The Great Mother

 

In a way you may be experiencing the opposite of the non-dual state which is the state of the great mother where she holds it all and it is all hers.
– in an email from Barry

It’s difficult for me to find words that capture this for me, probably because it’s still not very clear for me. And I have written about it before.

During the initial awakening phase, lasting about ten years, Big Mind was relatively awake to itself, although there were some remaining confusion as well. Whatever happened – the world, any experience – was clearly recognized as consciousness, the Divine, God, Spirit. And there was no separation. At the same time, there was a knowing that it could be more clear, and could go deeper somehow, be embodied more fully and in a more rich, deep and juicy way.

During the following dark night of the soul phase, there were glimpses of another way reality could reveal itself to itself. Big Mind was still there, recognizing all as itself, and yet it was as if it was more felt and happening inside of everything, inside of every experience. This was sometimes accompanied with a sense of luminous blackness, Big Mind and everything as luminous blackness, held within it, appearing from within it and as it. And there was a sense that this was (one aspect and “level” of) the divine feminine.

Now, the luminous black is not here so much. And yet, there is an even more felt shift into/as the “divine mother” holding everything within and as herself. It’s felt in the body in a very different way from the initial phase where it was more seen and recognized (head, yang) and loved (heart).

Now, it’s revealed more fully as love. It’s more happening from within any experience, anything that’s here. It feels much more related to the divine feminine, the great mother. And – it seems – it’s much more happening from within the belly and body, or perhaps more accurately aided by shifts in the belly and body.

And, I have to admit, it’s sometimes quite confusing. There is sometimes a real sense of losing the mind (and fear of madness, from a belief of course). There is a real sense that this shift is incompatible with relying on any familiar idea, identity or identification. There is a real sense it wants to shift into something quite different from what’s been familiar in the past, at least in this life.

When Barry says it’s the opposite of a nondual state, that’s quite true in a way. It’s the mirror opposite of the more yang, Big Mind facet of reality revealing itself to itself. This one is more felt, more associated with the belly and body, and perhaps further from what I was consciously aware of before this whole process started. Although the initial phase seemed to require all of me, this one seems to do so again and even more so. And it does seem to include a reorganization at a primal and emotional level of my human self. Not just seeing and recognizing whatever is there – primal fears etc. – as the divine too, as happened during the initial phase, but a deep reorganization and realignment of it.

The divine takes over

 

This sequence (the first one, up to 3:20) from The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky illustrates a process that’s getting to be more familiar to me than I – the surface I – wanted.

The conquistador really wants the tree of life and what it offers, and then realizes in terror that it requires everything of him and doesn’t look at all like what he expected. First, he chased the tree, then the process took over and he didn’t have a choice anymore – as if he ever had a choice.

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Cannonball sprouting

 

From a session with Barry:

The image and feel of a cannonball surfaces. It’s resistance, personal will. It’s what’s resisting what’s happening, resisting life. I see how I fight it, and it doesn’t work.

It’s in the forehead, head, throat. Then it falls, it sinks down into the belly.

I stay with the image and feel of the cannonball in the belly. The cannonball sprouts, green soft sprouts emerge out of it. The cannonball softens, becomes soil, nutrients for these sprouts.

I stay with the cannonball, the soil, the sprouts. A tree emerges from the cannonball and the sprouts.

Then my whole body sprouts. My whole body becomes soil, nutrients for these sprouts. All of me becomes soil, nutrients.

A while passes. Then the whole Earth sprouts. The whole earth becomes soil and nutrients for the sprouts and trees.

The cannonball, my body, the whole Earth are soil, nutrients for the sprouts.

I am gone. All of me is gone. All of me is soil. All of me is nutrients for the sprouts. It’s all one field of soil, nutrients and sprouts.

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A shift into being it

 

I felt completely stuck yesterday – caught up in dissatisfaction, internal complaining, unease and general discomfort. Nothing seemed to work, apart from lying down and intentionally open my heart to it, allowing it to be, and giving it all over to the divine. Later, as I went to bed for the night, I continued this, and there was an impulse to shift into being it. And that’s where it seemed to fall into place. Being it was the only resolution that felt complete and honest in the moment.

I also remembered what Evelyn Underhill writes in Mysticism. The dark night is a preparation for, and shifts into, being whatever is.

