I am curious about the deepening into a nondual awakening – the realization of what is with no “I” anywhere, the ground awakening to itself as that which everything arises from, within and as, emptiness dancing. The whole beyond and including all polarities.
On the one hand, it seems binary, a yes or no. On the other hand, there seems to be a deepening into it. I have limited familiarity with this terrain, so all this is very preliminary and sketchy.
Through inquiry in various forms, there is a gradual realization that everything that appears as an “I” does not really have an “I” in it. It all happens within space and awareness, rather than containing it. This is a gradual process, a familiarization with the “no I” terrian. We are exploring the area around and in front of the gate, and sometimes peeking through to the other side, but have not stepped fully through yet. There is still a sense of a doer added to the doing. The realization is there when there is attention to it, and tends to fade when there is not.
- Waking only
Then, there may be a sense of a more stable realization of the ground, of no “I” and of emptiness dancing. The difference between sitting practice and daily life diminishes, and there is a low/medium level samadhi throughout the day. There is still enough residual identification with the human self for awareness to go asleep when our human self does. This is an early/mid-range realization of “no I” and present only during waking hours. There is doing, and diminishing sense of a doer. It is all just happening.
- Day & night
Deepening into the nondual, there is a release of the residual identification with our human self, and awareness stays awake to itself even as our human self falls asleep. This may also mean that there will be a continuation of clear awareness when this human self dies. There is no or very little difference between sitting practice and daily life, and a continious quite deep samadhi. There is only doing, no doer.
There is very likely to be something beyond this as well, a continuing deepening. All the previous phases are functionally connected with one particular organism, and there must (?) be a layer beyond this – a larger whole, which transcends and includes this level. At the very least, it does not seem wise to assume that level 3 is somehow a “final” deepening into the nondual.
So some of the benchmarks are… (a) Clarity of realization of “no I”, (b) degree of sense of “doer” added to the doing, (c) whether released from the sleep cycle or not, (d) sense of difference between deep sitting practice and daily life.
As the nondual realization deepens and clarifies, the realization of “no I” deepens, the sense of a “doer” diminishes, there is a release from the sleep cycle (awareness through the sleep cycle), and the difference between sitting practice and daily life diminishes.
(Looking back, I see that when it “popped” last fall there were several weeks of a relatively clear realization of “no I”, a sense of no doer only the doing, not a release from the sleep cycle, and almost no difference between deep sitting practice and regular daily life. During the initial awakening, a while back, all of these were present – including through the sleep cycle.)
Evolution of content
And within every level of nondual awakening, there is the continuing evolution, development and maturing within and as the world of form as well. This does most definitely not have any final end in sight.