I have put together a brief overview of possible ways awareness (mind) functions for our small Integral Group. It is based on own experiences, and frameworks from Ken Wilber and Zen/Big Mind process. This outline is obviously very incomplete, and probably full of misunderstandings and idiosyncrasies.
Nonliving matter, plants, animal/human fetus(?).
Awareness is dormant, only as a potential.
Participates unconsciously in Existence in a transdual way (as everything does).
Most animals and humans.
Awareness is identified with the body/personality – the fluid patterns of sensations, emotions, thoughts. And it functions in a dualistic way (seeing fragments and separations rather than the larger whole).
Awareness here explores how to function effectively in the world. It helps the personality to learn skills in all areas of life, which supports its own life and future human existence.
Being exclusively identified with one particular body/personality, there is also inherent suffering – from a sense of separation and everything that brings with it.
Some human beings.
Awareness/mind awakens to its own inherent nature. It experiences itself as spacious clarity, and with an inherent wisdom/intelligence. The exclusive identification with the body/personality is dropped. Awareness functions in a nondual way.
There is a natural fascination that comes up in this phase. Awareness is immensely fascinated by its own inherent and unconditioned nature. The “ground” independent of any form or characteristic. It discovers that the inherent nature of any experience and phenomena is space and clarity.
It is easy to stay here for a while, to be “stuck in the Absolute” as they say in Buddhism. But there is a suffering here as well, from ignoring one half of existence – the Relative, the fluid phenomena and the human existence. There is another separation here, which brings a form of suffering, and following compassion is the way out of it.
- Transdual I
Here, awareness embraces its absolute and relative aspects. It experiences itself as spacious clarity, within which all experiences unfold. This is Big Mind – embracing the inherent nature of all phenomena (the Absolute) and all fluid phenomena (the Relative). This is the “bright sun of enlightenment” phase, as it is often expressed by the person, and perceived by other small selves, as unusual and brilliant.
Awareness experiences itself as including all phenomena, including all small selves and all the views of the small selves. But the stuckness here may be in the Big Mind view. To allow for the next phase, there has to be a drop of the exclusiveness of the Big Mind view.
- Transdual II
We allow ourselves to be more fully human, to be fluid between the Big Mind view and the small self views. Here, we can again connect with others on a deeper level, because we are just as the others – although aware of the bigger picture as well. This is the “hazy moon of enlightenment”, as the small self again becomes ordinary – although with some additional dimensions.
- Transdual III
Here, awareness engages actively and consciously in evolution. There is an active exploration of how the Big Mind view is expressed in our current social and ecological situations, and an evolving of new (social) systems to accommodate this new view. This is a continuous exploration and development process, as our situation is always changing and evolving.
Some general notes:
- Each new phase is more inclusive than the previous one.
- There is a deidentification with the human in the nondual phase, and a rehumanization in each of the following phases. Awareness embraces the human more fully for each of these phases.
- When awareness/mind awakens to its own nature, it is obviously not the small self that experiences – awareness/mind goes far beyond this one small self. The small self is just a vehicle. But when/if this view is expressed through a small self, then other small selves tends to perceive that particular small self (which they may label a mystic or teacher) as somehow special, because all they can see is the small self – through which apparently deep insights and secrets are expressed.
Of course, what is expressed is just a pointer to and reminder of the nature of awareness/mind, which is the same expressed through all and any small self. It is a reminder for awareness to become aware of its own nature, independent of which small self it originally is identified with.
- There is a deepening of genuine gratitude, humility and compassion, arising naturally from the view and insights.
- It is a sense of peeling away, more and more – until our view is more and more aligned with existence as it is, beyond any concepts. It is very simple and also very rich and complex, in both cases beyond what any concepts can reach.
- The process itself can take many variations and shapes. Often, there is a glimpse of the non (or trans) dual, then an oscillation between the dual and non/transdual – with a deepening of the alignment with the body/personality of this new view and a deepening and clarification of the view itself. And if the inclination and/or external support is there, there may not be much emphasis on the nondual but rather the transdual. And there may also be a good understanding of the second and third transdual phase right away.
In any case, the process is one of oscillation between views, and a gradual deepening and clarification, and exploration of how these new views are lived in this body, through this personality, in this culture and in these social and ecological systems.