Why did the dark night happen?

 

I have written about this a few times but wanted to revisit it, mostly as a way to explore it again for myself.

A dark night of the soul, in a technical sense, is what typically happens after an initial awakening (AKA illumination) and before finding a deeper ease with what’s here, independent of what is is (AKA equanimity). (See Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism, or Adyashanti’s Resurrecting Jesus, for more on this.)

The term itself – dark night of the soul – can be understood in a few different ways.

Life is working on us in a way that’s hidden from us. (As it really always does.) It’s hidden and unknown, as in a dark night. This is the original meaning of the word, as far as I know.

What happens may be seen as “dark” in a more modern sense. It’s a challenging phase, dark psychological material may surface, things seem to go wrong, and  (apparently) desired things fall away. The word “dark” is here used in the sense of hidden, or what’s conventionally seen as undesirable.

A dark night implies rest, and rest seems to be an important part of the dark night of the soul, at least at times and for some of us.

Why does a dark night of the soul happen?

It may be due to a burn-out from the initial awakening phase, with strong kundalini energies running through the system.

It’s a natural reversal from going “up” in the initial awakening, and now “down” so both can be met, included and loved.

It may come from an inability to repress material anymore, sometimes due to the opening of the initial awakening. Whatever is unmet and unloved in us (wounds, traumas) come to the surface to be met, loved, included and seen through.

What’s left of identifications (beliefs, velcro) surfaces, so this can be met and loved, and perhaps seen through. (A variation of the one above.) With this comes an invitation to mature as a human being, and deepen in our familiarity with the terrain – human and consciousness.

We may have said a “dangerous prayer”, asking for full awakening no matter the cost, or to be shown “what’s left”. (I did both, at different times. The dark night of the soul started a year-and-a-half after the first prayer, and the darkest phase of the dark night came a couple of weeks after the second.)

We don’t know. Even if the stories above may be helpful, we don’t know.

For me, there may also have been a couple of more specific reasons:

I went into a life situation that felt wrong and went against my guidance, and that’s when the dark night started for me. I stayed because of fears and shoulds, and a hope that it would get better, and it was very draining, which is perhaps what led to the darkest phase of the dark night (with health problems, inability to suppress, and more).

I received some diksha sessions a few years into the dark night. These led to what seemed like a nondual awakening, which lasted for about six months. This, in turn, was followed by a collapse of my whole system (fatigue, brain fog, inability to suppress etc.). I wonder if the diksha forced what otherwise would have been a more gradual, slow and more natural process, which led to a backlash. The diksha energy may also have changed something in me (the brain?) which my system reacted to.

(more…)

Side effects

 

I usually don’t talk about the bells and whistles that may go along with a process of Spirit noticing itself through a human life. And I also notice it doesn’t feel right to always leave it out, especially since someone may go through those things, happen upon this blog, and benefit from knowing it’s not uncommon at all.

So I’ll say a few things about my experiences here.

Initial opening/awakening phase. During this phase, several things happened. First, for about a year, there was a sense of being absorbed into the witness. The center of gravity shifted into the witness and (seemingly) away from what was witnessed, the content of awareness. This was quite disturbing in a sense, since I had no idea what was going on. I was a die-hard atheist at the time with no interest in Spirituality or God. I even went to the doctor to have tests to see if we could figure out what was going on. (I was 15 at the time.)

Then, there was a shift into Spirit recognizing itself as everything there is, with no exception. Some time into this, I remember sitting in the garden reading a book, looking up at the sky and the trees, and noticing a shine around the leaves on the tree above me. For a while, I thought it was some sort of optical illusion, until I – reluctantly (!) – realized it must be the energy field or aura of the tree. I then saw it in and around everything – inanimate objects (a simple aura at the global level), plants (an aura reflecting the aliveness of the plants), animals (more alive/complex aura) and humans (again more complex). Seeing this energy field in and around everything was yet another reminded that all is Spirit, all is God, all is awareness/awakeness. Along with this came what I later heard was called medical intuition, and the possibility of inviting in healing (getting a sense of what was going on, where it wanted to move to find healing, and inviting in changes at the “blueprint” level of the organism or being.)

Seeing auras has been helpful in seeing where spiritual teachers are at, how and in what way Spirit is awake to itself there. And I haven’t done much with the medical intuition/healing bit, mostly because I rarely talked about it so few asked for it, and also because it was clear that the cause/origin of illness or discomfort is at the level of how we relate to thought, so my interest instead went to different forms of meditation and inquiry.

During this phase, there were also a constant stream of synchronicities, often so others notice as well, and again as another reminder that all is Spirit. It’s a seamless whole, and movements within this whole appears as synchronicities. This too continues.

Diksha. I’ll mention another episode here that may be of interest. Some years back, I explored diksha. My memory of this is a bit fuzzy, so I’ll just mention a few things here. As I stood up after the initial session, there was a sense of something trickling from my head down the body, and of the body becoming translucent. This was followed by some days of a splitting and intense headache. A few days later, I walked in a forest (I was on a sustainability retreat) at night in the pitch dark, seeing the vegetation lit up and the path dark so it was easy to find my way (seeing all as energy was amplified). My companion could see anything and was surprised I could find my way.

A few days later, I was on my bed listening to the radio (Car Talk!) and my body started moving, twisting and shaking. The mechanism that connects intention and movement seemed disconnected, so there was just an observing of what was happening. This went on for 20 minutes or so. Again a few days later, “I” woke up in the middle of the night during a thunder storm, and there was just awareness and what was happening, with no awareness of anybody that this experience belonged to. After a few minutes, there was awareness of a body in the bed, and slowly and gradually, a thought that this awareness somehow was connected to this body, and then gradually a remembering that this was a human and more specific information.

