Shifting of who and what in foreground

 

I am noticing how who and what I am shift in being in the foreground.

When who I am (individual) is in the foreground, the what (Spirit/Ground) is either less noticed, or comes up as a context, a sense of time/spacelessness. The personal arises within and as the universal.

When what I am is in the foreground, the individual arises within the field, as a grain of sand in the Sahara, or one thread in a vast tapestry. There is a sense of the impersonal and universal even in the individual.

The shifts are usually quite gentle and happen throughout the day, especially if I sometimes remind myself of headlessness – as capacity for the world. Then the personal is in the foreground as I am engaged in different tasks, shifting into the impersonal in the foreground as I notice my headlessness.

Soul retrieval

 

After exploring headlessness again today, I see how so many explorations are really soul retrieval, if we use that word in a wide sense. It is about retrieving – in the sense of allowing, noticing, owning – who we are at an individual level, and what we are at the headless/Spirit level.

Working with projections, we find here in this individual life what we see out there in the wider world. As long as we only see it out there (or only in here), there is a split, not only between this self and the wider world, but within this self.

Working with being with experiences, as they are, there is again a retrieval of what was divided and split off… through a sense of I and Other. We find ourselves as the space holding both sides of the dividing line, the division, and the content on both sides.

Doing the Byron Katie style inquiries, we also work with the split through releasing attachment to beliefs in thoughts, and we find ourselves as that which already is and allows it all.

And through the headless experiments, we find ourselves as capacity for the world, full of the whole world… as it appears one piece at a time to this human self.

In each case, there is a healing of the split, simply by finding ourselves as that which already is and allows it all. The Other, that which was split off, is finally allowed and owned, the sense of I and Other falls away, and this reveals the field always and already allowing it all.

It happens on our individual level when we work on projections, and it happens on a Spirit level when we find ourselves as headless.

In either case, there is a sense of retrieving a bit of our soul, of what we already are but didn’t notice or didn’t allow.

Infinite detachment, infinite intimacy

 

Also, in exploring headlessness, I find the sense of infinite detachment, and infinite intimacy.

Infinite detachment

Finding myself as capacity for the world, as awakeness and everything arising within and to awakeness, there is a freedom from whatever arises. There is no sense of an I anywhere in particular in the world of form. It is just one seamless field arising within and as awakeness.

More precisely, there is really just a disidentification with anything in particular arising.

The whole field is the I without an Other, and any sense of I and Other is clearly seen as a pure fabrication, what arises when the seamless field of awakeness and its forms is filtered through a belief in a separate I and a sense of I and Other.

Infinite intimacy

At the same time, there is a sense of infinite intimacy with everything arising. What is arising is no other than the wakefulness without a center and without an Other. It is all the I without an Other.

What arises is infinitely distant, in the sense of disidentified with, and it is infinitely close, in the sense of no separation.

Free from distance

And really, it is none of those. There is no distance because it is all the awakeness, the I without and Other. Distance depends on a sense of I and Other, and that is exactly what falls away, revealed as only a temporary fabrication, a temporary filter.

Selfless, timeless, spaceless

The field of awake emptiness and form is inherently absent of I and Other, of time and space. It is selfless, timeless, spaceless.

At the same time, it arises as an infinite diversity of forms unfolding in space and time, and it arises to itself as I & Other, and as time & space… and this is either taken as all there is, or just a practical way of orienting for our human self.

Headlessness and three centers

 

Since hearing about Douglas Harding’s death this morning, I have explored headlessness again as I go about my activities. I notice a slight difference in exploring headlessness, and it seems to has to do with the three centers. It is still quite new so I am sure more will unfold, but for now…

Capacity

Being capacity for the world, or the awakeness the world unfolds within and as, has a slightly different quality since the endarkenment shift. It is somehow softer, fuller, more yin, and has a sense of being a ground in a different way, more as something to just allow, relax into. The sense of crystal clarity is there, yet that too as somehow rounder, fuller, softer.

