Ego

 

Meanings of ego…

  • Organization of the human self, the software allowing it to operate and function in the world. (Software, because it is malleable, although encompasses both body and psyche.)This one stays around before and after Ground awakening, and can continue to heal, mature and develop through experience and practice. Before awakening, this healing, maturing and development makes it easier to be who we take ourselves to be, and after Ground awakening, it makes for better skillful means in expressing and living Ground awakening through this human self, relieving suffering for others in terms of who they take themselves to be, and also invite Ground to awaken to itself through others.
  • A sense of separate self, and the field of awake void and form filtered through this sense, creating an appearance of I and Other, center and periphery, outside and inside. This one is created through taking an imagined separate self as real, and can appear very convincing. We can see these stories as only thoughts through various forms of inquiry.
  • A fueling of an identity specifying how this separate self is different from the wider world. This one deepens the sense of split between I and the wider world. I become better and worse than others, and stories are fueled about how this is so. We can reduce this sense of split through working with projections, finding in this human self the qualities we see in the wider world, and the other way around. The wider world becomes a mirror for this human self, and we find that anything here is universally human, although also with a certain flavor (and this flavor of uniqueness is also universally human).

Bringing up and being with

 

For a while, probably due to doing The Work and receiving diksha, a lot of knots came up on their own, so I could see the beliefs and inquire into them, and experience the emotions and be with them in an heartfelt way.

Now, it seems that there are bits and pieces left, scattered around, and I find that it is more helpful to actively go after them. To put myself in situations where beliefs are triggered, and go through my memories and imagination to trigger emotions I can be with, as they are, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way, as if they would never change.

For finding emotions to be with, I find that going through my memories in reverse chronological order is helpful, and also to bring up the memories in the most vivid and detailed way, and then let the memory go and just be with the emotions.

Whenever attention goes somewhere else, I know that what may appear as distraction is really just attention going into another knot, as is the nature of attention to do. It leads me directly to another knot of a belief, a story that is taken as true, and an emotion that has not been fully allowed and experienced in an heartfelt way.

After a while, I also find it helpful to bring attention to whatever sensations are here now, the ones that there is even the slightest hint of resistance to, and be with those as well in a heartfelt way.

And then even do the same with some of the image thoughts here now, such as the ones of a sense of center in space, a separate self, and so on. I find that this tends to release identification with them, bringing me into headlessness, which is just another hint of how beliefs are really just resistance… resistance to what is already more true for me in immediate awareness. (And, we can say, resistance to seeing the truth in its reversals, to seeing it and its reversals as only relative truths, and resistance to fully allowing and being with whatever emotions it triggers.)

After that, I sometimes go into the most scary scenarios I can imagine for myself, the ones that are the most terrifying. And then, notice the beliefs there for possible later inquiry, let go of the images, and be with the emotions triggered in a wholehearted and heartfelt way.

These emotions are just like vulnerable animals, or scared children. All they want is to be seen, felt and loved as they are, as if they would never change.

And this helps what we take ourselves to be. It helps this human self in its daily life. It helps it heal, find itself as more whole.

And it also helps what we really are to notice itself more easily. When there are lots of knots – of stories taken as true and emotions escaped from – attention tends to get absorbed into them. We are caught up in them and the drama created from them. And this makes it less easy for this awakeness to notice itself as awakeness, and all of its content – including all of these knots and all of the drama – as awakeness itself.

Three centers, two levels, and coming home

 

When uncomfortable memories, scenarios, sensations and emotions come up, they are like our poor cousins knocking at our door, wanting to be acknowledged, accepted and allowed. They want to be seen, felt, and loved for what they are, as they are.

And we can do this at each of the three centers (head, belly, heart) and at our two levels (who and what we are, human self and Ground).

At the head center, we allow whatever arises to “come home” by examining our views holding them at bay, and finding the truth in the turnarounds of these views. At the belly center, we do the same by allowing attention to be with whatever arises, in a quietly heartfelt way. And through this, the heart center seems to open naturally to what arises.

In this way, we allow whatever arises to come home at the level of our human self. By not resisting we (a) see that what arises belongs to this human self, and (b) that even if it was triggered by something seen in the outer world, the trigger mirrors something right here. We learn to own our own reactions, and also to own the qualities we see out there, in the wider world, as also in here.

And we allow whatever arises to come home also at the Ground level, recognizing it as awareness itself, as awakeness and form together, inherently absent of an I with an other. It is all life or Existence or the Universe or God or Big Mind manifesting in its form aspect. What appeared as split into an I and Other, is now revealed as already and always free from that split (even when the split appears to be there).

There is a seeing, feeling and loving of whatever arises as me, as this human self, owning the reactions and responses coming up here, and also seeing everything in the wider world as mirrored here. And there is a seeing, feeling and loving of all as life itself, as Existence manifesting, as God, as Big Mind, before and beyond, free from and independent of an overlay of I and Other.

The first one, the owning of it at our human level, allows for a more finely tuned, mature and effective human self in the world. Before Ground awakens to itself, this makes it easier to be who I take myself to be. And after Ground awakens to itself, it allows for an easier way of expressing Ground awake to itself, and also invite Ground to wake up in others. After all, the characteristics and maturity of this human self is what all skillful means boils down to.

