Journey: rocks

 

I did a process work session earlier today, and started a process, which I continued on my way home, and then now. (In Process Work, the unfolding can be similar to what is described here, but they also include a more active exploration of the meaning of the process and how to bring it into daily life. When I do it on my own, it tends to unfold easily, but the meaning of it may not surface until much later if at all. Somehow, it still allows for a shift that is sometimes profound.)
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Belly area spine, and energetic hole

 

During fall and winter, I experienced a lot of (energetic) activity in the hara area, and specifically around the spine (L3-4)…

Since the initial awakening in my teens, I have been aware of an energetic hole that area. I also had scoliosis (side curve) right there, which since then has improved quite a bit with consistent work, shifting into a slight kyphosis (in-out curve).

With the endarkenment shift, there was a sense of a good deal of activity and work happening in that area. And now, the energetic hole is filled in and the area feels much stronger and more solid in general. The remaining alignment of the vertebrae has also improved (just a subtle in/out alignment left for a couple of vertebrae).

The area also seems connected with basic trust, in Existence, life, and ultimately God. The energetic hole seemed, even back in my teens, associate with a lack of basic trust (even in the midst of experiencing all as awake, empty luminosity, and as God). And now, with it filling up, there is a much deeper sense of basic trust… of being held… in and as the luminous blackness.

Important and not

 

A part of the process of eroding beliefs and identities is how we compare ourselves to others, or rather how we compare our stories about our selves with our stories about others. For me, having always placed a great deal of value on being active in the world, and of service in different ways, it is difficult to now go through a phase of fatigue, rest and not doing much at all (apart from “inner” work, which seems to happen mostly on its own.)

There isn’t much sense of a choice here, even in a relative and conventional sense. At the same time, it may be helpful to explore how this is important and not, compared with other outward manifestations.

It is not more or less important, in an absolute sense. It is all the play of God. And it is all happening on its own, living its own life. It is not as if there is much of a choice locally…

It is less important, in a conventional sense, than many other activities… I can see that. Some folks help on a large scale in the world, either by relieving suffering, or by nudging people to awakening. I do neither, and that is OK.

It is more important, in a different sense, in that it is what is happening for me now. It is what life brings up for me right now to explore, experience, investigate, live. And also, it is an exploration of an awakening process, which is the final release from suffering, so in that sense also more important.

Again, in seeing all the different stories together, they tend to cancel each other out. What is left is just what is happening, here now, inherently neutral… prior to any story about it, and free to allow (and see the grain of truth) in any story.

Slow & fast, easy & difficult

 

Vince Horn has a good comment at Buddhist Geeks, under an interview about the Brad Warner vs. Big Mind controversy.

[…] Even the Buddha recognized that people could progress through the path in at least 4 different ways:
1) slow progress that is very difficult (probably what Brad is describing)
2) slow progress that is pleasant
3) fast progress that is very difficult
4) fast progress that is easy

Fast progress, and I’m talking extraordinarily fast, does happen. I’ve seen it happen for others, have heard of it happening, and have at times experienced it happening. My opinion is that as practitioners, no matter what point in the path we are, we need to hold this open as a possibility and respect and appreciate it when it happens. I suspect that not doing so only creates a disempowering air around enlightenment, and may actually prevent people (if they buy that one-sided perspective) from deepening in insight. […]

It also seems that however it happens, it evens out in the end… in two ways.

When Ground awakens to itself, that’s it… and there is also the realization that it all, the whole human drama and drama of awakening, was no other than emptiness dancing… an appearance of a drama unfolding over time, all happening as no other than this awake emptiness, this timeless now.

And also, the long and/or difficult process has its own rewards. It gives a different depth and richness of experience for this human self, which can be very valuable in aiding others through the process.

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Letting go, even of gold

 

In the process of allowing beliefs and identities to go, there will be times when even the most beautiful ones go. The ones our whole belief system tells us are invaluable, and the ones the whole world tells us should stay. We have to let go of gold, because life wants us to move on… to allow even those beliefs to go.

In my experience, these are often the most painful ones… for me, of being successful in the world, being at the top of the heap, being on track to be well known and admired in different fields and so on… they all went out the window, in spite of my personality resisting and trying to hold onto them as well as it could (which equals nothing since life has a mind of its own).

An aspect of this is that the rest of the world tends to side with the personality here as well. I side with my personality, and the rest of the world does too. Which makes it even more difficult to allow it to go and find peace with it… unless we go to the core and investigate the beliefs themselves.

By doing that, we may see that a wide landscape opens up for us… the beliefs set up fences everywhere, making our playing field small. Without the fences, there is just the wide open landscape.

I thought life should be a certain way, and experienced discomfort when it didn’t conform. But now, at the other side of the belief, there is a genuine appreciation for all of it.

Two ways of losing a belief: friction and investigation

 

There are two ways to lose a belief, and they often go hand in hand.

One is through friction.

I have a belief telling me how life is or should be, and an identity telling me what I am and am not. In both cases, I split life right down the middle, allowing one region of the landscape and not the rest.

When life inevitably shows up outside of my belief or identity, there is a friction between my belief and life, which is experienced a uncomfortable… as stress, something being off, suffering, anger, fear, and so on.

This friction, if it continues, slowly wears off (and out!) the belief. Over time, constantly at odds with life, it has to go, in spite of even the most persistent resistance. It is just too obvious that life is more than my belief, and I more than the identity. My personality may not like it, especially at first, but there is not much choice there either.

The other is through investigation.

I notice the warning signs of holding onto a belief or identity (stress), I identify the belief or set of beliefs behind it, and investigate its effects, what would be without it, and the grain of truth in each of the reversals of the initial story. This too allows it to fall away, although it can be faster and less painful, even fun.

In the first case, I take the side of my habitual beliefs and identities, and it may be a drawn out and painful affair.

In the second case, I take the side of life inviting the belief to go, and it becomes more playful, have a sense of more ease, and can even be fun and enjoyable.

Although most of the time, there seems to be a mix of the two. There is the friction between life and belief, and the stress and resistance that comes with it. And there is the ease of the investigation, when that is finally engaged with.

One journey

 

Everyone goes through a unique process of awakening into who and what they are, but there are also some shared patterns… or rather some general groups of shared patterns.

Here is how it has been for me so far…

  • Atheist
    I grew up in a family and a Northern European culture that is primary agnostic (and orange and green in spiral dynamics terms). There is a great deal of respect for religion and spirituality, at least if it has integrity, but that is about it. I guess agnostic was not good enough for me, because I decided in third or fourth grade to become a die-hard atheist, and continued with that until life propelled me into something else.
  • Absorption into witness
    15 years old, I drank a lot of vodka on new year’s eve. The morning after, I felt fine, but around noon I started feeling strange. It was as if the world retreated and I observed it all from a distance. Later, I realize that this was an absorption into the witness, into pure seeing. It was disconcerting, and I went to many doctors and did many tests (including brain scans), but all checked out OK. This continued, and deepened over time.
  • Big Mind
    Almost exactly a year later, on a clear and windy winter evening, I walked down the dark gravel road from the house to the mailbox, and it was as if all veils had been removed. Suddenly, everything was revealed as consciousness, as God, although not anywhere the God I have been told about or hear about so far in my life. The whole universe is consciousness, awake, form with no substance… tremendously alive, awake, intelligent, loving… beyond and including any and all polarities. It was impossible for me to even begin to put words on it, as it was so completely beyond words and polarities.
  • Deepening
    Over the next several years, there was a deepening into this, and it seemed to especially happen during the night… there was a sense of a tremendous influx of information, and a pulling apart and reorganizing of the human self (an aspect of the dark night of the senses). It was an extremely intense period, and one with a great deal of bliss and pain at the same time. I also had an influx of insights, essentially recreating anything I have since found in the many spiritual traditions in the world, and especially the nondual ones. There was also a great deal of intensity in terms of things coming out in the form of art and music during those years. A read at least one book a week, including Yogananda, Jung, Steiner, Buddhism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, systems theories, Jes Bertelsen (Danish psychologist and mystic) and much more. I also did a good deal of Tai Chi and Chi Gong during those years, in addition to Buddhist meditation and Christian prayer (Jesus/heart prayer) and meditation (Christ meditation).
  • Zen
    I then moved to Utah to continue my studies in psychology there, and moved into Kanzeon Zen Center. It helped ground what had been happening so far, and I also found a great deal of support in the community there.
  • Dark Night
    After some years at Kanzeon, I got married and moved to another state, which initiated several years of a dark night. Up until then, I had lived in a constant samadhi… everything was easy for me, including studies and work. Now, everything was taken away, both on an outer and inner level… it was impossible for me to do any form of meditation or prayer… from being one with the whole universe, living in cosmic consciousness, I found myself as a pitiful, tiny and separate human self.. it was all gone, and there was an agony beyond description. This was the dark night of the soul, stripping away the finer layers of identification with and holding onto content.
  • Knowing that it had to be stripped away
    In the years before this happened, I saw clearly a remaining sense of a separate self even in the midst of the dramatic awakening, one that gave birth to a certain arrogance, which – no matter how much I worked on it – remained… I knew that something had to happen to wear it off, and this was it. But it was far more awful, and more completely awful, than I could have possibly imagined. At the same time, even in the midst of it, I knew that it had to happen, but that too gave absolutely no comfort. Nothing gave any comfort, apart from throwing myself into work to benefit others… (for me, that too the form of solution-focused and partnership-oriented sustainability work at a local community level) Much later, I discovered Theresa of Avila describing just that, actively working for the benefit of others, as commonly experienced as the only comfort for those going through this phase.
  • Tail end of the dark night
    The last few years have been the tail end of the dark night, and it wasn’t until recently that I even recognized it as a classical dark night of the soul. I found Breema during this phase, which has been a great help. And I have also found other practices that have been very helpful, as described in other posts. As commonly experienced by others going through the same, I too at, at one point, got dropped into a far more clear realization… of being emptiness, awake emptiness, and no trace of any separate self anywhere. This lasted for a couple of months, and then some old patterns came up, more to wear off, to see more clearly. And that is where I am right now. There is more to bring awareness into, more to see about the mechanisms of samsara, more beliefs and identities to wear off. There has also been a great deal of fatigue the last couple of years, which is something that has come and gone throughout this journey.

