A tough one III: the dark nights of the soul and senses

 

There are many forms of dark nights… In a more technical sense, there are two of them, and in a loose – daily – sense, lots of them.

The two formal ones are…

  • The dark night of the senses, which is an initial stripping away of beliefs and identities, enough to notice all as God, to notice that everything is a field of awakeness, of consciousness, even of awake emptiness. It can be painful, maybe an experience of being pulled apart, dismembered, even of dying. What dies is really only beliefs and identities, but when we are identified with these, when we take ourselves as that, the experience is of being dismembered and dying. For me, this was a very intense time, but there were lots of rewards in the middle of it as well. It was painful, but also immensely blissful.
  • The dark night of the soul, which is similar but goes more to our core beliefs and identities, and specifically the one of a separate self, of someone that this is all happening to. Here, any and all beliefs are stripped away, and it often happens through a profound disillusionment. Everything that we found comfort in is stripped away, taken away from us, and none of our practices have meaning or even work anymore. Nothing is left. God is gone. Any sense of accomplishment is gone. Any ideas of being special, or chosen, are gone. There is no place to anchor any of those beliefs anymore. They get stripped away, whether we want or not, and most often we desperately cling to them as long as we can, making the torment even stronger for ourselves.

Having cleared out some space through the dark night of the senses, the soul realm is revealed. Bliss, clarity, alive presence, all as God, inspiration, luminosity, and so on.

And having cleared out even more, including the sense of a separate self, through the dark night of the soul, the emptiness is revealed in its completeness. When I am gone, emptiness is revealed, as the Ground of it all… of awakeness itself, of the soul level, of mind, of form. It is all emptiness dancing, already and always absent of any trace of any separate self anywhere.

Our core belief, and core identity, of a separate self is greatly diminished through the dark night of the senses, and that is exactly what allows the soul realm to be noticed and come more into the foreground. Here, there can be a sense of no separation, of all – absolutely all – as God, as divine, as consciousness, as the divine mind, there can even be a sense of oneness, but there is still a trace of a sense of a separate self here. And this serves as an anchor for a sense of being special, privileged, of having accomplished something, of being chosen.

The dark night of the soul takes care of that. Every reason for feeling special, privileged, of having accomplished something, of being chosen, is taken away. And none of the practices or tools that at one point work so easily and so well, have any use anymore. They are all broken.

Where the dark night of the senses is more of a dismemberment and a sense of dying as a human being, the dark night of the soul is a deep existential falling away… my most core identity of being something at all, separate from anything else, is wrestled away… leaving just emptiness. No angels. No luminosity. No bliss. Nothing special. Just emptiness. The emptiness that allows, and is, the dance of everything.

The dark night of the senses leads into an amazing awakening, with lots of bells and whistles… God in all its glory. Alive luminosity. Guidance. Inner God, and all as God. Amazing insights. Amazing abilities to do things in the world. Amazing energies.

The dark night of the soul leads into nothing at all. At the threshold of it, it appears thoroughly boring, neutral, like nothing. And inside of it, there is the Ground of all, that which allows the dance of everything. It is nothing special. Just what is, here and now, always.

The void that never changes, and allows all change. The no-thing that allows all things. The absence of everything which allows the fullness of everything. The groundless ground, which already and always allows every fruit.

The bottom falls out of everything. Leaving only the dance of emptiness, with no separate I anywhere.

What it comes down to: seeing what is already more true

 

So when we start letting go of some of the identities that I described in previous posts, what is left? What, if anything, is revealed?

For me, it has to with simply seeing what is already more true for me, in immediate experience, without knowing in advance what I will find or am looking for, and doing it for its own sake.

If I think I know what I’ll find, I am creating another box for myself. I have an agenda. Receptivity to what is really there goes out the window.

If I do it for some other motive, to find release, to get rid of discomfort, to get somewhere, then I am creating yet another box. Again, there is an agenda there. And again, receptivity – or even interest – in what is really there, goes out.

Thinking I know what to find, and doing it for a particular result, is just another way for me to limit myself, to box myself, life, existence, and even God, into a far smaller space than where it already is. It may look safe for a while, but is in the long run nothing but a dead end.

I think I’ll get something or somewhere by doing it, but all I am doing is boxing myself in. Staying put.

What it all comes back to, and down to, is doing it for its own sake. I engage in inquiry, for the sake of doing inquiry. I engage in headlessness, for the sake of headlessness. I am with experiences, for the sake of being with experiences.

And seeing all the parts of me that is not doing it just for its own sake, is part of it as well. Allowing even that. Being with even that. Seeing even that, as what is, right here and now. For its own sake.

Begrudgingly accepting

 

Here are three general phases in befriending the shadow, letting go of narrow identities, or inquiring into beliefs (all aspects of the same process)…

  • Being blindly in the grips of it, not even noticing what is going on
  • Noticing it as a shadow, an identity, a belief, and exploring it
  • Finding resolution through befriending and becoming intimately familiar with it, and seeing what was already more true for me than my surface belief

During the second phase, when it is still half-resolved, I notice in myself and others a tendency to begrudgingly accept it. I know, on an idea level and from past experience, that it is a shadow and comes from a belief, but am still in the grips of it on an emotional level, and to some extent also on a behavioral level (it seeps out, even if I try to hold it back.)

I know there is a monster in the back yard, and that I cannot get rid of it, but I am not happy about it either.

Genuine appreciation

Exploring it further, more wholeheartedly, in my daily life and in more detail, seeing what is already more true for me, the monster is revealed as not a monster at all. I find the genuine gifts in that which was placed in the shadow, and in the situation I initially didn’t want.

As in the story of Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver by Michael Ende, the demonic queen dragon turned into, when captured and kept safely in a cage, a golden dragon of wisdom. The horrors of it was real as long as it was roaming free, untamed by civilization. But through capturing it, and containing it without killing it, it was allowed to transform into golden wisdom.

What I initially was blind to, and then begrudgingly accepted, is now something there is genuine and unreserved appreciation for.