First and second person

And I also see how the second and first (zero) person views are there at the same time. The first person view is being the capacity for the world, the awake emptiness it arises within and as (although this is really a zero person view, as there is no Other, and it is not even a view, just the ground of everything arising, of the seeing and the seen.)

And the second person is everything arising as love, and as love for everything arising. First person is Big Mind, second person is Big Heart, where everything arising as love is a very subtle second person, and the love for everything arising is a more clear second person.

Three centers

These are also two of the centers. Being capacity for the world is Spirit filtered through the head center. And everything arising as love, and loved, is Spirit filtered through the heart center.

The third, belly, center, is including the body and emotions in this, allowing them to reorganize within Capacity and love. The belly center specifically includes our human self, allowing it to deepen and reorganize, at an emotional level, into the felt sense of this.

Headless movies

 

There are several headless movies at YouTube.

Here is a fragment of an interview with Douglas Harding, where he among other things says… I am absolutely, deeply convinced that Douglas is designed to let me down!

Our human self is finite, evolving, not living up to any ideals, so it is good thing to be let down by it, and be nudged to find ourselves as headless, Big Mind, as capacity full of the whole world.

In deep gratitude of Douglas Harding

 

Douglas Harding died yesterday, 97 years old.

In the spirit of his teachings, I see that out there, in the world of form, he is no longer, but right here, where others see my head, this awake emptiness is the same awake emptiness that gave life and form to Douglas. It does not come and go, it is timeless, spaceless, full of the whole world.

Douglas came and went, but the awake emptiness that gave life and form to him, and which had so beautifully awakened to itself in him, is right here, already and always.

And in and as this awakeness, a deep gratitude and appreciation for his work is coming up, along with a sadness for his passing and for not having met him.

These are the forms and life of the awake emptiness, as it arises right now. And for the awake emptiness to recognize itself as awake emptiness, even as it arises as gratitude and sadness, means that the gratitude and sadness can not only unfold more freely but also be experienced more fully.

……………………………….

From Richard Lang:

In the early hours of this morning,
Thursday 11 January, Douglas Harding passed away. What a great man!
What a wonderful gift he gave the world.
Love and gratitude

If you have memories of Douglas Harding,
or reflections on his work, or would like to share the ways in which he/his work has affected your life, you can share these at
http://www.headless.org/phpBB2/

Richard Lang (Co-ordinator)
The Shollond Trust
87B Cazenove Road
London N16 6BB
England

UK Charity no 1059551
http://www.headless.org/
mailto:headexchange@gn.apc.org
Tel: ++44 (0)20 8806 3710

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Headlessness and radical subjectivity

 

The focus of the upper left quadrant of the aqal model, the individual and inner, is on what is alive in immediate awareness.

And the various practices here, such as meditation, prayer and especially self-inquiry, are all about radical subjectivity: what is alive right here and now, outside of any filters of thoughts – such as ideas, expectations, memories?

Headlessness

Headlessness is one way to explore this radical subjectivity. Is there really a head here in immediate experience?

All I can find are some sensations arising in space, coming and going, and a fuzzy pink blob where others see my nose, but there is no head here. The idea of a head is just that, an idea superimposed on an area of space. There is just space here, allowing anything and everything to arise, to come and go on their own: sensations, sounds, sights, thoughts, this body, arms, hands, desk, screen, window, a dog barking. There is capacity for the world, and the world arising.

Deepening familiarity

And as there is a deepening into this exploration, through meditation, prayer or self-inquiry, there is a deepening familiarity with what we find:

The seen, including this human self, is within space and time, come and go on its own, and there is no I to be found anywhere. How can there be an I there, if it is seen? If there is an I anywhere, it must be in the seeing itself.

The seeing transcends yet embraces time, space and the seen. It is free from the seen, from space and time. It is free from this human self. At the same time, is there really a separation here? Where do I as seeing end and Other as the seen begin? I cannot find that line anywhere.

So there is an early noticing of the Oneness of seeing and seen. They distinct from each other, yet not quite two.

