Buddha maturing

 

The conception of the awakened Buddha is maybe a glimpse of our Buddha nature, or an intuition of it, or even just an interest in it. Through the gestation period, there may be more and more glimpses of it, or explorations of it through headless experiments, the Big Mind process, meditation and other practices. And the birth of the Buddha is Buddha Mind awakening to itself, as a field of awake emptiness and form, absent of any separate self anywhere.

(It is usually not as clean cut as this, but it may be a useful generalization.)

The Buddha growing up

The Buddha is born, and may realize its own nature clearly, but it still needs to grow up and mature in its expression in the world. Its vehicle in the world – this human self – has to reorganize and relearn how to function in the world and live its life within this new context of realized selflessness.

Compassion arises

The first thing that happens is that it realizes that it has awakened to itself, yet also not. In the world and the lives of individuals, there are many examples of Buddha Mind not having awakened to itself, and of Buddha Mind experiencing confusion and suffering. So compassion arises naturally, and a desire to help – both with alleviating the suffering itself and in removing the causes of the suffering (if, when and to the extent they seek and want the help.)

Refining its instrument in the world

To do this, the vehicle for Buddha Mind in the world – this human individual – needs to be refined. It needs to continue to heal, mature, develop, and learn skillful means.

Deepening into the fullness of this human self

The more this human individual matures and deepens into the evolving fullness of what it is, the more it can connect with others where they are. It recognizes in itself what it meets in others. It becomes more deeply and thoroughly human, without having to defend or attach to any particular identities. It can allow the evolving wholeness of itself, with all the weaknesses and imperfections that goes along with being human.

Playing the game

Maybe most of all, Buddha Mind awakened to itself has to play the game. It has to take the experiences of Buddha Mind, when it is confused and suffers and takes itself to be just a small part of its own form, seriously. It has to play along, meeting people where they are, even when it is clear that it is all just the dance of the awake emptiness. When awakened to itself, this dance is free enough to play along in whatever ways arise.

Deepening into the ordinariness of what and who I am

 

Our path is in many ways one of continuously discovering more of what and who we are, which can seem remarkable at first, and then deepening into the ordinariness of it.

Discovering, and then deepening into the ordinariness, of what we are, as the field of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form, centerless and selfless… allowing our individual self to reorganize, mature and develop within this context.

And of who we are and can be, as individual souls and human selves, embracing the whole of it right now, and as it unfolds and develops over time. At our human level, it means deepening into the ordinariness of being human, embracing and owning more of what we are, which is not so different from what we all are.

Together, there is the ordinariness of Big Mind awake to itself, functioning through an individual soul and human self. And the ordinariness of this human self, as increasingly more mature, rounded and deeply human.

Profoundly ordinary

 

During the initial awakening (in my teens) where many of the things happening now happened in a more dramatic way, there was both a realization that all is God, and also a sense of how remarkable it was… which seems to indicate that the final veils of a sense of I had not been seen through.

Now, there is just a profound sense of ordinariness about it, of how unremarkable it is, and also a deeply felt sense that this is just the middle ground, an early middle ground… There is infinitely further to go in the areas I write about here, and obviously much further to go in all of the other areas of life.

Seeing this brings a more genuine humility at all levels… A humility that comes from seeing things more realistically, and not only see it, but also deeply feel it in the body, and love it.

And some of the things to see, feel, and love is that…

  • All already is God, so in the absence of Other there is not much room for pride or arrogance, nor for a sense of inferiority.
  • At my individual level, there is infinitely further to go in maturing, developing, exploring, discovering, in all areas of life.
  • There are many, many areas I, as an individual, am not very well developed in, compared to where many are at today.
  • And everything I see in here is also out there, and the other way around, at my individual level. They are there at least as seeds, possibilities, and often far more fully bloomed.

Today is one of those days where I feel firmly held so I can see this, take it in more fully, allow my whole being to more thoroughly organize within this… All as God, and at my individual level, there is infinitely further to go, there are many areas I am not well developed in compared to many others today, and the outer and the inner mirror each other perfectly.

It is deeply sobering, and even shakes me to the core… shakes up everything not aligned with this… everything formed within a context of separation and ideas of better and worse.

Food and digestion

 

My partner is watching a movie for a language class she is taking, and the movie – with its violence and sense of impending doom – does not sit so well with her. And at the same time, she is smart enough to see that it is less about the movie itself, and more about how she receives it.

The analogy with food and digestion seems quite close…

Any experience is food, and how we relate to the experiences is how this food is digested.

So if our coping mechanisms are not so well developed, then many types of experiences will be difficult for us, even traumatic. And the more developed they are, the more types of food are OK, or even nourishing.

Ultimately, any type of experience can be deeply nourishing, although this requires not only that we awaken to what we are (realized selflessness) but also a great deal of maturity in who we are, as an individual.

If there is only an awakening to what we are, then the experience just sails through us with few or no hooks. It is teflon land. But it does not mean that it is deeply nourishing on a human level.

For it to be deeply nourishing, we need to digest it also as who we are, as an individual. Use it to mature as a soul and human being, to become more deeply human.

