Soul level and inflation

 

As long as there is still a sense of a separate self hanging around, there will inevitably be inflation. Or more precisely, the inherent neutrality is split into a sense of being better and worse than the rest of the world.

Inflation can especially easily happen when the soul level surfaces in its many forms… as alive presence, indwelling God, luminosity, fertile darkness, luminous blackness, or in whatever other form it takes. On the inherent neutrality of all this, stories are placed, and they are inevitably believed in, to some extent at least… oh – I must be special since this is happening to me, finally – all my years of practice is paying off!, I know something others don’t, I am at a more advanced level than others, and so on. As usual, the variations are endless. And it will happen, even if we know, intellectually, the illusion and mistake that is behind it.

Technically, inflation is when the “ego” takes on something as its own, when it really doesn’t belong to the ego. The term “ego” here means (a) a belief in the story of a separate self, and (b) that sense of a separate self is then placed upon this human self. So all that is happening is that what occurs outside of that boundary is, to some extent, placed within the boundary, as if what is inside somehow possesses, or can take credit for, what is outside.

In Zen and some other traditions, they deal with it by not talking about it, and if a student brings it up, the teacher will ignore it, or (figuratively or literally) give the student a smack with the stick.

It works, to some extent, but is also a crude way of dealing with it. Most of the time, it just creates more confusion for the student.

To me, it seems more effective to (a) allow the inflation (it is there anyway, so may as well allow it), and (b) inquire into it to find what is already more true.

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Relationships with the ultimate, and inflation

 

In terms of avoiding or minimizing inflation, it is safer to actively explore the 2nd, 3rd, and zero person relationships with Big Mind (see previous post), and then just allow the 1st person relation to come and go on its own.

Inflation inherent in a sense of a separate self

Although even here, as long as there is a sense of a separate self, there will be some inflation, and it is good to notice it and take it for what it is.

There is a sense that I, as a separate self, have a relationship with God, understand something about God, or am someone who has glimpses of the ground of all existence. So I am special, different, am in a special relationship with God or existence, and so on. All of this is inflation. We take something that is inherently neutral, place a value on it, and take it as happening to a separate self.

It is inevitable, and happens all the time anyway.

There is a sense of a separate self, and with it comes an automatic sense of superiority and inferiority, richly diverse and with many different flavors. This form of inflation is just one of those, although it can be an especially nasty one, and annoying to those around, if left unchecked.

So what can we do?

Working with inflation

Again, we can work with it from the form and the emptiness sides.

From the form side, one way is notice and work with projections, and especially shadow projections.

From the emptiness side, I can find myself as headless and see that all of this is (apparently) happening to an individual who is inherently free from a separate self, and more precisely that it is really happening as awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of a separate I.

In both cases, we come to see that it is all inherently neutral, and only takes on significance, meaning, and a sense of importance, through our stories about it, and through believing in those stories.