Awakening and ordinariness

 

It’s helpful to look at anything that seems solid or real in connection with awakening. How does my mind create its experience of awakening, human self, non-enlightened people, confusion, separation, better than, worse than, deficiency stories, and so on.

The mind can easily use awakening, or more precisely the idea of awakening, to create a sense of safety. It can tell itself it made it, it’s safe, it’s better than others, it knows something that others don’t, it’s found approval from life or Spirit, there is no further to go, and so on. And that’s all ways to find safety. It’s good to look at.

A pointer is that if anything about the awakening seems less than ordinary, then it’s good to look at.

It’s less helpful to just list ways that an awakening is ordinary or less so. It’s mainly just fodder for thoughts, and that nourishment doesn’t go very deep. That said, here is a less than helpful list of how awakening is ordinary 😉

It has happened to – or through – a large number of people through history. Most of whom we have never heard about because they lived quiet lives without writing much or anything, and they may not even have had many or any students.

It’s what we are noticing itself. It’s presence (aka awakeness, consciousness, Spirit) noticing itself as all there is. It’s what we already are noticing itself, and it’s what everything already is noticing itself. In that sense, it’s ordinary all around.

The essential realizations that go along with an awakening are universal and ordinary in that context.

There is a flavoring to how this is lived and expressed, and that’s to be expected and ordinary. It’s colored by culture, tradition, and individual experiences and inclinations.

There are usually more peripheral or supporting realizations and pointers, and these too are colored by culture, tradition, and individual experiences and tendencies. How this is expressed may or may not appear ordinary, and that something like that is happening is to be expected and ordinary.

And a couple of ways awakenings are not so ordinary.

What’s awakening to itself is all there is. Still, that awakening or noticing is not happening in a widespread way in society. It’s not ordinary in a statistical sense.

The flavors of the realizations and how they are expressed are unique. (Even if that uniqueness is to be expected and is ordinary in that sense.)

In the best case, these statements can be used as a starting point for inquiry and our own exploration. What do I find when I look for myself? What do I find when I look in a more finely grained way, with specific examples? (That’s how it can sink in a bit deeper.)

(more…)

Adyashanti: Enlightenment is very ordinary

 

Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special, it’s not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred.

I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience. They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe. The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it.

Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence.

Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time; not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.

– Adyashanti

(more…)

Feels completely ordinary

 

What happens here really feels completely ordinary.

The world is a mirror. What I see in the world is right here. It mirrors what’s right here, and this field of awareness it’s all happening within is right here. And what’s here is also a mirror for each other being. It goes both ways.

It’s also a process of healing, maturing and aligning with reality as a human being in the world, and a process of clarifying and identifications releasing. And that too is completely ordinary. It’s universally human.

(more…)

Ordinary as who and what we are

 

We can experience ourselves as ordinary at the levels of who (this human self) and what (that which experience happens within, to and as) we are.

If what we are notices itself, we see all as the dance of Ground, the play of nothingness appearing as something. All becomes ordinary in that sense, of being the play of awareness itself.

If what we are does not notice itself, there is a sense of a separate I which then inevitably appear as special one way or another, better than some others in some ways, worse in other ways.

If who we are is split, divided against itself, this sense of being special is amplified. We cling to an identity which splits us, making some aspects of who we are OK and other aspects not OK.

If who we are is whole, there is a sense of everything happening here being universally human, shared, the wider world becomes a mirror for qualities and dynamics happening right here. There is a sense of this human self being ordinary in that everything here is also seen in the wider world, and the other way around. There is of course still distinctions and differences in a conventional sense, but within the context of shared life and the world as a mirror.

So the sense of ordinariness comes from what we are noticing itself, and more consciously embracing the wholeness of who we are. And a sense of being special comes from what we are not noticing itself, and our human self being split by a limited and rigid conscious identity.

(more…)

From special to ordinary

 

It seems that an awakening goes from special to ordinary in a few different ways.

In the beginning, it may be special in one’s own experience. Partly because it is unfamiliar, and partly because there may still be a trace of I-Other, or residue patterns of wanting to be special.

It may also be special in other’s experience, because the awakening may bring about a marked shift in behavior, and it may be expressed in flashy ways.

Later on, it becomes ordinary in one’s own experience. Partly because there is more familiarity with it, partly because we know that whatever happened is a common and shared pattern, and partly because all – no matter what it is – so clearly is the play of awareness itself.

The content of the play – including awakening and delusion – is secondary to it all being a play of awareness. The human self has also had more time to reorganize and mature within this new context, including a full and heartfelt embrace of all that it is.

And it also becomes ordinary in other’s views, because they see someone who appears quite ordinary, living an ordinary life, and taking themselves as quite ordinary too.

Being nobody

 

We can be nobody in a few different ways.

