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.

Vulnerable little animal

 

This has come up for me recently… how I, at my human level, is just a vulnerable little animal, and how all the human drama is wrapped up in this.

As a little animal, I am vulnerable… tiny in a big world… ultimately at the mercy of my surroundings.

From this comes all the human drama… hope, fear, longing, suffering, denial, joy, sadness, contentment, grief, ecstasy, reactiveness, hostility, feeling lost, feeling belonging, discomfort… the whole package, comes right out of that.

And all this little vulnerable animal wants and needs is to be seen and loved. To be held in love and compassion… to soak in it… as it is, with no need to change… and in that, it does change… it does realign… reorient… knots untie… hangups unravel…

I can find myself as deep love and compassion (Big Heart) and allow all of my human self, all of the different parts, soak in this… softening… allowing the hard edges to soften…

Three aspects of identities

 

Identities can be seen as having three aspects:

General face to the world

First, as being our face to the world, generally defining our third person identity as a he/she/it. These identities are mostly exclusive: I am man, not woman. I am Norwegian, not Swedish. I like ice cream, I don’t dislike it.

Embracing the polarities

Then, as being one end of a polarity, where the other end also has some truth to it. As an individual, we include all qualities and characteristics. Anything we see out there in the world, we are right here. We embrace all the polarities. I am man, but I also have feminine qualities. I am Norwegian, but as a human being I am far more universal than that. I like ice cream, but if I have eaten too much of it – or I am sick – then I don’t like it.

Free from identities

Finally, all identities are only relative truths. When identification is released from these identities, and they are no longer taken as absolutes, I find myself as this awake emptiness, and form as awake emptiness. There are no identities here, nothing that can define this awake emptiness (not even that term). It is untouched by abstractions, yet allows for the play of abstractions and identities.

All three together

In an absolute sense, I am awake emptiness and form, untouched by any identity, yet allowing the fluid and dynamic play of them all.

In a relative sense, I am a human being with several generally exclusive identities. And looking at it a little more closely, all of their opposites are true as well. As this individual, I am everything I see.

The gifts of each

The first type of identity allows us to function in the world. It is our passport identities, the ones that differentiates us – as individuals – from others.

The second type of identity allows us to not be confined to exclusive identities. It allows us to see ourselves in others, and others in ourselves – bringing a deeper sense of intimacy, recognition and connection. It allows us to embrace more of all of what we are, and to bring it out in daily life.

The third type of identity allows for a freedom from any identity. It is the awake void allowing for the fluid play of any and all of them, without being caught up in or confining ourselves to any particular one. None are fixed, none are absolute. They are just the temporary and shifting surface ripples of the time/spaceless awake emptiness.

Oneness at the three levels

 

Over the last couple of days, a lot of things have come up for me around the three levels of being (Spirit, soul and human) and how particular qualities show up when filtered through each. These are generalizations from how it (seems to) show up in my own life right now.

In terms of oneness

Oneness at the Spirit level

At the Spirit level, oneness shows up as awake emptiness and form, absent of any separate I. This is what we discover through the headless experiments, the Big Mind process, or other forms of inquiry, or through meditation (allowing the content to be as it is), or even spontaneously. It is the ground, awake emptiness and form as awake emptiness, so it embraces and goes beyond one and many.

It is one, in that all forms are revealed as a thin surface of the same awake emptiness. It is many, in that it includes all the many forms of the world. It is neither, in its emptiness aspect.

In itself, it is absolutely impersonal, yet becomes personal when lived through the life and relationships of an individual human.

Oneness at soul level

At the soul level, oneness shows up in a different way. I can only speak about my limited experiences here with the alive presence, fertile darkness, luminous blackness, and the indwelling God.

Oneness appears in slightly different ways for each of these.

The luminous blackness emerges out of the same awake emptiness as anything else, and is somehow intrinsically interwoven with all form. The same is true, although to a lesser extent, with the fertile darkness (which is more of a composting ground for rigid patterns of the personality.)

The alive presence and the indwelling God have a oneness quality in that they too emerge out of awake emptiness, sharing this ground with anything else. At the same time, they are both alive around, in and for this particular individual (and for any other individual, whom I assume will experience it in a similar way.)

Each of these soul aspects have an universal and a personal quality, maybe most clearly noticed with the indwelling God – which appears as a fragment of God particularly for this individual. It is universal, since it is God (Existence itself), and it is intimately individual and personal, since it is an aspect of God for this particular individual, centered in the area of the physical heart.

Oneness at human level

The oneness at our human level also takes several forms. There is the oneness of all form, arising out of the same awake emptiness, and belonging to the seamless whole of existence.

And then there is the oneness of the mirroring, of finding in ourselves any quality we see out in the wider world. What I see out there, is what I am here. The more we work with this, and become familiar with more and more of our own qualities as individuals, the more it is all revealed as universal. I see any human quality out there in others and the world, and also know it from my own life. We are all in the same boat. We all share everything it means to be human, and are one in that way.

Impersonal and personal

Oneness at each of the three levels is both impersonal and personal, universal and particular to an individual.

At the Spirit level, it is impersonal in that all is revealed as awake emptiness, inherently absent of any separate I. Yet, it becomes intimately personal when this is lived through a human life, in the world, through relationships with other individuals and the wider world.

At the soul level, it is impersonal in that it arises out of the same ground of awake emptiness as anything else, and is available to any individual. Yet, it is intimately personal, especially the alive presence and the indwelling God, in that it is a fragment of the soul level of Existence in, around and for this particular individual.

At the human level, it is impersonal through the seamless whole of the world of form, with everything having infinite causes and infinite effects, and anything happening around and through this individual representing movements of the larger whole. It is also impersonal through finding anything here that I see out there, realizing – in my bones -that we are all in the same boat, it is all just part of being human. At the same time, it is all by necessity intimately and uniquely personal, filtered through this human being.

Headless and fullness of being

 

I paid attention to the slight shifts between headlessness and being with experiences today. They are very similar, although in being with the form is slightly more in the foreground, and in headlessness the awake emptiness is slightly more in the foreground. And of course, within each, there are also shifts in which of the two are more in the foreground.

I also noticed a curiosity about how it is when both are more fully present, and had that answered a few minutes later when I walked into the public library and listened to a surprisingly good live performance of baroque chamber music (Bach, Corelli etc.). The sound, which was full, rich and clear as water, evoked a similar sense of fullness of being at human and soul levels, and also brought into the foreground the awake emptiness.

So at once, there was a deep and rich sense of fullness of being, as an individual, and also the awake emptiness within which and as all form arises. A fullness of being as individual, and also the field arising absent of a separate self.

Aspects of seeking, longing and wanting

 

Another rambling post, this one of some of the things that come up for me when I explore longing in my own life…

Resolved at three levels

Seeking, longing and wanting can be resolved at (at least) three levels.

First, they can be met, and partially and temporarily resolved, at our human level.

Then, they can be met, and more deeply resolved, at our soul level.

Finally, they can be ultimately resolved at our Spirit level.