Edge effect

 

800px-mandel_zoom_11_satellite_double_spiral.jpg

(Thanks to Tom for suggesting fractals as another example)

In ecosystems, and most other systems, the edges are often the most rich and fertile.

We have the land ecosystem, and then the ocean ecosystem, and at the edge between the two there are representatives for both, and for the edge as well. Instead of characteristics from only one system, there are three: one, the other, and whatever emerges uniquely in the intersection of the two.

And so it is with awakening as well.

We have one system which is the awakened one. Another, which is the deluded one (taking oneself as a separate self). And at the edge of the two, there are characteristics of one, the other, and the uniqueness of the edge.

We get to explore a rich landscape, spanning all three ecosystems.

(In systems language, the awakened and deluded situations are attractor states, habitual states the system falls into… but in in this ecosystem analogy, it fits better to think of them as different landscapes or systems.)

Kundalini description

 

I just came across this description of a kundalini awakening, which is an especially clear, honest and touching account. It doesn’t happen for everyone that way, and doesn’t have to it seems, but it is good to know about.

Kundalini awakening or bi-polar surfacing? by Kara-Leah Masina.

It has been a cautious path forward, seeking answers, observing myself. The peak of my experience was the psychosis, but after Kundalini Awakens, it still needs to integrate into your system. Over the last two years, I have continued to experience energy moving up my spine. I have had energy releases from my solar plexus. And perhaps most frightening of all, I have witnessed my body moving through mudras and asanas that I had no conscious knowledge of. […]

This sensation of energy moving up the spine started in 2000 for me, at the very base of my tailbone. I could observe it slowly rising when I was meditating, it would rise until I felt it hit a ‘block’, then the energy would spontaneously move my body around sometimes jerking it right off the ground, until I felt a ‘popping’ or releasing sensation. Then the process would begin again at my tailbone, only this time it would get a millimetre or two higher until it hit the next block. Over a four year period, this energy reached higher and higher up my spine, and the energy releases became more and more violent. Sometimes my eyes would roll back in my head as energy surged up my spine and jerked my head backwards. […]

My hope is that by speaking out about my experience, I might reach others who are under-going this process and have no idea what is happening to them. As yoga and meditation infiltrate Western society, especially if they are mixed with drugs like marijuana, LSD and mushrooms, more and more people are going to awaken Kundalini.

Eating the menu

 

One of the reminders teachers of just about any subject give is to not be satisfied with the menu alone, and not to try to eat it either. Looking at the menu does not give the nourishment of the meal, and eating the menu is also not quite the same.

The menu is the theory, and the meal is when what the theory points to is a living reality.

Reading the menu is listening to it, taking it in, even being exited about it or believing in it. Trying to eat it, is the wrestling with the theory, the exploration of it, trying to make sense of it.

Both are fine, and even an essential part of the process.

Original beliefs

As we start out on the path of discovering who (as individual) and what (as spirit) we are, we already have lots of beliefs from our family, culture, society and our own individual experiences. All of these beliefs, from seeing ourselves as a thing in a world of things to believing that our kids should pick up their socks, defines what is true and good and what is not, splits life in general, and our own life in particular, down the middle, often creating stress and even suffering.

Modifying our beleifs

So when we read and try to eat the menu, we are modifying our original beliefs in ways that have several effects. Hopefully, it relieves some of the stress which becomes an encouragement to continue the exploration. It can serve as a map for our continued exploration. And it can be a pointer to something beyond itself, allowing us to find it for ourselves.

As we have glimpses of what the words point to, these too inevitable become memories and beliefs, which is another menu, and another phase of the process. As with the initial menu, this one encourages us to continue, provides a map, and points to a living reality beyond itself.

Discovering what is beyond the beliefs

Eventually, as we become more and more familiar with the terrain itself, the map goes from being primary, in the foreground, a way to orient and navigate, and something to believe in, to being secondary, in the background, derived from our immediate experience, and just a relative truth, one of many ways to talk about it.

Examples

One of the many areas where I find this for myself is with The Work. Initially, it was a nice map which fitted my own experiences and previous maps. Then, as a explored it in my own life, I gradually became more and more familiar with the terrain itself, and this in turn fed back into the map.

It is a continuing process. Sometimes, the map is more in the foreground. I may be caught up in a belief, and the map tells me it is only a belief, which helps a little but not that much. Other times, the living reality of it is more in the foreground, on its own. And other times again, when I actively engage in the process, I may start out with the map, the theoretical understanding that it is only a belief and that reality (and peace) is on the other side of it, and this becomes a living reality as I go through the steps.

A tough one III: the dark nights of the soul and senses

 

There are many forms of dark nights… In a more technical sense, there are two of them, and in a loose – daily – sense, lots of them.

The two formal ones are…

  • The dark night of the senses, which is an initial stripping away of beliefs and identities, enough to notice all as God, to notice that everything is a field of awakeness, of consciousness, even of awake emptiness. It can be painful, maybe an experience of being pulled apart, dismembered, even of dying. What dies is really only beliefs and identities, but when we are identified with these, when we take ourselves as that, the experience is of being dismembered and dying. For me, this was a very intense time, but there were lots of rewards in the middle of it as well. It was painful, but also immensely blissful.
  • The dark night of the soul, which is similar but goes more to our core beliefs and identities, and specifically the one of a separate self, of someone that this is all happening to. Here, any and all beliefs are stripped away, and it often happens through a profound disillusionment. Everything that we found comfort in is stripped away, taken away from us, and none of our practices have meaning or even work anymore. Nothing is left. God is gone. Any sense of accomplishment is gone. Any ideas of being special, or chosen, are gone. There is no place to anchor any of those beliefs anymore. They get stripped away, whether we want or not, and most often we desperately cling to them as long as we can, making the torment even stronger for ourselves.

Having cleared out some space through the dark night of the senses, the soul realm is revealed. Bliss, clarity, alive presence, all as God, inspiration, luminosity, and so on.

And having cleared out even more, including the sense of a separate self, through the dark night of the soul, the emptiness is revealed in its completeness. When I am gone, emptiness is revealed, as the Ground of it all… of awakeness itself, of the soul level, of mind, of form. It is all emptiness dancing, already and always absent of any trace of any separate self anywhere.

Our core belief, and core identity, of a separate self is greatly diminished through the dark night of the senses, and that is exactly what allows the soul realm to be noticed and come more into the foreground. Here, there can be a sense of no separation, of all – absolutely all – as God, as divine, as consciousness, as the divine mind, there can even be a sense of oneness, but there is still a trace of a sense of a separate self here. And this serves as an anchor for a sense of being special, privileged, of having accomplished something, of being chosen.

The dark night of the soul takes care of that. Every reason for feeling special, privileged, of having accomplished something, of being chosen, is taken away. And none of the practices or tools that at one point work so easily and so well, have any use anymore. They are all broken.