During this time, attention became very stable during meditation. For instance, I would have on music to explore how thoughts tie together images of past, future and present, and it all fell apart. There was just sound, and not even that label, and nothing to tie images/memories of past, present and future sound into what could be called “music”. When I tried the indestructible crash helmet headless experiment, any sense of “I” fell away – apart from as an image not identified with anymore – and this lasted for about six months. My daily life went on as before, just without any possibility of identifying as an I. And this was followed by health problems and a quite dark dark night, showing me what was left at the human level.

Notes. These types of things seem quite ordinary and common in such a process. For some, it happens to a great extent. For others, almost not at all. And for most, it happens  during certain phases and less at other times. I suspect it’s just part of the mechanics of the process. Some of it – auras, synchronicities – is a reminder that all is Spirit. And some of it shows me what’s left. It brings up thoughts and beliefs, I get to see them, and can take them to inquiry. I may think it’s special, or that “I” am special, or it means something special. I may think that others will see me as weird, that it’s better to not say anything about it. I may think it means something is going right, or that something is wrong. And I am invited to question those thoughts, and find what’s more true for me.

Energy/consciousness & self/other grid

 

In talking with someone local who has done Buddhist meditation for a couple of decades, and is also a diksha giver, I was reminded of the energy/consciousness and self/other grid, and also how much I appreciate being free to move among and include each of the quadrants.

In the awakening process, we can work from the energy side or consciousness side, each supporting and in mutual influence with the other. And we can also do our own work, or have it done for us (shocking, for many in a Buddhist world view.)

Diksha, and any other form of shaktipat, is an example of work on the energy side influencing the consciousness side, and also an example of the “other” quadrant. It is something that is given to us from outside of this human self, without much or any effort on our own part.

Regular meditation and inquiry is an example of self-initiated work on the consciousness side, which inevitably influences the energy side.

Different forms of yoga is an example of self-initiated work on the energy side.

And in terms of other-initiated work on the consciousness side, I am not sure. Maybe different forms of pointing-out instructions, such as the Big Mind process, could fall into this quadrant, although these are more of a other-self partnership.

We can of course also include other levels here, such as the physical. Self-initiated work here include exercise and yoga, and other-initiated work includes massage and other forms of bodywork.

The benefit of limiting oneself to one quadrant or side of the grid is that we get to explore that one in depth. We get intimately familiar with that part of the terrain. The drawback may be slight one-sidedness, both in view and practice. We may end up discounting the other side of the grid. And we may end up being overly self-reliant, reinforcing a sense of a separate self and a “doer” that way. Or we may end up being overly other-reliant, not trusting what can be initiated from this – the human self – side.

So with all of this available to us, why limit ourselves to any one quadrant, or even any one side of the grid? In my experience, it all goes hand in hand, seamlessly, with activities in each quadrant shedding some light on the other quadrants. Each one contributing to exploring the terrain in slightly new ways.

As with any map, this grid is false and also potentially useful in a practical way.

Even if we focus on one quadrant, each of the other ones are included. I may focus on self-initiated meditation and inquiry, which in turn influences the energy, and also invites Ground as “other” to notice itself. I initiate prayer, and “other” comes in and shifts both energy and consciousness. I receive diksha, and lots of old patterns come up to be seen, and I actively stay with it and may even work with beliefs around it. Or I receive diksha, and go into samadhi, which helps me inquire into what is here now in more detail.

And without the boundaries created by this map, we see that it is all a seamless whole of awake void and form, only with appearances of I and Other, consciousness and energy. It is all the play of God, it is all Lila.

How to see all posts on endarkenment and related topics

 

Note: This relates to Blogger, before the move to WordPress, but you can still check out the links.

As mentioned in the previous post, when you display posts with a certain label, only the most recent 20 are shown.

To get around this and see all posts on endarkenment and related topics, go here:

The older posts are at the bottom of the page. Also note that many of these posts will show up under more than one label.

Death and rebirth

 

The world is a process of death and rebirth on a wide range of scales, from everything dying as what it was and being reborn as something else, continuously, to the death and rebirth within each of our lives, the death and rebirth of stars and solar systems, and possibly of the universe as a whole.

Since going into the diksha process 1.5 years ago, this death and rebirth process within my life has come to the foreground again… The death of old patterns and identities, and something else emerging in its place. It has not always been a pleasant process (it has been miserable at times), and I see that the misery comes from resistance. Whenever there is resistance to experiencing something that needs to be seen, felt, loved, there is drama and stress. And whenever there is resistance to letting a particular identity go, there is the same drama and suffering… proportional to the resistance.

Journeying I: impoverished skeleton, then infusion of alive, intelligent light

Sunday, during the journeying process of allowing knots to emerge, be felt into, and dissolve or morph into something else, two main themes emerged. One was seeing my spine, especially from the tailbone and up to solar plexus, being in deep need of healing, and then my whole skeleton being in deep need of healing, impoverished and having been devoid of life for a long time, going back to childhood.

After being with this for a while, and also being with the deep sadness coming up over this, there was an infusion of golden alive liquid light into the skeleton, first in the lower half of the spine, then throughout the skeleton. An infusion of alive, infinitely intelligent light, as innumerable particles of golden light around the skeleton flowing into the skeleton, gradually filling it up, bringing a deeply needed nourishment and life to the skeleton.

After a while, there was a very strong sense of a physical change in my body as well, corresponding to the infusion of liquid golden healing light into the skeleton.

The alive, infinitely intelligent, loving, receptive and active (when invited) light, is the same as awakened in the heart area a couple of weeks ago, the indwelling God.

And the liquidy softness of it is the fertile softness of the belly center.