And these three are in no way mutually exclusive.

What we seek

Some of the things I find myself seeking include sense of belonging, sense of home, intimacy, love, acceptance, allowing, wealth, abundance, fullness, peace, rest, excitement, being fully alive, experience and live life fully, freedom from suffering, joy, happiness, fulfillment, understanding.

Examples of resolution at three levels

So how is any particular longing resolved at the three levels?

A longing for intimacy

Is partially and temporarily met and resolved at my human level in three ways: through intimacy with others, with the larger whole (nature, earth, universe), and with myself. It can take the form of friendship, intimate relationships, physical intimacy, transparency, sharing of more of all of me, connection with nature, exploring and embracing more of what I am.

At my soul level, it is more deeply met and resolved in two ways. First, when the alive presence surfaces as 2nd or 1st person (you or I/me) there is inherent a deep and profound sense of intimacy there (I am not sure how to describe it more clearly, but it is certainly there.) Then, as there is an awakening of the soul level, there is also a deep and profound sense of intimacy with the wider world as well, with others, nature, the universe as a whole. It is all shimmering with and as alive luminous presence. And this alive presence, right here, in this individual, this personal presence, is of one piece with the alive presence out there, the personal alive presence of others, and the impersonal alive presence everywhere throughout nature and the universe.

And as with any other longing, it is ultimately resolved at the Spirit level. It arises from a sense of I and Other, of separation, which gives a sense of lack, of something missing (which is true.) So when the field of what is, of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form, when this field awakens to itself as a field, without any center, without any separate self anywhere, then any longing is resolved. There is only identification with longing when there is a sense of separation. In the absence of separation, there is also an absence of identification with longing (it may still arise, but without identification.)

A seeking of a sense of belonging

Is partially met through all our human ways we find belonging, such as belonging to a place, a community, a landscape, a family, a culture, a nation, a planet, an universe.

Is more deeply met and resolved through awakening of soul as alive presence and all the other ways it arises. In second person, there is a deep sense of belonging, and as first person, it deepens even further. There is a recognition that this is who I really am, at an individual level. In my immediate experience, am far more truly this soul, this alive presence, than I am this human self and personality.

And again, at the Spirit level, there is a more ultimate resolution. Here, I find myself as awake emptiness and form, and as the Ground of all form. It is complete. There is no Other anywhere that can add to it. There is no Other that can provide any further sense of belonging.

Soul level

I could go through a large number of longings, and the ways they are resolved at our human level is pretty obvious from our own experience, and the way they are resolved at Spirit level is always the same (absence of I and Other)…

But the ways they are resolved at our soul level is more interesting to me right now, maybe especially since my formal background is mostly from Zen, and this seems to be largely left out of Zen.

At our soul level, either finding soul as second or first person, all the longings I have explored so far, for myself, are naturally resolved. The many qualities of the soul is exactly what I long for…

The alive presence seems to be filtered through the three centers in different ways, as light split through a prism. It is filtered through the belly center as fertile darkness and a luminous blackness, deeply nurturing, holding, allowing anything in this human self to be composted. It is filtered through the heart center as an alive presence in the heart, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive, responsive and personal. It is filtered through the head center as clarity, awake emptiness, form as no other than awake emptiness.

Through the belly center, there is a deep sense of stillness, nurturing, healing and maturing. Through the heart center, a deep sense of God as personal (whether second or first person) and infinite love. Through the head center, nondual wisdom and a release from suffering.

Together, there is a deep sense of aliveness, belonging, nurturing, acceptance, allowing, peace, rest, stillness, fullness, wealth, richness, excitement, intimacy, understanding.

Embracing all three levels

The alive presence – in all its many aspects, as this individual and the wider world – really fills all my needs, it is everything I ever was looking for. And yet, it does not preclude also finding it at my human level, and it does not preclude finding the ultimate resolution at the Spirit level.

There is a deeper longing which is the embrace of all three levels, of finding what we seek at our human, soul and Spirit levels. Why leave anything out?

And some other aspects of this…

Surrender

There has to be a sense of surrender at each of these levels.

One form of surrender has to do with impermanence…

At our human level, it is obvious. Everything is in flux. Things happen. I may seek something particular, and it doesn’t come along. I have what I want, and it goes away. Something comes along I don’t want. That is just human life.

And so it is also at our soul level. The alive presence may be very much present in some phases in our life, and then retreat and seemingly be completely gone. That is the relationship with our soul, at least in the early phase.

The same is the case for the Spirit level. We may have glimpses of various clarity and duration, and then they are gone. Again, this is our relationship with Spirit, until it awakens fully to itself.

Another form of surrender is of what we take ourselves to be…

At my human level, I may find myself as more than or different from what I thought I was, and particular identities are surrendered. I may have ambitions that do not come to fruition. I may find in myself things I didn’t want to see. I may have gifts I didn’t know was there. Ways of being I was not aware was there come up in different situations and emerge over time.

Finding myself as soul, my exclusive identity as a human being (and with the personality) has to go.

And finding myself as Spirit, any identifications has to go.

Each of these is a death, and a rebirth. We die as what we thought we were, and are reborn as something else.

Adyashanti’s inquiries: tracing back, and not already here?

It is helpful to clarify what we seek and long for, and one way to do it (recommended by Adyashanti) is to make a list of everything we want, from the most grand to the most petty, from the most spiritual to the most mundane. Then, go through each item and ask what do I hope to get from this? And continue until you find the seed want (for me, it usually ends up as happiness, and freedom from suffering.)

Then, ask yourself is it true that this is not already here? Usually, I can find it present, at least as a grain, at each of the three levels. Any longing presumes that it is not already here, so this is a way to notice that it may already be here.

Spirit, soul and human self

If we awaken to ourselves as what we are, as Spirit, then everything is rest, peace, even in the midst of great activity and turmoil. There is the I without the Other, so automatically rest, a sense of completeness, of nothing missing. No matter what happens at our individual soul and human levels, the peace and sense of completeness is there.

If we awake to ourselves as soul, to any degree, then there is a continuous sense of alive presence, of profound and vibrant aliveness, nourishment, richness, fullness, sweetness, intimacy, being home. And this infuses our human life, no matter how this human life shows up (if it goes bad, this gives comfort and relieves some of the suffering, and if it goes well, this gives an added sense of vibrancy and aliveness.)

Distinct, fused and not two

 

We can split what and who we are into two, and then three.

Spirit, then individual

First, what we are as Spirit, the field of awake emptiness and form absent of center and separate I. This is what is absent of I, or the I without an Other.

Then, who we are as an individual, which in turn is an individual soul and human self. This is the individual self that is inherently selfless, as the rest of the world of form is inherently selfless. It is that little speck within the form aspect of Spirit that it, somehow, mysteriously, is functionally connected with, its vehicle in the world of form.

In other words, we can say that what and who we are is Big Mind (Buddha Mind, Brahman, Tao), soul (alive presence) and human self (personality). And all of it is inherently selfless.

