I keep coming back to this…
In terms of our identifications, there are really only two broad categories: The first is a belief in the idea of I, and the other is an absence of this belief.
When there is a belief in the idea of I, it can be placed on any number of phenomena or segments of what is.
It can be placed on this human self, and I appear as an object in the world of phenomena. I am within and limited in space and time. I can and am impacted by innumerable other and unpredictable objects. I am born and will die. I have likes and dislikes. Awareness and consciousness comes and goes, and fluctuates in presence. This naturally brings about a great deal of stress and drama.
It can be placed on awareness, on the Witness, on the seeing. In this case, there is I as pure awareness and seeing, and Other as that which is seen.
I am timeless, and that within which time/space unfolds. I find myself as awareness and consciousness, free from coming and going and fluctuation in presence.
The world of phenomena now appears as a seamless whole spanning that which arises within and outside of this human self. It is a seamless field, of which this human self is just a small part of the landscape. I am not this human self, it only arises within me as everything else.
The sense of I and Other can be experienced to varying degrees here. There can be a relatively clear sense of I as seeing and Other as the seen. Or the sense of I and Other can gradually erode, along with a deepening sense of no separation, of unity, of oneness (although there is still an I which is in no separation, unity and oneness with something else).
This naturally brings a good deal of relief, although there is still an identification with a segment of what is, there is still a sense of I and Other, there is still potential for stress and drama here.
There is a potential for a fall from grace. The belief in the idea of I is still around, and may with time shift away from the seeing and into the seen again, from the timeless and into that which is within time.
Absence of identification
Eventually, the Ground awakens to its own nature of no I anywhere. It all arises within and as awareness, as before, but clearly with no I anywhere.
The Ground awakens to its own nature, independent of content. The content may be as before, it may – and will – go through any number of states, and it doesn’t matter. It is all revealed as Ground, independent of which temporary form it takes.
There is the activity and doing of this human self, as before, but now revealed as (always) absent of any doer.
This is the only real liberation. The liberation of any belief in the idea of I, placed anywhere.
Each shift notable
Each of these shifts are notable.
Shifting from identification with form to awareness is experienced as a significant shift, and may take time to get used to.
Shifting from identification with awareness to the realization of no I anywhere is experienced as a similarly significant shift, and also takes time to get used to.
While the shift from identification with our human self to awareness is significant, it is really just what the sense of I is placed on which changes. In the shift into Ground realizing its own nature of selflessness, the whole sense of I is shown to be just a belief and falls away.
Within all this, there is a great deal of fluidity. There is a center of gravity shifting among these three. The first two may, and often seem to, appear mixed with each other. The third may happen in periods before it stabilizes.