Where the dark night of the senses is more of a dismemberment and a sense of dying as a human being, the dark night of the soul is a deep existential falling away… my most core identity of being something at all, separate from anything else, is wrestled away… leaving just emptiness. No angels. No luminosity. No bliss. Nothing special. Just emptiness. The emptiness that allows, and is, the dance of everything.

The dark night of the senses leads into an amazing awakening, with lots of bells and whistles… God in all its glory. Alive luminosity. Guidance. Inner God, and all as God. Amazing insights. Amazing abilities to do things in the world. Amazing energies.

The dark night of the soul leads into nothing at all. At the threshold of it, it appears thoroughly boring, neutral, like nothing. And inside of it, there is the Ground of all, that which allows the dance of everything. It is nothing special. Just what is, here and now, always.

The void that never changes, and allows all change. The no-thing that allows all things. The absence of everything which allows the fullness of everything. The groundless ground, which already and always allows every fruit.

The bottom falls out of everything. Leaving only the dance of emptiness, with no separate I anywhere.

What it comes down to: seeing what is already more true

 

So when we start letting go of some of the identities that I described in previous posts, what is left? What, if anything, is revealed?

For me, it has to with simply seeing what is already more true for me, in immediate experience, without knowing in advance what I will find or am looking for, and doing it for its own sake.

If I think I know what I’ll find, I am creating another box for myself. I have an agenda. Receptivity to what is really there goes out the window.

If I do it for some other motive, to find release, to get rid of discomfort, to get somewhere, then I am creating yet another box. Again, there is an agenda there. And again, receptivity – or even interest – in what is really there, goes out.

Thinking I know what to find, and doing it for a particular result, is just another way for me to limit myself, to box myself, life, existence, and even God, into a far smaller space than where it already is. It may look safe for a while, but is in the long run nothing but a dead end.

I think I’ll get something or somewhere by doing it, but all I am doing is boxing myself in. Staying put.

What it all comes back to, and down to, is doing it for its own sake. I engage in inquiry, for the sake of doing inquiry. I engage in headlessness, for the sake of headlessness. I am with experiences, for the sake of being with experiences.

And seeing all the parts of me that is not doing it just for its own sake, is part of it as well. Allowing even that. Being with even that. Seeing even that, as what is, right here and now. For its own sake.

Begrudgingly accepting

 

Here are three general phases in befriending the shadow, letting go of narrow identities, or inquiring into beliefs (all aspects of the same process)…

  • Being blindly in the grips of it, not even noticing what is going on
  • Noticing it as a shadow, an identity, a belief, and exploring it
  • Finding resolution through befriending and becoming intimately familiar with it, and seeing what was already more true for me than my surface belief

During the second phase, when it is still half-resolved, I notice in myself and others a tendency to begrudgingly accept it. I know, on an idea level and from past experience, that it is a shadow and comes from a belief, but am still in the grips of it on an emotional level, and to some extent also on a behavioral level (it seeps out, even if I try to hold it back.)

I know there is a monster in the back yard, and that I cannot get rid of it, but I am not happy about it either.

Genuine appreciation

Exploring it further, more wholeheartedly, in my daily life and in more detail, seeing what is already more true for me, the monster is revealed as not a monster at all. I find the genuine gifts in that which was placed in the shadow, and in the situation I initially didn’t want.

As in the story of Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver by Michael Ende, the demonic queen dragon turned into, when captured and kept safely in a cage, a golden dragon of wisdom. The horrors of it was real as long as it was roaming free, untamed by civilization. But through capturing it, and containing it without killing it, it was allowed to transform into golden wisdom.

What I initially was blind to, and then begrudgingly accepted, is now something there is genuine and unreserved appreciation for.

Examples

For instance, say I have a chronic illness. Initially, I am identified with getting rid of it. After a while, seeing that it hasn’t worked yet, I start working on my own attitudes around it. I try to find peace with it, although I still see the illness as something awful and undesirable. Eventually, I may come to see the real gifts in the illness… I start realize what it has brought to my life that I genuinely appreciate… the maturing and deepening that has happened for me through the illness… this obstacle which nothing could be done with… I may still not have chosen it, if there had been a choice, but now, there is a genuine appreciation for it. Beyond acceptance, is appreciation.

Or I may have trouble with anger, for instance through a one-sided identity as somebody who is not angry. Anger then becomes a real problem, and something I try to avoid in myself and others. It becomes a monster in my life. Then, I may half-heartedly accept that it is here as well, although I still don’t like it much. And finally, as I explore it further, I see how it supports my life when it is allowed to become a part of the team of all of me. I learn to genuinely appreciate all of its many gifts to my life… its energy, its ability to get things done in certain situations, its assistance in getting through to people if everything else fails.

Alchemy

In alchemy, this is the process of nigredo (the suffering of being in the grips of it), albedo (the work), and rubedo (the fruition of the work.)

Amazingly wonderful, awful, and ground

 

In looking at my own path, I recognize a pattern (which is pretty obvious) that is similar to what I have heard from many others…

  • First, a normal life. I was an atheist and very science oriented. For me, this lasted until my mid-teens.
  • Then, an awakening. For me, it came out of the blue, and although intense also amazing and amazingly wonderful.
  • Then, a dark night, as awful and the previous period was wonderful,
  • And then, the Ground, finding oneself as the Ground of all of this, the play of form.

In this case, the awakening period, where everything was easy and I seemed to have a superhuman energy and clarity, lasted for almost exactly as long as the dark night has lasted, several years each. And I am still at the tail end of this dark night, there is still more to burn through… more beliefs, identifications, more boxes I have made for myself and existence that needs to go.

At times, it is a painful process. And at times, with a sense of ease and even bliss. But there is always the same ground, the same void it is all coming out of, the same void within it, the same void it is happening to.

And after having gone through the extremes of ups and downs, the amazingly wonderful and amazingly awful, I am ready for the Ground. The Ground allowing it all. The Ground of emptiness that cannot be reduced to anything else. The Ground which is the nothingness allowing all things.

Three relationships with the reversals of views

 

Related to the previous post, but also a little different…

I see how I cycle among three relationships with an awareness of the reversals of views.

One is happily oblivious, using or attaching to a view without much awareness of the grain of truth in their reversals.

The other is releasing views. Having seen how each view has innumerable reversals, and they all have limited and relative validity, I become more cautious. I release from them, as much as I can. There may even be ambivalence here, because I see that I cannot continue in my certainty of particular views anymore, but I am also not quite able to play freely with them either. So I hold back. And I investigate.

The third is a free play with views, first using one, then another, then a third, the a view that includes some of them all, being able to find the truth and validity in each of them, and also seeing the limitations of each. This comes from a more thorough investigation of particular views and each of their reversals. There is a more finely grained familiarity with the terrain, so also more freedom.

Examples and flavors

There are many flavors to this.

One is in terms of views in general.

Another is with shadow projections, where I am first blindly caught up in it, then learn to recognize the symptoms and become more cautions, and then more free around it as we become more familiar with the process.

And yet another is in the belief of a separate self. Initially, we take it for granted. Then, when we see that too as just another idea with relative truth, we may get a little stunned and hold back for a while while investigating further. And finally, there is a freedom around it, a free play, allowing it to be there when it is, yet also seeing the insubstantiality of it.

The three relationships play themselves out in each of these situations, and many more than involves views and beliefs.

More on transition experiences

 

I wrote a long post on transition experiences, but decided to make it short and simple. Some details goes out, but the essence is maybe more clear.

Here are a couple of points from the longer post that may be interesting…

  • What we are, is a field of awake emptiness and form, absent of a separate I. This means that what is alive in each of ours awareness here and now, is realized to be nothing other than awake emptiness itself. This room, the cat, the sound of the cars, the lamp, computer, thoughts, sensations, it is all awake emptiness. An awake void, temporarily taking these forms. And it is all without a center, without any trace of a separate self.
  • When we take ourselves to be an object in the world, we filter awareness so it appears to be only here, associated with this human self, and not out there, in the wider world… with the exception of being there, in theory, in other people. We don’t notice emptiness much, everything seems quite substantial and real. And there is certainly a sense of a separate self here, in this human self.
  • So in the transition between the two, what we are breaks through within the context of what we take ourselves to be. There is a growing sense of no separation, glimpses of the wider world as somehow inherently alive and awake, a diminishing sense of the solidity of the boundary between I here and the rest of the world out there, and so on.

As Ken Wilber and others have pointed out, this transition mirrors what we find in nature mysticism (nature, all objects, as alive), deity mysticism (all as God), and finally realized selflessness (one field, absent of center and separate self.)