In my own experience of this, I am struck by how these three are simultaneously distinct, fused, and also not two.

Distinct

Each of these three are distinct.

Spirit is this field of clear awake emptiness and form, with no center, no separate self. It is a what. Impersonal. Universal. The I without an Other. The field of seeing and seen, as a field, without any center.

Then there is the individual soul, which is experience as an alive presence and can be filtered in many ways. As infinitely loving and intelligent. Infinitely receptive and responsive. As luminous blackness. As the indwelling God, an alive presence in the heart region. As the alive full presence around and in this physical body. And so on.

And then this human self. This body-mind, functioning within the world of physical form, and with a particular personality. This brings the joys and stress of being physical, including the longing, seeking, wanting, fear, happiness, sensual pleasures, contractions, hangups, and much more. It is the little vulnerable animal trying to make its way in the world.

Fused

In addition to being experienced as distinct, they are also fused.

Spirit infuses the individual soul and human self, especially as it awakens to itself as Spirit. It realizes that all form, including the individual, is no other than itself. The blind identification is taken out of the individual, allowing the individual to reorganize free from the burden of being identified with and in the context of all as Spirit.

The soul, the alive presence, infuses the human self, allowing it to untie knots, heal, mature, and develop in a far deeper way, into a more mature, whole and rounded human being. Ironically, the soul presence, brought into the human self, allows the human self to become more deeply and thoroughly human. It gives the safety and sense of nurturing which allows the human self to relax, to give up some or all of its struggle with itself, and to become more familiar with all of what it is, and embrace and own it all.

And the human self is infused with Spirit awake to itself, and with soul, working on and within it.

Not two

At the same time, there is no I and Other here. These are not two, nor three.

They are all just Spirit, the field of awake emptiness and form, arising as Spirit awake to itself, and functionally connected with this individual soul and human self. Already and always centerless and selfless.

Trinity

These three are a trinity, such as the trikaya of Buddhism. One yet distinct.

And with the potential of being more deeply fused, placing our individual soul and human self under the influence of Spirit, and our human self under the influence of the soul.

Two ways of being with: meditation and healing

 

There are (at least) two ways of being with experiences…

Atemporal being with

One is atemporal, here and now, just being with and allowing whatever is. This is also a being with whatever resistance arises, which allows a disidentification with this resistance, and this in turn allows for the sense of a separate I to erode and fade, possibly into the field noticing itself as a field, already absent of a separate I. There is an intentional activity here, which is the activity of being with what arises, and that is it.

Temporal being with

Then there is the temporal being with, which is a being with what unfolds over time… Seeing where it leads, what wants to come up, surface, be seen, felt and loved…

Allowing whatever comes up to soften, be held, unravel. Just by seeing, feeling into and love what comes up, there is a deep healing of it, and an unraveling of knots.

And in addition, almost as an afterthought, there is also an insight into patterns (although not always, and not always necessary), which can offer an additional level of healing and unraveling.

Two aspects of the same process

These two are aspects of the same process. The first one is more a meditation, the just sitting type of mediation known as shikantaza in Zen.

The second one is more of a healing process, similar to Process Work, Somatic Experiencing, shamanic work, and many other forms of healing and exploration forms.

And each one contains the other, more or less, depending on the situation and intention.

Within the unfolding of a process is the being with, just as in meditation. And within meditation can be a feeling into and possibly also a loving of whatever arises, depending on the circumstances and intention.

Both as inquiry

And both are inquiry.

Being with whatever arises is really an exploration of who or what am I? It leads to the field (of seeing and seen) to notice itself as a field, already absent of I and Other. Sooner or later, this will happen, and if it hasn’t been a conscious inquiry, it certainly becomes one at that point.

Allowing knots to surface and heal is also a form of inquiry. It is an inquiry into seeing, feeling and loving the knots surfacing, and also into the dynamics of the whole process… of knot-making, knot-unraveling, and what is revealed when knots dissolve… which is new layers of who and what we really are, until the same field awakens to itself also through this process.

The onion is peeled until the empty center is reached, and everything is revealed as always and already awake emptiness and form, absent of a separate I.

Both leading to the field awakening to itself

The atemporal being with leads to the field noticing itself as a field, here and now, independent of content.

And the temporal being with leads to an unraveling of knots which leads to the same place: the field awakening to itself as a field, again independent of the particulars of the content.

The individual as a filter for Big Mind, and more or less healed and mature

The individual is a vehicle for Big Mind in the world of form, and also a filter for Big Mind. No matter how awake Big Mind is to itself, it will still be filtered through the particular individual it functions through… its flavors, and its level of healing and maturity.

The atemporal being with is the classic spiritual path, leading to Big Mind awakening to itself. In the process, there is often a healing of the human self, both before and after this awakening. But there is no guarantee that there is a healing of the human self, of how thorough it is, or that this healing and maturing continues.

And if Big Mind functions thorough a distorted human self, with lots of knots and hangups, it will function in the world in a distorted way as well. The output is no better than the filter. (Instead of garbage in, garbage out as they say in science, is is Gold in, garbage out, if filtered through the garbage of the individual…!)

The temporal being with is a healing and maturing of the individual, and this goes on before and after Big Mind awakening to itself. It allows more and more areas of the individual to heal, reorganize and mature, in always new ways. There is no end to the process. The human individual can become a fuller, richer, more and more fine-tuned instrument for Big Mind in the world. More and more deeply human. More and more deeply Spirit awakened to itself, functioning through and as a human self.

Both needed

As with so much else, it seems that both are needed, and that they are two ends of the same polarity.

The atemporal form is very helpful in clarifying the awakening, for Big Mind to recognize and become more intimately familiar with itself.

And the temporal form is essential for a deeper and more thorough healing and maturing of the individual, which is a vehicle and filter for Big Mind in the world of form.

Forms of identity

 

Some forms of identity…

Conventional

The conventional identity for our human self helps it function in the world, and it can be more or less rigid and exclusive.

If it is rigid, exclusive, either/or and absolute, there is also a relatively strong sense of separation between persona (daily identity) and shadow (anything that does not fit this identity), and an investment in maintaining a stable conscious identity through maintaining a strong border between persona and shadow. I am a man, and that’s it. I vote democrat, and republicans just don’t get it.

If it is more porous, fluid, both/and and inclusive, there is more of a dance between persona and shadow, more space for any quality to be represented within the main identity. I am a man, but also include traditionally feminine qualities such as caring and making food. I vote democrat, but understand and agree with republicans in some areas.

Big Mind form aspect

This is Big Mind in its form aspect, which is all inclusive of all form. Whatever arises is Big Mind, or the Self, or Brahman, Spirit, Tao, in its form aspect.

Big Mind formless aspect

This is the formless aspect of Big Mind, the awake emptiness.

In itself, it is completely free from any identity. Stainless. Untouched.

At the same time, it is the awake emptiness of all form. It is the emptiness of form, taking any sense of absoluteness or substantiality out of whatever arises.

