I as seen, seeing and absent

 

There seems to be a simple progression from I as seen, then as seeing, and then absent.

I as seen

First, there is a belief in the idea of I and it is placed on content of awareness. More specifically, it is placed on this human self or aspects of this human self, those aspects that fit our identity, our beliefs of what or who we are as a human being.

This human self and the rest of the world arises in awareness, and this is filtered so that this human self appears as I and the rest of the world appears as Other.

In this process, awareness itself may appear as Other, as something that comes and goes, that there is more or less of, that can be distracted. I am this human self, an object in the world of phenomena, arising within space and time, subject to birth and death, and awareness is somehow an appendix to this human self, a property of this human self, and it can be more or less present.

The center of gravity is mainly in the seen, in our human self.

I as seeing

Then, the sense of I shifts to awareness itself, to pure seeing, to witness, to this clear awakeness.

I am awareness, and the whole world of phenomena arises within me. I am timeless and spaceless, and time and space arises within me. I am without form, and form arises to and within me. I am seeing, and Other is the seen.

There is a tremendous sense of liberation in this. There is a disidentification with the human self, with its reactivity, limited identity, precariousness and mortality. The world of form, the world of phenomena, is revealed as a seamless whole. There is no inside and outside anymore.

The center of gravity is mainly in the seeing itself.

Finally, there is the dawning realization that here too, there is a sense of I and Other, and where is really the dividing line? What is more true in immediate awareness? Is there an I and Other? How can there really be an I and Other here?

I as absent: Spirit as seeing and seen

As this is explored, there is the realization that any sense of I and Other comes from the belief in the idea of I, placed on the seen – this human self, or the seeing itself.

Now, seeing and seen is revealed as inherently and always absent of any I. It is all Ground in its many appearances. It is all Spirit. It is emptiness dancing. It is the Divine Mind, revealed as seeing and seen. The seen is no different from the seeing.

The center of gravity is now in Ground, appearing as seeing and seen.

Clear shifts

Each of these shifts are clear and significantly different from each other. Yet, there is also often a gradual shift in each case. There may be glimpses of the next phase, temporary shifts into it, intuitions about how it is, a sense of how it is. Then, there is a more clear shift into it.

For instance, when there is still a sense of I placed on the seeing itself, there may be a very clear sense of it all being one, that the seeing and seen is Spirit, that I and Other is no different. But this is still merely a sense of it. It has not yet shifted into a clear, obvious, indisputable realization that seeing and seen is inherently absent of any I whatsoever. The center of gravity is still mainly in the seeing and has not yet shifted into Ground.

And when this shift occurs, it is seen how filtered the previous realization was, how much there was still a sense of I there, even if it appeared quite transparent at the time.

Content Changing to Allow for Recognition of Ground

 

I don’t know if there is a typical pattern here, but it seems that…

Initial awakening and amazing experiences

During initial awakenings, to soul levels and nature/deity mysticism, there is typically a large amount of amazing experiences, including deep insights out of the blue, strong energy experiences, causeless bliss and joy, seeing of auras, new abilities in any area of life, and so on.

Attachments as a carrot

So naturally, there can be an attachment to this particular content. This can be very helpful for a while, it is the carrot that keeps it moving.

Fall from grace

After a while, the process is ready to move on beyond attachment to this particular content. If there is still a stubborn attachment to this content (as was the case with me), then the rug may be pulled from under one’s feet, as an invitation to see this attachment and allow it to burn through.

Dark night

After a while of despair, a sense of dryness and weariness may surface, a clearer seeing of the futility and confusion in attaching to any particular content, even that content which seems most appealing and attractive to this human self.

Realized selflessness

And in this dryness, this setting of all dials to zero, the Ground may surface more, it may shift more into the foreground, this Ground of all content, of all phenomena, of all experiences. There may be a taste of real selflessness here, and eventually a clearer realization of selflessness – maybe first in glimpses and then more stable and clearly.

Now, the Ground awakens to its own nature of no I anywhere, naturally allowing any content to come and go, to live its own life, within and as Ground itself. Bliss and pain, joy and sadness, dryness and ecstasy, it is all recognized as nothing other than Ground itself.

Ground is primary and in the foreground. The particularities of the content is all recognized as Ground itself, and important only in a relative context.

