Beings wishing for their own liberation

 

Every aspect of our experience can be seen as a being.

We welcome some. Are indifferent about others. And actively ignore, reject, or battle some.

The ones we ignore, reject or battle wish for what all beings wish for.

They wish to be treated with respect. Kindness. They wish to be acknowledged. Listened to. Rested with. They wish to be liberated from their own suffering. They wish to be liberated from being treated unkindly.

They come with that wish. And I am the one who can do it for them. I am the one who can treat them with respect, kindness. I am the one who can rest with them, in kind presence.

I am the one who can ask simple questions about the stories creating their suffering, and helping it liberate.

I can do this with any aspect of my experience. Any of these beings, whether they are called sadness, anger, grief, fear, discomfort, pain, suffering, or anything else.

We all have a shared wish to be treated with kindness. So why not give that to these parts of my experience. After all, they are what I am. They are me. It’s a kindness towards me.

Coming to find liberation

 

I keep seeing how there may be a relative clarity at the global level, and how parts may still be confused, caught up in beliefs, and suffering.

These confused and suffering parts come to visit. And we – as the global whole – can meet them with respect, understanding, and love, and invite them to find what they really are. In this way, they can find their own liberation.

Ram Dass: In liberation, nobody awakens

 

In liberation, nobody awakens — the seeker simply falls away.
– Ram Dass

I rarely write or say these things, because it can be quite misleading. On the one hand, a thought may say there is a shift called liberation, and that it is relatively stable. And yet, that too is a story. It may make it appear more as an object or thing than it is, and more stable than it necessarily is.

As Byron Katie says, somewhat paraphrased, there is liberation, or not, from the thought that’s here and it cannot be predicted in advance. Another way to say it, maybe more accurately, is that the thought that’s here is liberated, or not, from being taken as true, and it cannot be predicted in advance.

And one of the most basic thoughts that can be liberated, or not, from being taken as true, is the thought of an I (observer, doer) and a me (this being, soul, human self). It’s the idea of a seeker that is seen as just an idea, an image. It may happen through identification releasing out of it temporarily. Or it may happen by it being examined and seen through to the point that mind cannot so easily identify with it.

It’s not the I or me that awakens. It’s reality or life that awakens out of the trance of identifying with the image of an I or me.

Liberation is retroactive

 

Joel sometimes says that enlightenment is retroactive.

One of the many ways of noticing that is through inquiry. Especially when it is done in a wholehearted and heartfelt way.

I take a story as true, and it colors my past. It may even bring up sadness, grief, anger, regret and so on.

I inquire into the story, finding what is more true for me, and the story is liberated from being taken as true.

And here, I find that my images of the past has changed as well. Instead of – for instance – regret over a particular situation, there is now a gentle and heartfelt appreciation.

Often, it is bitter-sweet. I can see how I acted in beliefs back then, creating suffering for myself and others. It is bitter. And yet, in realizing that I was confused and acted on a belief, and now have a little more clarity around it, there is a sweetness, a sincere appreciation of the whole process.

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Human Self Living its Own Life

 

Just about any form of self-inquiry, and many forms of mediation, gives a taste of it: this human self lives its own life.

In shikantaza meditation, I allow anything arising to live its own life. Thoughts come and go. Sensations come and go. Sights come and go. Tastes and smells come and go. Movements come and go.

In headlessness, I find myself as capacity for the world, as that which allows anything to arise, to come and go, to live its own life.

As Big Mind, I am that which is beyond and includes all polarities.

In the self-inquiry of differentiating that which comes and goes from that which does not, I first see that I am not that which comes and goes, then that I am that which does not come and go, and finally that the two are not separate.

Seamless field

Each of these allows for a taste of all phenomena as coming and going, living their own life. And the world of phenomena is a field with no boundaries anywhere, it is a seamless whole. There is no inside nor outside in this field of phenomena. This human self is just part of the landscape.

This human self living its own life

Each of these practices also allows for a taste of this human self as living its own life. There is doing there, but no doer. The thoughts, sensations, sights, tastes, smells and movements of this human self comes and goes as anything else. They live their own life, as anything else.

There is a thought, then a movement. It may appear as if the thought somehow initiated the movement, but that too is just another thought, a story about a connection not directly experienced (as Hume and others have noted).