All together

All together, there is (a) the conventional identity of our human self, typically of the more inclusive and fluid variety. It is there only as an aid for functioning in the world and there is nothing absolute in it. (b) There is the realization of all form as Big Mind, as Spirit, as the Self, the all-inclusive “I”. (c) And the realization of freedom from any identity as formless awake emptiness, and the awake emptiness of all form – allowing for a lighter touch.

Appearance of a chooser

 

It is pretty simple, but easily overlooked if we don’t explore it for ourselves:

There is a thought, a decision, and an action.

And when a belief in the idea of “I” is placed on top of it, it appears that “I think”, “I decided”, “I acted”. It all seems very logical and neat.

(Of course, if the identity built up around this idea of “I” does not fit with the thought, the decision or the action, then we say “it wasn’t me, it just happened”, or “I don’t know where that came from”.)

When this field of awake emptiness and form awakens to itself, it looks different. Now, there is just a thought, a decision, and an action, revealed as inherently absent of any I. There is doing, but no doer.

This is an immediate and very clear realization. No thinking or analysis is needed.

But it is also possible to taste this before such a clear awakening. For instance, for any thought, decision, or behavior, explore the many causes of it. You can always find one more, and one more. And then discover, bit by bit, how everything happening in the world of form, including anything associated with this particular human self, has literally infinite causes. It is the whole field acting locally.

It is the local manifestations of the whole field of form, always in flux, and the causes go all the way back to beginning of time, and all the way out to the extent of the universe.

The field first filtering itself through I and Other, then awakening to itself

There is always this field of awake emptiness and form, now reading this and also manifesting as the words themselves on the screen (and anything else).

First, it identifies with a segment of itself, for instance this human self, and there is a sense of I placed on this human self, a sense of I and Other, subject and object, of being finite in time and space, of a doer. And this sense of I is placed on anything this human self does, at least if it fits with the more elaborate identity made up for this human self.

Then, the field of awake emptiness and form awakens to itself, as this field, inherently absent of I anywhere, or as a whole as an I. And it realizes, immediately and very clearly, that there never was an I in this human self. There was the sense of an “I” placed on top of it, making the impression that “I think, decide and do”, but even then, there was never any inherent I in it. It was just a part of the field, just the local manifestations of the movements of the whole field of form. There was doing, but no doer.

Finding it here now

The nice thing is that we can taste this right now, just by looking. Just by exploring. Noticing what is happening, right here now.

There is a thought, but did “I” think it? It certainly arouse, but where is the “doer” in it? There is a decision, but did “I” decide? Didn’t it just happen on its own, just as the thought? There is an action, but did “I” act? Did that too just happen on its own? There is an apparent causality between all of these, a logical sequence, but is there an “I” there?

And we can also look for an “I” in the world of form in general. There are sensations, sounds, sights, tastes, smells, thoughts and so on, but is there an “I” there? They all come and go, while something does not seem to come and go. How can there be an I there, in the seen, when it all comes and goes?

What is it that does not change, that does not come and go? It is this awakeness that it all happens within and to. In this awakeness, there is a sense of timelessness. Of always presence. Yet, is this “I”?

If the awakeness is “I” then the changing forms must be “other”. But where is the boundary between the two? Where does the awakeness end and the forms begin?

Now, it appears as if the awakeness and the forms are made up of the same. It is as if the forms arise within, to and as this awakeness.

Now, the field of awake emptiness and form starts to get a sense of itself, without the overlay of a sense of I as only a segment of this field. It has a taste of itself as a field, without being filtered through the sense of I and Other. As a field with no center, with no I inherent anywhere.

A free fall

It can be dizzying at first, as a free fall. There is nothing to hold onto anymore. No fixed position. And also the realization that this is what allows all positions, what allows all forms, what allows anything and everything to be.

And that is what this field is, always and already.

It just didn’t notice before. It had temporary and partial amnesia. It was just a case of temporary and mistaken identity.

The One Taste of public and private situations

 

A while back, I used this practice more regularly, and still find it useful.

How would it be if there is One Taste of public and private situations? If I act in public as if I was on my own, and when I am on my own as if everybody could see me?

Acting in public as if I am on my own helps me with finding ease, comfort, allowing pretense to fall away.

Acting on my own as if everybody could see helps me find a sense of transparency, nothing to hide or protect, allowing the light of awareness into (more of) all I am and do.

Together, it helps me find ease and comfort with myself, as I am, accepting it as it is, be OK with all of what I am. It helps me find a sense of wholeness, of transparency, of receptivity, of nothing to hide, noting to protect or defend.

This is one of the many forms of One Taste, one that plays itself out on our human level.

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.

The mutuality of emptiness and form

 

This came up again when I read a quote by Jnaneshvar:

Unity becomes strengthened by the expansion of diversity.

The more emptiness is realized, the more we can wholeheartedly engage in form, and the more we wholeheartedly engage in form, the more we need and are invited to realize emptiness.

Emptiness is the awake emptiness that is here now, reading these words. Timeless. Unchangeable. Unstained. Always already. Distinct from form, yet also arising as form.

And form is the world of form, and in our case, specifically this human self and its wider world.

Identified as this human self, and resistance

When this field of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form, takes itself as a segment of itself, there is immediately resistance.

It identifies as this human self, there is a sense of I and Other, there is a sense of an exclusive and comprehensive identity, and there is something to push away and something to hold onto.

There are experiences, people, places and situations to hold onto, and there are experiences, people, places and situations to push away. In short, there is resistance – to what is, to what may be.

There is drama, confusion, and resistance.

And with resistance, there is a holding back, or a pushing forward.

I hold back from engaging, from experiencing. I try to distract myself, change the situation, modify my experience. I am ambivalent. Half-hearted.

Or I push forward, I push into situation, into experiences, into the world. Which is just another way of resisting.

Field awakening to itself, realizing emptiness and allowing engagement in form

If this field of emptiness, awakeness and form awakens to itself as this field, absent of I anywhere, it all changes.

Now, there is a realization of being awake emptiness, inherently free from the world of form, unharmed by it. Always here, timeless.

There is also the realization of being form, not just this human self but all form, this whole seamless field of form. Anything arising is this field itself. It is just another expression of this same field.

And there is the realization that awake emptiness arises as this field of form. Form arises within, to and as this awake emptiness. They are not two, although they can be discerned as two.

So in that sense, there is full engagement in the world of form since the field realizies it is not separate from form. It is awake emptiness and form. It is beyond full engagement. It is it.

At the same time, and more interesting here, is what happens for this human self. It is realized as having no inherent I. It is just an aspect of this field of awake emptiness and form, which has no I in it anywhere (or we could say it as a whole is an I).

This means that there is no longer anything to resist. With the absence of I and Other, there is also absence of resistance. It falls away.

And this allows for a more wholehearted engagement in the world of form for this human self. It can more wholeheartedly engage with its experiences, and it can more wholeheartedly engage with the wider world.

With no resistance, a more full and wholehearted engagement, all around.

