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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Divine feminine

 

mellonmadonna.jpg

During the retreat, there was a shift into an immediate and very personal second person relationship with the divine feminine, one that reveals the divine feminine in its universal and intimately personal aspects.

In the past, second person practices has been more directed to the divine masculine, but now, probably from the shift and deepening into endarkenment, there is a deepening intimate second person relationship with the divine feminine.

None of this has been from choice, or from any conscious views, as I have for a long time been interested in and appreciated the divine feminine as well as the divine masculine. But the direct connection happens at a different level, outside of conscious views and choices.

So some of the second person relationships with the divine that are alive now are…

  • The divine masculine, with its sense of clarity, luminosity, and detachment, with void and luminosity in the foreground.
  • The divine feminine, with its velvety smooth, round, full, luminous blackness, and a sense of a gentle embrace and holding of all forms… including this individual and everything within this individual. Here, smooth fullness and gentle embrace is in the foreground.
  • The indwelling God, with its alive presence in the heart region, for this particular individual, with alive presence in the foreground.

The divine masculine is related to the head center, and filters Spirit (itself) through the head center as void, detachment and luminosity. The divine feminine is related to the belly center and filters Spirit as the smooth full luminous blackness. And the indwelling God is related to the heart center, and filters Spirit as alive and infinitely intelligent, loving, receptive and responsive presence. Each one is noticed through (even a partial) awakening of their respective centers, and each one filters Spirit in a particular way through this center.

All of these share the same qualities of infinite intelligence, love, receptivity and responsiveness, in their universal and personal flavors.

Each one is void, transparent to the void, a manifestation of the void, and also within and as all forms. For the Indwelling God, it is its quality of alive presence which appears within and as all forms, although now with a more universal quality.

Each one has universal and personal aspects. They are revealed as universal, as void, and within and as all forms. As impersonal, as void and a manifestation of the void. And also as uniquely and intimately personal in their immediate relationship with this particular individual.

Each one is explored through second, first and third person relationships… as a you, I and it. And also through a zero person “relationship” with an absence of I and Other.

(For me, each center, and the impersonal and personal aspects of what is filtered through each center, have been revealed at different times, which allows for a clearer differentiation within all of this… there is a benefit to resistance and blocks which reveals Spirit one piece at a time…! If it had all happened at the same time I may not have been able to differentiate it in this way, and that would have been OK as well.)

A few days before this shift, I bought a used book and found a picture of a beautiful icon of a Black Madonna with child stuck between its pages, and I put it up on the wall. It perfectly illustrates the experience of this immediate second person relationship with the divine feminine.

(When I just now looked up icons of Black Madonnas, I found it as the Russian 18th century Fedorovo icon. The picture above is a different one.)

Dream: infinite blackness beyond the porthole

 

porthole2.jpg

There is an infinite blackness beyond a porthole. I can stick my arm through and pull some of it back as a treasure that has great value. I also notice how much I enjoy the situation, being safe on this side of the porthole and being able to receive treasures from the infinite blackness. I know I have to (will?) go through the porthole and then dissolve into the blackness, but fear is coming up.

After I woke up, I continued with active imagination:

I stay with the infinite blackness and the fear, and the infinite blackness becomes everything… all space. I find myself as a piece of black, rectangular fabric, gradually unraveling within – and into – the blackness.

This dream is from the second day of the retreat.

Hara area

 

Since the shift into endarkenment a few months ago, there has been a great deal of activity in the belly region, especially along the spine and in the kidney area. Since my teens, I have been aware of an energetic hole there which corresponded to a twist on the spine (L3-4). The twist (scoliosis) has gradually improved since then, and the energetic hole has filled up a great deal, partly through Breema and even more so through the endarkenment.

I have also noticed how the hara seems to be connected with a felt-sense of a basic trust in life and of being held by life and existence. The energetic hole seemed associated with a lack of this felt-sense, and as it is filling up, this sense of a basic trust in life and Existence is becoming more embodied, there is a felt-sense of it, the body knowing it in its cells.

The initial awakening was filtered through the head and heart centers. There was a clear seeing of all as God, as consciousness, beyond and embracing all polarities, and a loving of it all as well. But the felt-sense of it was not there, it was not (yet) filtered through the belly center. This made for a lot of stress happening on a physical level.

More in general, I see how this felt-sense of basic trust, of being held by life and Existence, allows for more fluidity of views, more receptivity of heart and mind, and more transparency of the sense of I and Other. Where a lack of this trust makes for rigidity of views, a closed heart and mind, and a deepening sense of I and Other, the trust allows for an reversal.

A felt-sense of the intimacy of opposites

 

The mountain dream still stays with me, in spite of its very simple content. There is something about the very intimate combination of opposites in it that reflects what is going on in general right now.

During the initial awakening, I saw clearly that what is, is beyond and includes any and all polarities (to the point of being completely unable to say or write anything about it for a while after it happened). But that is exactly it, I saw it… It was filtered through the head center (and heart center, which was also blown open) only. Not the belly center. The deep felt-sense of it was not there.

But now, there is a deepening felt-sense of it that I didn’t anticipate. I may have intuited that it was possible, but to drop into it is always different than just seeing it from a distance.

In the dream, the sun and the luminosity of the landscape had a smooth, round, full silvery quality to it. The brilliancy of the sun was combined with the coolness of the moon. The crystal clarity of the light and the mountain air, combined with the smooth, round, fullness of the velvety blackness. The empty luminosity of a head center awakening, with the smooth fullness of the belly center awakening.

And this is coming up in many other ways as well, including in the shift in experience of senses. Initially, I saw and dropped into, was held by, and found myself as the smooth velvety luminous blackness, but it was seen and experienced through the eye of the soul, to put it that way. Now, it has shifted into the physical senses. I literally smell, taste and feel it, with my ordinary physical senses. And there is nothing subtle about it… it is as if I am on a different planet… one with air and water that is velvety smooth round full brilliantly clear… and warm and cool at the same time when sensed over the skin.

