Big Mind and indwelling God

 

Since the shift into a more alive presence of the indwelling God around Christmas, I have been interested in the relationship between Big Mind and the indwelling God. They seem to be mirror images of each other, and two ends of the same polarity.

Big Mind

Big Mind awakening to itself reveals itself as a field of awake emptiness and form (allowing any content, including what arises here and now), and the realization that there is no separate I anywhere in all of this. There is just the one I of the field as a whole, and no separate I, no Other. Big Mind is impersonal, and emphasized and in the foreground in nontheistic traditions (as far as I can tell.)

Indwelling God

The indwelling God is on the other hand very personal. In my experience, an alive presence, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive and responsive, a guide, teacher and healer, and present in the heart region. And this seems to fit with how others describe it, including among diksha folks where this indwelling God, Antaryamin, is sometimes talked about.

It seems that the indwelling God is emphasized and often in the foreground in theistic traditions, such as Christianity (and probably Islam… the Sufis certainly seem to emphasize the personal quality in our relationship with God.)

Impersonal and personal

So where Big Mind is impersonal and everywhere, the indwelling God is personal and right here, in the heart space of the physical body. The experience of it, at least for me right now, is of a fragment of God for this particular individual soul and human self, and a fragment that includes and reflects the whole of God. It is not diminished in any way, yet also right here and for this particular individual.

Theocentric and Christocentric

I sat at a coffee shop for lunch and made a couple of notes about this, before reading a little further in the intro to Mystics of the Church by Evelyn Underhill. And a little further down the page, she wrote about just this (I can’t remember having read anything about it before, but I also may not have paid attention before, especially since the indwelling God has not been in the foreground much before.)

In a Christian terminology, a Theocentric orientation is a focus on God as Big Mind, and a Christocentric orientation is a focus on God as the indwelling God. She describes the two in very similar ways to what I have found, especially in terms of the impersonal and personal qualities, and the indwelling God as an alive presence, infinitely loving and intelligent, infinitely receptive… infinitely active when invited, and functioning as a guide and master.

Both are equally important, and one tends to be in the foreground for some people and during some periods, then the other, or they can both be very much alive and present at the same time.

Selfless individual

As a point of clarification, it is probably good to mention that even if there is an individual soul and human self here, and an aspect of God for and placed within this individual, there is still no I here. This individual, as all individuals and everything else, is inherently selfless. And that is exactly what Big Mind, and the Theocentric orientation, reminds us of – and make abundantly clear when it awakens to itself.

2nd, 3rd and 1st person relationships

With both Big Mind and the indwelling God, the three forms of relationship – second, third and first person – are each very much possible, and there is often a fluid shift among the three (and sometimes two or all three present at the same time.) Big Mind can be experienced as Other or You, and then as I, and then as It when we talk about it. And the same is true for the indwelling God… it can be You, then I, then It, and maybe two of those or all three at the same time.

Embracing both ends of the polarity

There is a very clear difference between Big Mind and the indwelling God, although they share – and are of – the same essence. To use some metaphors, we can maybe say that the indwelling God is a holographic fragment of the totality of God (Big Mind), or that the indwelling God is the drop and the totality the ocean.

And it is also clear how perfectly the two complement each other. Big Mind is impersonal, everywhere, all revealed as Spirit. The indwelling God, a very tangible alive personal presence, for this (inherently selfless) individual, a guide, receptive, active when invited.

One without the other leaves us only with half of what is possible, and half of what is already there… since they are both already there, waiting to be discovered, to awake consciously to itself.

Already here, and evolving

Both are already there, waiting to be noticed, but also evolving… in different yet related ways.

Big Mind is always already awake emptiness and form, independent of the particulars of form. At the same time, it evolves as form… in all the ways described by science and probably many more.

The indwelling God is similarly already here, as a fragment of God in and as this individual. And at the same time, this indwelling God seems to evolve as it is invited into our lives more consciously. More and more aspects of it is revealed. The dual relationship of the indwelling God as You and I is revealed in increasingly more depth. It evolves and changes as it is invited in, and as our individual soul and human self develops, matures and evolves. (At least, that is how it seems now.)

Deep center and excitement

 

I had a process work session with Gary today, and I noticed how there was a sense of deep center and excitement.

The belly awakening, the endarkenment, gives a sense of a deep, rich, dark, silent earthiness and fullness everywhere, yet also centered in the belly.