It’s not new to me, but when it happens in this way, it feels new. Surprising. A fresh discovery.

Misery. Resistance. More misery. Allowing. Opening my heart to it. Then, a shift into being the field of experience.

I also see that being it can have two or three flavors.

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Big Mind, Heart, Belly, Integrity

 

I guess Big Integrity comes naturally from Big Mind, Big Heart and Big Belly.

Big Mind is what we are – that which everything happens within and as, including the images of a separate self – a human, a doer, an observer – that we sometimes identify with.

Big Heart is what happens when our human self functions within the context of what we are awake to itself. It is love lived through this human self, whether there is a feeling of love or not there.

Big Belly is the felt sense of all of this. It is the human self feeling all as Big Mind and Big Heart. A reorganization of the emotional level of the human self.

And Big Integrity is to live from all of this, in daily life.

Of course, it’s not this simple. It can feel temporarily satisfying to say or read something that’s relatively simple, clear, and resonates to some extent. It can be inspiring. It can even be something we wish to bring more into our lives. And yet, in practical terms, there is a little tweak we can do so it’s makes more sense and is more useful. And that tweak is to pay attention to where we fall short.

What shoulds or ideals do I try to live up to? What do I hope to get out of it? What thoughts come up when I fall short of my own expectations or ideals? If not falling short seemed within reach, what fears – if any – held me back? What do I find when I explore this further? For instance with heart practices, inquiry, or parts work?

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Head, heart, belly

 

Something else I keep coming back to…

There is a clear sense of awakening happening at the levels of head, heart and belly, even if those are only metaphors.

And as they happen separately and in different combinations, there is a clearer sense of the qualities of each one.

The head awakening happened for me in my teens, then combined with heart awakening and what I can only call “cosmic consciousness”. More recently, there has been times where there has been a clear head awakening on its own. The head awakening is a clear seeing of all as God. No separate I to be found anywhere. Ground awake to itself. Content of experience awakening to itself as a field, all as awakening, as no thing appearing as something, inherently absent of an I with an Other. This human self is living its life on its own, as everything is. There is no doer. No thinker. No chooser. No observer. No witness. Just the field.

The heart awakening is a love of everything as God. The love of God for itself, when all is recognized as God and this is lived through a human self. This love can be independent of content of experience (of feelings, emotions) and only appears as love when it comes out in actions. This is the love of the right hand helping the left, simply, effortlessly. In addition to this, it can also come out as content of experience, as a feeling, emotion, a bitter-sweet love. Bitter because of the suffering in the world. Sweet because it is love and it embraces whatever/whomever comes up, independent of its characteristics.

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Facets of reality

 

Not only are there different forms of awakenings, but there are also different facets revealed within each one.

For instance, within an awakening of what we are to itself, there are facets of emptiness and fullness.

When this awakening is lived through human form, love comes in.

At the soul level, there seems to be innumerable facets, including luminosity, alive presence and fertile darkness.

Independent of – or coexisting with – any of these, is the experience of oneness. All form is one. All is God.

And when any of these are lived through our human self, insights can also come in – which is another facet.

There must be many more, but these are the ones I am most familiar with from (very limited) own experience.

I also notice how there seems to be a natural shift among any and all of these. Any one of them is sometimes in the foreground and sometimes in the background. Said another way, the volume of each is sometimes turned way up, sometimes moderate, and sometimes turned way down.

Another aspect of this, which Adyashanti pointed out at his most recent radio broadcast, is that each of these are revealed as complete and omnipresent – because they are.

So it is understandable how some, at least in the very early phases of their awakening, take whatever one is alive for them in the present as all there is. (And sometimes get into slightly comical debates with others around it.)

I must be lucky here. Even in the midst of my initial awakening, it was clear to me that in spite of how amazing and complete it seemed (in that case a mix of Big Mind, Big Heart, alive presence, luminosity), it was only a small aspect of what God is. And whenever there is a shift into any one of these, or one new to me, and even if the volume is turned quite a bit up, it is still clear that it is only a small facet of God.

The lesson in all of this, including for me, is to not limit God.

Whatever experiences and insights I have is always very limited. And whatever story I have about reality or God, God is untouched by it and goes far beyond. If I attach to any of those stories as true, I only create struggle when experience moves on… which it will.