Taste of selflessness

In finding ourselves as either (a) the witness of the world of phenomena, the seeing, pure awareness, or (b) as the Ground of anything happening, there is a taste of selflessness.

In the first case, finding myself as the seeing, there is a taste of selflessness in the world of phenomena. This human self is not separate from anything else, and there is no doer in or as that human self.

In the second case, finding ourselves as Ground, it becomes clear that there is no I even as the seeing. Even that is a superimposed story. The seen and the seeing is revealed as inseparable, as somehow differentiable but not two.

Transcend and include

So first, there is a transcending of the world of phenomena, tasting and then realizing that there is no I anywhere there. It all comes and goes, so I cannot be any of those things coming and going.

Then, I find myself as that which does not come and go. As awareness, consciousness, as room for and awareness of everything coming and going.

Then, there is an inclusion of that which comes and goes. That which arises as a particular form within awareness is awareness itself. The two are not separate, and not two. The seen and the seeing is not two.

Example

There has been many tastes of this lately, including many times today (more as a thread throughout the day). This human self is doing something, and there is just the seeing of it and realization of it happening on its own.

Thoughts come and go. Sensations come and go. Sounds come and go. Tastes and smells come and go. Movements come and go. And it is all living its own life.

Maybe more remarkably: it is all perfectly capable of living its own life. It does anyway. It always has lived its own life.

And it is perfectly capable of doing so, even without the appearance of an I or a doer there.

There are many forms of liberation here. First, it is the liberation of anything arising from a superimposed I, a doer. In Zen language, we can say that the head on top of the head falls away. Thoughts are liberated from a sense of I. Sensations are liberated from a sense of I. The movements are liberated from a sense of I. The doing is liberated from a sense of a doer.

Then, there is the liberation of differentiating the seen from the seeing, that which changes from that which does not change. Each fall into place in awareness and realization of this difference.

And finally, not so different, Ground awakens to its own nature as having no I anywhere. It is liberated from being temporarily deluded about its own nature.

Liberation **

 

An excerpt from a previous posting

Living its own life

The Work and certain other practices allows whatever arises to live its own life. They do anyway, but now they can do it without interference from attachment to stories.

Thoughts live their own life, independent of whatever else arises. They may be taken as useful and temporary guidelines for explorations and actions in the world, but that is about it. They are no longer attached to, there is no longer any belief in them, they are not taken as any more than what they are – thoughts.

And everything else arising is also allowed to live its own life, independent of attachment to stories about them.

Liberation

Everything is liberated.

Thoughts are liberated from a belief in them. Everything else is liberated from attachment to stories about them.

That is really all that is liberated.

There is no “I” to be liberated. Only sensations, taste, smell, sounds, sight liberated from attachment to stories about them. And thoughts themselves liberated from a belief in them.

The I is now revealed as just another attachment to a thought – placed upon a transient set of sensations, tastes, smells, sounds and sights.

Labeling & Inquiry

 

The Work has parallels to a wide range of (other) practices.

Insight practice

For instance, in a certain form of insight meditation, we label whatever arises according to its sense field: sensations, smell, taste, sound, sight, thoughts.

Whatever arises falls into one of these, and we gradually become more familiar with what is without the stories added to it. We notice the separation between what is and the stories put on top of them. And if a story gets going, as is their job, then we just see that as “thought”.

There is a great deal of liberation in just this simple practice. Especially as we get more familiar with it and it transfers to daily life. Instead of going into the stories, I simply recognize whatever happens as sensation, sight, thought and so on.

Inquiry

And the same seems to happen with The Work. I recognize stories as they happen, and what is without the stories.

There is a sensation, and a thought that this is a craving. As soon as I see that, the experience of and attachment to “craving” falls away.

There is another sensation, and a thought that this is “pain”. As soon as I see that, the experience of “pain” falls away. The sensation is still there, and the thought “pain” is there, but they are not attached to each other. Or rather – there is less or no attachment to the thought itself. It is just another thought, living its own life independent of the sensation.

Live its own life

Both of these practices allows whatever arises to live its own life. They do anyway, but now they can do it without interference from attachment to stories.

Thoughts live their own life, independent of whatever else arises. They may be taken as useful and temporary guidelines for explorations and actions in the world, but that is about it. They are no longer attached to, there is no longer any belief in them, they are not taken as any more than what they are – thoughts.

And everything else arising is also allowed to live its own life, independent of attachment to stories about them.