Journeying II: being a decomposing body

Later in the process, I found myself as a decomposing body, as the body, slowly decomposing, into dark fertile soil. The volume of sensory input was turned down during this phase, and there was a deep silence and quietness. My physical body stopped breathing for long periods of time, then took a deep breath on its own occasionally (to stay alive), and then going back into not breathing for a while. It was a beautiful process, being the deep silent blackness.

Dream: body stopping to function

This morning, there was a dream of my body stopping to function, first in the legs and then throughout the body, leading into death and decomposing. Again with a sense of it being completely OK, held in deep silence.

The hard work of fluid identities

 

In spite of how it seems sometimes, our identity is quite fluid. That is one of the reasons we have to work so hard at making it appear real to us, real and stable.

When I look, I see that my identity shifts from moment to moment. Right now, it may be as someone who wants to be as clear as possible. A moment ago, it was as someone who didn’t like the current music selection at Last.fm. Earlier tonight, as someone who was willing to pay $7.50 for the current issue of WIE? As I started reading it, as someone happy to see them writing about diksha, taking it as a confirmation of my own identity as someone who benefits from and appreciates diksha. Before then, during a conversation with an acquaintance, as someone who wanted to be perceived as responsible (the topic was on a project I have allowed to be mostly fallow for the last few months, and this could threaten that particular identity). Then during a few minutes of sitting practice, as someone who wants to awaken in all directions – including to all of me as a human being, and in particular the shadow.

There is just the field of awake emptiness and form, absent of I, yet believing in the idea of I, so whatever arises in form is scanned for a good candidate to place this sense of I on. Usually, it is some aspect of this human self that fits our more elaborate identities.

Whatever then comes up as I is where my identity is, and it changes always, from moment to moment.

So as Bhagavan says below, whenever a question comes up, and we identify with the question, we are that question. To ourselves, in our own experience, we are that question. The question “who am I” arises in the field, there is an identification with it, it is seen as I, and everything else is seen as Other. Right there, the field splits itself into I and Other in its own experience.

Questioner: I was so lucky to receive a life review today. At the end of the journey I was asking, ‘Who am I?’

Bhagavan: On a psychological level, you are that question. There is no answer. If the question goes, you go. It is by continually asking that question that you perpetuate yourself. When you become enlightened, the question goes away, and so do you. You are nothing but consciousness, a witness.

Spheres of blue light

 

Since the dream last night, the small spheres of blue light seem very tangible, placed in each vertebrae close to the spinal cord. It is like a cool quiet awakening happening there, an awakening of the intelligence of the vertebrae as the guide in the dream told me. A quiet cool intelligence coming alive, at 24 (or so) different points along the spine. (And the quality of the brilliant cool blue intelligent light is really quite similar to the cool blue of the stars in the Pleiades.)

Antaryamin and the three centers

 

From the past, I am familiar with God as the field of awake emptiness and form, always and everywhere. This seems to be Spirit filtered through the head center, showing up in its impersonal, transcendent, yang aspect.

More recently, filtered through the belly center, it showed up as fertile darkness, and also as the alive luminosity, and now as alive luminous blackness. Intimate, deep, fertile, alive, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive and responsive. Spirit filtered through the belly center, showing up in its personal, embodied, yin aspect.

And what happened last night may have to do with Spirit filtered through the heart center, as alive presence, as an aspect of God awakened and present in the heart region. The experience of it is really of an aspect of God right here, alive, present, right here in the heart region. Responsive, infinitely loving and intelligent. And something to communicate with in a very direct, simple, quiet way. After being with this for a while last night, I mentioned it to my partner, and then realized that this may be the Antaryamin, the indwelling God, mentioned frequently by Bhagavan.

When I first heard him speak about it last fall (in a video interview), I couldn’t quite connect with it. I have been familiar with the impersonal head center awakening of everything as awake emptiness and form. But here, there is no inside or outside, and it is all Spirit, so the term “indwelling God” does not make so much sense.

But what I noticed in my heart region last night is experienced very much as an aspect of God right there, in the heart center, as an indwelling God.

Diksha event

 

Today was our second meeting for our diksha group this fall, and we did a diksha aimed at embracing polarities, and then a sounding and visualization of certain Hebrew letters at the center above the head, and in the three soul centers of head, heart and belly. The following posts describe some of what happened during and following this. (All written Tuesday, but this entry and the dreams dated to keep the chronology.)

Diksha process summary

 

I received diksha for the first time in Oakland, CA, in July last year. Here is a brief summary of apparently diksha related events since then…

During initial diksha

While receiving the first diksha, I experienced empty light. As I stood up afterwards, there was an experience of this empty light dropping into the body, into every cell.

The days after: absorbed into and as witness

The day after, on my way back to Oregon, I found myself absorbed into witness, into pure seeing. There was little or no identification with this human self, although it functioned well and as before.

A few days later, there was a very strong headache, lasting for three or four days.

Shift from head to body

Initially, it seemed that the diksha energy worked mainly in and around the head. After some weeks, it shifted to work more throughout the body, initially with a focus on the heart area.

Glimpses of space as crystal clear

In the weeks following the initial diksha, there were several moments of a sense of space itself revealing itself as crystal clear.

Shift into realized selflessness

After several weeks, in September (?) 2005, there was a shift into realized selflessness, Ground awakening, of doing but no doer, of absence of identification with either seen or seeing, of Ground coming into the foreground.

This lasted for a couple of months, until a faint sense of I gradually returned. (This happened in a situation where my human self typically becomes very self-conscious, where there was still a belief, an attachment to a thought.)

Following this, there is a vague sense of I if no attention is brought to it, although clearly not there if looked for.

Processing of old stuff

For several months over the winter, there was a very intense processing of old patterns, old beliefs that brought stress into my life. It would especially come up in dreams (for a month, I woke up nearly every morning at 4am from the same type of intense dreams), but also in waking life.