Preferences of this human self – within context of I and realized selflessness

The preferences of this human self are still there, yet now within a different context.

First, there was the context of a sense of I, so the preferences of this human self naturally came into the foreground. There was an attachment to some experiences, to some content, and an aversion to other content. All this is perfectly natural and innocent.

Then, in a context of realized selflessness, there is still the preferences of this human self, as before. But now, these too unfold as Ground. These preferences, as any other phenomena, unfold as emptiness. The nature of these preferences as Ground, as emptiness, as Spirit, is in the foreground, is primary, is clear, inherent in what is happening.

They are not identified with. They are not seen as I. The center of gravity is no longer in these preferences. They just happen as anything else. They live their own life, as anything else. They happen with no doer there. They arise with no I to be found anywhere in it.

Typical Things Happening in Awakening (?)

 

Here are some things that seem typical in an awakening process. At least one that goes from identification with our human self to realized selflessness, or F5 through to nondual in Ken Wilber’s framework.

Here is a somewhat rambling and unsystematic overview of what comes to mind…

Wholeness of psyche/body

A sense of wholeness of our human self, beyond and including what we abstract out as psyche and body. This is the F6 or centaur level in KW’s framework, and is typically included in further awakenings.

Sense of intimacy with the world, no separation

As there is an immediate experience of the wholeness of our human self, there is also a sense of the wholeness of the rest of the world of phenomena. At the same time, the boundary between our human self and the rest of the world of phenomena appears more transparent. There is a growing sense of intimacy with anything arising in the outer world. There may be an intuition or sense that the boundary was only a mental construct in the first place. This is the nature mysticism, or F7, level in KW’s framework.

At this phase, the center of gravity is shifting out of our human self and more into the seeing itself, into consciousness.

As the center of gravity shifts more into the seeing, into witness, pure awareness, this sense of intimacy with the world of phenomena, and of no separation, becomes stronger. The boundaries within the world of phenomena is more clearly seen as superimposed and mere abstractions. And there is also as sense of the apparent split between seeing and seen as an overlay of abstractions, as not inherent in the seeing/seen.

Sense of all as sacred, Spirit, God, Buddha Mind, Divine Mind

As the center of gravity shifts into seeing, into awareness, there is a growing sense of all phenomena as sacred, as Spirit. There is a sense of the seen as no different from the seeing, and it is all the play of the Divine Mind. This is the deity mysticism phase in KW’s framework. There is still a sense of I here, although now more placed on the seeing itself.

Sense of timelessness

As the center of gravity shifts into the seeing, into pure awareness, there is also a sense of timelessness. Pure awareness is timeless, and it can be tasted very clearly as awareness gradually becomes more aware of itself.

Time unfolds within awareness, not the other way around. Change unfolds within, and really as, that which is changeless – this seeing, this pure awareness, that is right here reading these words.

Time and change unfolds as before, although seen as secondary to the context of awareness as inherently timeless and changeless. The nature of awareness it timeless. It is the eternal now, the timeless present, within which and as all change happens.

Sense of spacelessness

At the same time, there is also a growing sense of spacelessness. The world of phenomena seem 2D in a way. There is a sense of no distance. There is a sense or intuition of everything arising as awareness, or consciousness, itself, as arising from the same Ground, and in this – there is no distance, no separation, no space.

Within this sense of spacelessness, conventional space and distance unfolds as before, although seen as secondary to the spacelessness. Spacelessness is in the foreground, conventional space is in the background. Spacelessness is the context of conventional space, which is seen as not different from spacelessness, it is made up of spacelessness.

World of phenomena as a field

Again, as the center of gravity shifts into seeing, into pure awareness, the world of phenomena is seen as a seamless field. This human self is just a part of the landscape of what is arising in the eternal now.

The boundaries between this human self and the rest of phenomena arising, is more and more clearly revealed as superimposed, as a mental construct. It seemed real when the center of gravity was in this human self, but now, as the center of gravity is in seeing itself, the boundary has a sense of transparency and lack of reality about it.

Everything happening on its own, living its own life

As the center of gravity shifts from the world of phenomena, in the form of this human self, and into the seeing, there is also a gradual release of any sense of doer.

