Bliss addiction


This is another 101 topic I have written about before and thought I would briefly revisit.

We can be addicted to bliss, especially during a certain phase of the spiritual path.

Here is what often happens:

We get a taste of bliss.

We want it again.

We try different strategies to get it again.

We try strategies to get it to stay.

And eventually, we discover that we seek a transitory state and an experience, and that’s ultimately futile.

As far as I can tell, this bliss-seeking compulsion has a few different functions.

It’s a carrot on the path. It keeps us going so our seeking and practices become more established and more of a stable habit. Especially as it tends to happen early on the intentional path.

It can bring a certain healing. It can make us feel loved. It can help us trust life more.

It’s a lesson in the difference between states and what we are. It helps us differentiate the two.

It’s an invitation to explore what in us drives the compulsion and find healing for it.

As experiences come and go, we will eventually notice that what we are is what experiences happen within and as. And that that’s what it really is about, at least as we mature a bit. Seeking and losing and refinding and relosing bliss is a strong invitation to notice this.

And what drives this compulsion to find bliss, or really any compulsion? It’s often a sense of lack, a sense of not being good enough, and wanting to escape uncomfortable identifications and feelings.

So there is nothing wrong in seeking bliss. It’s natural. It’s quite common. It has several functions. And it leads us to a slightly more mature phase of the path.

Note: What strategies do we use to seek and maintain bliss? Most often, it’s a combination of meditation practices, prayer, and yogic or energetic practices. And for some, it’s psychoactive drugs.

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Meant to create a shift, not to last


When we have an opening, an experience of overwhelming love or bliss, a very clear recognition of all as Spirit, a deep sense of peace, or something similar, it’s not meant to last. Experiences come to pass, not to last.

What they do instead is inviting or creating a shift. A facet of reality may have been revealed clearly in the experience, so the shift can be to notice this facet here and now and through shifting experiences and states. It can also be a shift in how our human self is organized, aligned, and functions in the world.

If we expect the experience to last, we disappoint ourselves. But if we see it as an invitation for noticing or realignment, then the experience can be very valuable and it’s value may last far longer than the experience itself.

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Joy, discomfort, neutral


It seems that just about any experience has three components, or at least has the potential for each three.

I find that any experience, even those that on the surface seems distressing and unpleasant, have a stream of quiet joy running through. There is a quiet bliss in just experiencing. In awareness itself. This thread of quiet bliss is revealed more clearly when the experience is more fully allowed, and the rest of the content of experience tends to be revealed as a form of nurturing bliss as well.

Also, any experience, no matter how joyful on the surface, has an element of discomfort as long as it is resisted. And any experience is resisted to some extent as long as we take ourselves to be an I with an Other. At the very least, we resist knowing that an experience will pass, no matter how much we enjoy it and try to hold onto it.

Any experience is also inherently neutral. As awakeness, any experience is neutral, it is awakeness itself. It is not inherently good or bad, just experience. Just awakeness temporarily being its own content. Any stories of good and bad, desirable and undesirable, right and wrong, are just stories, it all only exists on the inside of a story.

So in one sense, our life consists of good, bad and neutral situations. And in another sense, it is all happening here now, independent of the particulars of the experience.

Stream and overlays


This is something I keep on noticing…

Any experience is quiet bliss, or, if seen within a sense/story of time, a stream of quiet bliss. Experiencing itself, awake void and its content of awake void taking a temporary form, is inherently a quiet bliss.

If there is an identification with a particular story about this content, there is also a drama created and this may temporarily cloud over a noticing of this quiet bliss. The identification with the story gives a sense of I and Other, and resistance in various ways, and when there is an identification with all of this, it seems very real. This means attention goes to this drama, and the quiet bliss is easily missed and overlooked.

When there is less of an attachment to, or belief in, or identification with stories, there is less of a sense of I and Other and of resistance and drama, so also an easier noticing of this quiet bliss. Identification goes out of content so there is a clearer seeing, which in turns allows for this quiet bliss to come into foreground of attention. So here, it is revealed that any experience is quiet bliss, independent of what (other) qualities it may have. Experiencing itself is quiet bliss.

A simple way of noticing this is to just be with what is, as it is. Whatever is, just be with it, for instance as a heartfelt being-with bringing in the three centers.

In addition to the simplicity revealed when there is a being with, there can be an overlay of stories. And these can still be identified with to different degrees, or not. For instance, when there is a belief in a story of a separate self these other stories are often about how what is, according to these stories, relate to this separate self, again according to these stories. It is good or bad, desirable and undesirable, and so on. This has a very useful practical function in terms of keeping this human self alive and functional in the world. Yet, when believed in, even to a lesser extent, there is drama and discomfort.

The current of quiet bliss and joy


I usually don’t write about these things, because they are secondary effects and also content of awareness. But it can still be helpful to mention and clarify.

Below the dust kicked up by our wrestling with life and stories, there is a stream of quiet bliss and joy. It is the bliss of just being, of experiencing independent of the content of experience.

It is a current of quite bliss and joy, and also of an alive presence… of love… intelligence… guidance… being itself…

When we first discover this, there are times when we stay with this quiet current of bliss, even if the personality is doing something completely different… the personality may be in despair, caught up in anger, frustration, irritations, longings, grief and so on… and yet, the quiet current of bliss is still there. It is there, independent of what the personality is doing.

I have found two ways to notice this current that seem especially effective.

One is to simple be with our experiences, as they are. The book Unconditional Bliss by Raphael Cushnir is one of my favorites on that topic… very practical and simple.

The other is to examine beliefs themselves, seeing that any story is only a relative truth, which in turn allows beliefs to fall away. The Work is the simplest and most effective approach I have found for this.