Examples

For instance, say I have a chronic illness. Initially, I am identified with getting rid of it. After a while, seeing that it hasn’t worked yet, I start working on my own attitudes around it. I try to find peace with it, although I still see the illness as something awful and undesirable. Eventually, I may come to see the real gifts in the illness… I start realize what it has brought to my life that I genuinely appreciate… the maturing and deepening that has happened for me through the illness… this obstacle which nothing could be done with… I may still not have chosen it, if there had been a choice, but now, there is a genuine appreciation for it. Beyond acceptance, is appreciation.

Or I may have trouble with anger, for instance through a one-sided identity as somebody who is not angry. Anger then becomes a real problem, and something I try to avoid in myself and others. It becomes a monster in my life. Then, I may half-heartedly accept that it is here as well, although I still don’t like it much. And finally, as I explore it further, I see how it supports my life when it is allowed to become a part of the team of all of me. I learn to genuinely appreciate all of its many gifts to my life… its energy, its ability to get things done in certain situations, its assistance in getting through to people if everything else fails.

Alchemy

In alchemy, this is the process of nigredo (the suffering of being in the grips of it), albedo (the work), and rubedo (the fruition of the work.)

Amazingly wonderful, awful, and ground

 

In looking at my own path, I recognize a pattern (which is pretty obvious) that is similar to what I have heard from many others…

  • First, a normal life. I was an atheist and very science oriented. For me, this lasted until my mid-teens.
  • Then, an awakening. For me, it came out of the blue, and although intense also amazing and amazingly wonderful.
  • Then, a dark night, as awful and the previous period was wonderful,
  • And then, the Ground, finding oneself as the Ground of all of this, the play of form.

In this case, the awakening period, where everything was easy and I seemed to have a superhuman energy and clarity, lasted for almost exactly as long as the dark night has lasted, several years each. And I am still at the tail end of this dark night, there is still more to burn through… more beliefs, identifications, more boxes I have made for myself and existence that needs to go.

At times, it is a painful process. And at times, with a sense of ease and even bliss. But there is always the same ground, the same void it is all coming out of, the same void within it, the same void it is happening to.

And after having gone through the extremes of ups and downs, the amazingly wonderful and amazingly awful, I am ready for the Ground. The Ground allowing it all. The Ground of emptiness that cannot be reduced to anything else. The Ground which is the nothingness allowing all things.

Three relationships with the reversals of views

 

Related to the previous post, but also a little different…

I see how I cycle among three relationships with an awareness of the reversals of views.

One is happily oblivious, using or attaching to a view without much awareness of the grain of truth in their reversals.

The other is releasing views. Having seen how each view has innumerable reversals, and they all have limited and relative validity, I become more cautious. I release from them, as much as I can. There may even be ambivalence here, because I see that I cannot continue in my certainty of particular views anymore, but I am also not quite able to play freely with them either. So I hold back. And I investigate.

The third is a free play with views, first using one, then another, then a third, the a view that includes some of them all, being able to find the truth and validity in each of them, and also seeing the limitations of each. This comes from a more thorough investigation of particular views and each of their reversals. There is a more finely grained familiarity with the terrain, so also more freedom.

Examples and flavors

There are many flavors to this.

One is in terms of views in general.

Another is with shadow projections, where I am first blindly caught up in it, then learn to recognize the symptoms and become more cautions, and then more free around it as we become more familiar with the process.

And yet another is in the belief of a separate self. Initially, we take it for granted. Then, when we see that too as just another idea with relative truth, we may get a little stunned and hold back for a while while investigating further. And finally, there is a freedom around it, a free play, allowing it to be there when it is, yet also seeing the insubstantiality of it.

The three relationships play themselves out in each of these situations, and many more than involves views and beliefs.

More on transition experiences

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Briefly: transition experiences

 

What are some common transition experiences during awakening?

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

Within form…

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

Within awareness…

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

Within emptiness…

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

With the sense of a separate I…

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

And it makes sense.

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

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

The Buddha growing up

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expressed in the world as the Brilliant Sun of awakening

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

Deepening into the Hazy Moon of awakening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this can only aid its expression in the world.

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

The impulse to help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mutual influence

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

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

Alchemy: the metals of the world in the process of becoming gold

 

In an alchemical text (don’t remember which one), it apparently says that all metals in the world are in the process of becoming gold. Translated, it means that everything in us is already in a process of awakening, although it is a very slow process which can be speeded up by various alchemical processes – mainly by bringing the prima materia, the stuff of our lives, into awareness, and then explore, differentiate, and bring it into a more conscious wholeness.

The big picture: awakening to who and what we are

This journey which each part goes through is an aspect of the overall process from unconscious and undifferentiated wholeness, through a split and partial consciousness, through active work and exploration of each aspect and their relationships, to a conscious and differentiated whole.

There is always and already the whole of what we are, and this is eventually noticed in awakening to ourselves as Big Mind. And then there is a conscious and differentiated whole of who we are, as individual human beings and soul, which only comes about through active exploration, by digging into it, living it, working through it, engaging actively in it – gradually healing, developing and maturing as individuals.

Awakening as what we are can happen at any point, and is independent of content, including of how or who we are. But awakening as who we are is a long, gradual process.

At our human level, it is one of individualization, of differentiating and exploring each pole in each polarity, and then the polarity as a whole, of developing and maturing as a human being. At our soul level, it is a process of becoming familiar with ourselves as soul, as alive presence, in all its many facets, and how this influences and transforms who we are as human beings.

Impulses for awakening to who and what we are

It seems that for those who actively explore this process, there is an experience – or realization? – of everything inside and outside of us being an invitation, or an impulse, to awaken more to who and what we are.

Some simple examples of this is active imagination, where any dream or fantasy is a path to bringing aspects of us into awareness, and becoming more familiar with and embracing a polarity in ourselves and our life and not only its separate poles. The same is the case with Process Work, although in a more comprehensive and extended way, where we find that anything in our life, no matter how apparently insignificant, is an impulse towards awakening more to who and what we are. And the same is the case with The Work, where any stress in our life is an invitation to awaken to who (whole process) and what (question #4) we are.