Dark night, endarkenment, and deepening into our humanity and spirit

 

I am learning to appreciate the dark night more and more, especially as I am at the tail end of it… I see how it allowed for a deepening into who I am, as an individual, and also what I am, as awake emptiness. And it both cases, it happened through wearing off of beliefs and identities…

Even before it happened, I saw how there were still identities floating around, most of it taking the form of arrogance, of feeling better and worse than others. And although it allows for an exploration of those splits, it is also a split, preventing a wider embrace of who I am (of everything I see out there also in here) and what I am, as Ground, awake emptiness, awake emptiness and form. And, it also seemed to allow for the shift into endarkenment, the yin complement to the yang awakening… the luminous darkness and a different way of embodiment.

It was of course painful, but the pain only came from trying to hold onto something that had outlived its purpose. It came from trying to hold onto identities that life made it impossible (or at least very difficult) to hold onto anymore.

All of this is very sobering, and it also reveals the inherent neutrality of all of it.

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Dream: in the mountains

 

I am in the mountains with a group of other people. The landscape is amazingly beautiful… rolling forms of brilliantly white snow, a sky that is blue with streams of silvery luminous clouds at the horizon, a silvery sun lighting up the landscape in a brilliantly clear light… it is as if the silvery brilliantly clear light is shining from within the landscape and the sky.

But I am not able to enjoy it fully. Something feels a little off… not with the landscape, but right here. Something is not quite resolved.

This dream, as simple as it is in content, has stayed with me since I woke up. It has a numinous quality. In a way, it is a (small) Big dream, as Jung called it. As I started writing it down, I found it difficult to describe the silvery, brilliantly clear, luminous, velvety soft quality of the landscape and the sky… and as the words started coming, I realized that the quality of the landscape is that of the shift in my experiences of air, water, and tactile sensations… The dream is reflecting that shift. It seems to be another phase of the endarkenment… silvery as the moon… brilliantly clear as mountain air… velvety smooth, full and rounded…

I am not quite able to enjoy it. Something is off… and that is an experience that was especially clear yesterday. And in that sense of something is off, there is a deep felt sense that it is completely perfect… as it should be… there is absolutely nothing wrong with it… a deep felt sense that this is absolutely perfect as it is… as anything is, but beyond that, as part of this process.

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Dr. Wolff on ambrosia

 

Dr. Wolff

I asked one of the teachers at Center for Sacred Sciences about the recent shift in experience of air and water, and he sent me this excerpt from one of Dr. Wolff‘s writings (emphasis added by me):

One day, after the evening meal and while still sitting at the table, I found that, by gradual transition, I had passed into a very delightful state of contemplation. The actual content of the thought of that period is forgotten, but as I made careful note of the state I was in and submitted it to close scrutiny, the quality of the state was well impressed upon my memory. My breath had changed, but not in the sense of stopping or becoming extremely slow or rapid. It was, perhaps, just a little slower than normal. The notable change was in a subtle quality associated with the air breathed. Over and above the physical gasses of the air there seemed to be an impalpable substance of indescribable sweetness which, in turn, was associated with a general sense of well-being, embracing even the physical man. It was like happiness or joy, but these words are inadequate. It was of a very gentle quality, yet far transcended the value of any of the more familiar forms of happiness. It was quite independent of the beauty or comfort of the environment. At that time the latter was, to say the least, austere and not in any sense attractive. This quality, associated with the air, I had, in a smaller measure, previously experienced at high altitudes in the mountains, but in the present instance the altitude was only 1800 feet and the air was far from invigorating, due to the period being exceptionally warm. However, introspective analysis revealed the fact that the elixir-like quality was most marked during the exhalation, thus indicating that it was not derived from the surrounding air. Further, the exhaled breath was not simply air expelled into the outer atmosphere, but seemed to penetrate down through the whole organism like a gentle caress, leaving throughout a quiet sense of delight. It seemed to me like a nectar. Since that time I have learned that it is the true Ambrosia.

-Wolff (Pathways Through to Space, p.2)

His description seems very similar to the shift that happened with me. It is interesting to note that he also was reminded of fresh mountain air, and describes it as a nectar (or elixir, or ambrosia), and something that is “embracing even the physical man”.

Here is something more that came up for me around it:

It is most noticeable when breathing air and drinking water, but it is also a constant stream that goes through any experience (when I eat or drink something with flavor, the flavor goes more into the foreground… although the stream is still there).

It seems related to the endarkenment shift a few months back… there has been a sense of a good deal of reorganizing happening on an energetic and physical level associated with that shift, and this – the changes in sense experiences – may be related to it.

Oddly enough, the velvety smooth, round, full quality of the endarkenment, is now smelled, tasted and tactilely sensed in a very physical way.

Other senses changing also

 

I am noticing that other senses are changing also, in particular a velvety smooth, round, full, clear tactile sensation. This shift happened at about the same time as with the experience of air and taste of water (on Saturday/Sunday), but as with those two, I initially dismissed it as something different with the weather/water itself.

I first noticed it on Sunday when I walked out of the car to drop off a DVD at Flicks’n Picks… a velvety smooth sensation, round, full… shifting from warm to cool, and really both at once. I remember I mentioned to my partner how different and pleasant the air felt both when breathing and also on the skin, and that I seemed to move through several pockets of warmer and cooler air over just a few feet. It wasn’t until last night that I made the connection between this and the changes in smell and taste.

There is a sweetness in it, and a sense of nurturing (even at a physical level), which reminds me of what can be described as nectar… It is very noticeable in the experience of the air and water, and the sensation on the skin has the same quality as well.