First, there is the noticing of sounds, tastes and smells, sensations and thoughts as just happening on their own, they seem to live their own life.

Then, and more shockingly, there is the growing realization that this human self – including its choices and behaviors, is just happening on its own. That too is just living its own life. The sense of doer is retracted from this human self, and seen as another superimposed mental construct.

No doer

The sense of no doer grows. First, it may be seen in sights, smells/tastes, sensations and thoughts coming and going on their own, living their own life. Then, there may be a growing sense or intuition that this is also true for this human self, for the choices and behaviors it engages in.

As the center of gravity shifts into pure seeing, witnessing of this human self, it becomes more and more clear that it is just doing things on its own. There is no I there to make anything happen, it happens on its own. There is no doer there to do anything, the doing happens on its own.

This can be unsettling at first. Will it survive on its own, with no I or doer there to take care of it? Then, there is the realization that it has survived fine so far, and there has never been an I or doer there in the first place.

In the awakening to selflessness, in Ground awakening to its own nature as seer and seen with no I anywhere, this becomes clear. Any lingering doubts fall away. This human self, as any other phenomena, has always functioned without an I, without any doer.

Unless, of course, you see consciousness itself – the Ground as emptiness and phenomena, as seeing and seen – as the doer. The doer with no I anywhere.

World of phenomena as space, emptiness, awareness, consciousness

While the center of gravity is in the seeing, in pure awareness, there is a growing realization that what is seen does not appear so different from the seeing itself. There is a growing sense of the content of awareness as awareness itself.

And although it is the awareness functioning through a human self, it does not seem to be human awareness. It is the Divine Mind which this whole universe arises within, and which is seeing itself right here now.

Along with this, there may be a sense of realization of this human self, and indeed all phenomena, really being space or emptiness. They themselves are this aware space.

The seen and the seeing both arises from this Ground, which is aware emptiness. And this is an immediate realization.

One Taste

As part of all this, there is also a growing sense of One Taste. Whatever happens is recognized as Ground temporarily taking a particular form.

First, this may be tasted in glimpses. Then, there may be a growing undercurrent of this sense. And in the awakening of selflessness, it is clearly revealed as always and everywhere being this way.

Reversals

Along with all of this are various forms of reversals.

When center of gravity was in this human self, awareness seemed within this human self. Now, as the center of gravity shifts into pure seeing and is eventually released as Ground, this human self is seen as arising within awareness, within and as Divine Mind, within and as Ground.

Similarly, early tastes of timelessness seemed to appear within time. Now, time arises within and as the timeless, this timeless awareness, this eternal now.

Tastes of spacelessness seemed to appear within space. Now, space arises within and as spacelessness.

Earlier, things seemed to happen to me, as a human being. Now, everything seems to happen for me, as an invitation for awakening and clarification.

And maybe most shockingly of all: Earlier, there was a sense of an I – variously placed on this human self, pure awareness, and maybe other things. Now, everything arises with no I anywhere. In and beyond the seeing and the seen, there is no I anywhere to be found.

And other aspects…

Synchronicities

Synchronicities, meaningful a-causal coincidences, seem to occur (or at least be noticed) more frequently as this awakening process unfolds.

During the initial awakening in my teens, my days were filled with meaningful coincidences occurring – surprising, unexpected and noticeable enough so even others remarked on it frequently.

Energy shifts and reorganizations

In any awakening, there seems to be a good deal of energy shifts and reorganizations. This human self, and its energy aspects, needs to reorganize within and realign with the new contexts it is operating within.

First, this is the context of center of gravity in pure awareness. Then, the context of realized selflessness, of Ground awakening.

Since it happens within space and time, it takes time…! It takes a long time or a short time, and it can be dramatic and very noticeable if it happens fast and/or there is a lot of realigning needed, or less dramatic and less noticeable if it happens slower and/or less realigning is needed.

Again, in the initial awakening in my teens, this realigning was quite dramatic, and it took a while as well (months and years). It seemed to mostly take place during sleep.

Hidden psychological material (including shadow) emerging to be seen

Psychological material emerges, especially those aspects that have been repressed and denied in various ways. It comes up and all seems to want is to be seen, to be recognized, acknowledged – through the simple seeing of it. No drama is needed. It just needs to surface. These aspects seem to be like children who needs to be let in to the warmth for a while, until they heal, mature and are ready to move on.