And it allows whatever else to happen, including the more flighty and light excitement that comes when exploring some of these things in words and ideas, especially when talking with someone who shares the excitement about it.

In the past, there has always been the swing of a pendulum between excitement and “going up” and a sense “going down”. I went up, then down, as if to compensate for it, and the other way around.

This time, after the endarkenment and the dropping into alive luminosity, both are there simultaneously. Easily. Effortlessly.

There is the deep dark rich infinite ground. A womb holding it all. Deeply silent.

And there is the flights into excitement and ideas and conversation within this deep darkness and silence. The silent darkness is there as a context for it, and also there before and after.

A wonderful experience: finding that larger whole of light and dark, of head and belly, of ground of form and form, of yin and yang, feminine and masculine.

During the enlightenment, seeing all as Spirit, as awake emptiness and form, there was of course the seeing of forms as empty, of the ups and downs as empty luminosity. And there was a silence in the midst of it all. But this is different. This has a different depth and richness to it. It is a different dimension of being.

Seeking and nonseeking

 

Adyashanti likes to talk about what happens when wanting falls away: We want something, get it, and experience the fullness and contentment that is there when the wanting goes into the background for a while.

Of course, his point is that the absence of wanting is what gives this sense of fullness and contentment, not getting what we (think we) want. What we think we want may be an object, but what we really want is to experience the fullness and contentment always here, and coming into the foreground when the wanting is in the background.

What do I really want?

One way to explore what we really want behind our surface wants is to make a list, and then for each want ask what do I hope to get out of this? And then the same question, until we arrive at something that is not reducible to something else.

A simple sequence may look something like this: I want money >> security, safety, freedom >> happiness, freedom from suffering, freedom from and not victim of circumstances.

Is it true it is not already here?

Having found this, we can ask ourselves is it true that what I seek is not already here?

Happiness: yes, I can find that right here. When there is a simple quiet being with whatever is experienced, there is a quiet happiness and bliss here, independent of whatever else is experienced. Freedom from suffering: yes, I can find that too here. There is something here always free from suffering and any other content. Something not touched by content. A wakefulness, clarity, capacity for everything to arise within. Seeing free from any of the particulars of the seen. Freedom from circumstances: yes, that too is right here, in the same stainless wakefulness and seeing.

Big Mind process

Through the Big Mind process, we discover the same but with more differentiation.

We see how seeking mind is immensely useful in many ways, including on a purely practical human everyday level. Yet, if seeking mind is typically in the foreground, there will be a chronic sense of dissatisfaction. There is always something to seek that is just around the corner, just over the next hill, just into the future or over there.

When nonseeking mind comes into the foreground, there is a sense of fullness, quiet, contentment. Here, we notice that what we seek is already here.

They both have their functions: Seeking mind on a practical relative level, and nonseeking mind as a reminder of the absolute.

In the relative, there may indeed be lack and something to gain. In the absolute, there is nothing missing. Both are needed.

Becoming whole: Star Trek, women and brains

 

As part my cultural education, I watched Spock’s Brain from the Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) last night.

Common themes: what to do with powerful women, and rationality and sentiment

From the few episodes of TOS I have seen, there seem to be some common themes.

In Spock’s Brain, it is powerful (although sometimes vacuous) women, and how to relate to and deal with them. In The Galileo Seven, the relationship between rationality and sentiment as played out between Spock and his shipmates.

Fascination with polarities, and how it looks in daily life when embraced

In both cases, and I am sure many others (which I would discover by watching more episodes), there is a fascination and curiosity with polarities, and an active attempt to reconcile the poles with each other.

What is the relationship between men and women, and the masculine and feminine, when women gains more power in society, when men must learn to share power with women, when women find the masculine in themselves and men ind the feminine in themselves? What is the relationship between rationality and sentiment, between head and body, and how does it look when both are included? How does it play itself out in real life? How does it look in the grittiness in our daily interactions?

Mirroring at cultural and individual levels

This is pretty obvious: those themes, and many others from TOS, were very much alive in the mid and late 1960s, at both collective and individual levels.

As a culture, the leading edge in the western world of the 60s was at green, shifting into the postmodern, pluralism, a widening circle of concern that includes women, other ethnicities, and the Earth as a whole. It was the larger scale birth of the ecology movement, the human potential movement and deepening feminism.