At times, this surfacing of old patterns seemed to be at the limits of what I could take. I found that my only option seemed to just be with them, to allow them to come and go on their own, live their own life.

All dials going to neutral, everything arising as space

Then late winter and early spring, there were several months where all dials went to neutral, and literally everything was experienced as space. There was also some fatigue along with all this.

Summer

Over the last few months the energy and focus has gradually returned, and there is also a sense of the diksha working in the lower half of my body, from my hara down.

During this whole process, there has been a sense of preparing the ground for something, through the work of the diksha energy on the body and also through the emotional/mental processing.

Self/Other & Energy/Consciousness Grid

 

Here is a very simple grid that seems to cover many approaches to awakening…

Self/Energy

This quadrant includes the various forms of yoga, such as indian yoga, tai chi, chi gong, and also related approaches such as Breema. I – whatever I refer to as I – am doing yoga. I am the doer.

Self/Consciousness

This includes the many forms of meditation and self-inquiry, including shikantaza, The Work, headless experiments. I am doing meditation or inquiry. Again, I – typically placed on my human self – is the doer. I cause, invite or set the stage for change through choice and intention.

Other/Energy

This quadrant includes any approach where a change in our energy aspect is caused by Other. It can be in the form of energy healing, reiki, sat nam rasayan, diksha and so on. I receive it from someone or something else.

Other/Consciousness

This quadrant includes an apparent Other bringing about a change in consciousness, either in the content of consciousness or context, in awakening to selflessness.

Others appear to bring about a change in content all the time of course, just through every day interactions. And at times, Others may appear to bring about a change in content that can be seen as an altered state, or an awakening to nature or deity mysticism levels. This can happen in the presence (physical or otherwise) of a teacher.

Other can also appear to bring about a change in context of consciousness: an awakening from the appearance of I to a realization of selflessness, of content staying the same but clearly revealed as having no I anywhere. This can also happen in the presence of a teacher.

Diksha

I personally find diksha to be among the most interesting of these approaches right now.

Diksha is a transfer of energy, and it comes from Other, so it belongs to the Other/Energy quadrant.

Yet, this change at the energy aspect influences the physical body, so it goes to another box in the grid that could be called Other/Body.

And from here, and probably also directly from the energy aspect, it influences consciousness, in the Other/Consciousness quadrant.

This influence of consciousness covers both content and context, eventually allowing for a clear awakening to selflessness.

See also an expanded grid.

Diksha

 

It is one year, to the day, that I received my first diksha here in the Bay area.

Initial diksha

During the initial diksha, I noticed an “empty light” which fell into my body as I moved afterwards.

The day after, and for several days, the center of gravity moved to the Witness and there was little or no identification with my human self. There was also a very intense headache, localized to my forehead and temples, although it was OK since there was little or no identification with it. It just happened in space as everything else.

During the following weeks, I had moments of a sense of crystal clarity. And some weeks after the diksha, there was a shift into Ground awakening – into everything happening without any I anywhere.

From a belief in the thought “I” placed on my human self, it was placed on the Witness, and then fell away completely. This lasted for two or three months, after which a vague sense of “I” returned.

During this time, the diksha energy continued to work on me. Initially, in the head and neck area. Then moving down into the upper body. And now in the abdomen and legs.

It also seems that the diksha energy can be invited to turn up the volume, at any time.

Today

The diksha I received today, with the same diksha giver as the first time, also had a strong effect. First, there was the sense of empty light in the body which has stayed since the initial diksha. Gradually, there was a deepening of the now familiar silence and stillness. And then a deep sense of “blackness” within this stillness, which was new.

At some point, it shifted into a much deeper space, and I was also unable to move or talk for quite some time, feeling held immobile by the silence. There was also a sense of a mix of no identification, and of content that didn’t match any familiar identity.

Afterwards, the silence continues even as I talk and move around as usual, and there is a sense of deep contentment, fullness and quiet joy.

Note: I am re-reading this post following the more clear shift into endarkenment some months later, and realize that this was an early hint of this shift. (I am also adding “endarkenment” as a tag for this post.)

Dullness

 

Since the seventh diksha weekend where we focused on the crown chakra, I have woken up most (all?) mornings with an acute sense of a dullness in me – in the body and/or head area. Sometimes, it shows up as a gray sheet. Other times more as a deadening. There is a sense of it being brought into awareness so it can reconfigure/realign.

Bladder Deeksha

 

Off and on since my teens, I have experimented with healing, and am getting more into it again. The way it happens naturally for me seems very similar to Sat Nam Rasayan, and there is also a sense of connecting the causal energy level – allowing space for the healing to take place. It also seems relatively easy to scan the body and get a sense of what and where something is going on, at many levels. In general, it seems that connecting + intention + space = healing.

When I do this with my partner, it seems that most symptoms clear up relatively fast – whether it is pain, nausea or other things. She has had a bladder type infection for a while, which has come up whenever we have been doing a healing session – and it is quite clear that it does not resolve through the usual way of allowing space, intention etc.

Tonight, I mentioned that I would try something else, and silently invited the deeksha energy (through Bhagavan and Amma) in – offering it all up to that manifestation of the divine for healing. This took only a couple of minutes, and afterwards she mentioned that’s funny, it felt like a bladder deeksha. It was the same energy as when I receive a deeksha for the head.

Offering up

It is also interesting since the offering up part has come up for me again recently – offering it all to the divine. This came naturally during the initial awakening, and as with so much else, it seems that it is now coming back in a more intentional way.

It is all grace anyway, all God, so offering it all to the divine – in whatever form that comes up for us – is just offering it back to where it always was and is. Offering any stress that comes up, any perceived problems, any dis-ease, any illness, any skills, any gifts, any insights, any and every aspect of our human self, any and every physical objects we are temporary caretakers of, any person in our life, our community, this landscape, the whole earth, the whole universe – offering it all to the divine.