Mutuality of emptiness and form

So the more fully emptiness is realized, the more wholehearted our engagement in the world of form can be. And a more wholehearted engagement requires and invites a more full realization of emptiness.

Engagement without realizing emptiness is painful. The only solution is realizing emptiness, and when emptiness is first tasted, a more full engagement – and the tastes of pain that comes from not fully realizing form as also emptiness, invites and encourages us to more fully realize emptiness, and form as emptiness.

The two go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. They mutually invite and encourage each other.

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.

Levels of oneness: all as Spirit, and everything I see out there is also in here

 

Some levels of Oneness…

All as Spirit

Ultimately, it is all Spirit. The field of seeing and seeing is Spirit, absent of any I. The Ground of seeing and seen is Spirit, absent of any I.

And we can have a glimpse of this, maybe interpreted as an experience of oneness between I (as this human self) and Other (as nature, God, Spirit).

We can have an intuition or a sense of it, again typically interpreted as a sense of Oneness of I and Other.

There can be an immediate and more stable experience of this Oneness, that it is all Spirit.

Also here, there can be a sense of I and Other overlaid on the sense of Oneness. The volume of both can be turned up or down, one going into the foreground and the other in the background, shifting back and forth.

Finally, there is a realization that the field of seeing and seen is inherently absent of an I. There is no I anywhere, just a field of Spirit as Ground, seeing and seen. The sense of center falls away. The sense of subject and object falls away. Spirit as the field of seeing and seen, as a whole, is its own subject and object.

It is not touched by oneness and multitude, yet arises and can be seen as either and both.

And it is still functionally connected with a particular human self, which now arises as anything else. It is just part of the field, living its own life, just like clouds moving across the sky, cars passing on the street, other people living their own life, the world living its own life. It is Spirit as form, unfolding on its own, absent of any I anywhere.

Human level: deepening into knowing myself as an individual

Since Spirit, in our case, is functionally connected with a particular human self, and lives through and as this human self before and after awakening to itself, the forms oneness takes in our human life is also interesting.

At the ultimate level, all is Spirit independent of its particulars as form.

And at our human level, everything I see in the world is also here in me. This is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being.

Every quality and characteristic I see out there, in the world – in the universe, in the Earth, ecosystems, animals, plants, humans, cities, stories, mythologies, movies, fantasies, dreams, they are all also in here, in my own human life.

It is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being, and also a deepening of the realization of all as one. In my human life, all I see in the wider world is also right here, closer than my own breath.

At the most disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, but still see some qualities arising in other human selves and not in this one. This makes for a less complete, less human and more frozen way for this human self to function in the world. It makes for a less healthy and mature vehicle for Spirit in the world, even as Spirit has awakened to itself.

A little less disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, recognize in this human self what is sees in the wider world, but not be much familiar with it in this human self. It is acknowledged, but there is not much familiarity with it. Again, it limits how this human self can show up in the world, it limits its repertoire and what is familiar to it.

As these aspects become more owned, as they move from “it” to “me” and “mine”, there is greater and greater familiarity with it, not only out there, but also in how it shows up in this life.

It becomes known in a far richer way, and with a different (more conventional) sense of intimacy. It becomes part of the daily repertoire of the human self, available when needed.

There is a sense of deepening humanity, a more intimate connection with others, and more juiciness in life in general.

It is even a part of developing skillful means, since this human life is the tool of Spirit in the world, even after it awakens to itself.

Human level: deepening into knowing ourselves as us

Spirit also shows up as Us, as the multitude of beings and all of our many relationships, and this is another deepening into oneness.

When Spirit awakens to itself, what does that mean for all of the relationships of this human self to other people, to animals, plants, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, past and future generations?

What does it mean to relate to those where Spirit has not (yet) awakened to itself? What does it mean for groups where Spirit has awakened to itself, to varying degrees, in many of us?

Again, as with the deepening into seeing everything in the wider world also in my human self, this is an infinite exploration process. As long as there is the world of form, and a vehicle in this world of form, it has no end. It continues to richen, deepen, mature, develop, evolve and change.

Deepening intimacy

In all of these ways, there is a deepening intimacy.

At the Spirit level, it is beyond intimacy since it is all Spirit. It is the most intimate.

At the individual human level, there is the deepening intimacy of finding and knowing in myself, in greater and greater richness and depth, any and all of the qualities I see in the wider world.

At our collective human level, there is the exploration of the infinite ways Spirit shows up as Us, in all of our many and varied relationships.

Engagement in realized selflessness

 

Within realized selflessness, there are two different forms of engagement.

The first is the form of engagement that is always here, before and after this awakening: it is the engagement of Spirit with itself – as Ground of seeing and the infinitely varied seen. In realized selflessness, this type of engagement is clearly noticed.

The second is the more conventional form of engagement: being engaged in the life of this human self, in its health, maturing, development, relationships, engagement and role in the world.

And as before awakening, this engagement can be present in different ways and to different extents following the awakening. It all depends on the infinite causes, the patterns and processes of the world of form as a whole of which this human self is an infinitely small part. Or we can say it all depends on the personality of this human self, and of the seeds of intention, interest, preferences and passion planted in it, and on how the wider world interplays with all of this.

Getting up in the morning

 

There are two ways to get up in the morning…

One is to identify with whatever impulses there are to get up and to stay in bed, and get caught in the drama of it.

The other is to simply watch, with curiosity, what this human self is doing. Watching the thoughts coming up. Watching sensations and images. Watching the personality do its thing. Watching the human self in the bed. Watching it getting out of bed (or not).

It lives its own life anyway. And in my experience, it does get out of the bed anyway, even without the identification and (minor) dramas.

It gets up with or without the identification, but without there is a sense of ease, clarity and effortless, and surprise as well. There is an impulse rising, and it gets up. Or maybe it gets up even without any discernible immediate cause.

Mars rovers and identification

 


Our human self is, in some ways, like a Mars rover.

In both cases, there is no I inherently there. In both cases, it serves as a vehicle in the world of form. In both cases, it provides sensory input for awareness, for pure witness consciousness.

Imagine a NASA scientist or engineer who identifies completely with one of the Mars rovers. He or she would experience and talk about the rover as “I”, experience mortal fear whenever it is in a dangerous situation, completely dreading the day it dies, and so on. This would at best be seen as weird and an eccentricity, and at worst as insanity.

Now imagine the same for our human self. If there is an exclusive identification with our human self, there is the same experience of it as “I”, the same fear whenever it is in danger, the same dread of its death.

So what is the difference?

The Mars rovers are an extension of our own bodies and senses, and they are mechanical and far away, so it is relatively easy – even for the most involved scientist, to maintain the “I” at his or her human self, and see the rover as either “it” (third person) or “ours” or “mine” (second of first person possessive).

Our human self is different. It is the primary and immediate vehicle in the world of form, so it is far more understandable if it is seen as an “I”. But this too is a mistaken identity.

