The simplicity of awakening

 

I am often struck by the simplicity of awakening. And if it is an awakening to what we already and always are, why shouldn’t it be simple? That doesn’t mean that it easy, though. Often, it seems impossible and confusing, until it happens and it is revealed as utterly simple. In some ways, it was the complexity we added to it that held the temporary misidentification in place.

There are many ways of talking about it, and none are really that accurate. As with anything put into words, it becomes a relative truth, limited and with all its reversals true as well.

One is to say that what is awakens to itself.

Another, as awake emptiness awakening to itself, and to form as no other than itself.

Or as awakeness awakening to itself, no longer identifying with any of its content… with sensations, thoughts, this human self, the soul level, or anything else that is content of awakeness. And then realizing that it is all one field, all awake emptiness and form inherently absent of any separate self anywhere.

Or as the void awakening to itself as void, absent of everything… of form, substance, human self, soul, luminosity, any thing-ness, any thing separate from any other thing. And then realizing that all content is no other than this void, emptiness dancing, still absent of any separate self.

Or as the Ground of awake emptiness awakening to itself. The no-thing which allows all things, already and always. The Ground which allows any and all content, utterly independent of its particulars.

And even if it remains just a map, or a memory of a glimpse, or a vague intuition, this map can be helpful. It can help us see that content is not it, no matter how amazing and beautiful it is. Whatever changes, whatever comes and goes, is not it. What remains, is. The no-thing that remains, utterly free from yet allowing any thing, any content, any experience.

Forms of awakening: ordinary, amazing and neutral

 

Sometimes I wonder if these large-themed posts have much value. But then I notice that although these themes have to do with the big picture, they also reflect what is alive here now, in immediate awareness.

The human self, yes, right here, with its thoughts, sensations, emotions, actions in the world. The soul, yes, also right here, as the alive presence (more or less in the foreground, and filtered in different ways.) The spirit, yes, also right here, as the stainless awareness all of this is happening within and to, and even as. Even if it is temporarily identified with its content, forgetting about itself, the spirit level is still here. It is just spirit temporarily forgetting about itself.

One of the big picture themes is the different forms of awakenings… to our human self, to the soul, and to spirit.

An awakening to our human self is an awakening to the evolving whole of who we are as a human. This whole which is reflected in everything in the wider world. All I see out there, I can find in here.

An awakening to the soul is an awakening to the alive presence, filtered in innumerable ways, yet always with a sense of aliveness, vibrancy, timelessness, transparency into the void.

An awakening to the spirit is an awakening not only to, but as emptiness, as the void, the ground of all form. It is an awakening as the void, which is the same everywhere and always. To the awake void, which is timeless and spaceless, pure seeing. To the awake void which is no other than form, absent of a separate self anywhere.

The first type of awakening is a deepening into our humanity, a healing, development and maturing into becoming a more whole and mature human being. It is a deepening into our individual humanity, which is also a deepening into our shared humanity, opening for a real sense of intimacy, recognition, fellowship, empathy, compassion, and understanding. I recognize in myself what I see in you, and in you what I recognize in myself. In many ways, it is a deepening into ordinariness, becoming a more thoroughly ordinary human being, to whom nothing human is foreign.

The second form of awakening is an awakening into the extraordinary… into the alive presence, the luminous blackness, the fertile darkness, the indwelling god with is infinite love, intelligence, receptivity and its guidance, the alive luminosity, the brilliancy… all of this, which seems to extraordinary when we are used to identifying exclusively as a human being.

And the third form of awakening is a strange one. It is an awakening into and as void. As the void all form, all content of awareness, anything at the soul and human levels, arises within and as. In some ways, it is completely neutral. There is, literally, nothing there. No content needs to change for this awakening. Pain, fine. Bliss, fine. Even confusion, fine. It can all be there. The void can still awaken to itself, as void, and as emptiness dancing as all these temporary forms.

Together, there is the deepening into the fullness and ordinariness of a human life, the amazing qualities of the soul level, and the utter neutrality of the ground.

Absent of I

 

A comment left some days ago made me explore in what ways there is an absence of I in awakening.

One, and the most obvious one, is that there is an absence of I in content.

When we look of content of awareness, we find sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts. This human self and its surroundings is arising.

And we often take a portion of this content as who we are. I am this human being, or maybe even really some portions of this human being, the ones that correspond with an identity I have made for myself. I am this human being, and I am also smart more than stupid, nice more than obnoxious, right more than wrong, and so on.

In our own experience, there is an I in this content, placed on parts of this human self.

But at some point, we start to realize that all of this has really an inherent absence of I.

And we can discover that in maybe three general ways.

One way is to find ourselves as seeing itself, as pure awareness, the witness. I am the seeing and the seen is released from having an I in it. This can happen in meditation, as a result of yoga or shaktipat, or spontaneously… We find ourselves absorbed into pure seeing, realizing that the world of form is inherently absent of an I.

Another is to find ourselves as headless, as Big Mind, as awake emptiness and form, and again realize that there is no I in any parts of all of this. Anything arising is one field of seeing-seen, form as no other than awake emptiness itself, and this field has no center of an “I”. If there is an “I” here at all, it is equally distributed throughout the field.

And a third, closely related to the two other, is to inquire into the world of form itself. I notice sounds, sights, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts all come and go, live their own life. Can I be any of these? I do not seem to come and go. Following this leads us into finding ourselves as seeing itself, and then as Big Mind.

This form of inquiry also helps us see more clearly how a sense of an I within this is created. How thoughts are taken as offering absolute truths, are associated with particular sensations, and together serve as an anchor for a sense of a separate I. When this is seen, and especially as there is more familiarity with this territory, the gestalt falls apart into its components. Where there used to be a definite sense of I, there are just thoughts and sensations arising in space.

If there is no I in the content of awareness, is there an I anywhere?

Well, for a while it may appear as if there is an I in awareness itself, as opposed to in content. I am seeing, not the seen. But then that falls away as well.

The content of awareness is not different from awareness itself. It is all awake emptiness and form, with form as no other than awake emptiness itself. There is just a field of awake emptiness and form, absent of a separate I in any of its parts. Just a field of seeing-seen, and even saying that gives an appearance of a split that is not there.

The field is absent of a separate I in any of its parts. If there is an I anywhere, it is the one I which is everywhere and nowhere in particular. The one I distributed equally throughout the field. The I without an Other.

More on transition experiences

 

I wrote a long post on transition experiences, but decided to make it short and simple. Some details goes out, but the essence is maybe more clear.

Here are a couple of points from the longer post that may be interesting…

  • What we are, is a field of awake emptiness and form, absent of a separate I. This means that what is alive in each of ours awareness here and now, is realized to be nothing other than awake emptiness itself. This room, the cat, the sound of the cars, the lamp, computer, thoughts, sensations, it is all awake emptiness. An awake void, temporarily taking these forms. And it is all without a center, without any trace of a separate self.
  • When we take ourselves to be an object in the world, we filter awareness so it appears to be only here, associated with this human self, and not out there, in the wider world… with the exception of being there, in theory, in other people. We don’t notice emptiness much, everything seems quite substantial and real. And there is certainly a sense of a separate self here, in this human self.
  • So in the transition between the two, what we are breaks through within the context of what we take ourselves to be. There is a growing sense of no separation, glimpses of the wider world as somehow inherently alive and awake, a diminishing sense of the solidity of the boundary between I here and the rest of the world out there, and so on.

As Ken Wilber and others have pointed out, this transition mirrors what we find in nature mysticism (nature, all objects, as alive), deity mysticism (all as God), and finally realized selflessness (one field, absent of center and separate self.)

All of these transition experiences can be experienced and interpreted in different ways. I am sure there are many more than I wrote down here, and each of them will take on different flavors for different people at different times.

One experience I have heard recently, from a friend, is an experience of walking in nature, and everything suddenly appearing aware… the trees, stones, ground, landscape. Another, is of objects smiling back at you (having awareness, being somehow alive, able to make a connection.)

Of course, these are all just experiences and states. Nothing to be too caught up in. Just carrots, and sometimes distractions (!), within our process of exploring what we really are – in our own immediate awareness.

And that is the ground of awake void, and forms as no other than this awake void, all absent of a center and separate self. It is all emptiness dancing. A depth of awake emptiness with a thin surface of form.

Briefly: transition experiences

 

What are some common transition experiences during awakening?

Here are some I have noticed for myself, and also heard from others:

Within form…

  • A sense of no separation between “I” here and the rest of the world out there
  • A sense of oneness with all of Existence. I am here, yet one with all.
  • A sense of the world of form as a seamless whole, with no separation between this human individual and the wider world
  • Noticing synchronicities – the outer world mirroring the inner, as if one seamless field.

Within awareness…

  • A sense of “I” as awakeness, as witness, pure awareness, pure seeing.
  • A sense of awakeness out there, in the wider world… in plants, trees, objects, the universe. it all seems mysteriously and inherently awake somehow.

Within emptiness…

  • A sense of awareness itself as a void, as empty, insubstantial.
  • A sense of all forms being insubstantial, transparent. Almost like a dream.

With the sense of a separate I…

  • The sense of a separate I weakens, becomes more transparent. There is just what is, content of experience staying much the same, yet with an absence of a separate I. And this becomes gradually more clear.

And it makes sense.

If what we are is awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of a separate I, then that is what comes through, in different ways, during the awakening process. We may take ourselves as an object in the world, but what we really are breaks through… as an intuition, a sense, a glimpse.

It is Big Mind gradually becoming more familiar with itself, as it already and always is. Only temporarily filtered through taking itself as an object within form.

The Buddha growing up

 

Filtered through a relatively mature human being, an awakening to what we are (as Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman, headless, awake emptiness and form absent of separate I) can show up in some broad ways.

What we are as not awakened to itself, hidden by strong and narrow identifications

First, a noticing of what we are can be nonexistent. When there is a relatively complete and exclusive identification with our human self, there is not much room for noticing ourselves as Spirit. Spirit may break through occasionally, through drugs, sex, ritual, nature and so on, but these are interpreted as anomalities and usually as completely “other” (which is good, otherwise there would be inflation.)

What we are as other or “no separation”, within the context of a sense of separate self

Then, it can show up as other yet more present, and gradually as with “no separation.” Awareness is more present, but still slightly as other. Or I may find myself in periods as awareness, or awake space, or awake emptiness, with what arises as form as distant, or as arising within and to awareness, or as no other than awareness itself. There is still a sense of a separate I here, at least most of the time, although it may appear subtle, vague and transparent.

Awakening to what we are, and sense of I clearly seen as just an idea

Then, in a more full awakening to what we are, we find ourselves as awake emptiness, and whatever forms arising as no other than this awake emptiness. Any sense of a separate I is clearly seen as coming only from a belief in the idea of a separate I, often placed on the perceptual center (head area) of this human individual. Now, this idea of a separate I, along with the perceptual center and this human being, all arises within the field of awake emptiness and form, and as no other than awake emptiness itself. There is just a field inherently free from center and any separate I or self.