All of these transition experiences can be experienced and interpreted in different ways. I am sure there are many more than I wrote down here, and each of them will take on different flavors for different people at different times.

One experience I have heard recently, from a friend, is an experience of walking in nature, and everything suddenly appearing aware… the trees, stones, ground, landscape. Another, is of objects smiling back at you (having awareness, being somehow alive, able to make a connection.)

Of course, these are all just experiences and states. Nothing to be too caught up in. Just carrots, and sometimes distractions (!), within our process of exploring what we really are – in our own immediate awareness.

And that is the ground of awake void, and forms as no other than this awake void, all absent of a center and separate self. It is all emptiness dancing. A depth of awake emptiness with a thin surface of form.

Briefly: transition experiences

 

What are some common transition experiences during awakening?

Here are some I have noticed for myself, and also heard from others:

Within form…

  • A sense of no separation between “I” here and the rest of the world out there
  • A sense of oneness with all of Existence. I am here, yet one with all.
  • A sense of the world of form as a seamless whole, with no separation between this human individual and the wider world
  • Noticing synchronicities – the outer world mirroring the inner, as if one seamless field.

Within awareness…

  • A sense of “I” as awakeness, as witness, pure awareness, pure seeing.
  • A sense of awakeness out there, in the wider world… in plants, trees, objects, the universe. it all seems mysteriously and inherently awake somehow.

Within emptiness…

  • A sense of awareness itself as a void, as empty, insubstantial.
  • A sense of all forms being insubstantial, transparent. Almost like a dream.

With the sense of a separate I…

  • The sense of a separate I weakens, becomes more transparent. There is just what is, content of experience staying much the same, yet with an absence of a separate I. And this becomes gradually more clear.

And it makes sense.

If what we are is awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of a separate I, then that is what comes through, in different ways, during the awakening process. We may take ourselves as an object in the world, but what we really are breaks through… as an intuition, a sense, a glimpse.

It is Big Mind gradually becoming more familiar with itself, as it already and always is. Only temporarily filtered through taking itself as an object within form.

The Buddha growing up

 

Filtered through a relatively mature human being, an awakening to what we are (as Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman, headless, awake emptiness and form absent of separate I) can show up in some broad ways.

What we are as not awakened to itself, hidden by strong and narrow identifications

First, a noticing of what we are can be nonexistent. When there is a relatively complete and exclusive identification with our human self, there is not much room for noticing ourselves as Spirit. Spirit may break through occasionally, through drugs, sex, ritual, nature and so on, but these are interpreted as anomalities and usually as completely “other” (which is good, otherwise there would be inflation.)

What we are as other or “no separation”, within the context of a sense of separate self

Then, it can show up as other yet more present, and gradually as with “no separation.” Awareness is more present, but still slightly as other. Or I may find myself in periods as awareness, or awake space, or awake emptiness, with what arises as form as distant, or as arising within and to awareness, or as no other than awareness itself. There is still a sense of a separate I here, at least most of the time, although it may appear subtle, vague and transparent.

Awakening to what we are, and sense of I clearly seen as just an idea

Then, in a more full awakening to what we are, we find ourselves as awake emptiness, and whatever forms arising as no other than this awake emptiness. Any sense of a separate I is clearly seen as coming only from a belief in the idea of a separate I, often placed on the perceptual center (head area) of this human individual. Now, this idea of a separate I, along with the perceptual center and this human being, all arises within the field of awake emptiness and form, and as no other than awake emptiness itself. There is just a field inherently free from center and any separate I or self.

Expressed in the world as the Brilliant Sun of awakening

At first, although it can be a very clear awakening, it is also expressed in relatively immature ways through our human self. It is a baby Buddha which needs time to develop and mature in its expression. In Zen, this clear but also relatively immature expression of an awakening to what we are is called the Brilliant Sun of enlightenment. It is the child and youth stage of the Buddha and often shows up in the world in flashy ways.

Deepening into the Hazy Moon of awakening

As this awakening matures, as the Buddha grows up, this awakening to what we are also includes a more full awakening as who we are. It includes a deepening into who we are as an individual human being and soul (alive presence), expressed in the world as a maturing into the fullness and evolving wholeness of our human life. It is a deepening into who we are, into becoming more and more fully and deeply human, within the context of the awakening to what we are. This is the Hazy Moon of awakening, the awakening which comes through a deeply ordinary, mature and seasoned human being, a human being which appears in the world as (at first) nothing special, apart from being thoroughly and deeply human. Of course, over time, there is the realization in the wider world that this ordinariness, depth and maturity is indeed remarkable, maybe the most remarkable of any of the many ways an awakening can be expressed.

Deepening into who we are, before and after an awakening into what we are

In real life, the sequence is of course not always clearly laid out like this.

For instance, the deepening and maturing into who we are happens before and after an awakening into what we are. And to the extent it happens prior to a more full and clear awakening it allows for a more rapid shift into the hazy moon of awakening.

A gradual awakening to and exploring of who we are as human and soul helps with this maturing and seasoning. The more we know ourselves in the fullness of our evolving human self, and the more we allow our human self to be reorganized within the alive presence, the more it heals, develops, deepens and matures.

A deepening into who we are aiding the expression of an awakening as what we are

When an awakening into what we are is filtered through a relatively immature individual, it will appear in the world as immature. And when it is filtered through a more seasoned, mature and deeply human individual, it is expressed in a more seasoned, mature and deeply human way.

And this can only aid its expression in the world.

It allows for a more differentiated and fluid use of tools and approaches, and for a deeper and more real connection with others, and this is more potent in alleviating the suffering for others, and also help them awaken to what they are (or rather, for what is to awaken to itself through them.)

The impulse to help

After, and often long before, an awakening into what we are, there is a natural impulse to help others, a natural compassion expressed in various activities in the world.

It all arises as an inherently selfless field of wakeful emptiness and form, as inherently absent of any separate self. And since what arises are individuals where what is has not yet awakened to itself, there is a natural impulse to help alleviate the suffering experienced (the suffering is really nothing than awake emptiness but is taken and experienced as real so worth alleviating) and to aid in what is to awaken to itself through those individuals (as long as these individuals seek it out and are interested.)

So if there is any concern with helping others, there is also a concern with allowing our only tool for this – our individual human self – to deepen, heal, develop, differentiate, mature and season. And this happens through a deepening into who we are, as an individual human being and soul.

The more honed our tool is, the more effective it can be in the world.

Embracing both, before and after an awakening into what we are

For many reasons, it makes sense to emphasize both an awakening into who we are, as individual human and soul, and what we are, as Spirit.

A deepening into who we are is enjoyable in itself and it reduces suffering. It allows knots to untie, releasing identification, which reveals more of what we are. And it allows for a more mature and seasoned tool for a more full awakening of what we are. There are benefits all around.

An awakening into what we are is not only the final release from suffering, but also allows for a deepening into who we are. When there is less identifications and drama, who we are can unfold in a more free way, and deepen more easily into its evolving fullness as a human being and as a soul.

Mutual influence

Deepening into who we are reduces suffering, aids in an awakening to what we are, and allows an awakening to what we are to be expressed in a more mature and seasoned way. And awakening into what we are removes (identification with) suffering, and allows for a deepening into who we are.

Again, there is a beautiful symmetry here, of one aiding the other.

Alchemy: the metals of the world in the process of becoming gold

 

In an alchemical text (don’t remember which one), it apparently says that all metals in the world are in the process of becoming gold. Translated, it means that everything in us is already in a process of awakening, although it is a very slow process which can be speeded up by various alchemical processes – mainly by bringing the prima materia, the stuff of our lives, into awareness, and then explore, differentiate, and bring it into a more conscious wholeness.

The big picture: awakening to who and what we are

This journey which each part goes through is an aspect of the overall process from unconscious and undifferentiated wholeness, through a split and partial consciousness, through active work and exploration of each aspect and their relationships, to a conscious and differentiated whole.

There is always and already the whole of what we are, and this is eventually noticed in awakening to ourselves as Big Mind. And then there is a conscious and differentiated whole of who we are, as individual human beings and soul, which only comes about through active exploration, by digging into it, living it, working through it, engaging actively in it – gradually healing, developing and maturing as individuals.

Awakening as what we are can happen at any point, and is independent of content, including of how or who we are. But awakening as who we are is a long, gradual process.

At our human level, it is one of individualization, of differentiating and exploring each pole in each polarity, and then the polarity as a whole, of developing and maturing as a human being. At our soul level, it is a process of becoming familiar with ourselves as soul, as alive presence, in all its many facets, and how this influences and transforms who we are as human beings.

