Samsara is nirvana

 

Samsara is nirvana.

Here is one way look at it:

Samsara can be seen as beliefs, velcro, identifications.

That too is awareness, it happens within and as awareness and love. (It’s what we are.)

Also, in an ordinary sense, it’s there to protect the imagined self. It comes from love.

In that way, what appears as delusion – and sometimes is expressed as hatred, greed, confusion and more – is already awareness and love, and it’s also love in a conventional sense.

Samsara is nirvana.

As I see this in myself, I begin to recognize it in others. My experience of myself and others shift.

And that doesn’t mean that it’s kind to allow unkind behavior in myself or others. That’s something very different.

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Samsara is nirvana

 

Samsara is nirvana.

First, what do the two terms refer to? For me, samsara is when mind is identified with images and thoughts, when these are held as true. And nirvana is clarity around this, a more clear seeing that an image is an image and not “true”. These images and thoughts may be “true” in a conventional sense, in that they are of practical value to help us navigate and orient in the world, and they are really not true at all.

Some ways I find how samsara is nirvana:

Any content of experience is awakeness. My whole field of experience is awakeness, and that which allows awakeness and it’s appearances. Confusion (identification with images/thoughts) is also this awakeness. In this way, samsara is nirvana. It’s all awakeness.

Identification comes from and is love. Identification with images and thoughts (samsara) comes from love and is love. It comes from a desire to protect the image and idea of me and I. It is worried love. In this way too, samsara is nirvana. Identification and all that comes with it (discomfort, contraction, reactive emotions etc.) comes from and is love.

The world is my mirror. When I see identification in others, it’s happening within my own world of images. It’s my own identification, since (said more accurately) it happens within my own world of images, and (said more conventionally) it mirrors my own identifications. Imagining identification “out there” in others points right back at it in myself. There is an invitation for me to take a closer look at what’s happening here, and find more clarity. In that sense, samsara leads to nirvana, and recognizing samsara as nirvana.

Samsara and nirvana coexist. Even a little more peripherally, I notice how samsara and nirvana coexist in my immediate experience. Right now, there is contraction and identification, and there is infinity and non-identification. The two are here at the same time, and when I see that, it seems inevitable that they coexist here now. Even if they are not exactly the same, in this sense, they at least coexist.

They are both labels. Samsara and nirvana are both labels, they only exist in my own images and thoughts. In that sense too, they are both the same. They are both images and thoughts, and not inherent in reality. As they appear to me, they are created by my own mind. The existence of them, and the distinction between them, is all created by my own images and thoughts.

Nostalgia for samsara

 

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

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

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Nostalgia for samsara

 

Nostalgia for samsara happens in different ways. Maybe the simplest, and one we all may experience daily, is a nostalgia for old patterns that have weakened or identification has gone out of.

I notice this one when I find myself in a situation that used to trigger a certain pattern, and the pattern is either not there or just a ghost of itself with no hooks anymore. There is a sense that I should go into the old pattern, that this pattern inherently goes with the situation, that it is somehow wrong to not go into it as I used to. The old familiar habitual pattern is so strongly associated with the situation that something feels off if it is not there. Yet, it is also not possible to go into the old pattern in the same way as before. It does not have the same hooks anymore. It doesn’t have the same juice anymore.

And as time goes by, this one too falls away.

The coin of ignorance: exploring both sides

 

In Buddhism, they talk about three (greed, anger, ignorance) or five (greed, anger, pride, envy, ignorance) poisons, or roots of suffering.

All of these can be collapsed into one: ignorance.

One side of the coin: ignorance of what we already are

And this ignorance can generally be seen as ignorance of what we really are, as Big Mind, Spirit, emptiness and form, Headless, absent of any I.

Other side of the coin: ignorance of the mechanisms of samsara

At the other side of the coin, this ignorance can be seen as ignorance of the mechanisms of Samsara. What, specifically, is it that happens when there is a mistaken identification. When Big Mind suddenly takes itself to be only a fragment of itself, as a part of the seen or as the seeing itself.

What is it that is really happening, and how can I explore that, over and over, in my own experience, so there is a gradually deepening familiarity with this process, eventually leading to a natural release from it.

Exploring the coin

There are many ways to explore either or both sides of this coin.