When the sense of I was placed on the seen, there was a sense of I and Other within the seen, within form. Now, when the sense of I is placed on the seeing, there is a sense of I and Other as seeing and seen. Yet, the boundary between the two is not to be found anywhere. Maybe the whole sense of I is superimposed on the seeing and seen? Maybe it comes from the belief in the idea of I, which then the seeing and the seen is filtered through in different ways?

As this is explored, and it becomes more clear how the mechanisms of samsara (a sense of I and Other, of duality) functions and that there is no I to be found anywhere in seeing or seen, it sets the stage for a Ground awakening.

The Ground awakens to itself, as the Ground of seeing and seen, as emptiness and form, as emptiness dancing, absent of I anywhere. The whole sense of an I and a center falls away, and there is only the totality – without center anywhere, so with a center everywhere.

Always already

The irony is that this is what was alive in immediate awareness all the time. It was never not alive to itself.

Yet, since it was not taken seriously, since what was alive in radical subjectivity was not trusted, it remained in the background, overshadowed and (apparently) blocked out by a sense of I and Other, created by the belief in the idea of I, formed by what was being taught by society and those around us.

What is always already here, in immediate awareness, in radical subjectivity, was not trusted, so could not emerge into the foreground. Until it had been explored so thoroughly that the sense and filter of I fell away.

Radical subjectivity

In this sense, spiritual practice is all about radical subjectivity.

What is alive in immediate awareness? What is already alive here now, free from expectations, beliefs, ideas, memories, stories? How does it look when I gradually learn to differentiate what already is from how it is colored by ideas? How does it look, when thoughts arise as just thoughts, along with everything else?

The coin of ignorance: exploring both sides

 

In Buddhism, they talk about three (greed, anger, ignorance) or five (greed, anger, pride, envy, ignorance) poisons, or roots of suffering.

All of these can be collapsed into one: ignorance.

One side of the coin: ignorance of what we already are

And this ignorance can generally be seen as ignorance of what we really are, as Big Mind, Spirit, emptiness and form, Headless, absent of any I.

Other side of the coin: ignorance of the mechanisms of samsara

At the other side of the coin, this ignorance can be seen as ignorance of the mechanisms of Samsara. What, specifically, is it that happens when there is a mistaken identification. When Big Mind suddenly takes itself to be only a fragment of itself, as a part of the seen or as the seeing itself.

What is it that is really happening, and how can I explore that, over and over, in my own experience, so there is a gradually deepening familiarity with this process, eventually leading to a natural release from it.

Exploring the coin

There are many ways to explore either or both sides of this coin.

The Work: exploring both sides of the coin

Through The Work, we explore – in quite some detail, one way of looking at the mechanisms of samsara. What happens when there is a belief in a thought, when an abstraction is taken as truth itself? What are the consequences of this, in the many areas of my life? How does it unfold?

Towards the end of the inquiry, in question four and the turnarounds, we get to see who or what we are without this belief.

By doing this, over and over, on whatever beliefs remain and come up, we learn not only about the mechanisms of samsara but also what we are without beliefs. Gradually, there is more and more of a taste of and emerging into Big Mind.

Other approaches

The Big Mind process is another way to explore both sides of the coin, to almost infinite detail.

Headless experiments may not guide us through the terrain in the same detail as The Work and the Big Mind process, but they certainly set the stage for it by allowing us a taste of what we really are. From here, we are free to explore on our own, in as much detail as we want.

Headless Way

 

There has been some interesting comments and messages after I helped post the Headless experiment videos at YouTube.

Different responses: hooked, not hooked, and upset

As with so much else, some get it right away and are hooked (like me). Others get it and move on to something else. Some are interested, but don’t quite get it. And others again don’t get it and are upset that somebody can be so stupid. (The second and third seem to be quite common when I show the videos to people, and I got the third response from someone through YouTube.)

It seems that people who have some experience with what the headless experiments point to are more likely to get it. And why some who get it are hooked and others not must have to do with how we are individually put together, it is our unique flavor that shines through.

