is consciousness, because it seems so real. It appears real when I identify myself with my body and the person that I think I am, which is pretty much all the time. Then the world appears real and a duality, and I experience myself as a separate being. The physical laws apply, and time and space are apparently real factors. The train will leave on schedule and if I am not there on time, I will miss the train. If I move myself from A to B it will take a certain time and I will find myself in a different location. But from consciousness point of view I am not going anywhere, I am the same when I started and when I arrived, and still in the same place, completely unaffected. It is the same experience I have of myself, being the same as a child, youth, grown up and the one I am right now. Life have moved along, circumstances have changed, but I stay the same. The existence of the dualistic world can only dissolve into non-dualism through knowledge. It is not an experience, but an understanding. It is like a mirage in the dessert knowing that life exists, but it is not real.
What is real is that which does not change. Waves come and go, so does moments, days, years, thoughts, feelings, dreams and experiences. Life is a continuous process of change, birth and death, from one moment to the next. It appears to be real, but it is ripples and waves in the cosmic ocean of consciousness. If yesterday were real, one would expect that we could bring it back and take a closer look at it. The world is constantly slipping away, because it is always changing. If we try to focus on the present moment, it is already gone.
Consciousness is not something far away, mystical, transcendental and only accessible through years of meditation. Consciousness is awareness, the knowingness and the presence I am right now. It is the knowing that I exist. It is totally ordinary, always present, but we do not pay attention to it like we do not perceive the air we breathe or gravity. When fully integrated, this understanding leaves one constantly satisfied because that is the nature of consciousness.
It is not necessary to get fixed, because there is nothing to fix, except for getting rid of ignorance of my true nature. There is nothing I can do to become something that I already am. All I need is to understand.