First, if we take ourselves to be this human self, we can be a nobody in the sense of nothing special. Usually, this is accompanied with a desire to be special, and an attempt to compensate for the belief that we are nothing special.

Then, if what we are notices itself, we are nobody in that the sense of I-Other falls away. There is nobody here.

And finally, when that matures, we may be nobody also in that our life tends to be lived in a quite ordinary way. We are nobody, because our life is not neccesarily anything special in our own experience, and the view of others.

Some effects of the dark night

 

In a loose sense, we experience a dark night any time there is a sense of loss, any time we believe that something should be here – either what was or what could be – but is not.

And in a more narrow sense, the dark night (of the soul) is a loss of God. Of an alive presence of the divine, of seeing/realizing all as God, of awake empty luminosity, or in whatever form it came up. It is of course not a real “loss”, just an experience of loss, or maybe the loss of an experience.

I seems to have gone through a quite typical dark night of the soul. And it may not be the only one. They seem to come at different times, at different levels of intensity, and with different flavors. (I didn’t realize how typical and ordinary my experience of it was until I read Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, where the chapter on the dark night describes, often in detail, what I also went through.)

Some of the effects I notice, now more of the tail end of it, are…

A burning away of identities, or rather identification with identities (although there are certainly some left.) In the dark night, there is a loss not only of God, but often of lots of other things in our life. For me, anything that gave me comfort was lost, either externally or internally, and with this went any identities that gave me comfort. My experience of myself and my life was so completely at odds with these identities, so the identification with them (as a good Zen student, as someone awakened to all as God, as someone who could deal with difficult situations and experiences, as someone good at you name it) gradually wore off, although in my case with a lot of reluctance, resistance and kicking and screaming (which only made it more difficult for me). I should say that they are not really burnt away, just lessened in intensity and solidity.

A fearlessness. Again, not a 100% fearlessness, just more of it from a sense of transparency of fears. In the dark night, everything worthwhile and valuable seems lost, and it lasts for a while. There is plenty of time to get used to it. So what is there to fear? I am already used to loss, even of what was at the center of my life and gave my life meaning, so what more is there to fear? This is a reduction or loss of the existential fear, so there is still the more mundane fears here, but even those are more transparent, space.

A sense of it all, whatever happens, no matter how amazing or terrible, as unremarkable. We have gone through the highest ecstasies before the dark night, and the darkest loss and despair in the dark night, so anything that happens now have a sense of ordinariness and of being unremarkable, including the most unusual states and awakenings. Or more accurately, they may be experienced as remarkable and surprising for a little while, but somehow against the background of it all being unremarkable. As space, transparent to it as unremarkable.

A surrender. This is the thread that runs through any of the other outcomes of the dark night. Surrender… to what is, to whatever may come. The loss of identification with identities is a surrender of the identification, but also a surrender of wanting things to be a certain way. Now, whatever happens is more OK. Before, whatever happened was OK as long as I didn’t loose God (the apparently stable awakening to all as God.) Now, whatever happens is more OK, including exactly that.

For all of these – identities, fear, a sense of it being remarkable, resistance – there is not a complete burning through. They are still there, only lessened in intensity, not so substantial, more transparent, more as just space.

And finally Ground awakening. The dark night paves the way for a Ground awakening. An awakening independent of any content, any state, any experience, and allowing them all.

Profoundly ordinary

 

During the initial awakening (in my teens) where many of the things happening now happened in a more dramatic way, there was both a realization that all is God, and also a sense of how remarkable it was… which seems to indicate that the final veils of a sense of I had not been seen through.

Now, there is just a profound sense of ordinariness about it, of how unremarkable it is, and also a deeply felt sense that this is just the middle ground, an early middle ground… There is infinitely further to go in the areas I write about here, and obviously much further to go in all of the other areas of life.

Seeing this brings a more genuine humility at all levels… A humility that comes from seeing things more realistically, and not only see it, but also deeply feel it in the body, and love it.

And some of the things to see, feel, and love is that…

  • All already is God, so in the absence of Other there is not much room for pride or arrogance, nor for a sense of inferiority.
  • At my individual level, there is infinitely further to go in maturing, developing, exploring, discovering, in all areas of life.
  • There are many, many areas I, as an individual, am not very well developed in, compared to where many are at today.
  • And everything I see in here is also out there, and the other way around, at my individual level. They are there at least as seeds, possibilities, and often far more fully bloomed.

Today is one of those days where I feel firmly held so I can see this, take it in more fully, allow my whole being to more thoroughly organize within this… All as God, and at my individual level, there is infinitely further to go, there are many areas I am not well developed in compared to many others today, and the outer and the inner mirror each other perfectly.

It is deeply sobering, and even shakes me to the core… shakes up everything not aligned with this… everything formed within a context of separation and ideas of better and worse.