I listened to a talk with Adyashanti last night, where he mentioned briefly some of the things that change – and don’t – in awakening (horizontal awakening, realized selflessness).
Content independent of Ground awakening
In theory (whatever that means!), nothing needs to change for or within awakening. The content, the seen, experiences can stay the same. It is only the Ground awakening to itself, as the Ground of seen and seeing, absent of I anywhere, or as the I embracing all there is and absent of Other.
Reorganization of human self
At the same time, something does change in the seen, in the content, and specifically in our human self. It goes through a process of reorganizing and realigning to this new context of realized selflessness. The sense of drama goes out, the struggle from blind identification with aspects of the totality is gone, the stress from I and Other falls away. There is a deepening relaxation and unwinding of the human self, from body through energies, emotions and thoughts.
(Yet, there may also be a period of whatever had not been seen in our human self surfacing – all the facets hidden away surface to be seen and consciously acknowledged.)
Since this is a Ground awakening, everything revealed as Spirit, God, Buddha Mind, Brahman, absent of I anywhere, it will also be naturally expressed through our human self in ways that appear as compassion. (It appears as compassion when seen, by Spirit not awakened to its own nature, as one human being helping others.)
It is as natural and effortless as the right hand scratching the chin – there is itching and then scratching, spontaneously. The hand belongs to the same body as the chin, and one human self – when functioning within the context of realized selflessness, is awake to the larger body which is the whole world of form, including all beings.
What may not change
Then there are some things that may or may not change.
Our personality does reorganize to a certain extent, mostly through an absence of drama, but some flavor remains. If it had a good sense of humor before awakening, it is likely to have a good sense of humor after. If it liked strawberry milkshake before, it is likely to enjoy it after as well. If if was more yin or more yang, it is likely to still be more yin or yang. If it was into scholarship, it will most likely still be into scholarship. And so on.
The psychograph, or the level of development in the many lines, remains. If we were at a certain level in a particular line, it will still be there after the awakening. Before and after awakening, there is an invitation for these lines to continue to develop and mature. And it seems that the awakening itself, with its absence of drama and confusion, can serve as a catalyst for the deepening, maturing and development of these lines.
And then there is the thorny issue of health. If our human self was unhealthy in certain areas before awakening, it is possible that there will be a reorganization and healing within the awakening. But it is also possible that some issues remain – that there is not the insights, receptivity or willingness for these to reorganize and heal, even within the context of awakening. Adi Da and Andrew Cohen may be examples of this, and I am sure there are many others.
The filter of an unhealthy human self can easily distort how the inherent clarity and wisdom of the awakening is presented in the world.
And in a teaching content, this can easily be justified – by anyone involved, as just an expression of skillful means. He abuses me out of wisdom and compassion, so that I can awaken.
Sure. It is just that there are so many examples of teachers who do not do this, and yet have students wake up. It is not needed.
In the contemporary western world, with our increased sensitivity to signs of power abuse and psychological unhealthy patterns, there is luckily less tolerance for this. Teachers, in any tradition, who are blind to their own unhealthy psychological patterns, set themselves up for a fall.
And this crash and burn is just the reminder from existence to itself saying that even within the context of awakening, there may be something you didn’t look at. So here is your chance to take a look at it now.