If we explore it a little further, we see that there is only the seamless field of seeing and seen, and no I to be found anywhere in it. This sense of I, placed on our human self, comes from a belief that there has to be a separate individual I somewhere, and since the most likely candidate is our human self we place it there.

Waking up from this happens spontaneously, either out of the blue or following some diligent explorations of all of this. Is there really an I here? Where is it? Is it in the seen, in the stream of forms and experiences, always new, fresh, different? Is it in the seeing? Where can I find the boundary between the seeing and the seen? If the I is in the seeing itself, in the pure witness consciousness, where is the boundary between I as the seeing and Other as the seen?

And when we pass through this gateless gate, we see that there never was an I anywhere. It was all innocent, a temporary mistaken identity. There wasn’t even a gate to pass through, it only seemed that way as long as there was a sense of I there. And although it is understandable when there is an identification with this human self, it it still about as weird as being identified with a rover sitting on a little hill on Mars.

Now, the human self is a me and mine, for practical and conventional reasons, as an aid in navigating in the world and for communication, but clearly absent of any I anywhere. The drama goes out of it. There is just the Ground and field of seeing and seen, awakening to its own nature of no I anywhere, yet still functionally and temporarily connected with this particular human self, as a me or mine.

This human self arises as anything else – thoughts, emotions, feelings, choices, behaviors, personality, clouds, trees, people, situations. It all happens on its own. There is doing but no doer (apart from the doer as the whole of the world of form.)

Unraveling knots: processing at all levels of our being

 

Whenever there is a realization, there is also the invitation of allowing it to be processed at all levels of our being: physical body, energies, emotions, cognitive and soul, or at each of the chakras, or at all the levels or whatever other model we use.

This is true when it comes to the unraveling of any of our knots and hangups, whether at our human level or in the awakening to realized selflessness. (The two are not that different, just two aspects of the same process.)

There is a belief in the world as a dangerous place, and our whole being organizes around that belief – at all levels. This knot can be unraveled starting at any level, and allowing each of the other levels to be included as well.

In The Work, we use the cognitive level as a starting point, inviting all the other ones to join through sitting with whatever insights come up, allowing them to penetrate, allowing our being to steep in them. In Breema, we use the body as a starting point, allowing our whole being to participate. In diksha, the energy body is the starting point, allowing each of the other levels of our being to reorganize.

There is the core belief in the idea of I, and our whole being organizes around it. Our whole being reflects this belief, as it does with any other belief. It is organized as if it is true, to the extent it is able to.

And as with any other knot, the starting point for unraveling it can be at any level: It can be cognitive, as in the many forms of self-inquiry. It can be the body, as in Breema. It can be energetically, as in diksha. And from there, all the other levels of our being can be invited to reorganize as well. What starts in one place seeps through our whole being, inviting it to reorganize.

Example

I see how this played itself out in the initial awakening in my teens. Spirit awakened to itself as Ground, seeing and seen, as everything and everyone. Spirit awakened to itself as beyond and including any and all polarities.

Yet, at the emotional level (and maybe energetic and physical levels) of this human self, the previous organization – coming from a sense of separation – remained to some extent. The emotional level behaved as if there was indeed separation and something to fear.

There was certainly some healing and reorganizing of these emotional patterns, but the old patterns – organized around the knot of separation and fear – were ingrained, and I didn’t quite know how to work with it effectively, so they did not reorganize and heal completely.

The clear realization at the levels of Spirit, soul/heart, and cognition did not completely extend into the emotional. There was a pocket there at the emotional level where the realization of all as Spirit did not reach.

So although there was a very clear realization of all as Spirit – including others and any emotion – the emotions of fear still came up in social situations.

How to

It is OK, of course, but for the human self to be a more effective and clear vehicle for Spirit, all levels need to reorganize, heal and mature.

It is a process, and one that can be helped along with some conscious work.

In of the ways to do this through the versatile Big Mind process where any of the voices can explore their relationship with each other and Big Mind/Big Heart, and can be explored from Big Mind/Big Heart. This allows them to reorganize to this new context of realized selflessness (even before it is fully realized!) .

Freedom filtered

 

Some of the many ways to filter freedom…

Big Mind: absent of freedom and no freedom

Big Mind, beyond and including any polarities, is absent of freedom and no freedom, yet allows for and embraces each. It is emptiness dancing, distinct from freedom or no freedom. It is all Brahman, all Spirit, all God. There is nothing to be free from.

This is freedom with and within the world of form, as it arises. It is the freedom of Spirit to manifest in the myriad ways it does, including as awakening or delusion, as realized selflessness or a sense of I.

(In the awakening process, when Big Mind awakens to its own nature, there may for a while be a sense of freedom from exclusive identification with any aspect of what arises. It is freedom from blind identification, from a sense of I and Other, and from the drama that comes with it. Yet as it matures, the Ground of realized selflessness and a sense of I allows for either freely.)

Oneness

(Here, there is still a vague sense of I, yet also a taste of the larger whole, or the Ground, of seeing and seen. There is a freedom from a blind identification with seeing or seen, although not quite yet the freedom of Ground, of emptiness dancing.)

Seeing

When Big Mind identifies with one of its aspects, there is freedom from and to something.

In this case, there is an identification with seeing, so there is freedom from the seen. There is a freedom from this human self and its circumstances and anything coming up in this human self. There is a freedom from the personality, and there is a freedom to rest as the impersonal seeing.

This freedom is somewhat precarious as it depends on resting in or as one aspect of what is: the seeing, as opposed to the seeing.

Seen

Identified with the seen, with the aspect of the seen that is our human self, the sense of reality of freedom and no freedom is even stronger and takes many more forms.

Freedom can be freedom from constrictions of this personality, or freedom from pain and suffering. It can be freedom for this personality to have its way and to live according to certain identities and beliefs.

This freedom is even more precarious as it is dependent on circumstances inherently outside of the control of the personality or our human self.

Trusting the human self to do its thing

 

I see that one way of holding back from Ground awakening is a lack of trust in our human self.

This human self needs an identification with it to function

Or rather, an attachment to a thought that this human self needs identification with it, it needs a center of gravity in it to function and operate in the world.

Is that true?

Happening on its own

No. When there is a Ground awakening, there is also the realization that this human self – as anything else in the world of form, just happens. It lives its own life. There is no I inherent in any of it. There never was an I inherent in this human self, even while there appeared to be. It was just an illusion from the beginning, created from an overlay from a belief in an idea of I and of agency. And that belief made it seem very real.

This human self, as anything else in the world of form, is more than capable to function with no identification with it, with no overlay of a belief in the idea of I. There was never an I there in the first place.

Absent of a sense of I: freedom from confusion and drama

With an overlay of a sense of I, there is immediate confusion and drama. In the absence of this overlay, it functions more freely, in more clarity, from more unhindered wisdom and compassion.

So in realized selflessness, it all turns upside-down: While there is still a sense of I there, there is the fear that this human self will not function very well without a sense of I. It can’t do it on its own. When there is realized selflessness, there is the clear seeing of this human self functioning far better, even in relative terms, in this new context – absent of confusion and drama.