Expressed in the world as the Brilliant Sun of awakening

At first, although it can be a very clear awakening, it is also expressed in relatively immature ways through our human self. It is a baby Buddha which needs time to develop and mature in its expression. In Zen, this clear but also relatively immature expression of an awakening to what we are is called the Brilliant Sun of enlightenment. It is the child and youth stage of the Buddha and often shows up in the world in flashy ways.

Deepening into the Hazy Moon of awakening

As this awakening matures, as the Buddha grows up, this awakening to what we are also includes a more full awakening as who we are. It includes a deepening into who we are as an individual human being and soul (alive presence), expressed in the world as a maturing into the fullness and evolving wholeness of our human life. It is a deepening into who we are, into becoming more and more fully and deeply human, within the context of the awakening to what we are. This is the Hazy Moon of awakening, the awakening which comes through a deeply ordinary, mature and seasoned human being, a human being which appears in the world as (at first) nothing special, apart from being thoroughly and deeply human. Of course, over time, there is the realization in the wider world that this ordinariness, depth and maturity is indeed remarkable, maybe the most remarkable of any of the many ways an awakening can be expressed.

Deepening into who we are, before and after an awakening into what we are

In real life, the sequence is of course not always clearly laid out like this.

For instance, the deepening and maturing into who we are happens before and after an awakening into what we are. And to the extent it happens prior to a more full and clear awakening it allows for a more rapid shift into the hazy moon of awakening.

A gradual awakening to and exploring of who we are as human and soul helps with this maturing and seasoning. The more we know ourselves in the fullness of our evolving human self, and the more we allow our human self to be reorganized within the alive presence, the more it heals, develops, deepens and matures.

A deepening into who we are aiding the expression of an awakening as what we are

When an awakening into what we are is filtered through a relatively immature individual, it will appear in the world as immature. And when it is filtered through a more seasoned, mature and deeply human individual, it is expressed in a more seasoned, mature and deeply human way.

And this can only aid its expression in the world.

It allows for a more differentiated and fluid use of tools and approaches, and for a deeper and more real connection with others, and this is more potent in alleviating the suffering for others, and also help them awaken to what they are (or rather, for what is to awaken to itself through them.)

The impulse to help

After, and often long before, an awakening into what we are, there is a natural impulse to help others, a natural compassion expressed in various activities in the world.

It all arises as an inherently selfless field of wakeful emptiness and form, as inherently absent of any separate self. And since what arises are individuals where what is has not yet awakened to itself, there is a natural impulse to help alleviate the suffering experienced (the suffering is really nothing than awake emptiness but is taken and experienced as real so worth alleviating) and to aid in what is to awaken to itself through those individuals (as long as these individuals seek it out and are interested.)

So if there is any concern with helping others, there is also a concern with allowing our only tool for this – our individual human self – to deepen, heal, develop, differentiate, mature and season. And this happens through a deepening into who we are, as an individual human being and soul.

The more honed our tool is, the more effective it can be in the world.

Embracing both, before and after an awakening into what we are

For many reasons, it makes sense to emphasize both an awakening into who we are, as individual human and soul, and what we are, as Spirit.

A deepening into who we are is enjoyable in itself and it reduces suffering. It allows knots to untie, releasing identification, which reveals more of what we are. And it allows for a more mature and seasoned tool for a more full awakening of what we are. There are benefits all around.

An awakening into what we are is not only the final release from suffering, but also allows for a deepening into who we are. When there is less identifications and drama, who we are can unfold in a more free way, and deepen more easily into its evolving fullness as a human being and as a soul.

Mutual influence

Deepening into who we are reduces suffering, aids in an awakening to what we are, and allows an awakening to what we are to be expressed in a more mature and seasoned way. And awakening into what we are removes (identification with) suffering, and allows for a deepening into who we are.

Again, there is a beautiful symmetry here, of one aiding the other.

The final leap

 

The final leap into realizing – or discovering, noticing – what we are is a momentous one. It is a shift more radical than anything that has gone before, or that is at least often the experience of it. Up until then, there has always been a sense of a separate I, however (apparently) subtle. And now, that one is gone. There is just the field of awareness and its content, where the content is revealed as nothing other than awareness itself, and with no sense of a center or a separate I anywhere.

The perceptual center, located in this human individual, is still there, but it is no longer a center for a sense of a separate I. The perceptual center just arises within the field of content, along with anything else coming and going.

So it is no wonder that most haven’t gone there yet, including most Jungians, or Process Workers, or even mystics. They may go to the threshold of it, where the sense of a separate I appears very transparent, subtle, vague, minuscule in the ocean of everything as God, Spirit, or awakeness and form.

But to take the final leap would mean to question our final and core identity, as an ultimately separate self, a separate I that may be “one with” everything and God, but is still a separate I. It means to question, and to thoroughly examine – leaving no stone unturned – the belief in the idea of a separate I.

Unconscious and conscious separatio

 

The previous post helps me see that the separatio happens in two ways: unconsciously and consciously.

Undifferentiated and nonfunctional unity

First, there is an unconscious and undifferentiated unity of the individual and the world as a whole. But since it is undifferentiated, it is also nonfunctional. We all start out on our human journey as helpless and dependent on others.

This unity does not go away, it is the ground of existence (and the prima materia), but it may appear as split later on in the process. The dependence on others does not go away either, for that matter, even if that too may appear differently later on.

Unconscious separatio: a sense of I and Other

Then, there is a mostly unconscious separatio. A sense of a separate I, of I and Other where I is this human self (or an aspect of it) and Other is anything else: anything outside of this human self and anything from inside this human self that doesn’t fit with what the personality wants (for instance pain, anger, sadness, etc.) We inadvertently split the world into I and Other, partly because those around us do it.

Conscious separatio: differentiation and discernment

The next separatio is more conscious. It is a process of discernment and differentiation, of exploring the different aspects of the whole, how each one functions, and how they relate to each other. This happens in the ordinary process of developing and living our lives, and with more heat and specificity if we consciously engage in a process of individuation or awakening.

The unconscious separatio sets the stage for the conscious separatio

The unconscious separatio sets the stage for, and aids, the second separatio. It creates a sense of a split that makes it easier to consciously differentiate and discern. There is a gap allowing for some distance and perspective. The inevitable stress from the first separation, the sense of I and Other, also provides the motivation (the nigredo) for the second separatio to take place.

The conscious separatio allows the unconscious separatio to fall away

And the conscious separatio, exploring the polarities and how the sense of I and Other comes about, allows the first separatio to eventually fall away.

The first gives birth to the second, allowing the first to fall away. It is a stepping stone which is left behind at some point. (At the same time, the basic ego-structures developed during the first separatio, and refined and reorganized in the second, remains. They are the ones which allows this human self to function in the world, to orient, navigate, be effective.)

Shifting filters

 

I was just reminded of how Ken Wilber’s old model of the levels of development reflects these shifts of filters.

The conventional level these days is where the field is filtered into a strong sense of I and Other, and the I is placed on only a relatively small part of our individual self.

Then, the I is placed on more of our whole individual self (whole body/mind, centaur.)

Then, a sense of I is also out there, in the form of nature mysticism. There is a sense of I, yet also of an aliveness and intelligence out there.

Then, a sense of all as God. I am still here, and everything is also God (deity mysticism).

And finally, the field awakening to itself as awake emptiness and form, centerless and selfless, even as it is functionally connected with an individual.

It is all part of the field awakening to itself as a field, and filtering itself slightly differently at different phases of the process. At the same time, there is a corresponding reorganization and development of the individual, as these changing filters are taken into account and reflected in the life of the individual.

Summary of the shifts

Throughout the whole process, the field is already and always a field of awake emptiness and form, with no center, no separate I, yet also functionally connected with a particular human self.

After the typical childhood development, there is a strong sense of I here and Other out there, this sense of I is placed on this individual, and any immediate sense of awakeness and consciousness is placed on this I here (it takes a great deal of energy and resistance to filter out the sense of awakeness, which is already alive throughout the whole field, and place it on this I).

From here on, the sense of a separate I is reduced at each shift, and the sense of an “I” out there increases – in the form of a sense of aliveness, intelligence, love and consciousness out there… in nature, and then in all of Existence.

Finally, the whole sense of I and Other falls away entirely, revealing the field as everywhere awake emptiness and form, without any center, without any separate I anywhere.

Intermediary filters

 

These two quotes from John Wren-Lewis is an example of how an early awakening can be filtered…

I feel as if the back of my head has been sawn off so that it is no longer the 60-year-old John who looks out at the world, but the shining dark infinite void that in some extraordinary way is also “I.” […]

Thus, in one sense, I feel as if I am infinitely far back in sensing the world, yet at the same time I feel the very opposite, as if my consciousness is no longer inside my head at all, but out there in the things I am experiencing . . .

What is happening is that Big Mind awakens to itself, but can’t quite believe it. So as an intermediary step, it filters itself in a different way, as a stepping stone into a more full and clear awakening.

What is always and already here, for all of us, is the field of seeing & seen which is inherently absent of I. And for most of us, it is filtered through a sense of I and Other. The seeing is interpreted as right here, in or around this human self, and the seen is outside and inside of this human self.

When there is an early awakening into Big Mind, when this field catches a glimpse of itself as a field, it may be too radical, too different from what it is used to. It cannot find itself comfortable with the field of awake emptiness and form, as a field with no center, with no separate I anywhere, with no I and Other.

So it filters its experience of itself in a slightly different way, for instance as the back of the head sawn off, or as a sense of I somewhere behind the human self, or as a sense of I infinitely far back and also out there in the seen, or as a subtle I here not separate from anything, or a subtle I here yet also out there.

Eventually, as it gets more comfortable with this, and catches more glimpses of itself in a more unfiltered way, it may be ready to let go of even these filters, and awaken to itself as a field with no center and no I anywhere.

This can initially be experienced as a free fall, as having no anchors anywhere, no fixed identity and nowhere to anchor any identity. And then this too becomes familiar.

Unfamiliar and familiar

In my experience, there is an experience of unfamiliarity and familiarity at each of these shifts. It is radically unfamiliar, new, completely different from how any previous identity, and can be scary in that way. At the same time, what opens up is strangely familiar, nothing new, known at some level.

And this is really what we would expect. For each shift, there is a stepping outside of old identities and into something that seems unfamiliar and maybe even frightening. And for each shift, what we already and always are awakens a little more to itself, with a few less filters.

Most unfamiliar, and most familiar

There is an irony in this, and especially in the final shedding of filters.

Shedding filters into the field awakening to itself as a centerless and selfless field, is often perceived as most frightening, as loosing all ground, any fixed identity, anything familiar.

Yet at the same time, it is the most profound homecoming, a relaxation into what we always and already are. A letting go of all the filters of I and Other and any fixed identity, which it takes so much energy to uphold.