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Headlessness and identity

 

Whenever there is a clash between our stories about what is and what should be, or life and our beliefs, or circumstances and identity, what happens can be interpreted in two main ways.

First, from headlessness (Big Mind, awake void awake to itself), we are what arises, yet there is an identification with a story and an identity which does not fit what we find ourselves as. Of course, as soon as there is this identification, we don’t realize that we inevitable are what arises, but filter it through a sense of I here with a particular belief and identity, and Other out there which clashes with I in here. What arises is split into an inside and outside, and the two appears to not get along very well.

It is a comical situation, especially when we see this directly.

We have no choice but to become and be what arises, because that is what we are. We are this awareness and its contents, this wide open space full of the world as it arises here and now. Yet when this is split into a sense of I and Other, we are sometimes shocked by it and struggle with it, resist it in every way we are able, because it does not fit with who we take ourselves to be.

The other way to look at this, is through a more conventional view, taking who we take ourselves to be – a separate self, an object in the world, a small region of content of awareness – as real and substantial.

Here, we can also say that life shows up in a particular way that does not fit with our beliefs and identities, or rather the stories and identities we are identified with. But now, life reminds us of something in our human self that does not fit these beliefs and identities.

Our beliefs and identities has shadows, which is the truth in the reversals of the beliefs and ourselves as also what is outside of our conscious identities. And life reminds us of these shadows, which brings up discomfort, and a filtering of anything in our shadows as only out there and not (also) in here, in our human self.

Either way, a sense of resistance to what is is an invitation to find in ourselves what we see out there.

When there is resistance, or rather, identification with resistance, a taking of it as I, it is a reminder to find ourselves as headless and Big Mind. And it is also an invitation to find in our human self what we see out there.

The first invites Ground to notice itself.  The second allows this human self to become a little more part of humanity, to find our shared humanity right here in ourselves, and see that we are all in the same boat.

Both opens for some wisdom and a more open heart.

There is a seeing all as phenomena arising, inherently free from an I and Other, which in turn opens for natural love and compassion. And a finding in this human self any quality and characteristic I see out there, in others and the wider world, which opens for seeing myself in others and, again, a natural empathy and compassion.

What we let go of

 

When we deepen into who and what we are – notice more of the wholeness of who we are as individual human and soul, notice what we are as Ground (awake void), and work with this in our human life – it is also a process of letting go of identifications and beliefs. This takes many forms. We let go of…

  • Being right. Or rather, seeing a particular story as inherently and absolutely true, and discounting the truths in its reversals. This helps us deepen into more of who we are as humans (detached from beliefs and identities, we can embrace more of who we already are), and also reveals Ground to itself more easily (not clouded over by beliefs, the field of awake void and form can more easily notice and recognize itself).
  • Taking ourselves as content of awareness. This one is more obviously related to noticing ourselves as what we are, as awake void and all form as this awake void, without center anywhere and without any I with an Other. It also relates to deepening into who we are, since a release from taking ourselves as content of awareness – including as this human self – allows this human self to develop and mature without the drama, struggle and resistance that comes from being identified with.
  • Drama. As there is a reduced attachment to stories, in number and degree, there is less identification with and production of drama. There is less sense of an I here as stories and the object of some of these stories (including this human self), so less of an I with an Other, so less friction with what is, so less drama.
  • A center. With a reduction of identification with stories and some of their objects, there is a reduction in a sense of an I with an Other, so also a reduction in a sense of a center. There is a field of awake void (awareness) and form (whatever arises within, to and as awareness), and it is revealed as being inherently absent of a center anywhere. Again, this allows this field to notice itself more easily, without the obscuration of a sense of a separate self as a center of the field, and it allows this human self to mature and deepen into who it is, without the drama of identification and a sense of I here and Other over there.
  • An I with an Other. When there is identification with stories, and content of awareness in general, there is automatically a sense of an I with an Other. I am this region of what arises, and the wider world is the rest of what arises. If I notice awake void (awareness), that too may be seen as Other, as something that comes and goes. As we deepen into who we are, we notice the wider world more and more as a mirror of this human self. What we see out there (qualities, characteristics) is something we can find in here, and the other way around. As we deepen into this process, there is less sense of being separate and different from others and the wider world, and more of a sense of no separation and being in the same boat as all humans and then all beings. There may still be a sense of a separate self, but one that is of the same piece as all of humanity, all of life, and all of Existence. And as we deepen into what we are, we find ourselves as awake void (awareness), and this void is void… including of identifications with any form. As we now notice all form as this awake void (anything arising as awareness), this field of awake void and form is now revealed as inherently absent of any I with an Other. This means that we now notice all form as arising and happening on its own, on its own schedule. And this goes for this human self as well. There is doing there, as before, but no doer. This human self and all its activities is just happening on its own, as anything else.
  • Being better or worse. This is similar to the previous one. As we mature as who we are, and see in ourselves what we see in the wider world, there is less and less sense of being better or worse than others, or as what we were, could have been or may be. We are all in the same boat. Whatever arises here is universally human, with a particular flavor, and that is the same as whatever arises in anyone. Of course, we can still use conventional measures and see that someone is better or worse than others in math and other areas, but these have only a limited and practical value. As humans, anything in us is universally human and we are in the same boat. And, again, as we notice ourselves as what we are, as awake void, then anything arising is this field of awake void or form. Better or worse does not apply, except in a very limited and practical way in our human lives.
  • A familiar terrain. We let go of identifying with a particular overlay of stories and identities, and the terrain these tended to keep us inside of (as an I here with an Other out there). In our human life, we go beyond what is defined by any fixed identity and beliefs. As awake void and form, we are inherently free from any stories and identities. In both cases, what is, is allowed to manifest and unfold more freely, without the drama and resistance that comes from identification with stories and identities. (Although here, we see that resistance is not really resistance. Resistance is truly futile, because all it does is kick up dust.)
  • Closed centers. Deepening into who and what we are, is also an opening of the three centers, and a letting go of the ways they function when closed. At the head center, it is a letting go of fixed and rigid views, and an inability to see the truth in their turnarounds. At the heart center, it is a letting go of the ambivalence of the heart being open in some situations and closed in others. At the belly center, a letting go of emotional reactivity, both in terms of identification with it, and also (possibly) as a pattern in general as it is being replaced with a steady nurturing fullness.