It can be dramatic. It can be unpleasant. If it is resisted, there is more drama and unpleasantness. And if it is resisted less, if there is just the seeing of it with no added drama, just the being with it, then it can be less dramatic and less unpleasant.

It can even be quite interesting: here are all these things I didn’t even know was here, and now they are surfacing. They, as everything else, come to pass, not to stay, as Byron Katie puts it.

Trust in this Human Self Functioning Without a Doer

 

In writing the previous post, I see more clearly that there is a fear around retracting a sense of a doer from this human self. Can it function without it? Will it be OK?

This is of course only a temporary concern. Even in the midst of it, there is the realization that this human self has done very well without a doer, all the way back to its conception. There has never been a doer there in the first place. It has always lived its own life. There has only been the sense of a doer there, superimposed onto it. The does was manufactured in the first place. A figment of nobodys(!) imagination.

And after a while, there is a familiarity with this terrain in the context of selflessness. There is no doer there, yet it does function much as before. There is no I there, yet it still moves, talks, interacts, gets out of bed, brushes its teeth, functions in the world.

So gradually, there is a growing trust. A growing willingness to let the idea of doer go. To allow this human self to function on its own, with no doer, with no I, as it has functioned from the beginning.

Inquiry & Organic Unfolding

 

I don’t know if this is true (it is, after all, only my story), but it seems that inquiry allows for a gentle unfolding.

With many other approaches, it may not be possible to do it “too much” (what would that mean?), but it is definitely possible to do enough for there to be a serious backlash. And that can be quite unpleasant, while also carry some opportunities for insights and maturation.

But with inquiry, I only look at what is true for me (first person singular) in the present. What is alive for me right now? There is a gentle curiosity and receptivity in inquiry, which allows the unfolding to occur in an organic and gently paced way.

Inquiry works with what is already there, just noticing what is already there. Nothing is imposed. Nothing is added. Nothing is pushed.

Unless, of course, something is imposed, added and/or pushed. When that happens for me, I see that it often comes from an idea of a “goal” besides or beyond just seeing more clearly what is true for me in the present. When there is the belief in an idea of a goal – such as relief from suffering, realizing selflessness, being a good spiritual student, being insightful and so on – it brings discomfort. And this discomfort is an invitation to bring this belief itself into inquiry, and see what is really true for me there. Do I really want an abstract goal, however compelling it may seem? Or do I want to see more clearly what is really there, what is true for me right now?

Ego

 

Although less than before, the word “ego” is still used in some teachings, often talked about as something substantial, something that resists change, something that functions as a straitjacket. Even – sometimes – as something that is implicitly or explicitly bad, evil, holding us back, to be overcome, and so on.

Belief in the idea of I

When I look at it, all I find is just a belief in an idea. A belief in the idea of “I”, and placed on something finite – usually part of our human self, or placed on something that is not really finite, but certainly just a segment of what is, the seeing, the witness.

And from this belief comes all the things we associate with “ego”: sense of separation, sense of being an object in the world, resistance, narrowness, self-centeredness, protectiveness, rigidity, stuckness, blind attractions and repulsions, and so on.

Innocent mistake

There is just an innocent and temporary mistake, resulting in a wide range of phenomena in our human lives – most of which creates a sense of drama, and of suffering.

It all comes from an unexamined belief. A core belief, which forms our whole outlook on life and the world, and how we live our lives. I does have dramatic consequences. But it is still an innocent mistake. And not even a mistake, it just is. It is part of being human today, and has been for generations.

Falling away

As soon as we see through this belief, as soon as we realize that no phenomena – no segment of what is, has any inherent “I” in it, then we drop it as a hot coal as some say. There is no struggle. Nothing to resist. Nothing to fight. Only the seeing of it. Then the rest happens on its own.

Process

Before this happens, here is a habitual sense of self, and it is unexamined. It seems very real, very substantial. I believe in the idea of “I” and place it on some parts of this human self. I am an object in the world. I am here, everything else is out there. From this, the whole human drama is created and plays itself out.

Then, there is an intuition of selflessness, a hunch, a glimpse, a taste of it. And we cannot really believe in it any longer, although the vague habitual sense of self may still hang around for a while. It is a habitual pattern, after all. Here, when I look I find myself as that in which the whole world of phenomena plays itself out, including my human self.