We find ourselves as the Ground of everything, of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form. There is nothing to resist anymore. No need to filter through a sense of I and Other. All as the I that has no Other. It is the home free from, behind and within any more conventional sense of home and homelessness.

In terms of our old identity, as a separate I with a (more or less) fixed identity, it is the most unfamiliar. And in terms of what we already are, it is the most familiar.

Surrendering resistance to sense of I

 

One aspect of surrender is surrendering resistance to any sense of I. To just be with it, as it is, and notice how it arises as an aspect of the field, as a thread in the tapestry.

Resistance is what produces, and maintains, a sense of I.

And this means that resistance to a sense of I does the same.

So allowing this sense of I to be as it is, and allowing even the resistance to be, is what allows the field to reveal itself, to itself, as a field.

Adyashanti on The Awakened Way

 

One of the most clear, simple and beautiful descriptions of an awakened life I have found, from Adyashanti.

While the world is trying to solve its problems and everyone around you is engaged in the same, you’re not. While everybody around you is trying to figure it out, trying to arrive, trying to “get there,” trying to be worthy, you’re not. While everyone thinks that awakening is a grand, noble, halo-enshrouded thing, for you it’s not. While everybody is running from this life right now, in this moment, to try to get there, you’re not. Where everybody has an argument with somebody else, mostly everybody else, starting with themselves, you don’t. Where everybody is so sure that happiness will come when something is different than it is now, you know that it won’t. When everybody else is looking to achieve the perfect state and hold on to it, you’re not.

When everybody around you has a whole host of ideas and beliefs about a whole variety of things, you don’t. Everyone on the path is getting there; you haven’t gotten anywhere. Everyone is climbing the mountain; you’re selling hiking boots and picks at the foot in the hope that if they climb it and come back down, they may be too exhausted to do it again. When everybody else is looking to the next book, to the next teacher, to the next guru to be told what’s real, to be given the secret key to an awakened life, you’re not. You don’t have a key because there’s not a lock to put it in.

When you’re living what you are in an awakened way, being simply what you’ve always been, you’re actually very simple. You basically sit around wondering what all the fuss is about.

When everyone is sitting around saying, “I hope that happens to me,” you remember when you did that. You remember that you didn’t find a solution to that. You remember that the whole idea that there was a problem created all of that.

When you’re being what you are, when you’re living the awakened life, there’s nobody to forgive, because there’s no resentment held, no matter what.

The truth of your being doesn’t crave happiness; it could actually care less. It doesn’t crave love, not because you are so full of love, but because it just doesn’t crave love. It’s very simple. It doesn’t seek to be known, regarded highly, or understood. When you’re living what you are in an awakened way, there’s no ideal for you anymore. You’ve stepped off the entire cycle of suffering, of becoming; you’re not interested.

[…]

And finally, when you’re just living in the awakened way that you really are, you’ll never form an image again of what it’s like. Even as it’s happening, you won’t form an image because you’ll know they’re all images, dust. The way it was yesterday won’t be the way it is today.

Full text

Multilayered journey

 

After seeing the rather heavy-handed and one-dimensional use of symbolism in The Fountain last night, I thought of how it could be done differently, and also what type of stories I am more drawn to.

Mainly, they tend to be multi-layered, functioning at many different levels, the way mythology and many fairy tales do. One the surface level, they are adventures, exciting enough in themselves to hold people’s attention and interest even if the adventure level is all they are aware of. At another level, they symbolize our path through life, our relationships with others, ourselves and various life situations. They also represent dynamics within our psyche, for instance the drama between persona and shadow. And finally, the most interesting of them also represent the spiritual journey through to awakening.

More specifically, it would be interesting to see contemporary stories that dramatize the path of individualization and awakening: (a) the field of seeing and seen, (b) filtering itself through a sense of I and Other, (c) identifying in a conventional way with a human self, going about its daily life, (d) breaking out of the trance, recognizing the trance, (e) struggling with the dynamics of persona and shadow, peeling of new layers of the shadow, including (f) finding itself also as energy, soul and the formless, (g) and then die to a sense of I and any identity whatsoever, awakening as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.

And this is, of course, the Matrix Trilogy: multi-layered, offering something for everyone, representing the hero’s journey to individualization and finally full awakening.

Neo starts out living a conventional life, as a drone in a corporate office (c). He is kicked out of the trance through circumstances beyond his control (d), and awakens to himself as far more than he had imagined. He starts embracing the positive (immediately desirable) aspects of his shadow (through the training), and is also forced to face and eventually embrace the negative (apparently undesirable) aspects of his shadow (Agent Smith et al) (e). At the end of the first movie, he also finds himself as more than just a human of flesh and blood, but also as energy and consciousness (f). Finally, through the face-off between the final remains of what appears as I and Other, he dies as what he takes himself to be, and awakens to a new life.

As traditional mythology shows us, there is no end of variations on this story, and no end of aspects of it to be explored more in detail, so there is lots of room for many more movies exploring this, even after The Matrix. Especially if they are a little more sophisticated about it than The Fountain (a good attempt, but does not quite make it.)

Impulse to wholeness

 

There seems to be two main aspects to our impulse towards wholeness…

First, it is the intuition or sense of the field of seeing of seen, inherently absent of I. This field is already and always whole, or more accurately free from wholeness and fragmentation.

Then, there are the processes at work in the world of form, specifically – in all living organisms, the self-maintaining, self-healing and self-transcending processes.

And a psychological aspect of this process of self-organization is the dislike of suffering and draw to happiness and freedom from suffering. Disease at a physical level is often uncomfortable, so we seek health and wholeness there.

It is the same with dis-ease at a psychological level. It comes from a sense of separation, being finite in space and time, and from the basic sense of I and of I and Other, so there is a natural impulse to find a resolution to it, and we do this in many ways.

We seek healing and a sense of connection on a psychological level.

We notice, at first not even consciously, the inherent painfulness of a sense of I and Other, and We and Them, so we move along the path of egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to planetcentric, widening the circle of who we see as us.

And at some point, we start the process of shifting our center of gravity from the seen (our human self) to the seeing (pure awareness, witness), to the field of seeing and seen, inherently absent of I, awakening to itself.

The mirroring tendencies

At the same time, there are several mirroring and complementary tendencies.

First, of the field of seeing and seen to forget itself, to take itself as only a segment of itself, as this human self.

Then the inherent tendencies in the world of form towards disintegration, falling apart, accidents, malfunction.

And also the inherent tendencies of the mind, when operating in the context of a sense of I and Other, to create trouble for itself, to knot itself up and create a sense of drama through beliefs, and often through a complex set of contradictory beliefs.

Game of separation and finding itself

It is all part of the game the field plays with itself, first of forgetting itself, creating a sense of I and Other and experiencing the drama there, then of seeking itself through wholeness, and finally realizing the absence of I anywhere.

Both tendencies are part of the game, part of the drama, making it richer and more varied. One could not be without the other.

One Taste of emptiness and form, the centers of seeing, feeling and loving, and the deepening into it

 

Snippet from the previous post, which in turn was a snippet and comment on the post before

Two aspects of One Taste: emptiness and form, and within form

There is the One Taste of emptiness and form, of all as awake emptiness and form.

There is the One Taste within form, of the wider world of form as a mirror for my human self.

The three centers: seeing, feeling and loving

There is the seeing, feeling and loving of it all as Spirit, and of the wider world of form as a mirror for my human self.

Deepening into

And there is the deepening into it.

The three centers of head, belly and heart, seeing, feeling and loving

 

After the endarkenment shift, this is more clear to me now…

[Snippet from the previous post]

……………………..
Spirit awakening to itself

As with the other forms of One Taste, this one seems to have three centers: seeing, feeling and loving. There is a seeing of it all as Spirit, centered in the head, a feeling of it all as Spirit, centered in the belly, and a loving of it all as Spirit, centered in the heart.

The seeing allows the view and cognition of our human self to reorganize to all as Spirit, the feeling allows its emotions to reorganize to all as Spirit, the loving allows the heart to reorganize to all as Spirit. It is Spirit seeing itself, feeling itself, and loving itself.

……………………..

As I tried to describe in the previous post, this also happens in terms of the world as a mirror for our human self.

I see, feel and love what I see in the outer world as also right here, in this human self.

And there is a deepening into it, in both cases.

A deepening into Spirit seeing, feeling and loving all as itself, allowing the view, emotions and heart of the human self to reorganize to all as Spirit.

And a deepening into seeing, feeling and loving the world as a mirror for my human self, allowing the view, emotions and heart of the human self to reorganize to the world as a mirror, in a very detailed and specific way.

The first One Taste is that of emptiness and form. Of all as awake emptiness and form.

The second One Taste is that within form. If the wider world of form as a mirror for this human self.

So in summary…

There is the One Taste of emptiness and form, of all as awake emptiness and form.

There is the One Taste within form, of the wider world of form as a mirror for my human self.

There is the seeing, feeling and loving of it all as Spirit, and of the wider world of form as a mirror for my human self.

And there is the deepening into it.

Free Will II – a difference between realizing and believing in ideas

 

There is of course a big difference between realizing and believing in the complementarity of the freedom of awake emptiness, and the absence of I and free will in the world of form – in our case, as a human being.

Realizing absence of freedom

Realizing it is Spirit awakening to itself as awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of I anywhere – and as a whole as an I. This is liberation. It is a liberation from an exclusive identity as a segment of this field, it is a liberation from seeing this human self and its actions as an I, it is a liberation for this human self from having a sense of I placed on top of it.

Believing in absence of freedom

Believing in it, just attaching to ideas about it, is quite different. This happens when there is still very much a sense of I there, placed on the local causality of this human self such as thoughts, decisions and actions. It is still taken and experienced as an I, yet there is a belief in infinite causes, in an absence of free will in this human self, maybe in an absence of I.

And this can take different forms.

Believing, yet still acting as if there is free will

One, and the more healthy variation, is to take it as a spur to practice, to explore this, is it really true? Can I find it in my own experience? Are there really infinite causes to anything I think, do, and experience? Is there an absence of I in this human self?

In exploring this, we take our experience seriously in two ways.

First, we take our findings seriously. We explore seriously, in detail, over and over, and take what we find seriously. We explore the implications of what we find, we feel into what it would mean to live more fully from it.

And, equally important, we take our current experience seriously in the context of our daily life. If there is still a sense of an I here in daily life, then I live from that as before. I take responsibility for my actions. I sincerely try to make the most informed and compassionate choices. I live as if I have a free will, because it seems I do.

Even if we don’t explore it further, it is a good thing to act as if we have free will. It does help in making our lives easier on us and others.

Yet, this too, this acting as if we have free will, is the local expressions of the movements of the whole. This too has infinite causes. This too is inherently absent of an I and free will. It may be good to realize that, but also keep it in the background. Acting as if there is free will is in the foreground, realizing that this too is absent of free will, that this too is grace, can go in the background.

