When Noumenon or Subject ‘acts’ (which it is doing all the time) it manifests. When it doesn’t ‘act’, it is simply Potential – Subject at rest. The manifestation or ‘acting’ is a process of objectivisation whereby Mind becomes apparent to itself – objects as phenomena appear. This process of manifestation entails a division into two elements – a subject that perceives and an object that is perceived. (It is interesting to note that almost all the creation myths of the ancient past refer to a division of Unity for the world to appear as we know it.) These two elements form the duality that is the necessary basis for everything, without which nothing appears: without the subject to see and the object seen there can be no phenomenal existence. Equally clear is that neither subject nor object can have independent existence because each is entirely dependent on the other. And the object perceived is always simply an appearance. This applies equally to thoughts that have the same status as objects: anything perceived (seen, heard, smelt, felt or tasted – even thought about) becomes an object.
A useful analogy for the process of manifestation is the tick-tock of the escapement of a clock. The interval between the tick and the tock is the subjective background and origin of everything, the Unity that cannot be perceived, and the interval between the tock and the tick is the bursting into manifestation of our perceived universe. As many scientists appear to be saying: everything is being created in quantum jumps many thousand times a second. These are possibly the ksana of eastern scripture – the constant, imperceptible moments of creation reported to have been intuited and measured by Tibetan lamas.
Let’s look at the mechanism of appearance. Two simultaneous things seem to be going on: the manifesting of the world as appearance and the perceiving of that world. These are two aspects of a single process. But manifesting and perceiving is all there is. There is no manifester or ‘perceiver’ because both are what Consciousness or Mind is (which is not an object) and no thing is ‘perceived’ because objects are only appearance without substance. As sentient beings, we are part of the phenomenal universe but in perceiving, we are at the same time the functioning element of the manifestation process working through us. Consciousness, manifesting itself objectively by this mechanism of appearance, is Non-duality (‘I’) making itself perceptible. We, as Consciousness, are the ‘seer’ and we – as we think we are, as bodies (the perceiving apparatus), are the ‘seen’.