The awakening to – or as – what is can take many forms. It is unique in each case.
Here is one general form…
Awakening to our human self, becoming familiar with this vehicle in the world of form. We learn how to function relatively effectively in the world, to take care of ourselves as a human being, to express ourselves, to interact, to develop skills in many areas, and so on.
We find ourselves as an object in the world, an object in a world of innumerable other and unpredictable objects. We naturally function with a dualistic view, splitting the world up in me and you, inner and outer, body and mind, spirit and matter, right and wrong, and so on. We also naturally attach to whatever comes up in our human self, such as attractions, aversions, sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions and so on.
In short, we learn to differentiate. And being caught up in whatever happens also brings a good deal of struggle and suffering.
This is an essential phase.
Then, we can become familiar with ourselves as formless awareness. This may happen gradually through certain practices (for instance meditation such as Shikantaza), or it could happen suddenly out of the blue.
We gradually let go of our exclusive identity as our human self, and now also find ourselves as formless awareness. I am the space & awareness my human self and anything else happens within.
Here, of course, we just shift our identity as an “I” from our human self to formless awareness. It seems that this often begins as an exclusive identity as formless awareness, and then grows to include our human self and the rest of the world of phenomena.
As we find ourselves as the space & awareness anything and everything happens within, our view naturally becomes more deeply transdual. We are that in which all the polarities of the world of phenomena arises within.
And, crucially, we are also become aware of the polarity of seer and seen and that there must be a larger whole embracing even those two.
This leads to an awakening to “no I”. We now find ourselves as the ground within which everything happens, and as everything that happens, and there is no “I” anywhere. No segment of what is can be set aside as an “I”, not even formless awareness, not even the seer.
Integration and rehumanization
Throughout this process, we gradually learn to integrate and bring all this into our everyday human life.
As there is less and less to resist and struggle with, we deepen into our humanity. We become more fully and more deeply human, and this is a continuous process.
Healing and integration
And there is also healing, maturing and integration at the level of our human self.
As we awaken to ourselves as formless awareness, we gradually learn to let go of resistance and just allow whatever happens to arise – it is all guests coming and going on their own. There is no need to hold onto anything or push anything away (although we may still do so for a while, out of old habits). And this allows whatever was pushed away to surface and become reintegrated in the (conscious) whole.
We find a new, growing and maturing wholeness as a human being, as body, energies, emotions and thoughts. We become more fully and more deeply human, in a way that is – hopefully – more mature and integrated. There is less and less to protect, less and less to push away. We become more familiar with more and more sides of our human self, and how to work with it in.
And all this includes of course sincerity when it comes to all of our hangups, shortcomings, wounded areas, not knowing, and so on.
I and other
Throughout this process, we expand our exclusive identity to include more of what is. Until the whole belief in the thought “I” falls away and what is left is just what is, as it is.
What is seen as other is gradually included as I, first through becoming more familiar with it as an other, and then finding ourselves as it.
This happens at the level of our human self, seeing any quality external to our human self also as within our human self. And it happens at the level of Big Mind, seeing anything that is happening as I – beyond and including all polarities.
Subject to object to nondual
Another way of looking at is is as a process from subject to object to nondual.
First, I am exclusively identified as a segment of what is, for instance a portion of my human self.
Then, I find myself as formless awareness, and what was subject – my human self – now becomes an object, arising within me.
And finally, I find myself as what is happening, with no particular segment of what is happening as an “I”. Even the formless awareness, the seer, is now an object – something happening within the larger whole beyond and including all polarities.
Sincerity is a great support throughout this whole process.
It allows us to stay with what is, as it is. It allows us to be more receptive. It allows for healing and integration. It allows for deepening empathy. It allows for clarification and deepening insight. It allows for a deepening familiarity and sense of ordinariness of it all. It allows us to experience what is as always fresh, new, different. It allows for deepening maturing as a human being.
It allows us to see that it is a continuous process, unfolding always here now.