Impulses for awakening to who and what we are

It seems that for those who actively explore this process, there is an experience – or realization? – of everything inside and outside of us being an invitation, or an impulse, to awaken more to who and what we are.

Some simple examples of this is active imagination, where any dream or fantasy is a path to bringing aspects of us into awareness, and becoming more familiar with and embracing a polarity in ourselves and our life and not only its separate poles. The same is the case with Process Work, although in a more comprehensive and extended way, where we find that anything in our life, no matter how apparently insignificant, is an impulse towards awakening more to who and what we are. And the same is the case with The Work, where any stress in our life is an invitation to awaken to who (whole process) and what (question #4) we are.

I also notice this when I am just curious about what arises in me, and explore it – allowing it to unfold a little bit.

Example: impulse to death and rebirth

For instance, if this personality has a great deal of resistance to being with a particular experience, I notice an impulse towards death (sounds more dramatic than it necessarily is.) And this impulse can of course be interpreted in different ways by the personality, for instance of wanting the situation (the trigger) to change or go away, or of me to change or go away, or of how I relate to it to change or go away. I want to remove the trigger (by doing something in the world), myself (for instance by distracting myself or going unconscious), or how I relate to it (through working on myself.)

The basic impulse is an impulse towards death, and it can be interpreted in all of these forms, some of which works better than other, and some effects which are more superficial and temporary than others. In this context of anything being an invitation to awakening more to who and what we are, the essence of the impulse is an invitation to allow our limited, and limiting, beliefs and identifications to die.

The stress comes from a discrepancy between our stories of what is and how it should be (all coming from beliefs and identities), so the stress is an invitation to notice this, actively explore our beliefs and identities – through the many ways available – until they soften or fall away on their own.

Of course, this impulse can equally well be seen as an impulse towards life. Any fixed belief and identity limits a sense of aliveness, and when it falls away, there is a sense of liberation and more life.

For me, if there is a great deal of resistance and I get caught up in it, it seems – initially, before working on it, as an impulse to death. And as there is more space and clarity around it, or if there is this space and clarity around it from the beginning, it seems more an impulse to life. They are two aspects of the same process of death (of beliefs and identities) and rebirth (more free from these beliefs and identities.)

King Lindorm and the split

 

The fairy tale of King Lindorm is a good illustration of the unconscious to conscious wholeness sequence: unconscious wholeness > split > exploring and making conscious the polarity > embracing the polarity/conscious whole.

The most clear example is midway through the story where the two kings leave the castle (the familiar, ruling patterns and identities) for war, leaving the women to rise the child. The masculine explores and gets to know itself through war, active engagement with the wider world, and the feminine explores and gets to know itself through motherhood, through nurturing at home. The split, the separation of the two (separatio) is necessary for both sides to find space to explore themselves, and then their relationship.

So there is a (mostly) unconscious wholeness/unity, a split, an exploration of each pole of the polarity separate from the other, an exploration of the relationship between the two, and then a conscious wholeness.

This is a pattern that seems to run through this existence, at all levels, from Existence as a whole (differentiated into awake emptiness and form) to our lives as who (individuals) and what (Spirit) we are, and in every aspect of our lives – all of the many polarities of our lives.

It is also interesting to note that the conscious wholeness happens at two levels: first, by noticing the whole of the polarity which is always and already there, and then in the conscious way the poles of the polarity functions on their own and in relationship with each other. The first is always there, the second comes through the work of differentiation, exploration and clarification.

Shifting filters

 

I was just reminded of how Ken Wilber’s old model of the levels of development reflects these shifts of filters.

The conventional level these days is where the field is filtered into a strong sense of I and Other, and the I is placed on only a relatively small part of our individual self.

Then, the I is placed on more of our whole individual self (whole body/mind, centaur.)

Then, a sense of I is also out there, in the form of nature mysticism. There is a sense of I, yet also of an aliveness and intelligence out there.

Then, a sense of all as God. I am still here, and everything is also God (deity mysticism).

And finally, the field awakening to itself as awake emptiness and form, centerless and selfless, even as it is functionally connected with an individual.

It is all part of the field awakening to itself as a field, and filtering itself slightly differently at different phases of the process. At the same time, there is a corresponding reorganization and development of the individual, as these changing filters are taken into account and reflected in the life of the individual.

Summary of the shifts

Throughout the whole process, the field is already and always a field of awake emptiness and form, with no center, no separate I, yet also functionally connected with a particular human self.

After the typical childhood development, there is a strong sense of I here and Other out there, this sense of I is placed on this individual, and any immediate sense of awakeness and consciousness is placed on this I here (it takes a great deal of energy and resistance to filter out the sense of awakeness, which is already alive throughout the whole field, and place it on this I).

From here on, the sense of a separate I is reduced at each shift, and the sense of an “I” out there increases – in the form of a sense of aliveness, intelligence, love and consciousness out there… in nature, and then in all of Existence.

Finally, the whole sense of I and Other falls away entirely, revealing the field as everywhere awake emptiness and form, without any center, without any separate I anywhere.

Intermediary filters

 

These two quotes from John Wren-Lewis is an example of how an early awakening can be filtered…

I feel as if the back of my head has been sawn off so that it is no longer the 60-year-old John who looks out at the world, but the shining dark infinite void that in some extraordinary way is also “I.” […]

Thus, in one sense, I feel as if I am infinitely far back in sensing the world, yet at the same time I feel the very opposite, as if my consciousness is no longer inside my head at all, but out there in the things I am experiencing . . .

What is happening is that Big Mind awakens to itself, but can’t quite believe it. So as an intermediary step, it filters itself in a different way, as a stepping stone into a more full and clear awakening.

What is always and already here, for all of us, is the field of seeing & seen which is inherently absent of I. And for most of us, it is filtered through a sense of I and Other. The seeing is interpreted as right here, in or around this human self, and the seen is outside and inside of this human self.

When there is an early awakening into Big Mind, when this field catches a glimpse of itself as a field, it may be too radical, too different from what it is used to. It cannot find itself comfortable with the field of awake emptiness and form, as a field with no center, with no separate I anywhere, with no I and Other.

So it filters its experience of itself in a slightly different way, for instance as the back of the head sawn off, or as a sense of I somewhere behind the human self, or as a sense of I infinitely far back and also out there in the seen, or as a subtle I here not separate from anything, or a subtle I here yet also out there.

Eventually, as it gets more comfortable with this, and catches more glimpses of itself in a more unfiltered way, it may be ready to let go of even these filters, and awaken to itself as a field with no center and no I anywhere.

This can initially be experienced as a free fall, as having no anchors anywhere, no fixed identity and nowhere to anchor any identity. And then this too becomes familiar.

Unfamiliar and familiar

In my experience, there is an experience of unfamiliarity and familiarity at each of these shifts. It is radically unfamiliar, new, completely different from how any previous identity, and can be scary in that way. At the same time, what opens up is strangely familiar, nothing new, known at some level.

And this is really what we would expect. For each shift, there is a stepping outside of old identities and into something that seems unfamiliar and maybe even frightening. And for each shift, what we already and always are awakens a little more to itself, with a few less filters.

Most unfamiliar, and most familiar

There is an irony in this, and especially in the final shedding of filters.

Shedding filters into the field awakening to itself as a centerless and selfless field, is often perceived as most frightening, as loosing all ground, any fixed identity, anything familiar.

Yet at the same time, it is the most profound homecoming, a relaxation into what we always and already are. A letting go of all the filters of I and Other and any fixed identity, which it takes so much energy to uphold.

We find ourselves as the Ground of everything, of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form. There is nothing to resist anymore. No need to filter through a sense of I and Other. All as the I that has no Other. It is the home free from, behind and within any more conventional sense of home and homelessness.

In terms of our old identity, as a separate I with a (more or less) fixed identity, it is the most unfamiliar. And in terms of what we already are, it is the most familiar.

Form, emptiness and unraveling knots

 

Yesterday during the meeting of our diksha group, we held space for each other in dyads, allowing knots to be seen and unravel for our partner. It is a very simple process of (a) having an intention of allowing the next step in the resolution of a particular issue, (b) allowing any experience as it is, just quietly being with it, and (c) following the process as it unfolds on its own, living its own life, allowing one knot to unravel after another.

My partner started out with a physical pain she has had for several years, and being with the experience of the pain, it quickly shifted into an experience of the body as space, and of being space. After staying with that for a while, other issues unfolded such as a belief that it couldn’t be healed, memories from childhood, and so on.