There is a tremendous sense of freedom in this, and also a sense of getting out of my own way so a deeper healing can take place.

And there is also nothing new in any of this. It is a regular practice in many spiritual traditions, maybe most clearly so in Tibetan Buddhism.

With the healing, there has been a mix of a sense of “doing” – allowing space for the healing, and also of offering it up. But this was a step further, purely offering it all up – surrendering it back to the divine.

Of course, the only thing that is surrendered is a sense of “ownership” or identification with it, revealing it as an aspect of the divine – as it has always been.

Inviting Deities

 

During the deeksha event yesterday, we spent some time exploring inviting deities in – and seeing which ones come in for us.

Deities

The deities can be from any tradition, or even nameless, and each embody a particular way the self-realized divine mind can manifest. Emphasizing compassion, wisdom, selflessness, engagement in the world, art, music, bodywork, speech and so on. There is a wide spectrum, and each one is always evolving as well.

First and second person relationships

It brought up – for me and others – the 1st and 2nd person relationship dynamics with God and the various deities. In a 1st person relationship, we realize (a) that this is I or (b) that there is no I anywhere, everything just is – beyond and including one and many (this one is more of a zero person relationship).

In a second person relationship, it becomes an I-Other dynamic which can be very helpful in contacting and getting to know a particular realization or set of qualities.

And a fluidity between the two seem especially helpful.

Inviting in and familiarizing myself with

So with these deities, it can be very helpful to invite in and contact particular ones – especially the ones we have an affinity for. In my case, Christ, St. Francis and others. It allows me to contact those qualities, first as Other, and familiarize myself with them. Bringing them into my life and activities. And then, with the boundary of I and Other dissolving.

Tibetan Buddhism

As so often, Tibetan Buddhism not only inlcudes this in their practices but have refined it to a high degree. In deity practices for instance, we invite a particular deity as Other and connect with, explore and familiarize ourself with it in that way. Then at the end, we visualize this deity dissolving into light and merging with our human form. There is no separation.

Helpful approach

Coming from a habitual identification with form and something finite (our human self), it can be very helpful to contact these realizations and qualities as Other initially. It is closer to where we are at, and is a way to ease us into it. It is an application of skillful means.

Then, we realize there was never any separation from the beginning.

Fluidity

And we are free to continue exploring these realizations and qualities and how they manifest in our human life, in the fluidity of moving between first and second person relationships with them.

Mutual influence

From a second person view, we can see how these deities and qualities evolve and mature with humanity. Our embodiment of them allow them to evolve further. And our embodiment of them allows us to evolve further.

And from a first – or rather zero – person view, we see there is not really any difference between those two.

Deities out there?

Another question that came up for people yesterday is if these deities are really out there? Or are they just aspects of our own minds, projections which help us to connect with them?

It is an interesting question, but for all practical purposes maybe not so relevant. The answer may be both, or neither, or both and neither, or that it doesn’t matter, or that whatever works for you is good, or that it is an topic for inquiry and exploration.

Deeksha & Subtle Energies

 

We went to the final deeksha weekend of our seven-month deeksha process (monthly gatherings), and it was quite amazing – as it usually seems to be.

Integral view on subtle energies

A couple of days ago, I also read the draft of the chapter on subtle energies from Ken Wilber’s upcoming book Integral Spirituality. He clarifies many things there that I have either picked up other places and/or had a sense of from own experience. Mainly that there is an energy component to each level from matter through to the causal, F1 through F9 in Wilber’s model.

At each level, there is an energy and a consciousness element or aspect, and they are mutually supportive and changes in one influences the other.

Through various forms of energy work – such as Indian and Chinese yoga and similar practices, we can change our consciousness at various levels. And through changing our consciousness – through for instance meditation and inquiry, their energetic components change at various levels.

Deeksha and energies

So with transmissions such as deeksha, it seems quite clear – as the people transmitting it say themselves – that the transmission work through the energy components at the various levels. It helps reorganize and restructure the energy field, possibly at levels F1 through F9, and this in turn impacts both our biological organization (at F1) and our consciousness. (It also seems that it functions as a seed, planted from even one deeksha and then unfolding on its own over time – according to the needs and circumstances of the person.)

This makes good sense when looking at the various typical effects of the deeksha transmission.

The general and typical (?) process seems to be…

  1. Growing sense of declutching (release from old stressful patterns)
  2. Deepening sense of intimacy with and no separation from the world
  3. Awakening to and as the witness. Shifting the sense of I from our human self to pure awareness, in which the world of phenomena arises including our human self. A sense of just watching our human self functioning as before, but not seeing any of it as personal or I.
  4. Shifting into a deepening nondual realization. Realizing that nothing has an inherent I in it, not our human self, not any other phenomena, and not even the Witness or the seer. This is an awakening to/as ground, appearing as all the forms in the world. Everything is revealed as God, as consciousness, as emptiness dancing.

My experiences

I received my first deeksha in the Bay area in June of last year, and experienced not much while receiving – but then empty light dropping into my body. The following day, I was absorbed into the Witness (F9). I found myself as pure awareness in which the whole world of form arouse – my human self and everything else. There was no identification with my human self, but still an identification as the seer of it all. This lasted for several days.

Some weeks later, it slipped into an early nondual realization. There was no I anywhere, not even as the witness or seer – just the ground in all its myriad forms, just emptiness dancing. And it was completely simple and ordinary. Nothing to write home about. It is an early nondual realization as it did not go through the sleep cycle.

This lasted for some weeks, and then shifted back to a vague/transparent sense of self. There is probably (obviously) more work to do there before the nondual realization can be more stable.