Here is one way to talk about the headless experiments…

Conventional view

There is of course a head here, attached to this body. And as long as the center of gravity is in this human self, there will be an identification with this head. It will appear as the center, as I as opposed to the rest of the world.

Headless shifts

The headless experiments invites us to shift our center of identification out of this body, this head, and this human self. It invites us to find ourselves as what the world of form appears within.

I as awake space, capacity for the world

In the beginning, it may be helpful to see this as space, awareness, capacity for the world, and so on. I am the awake space the world of form arises within. This human self is just one small part of the tapestry of this world of form as it arises right now, and there is no more identification with this human self than with anything else. It is all just happening, living its own life. There is doing but no doer.

Headless = Big Mind, realized selflessness

And then, there may be another shift into realizing that even this seeing, this awareness, this space, has no I in it. There is no I in the seen, as this human self and the rest of the world of form, and there is no I in the seeing. It is all just happening, with no I anywhere.

This is Big Mind, already right here, even as there is a sense of I placed in the seen or the seeing. Through the headless experiments, or the Big Mind process, or other forms of inquiry, Big Mind can notice its own nature – as a seamless field of seen and seeing, absent of I anywhere.

Movie analogy

One way to talk about this is to use a movie analogy.

The content of awareness stays the same: it is the sensations, smells, tastes, sights and sounds conveyed through this human body, reflecting this human self and its surroundings.

Yet the context shifts from a sense of I, typically placed on this human self, to realized selflessness. None of this, the seeing or the seen, has any I in it.

It all becomes a field, a terrain, a tapestry, absent of any I anywhere.

And it is similar to a movie screen with characters and their surroundings, yet with no I anywhere, not as the seen up on the screen and not as the seeing of it. It is all just happening on its own.

Relative and absolute

So there is this field of emptiness and form, of capacity and world, of seeing and seen, realizing itself as absent of I anywhere. At the same time, it is somehow functionally connected with this particular human self. It is all absent of any I, yet within the world of form – and for purely practical purposes, this human self is me and the rest of the world is other. And this human self has a head, so if there is a low doorway it will bend down.

I am headless, since this I is either awake space for the world of form, or absent. But this human self very much has a head, and will take care of it as needed.

Meditation in Action *

 

There is no doubt that it can be very helpful to take time out of the day for regular meditation/practice sessions, and also to take several days out of one’s schedule for a retreat.

And then there is meditation in action, practice distributed throughout our daily life. To me, this form of practice is more interesting right now, especially as it does not necessarily require any time beyond what I am already doing (in a way, it is practice for lazy and impatient people, for those of us who may be reluctant to set aside a lot of time every day, and especially don’t want to wait for these periods).

Some practices that I find very helpful in daily life, first those that do not take any extra time at all…

Headlessness

Douglas Harding’s headless experiments can be included and explored throughout daily life, during any activity. I work on the computer, I am on my bike, I eat, I am in a meeting, I watch a movie, I do Breema, and I can easily explore headlessness – notice that I am already headless in my own immediate experience. I am capacity for the world, that within and as which the world of phenomena – including this human self, happens. This shifts the center of gravity from the human self to seeing and beyond, into a taste of selflessness.

Labeling

Another practice that can be seamlessly integrated in daily life is labeling. I note sensations, tastes/smells, sights, sounds and thoughts. And sometimes just sensations and thoughts, allowing each to live their own life. And sometimes just personality. That is the personality reacting, with its likes and dislikes, its habitual tendencies.

Seeing sensations as sensations, and thoughts as thoughts, allow each to live their own life. They don’t conglomerate into something else. And when they do, for instance into personality, then that can be labeled as well, at its own level.

All of this shifts the center of gravity from the human self to the seeing of it. It gives a sense of more space, of liberation from being blindly caught up in it.

Can I be with it?

Yet another practice which can be included seamlessly in daily life is asking myself can I be with what I am experiencing right now? I experience something that could be labeled pain, or sleep deprivation, or hunger, or stress, or confusion, or spaciness, or joy, or excitement – can I be with what I am experiencing right now?