I also notice this when I am just curious about what arises in me, and explore it – allowing it to unfold a little bit.

Example: impulse to death and rebirth

For instance, if this personality has a great deal of resistance to being with a particular experience, I notice an impulse towards death (sounds more dramatic than it necessarily is.) And this impulse can of course be interpreted in different ways by the personality, for instance of wanting the situation (the trigger) to change or go away, or of me to change or go away, or of how I relate to it to change or go away. I want to remove the trigger (by doing something in the world), myself (for instance by distracting myself or going unconscious), or how I relate to it (through working on myself.)

The basic impulse is an impulse towards death, and it can be interpreted in all of these forms, some of which works better than other, and some effects which are more superficial and temporary than others. In this context of anything being an invitation to awakening more to who and what we are, the essence of the impulse is an invitation to allow our limited, and limiting, beliefs and identifications to die.

The stress comes from a discrepancy between our stories of what is and how it should be (all coming from beliefs and identities), so the stress is an invitation to notice this, actively explore our beliefs and identities – through the many ways available – until they soften or fall away on their own.

Of course, this impulse can equally well be seen as an impulse towards life. Any fixed belief and identity limits a sense of aliveness, and when it falls away, there is a sense of liberation and more life.

For me, if there is a great deal of resistance and I get caught up in it, it seems – initially, before working on it, as an impulse to death. And as there is more space and clarity around it, or if there is this space and clarity around it from the beginning, it seems more an impulse to life. They are two aspects of the same process of death (of beliefs and identities) and rebirth (more free from these beliefs and identities.)

King Lindorm and the split

 

The fairy tale of King Lindorm is a good illustration of the unconscious to conscious wholeness sequence: unconscious wholeness > split > exploring and making conscious the polarity > embracing the polarity/conscious whole.

The most clear example is midway through the story where the two kings leave the castle (the familiar, ruling patterns and identities) for war, leaving the women to rise the child. The masculine explores and gets to know itself through war, active engagement with the wider world, and the feminine explores and gets to know itself through motherhood, through nurturing at home. The split, the separation of the two (separatio) is necessary for both sides to find space to explore themselves, and then their relationship.

So there is a (mostly) unconscious wholeness/unity, a split, an exploration of each pole of the polarity separate from the other, an exploration of the relationship between the two, and then a conscious wholeness.

This is a pattern that seems to run through this existence, at all levels, from Existence as a whole (differentiated into awake emptiness and form) to our lives as who (individuals) and what (Spirit) we are, and in every aspect of our lives – all of the many polarities of our lives.

It is also interesting to note that the conscious wholeness happens at two levels: first, by noticing the whole of the polarity which is always and already there, and then in the conscious way the poles of the polarity functions on their own and in relationship with each other. The first is always there, the second comes through the work of differentiation, exploration and clarification.

Shifting filters

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of the shifts

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

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

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

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

Intermediary filters

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfamiliar and familiar

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

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

Most unfamiliar, and most familiar

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

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

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

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

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

Form, emptiness and unraveling knots

 

Yesterday during the meeting of our diksha group, we held space for each other in dyads, allowing knots to be seen and unravel for our partner. It is a very simple process of (a) having an intention of allowing the next step in the resolution of a particular issue, (b) allowing any experience as it is, just quietly being with it, and (c) following the process as it unfolds on its own, living its own life, allowing one knot to unravel after another.

My partner started out with a physical pain she has had for several years, and being with the experience of the pain, it quickly shifted into an experience of the body as space, and of being space. After staying with that for a while, other issues unfolded such as a belief that it couldn’t be healed, memories from childhood, and so on.

It was a beautiful example of what is alive in my own experience… Form is space (more precisely, emptiness), and one is in the foreground, then the other. Seeing, and feeling, form as space allows for a release from being caught up in the particulars of form, such as pain. And at the same time, by being with experiences, there is a shift into a sense of fullness, space and sweetness, and it also allows a process to unfold leading to insights and quite often a shift or even release (or one step in that direction).

Shutting down and booting up

 

Just as this human self falls asleep, and wakes up, some of the layers of how we are put together are revealed.

As I sometimes listen to radio before falling asleep, it is especially noticeable.

The three clear shifts I notice, over and over, are…

  1. Voice and understanding (regular awake functioning)
  2. Voice but no analysis
  3. Voice, and any other sensory input, fading out

And the reverse as I wake up, where the fading in of sensory input is most noticeable.

Each of these shifts are relative sudden, happening over maybe just a second or so, and a very clear shift – from understanding to just the sound without understanding, and then the fading of sensory input to an absence of these. For the sounds, it is just as a relative quick volume fading, from normal volume to zero, and then up again to normal as this human self wakes up again.

This helps me see how much energy goes into analyzing and making sense of input. At some point in falling asleep, this energy and attention is just not available anymore, and the sensory input remain but with no analyzing of it at any level. They are just sounds, but not even known as sounds. There is not even the most basic level of analyzing, such as adding labels of sound, voice and so on. Just the pure input and awareness.

It also helps me notice awareness as distinct from its content. First, the thinking mind falls away. Then sensory input themselves fall away, fading into an absence of any input. But even then, there is awareness that this takes place within (and as). The awareness remains as the thinking mind fades out, and it also remains as sensory input fades out.

Sometimes, it goes out with the thinking mind, or with the sensory input.

Other times, it remains as those two goes out, and then itself goes out a little later.

And some other times, it remains throughout the night, even through the dreamless sleep phases, without any content apart from itself as pure awareness.

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.

Clarifying the dimensions of being with whatever comes up

 

I realize that when I am with whatever comes up, in a simple, quiet way, there is more going on than what initially came to mind.

Awake emptiness

There is the awake emptiness aspect, allowing whatever comes up to unfold within and as awake emptiness, revealing themselves as nothing other than awake emptiness.

Form

And then there is the form aspect, the dynamic unfolding within form, which in itself has several dimensions.

Being with experiences in itself tends to allow knots to unravel, and this is the simplest one.

Then, there are the insights into the dynamics of form, or more accurately the mind, similar to what happens in insight meditation.