Throughout this process, there has also been periods of declutching, and also periods where quite a lot of previously unprocessed material has come up – in the form of illness (fatigue), vivid dreams, old stressful patterns and so on. It has been a good lesson in see, feel, and allow it to come and go on its own without getting too caught up in it, although that has happened as well.

The week after the initial deeksha, there were quite strong muscle contractions in the head and neck area. Each time I received distance deekshas in the following weeks (once a week), the same tension and pain came up, and then dissipated after the deeksha.

Initially, the deeksha energy seemed centered in and around the head. After some weeks, it droppen into the body. Also, at the beginning there was a sense of it coming from the “outside”. Then, again after some weeks, there was a sense of it just coming from space – from every point of space, pouring out from the ground everywhere – including within and from every cell in the body.

These are all relatively typical effects of the deeksha, although somewhat at the dramatic end of the spectrum.

Transmissions and integral practice

Here are some of the typical categories for an integral practice…

  • Physical (diet, activity)
  • Energy work (yoga, tai chi, chi gong, sat nam rasayan, etc.)
  • Shadow work (3-2-1, Byron Katie inquiry, etc.)
  • Relationship work
  • Meditation
  • Inquiry (Big Mind, Byron Katie, Diamond Path, Headlessness, etc.)
  • Engagement in the world (paid work, social & ecological engagement)

One that I sense may become more important and common in the future, obviously biased by my own experiences, is transmission – for instance in the form of Waking Down and deekshas.

Everything else on the list tends to be self-power type activities, and a more integral practice would also include other-power type activities, for instance in the energy realm through Waking Down and deekshas.

What do you not want me to see about you?

 

At one of our deeksha meetings, we paired up and took turns asking what do you not want me to see about you? Each one of us listing and describing qualities about ourselves we don’t appreciate, and don’t want to admit to others or even to ourselves.

Of course, in doing this, we see that we all harbor the same fears in this area. We all want to hide many of the same qualities from ourselves and others. And we all have these qualities as well. They are universally human. They come up in all of our lives. And in a shared culture, the ones we want to hide are largely the same.

Real qualities and just a phase

I notice that I see myself really as productive, clear, passionate, insightful and so on, all the qualities which where much more present before the more recent “dark night” phase. And all the qualities that come out more now – unproductive, confused, stuck and so on, are made into “just a phase”. I can acknowledge them to a certain extent, but only superficially.

The qualities my personality likes are seen as core qualities, and the ones my personality does not like as much are seen as peripheral and temporary.

Story

And this is of course one big fat self-deception. Just one of many ways to keep what we don’t want to see and admit at bay.

I am really this, although I can admit to these other qualities to a certain extent – but only to a certain extent. It looks good, good enough, but is just another story to make ourselves look good.

Lack of empathy

During my awakening phase, there was a tremendous compassion for everyone – although it was a not quite grounded. It was universal and somewhat abstraction, although certainly heartfelt. But it did not extend to a natural empathy on a human level. I could feel compassion, and act and talk from that, but secretly I thought why don’t you just pull yourself together? It is easy…!

Deepening into it

And now, my task seems to be to bring all this into my human level more, to deepen into it. To really admit to myself and others my stuckness, confusion, lack of clarity, lack of passion, lack of productivity… And that all of these are as much “me” as all the other qualities. They are all part of being human. They all co-exist in me, as in everybody else. To really dig into it. See it. Feel it. Live it. Be it. Own it. Embrace it. Really make it “me”.

I made all the desirable qualities “me”, I lived those, I dug into those. And now it is time to do the same with all the “undesirable” qualities. It is just a part of the process. Part of deepening into being human. Maturing a little further. Joining humanity also in this, more fully, more completely, more deeply, more felt.

The only loss

The only loss in doing this is that of a certain limited self-image. Not much, really.

The process of digging into it looks fearsome – scary. It is unknown territory. Yet, when I enter it, it is also strangely familiar. It is nothing more than what has come up before, yet now more fully as “me”. I can more fully acknowledge it. And there is a great deal of relief in this, and a deepening sense of connection with myself, others and existence.

Dream: Bhagavan

 

A dream from Saturday morning (at B & R’s house in Portland):

Bhagavan comes up to me, takes some sheets of paper I hold in my hands (Breema sequence notes), and cuts into the edges of one of the long sides to make tabs. The final cut is about half down the page and much deeper than the others. He tells me to have one tab removed for each deeksha I receive, and I will know beyond any doubt that I am “finished” by the time I reach the final tab.

I notice that I have concerns about influencing the process through my focus on for instance progress and finality,  and realize that he is doing this to show me that (a) the process is very precise, there is nothing accidental about it, and (b) that I cannot change or hinder anything, not even through my own expectations.

Before this episode in the dream, Bhagavan says that for me, the process will be slowed down so I can experience it more in detail, which will help me in my role later on.

It is interesting that I keep having dreams about Bhagavan and Amma, as I rarely think about them during daily life, and don’t have a devotional practice relating to them.

Body moving on its own

 

I was in bed this morning listening to the radio when the body started moving on its own, and continued for maybe five or ten minutes. Limbs moved around rapidly, muscles contracted, sounds (grunts) came out, the body doing things on its own. There was a pure witnessing of it all, pure awareness.

After some minutes, there was an awareness others in the room possibly hearing the sounds made by this body, and at first the faint stirrings of a concern, which then came more into the foreground and ended the spontaneous movements and the sense of being absorbed into the witness.  

What happened here seems similar to what I heard from other deeksha receivers… the body moving on its own, while the sense of “I” is absorbed into and as pure awareness.

Clarity

 

I have had a new experience over the last couple of days.