Again, this shifts the center of gravity into the seeing, allowing the content to life its own life, to unfold in its own way. The experience is one of getting out of the way of the content.

Coming to the body

This shift also occurs through simply bringing attention to the body. To noticing the weight, movement or breath of the body, as it happens right now.

Of course, for each of these practices – headlessness, labeling, being with whatever is experienced and coming to the body, it does help to set aside some time in the beginning to become familiar with the process, and even to do so at any point where there is a break in the day.

Then there are practices that very much use the content of our daily life as fuel, and do require some time set aside, although often not much.

The Work

The inquiry practice from Byron Katie is one of these. Whatever happens during my daily life is fuel for finding clarity. The whole world is my mirror, in a very real and practical way.

Big Mind Process

The Big Mind process similarly uses our daily life and everyday mind as material for insights, for seeing what is already alive right here now, and how it is all manifestations of the Buddha Mind, Buddha Mind at work.

Resistance & I Within the Field

 

Right now, it seems helpful to notice (a) any resistance and (b) any sense of I as both arising within the field of radical equality and neutrality.

In headless terms, resistance and sense of I arise within this headless space, along with everything else. They belong to the field of what is happening, they are part of the fluid content. No identification with them is needed.

And if there is identification arising, then that too is just part of the field, just part of the content. That too is arising within headlessness.

From Content to Context

 

In many practices, we use content (the world of phenomena) as a springboard into context (a sense of I or realization of selflessness). We explore content, which leads us into exploring context.

This seems to be the case for…

  • Process Work
    Typically with an emphasis of content, but within a – yet slightly fuzzy – context of selflessness (it seems that the selflessness part is more coming into focus).

  • The Big Mind Process
    This approach uses explorations of content (personal voices) to see that they are inherently without any I. And we also go directly to an exploration of selflessness (Big Mind) to familiarize ourselves with that, and have a taste of it.

  • The Work
    Byron Katie’s inquiry process is content focused (examining our beliefs, the effects of their presence and absence, and turning it around), yet brings us into a taste and then realization of selflessness. It seems that from exploring typical surface beliefs – such as she should …, I need … and so on, we move to exploring the more core beliefs – the initial stories spawning all the other stressful ones – such as I am a human being and I am.

Using content to bring us into explorations of context only makes sense. It is after all where most of us start from, what we are already familiar with, and journeys typically starts from where we are at (!)

Directly to context

Of course, we are already at the context of selflessness as well, although we don’t notice it. So some practices focus on this as well, such as Headlessness and some Dzogchen practices. Here, we just notice what is already there – the absence of any I anywhere. We notice, gradually become more familiar with it, gradually learn to trust it, gradually allow the realization to dawn.

Correspondence

 

The Byron Katie inquiries overlaps in many ways with approaches I have used in the past, and also many other approaches out there.

A brief overview of how the Byron Katie inquiries seem to correspond with other approaches.

Question number…

  1. Is it true?
    Awareness of the discrepancy between opinions and reality.

  2. Can you absolutely know it is true?
    Awareness of how abstractions are always only relative truth, unable to touch any absolute truth. Awareness of the limits of knowledge.

  3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
    Psychotherapy (exploring how we are apparently screwed up).

  4. Who would you be without the thought?
    Shikantaza. Big Mind process (Big Mind/Heart, nonseeking mind). Headlessness. Atma Vichara. Mindfulness based psychotherapy.

  5. Turnarounds
    Projections. Shadow work. Everything and everybody are mirrors for myself. Awareness of abstractions as only relative truth, unable to touch any absolute truth.

Piece of Hot Coal

 

In Buddhism (and probably other traditions) they sometimes use the analogy of hot coal.

Believing in the idea of I is similar to holding a piece of hot coal. Both bring suffering. And seeing through the belief, noticing what is really true for us in our immediate experience, is similar to noticing that we are holding the piece of hot coal. In both cases, it is dropped – naturally, immediately, without any trying.

