In the January 12 episode of Radio Adyashanti, A Dive into the Deep End, Adyashanti briefly talks about the difference between ego and self.
As I understood it, when Adya talks about the ego he refers to identification as a me, a personality and so on. The self refers to identification as open aware space. And behind that is what we cannot really talk about.
I have found similar layers, and like to think of it in terms of beliefs.
There is a variety of beliefs here, and they can be categorized in different ways.
One set of beliefs creates identification with content of experience: I am this body, this personality, a human being in the world.
More generally, there is a belief that I am a doer.
Another set of beliefs creates identification with that which this happens within: I am awareness. I am open aware space. I am that which all happens within. Or, I am that which all of this happens within and as.
Beyond that is what we are at a more basic level, that which allows it all. The absence of awareness allowing awareness. The absence of space allowing the appearance of space. And so on.
I can find this through quiet curiosity.
And also through, for instance, the headless experiments. Through these, I find I am capacity for the whole field of experience, including awareness, a sense of space, and whatever happens within content of experience.
The wide range of possible beliefs and combinations of beliefs creates a great variety of different experiences.
Say I find myself as awareness and everything as awareness. If I am also identified as an I – something observing all as awareness – there is a sense of oneness. All is awareness (God), and it’s happening to me.
There may also be a belief that I am awareness, and content of experience happens within me. Then there is a sense of I and Other with content of experience as Other.
Or there may be identification as awareness and all content of experience as awareness, and this is another form of oneness. There is still an “I” there as awareness.
Douglas Harding, and apparently some Christian mystics, differentiates God from the Godhead and that seems to apply here.
The awareness everything happens within and as may be called God.
And that which is capacity for it all, that which is absent of all of this and allows it all, is the Godhead, that which cannot really be spoken of.
Note about veils:
Each of these beliefs is a veil. They veil what we really are, the Ground, the unspeakable.
At the same time, these beliefs create a great variety of experience. They allow existence to explore and experience itself in always new and different ways. There is nothing wrong with these veils. They are part of the dance of reality revealing itself to itself.
Note about awareness:
I used awareness as one thing we can be identified with. It’s not really content of experience, and yet it is also a layer.
The same can be said about love and bliss. There can be identification as love, and everything happening within and as love. Or identification as bliss and everything happening within and as bliss.
So what allows for love? What allows for bliss? What is capacity for love and bliss?
Note on layers:
Here is one way to talk about the layers.
(3) Content of experience, what appears in the sense fields – sensation, sight, smell, taste, mental.
(2) That which is both (a) content of experience and (b) what everything happens within and as. For instance, love, bliss, luminosity, luminous black. All may appear as happening within and as each of these, and probably many more. (AKA soul level.)
(1) What experience happens within and as – awareness. (AKA God.)
(0) Capacity – capacity for all – for awareness, love, bliss, luminosity, the luminous black, sensations, sights, smells, taste, images and stories etc. (AKA Godhead.)
Depending on what beliefs we have, the “center of gravity” in terms of identification happens at one or more of these. For me, it seems spread out among all four, and one or another surfaces at different times.
- (3) content of experience – what appears in the sense fields
- (2) content of experience & what all happens within and as – somehow both
- love, bliss, luminosity, luminous black etc. – both content of experience and what all happens within/as (seems like to me now)
- (1) what all experience happens within/as – awareness
- (0) – capacity – capacity for all, aka ground, godhead
- content of experience – what appears in the sense fields
- that which all happens within and as
- (B) love, bliss, luminosity, luminous black etc. – both content of experience and what all happens within/as (seems like to me now)
- (A) awareness – what all happens within/as
- capacity – capacity for all, aka ground, godhead
— content of experience
- adya: ego – vs self
- ego – me, i etc.
- self – open aware space etc.
- i am this body, this personality
- i am awareness, space, what things happens within
- capacity for the whole field of experience
- absence of awareness allowing awareness, absence of space/time allowing appearance of space/time etc.
- can explore through sense fields – e.g. how appearance of time/space is created
- can explore through headless experiments – capacity for whatever happens, including me, i, space, time, awareness etc. (godhead)
- adya: ego – vs self