Finally, after more exploring, more glimpses, more tastes, it shifts and comes into the foreground. Now, there is no doubt, no question, nothing more to explore. It is clear. There is no “I” inherent in any forms, no “I” in any phenomena, no “I” to be placed anywhere. There is just what is, with no “I” anywhere. Just the field of what is. Just the groundless ground, forming itself into these myriads of temporary forms – this human self, these sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, focus, awareness, and this world, these trees, buildings, cars, people, plants, clouds, stars, galaxies.

From I to No I, Dark Night, Deepening into the Nondual

 

Here is a summary of recent slightly obsessive ruminations (!).

Three phases: from I to no I

When there is a belief in the thought “I” and it is placed on my human self, then there is a blind caught-upness in whatever is happening. I am identified with some parts of what’s happening, and try to either hold onto or push away other parts, and there is a sense of struggle and suffering. I see myself as an object in the world, at the mercy of an infinite number of other and unpredictable objects. So, naturally I am also caught up in emotions such as fear, desire, aversion, anger and so on.

When there is an an awakening to pure awareness, to the Witness, there is still a belief in the thought “I” but now placed on the seeing. There is a sense of release here. I can work on and learn how to allow anything and everything to come and go as guests, to arise, unfold and fade within space & awareness. Learning this is a process and involves some effort and attention.

When what is awakens to itself as having no “I” anywhere – when no segment of what is revealed as having no inherent “I” – there is a more complete release. There is the same content – awareness and phenomena, seeing and seen – but no “I” as either our human self or awareness or anything else. It is all just happening. And there is an immediate realization of it as emptiness, as emptiness dancing. Again, there may be the same content – pain, anger, confusion, grief and so on – but it is all revealed as emptiness dancing. There is no suffering anymore.

Dazzled and dark night

During the awakening as formless awareness, there may be a good deal of bells and whistles going off. Bliss, miracles, synchronicities, seeing and engaging with energies, experiencing all as God and Spirit, and so on. And since there is a belief in an “I” there is also an attachment to phenomena, however subtle it may seem at the time. We are dazzled by the show – by the content, and since it is subtly experienced as “other” there is also a subtle holding onto it.

Two things can happen here. Either we continue and awaken as the nondual, as no “I” anywhere. Or we continue to hold onto I and other, and as the content moves – as it always does – there is a fall from grace. It seems that one way this can be triggered is through exhaustion of the human self, from the high energies that can be experienced in this awakening.

In Ken Wilber’s framework, the awakening to Witness is F9, and it can be accompanied by awakening to F7 and F8 which is nature- and deity-mysticism. At all of these levels, there is a belief in the thought “I”, and a subtle sense of I and other. And this can occur even if there is a clear sense, feeling or intuition of God being completely beyond and including any and all polarities. We have an immediate and (apparently) clear realization of this, yet this whole beyond all polarities is subtly “other”. “I” am here as pure awareness, experiencing Existence as beyond and including all polarities. There is a oneness of “I” and the whole of Existence, of God.

During the dark night of the soul, there is a sense of loss of connection with God and of “dryness”. No content gives comfort anymore. And this is exactly what is needed for the awakening to ground, to the emptiness which content arises within and as. To the context for all content and experiences, to that which never changes and is always right here now. To what is, with no “I” inherent in any segment of it.

No I

The irony is of course that this experience of “no I” seems to be all of ours immediate experience. We just don’t trust it, and add a belief to the thought “I” onto it. Somehow, it seems safer that way. We become familiar with that way of operating.

And we have trouble becoming childlike again, to drop what we have been trained to see and experience, so we can realize that there is indeed on “I” anywhere in our immediate experience.

It is what aways is. Indeed, it is that which time unfolds within and as.

Or more accurately, it is that in which the fluid seamless whole of form (time & space) unfolds within and as.

Deepening into the nondual

There may also be a deepening into the nondual (I don’t know too much about this). First, it may be a nondual awakening with same content as before. Then, it may deepen to be present to itself during the sleep and waking cycles of our human self (as it seems that it can be at F7-F9 awakenings as well). Then it may expand in space for all I know.