Believing, and making wrong conclusions

The other, less healthy, way, is to take a nihilistic approach and abandon any sense of responsibility. Of course, what we are really doing here is to first attach to a belief of an absence of free will, and then attach to an idea that this means nihilism and abandoning responsibility. This is miles away from what happens in a real awakening, when there is a real realization.

How it unfolds when realized

In a real realization, this human self continues to operate much as before. It still explores options and alternatives. It still tries to make informed and compassionate decisions. It is still very much active and engaged in the world. If anything, there is more of an incentive to making informed decisions, to live from compassion, and to be engaged in the world.

The only difference is that now, there is no sense of an I there anymore. There are thoughts, choices and actions, yet no I there anywhere. It is just an expression of awake emptiness and form, as anything else happening.

There is very much doing, but no doer anymore.

Grace, and also planting seeds

All of this, believing naively there is free will, taking on a nihilistic attitude, Spirit awakening to itself, all of this is also absent of any I or free will. It is the local expressions of the movements of the whole, it is Spirit expressing, exploring and experiencing itself in various ways. It is all God’s will. It is all Grace.

At the same time, there is a planting of seeds in the world of form that allows these things to happen and unfold. There is a planting of a seed that spurs someone to explore for themselves, and some guidelines for how to do it. There is a set-up that brings someone into cynicism and nihilism when they read something like this. There is the infinite causes coming together so that someone still acts as if there is free will, even if he realizes, to some extent, that it cannot be.

Anything happening in and through us has infinite causes, and we can plant seeds for ourselves and others. We can plant seeds for happiness, release from suffering and awakening. And we can plant seeds for misery. We do both.

And both are themselves the fruits of infinite causes.

But here too, it is a good idea to act as if there is free will.

And around and around it goes, until Spirit awakens to itself.

Ocean and wave

 

One of the common analogies for the relationship between Big Mind and the human self is that of the ocean to the wave. They are one substance, and the wave is a local and temporary manifestation of the whole.

Sometimes, when people talk about it, they place the center of gravity in the wave even after it awakens as the ocean, as if the wave awakens to itself as the ocean.

But the wave doesn’t awaken. If it appears to, it is just a preliminary awakening. It still sees itself as a unit, as an “I”, and sense or taste or have an intuition of oneness with the ocean. The boundaries may blur and appear not so real anymore, but there is still a sense of I there, overlaid on the wave.

What really awakens is the ocean. It awakens to itself as the ocean, manifesting as that particular wave and all other waves. It realizes that it was only temporarily misidentified as a wave.

For the ocean identified as other local waves, it may appear as if that particular wave awakened. But it is always the ocean awakening to itself, and expressing it through that wave.

Whatever changes in the wave is just a reflection of the ocean awakening to itself while functioning through the wave.

Tracing humility

 

Another exploration of the “many forms of …”, this time of humility.

Field identified with a segment of itself, creating inflation and shadow

It all starts with this field of seeing and seen, right here now, inherently absent of I anywhere. A field without a center, where nothing is a subject or object, and where everything is a subject and object.

In most cases, a belief in the idea of I is then placed on a segment of this field, usually this human self.

Then, a large set of associated beliefs form an exclusive identity. Meat is put on this skeleton of “I” in the form of a more elaborate identity, such as I am a man, I am Chinese, I am a software engineer, I am Christian, I am a good person, I am a father, I believe that people shouldn’t lie, free markets are good, and so on.

So here, there is first an identification with this particular human self, set apart from other human selves. Then, an exclusive identity is formed, setting me apart even more. And all of this is also associated with a large number of value judgments.

People shouldn’t lie. I don’t lie. So I am a good person, better than all of those who lies.

Free markets are good. I am for free markets. People against free markets are not only wrong, but misinformed, misguided, dangerous, maybe even evil. I am right, they are wrong. I know and want what is best for people, they don’t know or don’t want to do what is best for people.

This inevitably leads to the idea, and lived experience, that I am both better and worse than others. I am better because I am and believe all these things, which are good. And I am worse, because I am not or don’t do, what is good although some others do.

In addition to this, we form a self-identity which (typically) consist mostly of the “good” traits, and we push most of what don’t fit out of awareness, into the Shadow in Jungian terms.

There is inflation, in that I see myself as this human self and better than others. And there is a Shadow, composed of all the qualities in me I don’t want to see here.

So there is the rollercoaster ride of being reminded of various things in my identity that is better and worse than what I see in others. There is the tension between conscious identity and all of us that does not fit this identity. And there is the tension in daily being confronted with the difference between my identity and the identity I put on others, especially when they mirror back to me my own Shadow.

Humility as stories I tell myself

In this situation, humility often means that I tell myself stories about how I am equally or not as good as others, and that this is good. It is good to be humble. I tell myself stories that make me appear humble in my own and other’s eyes, so I can feel good about it.

(Or I can tell myself stories about humility as not good, so I don’t see myself as or needing to appear humble.)

Humility as realistic perception, deflating the inflation with the Shadow

Going a little further, humility can simply mean realistic perception. I see myself more accurately, more as others would see me, more as I appear in the context of the widest range of human possibilities.

And this means looking at and integrating Shadow elements into my conscious view of myself, my conscious identity. I lie too, in my own way, as much as anyone else. I am selfish too, in many different ways.

Whatever I see out there, in others and the rest of the world, I can find here as well. The question is only how it shows up, and by looking at that in detail, over and over, and feeling into it, it gradually gets integrated into my conscious view and experience of myself.

I deflate the (false) inflation by recognizing and integrating more and more of the Shadow elements. I gain a more accurate perception of myself, more as an outside and dispassionate observer would see it.

This is a continuing process. As long as there is any identity, there is by necessity a Shadow. Any identity is an exclusive identity, and what is excluded goes into the Shadow.

In this process, our view, and our experience of ourselves and the wider world, naturally goes from dualistic to less dualistic and more nondual or transdual.

There is less and less absolute differences between myself and others, in fact, the wider world mirrors what is right here.

My identity becomes more and more inclusive and porous.

And the different qualities and characteristics are more and more revealed as not inherently good or bad.

Realized selflessness, all as Spirit, and the world mirroring my human self

Eventually, the field of seeing and seen awakens to itself as a field, inherently absent of I anywhere. It is a field of seeing and seen, absent of I, with no center anywhere. There is no subject or object, yet the field as a whole is both subject and object.

The field of seeing and seen is all Spirit. It is Spirit waking up to itself, as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.

Any ideas of humility or not fall away and cannot touch this. Yet, it can also be seen as the ultimate humility, the ultimate falling away of I and Other, of attachment to ideas of better and worse.

It is all Spirit. There is no I and Other, no better and worse.

All levels included: Spirit, shadow and levels and lines

When Spirit awakens to its own nature as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I, the previous levels are also included.

First, all is recognized as Spirit with no I and Other. This goes into the foreground.

At the same time, Spirit is still functionally connected with this human self. And the wider world is still mirroring qualities in this human self. Any quality or characteristic in the wider world is also found right here, in this particular human self.

For this human self to function in a more whole, mature and integrated way, there is a need to still actively find the qualities out there also in here.

This human self is revealed as inherently absent of any I, as anything else, but it can still function in a less or more mature way.

In addition to all of this, there are the lines and levels of development.

Humility, or accurate perception, includes an awareness of the lines and levels of development as they show up in this human self right now. How well is it developed along the different lines? Which lines are further ahead, and which ones are left behind? What does this mean for how this human self functions in the world? How does an awareness of this change how this human self functions in the world? Which lines need special attention right now?

The maturing and development of this human self as the primary skillful means

As I have mentioned before, the maturing and development of this human self is part of skillful means.

In many traditions, developing skillful means following an awakening is emphasized so that this human self can serve as a catalyst for awakening. And the main tool is this human self, which means that the maturing and development of this human self is the main and essential skillful means.

Awakening and human selves

Spirit awakens to itself as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, yet also functionally connected with a particular human self. And Spirit may not have awakened to itself while being functionally connected with other human selves.

So this is where a life of service, and possibly aiding Spirit to awaken while functionally connected with some of these other human selves, comes in. It is simply Spirit aiding itself to awaken to itself. Just for the heck of it.

Ego as organizing principle, and attachment to idea of I

 

Reading some Jung again, triggered by the alchemical images coming up in waking and sleep processes, I am reminded of the two meanings of the word ego.

One meaning is as an organizing principle for our human self. It is that which differentiates and allows this human self to function in the world. It is the operating system of this human self, in a way. This is the realm of conventional western psychology.

The other meaning comes from eastern philosophies, and also from the informal use of the word as in he has a big ego. This comes from a belief in the idea of I and a particular identity to flesh it out. From this comes a sense of I, an experience of I and Other, a sense of being different, of being better or worse than, of pushing something away and holding onto something else, of something to protect, and so on.

The psychological ego is essential for the human self to function well in the world, before and after awakening to selflessness. It needs to be mature, differentiated, well developed.

The other ego is just a sense of an I, placed on top of something inherently and already absent of an I. There is no I there, anywhere, so although this sense of I appears very real, and certainly influences how the human self operates in the world (with a great deal of drama), it is inherently innocent. Even the sense of I does not have any I in it.

So in our lives, we want to develop the psychological ego, and we may want to take a closer look at the other ego – the sense of I. What do I get from holding onto this sense of I? What are the consequences? Is there really an I there? Can I find it anywhere? Who or what would I be without it? What would I be if the content of awareness is the same, but with no I there anywhere?

We may find, as Sakyamuni Buddha did, that the source of suffering is the sense of I, that release from suffering is for the field of seeing and seen to awaken to its own nature absent of any I, and that there is a path from one to the other.

Spirit pretending twice: first to be a segment of itself, then imitating what is really is

 

Another symmetry, this one of Spirit pretending in two different ways.

Spirit pretending to believe in ideas

Spirit, as emptiness, awakeness and form, pretends to believe in ideas and makes a limited identity for itself. The field of seeing and seen makes itself appear as a segment of itself, it makes itself appear as I and Other. Its true nature, as the Ground of seeing and seen absent of I anywhere, is still alive in immediate awareness, but ignored due to the beliefs. And it is really just pretending to believe, although it makes it seem very real to itself.

The core belief is in the idea of I as a segment of the field of seeing and seen, and the peripheral beliefs are all the ones that makes up identity: human being, Asian, five foot six, libertarian, heterosexual, likes to drink beer, roots for the Wildcats, a computer programmer, and so on. (That is not me, by the way…!)

Spirit pretending to be what it really is

Through this first level of pretending, Spirit makes itself appear as a segment of itself, in our case, as a human being. I am this human self, and Other is the rest of the world, other people, nature, awareness, God, Spirit, and so on.

As there is still the immediate awareness of being the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, there is a longing for coming home – for this “unity” absent of the boundaries of I and Other. And this plays itself out in innumerable ways, in any of the ways we see in human seeking for approval, money, status, relationships, happiness, freedom from suffering, and so on.

One of the ways it plays itself out is in longing for God, for Spirit, for truly coming Home.