Currently

I notice this daily now as I do the seen/seeing inquiry. I notice the seen coming and going on its own living its own life, just happening. I notice the seeing of it, free from coming and going. And there is the noticing of both seen and seeing as being inherently free from any I.

Then, there is the noticing of the belief that this human self needs an identification with it to function. And some fear coming up around that.

I also notice how the idea of an I becomes like a cardboard cutout that is placed on one thing after another: the seen such as sensations or thoughts, or the seeing of it. It has no substance in itself, and moves around according to what is most plausible and convenient in the situation.

Sometimes, it is even placed on the seeing of absence of I anywhere. There is this cardboard cutout of “I” seeing that seen and seeing is inherently absent of I (!).

And that too is OK. That too is inherently absent of any I.

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.

Trust in this Human Self Functioning Without a Doer

 

In writing the previous post, I see more clearly that there is a fear around retracting a sense of a doer from this human self. Can it function without it? Will it be OK?

This is of course only a temporary concern. Even in the midst of it, there is the realization that this human self has done very well without a doer, all the way back to its conception. There has never been a doer there in the first place. It has always lived its own life. There has only been the sense of a doer there, superimposed onto it. The does was manufactured in the first place. A figment of nobodys(!) imagination.

And after a while, there is a familiarity with this terrain in the context of selflessness. There is no doer there, yet it does function much as before. There is no I there, yet it still moves, talks, interacts, gets out of bed, brushes its teeth, functions in the world.

So gradually, there is a growing trust. A growing willingness to let the idea of doer go. To allow this human self to function on its own, with no doer, with no I, as it has functioned from the beginning.

Heat Exhaustion & Brilliance

 

After a summer with days of 40 degree weather and no problems, I had a case of (medium severity) heat exhaustion yesterday. I allowed myself to be less vigilant because of the cooler weather, so I was dehydrated in the morning, skipped a meal, and then got heat exhaustion in the afternoon – during a hot ride to Crater Lake.

Brilliance, and human self in trouble

It was an interesting experience.

On the one hand, there was the brilliant clarity and space within which and as everything unfolded.

On the other hand, there was also the seeing of this human self not functioning very well, especially cognitively. The thinking apparatus was mostly far in the background, and the small moves it made did not always make much sense in the situation.

There was an almost complete absence of identity or identification, although the possibility of access to personal info if anyone had asked for it.

It was just what is, the brilliant clarity and space within which and as everything happens and unfolds. It was quite beautiful in a certain way.

In the noticing of this human self not doing so well, there was also the recognition of patterns which seems similar to dementia, retardation, delirium and so on. There was noticing of the mental level operating in ways which matched these, and yet this too within and as the brilliant clear space.

It is all OK

There was also the noticing of it all really being OK, even if this human self ceases to function (a possibility, but not likely, yesterday) . It is OK. The brilliance is timeless. It is that which the world of phenomena – including space and time, and this human self – arises within and as. It all arises as waves in an ocean, and there is no need – or possibility – to hold onto any particular wave.

I often hear stories of people with hyper- or hypo-thermia, saying it is all OK, that it is OK to leave them alone. This is how I experienced it yesterday, and I wonder if the other cases are similar to this one.

When the center of gravity shifts into the brilliant clear space – the Always Already, the Nature of mind – then it is revealed as OK. This human self continues to live for a while. This human self dies. It is really all OK, in the context of the nature of mind revealed to itself in this way.

Not OK and OK

Of course, in a conventional view all is not OK. The body needs urgently to be cooled down, it needs water and salts, it needs rest. This is where “it is all OK” is a sign of delirium. (It may come from a place where the human level is not seen as significant anymore, and exclusively so). Yet, “all is OK” is perfectly accurate when seen from the Ground of the brilliant clear space.

So the delirium of heat exhaustion is very real on the human level. Others typically need to take care of the person since she/he is not able to – or really not interested in, doing so for her/him self. At the same time, the center of gravity may shift into clear brilliant space, the nature of mind, allowing it all to be recognized as perfectly OK as it is.

Always here

The ground of the clear brilliant space is always here, right now.

The ground of the clear brilliant space is that within and as the world of phenomena unfolds, right now.

The ground of the clear brilliant space is sometimes in the background, when there is an identification with particular phenomena. And it is sometimes in the foreground, when it becomes aware of and recognizes itself.

Flavors

 

Some of the many flavors of how God expresses itself as/through humans…

Big Mind

This is the realization of selflessness, of realizing that there is no I anywhere. It is Big Mind awakening to its own nature. And it is still functionally connected with a particular human self.

All is revealed as God, as Ground spontaneously manifesting as the world of phenomena, as emptiness dancing. There are no human beings as an entity – it is just God playing a game with itself, temporarily identified with something finite – a human being.

Nothing needs to change. There is nothing to improve. Everything is perfect as it is.

This is the Absolute.

And on its own, it can appear cold, heartless, disengaged – because it really is.

Big Heart

Big Heart is a movement into the Relative, into duality, into a split.

Here, we include a more conventional view of I and Other within the context of Big Mind.

And this inclusion of I and Other in the context of all as God naturally opens and fuels the heart. It brings up engaged and lived compassion and love.

Human self

Into this combination of Big Mind and Big Heart comes the human self, with its own unique human characteristics – including its talents, inclinations, health and maturity.

Deluded

And there is of course also the possibility of God not awakened to its own nature, but temporarily identified with the human self and/or awareness – functioning through the filter of I and Other.

Mix

Mixed together, there is an infinite number of possibilities.

Big Mind can be emphasized, as it often is in Adveita and Buddhism.

Big Heart can be emphasized, as it often is in Theistic mysticism – for instance among Sufis and Christian mystics.

And any combination of Big Mind and Big Heart can be filtered through a human self, a unique personality – with its unique talents, inclinations, level of health and maturity. Sometimes it shows up as a teacher, sometimes as an activist, sometimes as one in service to the unfortunate, sometimes as an artist, sometimes as a healer, sometimes as an office worker, sometimes as a plumber.

Each of these are just different flavors – different ways God is exploring itself through awakening to its own nature.

No difference

There is not even much difference between God awakening to its own nature of selflessness, in various ways and to various extents, and God being identified with something finite. Both are just God exploring itself. Both are the play of God.

Both are perfect as they are, although it does not always look that way – especially if filtered through any exclusive identification (with something finite). And that too is perfect as it is. That too is God exploring itself. That too is part of the Game.

Working from Big Mind & Human Self

 

It seems that an awakening to realizing selflessness often appears as a work from two sides: from Big Mind and from the human self. If we split it up in those two, it appears that way. If not, then we see that it is really the same thing.

Any glimpse of selflessness is grace. It comes on its own, in its own time. And it can come completely out of the blue (as it initially did for me), or it can be intentionally invited in through prayer, meditation, yoga, mantras, and so on. It is a gift from the divine. And when it happens, even for only a brief moment, something shifts. It is not really possibly to take this sense of a separate self seriously anymore, even if it is there. And we may also engage in practices to realize selflessness more clearly.