Belly area spine, and energetic hole

 

During fall and winter, I experienced a lot of (energetic) activity in the hara area, and specifically around the spine (L3-4)…

Since the initial awakening in my teens, I have been aware of an energetic hole that area. I also had scoliosis (side curve) right there, which since then has improved quite a bit with consistent work, shifting into a slight kyphosis (in-out curve).

With the endarkenment shift, there was a sense of a good deal of activity and work happening in that area. And now, the energetic hole is filled in and the area feels much stronger and more solid in general. The remaining alignment of the vertebrae has also improved (just a subtle in/out alignment left for a couple of vertebrae).

The area also seems connected with basic trust, in Existence, life, and ultimately God. The energetic hole seemed, even back in my teens, associate with a lack of basic trust (even in the midst of experiencing all as awake, empty luminosity, and as God). And now, with it filling up, there is a much deeper sense of basic trust… of being held… in and as the luminous blackness.

Shift in taste and smell

 

I seem to have gone through a shift in taste and smell. I noticed it first on Saturday, when the air seemed very different… as crystal clear, smooth, round, full, mountain air. It was very tangible, and I thought it was just fresh air coming in form the coast, and rounder because of the humidity content.

But then it continued, even as it dried up and the physical air changed. And I also notice the same when I drink water… it is very different from before, and with the same brilliantly clear, smooth, round and full quality. It is very obvious (not subtle at all) and stable.

It wasn’t until tonight that I realized that this must be a shift with me, and not the air or water itself. And I also realized that the quality is the same as I experience with the endarkenment, especially the alive luminous blackness.

In the initial endarkenment shift, the luminous blackness was inside of everything and everything inside of it… everything arising from, within and as this luminous blackness. And now, it is reflected even in my sense of taste and smell…

I not only see it, but (literally) taste and smell it.

Certainly not what I had expected.

Additional note: after staying with this a little more, I see how it could be called nectar or ambrosia, which I know are terms used in some traditions, but I don’t know if there is a connection. The air and water now do have that quality, of something infinitely fresh, smooth, round, nourishing in a new way. As with the endarkenment, it is difficult for me to find the right words for it.

Another flavor of luminous blackness

 

Three of us from our local diksha group (not quite sure what to call it as it moved beyond that a while ago) got together last night to receive another transmission. This one called Ilahinoor, or divine light in Turkish. It is another of the many, probably innumerable, ways the soul level can be filtered, like a light through a prism. Here is my report from the evening:

Hi B & K, and thanks for the ilahinoor transmission tonight!

I think all three of us were somewhat lost for words in terms of describing it, but I’ll give it a try. It definitely seems to be in the same general family of the dark feminine, although I experience it as gentler… a whisper, blackness, soft, velvety, clear as water.

  • It started at the crown, then moving down to the belly area and arms.
  • Both R and I experienced this velvety whispery blackness as a soft hand holding on the left side of our face for a while.
  • As A got ready to give to me, I experienced a deep feminine black fullness descending on me from above. It was very tangible, and quite similar to what I experienced when I received transmission from K on Saturday night.
  • At one point, while receiving it from A, I experienced it, and then myself, as this clear velvety black void/space with no boundaries anywhere.
  • While receiving from A, I also experienced it at one point as very gentle descending swirls in my upper body.
  • When I gave, it came to me to use some simple Breema holds, first both hands on top of the belly, then one on top and one under the back, then one on top and one at the heart, and finally belly and forehead.
  • The ilahinoor soul quality is quite similar to other velvety blackness qualities I am familiar with, but also different, so even if it was clearly present, I found myself scanning around a little before falling into it when giving. As you said, all that was needed was to trust it.
  • While giving, it started out with me as a channel, then it all happening over where my recipient was, and then all here with me – knowing that this would invite the recipient into the same space. The last one was by far most comfortable and easy for me, partly because it is what I am familiar with from Breema (finding it in myself, which allows the recipient to fall into it.)
  • Breema has Sufi connections, and the ilahinoor soul quality seemed very compatible with it… Breema also invites in a sense of alive presence, fullness, deeply nurturing and comforting, a deep quiet peace, very much hara/belly centered.

That’s all that comes up for now. I am sure it will shift and change with time!

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.

Dream: snow on fire

 

I see a snow covered mountain landscape with the snow on fire. A voice also says “snow on fire.”

I woke up from this dream image, and when I fell asleep again, it came up again, with the same voice saying “snow on fire.”

The snow covers the whole landscape, apart from some peaks, and is fresh and white. The flames are clear, calm, tall and stable.

This reflects what comes up in daily life these days: passion with a depth of clear calm peace.

This depth of peace is partly the void, ground, emptiness, which is the depth of anything arising, and it is partly the luminous blackness (two aspects of the same.) It is the nurturing peace of Spirit filtered through the belly center, balancing out the fire of the head center.

More about this:

After a long period of dryness and lack of passion during the dark night, there are now more moments of passion surfacing, a passion with a deep calm depth, beautifully reflected in the dream image of snow on fire. The passion is the fire, rising out of the depth of peace, void and stillness. (I am amazed of the creativity of what they in Process Work call the “dream maker”, the source of the dreams. This is an image I would not have come up with consciously.)

Exploring it more consciously, I see that the peace has two distinct (although closely related) aspects. One is the void, ground, emptiness, which is the depth of anything arising. The other is the fertile darkness (composting) and the luminous blackness, with the same void, ground and stillness, but also nurturing. Both allows passion to arise, with a depth of peace.

Dream: Gathering of yogis

 

I am in a gathering of yogis, and a voice introduces a couple of people to the group, and then me as yogi rajma. The yogis are all mature and seasoned, and very familiar with the vast terrain of the divine human.

As I woke up from this dream, the name was opaque to me and didn’t ring any bells. I only thought it sounded vaguely like a (Sanskrit) yogi name.