The Work: exploring both sides of the coin

Through The Work, we explore – in quite some detail, one way of looking at the mechanisms of samsara. What happens when there is a belief in a thought, when an abstraction is taken as truth itself? What are the consequences of this, in the many areas of my life? How does it unfold?

Towards the end of the inquiry, in question four and the turnarounds, we get to see who or what we are without this belief.

By doing this, over and over, on whatever beliefs remain and come up, we learn not only about the mechanisms of samsara but also what we are without beliefs. Gradually, there is more and more of a taste of and emerging into Big Mind.

Other approaches

The Big Mind process is another way to explore both sides of the coin, to almost infinite detail.

Headless experiments may not guide us through the terrain in the same detail as The Work and the Big Mind process, but they certainly set the stage for it by allowing us a taste of what we really are. From here, we are free to explore on our own, in as much detail as we want.

Beliefs, Resistance and Samsara

 

Beliefs and resistance seems to be two sides of the same coin, and also the main mechanism of samsara.

Whenever there is a belief in any abstraction, there is also resistance.

And whenever there is resistance, there is also resistance to the effects of resistance.

Beliefs as resistance

Whenever there is any attachment to a thought, it gives rise to a sense of I and Other, to an identity (I am this and not that), and to a sense of Other and Not That as a disturbance.

There is resistance to what is through trying to hold onto some aspects and trying to push away other aspects. And from this comes a sense of struggle and drama.

Resistance to resistance

When there is resistance to what is in this way, there is not only the appearance of Other and of a disturbance, but the whole process also gives rise to an experience of suffering.

On top of this, there can be resistance to the suffering as well. There is the effects of the initial resistance in the form of suffering, and then resistance to those effects which in turns adds to the experience of suffering.

Unraveling

To unravel this, we can start at the belief end or the resistance end of it.

Starting at the belief end, we can for instance do The Work on beliefs and allow them to unravel in that way. When beliefs unravel, resistance unravel with them – along with a sense of suffering.

Starting at the resistance end, we can be with whatever is experienced – allowing it its own life, befriending it, finding peace with it even if it would never go away (which it always does, at some point). As the resistance falls away and there is a familiarity with the new terrain, the corresponding beliefs tend to unravel as well.

Making Good Use of Samsara **

 

Writing down some of these Process Work processes, I am reminded of what Byron Katie said somewhere: As long as we think there is I and Others, we may as well make good use of it (paraphrased).

One way of making good use of it is The Work. Another is Process Work. And then there is the Big Mind process and other approaches as well.

Before awakening to selflessness, they help us align more with this awakening and prepare the ground for it and for living from it.

And after the awakening, they may still be useful and helpful in exploring the dynamics of the Relative world in general, and this bodymind in particular. As long as we have this vehicle we may as well get to know it better and fine tune its functioning in the world of phenomena.

Mechanisms of Samsara and (Other) Edges *

 

I read Julie Diamond’s Encounters with the Spirit (in The Journal of Process Oriented Psychology, Vol. 7) on the train back from Portland tonight, and of the many parallels to other approaches I noticed, there is an interesting one with realizing selflessness.

Dynamics at the edges

In Process Work, they talk about primary processes (our familiar, conscious and limited identity), secondary processes (what is also there, although not yet brought into awareness and familiar), and the edge between the two.

And in working with a client or oneself, it is important to explore what is going on at the edge, what patterns and dynamics do we find there, what are the mechanisms of the edge, how do we relate to it, and so on. What we find is partly universal and shared, partly an individually flavored longer term pattern, and partly related to the specific edge and time.

The more we familiarize ourselves with the dynamics at the edge in general, and how it shows up for us in particular, the better we will be able to navigate that terrain. The more familiar, the easier the journey.

Mechanisms of samsara

And in realizing selflessness, there is a similar process. As we move between a sense of I and glimpses of selflessness, and explore the shoreline between the two, we gradually gain familiarity and intimacy with the dynamics there.

We get to see, over and over, the mechanisms of samsara. The dynamics which creates a sense of I and Other, and also what allows those to unravel and reveal selflessness.

And one of the many ways to explore these dynamics is through The Work. The four questions and the turnaround helps us see the terrain at this edge between holding onto beliefs and its effects, and of seeing through them, allowing the attachment to them to effortlessly release.

Edges

In both cases, we explore the dynamics at the edge, in one case between primary and secondary processes, and in the other case between samsara and awakening (which can be seen as a particular primary process – sense of I, and secondary process – awakening to selflessness).