And then there are several variations of following the process unfolding, from traditional Process Work and active imagination, to following the dynamics of the essence, of the soul, of the subtle energies.

Allowing each other

And one allows the other.

Seeing form as nothing other than awake emptiness takes the charge out of it, allowing for a deeper exploration of the form aspect itself.

And gaining insight into the processes of the mind also takes some of the charge and drama out of it, allowing for an easier recognition of whatever arises as nothing other than awake emptiness.

The emptiness and form dimensions of being with whatever comes up

 

Writing the previous post, I was reminded of the two aspects of being with whatever unfolds.

Whatever arises as awake emptiness

There is the emptiness aspect of being with it, of allowing it all to be as it is, including any resistance and stories about it, allowing it to arise and unfold within and as awake emptiness, revealing themselves as nothing other than awake emptiness.

Insight into the dynamics within form

And then there is the form aspect of the process, the content itself, morphing, unfolding, revealing connections, allowing for insights into the dynamics within the form. This can be similar to insight meditation, allowing for insights into the dynamics of the mind, seeing how identities are used to guide resistance, how resistance splits the field in its own experience of itself, and so on. And it can also be similar to Process Work, or active imagination, allowing sequences unfold as a story, allowing insights into more specific dynamics, such as seeing how a sense of separation in childhood brought about the impulse to develop specific identities, and how they were used to give a sense of limited safety. Or it can be more like a dream, unfolding through symbolic images. Or it can function on a subtle energy level, following the same or similar processes unfold there.

Both there at the same time

And both can be there at the same time. They are two aspects of the same process, seeing whatever arises as nothing other than awake emptiness, and also allow the processes unfold allowing for insights into the dynamics within the world of form, maybe specifically the mind.

Sometimes, awake emptiness may be more in the foreground. Other times, the insights into the dynamics of form can be more in the foreground. But they are both there, as two faces of the same coin.

Mutuality

There is also a nice mutuality between the two.

Seeing whatever arises as awake emptiness takes some of the sting out of it, making it easier to simply be with it and also explore its dynamics within form. And exploring the dynamics within form allows knots to untie, which take some of the drama and charge out of it that way, making it easier to also recognize it as awake emptiness.

Both seem necessary, inform each other, invite each other, and allow for a continued deepening into the other.

Phases of the endarkenment: dark night, Breema, dreams of soul mates and shadows, identities, and sleep and movies

 

Just to complete the picture here of the endarkenment process, I should mention a few things about my dreams and sleep.

Dreams of soul mates

Since about July this summer and up to the endarkenment shift, I have had a large number of dreams where I meet my soul mate (always a different one each time!). These dreams stopped after the endarkenment, because what I dropped into was the soul mate, or rather (an aspect of) soul itself.

(I have been embarrassed to write about these dreams here since I am in a relationship in my waking life, even as I know that these dreams reflect a much deeper inner process, not the externals of my waking life.)

Phases of the endarkenment process

As I see it now, the endarkenment process started a long time ago, and has gone in several phases. The first phase was the dark night, preparing the ground for it. The second finding Breema, which has an emphasis on the belly center. The third seems to have been all the soul mate dreams, reflecting a shift that has not yet become conscious. And the fourth, dropping into the velvety smooth darkness, the endarkenment itself. I guess the current one is the fifth, where it continues to deepen and change.

Shadow dreams mixed in

Also, mixed in among the dreams I have written about in this blog has been a series of shadow dreams, of things coming to the surface needing to be seen, balancing, grounding and widening it out in all directions. There has been a pattern of awakening dreams (velvety blackness, alive luminosity) and widening dreams (shadow dreams), much as a wave with peaks and valleys passing through.

Identities

Related to all of these corrective and shadow dreams is identities. I have been more acutely aware of identities over the last few weeks, seeing them clearly when they come up, and how they filter the world into I and Other, and how attachment to them is holding back what is emerging. They are an old coat that does not fit anymore, too small, wrong cut and color, dusty and old.

More about this in the next post.

Sleep

I have also needed a lot of sleep in this period. Even today, I slept more than twelve hours, and could have slept many more. There has also been a lot of processing before falling asleep and after waking up, allowing a parade of whatever comes up to be embraced by the velvety darkness.

Movies

I have also had a draw to see a lot of movies since the endarkenment, in a wide range of genres from science fiction to horror to existential to comedy to thrillers to post modern to documentaries to classical to quiet Iranian movies. It is as if the endarkenment wants as much of me as possible to come up and be embraced by the velvety darkness, and movies is a good way to trigger this.

Death and resurrection

 

This dream is a direct reflection of what happened as I fell asleep, where I continually surrendered anything and everything to the alive luminous blackness: any identities, all knowing, anything familiar, any remaining toeholds.

There is a real sense of fear here, of death, of complete annihilation. But it is needed, and I feel ready for surrendering it all, completely, over and over. There is no other way. I know deeply that it is the least painful way. Holding onto anything is suffering, and there is no way out except for surrendering it all.

Death and resurrection

Since this came up related to the Christ meditation, I also thought of how Jesus (the man) mirrored this process in his own life. He went through a process of awakening, then a death, and then resurrection.

At some point, we are invited (a polite term!) to surrender it all. To die to all that we know ourselves as. We surrender all identities, all knowing, anything familiar, any remaining toeholds. It all has to go. And it really is experienced as a death, with all the fear and terror that can come up around that. And through that process, that complete willingness to surrender it all, we do die as anything we know ourselves as, and are resurrected into a new life.

Although it isn’t really an invitation. It is a process that goes far beyond our intention or will. We are just swept along with it, almost helplessly. The only thing we can do is to willingly surrender to it, which makes it a little less painful.

And it may also happen many times, in many different ways. Each time surrendering new layers, dieing to current identities and familiar ways of living, and being resurrected into something new. Over and over.

Deaths and resurrections within realized selflessness

Even in the midst of realized selflessness, there are these deaths and resurrections.

There is the realization of everything as always fresh, different and new. There is a deepening into realizing and living from realized selflessness. There is a deepening into new realms of being.

