Even if I notice myself as capacity for my world, do I actively recognize others as capacity for their world? And what happens when I do? What shifts do I notice?
To me, it seems that this is an important and helpful practice. It helps me shift out of my ancient habitual – and often less conscious – conditioning of taking others as exclusively local beings operating in time and space.
This practice is mostly for myself. It helps me consciously align more closely with reality. It helps shift some conditioning in me. It opens my heart a bit more to others. And it also helps me notice my old conditioning so I can relate to it more consciously.
As a side-effect, it’s also for others since it tends to shift how I relate to them. It can make me a little less annoying.
That’s the short version. There is a lot more to it.
When I look, I find I am capacity for my world. And that seems to be the same for others when they look, they find themselves as capacity for their world.
One thing is to generally know this, but how is it to actively remind myself of this in daily life? How is it if I make it into a daily life exploration?
When I remind myself of this, I notice a shift that’s small yet significant.
The main shift is that I experience others more clearly and vividly as awake capacity taking the form of that human being, just as I am that over here.
And why stop with humans? Humans are the only ones who, so far, have reported finding themselves as awake capacity for their world. But it’s more than reasonable to assume this is the case for all animals. To themselves, they are likely capacity for their world, just as I am and we are.
When I make a point out of perceiving others in this way, I relate to them differently. Over time, all of this – the noticing and the shift in how I relate to others – becomes a new habit and normal.
I can take this one step further, as another experiment. What happens if I perceive everything, including inanimate objects, as awake capacity taking a particular form over there – as a chair, a rock, the stars, this computer?
There are a few layers here.
When I find myself as capacity for my world, I also notice that this human self, others, and the wider world all happen within and as what I am. To me, it’s all happening within and as awake space. (Of course, space happens within and as this capacity, but “awake space” is as good a way of talking about it as any.) So to me, others already happen within awake space. They are awake space taking that human form over there.
There is a shift from this to reminding myself that to them, they too are capacity for their world. They too are awake space that their world happens within and as. All conscious beings are capacity for their world, just as I am.
The true nature of all conscious beings, to themselves, is this capacity. We are capacity for our own world. The content of our experiences – this self and the world as it appears to us – happens within and as the awake space we find ourselves as.
Is that also the true nature of all of existence? Is the true nature of everything capacity? Yes, that seems inevitable. Without nothing, there isn’t something. But is it awake? To me, it seems awake but that awakeness may just be the awakeness here – the one it’s happening within and as. If I am honest, I cannot know if the true nature of everything is consciousness, even if it appears that way to me, and there are several clues pointing to it.
What I can do is to experiment. How is it to remind myself that other beings are capacity for their world? That to them, their world happens within and as awake space? How is it if I extend that to everything? If I perceive everything as awake space taking that particular form over there?
My own process has gone through a few different phases with this.
During the initial awakening, in my teens, I experienced all of existence as the divine or God taking all the different forms in the world, including as human beings and temporarily and locally identifying as these human beings. At the same time, there was and is conditioning here in me that takes human beings as human beings and the divine aspect goes a bit in the background.
I have also explored differentiating between my true nature over here, the true nature of others, and the true nature of all of existence, although I know that the two first ones very likely are the same, and the third likely is too.
I see that actively reminding myself of the awake space others are to themselves is helpful to me. It helps me shift out of the old – ancient – conditioning of taking others as exclusively human beings.
Note: When I say “capacity”, that’s terminology from Douglas Harding and the Headless Way. I like it since it’s simple and to the point. “Capacity” refers to finding myself as capacity for my world – for this human self, others, the wider world, and any content of my experience. To me, all of my experiences happen within and as what I am. And we can, inevitably imperfectly, call this awake space, consciousness, or something else. It’s what we all are to ourselves, whether it’s noticed or not.