And through becoming familiar with the dynamics at these edges, of how they appear in general and also in our particular case, we learn to navigate that terrain more skillfully. And if we want to, how to allow the edges to soften and unravel, and explore what is on the other side in a gentle way.

Befriending

 

The world is my mirror – whether I find myself as human beings and/or as Big Mind.

As a human being, whatever I see out there reflect myself in here.

And as Big Mind, everything arising is me.

Resistance to what is

When I resist this, there is pain. It is the signal that I am excluding in my mind something that is inherently a part of what is and myself.

And resistance comes up when I attach to a thought, as any thought by necessity is different from and more limited than what is.

In other words, when I attach to a thought, I immediately create an exclusive identity, which has to be painful as it conflicts with my nature which is beyond and including any and all polarities.

What is – free from descriptions

What is is – and I am – inherently beyond and including existence and nonexistence, spirit and matter, formless and form, seer and seen, awakened and deluded, living and nonliving, life and death, culture and nature, mind and body, right and wrong, and so on.

What is is – and I am – inherently free from all this. Any name describe me, yet I am free from any name.

Mechanisms of pain

As a human being, the pain comes in many ways.

It comes from a limited repertoire. I am invited to bring out more of my qualities, yet don’t because I am not familiar with them yet or exclude them through holding onto a limited identity.

The pain is also there due to a sense of separation. I see qualities out there and not in here, and the other way around. I see myself as a separate entity. I see myself as variously better and/or worse than what I see out there. I get caught up in seeking something and avoiding other things, in my internal and external life. I get caught up in blind identifications. I get caught up in struggle.

Not seeing in myself what I see out there gives rise to pain in innumerable ways.

At the level of Big Mind, the pain simply comes from separation – from the appearance of I and Other in the field of what is, inherently absent of any I or Other.

Befriending

So no wonder we have found many ways to help ourselves heal this split in our experience of what is, this fictional life bringing about pain.

  • Being with
    The simplest approach is to just be with whatever is happening. I just ask myself Can I be with what I am experiencing right now? I am with whatever is happening, including the impulse to resist and push something away. And in that way, I befriend whatever is happening. The ficitional boundary between this particular form of I and Other dissolve.

  • Welcoming in
    Going a little furhter, I can actively embrace and welcome in whatever is arising. I see them as lost children wanting attention and warmth, and provide it for them.

  • Inquiry
    Then there are the many forms of inquiry, including The Work. Here, I examine attachments to thoughts and allow them to unravel – and the resistance with them. What appeared as an Other and a disturbance (or worse) is now revealed as a friend. What arises may be the same (or not) but the charge went out of it.

  • Process Work
    In Process Work, I unravel the process behind whatever is happening in the external or internal world. I follow the bread crumbs, and find the gift behind it. In this way too, anything happening becomes a friend – an invitation into exploring aspects of the world and myself that is new to me, and allowing boundaries to dissolve.

  • Giving it over to the divine
    And I can give it over to the divine. That is where it is anyway, so I am really just giving over my experience of myself as an individual separate doer. Everything is living its own life anyway, and this is another reminder.

  • Asking for it to resolve
    As a more active version of the previous one, I can ask for resolution in whatever way it needs to resolve.

    I may also ask to see whatever I need to see for it to resolve. I may ask for whatever in me that needs to unravel to unravel. I may ask for harvesting of whatever gifts and nutrients are in it.

    I see that holding an intention in this way – precise and open ended at the same time – creates a sense of a field within which this unraveling can take place.

A Universe Spawned from a Simple Thought

 

Examining beliefs through the Byron Katie inquiry, I see over and over how a simple belief – an attachment to a simple thought – spawns a large set of secondary thoughts and beliefs.

A simple belief creates a whole world – to keep itself company, or rather to support itself and appear more real, more believable.

Cath the belief as soon as it arises, and the whole set of secondary beliefs do not arise. Don’t catch it, and the whole set of secondary (and tertiary and so on) beliefs arise – and create lots of work for psychologists (!)

Example

An example is what happens as a consequence of the belief in the thought “I”.

As soon as there is attachment to the idea of “I”, there is…

A sense of I and Other, a sense of separation, of wanting something from Other, of wanting connection with some and avoid others. There is a sense of being an object in the world, finite, at the mercy of innumerable unpredictable and ultimately uncontrollable other objects. There is a desire to control other objects, yet a sense of hopelessness in the futility of it. Frustration, anger, desire, loneliness, despair, hope, fear, joy, sadness, and so on arise.