What struck me the most from the dream was the depth of maturity of everyone there, and also that I – somehow – was not out of place at all. Nobody questioned by presence there, including myself, as it was obvious to all that we were all intimate and familiar with the same terrain. This is quite a contrast to my conscious view of myself which is (a) not at all a yogi (don’t practice any conventional forms of yoga), and (b) as not very seasoned or mature in it either. The dream may be telling me that this is yet another identity I use to box myself in with, and it is time to allow it to soften, to open for some other possibilities – at least in the future.

Although all of the yogis are deeply familiar with the same terrain, and are deeply intimate in that way, there is also a wide diversity in appearances, flavors and approaches. I am a wild Milarepa type yogi, or that was at least my background. I didn’t know what my flavor would be now or in the future.

I went to our monthly diksha group meeting (we are doing other things right now) and asked a Kundalini Yoga instructor there for help with the name, Rajma. She didn’t know either at first. I mentioned that I thought it may be a composite, Raj-ma. She then noted that raj means royal. And ma of course means mother. The Royal Mother. Or the divine feminine.

And this, of course, makes perfect sense. The divine feminine. The fertile darkness. The luminous blackness. Spirit filtered through the belly center. Yin. Feminine. Nurturing. Deep silence. The coolness to balance out the fire of the yang awakening, Spirit filtered through the head center. The nurturing and immanence to balance out the impersonal and transcendent.

Since this shift, there has been a sense of deepening or maturing in a different way – a beginning, with some glimpses of the depth it may lead to.

Right now – I am one led and guided by the divine feminine, the fertile darkness – allowing hangups and knots of this human self to be composted, and the luminous blackness shining from within everything.

Dreams often correct, balance out, or expand the embrace of our conscious view. And this dream certainly does so. It is very difficult to think of myself as a yogi, and even thinking of myself as one guided by the divine feminine is quite a stretch. (In spite of the ways I have explored it on this blog.) So the dream invites me to soften those old identities, and make my conscious embrace a little wider.

It is funny that I was a wild Milarepa type yogi in the dream. That part at least fits how I see it, as an unintentionally slightly wild guy not following any particular traditional path strictly. Again, that is not what I consciously would have chosen for myself. I would be very happy and comfortable with a more traditional path, if I only had found one inclusive enough, where I am located, and where the cultural gulf was not too wide… (I was happy at the Zen center until a sequence of events was set in motion so I ended up – against my deeper wish – moving to another state.) It is at least open for something else now, and in the future.

The field filtered through the head and belly centers

 

I have written about this before, but it is still alive in my immediate awareness, and wants to be explored further…

There is a perfect (slightly asymmetrical) symmetry in how Existence is filtered through the head and belly centers.

Head center

Through the head center, it is awake emptiness and form. Crystal clear. Empty luminosity. Awake emptiness in the foreground, and form as nothing other than awake emptiness. It is transcendent. Detached. Free. Absent of any separate self. Full of the whole world. Masculine. Yang. Solar. The Ground of all form, and all form as no other than this Ground. Impersonal. It is the traditional enlightenment.

Belly center

Through the belly center, it is luminous blackness. Velvety. Smooth. Fullness. A full void. Nurturing. Giving birth to and holding all form. That which all form arises within, as, and that which is in all form. Immanent. Absent of any separate self. Nurturing this individual, allowing it to deeply heal, mature, soften, be more rounded, become more deeply human. It is feminine. Yin. Lunar. The ground of all form and that which is the context for, is, and is within all form. Deeply personal. It is the endarkenment.

Difference in emphasis

The head center gives an emphasis on awakening as awake emptiness, and as form which is no other than this awake emptiness. It gives freedom. Transcendence from identification with any segment of Big Mind, including this human self. But alone, it is detached, aloof, impersonal.

The belly center gives an emphasis on the deep transformation of this individual. A deep healing, untying of knots, maturing, softening and rounding of the personality, deepening into the human.

The coolness and nurturing of the belly center balancing out the fire and the impersonal of the head center

Having been familiar with the head center awakening (spontaneously in my teens, and deepening over several years), I now deeply appreciate the belly awakening as well. It gives a new depth, richness, sense of peace, of being deeply nurtured, of a coolness to balance the heat of the head center awakening. In addition to what I have described in other posts on this topics, I have, over the last few weeks, also had glimpses of an amazing (to me) new depth and richness of being, far beyond anything I have experienced before.

New realms of being opening up through the belly center awakening

Through the head center, this whole universe is nothing other than God, an alive presence behind and as everything, and without any separate self anywhere. And through the belly center, there another facet of the void and selflessness, but also new realms of being – of this individual – revealing themselves and deepening. Even the few glimpses I have had so far, over maybe just minutes or hours, are far beyond anything I had ever imagined.

Heart center

I should also mention a few words about the heart center. Existence filtered through the heart center seems to have two aspects: Big Heart and the indwelling God.

Big Heart is a love and compassion that is independent of any particulars of form. As Big Mind, it has no beginning, no end, no form, yet can take any form. It is both impersonal and personal, when expressed thorough an individual, but the impersonal tends to be in the foreground. It is the love and compassion that comes up spontaneously and naturally when Big Mind awakens to itself while still connected, and functioning through, a human being.

The indwelling God is an alive presence, located in the physical heart area. Infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive, and responsive. A most intimate guide. It is an aspect of God, placed in and for this particular individual.

While Big Heart is connected with Big Mind, universal and slightly impersonal (although can be made personal when expressed), the indwelling God is experienced as intimately personal, an alive presence in the heart area of this individual.

In both cases, it is universal, and this is in the foreground with Big Heart, and in the background – or as a context – for the indwelling God. And in both cases, it is personal, and this is in the foreground for the indwelling God, and a possibility – when made personal through a human self – for Big Heart.

Again, when the indwelling God became more alive in awareness around Christmas, it was something new opening up (yet also very familiar somehow.) An infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive and responsive alive presence, in the heart area. An aspect of God, for this individual. A most intimate guide.