At our human level, there are many practices we can engage in to clarify any glimpse of selflessness, including prayer, meditation, yoga, mantras and various forms of inquiry. None of these can shift the center of gravity into a clear realization of selflessness, but they can prepare the ground for it, they offer an invitation for it to happen.

In most cases, it seems that the two work towards each other. There is the working towards it at the human self level, aligning our human self with a realization of selflessness so that it can function more effectively as a vehicle for the realization of selflessness. And there are the glimpses offered from the divine, which helps us with a taste of it, with renewed inspiration, and also in aligning our human self a little closer with it.

And this seems to often occur over time. There is work at our human level, then one or more glimpses, then more work, and so on. All the time aligning our human self more closely with a realization of selflessness, repatterning at all levels from body to emotions to thoughts and behaviors, and there is also a gradually deepening familiarity with how it is to function from the realization of selflessness. We gradually become more familiar with this territory, so different from operating from a belief in the idea of a separate self or I.

Eventually, our human self is repatterened enough, and we are sufficiently familiar with the selflessness terrain, so it can become more stable. First, maybe as a sense of transparency – seen through a vague although not quite believable sense of I. Then, through “popping” and becoming completely obvious and clear.

And when this happens, there is also the clear realization that it was all a game. It was all the play of the divine, from the beginning – even in the exclusive identification as our human self, as an object in the world, even in the middle of the times when the sense of being lost, separate, confused and suffering was at its most strong.

It was just the divine waking up to its own nature, which was always there – although not noticed as long as there was an exclusive identification with something finite, or with any segment of what is.

It was the divine working towards waking up to itself, from the side of the human self and the divine mind. It was the divine tunneling through the mountain of itself from two sides, and meeting itself in the middle. It was the divine facing itself in the mirror, facing away from itself in the mirror, walking away from itself in the mirror, and walking towards itself in the mirror.

Functional Connection taken as I

 

Center yet no I

After having her center of gravity shifted into the Witness (pure awareness) recently, in waves, Jen mentioned how curious it is that there is still a sort of center in her human self, although it is not an I.

Ways to talk about it…

That is curious. I tend to see it as a functional connection with our human self. There is input from this human self, and it arises within this field of the world of phenomena as it happens in the present – this room, sounds of cars, sounds of a plane, chirping of birds, chill on the hands, tapping of the keys on the keyboard, and so on. Still, it is just one aspect of the field – not more “I” than anything else.

Another way to describe the connection is as a vehicle. My human self is a vehicle for Big Mind in the world of phenomena.

All is Big Mind, yet also special connection

It is tricky, and – yes, puzzling, as everything is Big Mind. All phenomena is the play of the ground – equally. The whole world of phenomena is this dance of the one ground, it is emptiness dancing.

Yet, there is also a special connection with this particular human self. It is temporary, of course – as this human self is appears only for a limited time. Still, it is an important connection.

Identification and disidentification

There is the possibility of identification as and with this human self, or parts of it. And that still happens. It creates – to varying degrees – a sense of self, of a doer, of I and Other.

And there is the possibility for disidentification with this human self, as seeing it as arising as and within the field of phenomena – as one of the fluid manifestations of ground. And that happens too. Here, there is no sense of doer, no sense of separate self, no sense of I and Other.

Appearance of…

Maybe all I can say is that there is a functional connection, and that connection takes the appearance of…

Sensory input from the wider world of phenomena (this room, the outdoors and son on). Sensory input from this body (sensations, feelings, physical correlates to emotions). Input in terms of emotions and thoughts.

And the appearance of output, in the form of behaviors. Although when there is disidentification with this human self – when the exclusive identification drops, then it is all revealed as just happening – as everything in the world of phenomena is just happening. There is no doer, only the doing.

Fine tuning

So while I could say that this human self provides the opportunity for input and output, that is not really accurate. There is not really any output, as the sense of a doer falls away when the identification with my human self falls away.

And what about the input? That does still seem mostly real to me, although I suspect it is not.

The whole idea of input and output, and even a vehicle, is also somewhat inaccurate. That too creates a separation that is not really there.

The most accurate way to talk about it, as it appears to me right now, may be emptiness dancing. It is all emptiness dancing. It is accurate, closer to the absolute. Yet so succinct that it leaves out most of the possible differentiations, most of the possible explorations of it from the relative side.

These other ways of talking about it seem useful as well. Each highlight certain aspects of what seems to be going on. Each one talking about it from a certain overlay of abstractions, at a certain level of relativity.

Path & No Path

 

I went to a Process Work session today, and it brought up the different ways Path shows up when filtered through the different levels.

No path

At the nondual (Big Mind) level, there is no path – the idea of path doesn’t make sense. Or we can say that it is impossible to not be on the path. Everything just is, manifestations of Buddha Mind, God’s play, emptiness dancing. Everything is path.

Paths

At our soul and human levels, there are indeed paths – and they are very real for us.

No path and paths together

As they say in Zen, everything is perfect as it is and there is room for improvement. There is the nondual beyond and including perfection and imperfection, and there is the real of perfection and imperfection.

In terms of our path, we are always on in and we are it at a nondual level. And as guided by our soul or wished for by our human self, we can definetely be more or less on it.

Withouth the pathlessness, we can easily get too caught up in the path – take it too seriously. We are stuck in the relative.

And without the path, we can aimlessly wander around – not caring about what is nurturing and what is not. Being stuck in absolute.

For me

For me, I was strongly on my path while living in Norway and Utah. There was a strong sense of everything unfolding beautifully, of strong and clear guidance, of maturing, of finding my way in the world in many ways. I was deeply on my path at my human and soul levels.

At the same time, I saw that at the nondual level there was no way anyone could be “off the path” – everything is an expression of God so there is no path to be off.

Then, during the dark night phase, there was an equally strong sense of being off the path – at least as I had experienced my path earlier. I was cut off – externally and internally, from everything that had provided such as deep sense of nourishment, meaning and fulfillment.

I felt completely derailed, which was true in many ways. At the same time, I knew I could learn from it – mature through it, see something I earlier didn’t want to see, and through all this deepen my sense of ordinariness and empathy.

Now

Now, there is the beginnings of a release from this dark night and the derailment. The bits and pieces are coming back, gradually – as a slow soul retrieval process. What came so effortlessly earlier, and also seemed so extraordinary, is now coming back in a different way. Through more of an intention and a more conscious process, and seeming very ordinary and simple.

It also seems clear that one of my tasks now is to nurture the soul level far more than I could during the dark night phase, and far more than I did by choice at the Zen center. To allow it back in, with its tremendous sense of guidance, fullness, richness, maturing, deepening, meaning, purpose, calling, and – yes – path. A unique path for me in this life, unveiled gradually.

And some of the simple ways to connect with this more deeply is through what is deeply nurturing for me, such as Breema, drawing, music, nature, good relationships and even planning for the future – exploring deeply nurturing and meaningful, and realistic, options.