The spiritual path looks quite different depending on where we are coming from.
When there is a glimpse of what we are, the spiritual path becomes a process of clarifying and living from it. It is a process of examining the veils that may cover it up again, make ourselves familiar with the dynamics, and also recognize more clearly that what we are is already independent of veils or clarity, confusion or awakening.
This glimpse can come at any point on the path, including before the path has started, and it can come repeatedly before it stabilizes, or be quite stable right away. No rules here, it seems.
Before this glimpse, we may have two different motivations for spiritual practice. One is a quiet love for God and reality, expressed through devotion, inquiry, choiceless awareness, service and so on. The other is a desire to get something, to get happiness and get away from suffering. Either one is fine, although it is probably good to work at the human level with the desire as much as possible, allowing the motivation of quiet love for God and reality to surface.
For most of us, there may be a mix of these three. We may have had a glimpse, or at least intuition, which serves as a guiding star. We may act on that quite love for God and reality, even if it may be covered by other motivations. And we may engage in the path out of a desire to get something. All are fine, and it is also good to notice these three and the dynamics around each. Clarifying motivation and the dynamics around them can be an excellent path in itself.
It can also be helpful to meet each of these motivations in slightly different ways.
When there is a glimpse, and it gets covered up again through identifications with stories and content of experience, I can notice what is happening around it.
What happens if I get caught up in a story of “I had it and now it is gone”? Is it true that it is really gone? Can I find it here now? What is that “I” that had it and then lost it? What seems the most as “I” in immediate experience? How does it appear in each sense field? What is it without the label and story? What is covering it up? What are the mechanics and dynamics of samsara? What happens when I get more familiar with it? What happens if I resist the veils? What happens when I allow them as they are, with curiosity and kindness? How can I use the drive in a more wise, kind and healthy way?
When there is a desire to get something, what are the dynamics around that desire?
What is the relationship between desire and neediness? Do I desire because I experience a lack, something missing? What is at the end of that chain of desire? What do I hope to get out of the surface desire? And what do I hope to get out of that? And that? Is it a desire for happiness, and to avoid suffering? What are (some of) my strategies to meet those desires? How can I refine my strategies so they work a little better?
Many of these desires are quite genuine ones at a human level. How can I best meet them at my human level? Can I be helped through therapy? Inquiry? Working with projections? Finding more fulfillment in my current activities and relationships? Finding more fulfillment in different activities and relationships?
Looking a little further, are these desires really anything else than a desire for reality to wake up to itself? Can these desires really be met any other way?
And is it true that what I am seeking is not already here?
I am familiar with each of these in my own life. It started in my teens with reality waking up to itself in a clear nondual way. Then it faded into oneness, an I one with God, and all as God. That then became my guiding star in exploring traditions and practices, and it also got mixed with our ordinary desires and neediness.
All of that is the play of awake no-thing taking different appearances, including clarity and confusion, sense of self and disappearance of a sense of self, quiet love for reality and desire to get something, no spiritual path and spiritual path, creating veils and waking up to what we are. It is all the play of awake no-thing. It is what we are, and the play of what we are.
Reality is nothing if not rich. Or, said another way, reality is no-thing and rich.
This is again very basic, but maybe good to notice.
For some, there is first a glimpse of what we are. This glimpse can be brief or longer lasting. It can be covered up with thicker or thinner veils through temporary identifications with stories and content of experience. But it is still a genuine recognition of what we are, and something has shifted.
For others, there is
In my case, there was a clear recognition of what I am and everything is, and it lasted for quite some while until it got covered up with a relatively thin veil. This veil created a sense of an I (as doer, observer) one with God, and also all – including this I – as God. This oneness state (it is a state since it is created through a temporary identification with a story) hasn’t gone away since, apart from a phase during the dark night.
- coming from different directions
- sometimes, awakening first, then exploration, clarification, embodiment, learning about teachings and practices etc. (bird’s eye view) (also, one of the reasons big mind process can be helpful)
- sometimes, other direction (start with an intuition etc.)
For some, there is first a glimpse of what we are. This glimpse can be brief or longer lasting, but it is still a genuine recognition of what we are, and even if itis covered up again by temporary identifications with stories and content of experience, something has shifted.
a year of being absorbed into witness, then full blown nondual awakening, then veil into oneness – I one with God and all, including that I, as God, then dark night, then nondual w/out the drama in content, then oneness
glimpse of what we are – then a process of clarifying + living form it
– other motivations, either quiet love for God/reality or wanting to get something or a mix (if want to get something, good to focus on who we are, the human side of the equation)
want = need, and at human level, good to work on it and meet it there (therapy, projections, relationships, fulfillment etc.) Helps unveil the love for God and reality.