Fertile darkness and luminous blackness

 

There is a clear sense that the fertile darkness and the luminous blackness are distinct, although I cannot quite put my finger on how…

The fertile darkness is like rich crumbly soil, allowing for a composting of anything from this personality… any contractions, any fears, any patterns of reactivity, anything formed within a context of a separate self. In the physical body, the awakening to it seems centered in the belly or low pelvis area. It seems specifically to help reorganize the body and the personality at a very deep level, reaching to its most basic fears.

The luminous blackness is different, and seem centered a little higher, maybe even in the heart area. This is the luminous blackness that is a vast void, transparent, empty, a deep peace, arising within and as all form.

Fearlessness

 

Since the endarkenment shift some weeks ago, there is a new sense of fearlessness…

Not courage, which is doing something in spite of fear, but a deep absence of fear.

A fearlessness coming from a sense that there is nothing to lose (a fruit of the dark night where everything was lost, and I had to embrace that), and also from the deep sense of nurturing and being held within (and as) the fertile darkness and the luminous blackness (which are similar but distinct.)

The fertile darkness and luminous blackness is a vast void, a Ground of all Existence, infinite potential, appearing as all form. And this Ground of existence is an infinite vast peace, giving a sense of infinite vast safety and trust. It is there independent of how this human self and the rest of the physical world shows up.

It is Ground, with nothing behind or beyond it, inherently absent of fear, and also showing up as vast infinite fertile darkness and luminous blackness, vast nourishment, allowing for a deep healing and reorganizing of this human self and the personality.

There is a vast Ground of fertile darkness and infinite blackness, with this human self and its personality as a thin layer on the surface.

Surface fears still come up, the ordinary human ones, but they are just dancing on top of this vast peace and absence of fear. And they vanish as soon as they appear. (Specifically, I notice some fear come up from the personality in certain social situations, and they may remain as long as the situation remains, but as soon as the situation changes, they go poof – just revealing the vast peace that was always there inside of and beneath it.)

Journeying: hardness and energetic hole

 

I did a journeying (for lack of a better term) this morning, after waking up. I noticed a sense of hardness in me, and stayed with it to see what (if anything) would happen…

Hard shining black pearls

There is a small black pearl in my heart area, although a little behind my back. Now, many small black pearls throughout the heart area, of slightly different sizes and forms, all hard and shining. Then a very large one, with a center in the heart area but going far beyond this physical body.

All of the pearls are hard and shiny. They seem far too hard. They are inert, with no interaction with the human self or anything else. I am staying with this hardness.

Sinking into dark crumbly soil

The large pearl sinks into a dark crumbly soil, which is from the belly down. It is slowly softening.

Luminous black infinity

Then there is a sense of unbelievable vastness everywhere, as a luminous blackness, somehow centered in the heart region. It is black, shining, everywhere, infinite, in all directions. It has the shiny black quality of the initial pearls, but is also a void, empty, allowing anything within it.

Fear of nothing to hold onto

Fear and disorientation comes up. There is nothing to hold onto in this infinity, no ground, nothing fixed.

Attention stays with the fear, and it shows up as a knot (or a fist) in the belly. I stay with the knot.

Space below, and dark crumbly soil

After a while, it softens and expands. There is a sense of space in the belly area, the whole lower area of the torso. A soft expansive space.

The space opens up below, allowing the whole of earth… Soft, crumbly soil. Dark, quiet, nourishing, earthy. It is like a womb, nurturing everywhere.

There is an incredible sense of spaciousness and fullness below. Dark, nourishing, spacious and full.

Infinite luminous blackness, and my human self torn into pieces by the infinity

Attention goes back to the infinite luminous blackness, everywhere yet also centered in the heart area.

There is an image of my human self floating in this infinity, and being torn in all directions by the infinite. Fear comes up again. (I see how my identification with this human self, with something decidedly finite, prevents me from going into the infinite luminous blackness, finding myself as it. Being identified with my human self, there is a sense of it being torn into pieces when I go into the infinite.)

The fear is a form of resistance to this infinity, to finding myself as this infinity.

An image of armor comes up, as an armadillo, a Japanese warrior, a tank. (This is the resistance.)

Lower spine

Attention goes to the spine in the lower back, from the tailbone to the end of the ribcage. There is a sense of an energetic hole there, a weakness, impoverished, depleted of energy. The center of the hole seems to be just below the navel (tan tien area.)

I stay with this weakened spine area. (I am also aware of the vast, spacious crumbly soil below, and of the infinite luminous blackness everywhere.)

[I get up an shower, then take a few minutes to go into this again.]

Specks of golden light, and nurturing full blackness

I continue staying with the energetic hole in the spine. After a while, numerous small specks of golden light start working in the spine area, reorganizing and healing. Then, the soft nourishing blackness fills the same area, nurturing the spine and everything else there.

I am with the golden specks and the nurturing full blackness, and sense the fullness and healing in a very tangible way.

After a while, a light gray inner lining of the spine is pulled out through the bottom of the spine. Where the lining used to be, a luminous golden blackness comes up. Healing, working.

[to be continued]

Themes

The dark crumbly vast soil below, from belly down, and somehow centered in the belly.

The luminous blackness everywhere, infinite, and centered in the heart. (The black pearls with the same quality as this luminous blackness, and revealing themselves as this infinite luminous blackness.)

The energetic hole in the lower spine, centered in tan tien.

The working on this energetic deficiency by innumerable specks of golden light (active, moving around) and the nurturing full blackness (nurturing.)

Noticing

I notice how the belly center darkness is vast, dark and nurturing, as crumbly soil. The heart center darkness is a luminous blackness, a void, infinite, combining the alive luminosity and the empty blackness. And what works on the spine is active golden specks of light (yang), along with a nurturing full blackness (yin).