Each of these involves a continuous dying to anything familiar, and a continuous resurrection into a new life.

Sequence of unfolding of fertile darkness and alive luminosity

 

As I mentioned in the previous post, there has been a sequence of unfoldings of the fertile darkness and the alive presence, in how they appear to me.

First, I dropped into the fertile darkness, a belly awakening, a deep smooth fertile blackness, a feeling of all as Spirit, allowing the emotional level to reorganize.

Then, the alive luminosity, infinitely alive, intelligent, loving, receptive and responsive.

Then, in my dream from yesterday, the luminous darkness, where the fertile darkness took on the qualities of aliveness, love, receptivity and intelligence of the alive luminosity.

And then last night, during the Christ meditation, the soft luminosity, where the alive luminosity took on the smooth deep soft embracing qualities of the fertile darkness.

As I also mentioned, it seems that this is the way the two are revealed to me as not two.

All of these have the same qualities of infinity, timelessness, presence, omnipresence, emptiness yet inseparable from form. It is as omnipresent as space, yet also independent of space and time. And as Almaas points out in his book Essence (which I skimmed through for the first time last night) there is a definite quality of substance to it. An alive presence with substance.

Composting resistance

 

Since the endarkenment shift, and even more so since the dropping into alive luminosity this Sunday, the process of composting resistance has been doing itself in me.

Resistance comes up, and it composts itself within the fertile full darkness.

Resistance to what is, what is not, what may be, what was… In whatever form it comes up, as tension, fear, irritability, it gets composted. It crumbles in the dark soil. Becoming nutrients for something to flower.

The fertile blackness is infinite and everywhere, a ground of form, but it is also centered very much in the belly. There is a sense of fullness, richness, earthiness, allowing whatever arises to be composted within itself, as darkness. Becoming soil, nurturance.

Dream: giving it all away

 

I am in a different culture, and must have moved there since I have all my belongings with me. A kind of festival is coming up, and I am encouraged to contribute to a kind of display. I offer them all I have, including my most personal belongings such as letter, photos, journals, and so on.

To my astonishment, a horde of people show up and take everything. Nothing is left. I tell one of the people in charge that there is a mistake, I would never have contributed all I have, including my most personal belongings, if I had known they would all be lost to me.

She said I had to follow the rules of the game. It turned out later that the ceremony was a way for people to get rid of their excess belongings, to declutter. I felt a mix of terror of having lost everything, any anchor I ever had in the physical world, and also, more distant, a sense that it could be exiting and freeing when I got used to it. Everything would be open. No anchors.

The day residue is from an old Star Trek episode I watched last night, Amok Time (!), where Kirk makes a similar mistake by agreeing to take part in a ritual from a culture foreign to him, and finds that he is getting more than he thought he agreed to.

The experience in the dream is similar to two real-life situations for me.

Identities falling away

One is what happens when there is no identity, as I have explored more over the last few days. Our identity, or identities, is our most intimate and cherished belonging, in a certain way. There is a sense of I, and then all the ways we clothe it up and define it through a set of beliefs, through an identity.

Our identity, especially the most intimate parts of it, gives a sense of security, buffering, familiarity, a point of view, a particular perspective, an anchor. And when we start to explore this identity, and parts of it starts falling away, there is a point of no return.

There is a place where the process cannot be stopped, where it continues all the way, until the last element of an identity falls away and nothing is left, except wide open space. Just awake emptiness and form, allowing any and all perspectives to be taken and explored, fluidly, without getting stuck anywhere.

It looks fine for a while. I can get rid of the clutter in my identity, those parts I didn’t care much for anyway. The excess parts. It feels good. But then, there is a point where the more cherished parts of the identity is questioned, where they too are taken up in the process, where they too start to unravel. And that does not always feel so good. This is where terror comes in, a sense of a terrible mistake being made. But it is too late.

Dark night

The other similarity is the dark night phase, where there was a similar experience of all my cherished belongings being taken away.

Of course, those two, the eroding of identity and a dark night, are not that different from each other. They are two ways of looking at the same process. One of letting go to how we see ourselves, how we define ourselves, our identity, all the way to the core of it.

Multilayered journey

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impulse to wholeness

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The mirroring tendencies

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

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

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

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

Game of separation and finding itself

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

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

The Fountain

 

I saw The Fountain tonight, and my initial impression is that it is a strangely disjointed movie. The first hour and fifteen minutes or so were about as flat as a comic book or a computer game, with hardly any character development, and enough overdone pathos to last for several B movies without adding any depth or richness. While the last fifteen minutes blew me away.

I especially enjoyed the anthropos scene, the conquistador drinking from the Tree of Life and not being able to help allowing a whole world to grow from him. This is an image that is especially alive for me now as it showed up in a dream some days ago. The parallel is quite close, as I in the dream climbed up a mountain, was helped up the last steps by someone already up there, and then became the ground of a whole city and bay area. In the movie, he climbs up a pyramid, meets somebody there who is a gatekeeper, and becomes the ground of vegetation – of life.

And I enjoyed what seemed as a final acceptance of death and impermanence by someone who had been fighting it for centuries, which allowed him to find the real immortality. When we fight impermanence, we remain stuck in the world of form. We are closely and exclusively identified with it, and struggle within it, as one part, our human self, fighting another, time and change. When we finally accept transience and death, allowing it to be, to live its own life, we can find ourselves as the timeless, as the awake emptiness all forms arise within, to and as. That is the true immortality, the timelessness that is already and always here.

First, we need to find true wholeness as all of us, represented by the anthropos image. Then, often much later, we can find true immortality, through awakening as the awake emptiness and form that is always already here.

Of course, the ending also parallels the ending of The Matrix, and the ascension of Christ.

Update on Endarkenment

 

A quick update on the Endarkenment process:

It is difficult to find the right words to describe it, probably because it is still new for me, but something is definitely happening. There is a sense of lots of stuff coming up, parading through awareness, and embraced by the fertile darkness, and this happens both during the night in dreams and during the day. There is a sense of it being composted in a deepening way, made into a rich dark fertile soil. Sensations, memories, reactivity, fear, apprehension, sense of separation, sense of loss, failure, franticness, you name it. It all parades through, one after another, and there is a feeling into it, an welcoming from the fertile darkness, allowing it to compost into dark crumbly fertile soil.