A whole world is created. An imaginary world. A world that appears real, is experienced as real, and acted upon as real.

Mechanisms of Samsara

 

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

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

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

Arguing With Reality **

 

When I argue with reality, I loose – 100% of the time. That is one of the classic quotes from Byron Katie, and I can see how it is true in two ways (or maybe one, appearing as two).

Two discrepancies

The obvious one is in terms of outer reality. If I want what is (as I see it) to be different now or in the past, I am in battle with what is – and create stress for myself.

The maybe less obvious one is in terms of what is really true for myself. If I believe something that is not aligned with what is really true for me, in my immediate experience, I again am in battle with what is – and create stress for myself.

Battle among stories

The first is more accurately a battle between two stories – first my story of what is, then my story of what should be (in the past or present).

Battle between stories and what is

The second is a battle between a deep knowing and my stories of what is.

This deep knowing is crystal clear, yet wordless. It is a deep knowing of what is, beyond and including all polarities, and any story is in the realm of polarities. Whenever I believe in any story, I try to tell myself that the map is the terrain, and the menu is the meal. And I also know that is not true. So there is stress. I see this discrepancy, even without formal inquiry, even in the midst of defending and building up my story for myself and others, and create stress for myself.

The only relief is in coming to what is true for myself.

Even if it at a conventional level is quite different from our typical stories about ourselves, as a map may be obviously inaccurate from the terrain. (It may add a bay which is not there and so on.)

Even if it at a more absolute level is different from any story of the world, in the same way any map is different from the real terrain. (It is of paper or points on a screen, while the terrain is of soil and plants and water and rocks. It highlights some features and leaves other out, while the terrain effortlessly embrace it all.)

What is (or rather the map of it)

And what seems to be – from reports by those exploring it, and my own experience – is an absence of I anywhere.

It all is – this eternal Present forming itself into always fresh phenomena – beyond and including any and all polarities. There is differentiation, but no absolute boundaries. It is one ocean, forming itself into a myriad of waves.

What is vs. maps

This is quite different from our conventional maps of it, at least in our western cultures. And it is really quite different from any map, even the most sophisticated and apparently accurate ones from Tibetan Buddhism, Daoism, Adveita, Christian mystics, Sufis, integral models and anything else.

Even those are still maps – and very useful as that. The suffering only comes when I try to convince myself that they are the terrain itself.

Simple yet not easy

It is so simple, yet – when our habit is to believe in our maps as if they were the terrain – so apparently difficult to find. To align ourselves with our deep knowing of what is, we need to let go of attachment to any map, even the ones of “I am a human being”, “I am”, “I”.

Any identity is a map, and out of alignment with what is – as it appear in (our own) immediate experience. Any identity leaves out something, while the terrain effortlessly embrace it all.

The path into stress

And it is simple to see how stress comes about, in different ways, when we attach to maps as the terrain.

Say there is an attachment to the map of “I” (our final story).

This creates the appearance of I and Other, which in turn creates a sense of separation (stress in itself), of wanting something and avoiding something else (more stress), of struggle in innumerable forms. Attaching to the story creates stress from the battle created from within the story. Or more precisely, from the battle among the innumerable secondary stories spawned from the initial story of I, each of which attached to as if they were the terrain itself.

At the same time, there is the deep knowing – even the immediate experience – of what is absent of any I. So there is also stress from the discrepancy of this deep knowing and our attachment to the story of a separate I.

Absent of stories

Absent of this story of I, there is peace. There is no battle among the secondary stories. And there is no battle between the stories and what is – in the immediate experience of it.

There is still differentiation. There are still stories. But also the clear seeing of the terrain as one seamless whole – beyond and including any polarities. And there is clear seeing of the stories as merely maps of practical and temporary value, and limited accuracy.

There are stories, but only as tools of temporary and limited value. There is an absence of attachment to them. An absence of taking them as the terrain.

Piece of Hot Coal

 

In Buddhism (and probably other traditions) they sometimes use the analogy of hot coal.

Believing in the idea of I is similar to holding a piece of hot coal. Both bring suffering. And seeing through the belief, noticing what is really true for us in our immediate experience, is similar to noticing that we are holding the piece of hot coal. In both cases, it is dropped – naturally, immediately, without any trying.