And at some point, this longing takes the form of practice, spiritual practice: prayer, meditation, compassion, ethical behavior.

And the funny thing is, each of these practices is just another form of pretending. It is Spirit pretending to be who it really is…!

Or more precisely, it is Spirit imitating what comes naturally when it lives through a human life and has awakened to itself. And through this imitation, it allows its human self to reorganize so the real shift can happen spontaneously, in its own time.

Through prayer, we seek to dissolve the separation of I and Other, or to allow (the sense of) I to dissolve so God can be. We taste, over and over, how it is when God is and “I” am not. When Spirit has awakened to itself, and there is no sense of I and Other anymore.

Through meditation, we seek to allow anything to come and go on its own, as Ground already does. We try to imitate Ground.

Through ethical behavior, we seek to mimic how Spirit lives through a human live when it has awakened to itself. By effort and imitation, we seek to find what is effortless and spontaneous when Spirit has awakened to itself.

All of this imitation and mimicking is essential. As silly as it is from one perspective, it is also essential in another way. It does prepare the ground for a more real awakening. It does allow our human self to reorganize and realign so Spirit can more easily awaken to itself, and more easily live from that awakening through this one particular human life.

:: Pretending, yet experienced as very real

There is a pretending involved. First in Spirit pretending to be just a segment of itself, and then imitating itself as it functions through a human life when it has awakened to itself. Yet, it all also becomes very real in immediate experience.

The identification as a human self appears very real, and gives birth of the whole sense of drama in our lives – in longing, seeking, avoiding, surviving, finding joy, avoiding suffering.

And the seeking of God appears just as real, because it is a part of the same drama. It is the final phase of the drama, and involves the drama of the spiritual seeker and its adventures, misadventures and final release from the drama.

Awakening: what may change and what may not

 

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.

The me and mine, and the you and it, within transcend and include

 

In his chapter on the shadow in Integral Spirituality, Ken Wilber writes about the me and mine, and the you and it, within transcend and include as it shows up in spiritual practice.

Arising as 1st, 2nd and 3rd person

Anything arising can be seen as 1st, 2nd or 3rd person: as I, me or mine, as you, we or ours, or as it, other or theirs’s.

Trancend and include

And anything arising can be transcendet and included through various forms of spiritual practice such as meditation and self-inquiry. It arises within the field of everything arising in the present. And it arises as awareness, consciousness, Spirit, Buddha Mind, Brahman, God. This is of course wonderful in itself. It is reality waking up to itself.

From a blind identification with content, with the seen such as our human self or our soul, the center of gravity and identity shifts into the seeing itself, as the witness the seen arises within and to and as. And from here it shifts into realizing that there is no I anywhere in all of this: here is no I in the seen and no I in the seeing. The center falls away. The self-contraction falls away. There is just a field of what is, of the seen and the seeing, absent of I anywhere.

And there is the realization that this is how it always already is, even in the midst of the temporary misidentification with a portion of the seen or with the seeing itself.

Yet, as KW points out, there is a very important differentiation here. There are two flavors possible for what has been transcendet and included.

The me, you and it of that which is transcendent and included

If it is recognized and known as I, it becomes me and mine. It is arises as you or yours, or it or theirs, then it remains so even after the transcending and including of it.

In the first case, it remains 1st person. In the second case, it remains 2nd or 3rd person. Even as it arises as Buddha Mind, Spirit, emptiness dancing.

Example: anger remains an it

This is something I saw clearly in my initial awakening in my teens, and one of the reasons I worked so much (and still do) on recognizing and integrating projections: making the it into I and mine. It is a long process, one that lasts as long as there is a functional connection with a human self, so it is a good thing to find peace with – and find the enjoyment in.

For me, anger was definitely an it, an yours and theirs, probably due to the long list of typical suspects such as upbringing, family and cultural patterns, my young age (not ready to wake up from this aspect of the family and cultural trance), and so on.

So even in the midst of the awakening, where everything is revealed as consciousness, as Spirit, as God, it remained an it. Anger arises as Buddha Mind, with no separation and even with no I anywhere. Yet also firmly as an it to this human self, within all of that.

As Spirit, there is of course no need to integrate it. It already naturally is, arising within and as Ground and Spirit.

Yet on a human level, for this human self, it was very different. This human self had no idea of to integrate it, how to include it in its repertoire, how to use it, how to live it, how to use its energy in daily life and interactions with others, how to effectively relate to it when it comes up in in oneself or others. Anger remained an it. Something slightly foreign to this human self.

If anger is an I or mine previous to the awakening, it looks quite different. Of course, it still arises as Spirit and Buddha Mind. But it is now me and mine when it arises. It is not foreign to this human self, but something familiar, something that is included in the repertoire, something that can be lived and used in daily life, something that this human self knows how to relate to in itself and others in daily life – in a more effective and effortless way.

The absolute and relative of me and yours and it

At the absolute level, there is no difference. It arises as Buddha Mind and that’s it.

At the relative level, there is a huge difference. In the one case, where it remains an it, it is left out of the repertoire of this human self. It is foreign to this human self. And in the other case, it is included in the repertoire, it is familiar, it is a tool that this human self knows how to relate to and use.

Never too late…!

Of course, it is never too late to make the it into a mine, to own that which was disowned, to become more familiar with it at a human level, to include it into the realm of the familiar and the daily repertoire of this human self.

Gradations along the scale of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person

And there are also, of course, gradations of this, all the way from extreme disowning of the quality at a human level, to a deep familiarity and comfort with it. It can be something that this human self never touches, even after awakening. Or it can be something it is very familiar with as mine and knows how to use with elegance and effectivity.

These qualities are not only a component of our human makeup, allowing us to be fuller, richer and more complete and mature human beings. They are also skillful means, and the more of them that go from yours and it into me and mine, the larger the repertoire of skillful means available to us.

Deepening in familiarity, fullness and richness

There are always more of the yours and it that can be made into me and mine. And there is always further to go in allowing this human self to become familiar with it, exploring how to use it, how to live it, how to bring it seamlessly into daily life.

It can deepen in richness and fullness, as a me and mine.

How to work with this

In terms of the techniques for working with this that I am familiar with, the Big Mind process and The Work both seem excellent.

Through both, we become familiar with the its as me and mine. We learn to own that which was previously disowned. To include in our conscious repertoire at our human level that which previously was left out.

Playing the game: taking a fictional character as real

 

Say there is a fictional character, and you want to make the stories about him or her more engrossing for yourself. What do you do?

Pretending a fictional character is real

One way is to pretend the person really exists, to take the stories seriously and as reality. That way, you can allow yourself to go into it more fully, to put more energy, attention and interest into it than you otherwise would.

And that is exactly what many Sherlock Holmes scholars and fans do. They play what some refer to as The Game: studying Sherlock Holmes as if he was a real flesh-and-blood person, Dr. Watson his biographer, Conan Doyle his literary agent, and the stories themselves histocial documents.

Playing the game to bring out the richness of the stories

In this program on Sherlock Holmes from To the Best of Our Knowledge, Leslie Clinger – author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, talks about The Game, or Holmesian Speculation.

Listen about 25 minutes into the program:

It’s a game. And it’s a game we play to enhance our appreciation of the story. When we treat them as real, we can justify spending a great deal more effort in researching the background of the stories and in working up explanations for the stories in a way that brings out their richness.

Lila

And so it is with our lives as well, according to many mystics and spiritual traditions.

This human self that there is so close an identification with, that seem as an I, that is taken so seriously, that appear so real, so solid, so true. This human self has no I in it anywhere. There is no I in the seeing of it, in the awake space it arises within and as. There is no I in the seen, in this human self and all its aspects: its sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, behaviors.

There is no I anywhere in the seeing or the seen. There is only the Ground of empty awakeness the seeing and the seen arises within and as, with no I anywhere. There is doing, yet no doer anywhere. There is choosing, yet no chooser anywhere. This human self just happens, absent of any I. It lives its own life, as anything else in the world of phenomena lives its own life.

This self, as an I, as a separate entity, as a chooser, as a doer, is fictional.

And what makes it a more interesting and engrossing character? To pretend it is real. To take it as I. To have a close identification with it. To live as if it is separate from anything else. To see myself as it, and subject to birth and death, joy and suffering, health and happiness, gain and loss, and all the other ingredients of the human drama.

There is no drama without identification with this human self. And the drama is what makes it engrossing. It is what makes it interesting, at least for a while.

A new flavor of the game: seeking awakening

And then there is a weariness of this drama. A growing readiness to move on. For Ground to awaken to its own nature as awake space, as seeing and seen, absent of I.

There is a new flavor of the game, not much different from all the other flavors, and this one is called spiritual seeking and practice.

This and the other ones are all games where human self is taken as an I, and the new flavor is to try to have this I awaken. Which of course is impossible. This human self can never awaken, and there is no I anywhere anyway – only a temporary and mistaken identification as an I and this human self, but it makes for another interesting chapter of the drama.

A new game: this human self functioning in the context of realized selflessness

And then there is a significantly new game: Ground awakens to – or rather remembers – its own nature, and now the game becomes to allow this human self to live from this awakening, to mature, evolve, interact, experience, explore within this new context of realized selflessness.

It is a whole new section of the story, yet one that is no less juicy. And one that has no end, at least as long as there is a functional connection to human self.

Realization and conceptualization

 

In Spontaneous Awakening, Adyashanti talks about the difference between realization and conceptualization.

At one level, it is very obvious.

When something is realized, and especially when Ground awakens to its own nature, there is release, liberation, freedom from suffering.

When something is conceptualized, and there is an attachment to this conceptualization, it tends to lock us down. It is a mental prison, splitting the world up and placing our identity in one part. It blinds, hems in, creates an argument with reality.

Yet, in our own life it can be a little more tricky. Something may be clearly realized, then goes into a memory, and we may temporarily take the memory for the realization itself. It is just natural, and something to notice, to be aware of, take into account. Look a little further, at what is alive in immediate awareness, and what was realized may be here again, fresh, new.

I as seen, seeing and absent

 

There seems to be a simple progression from I as seen, then as seeing, and then absent.

I as seen

First, there is a belief in the idea of I and it is placed on content of awareness. More specifically, it is placed on this human self or aspects of this human self, those aspects that fit our identity, our beliefs of what or who we are as a human being.

This human self and the rest of the world arises in awareness, and this is filtered so that this human self appears as I and the rest of the world appears as Other.

In this process, awareness itself may appear as Other, as something that comes and goes, that there is more or less of, that can be distracted. I am this human self, an object in the world of phenomena, arising within space and time, subject to birth and death, and awareness is somehow an appendix to this human self, a property of this human self, and it can be more or less present.

The center of gravity is mainly in the seen, in our human self.

I as seeing

Then, the sense of I shifts to awareness itself, to pure seeing, to witness, to this clear awakeness.