The initial too hard quality of the pearls seems to be connected with a resistance to finding myself as the (luminous black) infinity. And this fear and resistance, taking the form of a hard armor, comes from being identified with this human form.

The transcendent qualities of endarkenment

 

When I describe some of the qualities of endarkenment, it is often with a sense of unease knowing that they can be interpreted as conventional qualities within form and dependent on something particular in form, while they really are transcendent qualities, independent of yet also arising as any form.

There is a sense of holding, but it is a holding that goes beyond and embraces conventional holding and not holding. There is a sense of luminous blackness, but it is a luminous blackness that goes beyond and embraces (can be found within and as, but is not limited to) physical light and darkness. There is a sense of deep nurturing and fullness, but it is a nurturing and fullness that is independent of – yet in and as – anything happening in form. It is a womb, but a womb that allows everything its freedom to be as it is. It is selfless, yet a selflessness that arises within, as, and allows individuals and even a sense of a separate I. It heals the emotional level, yet allows emotions to be exactly as they are, only inviting them to reorganize within this new context.

It is all of these and other qualities, free from any particulars of form, and yet arising within and as all form, as they already are.

Dazzling dark

 

When I shifted into (very early) endarkenment some weeks ago, there was first a sense of fertile darkness… Smooth, full, a ground of all form. Somehow connected with the belly center. A dark fertile womb. Healing and reorganizing at an emotional level. Formless and a void, yet also the source of all form and all form itself. Selfless.

Then, some days later, an alive luminosity came up, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive, and – when invited – active, and connected with the heart center.

And then, a combination of the two, of a luminous darkness, smooth, fertile, alive, infinitely loving, intelligent and receptive.

Dazzling Darkness

Some days ago, I found an anthology of writings from Christian mystics called A Dazzling Darkness, which is a term that seems to describe what I have called luminous blackness.

Searching on “dazzling darkness” I found this

. . . it is all still here, both the shining dark void and the experience of myself coming into being out of, yet somehow in response to, that radiant darkness. My whole consciousness of myself and everything else has changed.

When I read it, I initially thought I was reading something I had written…! It is a close description of the shift that happened for me some weeks back, and written by an Australian by the name of John Wren-Lewis.

Then he goes on…

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

My sense is of a shift among 2nd, 1st and 3rd person relationship with the luminous darkness, and they are often there simultaneously. The darkness is You, then I, then both, then an it when I write about it. (The sawed off head is not my experience, but that may be because I am already familiar with this shift of 2nd, 1st and 3rd person perspective.)

And what I perceive with my eyes and other senses is a whole world that seems to be coming fresh-minted into existence moment by moment, each instant evoking the utter delight of “Behold, it is very good.” Here yet again I am constantly up against paradox when I try to describe the experience.

Yes, it is all always fresh, new, different. For me, that came up during the initial (head/heart centered) awakening some years ago, and is still with me, so I don’t experience it as especially connected with the endarkenment/belly awakening, but I can see how it is if that is the first form of awakening, if that is the initial gateway for someone (as it apparently was for JWL.)

For me, the endarkenment shift included a felt-sense, with body and emotions, how it is all very good. It is as if this this luminous dark void as source of all form, holds it all, embraces it, as a womb, with a deep full nurturing felt-sense of all as infinitely OK and good, independent of the particulars of form.

These things only appear as a paradox if our view is mostly dualistic. After a while, it becomes more familiar with functioning within a more nondual context, and it is not experienced as a paradox anymore. Both poles of all polarities are more naturally included.

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

Hm… Not the way it is for me now, but again, I can see how it can appear that way immediately following an initial awakening. For me, the empty awakeness is evenly spread out, as a field leaving nothing out, embracing anything arising outside and inside of this individual, which is just a small thread in the overall tapestry.

Three realms of being

 

Here is one way of slicing the cake of our being, into three realms…

First, the formless… Awake emptiness, capacity for the world. Selfless, timeless, spaceless.

Then, this awake emptiness as form, including innumerable individuals (selfless), unfolding in space and time.

And finally, not less important than the two other, me as this particular individual self, as an individual soul and human self alive here and now, in this little spot of the whole wide world of form. And this is where shadow work, healing, development, maturing, and unfolding as an individual takes place, deepening over time, endlessly (at least as long as this individual is around.)

This corresponds roughly to the three centers…

Spirit filtered through the head center reveals itself as the formless, as awake emptiness, as form as awake emptiness, as individuals inherently selfless.

Spirit filtered through the heart center reveals itself as formless love, and all forms as no other than formless love. It also reveals itself as love for all form, including all individuals, no matter their particulars, as Spirit.

Spirit filtered through the belly center reveals itself as a felt sense of all as Spirit, and as the luminous blackness which, among other things, gives a deep sense of nurturing, fullness and healing for this particular human self.

Each of the three centers include the formless, form and selflessness, although the head center reveals the formless in the foreground, the heart center form – including individuals – in the foreground, and the belly center this particular individual in the foreground.

Forms of darkness

 

I read parts of A Dazzling Darkness earlier today, an anthology of writings from Christian mystics. My attention was first drawn to the title, and then on of its chapters on darkness.

Reading the selection under that chapter, I was reminded of the many forms of darkness…

There is the darkness of evil, of what appears as Other and not desirable. (Not used my mystics much, thankfully, since mystical awakenings does away with the sense of I and Other and reveals all as Spirit.)

There is the darkness of the dark night, of loss, of failed expectations, of a profound sense of hopelessness.

There is the darkness of not knowing, of finding ourselves as that beyond discursive thought. This is the darkness from an absence of the “light of mind”, of conventional thinking and abstractions.

And then there is the darkness of the luminous blackness, the fertile darkness, formless and arising as and allowing all form.

The three first ones are metaphors, poetic expressions, analogies, and produced by the thinking mind. And the fourth one seems to be a direct experience of fertile darkness, of luminous blackness (from my own experience, others I have talked with, and also as described by Almaas. Even right now, there is a sense of this luminous blackness as formless, yet in and as all form.)