I also notice how the “feeling into” can happen because there is a relatively open space for it, a degree of disidentification with whatever comes through, a being with it, a relative relaxation of the drama. (It seems that some of my practices has helped set the stage for this space.)

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!) .

Intermediate: not in charge

 

There is no “I” here, and this can be discovered in several different ways.

Ways of noticing

One is to notice that everything just happens: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, thoughts, decisions, behavior, it all just happens on its own. It lives its own life. There may be a sense of an I there, and that too just happens on its own.

Another is to explore the infinite causes to anything happening with this human self: it is all the activity of the whole of Existence, the whole beyond and including all polarities. How can it be any different? The more we inquire into this, the more alive this noticing becomes.

There is doing, but no doer.

Process

In the beginning, there may be a sense of an I there, somewhere in or around the human self, and it is taken for granted.

Then, as it is examined more, it appears more illusive and may even be recognized – to some extent – as illusory, created by a belief in the idea of I.

And from here on, life helps in wearing out this sense of I.

Any time life shows up differently than how our beliefs tells us it should, it is an invitation for the “I” to wear out.

At some point there may be the intermediate sense that I am not in charge here. There is a vague sense of I, there is everything happening, and the realization that this “I” has nothing to do with what is happening. There are thoughts, decisions and behavior, but the “I” is not involved.

This is what is happening for me right now. “I” am so clearly not in charge, not even in the most mundane and everyday behaviors.

This human self is living its own life, as a local manifestation of the larger whole. Even if there is a vague sense of an “I”, it is so clearly not in charge.

In noticing this, there is also a slight sense of unease. The familiar identity of a “doer” is outdated and cannot be taken for granted anymore. Can this human self function without the sense of “I” added to it? How does it look if there is no doer and no I there anymore?

The Projection Line

 

There are innumerable lines of development (even a cooking line!), so why not a projection line?

The Projection Line (PL) would reflect how sophisticated we are in our understanding of projections, and especially how this is lived in our daily life.

It is a line that depends on the cognitive line (need to be aware of it before we can get some insights into it), and feeds many other lines, such as the spiritual, moral and interpersonal.

Widening circles of awareness and the PL

As we move along the cognitive line, our circle of awareness widens, and this makes it possible for us to move further along the PL.

Widening circles of empathy and the PL

And as we move further along the PL, our circle of care, concern and compassion widens.

Initially, we see only a few people as in the same boat as ourselves. Then more and more people, then all beings, then all of Existence.

How does it look?

  1. I am aware of somebody/thing triggering attraction or aversion in me. (Cognitive line.)

  2. My PL kicks in and I recognize this as the sign of a projection. I find in myself what I see out there (spontaneously, or through the 3-2-1 shadow process, The Work, Process Work or another of the many shadow techniques out there).

  3. I recognize in myself what I see out there. I see myself in the other, and the other in myself, and from this recognition comes empathy. I am in the same boat as the other, and my circle of concern and compassion now more easily includes the other. (Moral, emotional and interpersonal lines.)

Ghost reactions

 

When there is a belief in a though, a whole pattern of reactions come up along with it. This is what we get to explore through question no. 3 in The Work, how do I react when I have that belief?

And when the belief is explored and falls away, these patterns go away, right?

Not necessarily, at least not immediately.

I notice that, of course, the thought may come up again as before, although now without or with less charge. It is seen through as reflecting no absolute truth, and as just one of many turnarounds that each hold some relative truth, some of which may appear more true than the initial one. It becomes transparent, ephemeral, space itself.

Also, I notice that the rest of the pattern may also arise, including some of the emotions and impulses to certain behaviors. But these too also arise with little or no charge to them. They come up more as a memory of old patterns than anything else.

One aspect of this pattern is the anticipation of the contraction. A situation comes up that used to trigger the belief and its associated contraction, and there is the thought uh-oh, this does not look good, I know I am going to contract and experience stress here. And the only stress is that particular thought, nothing more.

So these ghosts of old patterns may come up for a while, as a faint memory of what used to be, until they don’t.

I as seen, seeing and absent

 

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

I as seen

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

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

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

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

I as seeing

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

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

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

The center of gravity is mainly in the seeing itself.

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

I as absent: Spirit as seeing and seen

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

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

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

Clear shifts

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

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

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

Content Changing to Allow for Recognition of Ground

 

I don’t know if there is a typical pattern here, but it seems that…

Initial awakening and amazing experiences

During initial awakenings, to soul levels and nature/deity mysticism, there is typically a large amount of amazing experiences, including deep insights out of the blue, strong energy experiences, causeless bliss and joy, seeing of auras, new abilities in any area of life, and so on.

Attachments as a carrot

So naturally, there can be an attachment to this particular content. This can be very helpful for a while, it is the carrot that keeps it moving.

Fall from grace

After a while, the process is ready to move on beyond attachment to this particular content. If there is still a stubborn attachment to this content (as was the case with me), then the rug may be pulled from under one’s feet, as an invitation to see this attachment and allow it to burn through.

Dark night

After a while of despair, a sense of dryness and weariness may surface, a clearer seeing of the futility and confusion in attaching to any particular content, even that content which seems most appealing and attractive to this human self.

Realized selflessness

And in this dryness, this setting of all dials to zero, the Ground may surface more, it may shift more into the foreground, this Ground of all content, of all phenomena, of all experiences. There may be a taste of real selflessness here, and eventually a clearer realization of selflessness – maybe first in glimpses and then more stable and clearly.

Now, the Ground awakens to its own nature of no I anywhere, naturally allowing any content to come and go, to live its own life, within and as Ground itself. Bliss and pain, joy and sadness, dryness and ecstasy, it is all recognized as nothing other than Ground itself.

Ground is primary and in the foreground. The particularities of the content is all recognized as Ground itself, and important only in a relative context.

