It seems that an awakening to realizing selflessness often appears as a work from two sides: from Big Mind and from the human self. If we split it up in those two, it appears that way. If not, then we see that it is really the same thing.
Any glimpse of selflessness is grace. It comes on its own, in its own time. And it can come completely out of the blue (as it initially did for me), or it can be intentionally invited in through prayer, meditation, yoga, mantras, and so on. It is a gift from the divine. And when it happens, even for only a brief moment, something shifts. It is not really possibly to take this sense of a separate self seriously anymore, even if it is there. And we may also engage in practices to realize selflessness more clearly.
At our human level, there are many practices we can engage in to clarify any glimpse of selflessness, including prayer, meditation, yoga, mantras and various forms of inquiry. None of these can shift the center of gravity into a clear realization of selflessness, but they can prepare the ground for it, they offer an invitation for it to happen.
In most cases, it seems that the two work towards each other. There is the working towards it at the human self level, aligning our human self with a realization of selflessness so that it can function more effectively as a vehicle for the realization of selflessness. And there are the glimpses offered from the divine, which helps us with a taste of it, with renewed inspiration, and also in aligning our human self a little closer with it.
And this seems to often occur over time. There is work at our human level, then one or more glimpses, then more work, and so on. All the time aligning our human self more closely with a realization of selflessness, repatterning at all levels from body to emotions to thoughts and behaviors, and there is also a gradually deepening familiarity with how it is to function from the realization of selflessness. We gradually become more familiar with this territory, so different from operating from a belief in the idea of a separate self or I.
Eventually, our human self is repatterened enough, and we are sufficiently familiar with the selflessness terrain, so it can become more stable. First, maybe as a sense of transparency – seen through a vague although not quite believable sense of I. Then, through “popping” and becoming completely obvious and clear.
And when this happens, there is also the clear realization that it was all a game. It was all the play of the divine, from the beginning – even in the exclusive identification as our human self, as an object in the world, even in the middle of the times when the sense of being lost, separate, confused and suffering was at its most strong.
It was just the divine waking up to its own nature, which was always there – although not noticed as long as there was an exclusive identification with something finite, or with any segment of what is.
It was the divine working towards waking up to itself, from the side of the human self and the divine mind. It was the divine tunneling through the mountain of itself from two sides, and meeting itself in the middle. It was the divine facing itself in the mirror, facing away from itself in the mirror, walking away from itself in the mirror, and walking towards itself in the mirror.