One taste and island practice

 

When I explore One Taste, I see that it can have many aspects or flavors.

Even the basic One Taste has several facets.  Everything happening is happening within and as awareness itself. It is the dance of emptiness, of no thing appearing as something. It is play, reality exploring itself in an infinite diversity of ways, included as confused. And even that is saying too much, trying to clothe the wordless mystery beyond what is possible.

Going beyond this basic One Taste, I see that I can find it in the mental field, in the realm of images and stories. An overlay of images creates the appearance of objects, humans and things in the wider world, a me as this human self with particular roles, identities, likes and dislikes, an I as a doer and observer, relationships among all of these, shoulds about objects and their relationships, drama when stories are taken as real and true, and so on.

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The one taste of fully experiencing

 

My partner mentioned something earlier today which reminded me of the one taste of fully experiencing… It seems that whenever I fully experience something, there is a sense of fullness and expansiveness, and it is tinged with bliss. And this is there independent of what is fully experienced… pain, joy, sadness, longing, bliss, dullness, fear, anger, frustration, excitement…

What is experienced colors the overall experience, of course, but it is almost secondary to the fullness, expansiveness and quiet stream of bliss that is there when it is fully experienced…

It is another form of one taste.

One Taste of Buddhism

And it is not that different from the One Taste of Buddhism either, as fully experiencing allows Spirit to awaken to itself, to notice itself as the field of seeing & seen, inherently absent of boundaries, of I and Other, of any separate I. It releases attachment to resistance, and since resistance is what gives rise to the separate-self sense in the first place, the sense of a separate I falls away along with the attachment to resistance.

Real life

This doesn’t mean that just being with our experiences automatically pops us into full awakening. Mainly because it is very difficult (for me at least) to fully be with my experiences. There is usually some trace of resistance… of attachment to resistance… left.

But whenever I am with my experiences, quietly, without adding more stories to it, there is certainly a taste of it. A glimpse of how it is when the separate-self sense fades into the background, and the fullness of what is comes into the foreground.

It is a way to get more familiar with it, dip our toes in the water. Until there is a more clear and stable shift.

Dream: detective work (lila)

 

I have been given the task of tracing a person, and it turns out to involve many people and situations, and a large amount of drama and surprising twists and turns. Finally, as it reaches its climax, I find the person at the bottom level of a very tall building. It turns out that my client and the target, and several others involved, were all the same person. I notice how it seems that everyone and everything were that same person, apart from me searching (and working) for him, and it puzzles me.

As I wake up, I stay with the discrepancy of everyone being the same person, apart from me as the searcher. I also realize that the dream seems to be all form the felt-sense perspective, not the conscious view, and that at this felt-sense level, there is indeed a sense of I and Other, I as searcher (doer, chooser) and Other as anybody and anything else. The dream seems to be a reminder for me to notice that, take it into account… there is still a sense of I and Other at the felt-sense level.

The dream is a variation of Lila… God playing hide and seek with itself, through all of us seeking God, and then realizing that there never was anybody or anything but God in this whole drama.

And it is also another variation of the dream of a composer who is a composite of many composers, and his instrument which can make the sounds of many instruments. The individuality of each is preserved, many combinations are available, yet as one composer and one instrument.

The two aspects and three centers of One Taste

 

The two main aspects of One Taste, and the three centers…

Awake emptiness and form

The ultimate one is Spirit awakening to itself. The field of awake emptiness and form, awakening to itself as a field, absent of I anywhere, with a center nowhere and everywhere. Everything arises as Spirit, as awake emptiness and form, as Big Mind, Brahman, The One.

There is typically an intuition of this, maybe a taste or a glimpse, a deepening intuition and sense of it, more tastes and glimpses, all of it allowing our human self to reorganize to this new context, and then it eventually pops and stabilizes.

And as with the other forms of One Taste, described below, this one too seems to have three centers: seeing, feeling and heart. There is a seeing of it all as Spirit, centered in the head, a feeling of it all as Spirit, centered in the belly, and a loving of it all as Spirit, centered in the heart.

The seeing allows the view and cognition of our human self to reorganize to all as Spirit, the feeling allows its emotions to reorganize to all as Spirit, the loving allows the heart to reorganize to all as Spirit. It is Spirit seeing itself, feeling itself, and loving itself.

The world as a mirror for our human self

The other aspect of One Taste is the world as a mirror for our human self.

Whatever I see in the wider world, is also here in this human self, and the other way around, whatever I see in this human self is also out there in the wider world, somewhere, at least as a potential. Any quality, any characteristic, any skills.

As with One Taste of all as Spirit, this one has three centers.

There is the seeing, feeling and loving of what is out there as also right here, and the other way around.

And this one too involves a deepening into it, an increased familiarity with it, an active engagement with it. Specifically, it involves making the qualities seen out there known, intimately familiar, as a lived reality in this human self. It is not only something seen out there and merely recognized in here, but it is a lived reality right here, something that is actively explored, known, lived, in always deeper and richer ways. It becomes part of the active repertoire of this human self.

Other aspects and examples of One Taste

Then there are some other aspects and examples of One Taste.

One, which is implicit in the two other ones, is the heart. The One Taste of the heart, open to all of the infinite forms of Spirit. It is a whole heart, wholeheartedly embracing whatever arises. It is all loved as Spirit, independent of its particular form. It is Spirit loving itself.

And then there are other ones, such as the ones found in Buddhism where we remind ourselves that all beings seek happiness and release from suffering. We are not different there. We are in the same boat. And the practice of refuge in Tibetan Buddhism, where we visualize all beings taking refuge in the Buddha Mind, as we ourselves do.