Preferences of this human self – within context of I and realized selflessness

The preferences of this human self are still there, yet now within a different context.

First, there was the context of a sense of I, so the preferences of this human self naturally came into the foreground. There was an attachment to some experiences, to some content, and an aversion to other content. All this is perfectly natural and innocent.

Then, in a context of realized selflessness, there is still the preferences of this human self, as before. But now, these too unfold as Ground. These preferences, as any other phenomena, unfold as emptiness. The nature of these preferences as Ground, as emptiness, as Spirit, is in the foreground, is primary, is clear, inherent in what is happening.

They are not identified with. They are not seen as I. The center of gravity is no longer in these preferences. They just happen as anything else. They live their own life, as anything else. They happen with no doer there. They arise with no I to be found anywhere in it.

Typical Things Happening in Awakening (?)

 

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

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

Wholeness of psyche/body

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

Sense of intimacy with the world, no separation

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

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

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

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

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

Sense of timelessness

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

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

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

Sense of spacelessness

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

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

World of phenomena as a field

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

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

Everything happening on its own, living its own life

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

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

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

No doer

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

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

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

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

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

World of phenomena as space, emptiness, awareness, consciousness

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

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

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

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

One Taste

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

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

Reversals

Along with all of this are various forms of reversals.

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

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

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

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

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

And other aspects…

Synchronicities

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

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

Energy shifts and reorganizations

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

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

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

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

Hidden psychological material (including shadow) emerging to be seen

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

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

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

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.

Inquiry & Organic Unfolding

 

I don’t know if this is true (it is, after all, only my story), but it seems that inquiry allows for a gentle unfolding.

With many other approaches, it may not be possible to do it “too much” (what would that mean?), but it is definitely possible to do enough for there to be a serious backlash. And that can be quite unpleasant, while also carry some opportunities for insights and maturation.

But with inquiry, I only look at what is true for me (first person singular) in the present. What is alive for me right now? There is a gentle curiosity and receptivity in inquiry, which allows the unfolding to occur in an organic and gently paced way.

Inquiry works with what is already there, just noticing what is already there. Nothing is imposed. Nothing is added. Nothing is pushed.

Unless, of course, something is imposed, added and/or pushed. When that happens for me, I see that it often comes from an idea of a “goal” besides or beyond just seeing more clearly what is true for me in the present. When there is the belief in an idea of a goal – such as relief from suffering, realizing selflessness, being a good spiritual student, being insightful and so on – it brings discomfort. And this discomfort is an invitation to bring this belief itself into inquiry, and see what is really true for me there. Do I really want an abstract goal, however compelling it may seem? Or do I want to see more clearly what is really there, what is true for me right now?

Ego

 

Although less than before, the word “ego” is still used in some teachings, often talked about as something substantial, something that resists change, something that functions as a straitjacket. Even – sometimes – as something that is implicitly or explicitly bad, evil, holding us back, to be overcome, and so on.

Belief in the idea of I

When I look at it, all I find is just a belief in an idea. A belief in the idea of “I”, and placed on something finite – usually part of our human self, or placed on something that is not really finite, but certainly just a segment of what is, the seeing, the witness.

And from this belief comes all the things we associate with “ego”: sense of separation, sense of being an object in the world, resistance, narrowness, self-centeredness, protectiveness, rigidity, stuckness, blind attractions and repulsions, and so on.

Innocent mistake

There is just an innocent and temporary mistake, resulting in a wide range of phenomena in our human lives – most of which creates a sense of drama, and of suffering.

It all comes from an unexamined belief. A core belief, which forms our whole outlook on life and the world, and how we live our lives. I does have dramatic consequences. But it is still an innocent mistake. And not even a mistake, it just is. It is part of being human today, and has been for generations.

Falling away

As soon as we see through this belief, as soon as we realize that no phenomena – no segment of what is, has any inherent “I” in it, then we drop it as a hot coal as some say. There is no struggle. Nothing to resist. Nothing to fight. Only the seeing of it. Then the rest happens on its own.

Process

Before this happens, here is a habitual sense of self, and it is unexamined. It seems very real, very substantial. I believe in the idea of “I” and place it on some parts of this human self. I am an object in the world. I am here, everything else is out there. From this, the whole human drama is created and plays itself out.

Then, there is an intuition of selflessness, a hunch, a glimpse, a taste of it. And we cannot really believe in it any longer, although the vague habitual sense of self may still hang around for a while. It is a habitual pattern, after all. Here, when I look I find myself as that in which the whole world of phenomena plays itself out, including my human self.

Finally, after more exploring, more glimpses, more tastes, it shifts and comes into the foreground. Now, there is no doubt, no question, nothing more to explore. It is clear. There is no “I” inherent in any forms, no “I” in any phenomena, no “I” to be placed anywhere. There is just what is, with no “I” anywhere. Just the field of what is. Just the groundless ground, forming itself into these myriads of temporary forms – this human self, these sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, focus, awareness, and this world, these trees, buildings, cars, people, plants, clouds, stars, galaxies.

From I to No I, Dark Night, Deepening into the Nondual

 

Here is a summary of recent slightly obsessive ruminations (!).

Three phases: from I to no I

When there is a belief in the thought “I” and it is placed on my human self, then there is a blind caught-upness in whatever is happening. I am identified with some parts of what’s happening, and try to either hold onto or push away other parts, and there is a sense of struggle and suffering. I see myself as an object in the world, at the mercy of an infinite number of other and unpredictable objects. So, naturally I am also caught up in emotions such as fear, desire, aversion, anger and so on.

When there is an an awakening to pure awareness, to the Witness, there is still a belief in the thought “I” but now placed on the seeing. There is a sense of release here. I can work on and learn how to allow anything and everything to come and go as guests, to arise, unfold and fade within space & awareness. Learning this is a process and involves some effort and attention.

When what is awakens to itself as having no “I” anywhere – when no segment of what is revealed as having no inherent “I” – there is a more complete release. There is the same content – awareness and phenomena, seeing and seen – but no “I” as either our human self or awareness or anything else. It is all just happening. And there is an immediate realization of it as emptiness, as emptiness dancing. Again, there may be the same content – pain, anger, confusion, grief and so on – but it is all revealed as emptiness dancing. There is no suffering anymore.