Dark night as burning through remaining traces of a sense of I, and the effects of a sense of I

 

One of the functions of the dark night, which comes some time after a clear (or near-clear) and stable awakening to selflessness, seems to be to burn through and out (most of ) the remaining traces of a sense of separate I, and the effects of a sense of separate I on the personality…

The second part of it, burning through the effects of a sense of separate I on the personality, seems crucial here.

For most of us, our personality is formed within a sense of separate I. And although it does reorganize to a certain extent following an awakening, many traces of this sense of a separate I still remains.

And the dark night is one of the ways this is burnt through, allowing the personality (and the individual) to reorganize more fully within a context of realized selflessness. Maturing into it, becoming more seasoned.

Maturing into the unremarkable

 

I looked at some of Adi Da’s book at a bookstore earlier today, and was again struck by the discrepancy between content and emotional tone. There seems to be nothing special or unique in the content, yet it has an emotional tone as if it is. This is the same discrepancy I have noticed with his student, Saniel Bonder (Waking Down in Mutuality)… Here too, nothing unique or different in the content, yet it is presented – and has an emotional tone – as if it is. Very odd.

And it seems somewhat immature.

One of the hallmarks of a mature and seasoned awakening seems to be a sense of it being unremarkable, nothing special whatsoever. There is no separate I there, just this one field arising in myriad ways, so how could it be remarkable? Any sense of specialness seems to come from a trace, or more, of a sense of separate I.

In Zen, they talk about the brilliant sun and the hazy moon of enlightenment. The brilliant sun is the immature and young awakening, where there is lots of flashy stuff and maybe even a sense of it being remarkable – to the person it is expressed through and others as well.

Later on, it matures and seasons into the hazy moon of enlightenment, which seems completely and utterly unremarkable, both to the person it is expressed through and others. It just seems very mature, whole, balanced, in a completely unremarkable way.

As a sidenote: I wonder if not a dark night phase following the brilliant sun is what helps season it. Burning through and out (most of) the remaining traces of a sense of I, and maybe more importantly, the effects of a sense of I on the personality… Including a sense of it being special. That is certainly how it has been for me. A brilliant sun phase where it did seem quite remarkable, then a plunge into a dark night where there is no consolation anywhere, and then a gradual emergence into a ground awakening that seems completely unremarkable in every way.

(Not that I am a good poster boy for any of this… the process is far too messy for that, and my human self far too messed up… but I guess that too is part of the process for many.)

Personality contrasted

 

Within this context of (early) belly awakening, the contrast between this endarkenment and my personality is very vivid.

Throughout the day, I notice all the hardness of this personality, a hardness, rigidity and narrowness that comes from not being aligned with the endarkenment. And my task is simply to notice, and surrender whatever comes up to the endarkenment.

I see how the endarkenment invites (and it is an offer I can’t afford to refuse) this personality to allow any hard edges, anything coming from fear and resistance, so soften, to become more rounded, whole, mature, more deeply and thoroughly human.

It is a reorganization of the whole individual self. A transformation from what was created from a sense of separation, and the subsequent fear, resistance, clinging to exclusive identities, hard edges, and a sense of something to defend, to being aligned with all as Spirit, also in a deeply felt sense, allowing the personality to be more rich, full, whole, rounded and mature.

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.

Spirit as You and you, specifically YOU

 

At the end of the chapter on We in Integral Spirituality, Ken Wilber talks about how contemporary western spirituality tends to be very comfortable with Spirit as I and it, and less comfortable with it as You, or even you.

This goes at least for Buddhist and Adveita circles. I suspect those practicing within traditionally theist traditions, such as Sufism, Christianity, Sikhism and Hinduism, have more of a familiarity with the You and you of Spirit.

And there are of course several aspects to Spirit as You, and you.

Spirit as You

One is the traditional one of prayer and devotional practice, of praying to Spirit as You, of submitting to Spirit as You. To place myself, as a human being, under and at the mercy of Spirit as You. This itself can be very enriching and speed up the process of awakening and of maturing and deepening as a human being.

Spirit as you, yes you

The other is maybe less familiar from Western traditions, although it seems more common in some Eastern traditions. This is spirit as you, yes you – as a human being, as my partner, my children, my parents, my neighbors, my co-workers, homeless, politicians, those living half-way around the world. This too is Spirit, in all its richness and fullness, the current manifestation of Spirit as form and evolution.

The richness of Spirit as you

This is Spirit as you.

As confused, living from mistaken identity, with its inherent love and wisdom shining through the cracks. As awakened to its own nature.

This is Spirit as you, mirroring exactly myself.

This is Spirit showing me myself, in all my richness, as you. As my partner, my family, my friends, my neighbors, everyone.

This is Spirit as you. As lovable, annoying, as a helper, as a problem, as intimate, as a stranger, as infuriating, as inspiring, as one I want to spend more time with, as one I can’t stand, as one I experience magic with, as one I am bored with.

As one bringing me face-to-face with myself, nudging me along in my own deepening as a human being.