Dreams, and thought as servant

 

A dream from a couple of weeks ago:

I am in a car with the actor who plays Monk, a brilliant detective, on TV. He needs some extra money, decides he wants to help me find answers to some existential questions I have, and makes some of the movements Monk makes when searching for clues at a crime scene. It is painfully obvious that he only plays a detective on TV and has no idea how to go about finding the answers. He makes the movements Monk makes, but will not find any answers that way. We are both dismayed.

And one from last week:

I work for a pale, fat, sleazy corrupt man, writing articles for magazines and newspapers. There is some freedom in it, in terms of deciding on the topics of the stories and even the deadlines, but I only get 16% of the profits. I am only doing it because I am not sure if I can make it on my own, in spite of the whole situation feeling unpleasant and corrupt.

Alive presence guiding its own unfolding

Since the endarkenment shift some weeks ago, it has been very clear that the alive presence itself guides its unfolding. My mind, in the sense of conscious thought, can only be a servant in this process.

It does not – and cannot – know where it goes, what comes next, which realms will open up. Any expectations are far too narrow, limited only to what has happened in the past, and these are whole new realms unfolding. It is only a servant, it can help explore, describe, record what is happening, and that is about it. At most, it can find patterns after they unfold.

Habits of the conscious mind guiding the process

At the same time, I have done a lot of inquiry work over the last year or so, where the conscious mind definitely is in charge and guides the process. Also, in our culture, and even in most spiritual traditions, we are used to conscious thought being in charge and guiding the process. We plan something out, or are told to do something, and do it (or not).

It is my habitual pattern, especially over the last few years, so even if it is abundantly clear that the alive presence itself guides its unfolding, and it is taking me into whole new realms where everything is different, there is still the temptation to use conscious thought for guiding the process. It is only that it does not work. The one time since the endarkenment shift where I got into trying to figure it out and guide the process through conscious thought, I got thoroughly stuck (about two weeks ago). And I notice the same in smaller ways daily.

Conscious mind boxes the process in, even with the best of intentions, and this process cannot be boxed in.

Dreams as reminder

And these dreams, of the actor who plays a detective on TV and is unable to be of real help with my existential questions, and the boss who is a sleazeball, is a reminder of this.

Conscious mind is an actor playing someone who knows how to do it. And placing conscious mind as a boss gives a sense of corruption.

Head and belly centers

The three centers seem to filter Spirit in different way. Through the head center, as awake emptiness and form, with no I anywhere. Through the belly center, as fertile darkness, an alive luminous blackness. And through the heart center, as an infinitely loving and intelligent presence, universal and personal at the same time.

So to be fair, I see that the conscious mind can do a very good job in exploring and guiding the process of Spirit filtered through the head center. Through various forms of self-inquiry, we can find ourselves Big Mind, as awake emptiness and form, we can allow beliefs to unravel, and so on. It does a fine job here.

But for the exploration of Spirit filtered through the belly center, it can only be a servant at most. Here, the alive presence definitely guides the process. And this is what is happening for me right now, so one of my tasks is to allow conscious thought to be a servant in this process. Curious, interested, receptive, describing it after it happens.

As there is a deepening into seeing, feeling and loving all as Spirit, there is also an increased differentiation – including in the roles of conscious thought.

Head and belly, and heart follows

 

When I see and feel into whatever arises, the heart seems to follow.

Seeing, feeling and loving

The seeing is the witnessing of whatever is, it is free from what is seen, and can even be a recognition of what is seen as no other than awake emptiness itself. The feeling into it is a felt sense of what arises, it is the body joining in feeling what arises. And the heart is a receptivity and love for what arises.

The head and the belly sees and feels what arises. There is a being with what arises as seeing and feeling, and really as seeing-feeling since when both are there, they are just two aspects of being with whatever is, with the experiences as they are here now, with the content as it unfolds. And this seems to invite and allow the heart to join, to soften, open up for whatever is, here now (with the sweetness and pain, rawness and tenderness, a sense of the universal and personal, that often seems to come with that for me, at least right now.)

The process reflected in stories

Last night, after having seeing these dynamics throughout the day, I wondered how this would be represented in stories and mythology, and if I could find any stories that reflects this process?

The view, seeing, witnessing, is from the head center, and is yang, masculine, transcendent, free from what is seen. The feeling into, the felt sense, is from the belly center and is yin, feminine, embodied, engaged with what is felt. And the heart is the receptivity, openness, love, with equal amounts of yin and yang aspects (which is probably why the Bodhisattva of compassion – Avalokitesvara, Kwan Yin, Kanzenon, Chenrezig – is depicted as sometimes male and sometimes female, and always quite androgynous).

Our lives mirroring the dynamics of head and belly coming together, awakening the heart

So of course, the natural way to depict this process of the head and belly coming together, inviting the heart to follow, is of a man and woman coming together, awakening love. And not only is there no lack of those stories, it is at the core of our existence as humans. Our very lives are metaphors, or mirror, this process.

Also mirrored as Spirit, human and soul

At another level, the seeing is Spirit, the felt sense is the human self, and the love is the soul. So here, we can say that when Spirit and human comes together, love awakens. And this is the typical process of a Buddhist practice where there is an emphasis on Big Mind and the human self, which allows the love (and the soul) to unfold.

Parallels with Breema and Gurdjieff

In Breema, they say that when mind and body comes together, the feelings join. When attention is brought to the body (the movements of the body, posture, tone of voice, weight), the feelings join – as a sense of nurturing fullness. From the little I know of Gurdjieff, it seems that these are the three centers as he described them: head is in this case attention, belly is body, and feelings are heart.