Analogies break down at some point, but it may still be interesting to explore this one a little further. What approaches make sense through this analogy?

Say someone is holding a piece of hot coal. They are not noticing it, or at least not realizing that it brings pain. And in the struggle to get rid of the pain, there may be additional suffering as well.

So how would we help this person recognize that he or she is holding a piece of hot coal?

Ways to help people notice

We can give long talks about how he is holding a piece of hot coal, and how this brings the pain he is experiencing. But the listeners are more likely to listen to the words and try to figure it out than really look – going to their own immediate present experience.

We can use force, beating them up in various ways to make them realize it – or even to make them drop it (as if anyone can without the prior realization of holding it). Again, this would only bring their attention to the beating and the consequences of the beating, not the coal. Also, it is likely to bring up a good deal of (healthy and natural) resistance to the process. And it may just add guilt and shame to the situation.

We can help them with affirmations: I am not holding a piece of hot coal. I am not holding a piece of hot coal. Hot coal is cool and soothing. Hot coal is cool and soothing. These may appear to work for a while, but not for very long. And it is also too transparent: we know there is something there – temporarily covered up by the affirmations – which brings pain.

We may help them explore their past. When did you first experience the pain? When did you pick it up? And so on. It may be helpful, but it is also not as direct as it can be.

We may bring people to exhaustion, so – we hope – they cannot help but dropping the piece of coal. This may work, although the process itself is quite painful.

We can have people regularly sit silently and quietly, bringing their attention to what is already happening – allowing what is into awareness. This may work. It may very well help them notice the hot coal in their hand. But in itself, it may be a long and slow process.

We can have them inquire into their experiences. Where is the pain? What may be the source of it? What happens if you imagine not holding a piece of hot coal?

What works for each person is of course different, but for me – sitting practice combined with various forms of inquiry are most attractive right now.

Inquiries

The Big Mind process, headlessness and the Byron Katie inquiries are some of the many ways to explore how it is to hold a piece of coal, and also have a taste of not holding it.

For instance, in the Byron Katie process…

  • Questions 1 and 2 – is it true, can you really know it is true – asks us if we really do need to hold onto the coal, whether the coal is the belief in the idea of I or any other abstraction. The questions open for the possibility of not holding onto it.
  • Question number 3 – what happens when you hold onto that belief – gets at our experience of holding onto the piece of hot coal. We see the suffering we create for ourselves by holding onto it and how it plays itself out in our life, in detail.
  • Question number 4 – who or what are you without that belief – gives a taste of not holding onto the coal. We see the liberation and freedom in it. The possibility of not holding onto it becomes more real. We see that the consequences of not holding onto it are attractive. And we see beyond holding onto it, and that there is nothing to fear there.
  • The turnarounds helps us see that I am the one holding it. It is not making me hold it. Somebody else is not making me hold it. I am the one holding it.

Ice Cream, Rugs & Arrogance

 

Icecream

I had some ice cream a couple of days ago, and then some hot cheese sandwiches yesterday, and they predictably made for a miserable body. Which in turn influences the mind.

I notice how things get triggered far easier, and also how there is more identification with what is triggered. It seems that instead of just allowing thoughts come and go on their own, with little or no identification, there is an attachment to just about every one of them – each one is hold onto, seen as real, used to make myself miserable in various ways.

Under the rug

And this may be the blessing of icecream for me – or rather food intolerance, because it allows whatever is normally not seen, not paid attention to, swept under the rug, to surface and be seen.

There may be minor triggers, minor beliefs, surfacing during the day, but then left to sink below the surface again since they appear to have little impact. I tend to focus on what goes well, and ignore the minor signs of beliefs and stuckness.

So this is the blessing of the mind/body being in a less healthy and well-functioning state. It allows all of these minor hangups to surface and be noticed. It is an invitation for me to explore them further, to see what is really true for me around those themes. It is an invitation to take more beliefs to inquiry.

Arrogance

When this happens, I also see the tremendous amounts of arrogance still left here. Again, when this body/mind is relatively well-functioning, I don’t notice it so much. But when the body/mind goes downhill, it stands out more. I see that everything triggered, every thought held onto and fueled, have to do with arrogance. And a tremendous amount of it.