I am awareness, and the whole world of phenomena arises within me. I am timeless and spaceless, and time and space arises within me. I am without form, and form arises to and within me. I am seeing, and Other is the seen.

There is a tremendous sense of liberation in this. There is a disidentification with the human self, with its reactivity, limited identity, precariousness and mortality. The world of form, the world of phenomena, is revealed as a seamless whole. There is no inside and outside anymore.

The center of gravity is mainly in the seeing itself.

Finally, there is the dawning realization that here too, there is a sense of I and Other, and where is really the dividing line? What is more true in immediate awareness? Is there an I and Other? How can there really be an I and Other here?

I as absent: Spirit as seeing and seen

As this is explored, there is the realization that any sense of I and Other comes from the belief in the idea of I, placed on the seen – this human self, or the seeing itself.

Now, seeing and seen is revealed as inherently and always absent of any I. It is all Ground in its many appearances. It is all Spirit. It is emptiness dancing. It is the Divine Mind, revealed as seeing and seen. The seen is no different from the seeing.

The center of gravity is now in Ground, appearing as seeing and seen.

Clear shifts

Each of these shifts are clear and significantly different from each other. Yet, there is also often a gradual shift in each case. There may be glimpses of the next phase, temporary shifts into it, intuitions about how it is, a sense of how it is. Then, there is a more clear shift into it.

For instance, when there is still a sense of I placed on the seeing itself, there may be a very clear sense of it all being one, that the seeing and seen is Spirit, that I and Other is no different. But this is still merely a sense of it. It has not yet shifted into a clear, obvious, indisputable realization that seeing and seen is inherently absent of any I whatsoever. The center of gravity is still mainly in the seeing and has not yet shifted into Ground.

And when this shift occurs, it is seen how filtered the previous realization was, how much there was still a sense of I there, even if it appeared quite transparent at the time.

Consciousness – personal or spirit?

 

The whole world gets filtered through any of the beliefs we have, including the belief in the idea of I.

Consciousness filtered through belief in I

So when there is this belief in the idea of I, usually placed on our human self or parts of it, this also filters how we interpret – and perceive and experience – consciousness.

If I see I as this human self, separate from the rest of the world, then consciousness appears to be a property of this human self. It is a human consciousness, and it is my consciousness. It is unique, and is born and dies with this body.

This is a natural view when there is an (exclusive) identification with our human self.

Consciousness filtered through I as awareness

When the sense of I shifts to awareness or consciousness itself, the experience of consciousness also shifts. Now that is who I am. It is not a property of this human self, rather, it seems that this human self is a property of consciousness.

Before, this consciousness was interpreted as arising from this human self. Now, this human self – and the rest of the world of phenomena – clearly arises within consciousness.

I am the seeing, I am pure awareness, timeless, spaceless, formless, and the world of phenomena, time, space and form is Other, it is the seen.

At some point, there is the dawning realization that here too is there a polarity of I and Other, now placed on seeing and seen. Where is the boundary, really? What is the difference between the two? Maybe the experience of this form of I and Other also comes from an overlay of ideas, maybe this too is filtered through a belief? What is already more true in immediate awareness?

Consciousness absent of I

This exploration allows the final belief in the idea of I to be seen and fall away. Now, consciousness arises without the filter of I and Other, and seeing and seen is seen as consciousness itself. The content of awareness is awareness itself. It is all form and emptiness, Ground as seeing and seen, and there is no I inherent anywhere – not in the seen and not in the seeing.

The same consciousness appearing in different disguises

The very consciousness that initially appeared as my human consciousness, as a property of this human self, and then as seeing as opposed to the seen, is now revealed as Spirit, as Ground, as Buddha Mind, Divine Mind, as seeing and seen, and inherently absent of I anywhere.

It is all revealed as the very same consciousness having appeared in different disguises. And the disguises were only created by beliefs, by attachment to ideas, filtering how it all appeared to itself.

Self/Other Grid II

 

The Self/Other practice or modality grid mentioned in an earlier post left out the body level.

With it, the rough outline could look like this:

Self/Body

Various forms of exercise, including aerobic and strength, and diet, sleep and self-massage.

Other/Body

Forms of bodywork, such as massage, other-assisted stretching, medicines, surgery.

Self/Energy

Forms of yoga, including indian yoga, tai chi, chi gong, and related practices such as Breema.

Other/Energy

Forms of healing and energy transmissions such as reiki and diksha.

Self/Consciousness

Forms of inquiry and meditation, such as The Work, headlessness experiments and shikataza.

Other/Consciousness

Changes in content or context of consciousness catalyzed by an apparent Other, by a teacher, Christ and God.

Interactions

This grid overlays Ground and its many manifestations, so it is one fluid whole before and after we put on this grid. This also means that through the filter of this grid, we will see interactions between each of the areas.

When I or somebody else works on my body, it has effects on energy and consciousness levels. Energy may start flowing more freely, I may feel more relaxed and/or alert, and so on.

When I or somebody else works on my energy aspect, it has effects on my physical body, maybe healing of or relief from physical problems, and my consciousness aspect, maybe an experience of bliss or clarity, maybe even glimpses of Big Mind or selflessness.

When I or somebody else influences my consciousness, it also affects on the two other levels. My body may change, maybe it relaxes and tension melts away, and my energy system may change, maybe knots unravel and energy flows more freely again.

Integral Life Practice

The Other portion of this grid is often left out of integral practice discussions and frameworks, but it seems that for it to be more inclusive, and more aligned with the what is out there and available to us in terms of practices and tools for healing and awakening, both the Self and Other sections must be included.

Self/Other & Energy/Consciousness Grid

 

Here is a very simple grid that seems to cover many approaches to awakening…

Self/Energy

This quadrant includes the various forms of yoga, such as indian yoga, tai chi, chi gong, and also related approaches such as Breema. I – whatever I refer to as I – am doing yoga. I am the doer.

Self/Consciousness

This includes the many forms of meditation and self-inquiry, including shikantaza, The Work, headless experiments. I am doing meditation or inquiry. Again, I – typically placed on my human self – is the doer. I cause, invite or set the stage for change through choice and intention.

Other/Energy

This quadrant includes any approach where a change in our energy aspect is caused by Other. It can be in the form of energy healing, reiki, sat nam rasayan, diksha and so on. I receive it from someone or something else.

Other/Consciousness

This quadrant includes an apparent Other bringing about a change in consciousness, either in the content of consciousness or context, in awakening to selflessness.

Others appear to bring about a change in content all the time of course, just through every day interactions. And at times, Others may appear to bring about a change in content that can be seen as an altered state, or an awakening to nature or deity mysticism levels. This can happen in the presence (physical or otherwise) of a teacher.

Other can also appear to bring about a change in context of consciousness: an awakening from the appearance of I to a realization of selflessness, of content staying the same but clearly revealed as having no I anywhere. This can also happen in the presence of a teacher.

Diksha

I personally find diksha to be among the most interesting of these approaches right now.

Diksha is a transfer of energy, and it comes from Other, so it belongs to the Other/Energy quadrant.

Yet, this change at the energy aspect influences the physical body, so it goes to another box in the grid that could be called Other/Body.

And from here, and probably also directly from the energy aspect, it influences consciousness, in the Other/Consciousness quadrant.

This influence of consciousness covers both content and context, eventually allowing for a clear awakening to selflessness.

See also an expanded grid.

Typical Things Happening in Awakening (?)

 

Here are some things that seem typical in an awakening process. At least one that goes from identification with our human self to realized selflessness, or F5 through to nondual in Ken Wilber’s framework.

Here is a somewhat rambling and unsystematic overview of what comes to mind…

Wholeness of psyche/body

A sense of wholeness of our human self, beyond and including what we abstract out as psyche and body. This is the F6 or centaur level in KW’s framework, and is typically included in further awakenings.

Sense of intimacy with the world, no separation

As there is an immediate experience of the wholeness of our human self, there is also a sense of the wholeness of the rest of the world of phenomena. At the same time, the boundary between our human self and the rest of the world of phenomena appears more transparent. There is a growing sense of intimacy with anything arising in the outer world. There may be an intuition or sense that the boundary was only a mental construct in the first place. This is the nature mysticism, or F7, level in KW’s framework.

At this phase, the center of gravity is shifting out of our human self and more into the seeing itself, into consciousness.

As the center of gravity shifts more into the seeing, into witness, pure awareness, this sense of intimacy with the world of phenomena, and of no separation, becomes stronger. The boundaries within the world of phenomena is more clearly seen as superimposed and mere abstractions. And there is also as sense of the apparent split between seeing and seen as an overlay of abstractions, as not inherent in the seeing/seen.

Sense of all as sacred, Spirit, God, Buddha Mind, Divine Mind

As the center of gravity shifts into seeing, into awareness, there is a growing sense of all phenomena as sacred, as Spirit. There is a sense of the seen as no different from the seeing, and it is all the play of the Divine Mind. This is the deity mysticism phase in KW’s framework. There is still a sense of I here, although now more placed on the seeing itself.

Sense of timelessness

As the center of gravity shifts into the seeing, into pure awareness, there is also a sense of timelessness. Pure awareness is timeless, and it can be tasted very clearly as awareness gradually becomes more aware of itself.

Time unfolds within awareness, not the other way around. Change unfolds within, and really as, that which is changeless – this seeing, this pure awareness, that is right here reading these words.

Time and change unfolds as before, although seen as secondary to the context of awareness as inherently timeless and changeless. The nature of awareness it timeless. It is the eternal now, the timeless present, within which and as all change happens.

Sense of spacelessness

At the same time, there is also a growing sense of spacelessness. The world of phenomena seem 2D in a way. There is a sense of no distance. There is a sense or intuition of everything arising as awareness, or consciousness, itself, as arising from the same Ground, and in this – there is no distance, no separation, no space.

Within this sense of spacelessness, conventional space and distance unfolds as before, although seen as secondary to the spacelessness. Spacelessness is in the foreground, conventional space is in the background. Spacelessness is the context of conventional space, which is seen as not different from spacelessness, it is made up of spacelessness.

World of phenomena as a field

Again, as the center of gravity shifts into seeing, into pure awareness, the world of phenomena is seen as a seamless field. This human self is just a part of the landscape of what is arising in the eternal now.

The boundaries between this human self and the rest of phenomena arising, is more and more clearly revealed as superimposed, as a mental construct. It seemed real when the center of gravity was in this human self, but now, as the center of gravity is in seeing itself, the boundary has a sense of transparency and lack of reality about it.

Everything happening on its own, living its own life

As the center of gravity shifts from the world of phenomena, in the form of this human self, and into the seeing, there is also a gradual release of any sense of doer.

First, there is the noticing of sounds, tastes and smells, sensations and thoughts as just happening on their own, they seem to live their own life.

Then, and more shockingly, there is the growing realization that this human self – including its choices and behaviors, is just happening on its own. That too is just living its own life. The sense of doer is retracted from this human self, and seen as another superimposed mental construct.