Yesterday, during a conversation with a friend, and today during sitting practice, I experienced an unusual clarity in perceptions. It was as if a veil fell away or a light fog lifted.

When I talked with my friend, it seemed that the filters were suddenly removed and I was completely present with him, with no separation. The no separation part is not new, but the clarity of perception was. When the same happened during sitting meditation, it again was an unusual clarity – as if something fell away. In both cases, it seemed so natural and simple – so obvious in a certain way.

Lines

 

The deeksha process does seem to help people awaken to the nature of mind – and then to Big Mind. Using Ken Wilber’s integral framework, this must mean that the development along the spiritual line is speeded up dramatically. Still, it seems to occur in a very grounded way. For me, the unfolding seems the most natural in the world – grounded, comfortable, gentle, and quick.

The other lines of development will (mostly) stay where they are, although they may mature faster now that they exist in a different – transdual – context. And the deeksha process also have a healing component which may help each of the lines of development to heal wherever they are at.

As they point out themselves – the awakening is a beginning as much as it is an end. It is the beginning of the process of deeper healing and integration on a personal level, clarification, deepening and evolution on a transpersonal level, and a deepening integration and richness of relationship between the two.

Current

 

I have listed current practices, so I may as well list some current experiences…

  • Soft, warm energy around/in/through and extending beyond the physical body.
  • A soft wholeness of body/psyche, extending beyond the physical body.
  • “Empty light” in/through body/mind and all phenomena.
  • All phenomena as radiant (vibrating light/energy in/around/beyond everything).
  • Deep sense of sensual, calm groundedness.
  • Spacious awareness distinct from all phenomena.
  • “Emptiness” in all phenomena (form w/out substance, radiancy).
  • Rich sense of intimacy with all phenomena (no separation)
  • Sense of some general sickness in the physical body, mild flu symptoms (last few days).
  • The field beyond/through the body is “empty” as well as rich and full, which makes it easy to be here/now and not get caught up in thoughts (thoughts are few and quiet).
  • Sense of the small self – this personality – as a shell, a vortex in the stream, through which the spacious awareness functions/embodies.
  • General sense of ease and comfort, and how it is beyond simple.
  • Resting in the field of awareness through/beyond the body, seeing the habitual hang-ups as a cloud in the distance and not needing to engage in them.
  • Thoughts are quiet and appear within a much larger space, so there is little opportunity to get caught up in them. (I did get caught up somewhat tonight, for the first time over several days, although it was mild and transient – the center of gravity is stably in the field of awareness through/beyond the body).

I sense that the richness and fullness in this comes from a combination of the recent eight-day Breema intensive in the Bay area, daily self-Breemas and Breema bodywork, some minimal sitting practice, as well as the continuing Byron Katie style inquiries and the recent deekshas.

And my external situation has been pretty good (according to the likes and dislikes of this personality) since I came back from Oakland, so there are not too many triggers around… I’ll enjoy it while it lasts(!). There is a lot more work to be done. What is listed above can appear due to favorable circumstances, so the direction from here is clarification and deepening, and rest in it – the series of russian dolls from the nature of mind, via the field of awareness and energies through the physical body – in more and more situations.

Clarity

 

One of many recent postings on this topic…

It is astonishing to awaken to some clarity beyond thoughts. To see the clear landscape of direct perception, not filtered by thoughts and ideas. And to see the mass of confusion from believing in thoughts approaching, and not have any need to engage in it.

From… confusion of being caught up in the habitual patterns of the self + dualistic view + informed by the experiences, knowledge and information available to the self…

There is… spacious clarity + a more transdual view + informed by the experiences, knowledge and information available to the self.

>poof<

 

This last week – after some weeks with Byron Katie‘s inquiry process, an eight-day Breema intensive in Oakland, and the deeksha last Sunday – I have not been able to believe in thoughts very easily.

I am spacious clear awareness, and when a situation that typically triggered contractions come along, I can see the habitual patterns thoughts/confusion appearing in the distance – but there is no need or wish to engage in them. It is much easier to stay in the clarity. They drop like leaves off a tree. They appear in the distance and go >poof

Process

 

As mentioned before, the deeksha process seems genuine (and powerful) and leading to genuine awakenings.

This may or may not take place on a large scale, with several tens of thousands of people within the next few years, as they suggest. If it did happen on a large scale, it is – as all transitions and shifts – an end as well as a beginning.

Some of what is left to work with…

  • Living and embodying it on a personal and collective level in everyday life.
  • Healing on a personal and collective level, working through traumas and wounded areas.
  • Development of each of the lines, and through the levels. We start where we are, although the process may be accelerated by awakening.
  • Moving from the Bright Sun to the Hazy Moon – a softening and rehumanization of the awakening, allowing the mind to function freely on both transpersonal and personal levels.
  • Development of new – and still always changing and evolving – social structures.
  • Changes in social structures (decision making, economy etc), that takes into account (a) the stages people are at and (b) those who have not yet awakened to the nature of mind or Big Mind. If an awareness of this is not embedded in new structures, it could lead to serious social conflicts and disruptions. More specifically – and using Spiral Dynamics language – if a green social structure is imposed on those on a blue level, or a green or orange structure is imposed on those on a red level (each cases two levels separation), it could quickly lead to the situation going out of control. The social structure must match and take into account the level people are operating from.

Not expecting any challenges is likely to be the major general pitfall.

And either of the specific ones listed – along with all the ones I am not currently aware of – are potentially major pitfalls in themselves. Although falling into those pits is also part of the process – exactly what is needed for learning and further maturation.

If there is denial and blindness of either of these – and the many others not mentioned – it sets the stage for another awakening on personal and collective levels. And this time more of a rude one…!