Liberation

Everything is liberated.

Thoughts are liberated from a belief in them. Everything else is liberated from attachment to stories about them.

That is really all that is liberated.

There is no “I” to be liberated. Only sensations, taste, smell, sounds, sight liberated from attachment to stories about them. And thoughts themselves liberated from a belief in them.

The I is now revealed as just another attachment to a thought – placed upon a transient set of sensations, tastes, smells, sounds and sights.

Liberation

 

One of the main forms of liberation is the liberation from beliefs.

Our human self is liberated from an overlay of the belief in I.

Our thoughts are liberated from being believed in.

As long as our human self is taken as an “I”, it becomes a vehicle for torture sometimes. It is taken as an I, and in battle with everything and everyone – including itself. When it is liberated from being taken as “I” – from the belief in the idea of I placed on this human self, it can function free from this, as a vortex of matter and energy serving as a vehicle for in the world of form.

As long as our thoughts are believed in, they similarly becomes a vehicle for torture. They are taken as true, but somewhere there is the knowing that they are not, and life also shows us they are not, so there is a sense of drama and suffering. When they are liberated from being believed in, they become free to do their job without this overlay – free to explore this world and create temporary maps of it.

Of course, these are really the same. It all boils down to beliefs in abstractions, and the idea of “I” is one of the core ones. It is the one that takes differentiation and makes it appear as separation. It takes differentiation and makes it appear as I and Other. And from that comes the whole sense of drama, struggle and blind likes and dislikes.

Breema & Liberation

 

I am realizing that an important emphasis of Breema is the process of liberation.

One aspect of Breema is mindfulness practice. By coming to the body – the breath, the weight of the body, the posture of the body, the facial expression, the sound of the voice – we shift our center of gravity to the nature of mind – the spacious awareness distinct from the self and the personality.

From being caught up in the habitual processes of the self – the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors – we find a new “ground” in the nature of mind, distinct from the self. From here, we are free to choose how to relate to and engage with inner and outer situations. We are liberated from being blindly caught up in the habitual processes of the self.

When awareness is identified with – or caught up in – the processes of the self, it functions in a dualistic way. It is trapped in the world of phenomena. When awareness awakens to its own nature, it begins to function in a transdual way. It is beyond and embraces the Absolute and Relative.

(The Nine Principles helps with this shift, as they express Existence as it is viewed from the Big Mind perspective.)

When we repeatedly engage in this shift, in everyday situations, we gradually become more familiar with the nature of mind as well as with the shift to the nature of mind. And from this, there is a gradual shift into and awakening of the Big Mind view.

Breema – at least this aspect of it – is about the liberation process. And from here, to an awakening into Big Mind.

Awakenings & Liberation

 

As mentioned in the previous post, there are many forms of awakenings.

Liberation

When we awaken to the nature of mind, we have our first glimpse of liberation. We have found another “ground” than the world of phenomena, and are liberated from an exclusive identification with the self and the processes of the self.

We see the landscape of the nature of mind – with is spacious awareness, and its manifestations of joy, compassion and sense of no separation. And we see the landscape of the mind when it is exclusively identified with the small self, and the confusion and suffering that comes with it. And we clearly see the distinction between the two.

In some cases, it can be a permanent shift. The awakening is so clear that we stay in the landscape of the nature of mind, still fully engaged in the world through the self. Although now, we have no need to go into the landscape of confusion.

In other cases, and more commonly, it is more of an oscillation for a while. We taste one landscape, then another – in different situations. When the outer/inner situation is favorable, we stay in the landscape of the nature of mind. When it is not – when the hooks (the situation) find the ring (an area in us not clarified), we are brought to the landscape of confusion.

There are many ways we can work with this, and many practices available.

We can learn to recognize the contractions bringing us into confusion, and use that as a reminder to bring our center of gravity to the nature of mind – to that which is experiencing (by being with what is experienced, or come to the breath, the weight of the body, etc.)

And we can engage in inquiry. When I close my eyes, what do I find? What is experiencing? We can also use processes such as that of Byron Katie to dissolve the rings within ourselves.

There may also be a need for healing. The rings are often pointers to areas that need awareness, healing and maturing.

After engaging in this process for a while, there may be a sense of fullness – of having done it enough – and then more stably releasing the need to engage in the landscape of confusion. And in this, there are new explorations that opens up for us.