Analogies break down at some point, but it may still be interesting to explore this one a little further. What approaches make sense through this analogy?

Say someone is holding a piece of hot coal. They are not noticing it, or at least not realizing that it brings pain. And in the struggle to get rid of the pain, there may be additional suffering as well.

So how would we help this person recognize that he or she is holding a piece of hot coal?

Ways to help people notice

We can give long talks about how he is holding a piece of hot coal, and how this brings the pain he is experiencing. But the listeners are more likely to listen to the words and try to figure it out than really look – going to their own immediate present experience.

We can use force, beating them up in various ways to make them realize it – or even to make them drop it (as if anyone can without the prior realization of holding it). Again, this would only bring their attention to the beating and the consequences of the beating, not the coal. Also, it is likely to bring up a good deal of (healthy and natural) resistance to the process. And it may just add guilt and shame to the situation.

We can help them with affirmations: I am not holding a piece of hot coal. I am not holding a piece of hot coal. Hot coal is cool and soothing. Hot coal is cool and soothing. These may appear to work for a while, but not for very long. And it is also too transparent: we know there is something there – temporarily covered up by the affirmations – which brings pain.

We may help them explore their past. When did you first experience the pain? When did you pick it up? And so on. It may be helpful, but it is also not as direct as it can be.

We may bring people to exhaustion, so – we hope – they cannot help but dropping the piece of coal. This may work, although the process itself is quite painful.

We can have people regularly sit silently and quietly, bringing their attention to what is already happening – allowing what is into awareness. This may work. It may very well help them notice the hot coal in their hand. But in itself, it may be a long and slow process.

We can have them inquire into their experiences. Where is the pain? What may be the source of it? What happens if you imagine not holding a piece of hot coal?

What works for each person is of course different, but for me – sitting practice combined with various forms of inquiry are most attractive right now.

Inquiries

The Big Mind process, headlessness and the Byron Katie inquiries are some of the many ways to explore how it is to hold a piece of coal, and also have a taste of not holding it.

For instance, in the Byron Katie process…

  • Questions 1 and 2 – is it true, can you really know it is true – asks us if we really do need to hold onto the coal, whether the coal is the belief in the idea of I or any other abstraction. The questions open for the possibility of not holding onto it.
  • Question number 3 – what happens when you hold onto that belief – gets at our experience of holding onto the piece of hot coal. We see the suffering we create for ourselves by holding onto it and how it plays itself out in our life, in detail.
  • Question number 4 – who or what are you without that belief – gives a taste of not holding onto the coal. We see the liberation and freedom in it. The possibility of not holding onto it becomes more real. We see that the consequences of not holding onto it are attractive. And we see beyond holding onto it, and that there is nothing to fear there.
  • The turnarounds helps us see that I am the one holding it. It is not making me hold it. Somebody else is not making me hold it. I am the one holding it.

Study the Self

 

This is probably the most often quoted phrase from the Zen tradition:

To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others.

Dogen Zenji

Simplicity

The first that comes up for me is the simplicity and clarity in it.

First, we study the apparent self – or rather our sense of self. And we can do this through for instance sitting practice, allowing the mind to bring itself into awareness, and/or inquiry – such as Big Mind, Byron Katie’s inquiries, Headlessness or Atma Vichara.

Then, we realize that the whole sense of self comes from something as simple as a belief in the idea of I. We have glimpses of selflessness, and then emerge more stably into a realization of selflessness. We forget the self by seeing what is really true in our own immediate experience, and this allows the belief in the idea of I to fall away.

The whole world is now revealed as the play of God. Everywhere and nowhere is I. It is Big Mind awakening to itself, while functionally connected with a human self.

And in this, there is no I and Other. No barriers.

Diving into self-centeredness

To do this, we need to fully dive into self-centeredness.

As long as there is a belief in the idea of I, there is a natural and unavoidable self-centeredness.