No doer

The sense of no doer grows. First, it may be seen in sights, smells/tastes, sensations and thoughts coming and going on their own, living their own life. Then, there may be a growing sense or intuition that this is also true for this human self, for the choices and behaviors it engages in.

As the center of gravity shifts into pure seeing, witnessing of this human self, it becomes more and more clear that it is just doing things on its own. There is no I there to make anything happen, it happens on its own. There is no doer there to do anything, the doing happens on its own.

This can be unsettling at first. Will it survive on its own, with no I or doer there to take care of it? Then, there is the realization that it has survived fine so far, and there has never been an I or doer there in the first place.

In the awakening to selflessness, in Ground awakening to its own nature as seer and seen with no I anywhere, this becomes clear. Any lingering doubts fall away. This human self, as any other phenomena, has always functioned without an I, without any doer.

Unless, of course, you see consciousness itself – the Ground as emptiness and phenomena, as seeing and seen – as the doer. The doer with no I anywhere.

World of phenomena as space, emptiness, awareness, consciousness

While the center of gravity is in the seeing, in pure awareness, there is a growing realization that what is seen does not appear so different from the seeing itself. There is a growing sense of the content of awareness as awareness itself.

And although it is the awareness functioning through a human self, it does not seem to be human awareness. It is the Divine Mind which this whole universe arises within, and which is seeing itself right here now.

Along with this, there may be a sense of realization of this human self, and indeed all phenomena, really being space or emptiness. They themselves are this aware space.

The seen and the seeing both arises from this Ground, which is aware emptiness. And this is an immediate realization.

One Taste

As part of all this, there is also a growing sense of One Taste. Whatever happens is recognized as Ground temporarily taking a particular form.

First, this may be tasted in glimpses. Then, there may be a growing undercurrent of this sense. And in the awakening of selflessness, it is clearly revealed as always and everywhere being this way.

Reversals

Along with all of this are various forms of reversals.

When center of gravity was in this human self, awareness seemed within this human self. Now, as the center of gravity shifts into pure seeing and is eventually released as Ground, this human self is seen as arising within awareness, within and as Divine Mind, within and as Ground.

Similarly, early tastes of timelessness seemed to appear within time. Now, time arises within and as the timeless, this timeless awareness, this eternal now.

Tastes of spacelessness seemed to appear within space. Now, space arises within and as spacelessness.

Earlier, things seemed to happen to me, as a human being. Now, everything seems to happen for me, as an invitation for awakening and clarification.

And maybe most shockingly of all: Earlier, there was a sense of an I – variously placed on this human self, pure awareness, and maybe other things. Now, everything arises with no I anywhere. In and beyond the seeing and the seen, there is no I anywhere to be found.

And other aspects…

Synchronicities

Synchronicities, meaningful a-causal coincidences, seem to occur (or at least be noticed) more frequently as this awakening process unfolds.

During the initial awakening in my teens, my days were filled with meaningful coincidences occurring – surprising, unexpected and noticeable enough so even others remarked on it frequently.

Energy shifts and reorganizations

In any awakening, there seems to be a good deal of energy shifts and reorganizations. This human self, and its energy aspects, needs to reorganize within and realign with the new contexts it is operating within.

First, this is the context of center of gravity in pure awareness. Then, the context of realized selflessness, of Ground awakening.

Since it happens within space and time, it takes time…! It takes a long time or a short time, and it can be dramatic and very noticeable if it happens fast and/or there is a lot of realigning needed, or less dramatic and less noticeable if it happens slower and/or less realigning is needed.

Again, in the initial awakening in my teens, this realigning was quite dramatic, and it took a while as well (months and years). It seemed to mostly take place during sleep.

Hidden psychological material (including shadow) emerging to be seen

Psychological material emerges, especially those aspects that have been repressed and denied in various ways. It comes up and all seems to want is to be seen, to be recognized, acknowledged – through the simple seeing of it. No drama is needed. It just needs to surface. These aspects seem to be like children who needs to be let in to the warmth for a while, until they heal, mature and are ready to move on.

It can be dramatic. It can be unpleasant. If it is resisted, there is more drama and unpleasantness. And if it is resisted less, if there is just the seeing of it with no added drama, just the being with it, then it can be less dramatic and less unpleasant.

It can even be quite interesting: here are all these things I didn’t even know was here, and now they are surfacing. They, as everything else, come to pass, not to stay, as Byron Katie puts it.

Planting Seeds

 

I notice that if I plant a seed in the form of a question (and maybe some information to go along with it), an answer will usually surface some days, weeks or even months later.

This has been noted by many people of course, including in writing by many psychologists, inventors and scientists, and Adyashanti as well, on the Spontaneous Awakening CDs.

The most recent example for me was the question of Sakyamuni Buddha’s statement following his awakening: all sentient beings, the great earth and I have awakened together. I remember having the question come up briefly some weeks back, and then an answer of sorts came up yesterday, out of the blue. In between these two instances, there was no attention to or even conscious awareness of the question.

The answer surfacing, at least in its expressed form, is of course always relative, provisional, temporary, to be refined, modified, replaced. Any formulated or expressed answer is by its nature relative: It can be very helpful in orienting in the world of phenomena, yet at the same time is not absolute, limited in scope and even of temporary usefulness.

No Being Has Ever Awakened

 

I think this is a statement found in many different traditions. Again, it is a statement obscure before awakening and clear after, and clear even through for instance the Big Mind process.

When there is an awakening to selflessness, it is Ground – Spirit, Buddha Mind, Divine Mind, emptiness, awakening to its own nature of no I anywhere. And this Ground is functionally connected to a particular human self.

From this awakening, it is clear that there are no beings, only the appearance of individual separate beings. There is only Ground (somehow separately) functionally connected to all the different beings, and in many cases temporarily identified with and as a sentient being. It is only an appearance, a temporary experience, a temporary misidentification, however real it may seem at the time.

For Ground still identified as a human being, it will appear as if another human being awakened. Yet from the view of awakened Ground, no being every existed – at least not as separate or individual in any way.

To speak in a very approximate way, we can say that in the absolute, there is no room for compassion. Big Mind is cool, detached, seeing itself everywhere, seeing no real (separate, individual) beings anywhere. Yet, moving towards the relative and Big Heart, there is tremendous compassion for all the suffering experienced, even if it is just Ground temporarily misidentified, experiencing itself, as a sentient being.

Speaking more accurately, we can say…

Ground awakened to its own nature, functionally connected with a human self, will naturally manifest compassion when this human self encounters Ground misidentified as a sentient being, manifesting suffering.

Awakening West?

 

Quite a few these days believe that we are seeing a larger scale awakening, in the west and around the world. To me, this seems to be a projection of the potential, unfolding or more mature awakening in the people holding these views. Nobody is immune to blind projections, not even when an awakening to selflessness has taken place.

And of course, no matter which thought we believe in, we can find lots of apparently convincing evidence to support it. When we believe a thought, it is the job of the mind to support it and prop it up.

In this case, the evidence may be we who are interested in these things tend to hear about and meet lots of people who have awakened or are in an awakening process – far more than we did just five or ten or twenty years ago. But there are of course simple explanations for this. We are far more interconnected these days, especially through the internet (websites, blogs, listserves, etc.) And in my case, I didn’t even know where to look in the beginning and it has taken time to uncover all these people I now know or know about.

To know if there really is a larger scale awakening process taking place, we would need large scale studies, grounded in solid science, and uncovering trends over several decades. I personally don’t know of any yet.

There may indeed be a larger scale awakening, or not, but to believe either way is a blind projection. It is wishful thinking. It is free fantasy. At least until there are some good studies out there showing trends over time. And even then, it would still just be a story.

My only business here is my own awakening, and not even that.

Ego… Two Meanings & Matures Following Awakening

 

This is again pretty basic, but a good reminder for me…

Two meanings of the word ego

The word ego seems to be typically used in two different ways.

One is in the western psychological sense, as the software for a (relatively mature) human being. It is an organization of the psyche which allows us to function in the world, with at least a minimum of effectiveness. This ego is necessary, and can be more or less mature and well functioning.

In eastern traditions, it often refers to a sense of I, or a belief in the idea of I. This is the ego that drops away in an awakening to selflessness.

The software reorganizing and realigning

I listened to Spontaneous Awakening by Adyashanti yesterday, and he seems to use the word in the more common psychological sense. The ego, in the sense of the software for a human being, is there before and after an awakening to selflessness. And it may be relatively mature and healthy before and after, or not so mature and healthy before and after.

At the same time, it seems that it does naturally reorganize (to various degrees) after an awakening – it realigns in this new context of Spirit awakened to its own nature. And in this sense, it tends to mature and heal following and within an awakening to selflessness – especially if that maturing is emphasized and encouraged.

Maturing and dropping away

So in a western psychological sense, the ego remains after an awakening – and tends to realign and mature within this awakening, especially if that is encouraged.

And in an eastern sense, the ego is obliterated in the awakening. The sense of I is seen through as only a temporary appearance created by the belief in the idea of I. There is only what is, with no I anywhere. The content of awareness may be the same as before, but the context changes – from a sense of I to a realization of selflessness.

Language & Awakenings

 

Going to Breema intensives is a good opportunity for me to explore the connection between language and awakenings, or rather how the world appears and what language we tend to use at different levels of awakening.

Centaur awakening

The first level of awakening beyond the conventional (where the center of gravity seems to be for most people) is an awakening as a psyche/body whole. This is the F6 or centaur level in Wilber’s framework. It is a significant shift from being identified as a fragment within this whole, and we may say that I am that whole of which psyche and body are aspects. It certainly gives a sense of wholeness, fullness and of being more at home as a human being. There is still a sense of I, placed on this human self, so that in itself is inherently stressful – although within a different context than before.

Soul level awakening

At F7/F8 levels of awakenings (soul level, nature/deity mysticism), there is often a language of unity, no separation, intimacy, oneness and so on. All are words which reflects that there is still a sense of I there, although an I one with everything else. It is all God, Spirit, the Divine Mind, yet with a sense of I placed somewhere within it.

Witness awakening

In an F9 level awakening, as Witness, there is similarly a sense of I remaining, and language such as I am not this body, emotions, thoughts, etc. The world of phenomena here appears as a seamless field, there is no inside or outside. But there is a sense of I as observer, as Witness, as pure awareness. There is a sense of I as a clear mirror for the world. Itself absent of any preferences, and merely watching the preferences of this human self. There is also a taste of doing without doer at this point, the human self is just operating on its own as everything else. It is all just happening.

Nondual awakening

In a nondual awakening, where everything is revealed as inherently absent of any I, the language again changes. And it becomes even more clear how inadequate language is to describe the way the world appears from these awakenings. Everything just happens, I am That, Suchness, absence of I, emptiness dancing – none of these are very helpful, yet do make sense when the awakening happens. And it is completely clear that everything is just happening, including the activities of this human self. There is doing, and no doer anywhere.

