When I write what and who we are here, I mean something quite specific.
What I am is that which my whole field of experience – as it is here and now – happens within and as. It’s what I sometimes call awareness, or love, or even Spirit. It’s all there is, in experience, here and now. It’s always here, since it’s what I am. It’s very obvious. It’s very mundane. It’s easily overlooked that that’s what I am. And when that awakens to, or notices, itself it’s sometimes called awakening. That can seem quite extraordinary at first, and then that too becomes quite ordinary in a good way. (That’s why I tend to not use words like Spirit, or Brahman, or other fanciful words, since it often appears much simpler than that. Those words can be a little misleading.)
Who I am is part of content of experience. It’s this human self. It’s the emotions, thoughts, body, life of this human self. It’s the idea of a me or an I. It’s the idea of an observer, or doer. It doesn’t really have fixed boundaries, since it’s what a thought says is me, or I, or who I am. The boundary is somewhat flexible and fluid.
The wider world is the rest of content of experience. It’s what a thought says is “other” in a conventional sense. This boundary is also somewhat flexible and fluid, and can be experienced as more or less solid, more or less real. (It isn’t really real, since it’s created by thought as a way to navigate in the world.)
Who I am, and the wider world, is what makes up content of experience. And that happens within and as what I am. It happens within and as awareness. Within and as love. Within and as Spirit.
These can be seen as two, or three, or one. It all depends on how we decide to talk about it, and where we decide to draw imagined boundaries.
And the boundaries can be experienced as solid and real, or ephemeral, or just a thought with no substance beyond that. That depends on how clearly it’s seen, and even felt. It depends on how much “velcro” is stuck to those ideas. How much associated sensations seem “stuck” onto the words and images creating the boundaries.
When the associated sensations seem stuck onto the boundary images and words, the boundaries can seem quite real. When the sensations are felt as sensations, the images recognized as images, and the words recognized as words, the boundary images and words are recognized as just an imagined overlay, which has a practical function only. It’s not “real” beyond that, but it does help us navigate in the world, and communicate.
Oneness can also be understood in different ways.
One is the very immediate and practical oneness, where this field of awareness-experience is recognized as one. (Any ideas or even experiences of being a separate self is recognized as happening within this field, as any other content of experience.) The world is one, since it’s all recognized as happening within this field of awareness.
Another is the oneness of the world as a whole “out there”. (I realize that this distinction may seem subtle, or even unnecessary, but I find it helpful to differentiate this from the first one.) The world is one, and Spirit, or God, and I see that partly because of immediate experience, and partly through synchronicities, ESP, and more.
A third, which can be part of the previous one, is the oneness of the world as described by science. The universe was one field of energy at the Big Bang, and this field of energy partly condensed down into simple particles, which then condensed into heavier elements. We – and everything – has the same origin. We are quite literally star dust, as is the Earth as a whole. The Earth and the Universe is one seamless system.
Awakening is when what I am notices itself. This is an initial awakening, and it can also happen regularly and on a more ongoing basis. This noticing and recognition can clarify and become more stable. And who I am, this human self, can – and will? – reorganize within this recognition. It’s invited to heal and mature within this recognition, and align with it. That’s an ongoing process, and it doesn’t “end” as long as this human self is around.
Awakening then has three aspects. One is the initial recognition. Another is an ongoing clarification and “stabilization” of this recognition. And the third is the reorganization of our human self within this recognition.
All of them are ongoing. The awakening is here and now. The recognition and noticing is here and now. The reorganization within it is here and now.
There is no “end point”. Any idea of an end point happens here and now, within this.
This awakening doesn’t exclude or eliminate the full range of human experience. It doesn’t preclude sadness, grief, pain, anger, joy, hangups, wounds, trauma, or anything else that’s part of the human experience. What we are already allows the full range of human experience, although it often happens without us being conscious of it, and we may be in conscious opposition to it.
Awakening also allows the full range of human experience (since nothing else is possible), but there is now a conscious recognition of it, and often a more conscious alignment with it.
We are still very much human. We experience the full range of human emotions and experiences. We make mistakes. We have a limited understanding and perspective. We have our preferences and likes and dislikes. We make assumptions. We give bad advice. We don’t know how to do any number of things. Our understanding is faulty.
So there is a full allowing of any experience, as it always is, although now recognized more clearly, and perhaps aligned with more consciously. We experience the full range of human emotions and experiences. And there is an invitation for a healing, maturing, and reorganization within this. Things do change for our human self when awareness recognizes itself, and itself as this field of experience.
Wishing for healing and maturing is not in itself a good reason to wish for awakening. Healing and maturing can happen anyway, even without awakening, and especially when it’s supported by any number of practices and healing modalities.
Wishing for an easy life is also not a good reason to wish for awakening. The awakening process can, for some, be quite rocky and even painful. It’s doesn’t mean an easy life. Just look at the lives of awakened ones throughout history. They rarely had an easy path.
So why do we wish for awakening? For some, it’s initially and partly to find release from suffering. It may also be from love – for ourselves, others, life, love, truth, Spirit, God. It may be life (God, Spirit) wishing to bring itself into consciousness, and live more consciously from what it already is, from presence, love and truth. There may be no good reason. And really, it’s inexplicable.
Even when it looks like it is from a more personal reason, for instance to be better than others, or find safety, or an “end point”, the real reason is different. It comes from a wish to protect this human self, this me, this I. It comes from deep caring. It comes from love.
And that reminds me that what a thought may call “negative” about our human experience or actions is similar. Anger, grief, sadness, hopelessness, compulsions, addictions, even greed, bigotry and violence, all comes from a wish to protect this human self, or the me, or the I. It comes from deep caring. It comes from love.
And that’s not just wishful or Polyannaish thinking. It’s very real.
If we don’t see it, we will struggle against it in ourselves and others. And when we do recognize it, from ourselves and our own experience, something shifts. We align a little more consciously with reality. We recognize the deep caring and love behind these things in ourselves and others that some may call “negative”.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that we support or condone harmful actions. We are just more likely to be able to meet it and act with some ordinary kindness and wisdom.