Levels of oneness: all as Spirit, and everything I see out there is also in here

 

Some levels of Oneness…

All as Spirit

Ultimately, it is all Spirit. The field of seeing and seeing is Spirit, absent of any I. The Ground of seeing and seen is Spirit, absent of any I.

And we can have a glimpse of this, maybe interpreted as an experience of oneness between I (as this human self) and Other (as nature, God, Spirit).

We can have an intuition or a sense of it, again typically interpreted as a sense of Oneness of I and Other.

There can be an immediate and more stable experience of this Oneness, that it is all Spirit.

Also here, there can be a sense of I and Other overlaid on the sense of Oneness. The volume of both can be turned up or down, one going into the foreground and the other in the background, shifting back and forth.

Finally, there is a realization that the field of seeing and seen is inherently absent of an I. There is no I anywhere, just a field of Spirit as Ground, seeing and seen. The sense of center falls away. The sense of subject and object falls away. Spirit as the field of seeing and seen, as a whole, is its own subject and object.

It is not touched by oneness and multitude, yet arises and can be seen as either and both.

And it is still functionally connected with a particular human self, which now arises as anything else. It is just part of the field, living its own life, just like clouds moving across the sky, cars passing on the street, other people living their own life, the world living its own life. It is Spirit as form, unfolding on its own, absent of any I anywhere.

Human level: deepening into knowing myself as an individual

Since Spirit, in our case, is functionally connected with a particular human self, and lives through and as this human self before and after awakening to itself, the forms oneness takes in our human life is also interesting.

At the ultimate level, all is Spirit independent of its particulars as form.

And at our human level, everything I see in the world is also here in me. This is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being.

Every quality and characteristic I see out there, in the world – in the universe, in the Earth, ecosystems, animals, plants, humans, cities, stories, mythologies, movies, fantasies, dreams, they are all also in here, in my own human life.

It is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being, and also a deepening of the realization of all as one. In my human life, all I see in the wider world is also right here, closer than my own breath.

At the most disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, but still see some qualities arising in other human selves and not in this one. This makes for a less complete, less human and more frozen way for this human self to function in the world. It makes for a less healthy and mature vehicle for Spirit in the world, even as Spirit has awakened to itself.

A little less disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, recognize in this human self what is sees in the wider world, but not be much familiar with it in this human self. It is acknowledged, but there is not much familiarity with it. Again, it limits how this human self can show up in the world, it limits its repertoire and what is familiar to it.

As these aspects become more owned, as they move from “it” to “me” and “mine”, there is greater and greater familiarity with it, not only out there, but also in how it shows up in this life.

It becomes known in a far richer way, and with a different (more conventional) sense of intimacy. It becomes part of the daily repertoire of the human self, available when needed.

There is a sense of deepening humanity, a more intimate connection with others, and more juiciness in life in general.

It is even a part of developing skillful means, since this human life is the tool of Spirit in the world, even after it awakens to itself.

Human level: deepening into knowing ourselves as us

Spirit also shows up as Us, as the multitude of beings and all of our many relationships, and this is another deepening into oneness.

When Spirit awakens to itself, what does that mean for all of the relationships of this human self to other people, to animals, plants, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, past and future generations?

What does it mean to relate to those where Spirit has not (yet) awakened to itself? What does it mean for groups where Spirit has awakened to itself, to varying degrees, in many of us?

Again, as with the deepening into seeing everything in the wider world also in my human self, this is an infinite exploration process. As long as there is the world of form, and a vehicle in this world of form, it has no end. It continues to richen, deepen, mature, develop, evolve and change.

Deepening intimacy

In all of these ways, there is a deepening intimacy.

At the Spirit level, it is beyond intimacy since it is all Spirit. It is the most intimate.

At the individual human level, there is the deepening intimacy of finding and knowing in myself, in greater and greater richness and depth, any and all of the qualities I see in the wider world.

At our collective human level, there is the exploration of the infinite ways Spirit shows up as Us, in all of our many and varied relationships.

One Taste and an infinite variety of tastes

 

When Ground awakens to itself – as the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere – it comes into the foreground to itself.

Ground in the foreground: One Taste

Whatever arises in form is then recognized primarily as Ground itself, as emptiness and awareness, so have One Taste. There is an infinite variety of form, of content of experience, yet always primarily as Ground itself, as Spirit, as the Divine Mind.

Form in the foreground: many tastes

Prior to this, when there is identification with aspects of the seamless field of seeing and seen, it is different.

If there is identification with an aspect of form, then form is is the foreground and the Ground (emptiness and awareness) is in the background. The many tastes of the infinite variety of form is in the foreground, and the Ground remains in the background, maybe not even noticed apart from in glimpses, and even then often not taken very seriously. It is always there, so taken for granted. It is so inconspicuous, so not paid attention to. It is in the background, so its potential for transformation – when allowed into the foreground, is not known. It is Other, so not explored as a possible I.

Seeing in the foreground: a taste of One Taste

If there is identification with the seeing itself, then the content of experience, the world of form, is revealed as a seamless whole, as one field, so this is the first taste of One Taste, it is the beginnings of One Taste. And as the world of form is recognized as no other than Ground itself, the Ground of seeing and seen, there is a deepening into this One Taste.

One Taste and an infinite variety of tastes

Since the Ground awakening includes form – the content of experience, and the formless – emptiness and awareness, it is more accurate to say that there is One Taste, and within this, an infinite variety of tastes.

Nothing is lost, apart from the not noticing of Ground. And much is gained, as everything is now recognized as primarily Spirit, yet retaining its infinite variety of tastes.