There is a belief in the idea of I, this is out of alignment with our own (unnoticed) immediate experience, so attention naturally goes to this sense of I. Whenever something is out of alignment, attention goes there to allow it into awareness and resolution.

Typically, this process takes the form of self-protection and functioning with a limited circle of care and concern.

If we dive into it more fully, with intention and some skills, it can unfold into realization of selflessness.

Studying the self

Studying the self can be seen in two ways in this context.

One is studying the sense of I, wherever it is applied. The belief in the idea of I, which creates the whole I – Other dynamic and the identification with a segment of what is. This is the one that leads to a realization of selflessness.

The other is the more conventional study of the self, in this case meaning our human self. How does it function? What are the processes? How can we allow it to heal and mature? How can we fine tune this instrument in the world of form? This is an exploration that takes place before and after realization of selflessness. Nothing changes except the context – first within the context of a sense of self, then within the context of realized selflessness.

Some approaches focus mainly on one of these. For instance, Headlessness and Atma Vichara emphasize mainly the exploration of selflessness.

And other approaches include both. For instance the Big Mind process and Byron Katie’s inquiry process. Both of these allow us to study in finely tuned detail how our human self function, allowing knots to unravel and the human self to mature and function more effectively. And they also bring us to a realization of selflessness. Elegantly, through the same process. Two birds killed with one stone.

If we only focus on realizing selflessness, we may have Big Mind awakened to itself, but functioning through a relatively undeveloped and unhealthy human self.

If we only focus on the human self, we may have a relatively healthy and mature human self, but there is still the inherent dissatisfaction from a sense of separation.

With both, we can function within a context of selflessness, also also allow our human self to continue to mature, develop, heal and explore news ways of functioning in the world of form.

Movies as Analogy

 

Since I read Yogananda’s analogy of a movie screen, I have been curious about it – mainly because it does not (yet?) fit my own experience.

But lately, there has been a shift here. Maybe not so much in my experience, but in how I see it.

Using the headlessness inquiries, I can see how – in Douglas Harding’s words – the whole world of phenomena is “out there”, always at a certain distance from me, and that “I” am here, at zero distance. Or, as he also says, I am capacity for the whole world of phenomena.

This is a somewhat clumsy way of putting it, setting up a seer-seen duality which is not really there. At the same time, it is an elegant way of easing people into the experience and realization of it. It helps people shift the center of gravity into the seeing, the witness, which is a step on the way to realizing selflessness.

As we awaken to ourselves as seeing, and then to realize selflessness, there is also a sense of everything becoming more intimate, more “two-dimensional” – with no distance. There is intimacy and distancelessness, yet also clearly the conventional distance we all are familiar with. This is most likely because it really is this way. It is all God, Spirit, Ground – so there really is no distance. Yet, in the world of form there also is distance.

And there is also a sense of disidentification with any particulars of what is happening. It all comes and goes, within and as Ground. None of it is really more “I” than anything else.

So from all of this – finding myself as the seeing within which all happens, through a sense of intimacy with everything happening, of no distance, of it all being “two-dimensional”, and through the disidentification with particular content – I can see how the movie screen analogy can match some of my own experiences.

There is really a sense of (a) it all being flat and “out there”, yet also (b) of intimacy, no distance and no separation, and also (c) a sense of disidentification with any particulars of what is happening. And this could be described using a movie screen analogy.

Clarification

Some aspects…

  • All phenomena as a seamless field
  • No I inherent in any segment of it
  • A sense of intimacy with everything
  • And no distance to anything
  • Yet also conventional distance
  • A disidentification with everything happening, including everything associated with this human self

… which together could be described as a movie unfolding (light dancing) on a screen.

  • It is all a seamless field. On the screen because it is just that, on the screen. In the world of phenomena because there is no I anywhere.
  • It is all “equal” in the sense that there is no I inherent anywhere. Not on the screen, not in the world of phenomena.
  • It is all up front, right there, intimate and with no distance.
  • And there is a disidentification with it. With the movie because it is just a story, with the world of phenomena because there is no I anywhere – it is just happening.