Transcend and include

As the nondual awakening has the same content as before, only with no “I” anywhere, it is another case of transcend and include. Nothing is lost, apart from the belief in the thought “I” and the struggle and suffering that brought with it. There is an effortless inclusion of our human self and human life, in its fullness – and its continuing development and maturation.

The Direction

 

What is the aim or direction of spiritual practice? In the end, it is just to become a more full and healthy human being.

We start out with dualistic perception. Then awaken to the nature of mind and a transdual view. Then we deepen and clarify it while we also bring it more fully into more and more situations in our daily life. And we learn to become more and more full human beings, to unstick, to let go of any fixed identity, to see this personality – with all its likes and dislikes and hangups – with some humor, to soften, to fully be whatever comes up, to be a good friend, spouse, child, parent, boss, employee, community member… It is the most beautiful path, and in many ways – the most ordinary…

Interpretations

 

Two people who had awakened with the same guru met, and one – who made his living from teaching – said to the other “so you are still driving a bus?”

This can be interpreted in many different ways…

  • It came from arrogance
  • It came from a gentle nudge, saying “you have such wonderful gifts, why don’t you share them with others through another form of paid work?”
  • It was a nudge with an edge to it, to shake the recipient up
  • Or a mix of the above

Of course, even if I were there – or was one of the two – these are still just stories.

Liberation & Awakening to Big Mind

 

As mentioned in past postings, there are many awakenings – its a continuing process.

  1. Matter
    Existence emerge as matter.

  2. Life
    Matter reorganize into life – which we can say is a form of awakening. Initially, life operates through instinctual biological processes.

  3. Local Awareness
    Life awaken into awareness. First, this awareness is quite dull and very local – mostly tied to instinctual biological processes.

  4. Self
    Then, awareness awakens to the self – independent of which species it is – as a separate entity, separate from other selves and objects. It is exclusively identified with the self, and caught up in the processes of the self. Here, awareness functions in a dualistic way. The self tries to fix itself, which only has limited and temporary success. It is not a satisfactory situation.

  5. The Nature of Mind
    From here, awareness can awaken to its own nature, as spacious awareness – distinct from its content and the personality. As it comes to its own nature in more and more situations, this realization becomes more stable, and clarifies and deepens. This is the process of liberation. From being blindly caught up in the processes of the self – the habitual patterns of emotions/thoughts/behaviors – it is now released from them. This allows for an even deeper and more intimate engagement with the self and the world.

  6. Transdual
    When awareness awakens to its own nature, it also starts to function in a more transdual way. It awakens to the Absolute, distinct from the Relative world of phenomena. And from this “ground” it sees all phenomena – beyond dualities – as parts of a seamless fluid whole.

  7. Big Mind
    The awakening of awareness into Big Mind is an emergence from the two previous awakenings. Awareness awakens into a fully transdual view – embracing the Absolute and Relative. The self becomes a vehicle for Big Mind.

  8. Rehumanized
    From here, awareness can rehumanize – reawaken to the humanity of the self. In the terminology of the Big Mind process, it learns to freely manifest through transpersonal and personal voices. It is not stuck, there is no fixed identity on any level.

  9. Evolution etc.
    Somewhere along the last few awakenings, there can also be an awakening into evolution. An awakening into conscious evolution – of being a part of the evolution of humanity, the Earth, this universe, and the relative aspect of Existence as a whole. The relative aspect of Existence becomes fuller, richer, more complex – while the Absolute is what it is, beyond simple. Big Mind becomes fuller and richer, while always having the same “ground”.

Cycles of Awakening & Integration

 

Our lives seems to be cycles of awakenings and integration.

First, we awaken to an experience, a glimpse, realization or insight. Then we integrate it into our lives. These awakenings and integrations occurs at all scales, from everyday glimpses and insights to larger shifts and awakenings.

Our lives are cycles within cycles of awakening and integration.

And these awakenings – when looked at from a larger perspective – typically involve widening circles. Our identity widens, becomes more inclusive, embraces more and more polarities, becomes more porous and fluid – until any fixed identity falls away.

We awaken into the nature of mind, and the integration consists of coming to the nature of mind in more and more situations. We awaken to Big Mind, and the integration consists of rehumanizing and bringing it into an ordinary human life.