Figure-Ground Reversal

 

A rambling draft…

It is interesting to explore the flow between the appearance of I and Other and the (near) realization of selflessness, of what is with no I inherent anywhere.

It seems very close to a figure ground reversal in the visual realm. The content stays the same, yet that which is perceived as figure and ground switches.

In one case, there is a sense of I and Other, and I is placed on temporary forms. So the flow of the innumerable temporary forms and appearances is now in the foreground. This human self, sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts, other human selves, houses, trees, stars, music – all of these are in the foreground. The Ground of space, awareness and clarity is seen as Other and in the background. We may notice the ground of space, awareness and clarity, yet it is all somehow an Other – coming in and out of focus and attention.

In the other case, this Ground of space, awareness and clarity comes to the foreground, revealed as inherently absent of any I and Other. The flow of temporary forms and appearances arises within this context of Ground. The forms now becomes more of a background, as just the dance of this emptiness. As it is sometimes expressed, it is all God appearing in various forms and God is in the foreground.

Reversal as drama

It is very simple. Yet, for understandable reasons, we are used to seeing the forms in the foreground. It becomes a habit.

And as there is the appearance of I and Other as an absolute and final reality, we make the figure-ground reversal of realizing Ground in the foreground as an Other. We distance ourselves from it for this simple reason, and bring also this into our sense of struggle and drama.

When the reversal happens, it may not be complete at first and may clarify over time. And the switch may go back and forth many times before it stabilizes more in the realization of everything absent of any I.

The consequences of each

Each of these reversals have their own natural consequences.

When there is a sense of I and Other, and I is placed on temporary forms, these forms are in the foreground. As space, awareness and clarity appear as background and Other, they appear to be more or less present – although it is really only the noticing of them which comes and goes. And as I is typically placed on this human self, “I” become finite, limited, temporary, within space and time, wanting this and not that. A sense of struggle and drama arises. There is an exclusive identification with our human self, and “I and Other” appear as final and absolute.

When the Ground is in the foreground, there is a sense of ease, flow, of timelessness, of space & time unfolding within this timeless now. There is still I and Other in a conventional sense, although revealed as just conventions with no inherent or absolute reality to them – both revealed as Ground.

Sequence

  1. :: The Origin ::

    There is the Ground (space, awareness, clarity) and the play of the Ground (the flow of infinite forms and appearances of the Ground).

    :: Appearance of I and Other ::

  2. A sense of I as separate from Other arises. It arises as Ground and as one of the appearances of Ground. It is Ground appearing to itself in the form of I and Other, subject and object, seer and seen.
  3. The sense of “I” is typically placed on temporary forms. In our case, on a human self.
  4. Since “I” is placed on temporary forms, these now appear in the foreground and the Ground in the background as “Other”.
  5. As Ground can appear as Spirit, God, Buddha Mind, timelessness and so on, these now also appear as “Other”. There is the appearance of “I” connecting with God as “Other”, and this connection appears to be more or less strong, more or less present, to come and go.
  6. The qualities of the Ground – timelessness, space, awareness, ease, clarity and so on, are now brought into and out of attention. They appear to come and go.
  7. As “I” is placed on something temporary and finite, what it is placed on now takes on a more permanent and solid appearance.
  8. Placing “I” on something temporary and seeing everything else as Other, there is a sense of drama and struggle.
  9. This sense of struggle and drama solidifies the sense of I and Other, it makes the distinction seem even more real, more absolute, more final.
  10. We now either see the reversal of Ground into the foreground as (a) a fantasy, nonexistent, impossible, irrelevant or (b) as a desirable Other. In both cases, this reversal is brought into the drama.
  11. It is possible to still be caught up in the drama of I and Other, and place “I” on some (limited) qualities of the Ground. The fluid and infinite appearances of the Ground may now be seen as “Other”. This is another form of the struggle.
  12. Being caught up in the drama of I and Other, it is also possible to see the timeless and formless aspects of Ground as real and the time and form appearances as less real or illusionary. This is yet another form of the struggle.
  13. And being caught up in the drama of I and Other, it is possible to make what is without abstractions and stories as real and desirable and abstractions and stories as false and undesirable. This is yet another form of the struggle, not much different from any other.
  14. Being caught up in the drama of I and Other, we can make the reversal of I and Other in the foreground as false and undesirable and the reversal of Ground in the foreground as true and desirable. And we are still caught up in the struggle as much as in any other way, although it tends to be the final form of the struggle.
  15. When the struggle is exhausted, the reversal to Ground in the foreground is allowed to happen with more ease.

    :: Reversal to Ground in the foreground ::

  16. The reversal to Ground in the foreground happens on its own, although we can practice and train in ways which makes it more likely to happen. It can happen suddenly, out of the blue without or with practice. Or it can happen gradually, over time. The reversal just happens. As a master of reversals said: the reversal it is an accident, and practice makes us accident prone.
  17. When the reversal happens, it seems obvious. It is all Ground. There is a sense of ease. There is still the conventional “I and Other” and the conventional “I” can be placed on our human self used to navigate in the world, but it is not taken as anything final or absolute, just as the play of Ground.
  18. When the reversal happens, there is still a functional connection to a particular human self. There is even the conventional “I” placed on this human self, although it is recognized as just another temporary form and appearance of Ground – no different from any other.
  19. When the reversal happens, there is the recognition of everything – of the flow of forms and appearances – as happening within the timeless and eternal Now and Present. Everything is always fresh, always new, always different. God never repeats itself.

    :: Both reversals the play of Ground ::

  20. And when the reversal happens, we see that it was all the play of Ground. Both reversals are the play of Ground, in one instance with the forms in the foreground and in the other instance with Ground in the foreground. And in one instance with the appearance of drama and struggle and the other with the appearance of ease. Both are fine. Both are Ground. None are inherently more preferable than the other.

Amma

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, a friend of mine went to an event with Amma in Seattle last Sunday event. She told me that as she received the hug from her, an explosion went off in her heart. And since then, she has experienced everything and everyone – without exception – as love. The Universe itself, in all its forms, is love.

I was deeply touched by the story, and could certainly see the change in my friend. I could see her live as love.

And isn’t it beautiful how it can be catalyzed by something as simple as a hug? I would take a hug any day, over the customary gazing (as much as I enjoy that) and talks.

It is also a reminder of the beautiful symmetry of consciousness and energy, as Ken Wilber outlines in his new book. If we divide our being into levels, from physical through to causal, then we can say there is an energy- and consciousness-component at each level. They each influence each other. And in any awakening, both are included although one may be more emphasized than the other.

Amma’s hugs and the dikshas are just two examples of how awakenings can be catalyzed from the energy side, in turn inviting the consciousness to awaken. In this case, it seems that an awakening of the energies of the heart chakra opened for a recognition – a clear seeing – of everything as love. And other forms of energy work, such as Indian and Taoist yoga, are other examples of how the energetic side is addressed.

And of course, Amma and the dikshas are not truly neccesary. They just remind us of what we already are. They allow us to give ourselves permission to find it. Yet that reminder may be neccesary, at least in the beginning. They are a mirror of what is already here.

Seeing it there, I am reminded of what is already here.

Perfect

 

There are different ways of looking at this situation – however it appears – as perfect.

One is that it is all God, a temporary manifestation of God, emptiness dancing. It is inherently complete, perfect, distinct from any stories we put on top of it, beyond and including any and all polarities.

Another is that whatever this situation is, it allows me an opportunity to get to know myself. Whatever I see as out there is also in here. You are my mirror. And when I recognize this, I return to an experience of completeness and perfection. It is a taste – or sometimes a more full blown realization – of this very situation as God, as complete, as perfect.

So any situation is perfect and complete. Any partner is a perfect partner for me. Any body is a perfect body for me. Any role in the world is a perfect role in the world for me.

It all allows me to see myself. To see whatever I see as out there also in here. To see that I am you. To find the Ground this all arises within and as.

Everything is an invitation to awaken – to ourselves as complete, and everything as Ground, as emptiness dancing.

On a more relative level, this taste or realization gives a sense of freedom. I realize I don’t have to worry so much, I don’t have to get it “right” according to some abstract idea.

And it also gives me freedom to meet people where they are at, still caught in the world of preferences. Of wanting this and not that. And be of assistance from within that world as well. I am both the Ground, emptiness dancing, and I am you wanting certain things and not other things. I am you wanting to be free from suffering. I am you seeking happiness. And as soon as you are there, wanting to be free from suffering and seeking happiness, that is my wish as well. I become in service of that.

It may look many different ways. It may appear that you want health, and then that is my wish as well. Yet, I may also see that what you really want is freedom from suffering, and that is also my wish for you. Your wish becomes my wish for you, which is another name for me.

The Absolute arises in this immediate experience of it all. In God awakening to its own nature, as everything absent of I.

The Relative arises in I as you, when God has (apparently) not awakened to its own nature through you yet. You arise, manifesting a more dualistic view, and that is how the Relative arises in and as me.

Enlightenment, God Realization & Maturing

 

There seems to be more and more interest for a combination of Enlightenment, God Realization and maturing.

Enlightenment – meaning realizing selflessness, what is realizing that everything is inherently absent of any “I”. This is Big Mind waking up to its own nature, and the nondual level in Ken Wilber’s framework.

God Realization – meaning the awakening and flowering of the heart. This is Big Heart awakening, with a subtle distinction of I and Other within a context of everything as God. This is what is awakened at F8 (deity mysticism) in KW’s framework.

Maturing – this is the level of our human self, which can continue to heal, mature and develop before and after the two flavors of awakenings. Within the context of Big Mind/Big Heart awakening, its healing, maturing and development is part of it being increasingly finely tuned as an instrument in the world, as a vehicle in the world of form and phenomena.

In today’s world, when there is so much availability to all three, why leave any one out?

And there are more and new frameworks and approaches being developed which includes these three as well.

In terms of frameworks, Ken Wilber’s AQAL one is probably the most well developed right now.

In terms of approaches, the Big Mind process is a great example of one that works at all three levels from the consciousness side. And diksha is an example of one that works at all three levels from the energy side.

And of course, in just years – and certainly decades – all of these will seem very outdated. Cutely quaint. The pioneering efforts of a more inclusive approach which may be taken mostly for granted in just some decades. Who knows.

Popping & Path

 

An awakening can happen spontaneously, out of the blue, apparently uninvited. Or it can happen following a period of practice, of deliberately walking the path.

In sufism, the initial version is apparently called majzub, and the second salik. One is obviously grace, the second apparently effort. Although there is also effort in the first one, in terms of exploring and living what happened. And there is clearly grace even in the second one, first in the external and internal circumstances coming together for someone traveling the path, and then in the awakening itself.

As J. Nurbakhsh says in The Path (p. 31), both have to be present for it to be complete – especially if that person is to guide others. If there was first an awakening out of the blue, then the path has to be traveled later on (either from within the awakening, or after an apparent fall). And if the path was traveled initially, then the grace and popping of awakening has to happen for it to be more complete. One alone is not sufficient.