Dazzled and dark night

During the awakening as formless awareness, there may be a good deal of bells and whistles going off. Bliss, miracles, synchronicities, seeing and engaging with energies, experiencing all as God and Spirit, and so on. And since there is a belief in an “I” there is also an attachment to phenomena, however subtle it may seem at the time. We are dazzled by the show – by the content, and since it is subtly experienced as “other” there is also a subtle holding onto it.

Two things can happen here. Either we continue and awaken as the nondual, as no “I” anywhere. Or we continue to hold onto I and other, and as the content moves – as it always does – there is a fall from grace. It seems that one way this can be triggered is through exhaustion of the human self, from the high energies that can be experienced in this awakening.

In Ken Wilber’s framework, the awakening to Witness is F9, and it can be accompanied by awakening to F7 and F8 which is nature- and deity-mysticism. At all of these levels, there is a belief in the thought “I”, and a subtle sense of I and other. And this can occur even if there is a clear sense, feeling or intuition of God being completely beyond and including any and all polarities. We have an immediate and (apparently) clear realization of this, yet this whole beyond all polarities is subtly “other”. “I” am here as pure awareness, experiencing Existence as beyond and including all polarities. There is a oneness of “I” and the whole of Existence, of God.

During the dark night of the soul, there is a sense of loss of connection with God and of “dryness”. No content gives comfort anymore. And this is exactly what is needed for the awakening to ground, to the emptiness which content arises within and as. To the context for all content and experiences, to that which never changes and is always right here now. To what is, with no “I” inherent in any segment of it.

No I

The irony is of course that this experience of “no I” seems to be all of ours immediate experience. We just don’t trust it, and add a belief to the thought “I” onto it. Somehow, it seems safer that way. We become familiar with that way of operating.

And we have trouble becoming childlike again, to drop what we have been trained to see and experience, so we can realize that there is indeed on “I” anywhere in our immediate experience.

It is what aways is. Indeed, it is that which time unfolds within and as.

Or more accurately, it is that in which the fluid seamless whole of form (time & space) unfolds within and as.

Deepening into the nondual

There may also be a deepening into the nondual (I don’t know too much about this). First, it may be a nondual awakening with same content as before. Then, it may deepen to be present to itself during the sleep and waking cycles of our human self (as it seems that it can be at F7-F9 awakenings as well). Then it may expand in space for all I know.

Transcend and include

As the nondual awakening has the same content as before, only with no “I” anywhere, it is another case of transcend and include. Nothing is lost, apart from the belief in the thought “I” and the struggle and suffering that brought with it. There is an effortless inclusion of our human self and human life, in its fullness – and its continuing development and maturation.

The Direction

 

What is the aim or direction of spiritual practice? In the end, it is just to become a more full and healthy human being.

We start out with dualistic perception. Then awaken to the nature of mind and a transdual view. Then we deepen and clarify it while we also bring it more fully into more and more situations in our daily life. And we learn to become more and more full human beings, to unstick, to let go of any fixed identity, to see this personality – with all its likes and dislikes and hangups – with some humor, to soften, to fully be whatever comes up, to be a good friend, spouse, child, parent, boss, employee, community member… It is the most beautiful path, and in many ways – the most ordinary…

Interpretations

 

Two people who had awakened with the same guru met, and one – who made his living from teaching – said to the other “so you are still driving a bus?”

This can be interpreted in many different ways…

  • It came from arrogance
  • It came from a gentle nudge, saying “you have such wonderful gifts, why don’t you share them with others through another form of paid work?”
  • It was a nudge with an edge to it, to shake the recipient up
  • Or a mix of the above

Of course, even if I were there – or was one of the two – these are still just stories.

Liberation & Awakening to Big Mind

 

As mentioned in past postings, there are many awakenings – its a continuing process.

  1. Matter
    Existence emerge as matter.

  2. Life
    Matter reorganize into life – which we can say is a form of awakening. Initially, life operates through instinctual biological processes.

  3. Local Awareness
    Life awaken into awareness. First, this awareness is quite dull and very local – mostly tied to instinctual biological processes.

  4. Self
    Then, awareness awakens to the self – independent of which species it is – as a separate entity, separate from other selves and objects. It is exclusively identified with the self, and caught up in the processes of the self. Here, awareness functions in a dualistic way. The self tries to fix itself, which only has limited and temporary success. It is not a satisfactory situation.

  5. The Nature of Mind
    From here, awareness can awaken to its own nature, as spacious awareness – distinct from its content and the personality. As it comes to its own nature in more and more situations, this realization becomes more stable, and clarifies and deepens. This is the process of liberation. From being blindly caught up in the processes of the self – the habitual patterns of emotions/thoughts/behaviors – it is now released from them. This allows for an even deeper and more intimate engagement with the self and the world.

  6. Transdual
    When awareness awakens to its own nature, it also starts to function in a more transdual way. It awakens to the Absolute, distinct from the Relative world of phenomena. And from this “ground” it sees all phenomena – beyond dualities – as parts of a seamless fluid whole.

  7. Big Mind
    The awakening of awareness into Big Mind is an emergence from the two previous awakenings. Awareness awakens into a fully transdual view – embracing the Absolute and Relative. The self becomes a vehicle for Big Mind.

  8. Rehumanized
    From here, awareness can rehumanize – reawaken to the humanity of the self. In the terminology of the Big Mind process, it learns to freely manifest through transpersonal and personal voices. It is not stuck, there is no fixed identity on any level.

  9. Evolution etc.
    Somewhere along the last few awakenings, there can also be an awakening into evolution. An awakening into conscious evolution – of being a part of the evolution of humanity, the Earth, this universe, and the relative aspect of Existence as a whole. The relative aspect of Existence becomes fuller, richer, more complex – while the Absolute is what it is, beyond simple. Big Mind becomes fuller and richer, while always having the same “ground”.