Whenever I want something else than what is, there is arrogance. It comes from a belief in the idea of I as a segment of what is, as somehow separate from all there is, as I as opposed to Other. Whenever I resist what is, whenever I compare what is with a particular self-image, there is arrogance. It comes from an exclusive identity.

I can see how this crops up everywhere in my life.

And I see how completely innocent it is.

  1. There are beliefs in certain thoughts, and I have to see the world and behave in certain ways. When the beliefs are there, there is no choice.
  2. There is also no choice but to hold onto these beliefs until they are seen through.
  3. And when they are seen through, they are automatically dropped like a piece of hot coal. Again, no choice is involved. They have to be dropped.

Nostalgia for Samsara III

 

Somewhere in the process, there is an emerging lack of interest in fantasies. They just loose their charge, they become less interesting and less compelling. What is left is just plain imagination, which can be very useful in helping us navigate the world.

Lessening interest in fantasies through inquiry

I see this happening in people using the Byron Katie inquiries (although a small sample). We realize that they, as any thought or idea, is just that, a thought and idea. There is not much more to it. They are useful tools, and that is about that. They loose their entertainment value.

Fade in comparison with what is

They fade in comparison with the brilliance and richness of what is, in the present, whatever the content may be. They fade in comparison with the natural clarity and brilliance of the mind, as it is behind – and without getting caught up – in beliefs. And the content is revealed as equally brilliant, arising from and as the same ground as everything else.

Gradual process

This process can be gradual.

There is gradually less interest in fantasies, as we gradually become familiar with seeing through beliefs. Somewhere in this process, even the belief in I is gradually seen through. That one too gradually fades.

In its place is just plain presence. And a gradually deepening sense of intimacy with the world, until the belief in the idea of I fades more completely, and what is left is just the same content without any I anywhere.

This in turn allows for the noticing of the ground – arising as the fluid forms of the world. It is all the play of God. Emptiness dancing.

Nostalgia for samsara

In this process, there may also be glimpses of nostalgia for samsara. I notice that for myself. I used to find interest, entertainment or distraction in certain fantasies – about what can be, what could have been, what was, and so on.

But now, they offer much less of that. They are so obviously just what they are – just images and imagination, arising along with everything else, and with no substance on their own.

They can still be useful to some extent, as a tool for exploring alternatives and allowing possibilities to sink in, but that is about it. The charge has largely left them. The entertainment value is quite low. They become less compelling as the sense of reality fades from them.

Shift

I also see that this nostaliga for samsara is really just the effects of a shift. We were used to find entertainment and/or distractions in fantasies, and now we don’t so much anymore. Instead, we have a growing taste of the natural clarity, brilliance and aliveness of what is – as it is.

The center of gravity shifts from a belief in ideas to an immediate awareness of the qualities of the inherent nature of mind.

Nostalgia for Samsara II

 

Another way nostalgia for samsara shows up for me…

Bliss

During my initial awakening, there was a tremendous sense of bliss, clarity, passion, insights, gratitude, compassion, capacity for action and engagement and so on.

It seems that the bliss part of it comes from the sense of release, the liberation of going from a contracted state of exclusive identification with my human self to an awakening to the whole universe as consciousness and I as that consciousness – to no I anywhere in particular in all of this, and yet a profound sense of intimacy and of being home again.

Appreciation

And when the ground and selflessness popped this last fall, and also before and after that, all of that seems far more ordinary.

I guess I have familiarized myself with it enough for it to become ordinary.

So there is not really the same bliss associated with it anymore. There is just ordinariness. And I see that there is a huge liberation in this. Liberation from bliss, or rather from the attachment to bliss and from mistakenly associating bliss with awakening to ground and selflessness. Instead of bliss, there is rather a deep and gentle receptivity, appreciation and gratitude.

Nostalgia for bliss

Although this is clearly a liberation, there is also a certain nostalgia for the bliss. Not really for the bliss itself, but from having mistakenly associated the awakening so closely with bliss.

There is the sense of shouldn’t there be bliss here along with the realization of selflessness? And then also the clear recognition that bliss too is just a part of the world of phenomena.

It comes and goes on its own, as everything else. The ground is free from bliss, as it is free from anything else. Everything is free to come and go within and as the ground.

Clouds come and go. Thoughts come and go. Human selves come and go. Planets, solar systems, galaxies and universes come and go. Any content come and go. And bliss come and go.