A rambling, unedited, stream-of-consciousness post (as most of these are), and a reminder to sometime organize this a little better, looking in more detail at some of these connections…
I talked with a friend of mine earlier today, and the conversation went into being with whatever we are experiencing.
Resistance to being with
For me, that is so much a part of my daily life that it was a good reminder of how it can be experienced in the beginning, if we are in the habit of (trying to) resisting experiences. There is often fear coming up around it, including for me with some experiences (if they are very intense, or it goes against a familiar pattern). It may seem scary, potentially overwhelming. What if it takes over? What if I loose control?
Everything included, including resistance
The beauty of just being with whatever I am experiencing, right now, is that everything is included. Whatever arises, whether fear or bliss or contractions of longing, I can simply be with it. Allow it, as it is, as it unfolds, in however way it naturally unfolds. It is very simple (which in my case is a good thing.)
Nothing is left out. Not even fear and resistance to the being with. That too is an experience I can be with.
Resistance in the form of identifications with identities
Resistance to experiences comes from identification with beliefs and identities, including the core one of a separate self. And this resistance to experiences, to what is, this sense of I and Other, creates suffering. We try to wall off experiences, wall of an aspect of what is, of existence itself, and this naturally is stressful, unpleasant, miserable. Ultimately, it is miserable because we wall off aspects of who (as individuals) and what (as Spirit) we already are. We are split against ourselves. And somewhere, we know this.
Who and what I am
There is this field of seeing and seen arising… This awake emptiness arising as form, as the landscape, the tree, sunlight, stove, lamp, sounds of the cars, sensations of the body, taste, words.
When I wall myself off from who I am, as an individual soul and human self, I may wall myself off from this alive presence, the luminous blackness, anger, fear, frustration, joy, or whatever else does not fit into the identities I identify with right now.
When I wall myself off from what I am, as Spirit (Big Mind, Brahman, Tao), I wall myself off from the rest of the field, the landscape, the trees, the awake emptiness, awake emptiness arising as form, absent of I anywhere.
Fullness, nurturing, and quiet bliss
When everything is allowed, these identifications naturally soften, become more transparent, are released, and may even completely fall away. And whatever is experienced, independent of its particular content (even great pain), gives a sense of fullness, a quiet joy and bliss, and of nourishment. Without resistance, there is rest, independent of what arises.
Relaxation and release from identifications
Identification with identities is creating walls, boxing ourselves in, putting ourselves in a cage. It is resistance to what is. So when it is all allowed, there is a relaxation and release of our basic identities, of being male or female, young or old, human, and so on. And there is also a relaxation and even release of our core identity as a separate self.
Fluidity of first person
And this allows for a fluidity of what is experienced as I and Other… What appeared as second or third person (you or it) may become first person. I may find myself as this pain, or as the alive presence, or as whatever else arises. Released from conventional identities, the sense of I can be placed on any aspect of the field arising, or as the field as a whole, without a center anywhere.
Identities without identification
Identities are still there, arising when they need to, used for practical purposes in daily life, but there is no real identification with them anymore. They are just tools for this human self to function in the world. Who I am knows how to work with them, even when there is not an ultimate identification with them.
When there is resistance, there is also a deadening. A deadening of experience, of life, of who and what we already are, in our fullness.
In the relaxation of resistance, there is a new aliveness. We awaken to more of the fullness of who and what we are, to what is arising here and now. And we may even work with this in a more intentional way… Who am I in my fullness, as this individual soul, this alive presence, and as this human self, finding in myself any and every quality I see in the wider world? What am I in my fullness, as this awake emptiness and the world of form arising as this awake emptiness?
Forms of active and passive
The being with whatever arises is in a way the ultimate yin approach, just allowing what already is. It is a mimicking of Ground, which already allows anything (and which is part of what we already are.) Yet it is also active, it is an active being with. It includes awareness of what is happening, and an active being with of whatever arises – that which we habitually push away, the impulse to pushing away, the resistance… whatever arises.
So being with has a passive and active element to it, yet overall it is passive. It is simply being with what already is, as it is.
Yet there is another active element that complements it. The active exploration of who and what I am, the active living of who I am within the context of what I am, and the active placing of my human self under the influence of soul and Spirit.
Exploring who and what I am
Exploring who I am as an individual human being, I can use the wider world as a mirror. Whatever qualities I see out there, in other people, animals, fictional and dream characters, in the landscape, the universe, these are qualities I already know and am familiar with – to some extent – in myself. And I can become even more familiar with these, own them (in the sense of including them in my active identity as a human being), befriend them, embrace them, explore them in my life and relationships with others and the wider world.
Exploring who I am as an individual soul, I can find myself as this alive presence, as luminous blackness, as fertile nurturing darkness, as the indwelling God, and so on. I can explore how the human self transforms within this new context, placed under the influence of this soul. How it softens, deepens, matures, becomes more fully human. I can explore how it is when the soul level is present in several of us together, how it influences our relationships,how it learns to recognize itself through mirroring itself in others (just as we do on our human level), how it unfolds in presence and relationship with others where it is alive (as individual flames coming together creating a larger fire).
Exploring what I am as awake emptiness and form, I find myself as the field of wakeful form, as it arises here and now, centerless and selfless. The I without an Other. Arising, for right now, also as this particular human self.