It was a beautiful example of what is alive in my own experience… Form is space (more precisely, emptiness), and one is in the foreground, then the other. Seeing, and feeling, form as space allows for a release from being caught up in the particulars of form, such as pain. And at the same time, by being with experiences, there is a shift into a sense of fullness, space and sweetness, and it also allows a process to unfold leading to insights and quite often a shift or even release (or one step in that direction).

Shutting down and booting up

 

Just as this human self falls asleep, and wakes up, some of the layers of how we are put together are revealed.

As I sometimes listen to radio before falling asleep, it is especially noticeable.

The three clear shifts I notice, over and over, are…

  1. Voice and understanding (regular awake functioning)
  2. Voice but no analysis
  3. Voice, and any other sensory input, fading out

And the reverse as I wake up, where the fading in of sensory input is most noticeable.

Each of these shifts are relative sudden, happening over maybe just a second or so, and a very clear shift – from understanding to just the sound without understanding, and then the fading of sensory input to an absence of these. For the sounds, it is just as a relative quick volume fading, from normal volume to zero, and then up again to normal as this human self wakes up again.

This helps me see how much energy goes into analyzing and making sense of input. At some point in falling asleep, this energy and attention is just not available anymore, and the sensory input remain but with no analyzing of it at any level. They are just sounds, but not even known as sounds. There is not even the most basic level of analyzing, such as adding labels of sound, voice and so on. Just the pure input and awareness.

It also helps me notice awareness as distinct from its content. First, the thinking mind falls away. Then sensory input themselves fall away, fading into an absence of any input. But even then, there is awareness that this takes place within (and as). The awareness remains as the thinking mind fades out, and it also remains as sensory input fades out.

Sometimes, it goes out with the thinking mind, or with the sensory input.

Other times, it remains as those two goes out, and then itself goes out a little later.

And some other times, it remains throughout the night, even through the dreamless sleep phases, without any content apart from itself as pure awareness.

Personality contrasted

 

Within this context of (early) belly awakening, the contrast between this endarkenment and my personality is very vivid.

Throughout the day, I notice all the hardness of this personality, a hardness, rigidity and narrowness that comes from not being aligned with the endarkenment. And my task is simply to notice, and surrender whatever comes up to the endarkenment.

I see how the endarkenment invites (and it is an offer I can’t afford to refuse) this personality to allow any hard edges, anything coming from fear and resistance, so soften, to become more rounded, whole, mature, more deeply and thoroughly human.

It is a reorganization of the whole individual self. A transformation from what was created from a sense of separation, and the subsequent fear, resistance, clinging to exclusive identities, hard edges, and a sense of something to defend, to being aligned with all as Spirit, also in a deeply felt sense, allowing the personality to be more rich, full, whole, rounded and mature.

Clarifying the dimensions of being with whatever comes up

 

I realize that when I am with whatever comes up, in a simple, quiet way, there is more going on than what initially came to mind.

Awake emptiness

There is the awake emptiness aspect, allowing whatever comes up to unfold within and as awake emptiness, revealing themselves as nothing other than awake emptiness.

Form

And then there is the form aspect, the dynamic unfolding within form, which in itself has several dimensions.

Being with experiences in itself tends to allow knots to unravel, and this is the simplest one.

Then, there are the insights into the dynamics of form, or more accurately the mind, similar to what happens in insight meditation.

And then there are several variations of following the process unfolding, from traditional Process Work and active imagination, to following the dynamics of the essence, of the soul, of the subtle energies.

Allowing each other

And one allows the other.

Seeing form as nothing other than awake emptiness takes the charge out of it, allowing for a deeper exploration of the form aspect itself.

And gaining insight into the processes of the mind also takes some of the charge and drama out of it, allowing for an easier recognition of whatever arises as nothing other than awake emptiness.

The emptiness and form dimensions of being with whatever comes up

 

Writing the previous post, I was reminded of the two aspects of being with whatever unfolds.

Whatever arises as awake emptiness

There is the emptiness aspect of being with it, of allowing it all to be as it is, including any resistance and stories about it, allowing it to arise and unfold within and as awake emptiness, revealing themselves as nothing other than awake emptiness.

Insight into the dynamics within form

And then there is the form aspect of the process, the content itself, morphing, unfolding, revealing connections, allowing for insights into the dynamics within the form. This can be similar to insight meditation, allowing for insights into the dynamics of the mind, seeing how identities are used to guide resistance, how resistance splits the field in its own experience of itself, and so on. And it can also be similar to Process Work, or active imagination, allowing sequences unfold as a story, allowing insights into more specific dynamics, such as seeing how a sense of separation in childhood brought about the impulse to develop specific identities, and how they were used to give a sense of limited safety. Or it can be more like a dream, unfolding through symbolic images. Or it can function on a subtle energy level, following the same or similar processes unfold there.

Both there at the same time

And both can be there at the same time. They are two aspects of the same process, seeing whatever arises as nothing other than awake emptiness, and also allow the processes unfold allowing for insights into the dynamics within the world of form, maybe specifically the mind.

Sometimes, awake emptiness may be more in the foreground. Other times, the insights into the dynamics of form can be more in the foreground. But they are both there, as two faces of the same coin.

Mutuality

There is also a nice mutuality between the two.

Seeing whatever arises as awake emptiness takes some of the sting out of it, making it easier to simply be with it and also explore its dynamics within form. And exploring the dynamics within form allows knots to untie, which take some of the drama and charge out of it that way, making it easier to also recognize it as awake emptiness.

Both seem necessary, inform each other, invite each other, and allow for a continued deepening into the other.

Phases of the endarkenment: dark night, Breema, dreams of soul mates and shadows, identities, and sleep and movies

 

Just to complete the picture here of the endarkenment process, I should mention a few things about my dreams and sleep.

Dreams of soul mates

Since about July this summer and up to the endarkenment shift, I have had a large number of dreams where I meet my soul mate (always a different one each time!). These dreams stopped after the endarkenment, because what I dropped into was the soul mate, or rather (an aspect of) soul itself.

(I have been embarrassed to write about these dreams here since I am in a relationship in my waking life, even as I know that these dreams reflect a much deeper inner process, not the externals of my waking life.)

Phases of the endarkenment process

As I see it now, the endarkenment process started a long time ago, and has gone in several phases. The first phase was the dark night, preparing the ground for it. The second finding Breema, which has an emphasis on the belly center. The third seems to have been all the soul mate dreams, reflecting a shift that has not yet become conscious. And the fourth, dropping into the velvety smooth darkness, the endarkenment itself. I guess the current one is the fifth, where it continues to deepen and change.

Shadow dreams mixed in

Also, mixed in among the dreams I have written about in this blog has been a series of shadow dreams, of things coming to the surface needing to be seen, balancing, grounding and widening it out in all directions. There has been a pattern of awakening dreams (velvety blackness, alive luminosity) and widening dreams (shadow dreams), much as a wave with peaks and valleys passing through.

Identities

Related to all of these corrective and shadow dreams is identities. I have been more acutely aware of identities over the last few weeks, seeing them clearly when they come up, and how they filter the world into I and Other, and how attachment to them is holding back what is emerging. They are an old coat that does not fit anymore, too small, wrong cut and color, dusty and old.

More about this in the next post.

Sleep

I have also needed a lot of sleep in this period. Even today, I slept more than twelve hours, and could have slept many more. There has also been a lot of processing before falling asleep and after waking up, allowing a parade of whatever comes up to be embraced by the velvety darkness.

Movies

I have also had a draw to see a lot of movies since the endarkenment, in a wide range of genres from science fiction to horror to existential to comedy to thrillers to post modern to documentaries to classical to quiet Iranian movies. It is as if the endarkenment wants as much of me as possible to come up and be embraced by the velvety darkness, and movies is a good way to trigger this.

Death and resurrection

 

This dream is a direct reflection of what happened as I fell asleep, where I continually surrendered anything and everything to the alive luminous blackness: any identities, all knowing, anything familiar, any remaining toeholds.

There is a real sense of fear here, of death, of complete annihilation. But it is needed, and I feel ready for surrendering it all, completely, over and over. There is no other way. I know deeply that it is the least painful way. Holding onto anything is suffering, and there is no way out except for surrendering it all.

Death and resurrection

Since this came up related to the Christ meditation, I also thought of how Jesus (the man) mirrored this process in his own life. He went through a process of awakening, then a death, and then resurrection.

At some point, we are invited (a polite term!) to surrender it all. To die to all that we know ourselves as. We surrender all identities, all knowing, anything familiar, any remaining toeholds. It all has to go. And it really is experienced as a death, with all the fear and terror that can come up around that. And through that process, that complete willingness to surrender it all, we do die as anything we know ourselves as, and are resurrected into a new life.