And along with this, as a rough parallel on a personal level, there was a shift into the centaur level, finding ourselves, in our own immediate experience and daily life, as the whole beyond and including body and psyche. This was the larger scale birth of the western fascination with and exploration of mediation, yoga, projection work, and innumerable (other) mind-body practices.

Star Trek picked this up, which may be one of the reasons there is still an active interest in the original series (apart from nostalgia, and its quirkiness and humor.)

Shift: found and worked at

Any shift from having the center of gravity in one end of a polarity to embrace the polarity as a whole, has two aspects.

:: Found

One is the discovery and the noticing of the polarity. It has always been there, it just looked fragmented when there was an exclusive identification with one end.

Men and women have always had both masculine and feminine qualities. It is just that culture and gender identity has filtered these qualities so that some come out and are embraced, and others remain hidden and excluded.

And there is always the whole of psyche and body: of rationality and feelings, of feminine and masculine, of persona and shadow. It is always there, although again may not be noticed if the conscious identification is with only aspects of this whole.

All that is needed here is just to notice what already is. Nothing needs to change, apart from this noticing.

I can just notice that there are indeed feminine and masculine qualities in me, independent of my biological sex and cultural gender. I can notice the whole beyond and embracing my whole human self, including psyche and body, the feminine and masculine, persona and shadow.

:: Worked at

At the same there, there is an aspect of exploration, discovery, testing out, seeing how it plays itself out in real life.

How does it look in society when women and men are more equal in terms of power? How does it look in my life if I find myself as the larger whole which includes the feminine and masculine, the rational and feelings, persona and shadow? What are the roles of these aspects in this new situations? How does it play itself out? How does it change and mature over time, as I become more familiar with all of these aspects, these ways of being in the world?

And this exploration is what some of the TOS episodes seem to mirror: how does it look at collective and individual levels, when we embrace more of what we already are?

Parallels between atheism and mysticism, materialism and the nondual

 

We have all noticed it: the extreme ends of any spectrum tends to look strangely alike.

And so it is with atheism and mysticism as well, and materialism and a nondual view.

All one

Atheism and materialism say: it is all one, it is all matter.

Mysticism and a nondual view say: yes, it is all one, it is all God, it is all Spirit, it is all emptiness and form.

Infinite causes

Atheism and materialism (may) say: the universe is a clockwork, cause and effect, everything is determined, we are biological machines with no free will.

Mysticism and a nondual view say: the whole realm of form and phenomena is a seamless fluid whole, and when it is filtered into parts, it is all cause and effect. In fact, for any change in any aspect of this whole, there is infinite causes and infinite effects, and so it is also for our human self.

Our human self is a puppet with a million strings attached to it. Every choice, every action, has infinite causes stretching back to the beginning of time and out to the extent of the universe. It lives its own life. There is doing, but no doer. There is choosing, but no chooser.

It is all Ground appearing as clear awakeness and the infinitely varied world of phenomena, as seeing and seen, as form of emptiness, and emptiness dancing. There is only one I, and that is Spirit. Choice? Who needs it?

No meaning

Atheism and materialism say: there is no meaning inherent in life or the universe. We have to create our own meaning.

Mysticism and a nondual view say: there is no meaning inherent in Ground, it is free from meaning as it is free from any characteristic. Meaning only arises in the world of form and phenomena, it only arises in our human life. We create our own meaning. And any meaning is only a relative truth, there is nothing absolute or final in it.

Polarities

 

An outline of how polarities may be perceived through dualistic, transdual and nondual views…

First, the poles of the polarity are seen as absolutely different and separate from each other. One has little or nothing to do with the other. One is in here, another is out there. One is bad and should be annihilated, the other is good and should be sought. This is the mostly blindly dualistic view, and occurs if we are exclusively identified with our human self.

A slightly more sophisticated view is that the poles of the polarity are dependent on each other. We wouldn’t experience joy if there wasn’t grief, or wouldn’t know to call something light if we didn’t know darkness, and so on. This is a more conventional view and very early transdual.

Going a little further, we see that all polarities are aspects and expressions of one single process. The universe is a seamless process, and expresses itself in polarities. It is inherent in existence that we cannot have one without the other. It is the way the whole – beyond and including all polarities – expresses itself. This is more deeply transdual.

Eventually, as we awaken as Big Mind – as what is with no “I” anywhere – there is again a different realization of polarities. It includes the previous one, but now we also realize that all phenomena – expressing themselves in polarities – are Spirit, God, Buddha Mind. They are emptiness dancing. This is the One Taste experience of polarities.