Awakenings & Deepenings

 

There are many awakenings…

First, we awaken to dualistic perception. To where awareness is identified with the small self – this body and particular patterns of sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Then, we can awaken to the nature of mind. To realizing ourselves as the Absolute, as spacious awareness – functioning in all the ways the mind can function, on personal and transpersonal levels. This gives us One Taste, from recognizing the Absolute in all phenomena, and a sense of no separation. In this phase, we are naturally fascinated with our own nature – and there is natural tendency to shift away somewhat from the relative to deepen our familiarity with our nature.

Then (and this may happen simultaneously with the previous awakening), we can awaken to Big Mind. To that which holds the Absolute and Relative as two aspects of Existence.

Then, we may awaken to a deepening of our humanity. We become more fully human. We allow the mind to function freely on the personal and transpersonal levels, within the context of Big Mind. We become completely ordinary, but now within a larger and different context. We fully experience and live this human life.

Along with all this, there is also the possibility of an awakening to the evolutionary process of Existence. To the Absolute as always distinct from all phenomena (and thus the same always) and the evolutionary process in the unfolding of the Relative world. We consciously take part in the evolution of this universe, this Earth, the ecological and social systems, the evolution of the human species, and our society and culture. This is a neverending process – at least as long as the relative is around (and there is no reason it wouldn’t be). It is evolution becoming aware of itself and participating consciously in its own process.

Widespread Awakenings?

This came up as I went to a Deeksha on Sunday. It seems a genuine process, that helps people into genuine awakenings.

Their larger goal is to help large numbers of people into an awakening to the nature of mind, and into Big Mind. If this is possible, then it may be just what we need to come through this bottleneck in history – in terms of dangers from weapons of mass destruction, ecological collapse, and more.

At the same time, it is just another beginning (not in any way an end point).

Even if people have these awakenings – which are wonderful and healing – they will interpret and express it at whatever level their are at in their personal development. And – as Ken Wilber likes to point out – there are typical diseases, things that can go wrong, at each level. There is still a need for discernment and of acknowledging our basic humanness and areas in us that need awareness, healing and maturation.

(Of course, falling into these pitfalls is exactly the food needed for the unfolding of the next level of development and evolution. Realizing this, we can open up for deep appreciation of our blindness and stuckness, because that too is Existence manifesting itself – and food for the evolution.)

For these kinds of awakenings, there are some particular pitfalls – which we all go into one way or another, and for various lengths of time. There may be a tendency to be so absorbed and fascinated by the Absolute that we neglect our Relative existence, and this can take many forms. We don’t pay the bills, bypass a good education, ignore the processes of cause and effect, ignore our basic humanness and areas that need healing and maturing, don’t engage in society and ecosystems to be a catalyst for healing/maturing in those areas, etc.

And there is also the continuing process of evolution – of the universe, the Earth, humanity, society and culture.

On all levels – from the personal and up – it is a beginning. A new phase of evolution. At least in this little corner of this particular universe.

Poof

 

Over the last few days, I have noticed a specific change. It may be triggered by Byron Katie’s inquiry process, the weeklong Breema Intensive in Oakland I just returned from, and/or the Deeksha I went to in Emeryville on Sunday.

A situation (usually someone’s behavior) will trigger a habitual pattern in me (a contraction) – and I engage in it for a little while. Then – after some seconds – there is a shift and I cannot engage in it any longer. I see through it too clearly, and the contraction opens into laughter.

Trigger > contraction > – poof – > release

The landscape of the nature of mind (spacious awareness) and the landscape of confusion (believing in thoughts) are too clearly presented to me, and the choice between them is easy.

When there is the shift into the nature of mind, there is also spontaneous joy, appreciation and no separation. And specifically, there is deep appreciation for and sense of connection and intimacy with the person who triggered the initial pattern.

Evolutionary Process?

 

Living here on the West Coast, it definitely seems that we are at the cusp of an evolutionary shift – more and more people seem to have different forms of life-transforming awakenings. They may not be full blown and stable awakenings into/as Big Mind, but a taste and an opening in that direction.

And there are so many techniques that really works…

Waking Down In Mutuality

Most people have their “second birth” within a year, from what I am told. For me, the shift happened only a couple of months after engaging in it more fully. There is an awakening to the Absolute, the nature of mind, and a rich, sensual, intimate sense of no separation with all phenomena. It seems permanent, and it is definitely unfolding. It is not anywhere near a full Enlightenment, but it is a taste – it is a little opening into it.
www.wakingdown.org

Byron Katie’s Inquiry Process

A simple process of inquiring into our beliefs, which makes it impossible to believe in them anymore. We are freed from thoughts and ideas and the confusion believing in them brings about, and can live from the nature of mind – from effortless spacious clarity, wisdom and compassion.
www.thework.org

Big Mind Process

An exploration process of the different ways the mind can manifest, on personal and transpersonal levels. It leads us into the transpersonal – Big Mind – view, and helps us see that it is always available. A little shift is enough. The Big Mind process can be used in many different ways, from healing on a personal level to connecting with and exploring Existence from the view of the Buddha Mind.
www.bigmind.org

Breema

A practice that takes the form of bodywork. It allows us to connect with Big Mind, in a very rich and full way.
www.breema.org

And among the many other techniques and approaches, here is one that I just heard about….

Deeksha

This seems quite similar to Waking Down in Mutuality, especially in terms of the shift – and the speed and way it occurs.
www.livinginjoy.org

This is definitely a cultural shift and transformation, and may even be an evolutionary shift for our species. Who knows. I am about to read Translucent Revolution which is about just this topic.

What this means is that the leading edge may consist of more people – at least in terms of the states they are dipped into if not the level they are consistently (yet) at – although the majority of humanity will still operate from red (egocentric), blue (absolutism) and orange (modernism) levels in Spiral Dynamics terms.