(This is quite different from how I experience the three centers: The head center filters Spirit in its aspect of pure seeing, awake emptiness, seeing all as Spirit. The belly center as feeling, form, feeling all as Spirit. And the heart center as love, loving it all as Spirit. The centers and the dynamics between the centers as described here seems to be similar, but the descriptions – and experience – of them, apparently quite different.)

Personality contrasted

 

Within this context of (early) belly awakening, the contrast between this endarkenment and my personality is very vivid.

Throughout the day, I notice all the hardness of this personality, a hardness, rigidity and narrowness that comes from not being aligned with the endarkenment. And my task is simply to notice, and surrender whatever comes up to the endarkenment.

I see how the endarkenment invites (and it is an offer I can’t afford to refuse) this personality to allow any hard edges, anything coming from fear and resistance, so soften, to become more rounded, whole, mature, more deeply and thoroughly human.

It is a reorganization of the whole individual self. A transformation from what was created from a sense of separation, and the subsequent fear, resistance, clinging to exclusive identities, hard edges, and a sense of something to defend, to being aligned with all as Spirit, also in a deeply felt sense, allowing the personality to be more rich, full, whole, rounded and mature.

Belly center and feeling into

 

I have started listening to Adyashanti’s Five Truths About Truth, and find his way of talking to be as refreshing, simple and clear as always.

He is one of the few I know who talks about the awakening of the belly center. He mentioned it in passing at his satsang in Ashland, and has probably talked about it in more detail other times (still looking for it).

Feeling into being emptiness

In Five Truths About Truth, I notice that he emphasizes feeling into the experience of being awake emptiness.

In my experience, that is one of the aspects of the awakening of the belly center. It allows for and invites to a deepening feeling, with the whole body and every cell of the body, that all is Spirit, all is awake emptiness and form, and it allows for a deepening reorganization of the body and the emotions within this new context.

Practice, and dropping into it

The difference is that before an awakening (even a very early awakening, as in my case) it remains a practice, something we have to intentionally do. After, it happens on its own, and the only intention is to surrender anything coming up, any beliefs, identities, any aspect of the personality, to it.

Alive luminous blackness

Also, before the belly center awakening the term fertile darkness does not make so much sense (at least it didn’t for me). After, it becomes a living presence, an immediate experience.

It is a fertile darkness, an alive luminous blackness which is the ground of all forms, gives a deep sense of fullness and nurturing, and allows for a deep reorganization and healing of the emotional level. And as Almaas writes, and I have experienced since the (early) belly awakening some weeks ago, this luminous blackness is experienced everywhere, as if “peering out through all forms” as he puts it.

Almaas, and Barry and Karen the diksha givers, are the only ones I have found so far whose experiences with this reflects my own, down into the details, although it must be a relatively common occurrence, it is just that I haven’t explored it before in this way, and not looked for descriptions of it.

The three centers and the chakras

 

A question about the relationship between the three centers and the chakras came up for me after the phone session. I don’t know much about it yet, so all of this is from a very limited experience, and not aligned with anything I have heard or read so far.

The three centers and the chakras do not at all seem the same, but they are also obviously connected.

Three centers allowing the chakras to reorganize

It seems that the three centers allows the chakras to transform and reorganize, along with the human self in general. The belly center allows the three first chakras to reorganize within all as Spirit, within and allowing a deepening of a felt sense of all as Spirit. The heart center allows the heart chakra to reorganize to loving all as Spirit. The head center allows the 6th and 7th centers to reorganize. And my sense right now (which will probably change) is that all of the three centers together allows the throat center to reorganize.

The chakras setting the stage for soul center awakenings

It also seems that working with the appropriate chakras can set the stage for an awakening of the soul centers, inviting an awakening of the centers to take place. And, as mentioned above, that this awakening in turn allows the chakras to reorganize within this new context.

The relationship(s) between the hara and the belly center

For instance, Breema or other hara-oriented practices can reorganize the hara chakras (2nd, or 3rd, or as I experience it the three first) allowing a drop into endarkenment, which in turn continues the reorganization of the hara chakras within the new context of endarkenment, of a felt sense of all as Spirit, which in turn deepens and more fully embodies this felt sense of all as Spirit.

There must be many individuals out there who have explored this in far more depth, for instance in the different yogic traditions (maybe especially Taoist yoga) and it seems that Almaas too probably have some insights here (although I haven’t gotten that far in reading his books yet.)

Summary of phone session on three centers

 

I did a phone session again this morning, following the knots and allowing them to unravel, and some themes emerged from all the details…

The three centers

The belly and the head centers showed up similar to before, although the heart center now has a red color. There is the warm fertile blackness of the belly center, allowing the body and emotions to relax and reorganize within a sense of safe nurturing holding. The heart center, warm soft and deeply red. The head center, with its golden light. There is a luminosity at each center, black at the belly, red at the heart, and golden at the head.

The darkness of the belly center first came up as a black pearl at the belly center, which revealed itself as the black pearl of the whole of existence, while also remaining there at the belly center. A little later, a luminous full red appeared in the heart area, then flowing down into the belly and up to the mouth, allowing speech and expression to come from the fullness of the belly and the heart. Then, the black and red co-existed throughout the body, apart from the top of the head which was a luminous gold. Staying with this for a while, the fluid golden light dropped down into the body, into the belly and down the legs, then shifting into the heart, and then to the tongue along with the red and black.

The black and red coexisted throughout the body, as a field, with the golden light softly streaming through it.

Essence and frontal personality

Another theme was the relationship between the frontal personality and the essence, especially as it shows up through the belly and heart centers. I saw how this personality was created in early childhood from a sense of separation, with armor in the form of identities, fears and so on. And how essence allows this personality to soften, reorganize, as it allows the body and emotional level to reorganize.

Surrender

And then the continued theme of surrender. Surrendering any contraction coming up, any identities, fears, hopes. Surrendering anything familiar. Surrendering it to God, Spirit, essence, presence, the soul.