Of course, as with anything else, we arrive at the gold only by doing the work. We can read about it as much as we want, even believe everything Raphael Cushnir and Byron Katie says, but that in itself won’t help us much (it could even trigger more discomfort…!)

The gold is only revealed by digging… by being with our experiences, especially those we would rather not be with… and by sincerely examining our most cherished beliefs, especially those we would rather not let go of.

Vulcans, and walling and allowing experience


In watching movies, I cannot help being curious about what processes they may reflect, both within each of us and among us. Often, it is quite simple and basic such as with the Vulcans in Star Trek (I have been watching some of the original episodes for the first time).


The Vulcans have learned to suppress and control feelings and emotions, and rely on cool intelligence. And this reflects the common view in our culture, at least in the 60s: we either have to act on our feelings and emotions, or we have to suppress them.

Either way, we do battle with them. They are an Other that either controls or is controlled by us. There is a space where I am here and emotions there, and when they get strong, they either flood and overpower me, or I am able to erect and maintain a wall that keeps them in check.

The skill of the Vulcans is to be able to very effectively erect and maintain these walls, although they do break down sometimes (sometimes with scary results, and other times to the glee of Kirk and Bones.)

Trapped in this mode, the sense is that if I allow myself to fully experience something, it will take over, it will overpower me, I will loose control. And this fear is the motivation to keep holding it at bay, whatever it is – grief, sadness, anger, rage, pain, joy, pleasure, love, bliss.


But this is only one option. The other is to allow ourselves to fully experience whatever we experience, to be with it, to allow resistance to the content of our experience to fall away.

Here, there is a sense of spaciousness, of holding and allowing any content. And there is a sense of release, and we realize that the pressure that we thought we were erecting a wall and fighting against, was created by the wall and the fighting itself. Without the wall and the resistance, there is no pressure. There is just whatever is experiences, unfolding within and as awareness and space, and that is it.

There is no sense of being overpowered, because the whole sense of I and Other becomes more transparent and spacious. They are revealed as part of the same space.

Intense experiences may be unfolding, but unfolding within a much larger (actually infinite) space. There is only pressure when the space is walled in. Without walls, no pressure.

And without pressure, any experience is revealed as bliss itself. For me right now, giving a sense of blissful smooth expansive quiet fullness,.

A Richness In Ordinary Life


If all is the play of God, then there must be a great deal of interest and richness in an ordinary life. There are, by definition, far more ordinary and average lives than the obviously extraordinary ones, and why would there be unless there was an extraordinary richness even in these ordinary and unassuming lives?

All of this – the words play, interest, richness, ordinary, extraordinary and so on – are just abstractions, an overlay of what is. Still, is may point to something beyond these abstractions – something to explore and see what emerges from it.

In this case, it may help us see our own lives – as they are, often ordinary and unassuming – as being immensely rich. Rich enough for God to want to manifest in this particular way, to explore itself in this life as it is right now.

And it also seems that when we allow our experiences more fully into awareness, when we are with our experiences, we realize this richness directly.

That is certainly the case for me. When I am with my experiences, there is an immense richness there – often tinged with some bliss as well, independent on whatever other content may be there.

Dualistic and Transdual Joy


Transdual Joy

When awareness awakens to its own nature of spacious awareness, it naturally functions in a more transdual way which..

Brings up spontaneous joy and bliss, independent of the external/internal situation of the self. Indeed, when there is no resistance to our experiences (how can there be if there is no separation, when we are the experiences), then all experiences becomes bliss. We realize that suffering comes from our resistance to the experiences.

Brings up spontaneous compassion and empathy. There is no separation, so there is a natural compassion for all beings.

Dualistic Joy

When awareness is exclusively identified with – or caught up in – the small self, it functions in a dualistic way. It only knows experiences of joy, bliss, compassion etc. as being triggered by a specific combination of external and internal circumstances. It believes in thoughts, and only allow experiences to come up that match the current combination of beliefs and situations. Otherwise, it closes itself off from them.

When transdual joy, bliss, compassion etc. is expressed through another self, the awareness which is still exclusively identified with and caught up in the small self places labels on the behavior. It calls it “joy”, “compassion”, and maybe “holy”, “spiritual”, etc. And from this, it may try to emulate it by creating a “spiritual” identity for itself. It closes itself off from anything that does not fit with the label and the image, and tries to force an expression and experience that does. This does obvisouly not work for very long, and only creates more suffering.

The only solution is to awaken to the nature of mind, from where it can soften and let go of any fixed identity and express itself more fluidly. Which in turn will be “fixed” into labels and images by awarenesses which are still identified with other small selves.



It seems that the function of bliss is as a “glue” to dissolve – apparent – boundaries.

On a personal level, we experience bliss through intimacy (physical, emotional, mental) with another person. And we can experience bliss through connection with nature, the Earth and the universe.

And there seems to be an experience of bliss each time there is an awakening – from a smaller whole to a larger whole. As the boundaries fall, there is a new bliss. And as we become comfortable and familiar with the holon level we are at, it becomes ordinary and the bliss fades, and we are motivated (eventually) to seek to transcend the next boundary.

The question is, what happens in the “end” – at the highest level of the holarchy (God/Existence)? The answer may be that it experiences itself in myriads of ways through all its different manifestations, all its local awareness organs.

The awareness of a local awareness organ is initially very local, and then slowly awakens and becomes more inclusive, until it eventuall awakens to Big Mind. And here, it manifests in a myriad of local awareness organs all with initially local awareness. It is cycles within cycles, within an unfolding and evolving universe (and whatever wider context there is for the manifest phenomena).