The three centers in the Big Mind process

 

The three centers can be included in two different ways in the Big Mind process:as voices to explore, and maybe even more importantly, as alive throughout the process (as a meta-skill as they call it in Process Work.)

As voices to explore

As voices to dialog with, they are the familiar Big Mind and Big Heart, and also the new (for the Big Mind process) Big Belly.

It is the seeing, loving, and feeling of all as Spirit, allowing our individual view, heart and emotions to reorganize within this new context.

As meta-skills

When they are alive throughout the process, they allow us to see, love and feel each voice… as they are right now, and as Spirit.

There is a felt-sense of each voice, in our bodies. There is the allowing and loving of each voice, as serving the self (although sometimes a little misguided) and as Spirit. And there is the seeing of each voice, as they are right now, serving the self, and as Spirit.

Bringing all three into the process – the felt-sense, the allowing and loving, and the clear seeing – seems to allow for a deeper connection and unfolding… Each voice feels acknowledged in a more real way, allowing them to soften and reorganize to serve the self in a more fine-tuned way.

It creates a more full-bodied container for this to happen, for the vulnerable animal and all its voices to relax, feel safe, heard, understood, acknowledged, appreciated, honored, owned. Which in turn invites and allows them to reorganize to serve the self in a more finely tuned way.

Felt-sense of all as one

 

When I woke up from the detective (lila) dream, I took some time exploring the felt-sense of I and Other, and also what happens when I bring in quality of many as one – from the dream.

I went through a parade of people, from those I know personally to those I know from the media, and those there is an attraction towards and aversion towards. What happens if there is a felt-sense of the two as one, as one character playing many roles, as it was in the dream?

What I found was a physical and felt release of tension, of deep relaxation, of fullness, ease, a felt sense of one as many… appreciating the diversity, yet also knowing that there is only one I.

Including more of our being

Putting it in words, it may sound very similar to seeing all as Spirit, as in the Big Mind process. And that is one aspect of it. But to feel it, to have a felt-sense of it, bodily, is quite different.

There is a whole other realm of fullness here, of being it more fully, of the basement being included (the client & target from the dream was in the basement when I found him, maybe for that reason… It was all about the felt-sense, the body, the belly center, the first few chakras.)

Three centers

Through the head center, there is a seeing of all as Spirit. Our view is reorganized within a nondual realization. This is Big Mind in the Big Mind process.

Through the heart center, there is a loving of all as Spirit. Our heart is reorganized within all as Spirit, open to all forms independent of how they show up. This is Big Heart.

And through the belly center, there is a felt-sense of all as Spirit. Our physical body feels all as Spirit, and our body and emotions are reorganized within all as Spirit. This could be called Big Belly (Hotei). It opens up a whole other realm of fullness, depth, nourishing, substantiality, groundedness, lived reality of all as Spirit.

Vulnerable animal

It is our individual human self, the vulnerable animal, that is reactive, contracted, fearful, blinded, hopeful, lashing out, clinging on, fearing death, feeling a sense of lack and something missing… It organizes in this way within a context of a sense of separation. It is a vulnerable (and wounded) little animal, and reacts in all of these ways as all animals do.

And the felt-sense of all as Spirit allows it to reorganize, to relax, to soften. It allows the little animal to feel safe, to gradually heal, to feel nourished, a sense of fullness, of nothing missing.

All is Spirit, reflected in the physical body and emotions

Of course, even here it will take care of itself in all the common sense and practical ways, through food, exercise, getting out of harms way and so on. But it will do it within a felt-sense of all being OK, of nourishment, fullness, a deep safety beyond conventional safety and danger.

This felt-sense of all as Spirit, of nourishment, fullness, of being held, of all being OK independent of what happens to the individual, comes from Spirit – not from the individual. It is Spirit awakening to itself, reflected deeply in the individual, in the body and emotional levels of the individual. And if deepened in that way, then they are there, no matter what physically happens to the individual.

Head only, or including belly

If Spirit is filtered through the head center only (or head and heart), there is a conventional awakening. Spirit awakens to itself as the ground of seeing and seen, and there is no I anywhere (or all as I). The individual is reorganized in this context, to some extent, but may also have wounds and hangups left. These too are also recognized as Spirit… Spirit arising as wounds, so in an absolute sense, it is OK.