Although it isn’t really an invitation. It is a process that goes far beyond our intention or will. We are just swept along with it, almost helplessly. The only thing we can do is to willingly surrender to it, which makes it a little less painful.

And it may also happen many times, in many different ways. Each time surrendering new layers, dieing to current identities and familiar ways of living, and being resurrected into something new. Over and over.

Deaths and resurrections within realized selflessness

Even in the midst of realized selflessness, there are these deaths and resurrections.

There is the realization of everything as always fresh, different and new. There is a deepening into realizing and living from realized selflessness. There is a deepening into new realms of being.

Each of these involves a continuous dying to anything familiar, and a continuous resurrection into a new life.

Sequence of unfolding of fertile darkness and alive luminosity

 

As I mentioned in the previous post, there has been a sequence of unfoldings of the fertile darkness and the alive presence, in how they appear to me.

First, I dropped into the fertile darkness, a belly awakening, a deep smooth fertile blackness, a feeling of all as Spirit, allowing the emotional level to reorganize.

Then, the alive luminosity, infinitely alive, intelligent, loving, receptive and responsive.

Then, in my dream from yesterday, the luminous darkness, where the fertile darkness took on the qualities of aliveness, love, receptivity and intelligence of the alive luminosity.

And then last night, during the Christ meditation, the soft luminosity, where the alive luminosity took on the smooth deep soft embracing qualities of the fertile darkness.

As I also mentioned, it seems that this is the way the two are revealed to me as not two.

All of these have the same qualities of infinity, timelessness, presence, omnipresence, emptiness yet inseparable from form. It is as omnipresent as space, yet also independent of space and time. And as Almaas points out in his book Essence (which I skimmed through for the first time last night) there is a definite quality of substance to it. An alive presence with substance.

Composting resistance

 

Since the endarkenment shift, and even more so since the dropping into alive luminosity this Sunday, the process of composting resistance has been doing itself in me.

Resistance comes up, and it composts itself within the fertile full darkness.

Resistance to what is, what is not, what may be, what was… In whatever form it comes up, as tension, fear, irritability, it gets composted. It crumbles in the dark soil. Becoming nutrients for something to flower.

The fertile blackness is infinite and everywhere, a ground of form, but it is also centered very much in the belly. There is a sense of fullness, richness, earthiness, allowing whatever arises to be composted within itself, as darkness. Becoming soil, nurturance.

Dream: giving it all away

 

I am in a different culture, and must have moved there since I have all my belongings with me. A kind of festival is coming up, and I am encouraged to contribute to a kind of display. I offer them all I have, including my most personal belongings such as letter, photos, journals, and so on.

To my astonishment, a horde of people show up and take everything. Nothing is left. I tell one of the people in charge that there is a mistake, I would never have contributed all I have, including my most personal belongings, if I had known they would all be lost to me.

She said I had to follow the rules of the game. It turned out later that the ceremony was a way for people to get rid of their excess belongings, to declutter. I felt a mix of terror of having lost everything, any anchor I ever had in the physical world, and also, more distant, a sense that it could be exiting and freeing when I got used to it. Everything would be open. No anchors.

The day residue is from an old Star Trek episode I watched last night, Amok Time (!), where Kirk makes a similar mistake by agreeing to take part in a ritual from a culture foreign to him, and finds that he is getting more than he thought he agreed to.

The experience in the dream is similar to two real-life situations for me.

Identities falling away

One is what happens when there is no identity, as I have explored more over the last few days. Our identity, or identities, is our most intimate and cherished belonging, in a certain way. There is a sense of I, and then all the ways we clothe it up and define it through a set of beliefs, through an identity.

Our identity, especially the most intimate parts of it, gives a sense of security, buffering, familiarity, a point of view, a particular perspective, an anchor. And when we start to explore this identity, and parts of it starts falling away, there is a point of no return.

There is a place where the process cannot be stopped, where it continues all the way, until the last element of an identity falls away and nothing is left, except wide open space. Just awake emptiness and form, allowing any and all perspectives to be taken and explored, fluidly, without getting stuck anywhere.

It looks fine for a while. I can get rid of the clutter in my identity, those parts I didn’t care much for anyway. The excess parts. It feels good. But then, there is a point where the more cherished parts of the identity is questioned, where they too are taken up in the process, where they too start to unravel. And that does not always feel so good. This is where terror comes in, a sense of a terrible mistake being made. But it is too late.

Dark night

The other similarity is the dark night phase, where there was a similar experience of all my cherished belongings being taken away.

Of course, those two, the eroding of identity and a dark night, are not that different from each other. They are two ways of looking at the same process. One of letting go to how we see ourselves, how we define ourselves, our identity, all the way to the core of it.

Multilayered journey

 

After seeing the rather heavy-handed and one-dimensional use of symbolism in The Fountain last night, I thought of how it could be done differently, and also what type of stories I am more drawn to.

Mainly, they tend to be multi-layered, functioning at many different levels, the way mythology and many fairy tales do. One the surface level, they are adventures, exciting enough in themselves to hold people’s attention and interest even if the adventure level is all they are aware of. At another level, they symbolize our path through life, our relationships with others, ourselves and various life situations. They also represent dynamics within our psyche, for instance the drama between persona and shadow. And finally, the most interesting of them also represent the spiritual journey through to awakening.

More specifically, it would be interesting to see contemporary stories that dramatize the path of individualization and awakening: (a) the field of seeing and seen, (b) filtering itself through a sense of I and Other, (c) identifying in a conventional way with a human self, going about its daily life, (d) breaking out of the trance, recognizing the trance, (e) struggling with the dynamics of persona and shadow, peeling of new layers of the shadow, including (f) finding itself also as energy, soul and the formless, (g) and then die to a sense of I and any identity whatsoever, awakening as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.

And this is, of course, the Matrix Trilogy: multi-layered, offering something for everyone, representing the hero’s journey to individualization and finally full awakening.

Neo starts out living a conventional life, as a drone in a corporate office (c). He is kicked out of the trance through circumstances beyond his control (d), and awakens to himself as far more than he had imagined. He starts embracing the positive (immediately desirable) aspects of his shadow (through the training), and is also forced to face and eventually embrace the negative (apparently undesirable) aspects of his shadow (Agent Smith et al) (e). At the end of the first movie, he also finds himself as more than just a human of flesh and blood, but also as energy and consciousness (f). Finally, through the face-off between the final remains of what appears as I and Other, he dies as what he takes himself to be, and awakens to a new life.

As traditional mythology shows us, there is no end of variations on this story, and no end of aspects of it to be explored more in detail, so there is lots of room for many more movies exploring this, even after The Matrix. Especially if they are a little more sophisticated about it than The Fountain (a good attempt, but does not quite make it.)

Impulse to wholeness

 

There seems to be two main aspects to our impulse towards wholeness…

First, it is the intuition or sense of the field of seeing of seen, inherently absent of I. This field is already and always whole, or more accurately free from wholeness and fragmentation.

Then, there are the processes at work in the world of form, specifically – in all living organisms, the self-maintaining, self-healing and self-transcending processes.

And a psychological aspect of this process of self-organization is the dislike of suffering and draw to happiness and freedom from suffering. Disease at a physical level is often uncomfortable, so we seek health and wholeness there.

It is the same with dis-ease at a psychological level. It comes from a sense of separation, being finite in space and time, and from the basic sense of I and of I and Other, so there is a natural impulse to find a resolution to it, and we do this in many ways.

We seek healing and a sense of connection on a psychological level.

We notice, at first not even consciously, the inherent painfulness of a sense of I and Other, and We and Them, so we move along the path of egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to planetcentric, widening the circle of who we see as us.

And at some point, we start the process of shifting our center of gravity from the seen (our human self) to the seeing (pure awareness, witness), to the field of seeing and seen, inherently absent of I, awakening to itself.

The mirroring tendencies

At the same time, there are several mirroring and complementary tendencies.

First, of the field of seeing and seen to forget itself, to take itself as only a segment of itself, as this human self.

Then the inherent tendencies in the world of form towards disintegration, falling apart, accidents, malfunction.

And also the inherent tendencies of the mind, when operating in the context of a sense of I and Other, to create trouble for itself, to knot itself up and create a sense of drama through beliefs, and often through a complex set of contradictory beliefs.

Game of separation and finding itself

It is all part of the game the field plays with itself, first of forgetting itself, creating a sense of I and Other and experiencing the drama there, then of seeking itself through wholeness, and finally realizing the absence of I anywhere.

Both tendencies are part of the game, part of the drama, making it richer and more varied. One could not be without the other.

