Nostalgia for samsara


I have been pretty sick this morning, with not much energy for anything deep, so I decided to do the movie equivalent of comfort food, which meant watching an episode of Cosmos.

Up until my mid-twenties, when I got a crash course in the topic, I was somewhat of a mood junkie. I was hooked on the sense of magic, awe, wonder, beauty, love created in me through books, movies, music, art, theater, the Universe Story, conversations with friends about the big questions, being in love, having picnics in beautiful places, imagining my life in the future.


Mechanisms of samsara


Some of the ways to explore the mechanisms of samsara…

The main mechanism of samsara is a belief in thoughts. We take thoughts as somehow inherently true, or as reflecting something inherently true in the world. We put all or most truth into one story, and take out the truth of its reversals. In this way, a sense of I and Other is created, and this sense of a separate I is usually anchored in this human self (although it could also be this alive presence, the soul level, or witnessing itself, the causal level). And from here, the whole human drama we are so familiar with unfolds… with all its excitement and also sense of something being off.

Through The Work, we can explore these beliefs directly. We notice stress, find the belief behind it, investigate it, find the truth in its reversals, and through all this, the attachment to the story tends to release.

Through the Big Mind process, we explore each voice, and see that there is no separate I inherent in any of them. We release identification with those we have been identified with, and embrace those that have been disowned, excluded through the attachment to those same beliefs and identities. They are all there, each one with its own purpose and function for this human self and its life in the world, and yet, there is no “I” inherent in any of them.

We can shift into headlessness through the headless experiments, and see that all content of awareness is just that, content of awareness. Sounds, sights, thoughts, all just content of awareness. Trees, cars, people, sensations, thoughts, all content of awareness. They are all part of the same field. It is only thoughts that say that some are “I” and others are “Other”, and these thoughts are content of awareness as well. If “I” am anything, it is what this content arises within, to and as. All content comes and goes, but what they all arise within, to and as does not. It is what time & space and all content, including that which we previously identified with, arise within, to and as.

We can use labeling practice, temporarily differentiating the field of content into sensation, sound, smell/taste, sight, and thought, which helps us see thought as just thought, and how it combines with the other portions of the field to create gestalts that seem very real and substantial when taken only at the level of gestalts.

And lots more practices as well. These are just the ones I happen to be familiar with and use right now.

Richness of edges


I am appreciating more and more the play at the edge of a sense of separate self, and shifting into the field, absent of an I and Other.

As where any two ecosystems meet, it has three zones.

There is the sense of a separate self, and anything that goes with that, including the drama. I get to explore that, experience it, live it. There is a great deal of juiciness here. And I also get to explore it through various practices, such as labeling of the sense fields, journeying, the Big Mind process, The Work, Process Work, and more. (Any of these can be used when there is a sense of separate self, at the edge, or even when awakeness is noticing itself more fully, and each one offers  a different flavor to it.)

There is the edge itself, where I get to explore the mechanisms of samsara more in detail. I have a foot in both world, which allows me to live the dynamics of samsara, yet within the context (intuition, glimpses or direct awareness) of headlessness or Big mind, or awakeness noticing itself and all of its content as itself.

Then there are the shifts into awakeness noticing itself, which includes exploring the dynamics of the shift itself. Noticing how an exclusive or enhanced identification with certain sensations (for me in the throat/mouth/neck area) is released. How these sensations now are just content of awareness as anything else, an object rather than an (imagined) subject. How the field of awakeness and its content notices itself as a field. How the sense of a separate I, a center and periphery, and so on comes just from a thought, and that those thoughts may still be there but are now seen as just a thought, not filtering perception anymore (the sense of inside and outside went a long time ago).

In some ways, it is so enjoyable that there is no desire to move on. Exploring these three are more than sufficiently rewarding and interesting. But most likely, after a while, when the mechanisms of samsara has been seen through enough, the hooks for a sense of a separate self falls away on its own time. Leaving just awakeness to itself, in its great aloneness and infinite diversity.

Mechanisms of Samsara


I had a conversation with Joel at the Center for Sacred Sciences today, and it was very helpful – especially in clarifying my process unfolding in time. (Although there is really no “I” here, nor any “time” for it to unfold “within”. And the clarification is only of the story about it.)

One of the things he mentioned was the importance of becoming very familiar with the mechanisms of Samsara. How is it that the inherent clarity of mind gets clouded over? How is it that everything inherently absent of any “I” pulls a veil over itself creating a sense of “I”?

I find that the Byron Katie inquiries are very helpful for me in uncovering these mechanisms of samsara, in great detail. It is of course one of many approaches, but one that seems to work for me right now. It seems to bring out just about any practical insight that I have found anywhere else, in my – of course quite limited – studies of the various mystical traditions.