But when the belly is included, it allows this individual, this vulnerable little animal, to reorganize at a deep level… Deep wounds are invited to heal, all these wounds created from a sense of separation… All the fear, desire, longing, terror, dread, cruelty, hopes, wishes, clinging… All of the ways the vulnerable little animal reacts to protect itself, when it lives from a sense of separation. These are all invited to heal, in a deep way.

The wounds soften, melt, gradually heal, gradually reorganize to reflect a felt-sense of all as Spirit. And as this happens within form, there is no end to how far this can go. There is always one more bit to heal, one step further to go, new ways to reorganize within a felt sense of all as Spirit.

Taking care of what we are, and who we are

Another way to put it is that we not only take care of what we are, but also who we are.

When Big Mind awakens to itself, as awake emptiness and form absent of I anywhere, and becomes familiar with itself in this way, while still being functionally connected with an individual human self, we take care of what we are.

And when we allow our individual self to deeply reorganize within this new context, through the head, heart and belly centers, we take care of who we are. And this is an unending process, there is always further to go, a continuous deepening, healing, reorganizing, maturing.

It is a process of deepening into what we are, as Spirit awake to itself, and who we are, as an individual soul and human self, reflecting Spirit awakened to itself.

What we are offers the realization of selflessness, of an absence of I anywhere. And who we are offers the opportunity to live and explore this in and as form.

Big Mind, Big Heart, Big Belly

 

If we map the three centers onto the Big Mind framework, we get Big Mind, Big Heart, and then also Big Belly.

The head awakening gives serenity and wisdom, as shown in many traditional Buddha depictions. It is the seeing of all as Spirit.

The heart awakening gives love and compassion for all beings, independent on who they are or what they do, and is reflected in depictions of Avalokitesvara, Kuan Yin, Chenrezig, Kanzeon. It is the loving of all as Spirit.

The belly awakening gives a deep sense of all as Spirit at a physical level, with the whole body and emotions, a deep sense of safety, nurturing and comfort. This profund sense of physical well-being (in the midst of whatever else may be going on) is reflected in Hotei, the big bellied laughing Buddha. It is the feeling of all as Spirit.

In each case, Big refers to that which leaves nothing out. The nondual view embraces and goes beyond all polarities. The open heart is open to all beings without exception, and to all forms no matter their specifics. The belly awakening is an awakening into the fertile darkness that is the ground of all form, the womb of all form in its infinite richness.

The view, love and fertile darkness is the seeing, loving and feeling all as Spirit, as awake emptiness and form, beyond and embracing all polarities.

Big Mind process and the belly center

 

The head and heart centers in the Big Mind process

The Big Mind process is in a way a simulation of an awakening of the head and heart centers. We get to taste, to dip our toes into, how Spirit reveals itself through the head center (Big Mind) and the heart center (Big Heart). We get to taste how it is to see and love all as Spirit.

The belly center in the Big Mind process

In the process, there is the inevitable taste of feeling all as Spirit as well, of Spirit filtered through the belly center, although this one is almost an accidental side-effect.

To amplify this taste of Spirit filtered through the belly center, we can allow the human self to feel how it is to see and love all as Spirit, to feel into it, sink into it, marinade within it, allowing the body and emotions to reorganize within this context of all as Spirit.

How does it feel in this human self, in the body, when all is seen and loved as Spirit?

How does the body change? Does it relax? Soften? Does it melt away rigidity?

How do the emotions change? Do they relax? Soften? Go from reactive and fearful to giving a sense of nurturing fullness?

Big Mind, Big Heart, and Big Belly

In addition to Big Mind and Big Heart, there is now also Big Belly (!) It is the feeling, the sensed feeling, of all as Spirit. Of all of Existence as a Big Belly, soft, warm, nurturing. A cosmic womb, dark and fertile, allowing the body and the emotions of this human self to reorganize within all as Spirit.

Dipping the toes, diving into, and deepening within

The Big Mind process itself, of course, only gives us a taste of Spirit filtered through these three centers. We are just dipping our toes in the waters.

And becoming familiar with it in this way, simulating an awakening of these three centers, and allowing our view, heart and feelings to begin to reorganize within this new context, sets the stage for a larger shift, for a more full-bodied diving into the water, and then for deepening within it.