Yesterday, I went to an event at Dharmalaya (very different from the Zen practice I am more used to!), and did some sitting meditation for the first time in weeks.
During the sitting period, impermanence came up quite strongly. There was the seeing of everything in the field – sounds, sights, smells, tastes, sensations, thoughts – as very much impermanent. As just happening right now, in this timeless present, with no past or future. And also as highly ephemeral even in the view of time and space.
The room, the people in the room, the landscape outside, this human self, everything comes and goes as guests. What remains is this clear awareness, within and as everything happens.
Resting in and as this timeless, spaceless, clear, brilliant awareness, everything is allowed to come and go on their own, as they do anyway. Only now, that which reacts to whatever happens – tries to hold onto it or push it away, is also seen as part of this field. There used to be an identification with this reaction, being caught up in it, and now it is just part of the field as everything else. It just happens. It comes and goes.
It is one end of a polarity, where both ends are within the field of phenomena – temporary guests.
Anything happening is within this field of phenomena. Ephemeral. Clear brilliant awareness temporarily manifesting in this way.
And when anything comes up, it can be recognized in this way. The center of gravity goes from being caught up in it, from identifying with one end of a polarity and see the other end as Other, to just seeing it, to finding myself as capacity for everything and anything happening, as clear brilliant awareness within and as this all happens.
Polarities and ground
It is simple and unremarkable in many ways.
The world of phenomena arises as polarities. One of these polarities is that of this human self and the rest of the world, or more accurately the likes and dislikes of this personality and whatever it reacts and responds to.
So there is the reactions of this personality, and then whatever triggered (or is the focus) of the reaction.
From here, there are two possibilities.
Typically, there is an identification with this reaction. There is the belief in the thought I, placed on this reaction, which then creates the appearance of Other as whatever is the focus of the reaction. This is where the sense of drama and struggle is created.
The other option is to find myself as that clear timeless awareness within and as it all unfolds. Whatever happens, I find myself as capacity for it as Douglas Harding says. Here, there is a shift in the center of gravity from the phenomena themselves (in this case the reactions of the personality) to either the seeing of it, the Witness, pure awareness (still with a sense of I, now placed on the seeing), or as just this clear timeless awareness it unfolds within and as (absent of any particular I anywhere).
From shifting into Witness to Ground
This seems to be the main secret, hidden in plain view. From identifying with and being blindly caught up in one end of the polarity (the reactions of the personality) to seeing that too as part of the field, first by shifting the center of gravity into the Witness, the seeing of it, and then by noticing the clear brilliant awareness it all happens within and as, absent of any inherent I anywhere.
Whatever happens, there is first the witnessing of it, shifting the center of gravity into the seeing and this timeless pure awareness, that within which time and space and phenomena unfolds. And then recognition of it as this clear awareness, as just a field of clear brilliant awareness taking all these ephemeral forms, absent of I anywhere. Emptiness dancing.
Chanting, dancing and personality
Last night, we did some chanting, chants with movements (dancing), sitting practice, and then some dialogue at the end. During the dancing part, I noticed this personality become slightly uncomfortable and self-conscious. Coming from more of a Zen background, chanting, dancing and waving of hands was just outside of the comfort zone.
In this, there was the noticing of a shift between being caught up in and identified with the reactions of the personality, and just seeing it.
Being identified with it was somewhat uncomfortable. It felt claustrophobic, something another aspect of the personality wanted to get out of – and strategiezed about how to get out of.
Seeing it was… just seeing it – the reactions of the personality, the discomfort, the thoughts of this being weird and how long is it going to last, the tiredness of the legs. All of this happened within the field of everything happening, it was just part of the landscape, no need to be caught up in it. It just happened within this clear awareness, and as this clear awareness, along with everything else.