The Fountain

 

I saw The Fountain tonight, and my initial impression is that it is a strangely disjointed movie. The first hour and fifteen minutes or so were about as flat as a comic book or a computer game, with hardly any character development, and enough overdone pathos to last for several B movies without adding any depth or richness. While the last fifteen minutes blew me away.

I especially enjoyed the anthropos scene, the conquistador drinking from the Tree of Life and not being able to help allowing a whole world to grow from him. This is an image that is especially alive for me now as it showed up in a dream some days ago. The parallel is quite close, as I in the dream climbed up a mountain, was helped up the last steps by someone already up there, and then became the ground of a whole city and bay area. In the movie, he climbs up a pyramid, meets somebody there who is a gatekeeper, and becomes the ground of vegetation – of life.

And I enjoyed what seemed as a final acceptance of death and impermanence by someone who had been fighting it for centuries, which allowed him to find the real immortality. When we fight impermanence, we remain stuck in the world of form. We are closely and exclusively identified with it, and struggle within it, as one part, our human self, fighting another, time and change. When we finally accept transience and death, allowing it to be, to live its own life, we can find ourselves as the timeless, as the awake emptiness all forms arise within, to and as. That is the true immortality, the timelessness that is already and always here.

First, we need to find true wholeness as all of us, represented by the anthropos image. Then, often much later, we can find true immortality, through awakening as the awake emptiness and form that is always already here.

Of course, the ending also parallels the ending of The Matrix, and the ascension of Christ.

Update on Endarkenment

 

A quick update on the Endarkenment process:

It is difficult to find the right words to describe it, probably because it is still new for me, but something is definitely happening. There is a sense of lots of stuff coming up, parading through awareness, and embraced by the fertile darkness, and this happens both during the night in dreams and during the day. There is a sense of it being composted in a deepening way, made into a rich dark fertile soil. Sensations, memories, reactivity, fear, apprehension, sense of separation, sense of loss, failure, franticness, you name it. It all parades through, one after another, and there is a feeling into it, an welcoming from the fertile darkness, allowing it to compost into dark crumbly fertile soil.

I also notice how the “feeling into” can happen because there is a relatively open space for it, a degree of disidentification with whatever comes through, a being with it, a relative relaxation of the drama. (It seems that some of my practices has helped set the stage for this space.)

Unraveling knots: processing at all levels of our being

 

Whenever there is a realization, there is also the invitation of allowing it to be processed at all levels of our being: physical body, energies, emotions, cognitive and soul, or at each of the chakras, or at all the levels or whatever other model we use.

This is true when it comes to the unraveling of any of our knots and hangups, whether at our human level or in the awakening to realized selflessness. (The two are not that different, just two aspects of the same process.)

There is a belief in the world as a dangerous place, and our whole being organizes around that belief – at all levels. This knot can be unraveled starting at any level, and allowing each of the other levels to be included as well.

In The Work, we use the cognitive level as a starting point, inviting all the other ones to join through sitting with whatever insights come up, allowing them to penetrate, allowing our being to steep in them. In Breema, we use the body as a starting point, allowing our whole being to participate. In diksha, the energy body is the starting point, allowing each of the other levels of our being to reorganize.

There is the core belief in the idea of I, and our whole being organizes around it. Our whole being reflects this belief, as it does with any other belief. It is organized as if it is true, to the extent it is able to.

And as with any other knot, the starting point for unraveling it can be at any level: It can be cognitive, as in the many forms of self-inquiry. It can be the body, as in Breema. It can be energetically, as in diksha. And from there, all the other levels of our being can be invited to reorganize as well. What starts in one place seeps through our whole being, inviting it to reorganize.

Example

I see how this played itself out in the initial awakening in my teens. Spirit awakened to itself as Ground, seeing and seen, as everything and everyone. Spirit awakened to itself as beyond and including any and all polarities.

Yet, at the emotional level (and maybe energetic and physical levels) of this human self, the previous organization – coming from a sense of separation – remained to some extent. The emotional level behaved as if there was indeed separation and something to fear.

There was certainly some healing and reorganizing of these emotional patterns, but the old patterns – organized around the knot of separation and fear – were ingrained, and I didn’t quite know how to work with it effectively, so they did not reorganize and heal completely.

The clear realization at the levels of Spirit, soul/heart, and cognition did not completely extend into the emotional. There was a pocket there at the emotional level where the realization of all as Spirit did not reach.

So although there was a very clear realization of all as Spirit – including others and any emotion – the emotions of fear still came up in social situations.

How to

It is OK, of course, but for the human self to be a more effective and clear vehicle for Spirit, all levels need to reorganize, heal and mature.

It is a process, and one that can be helped along with some conscious work.

In of the ways to do this through the versatile Big Mind process where any of the voices can explore their relationship with each other and Big Mind/Big Heart, and can be explored from Big Mind/Big Heart. This allows them to reorganize to this new context of realized selflessness (even before it is fully realized!) .

Intermediate: not in charge

 

There is no “I” here, and this can be discovered in several different ways.

Ways of noticing

One is to notice that everything just happens: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, thoughts, decisions, behavior, it all just happens on its own. It lives its own life. There may be a sense of an I there, and that too just happens on its own.

Another is to explore the infinite causes to anything happening with this human self: it is all the activity of the whole of Existence, the whole beyond and including all polarities. How can it be any different? The more we inquire into this, the more alive this noticing becomes.

There is doing, but no doer.

Process

In the beginning, there may be a sense of an I there, somewhere in or around the human self, and it is taken for granted.

Then, as it is examined more, it appears more illusive and may even be recognized – to some extent – as illusory, created by a belief in the idea of I.

And from here on, life helps in wearing out this sense of I.

Any time life shows up differently than how our beliefs tells us it should, it is an invitation for the “I” to wear out.

At some point there may be the intermediate sense that I am not in charge here. There is a vague sense of I, there is everything happening, and the realization that this “I” has nothing to do with what is happening. There are thoughts, decisions and behavior, but the “I” is not involved.

This is what is happening for me right now. “I” am so clearly not in charge, not even in the most mundane and everyday behaviors.

This human self is living its own life, as a local manifestation of the larger whole. Even if there is a vague sense of an “I”, it is so clearly not in charge.

In noticing this, there is also a slight sense of unease. The familiar identity of a “doer” is outdated and cannot be taken for granted anymore. Can this human self function without the sense of “I” added to it? How does it look if there is no doer and no I there anymore?

The Projection Line

 

There are innumerable lines of development (even a cooking line!), so why not a projection line?

The Projection Line (PL) would reflect how sophisticated we are in our understanding of projections, and especially how this is lived in our daily life.

It is a line that depends on the cognitive line (need to be aware of it before we can get some insights into it), and feeds many other lines, such as the spiritual, moral and interpersonal.

Widening circles of awareness and the PL

As we move along the cognitive line, our circle of awareness widens, and this makes it possible for us to move further along the PL.

Widening circles of empathy and the PL

And as we move further along the PL, our circle of care, concern and compassion widens.

Initially, we see only a few people as in the same boat as ourselves. Then more and more people, then all beings, then all of Existence.

How does it look?

  1. I am aware of somebody/thing triggering attraction or aversion in me. (Cognitive line.)

  2. My PL kicks in and I recognize this as the sign of a projection. I find in myself what I see out there (spontaneously, or through the 3-2-1 shadow process, The Work, Process Work or another of the many shadow techniques out there).

  3. I recognize in myself what I see out there. I see myself in the other, and the other in myself, and from this recognition comes empathy. I am in the same boat as the other, and my circle of concern and compassion now more easily includes the other. (Moral, emotional and interpersonal lines.)

Ghost reactions

 

When there is a belief in a though, a whole pattern of reactions come up along with it. This is what we get to explore through question no. 3 in The Work, how do I react when I have that belief?

And when the belief is explored and falls away, these patterns go away, right?

Not necessarily, at least not immediately.

I notice that, of course, the thought may come up again as before, although now without or with less charge. It is seen through as reflecting no absolute truth, and as just one of many turnarounds that each hold some relative truth, some of which may appear more true than the initial one. It becomes transparent, ephemeral, space itself.

Also, I notice that the rest of the pattern may also arise, including some of the emotions and impulses to certain behaviors. But these too also arise with little or no charge to them. They come up more as a memory of old patterns than anything else.

One aspect of this pattern is the anticipation of the contraction. A situation comes up that used to trigger the belief and its associated contraction, and there is the thought uh-oh, this does not look good, I know I am going to contract and experience stress here. And the only stress is that particular thought, nothing more.

So these ghosts of old patterns may come up for a while, as a faint memory of what used to be, until they don’t.