Quadrant: Beyond & embrace, noticing & working with

 

It is always fun to play around with quadrants, partly because four field is just enough to make some interesting differentiations and also few enough to grasp right away.

Three that comes up for me is (a) inner/outer, one/many (as Ken Wilber has popularized through is aqal model), (b) self/other, human/spirit (practice), and (c) beyond/embrace, noticing/working with (path).

When I explore the last one, I see that…

I can go beyond and include polarities in two ways: by noticing and also by working with it.

In general, I notice that life is already beyond and includes any and all polarities. And I work with it in my own human life, exploring how it arises and is expressed in this life.

And I can filter it further through each quadrant…

I go beyond and notice by noticing that life is already and always beyond any and all polarities. First, the world of form is a fluid seamless whole beyond any pole and polarity. (When I find myself as Witness, as pure seeing, this is alive in immediate awareness. Whatever arises, here and now, is revealed as aspects of one fluid seamless whole.) Also, when I find myself as awake void I also go beyond polarities, and when I notice the world of form as nothing other than this awake void, I similarly find the world of form beyond polarities.

I go beyond and work with it by finding in my human self whatever I see out there in others and the world. I allow my identity at my human level to embrace both ends of any polarity. I familiarize myself with it, and include it in my active repertoire. All this is a process with no end point and takes work. This includes letting go of beliefs and identities, and allowing a fluidity of views and a more inclusive human identity. This human self deepens and matures into its own unique and universal humanity.

I include and notice by noticing that this fluid seamless whole of form already and always includes any and all poles and polarities. And also by noticing that the play of awake void as form likewise always and already includes any and all poles and polarities.

I include and work with by familiarizing myself with each pole and polarity in this human self, and how they arise and are expressed in this human life, and how they can be expressed. As before, this is an ongoing process, and involves a maturing and development of this human self.

As usual, there is a mutuality among all of these. Working with one makes it easier to work with the three others.

By noticing that which is already and always beyond and embracing any polarity, I can more easily work with it in my own human life

And by working with it in my own life, I can more easily notice that which – in its form and void aspects – already and always are beyond and includes any polarity.

The noticing part has to do with Ground awakening, with Enlightenment.

And the working part has to do with the maturing and development of this individual human and soul, which makes it easier to be who we take ourselves to be before Ground awakening, and is an intimate part of skillful means following a Ground awakening.

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Receptivity, generosity and the three centers.

 

There are many facets of the deepening into who (individual humans) and what (awake emptiness) we are, and one of these is generosity.

A deepening into who and what we are involves receptivity at the three centers, and the other side of the coin of receptivity is generosity…

  • At the head center, receptivity takes the form of sincerity, an interest in the truths of each of the different reversals of any statement, and also a noticing of the inherent neutrality of any situation. And the generosity here is in not staying with any fixed view or perspective, but sincerely exploring the truth in whatever views and perspectives come up in others. The views of others are very often some variation of the reversals of the stories that more often come up in ourselves. There is a generosity in sincerely acknowledging the truth in the views of others, and including that in our own view, allowing ourselves to be more fluid among the different reversals of any story.
  • At the heart center, receptivity takes the form of recognition and empathy, and this too is a form of generosity. There is a generosity in finding ourselves in others, and others in ourselves, and allowing empathy come up from that recognition. And there is also a generosity in seeing all as Spirit, as God’s will, as the fluid form aspect of God itself.
  • At the belly center, receptivity takes the form of a deep felt-sense trust in life and existence. And here too there is generosity, in its sense of deeply nurturing fullness and abundance (and in the absence of the core fear, reactivity, and a separate self to protect).

In terms of activity in the world, this receptivity and generosity is expressed in the ways mentioned above, and also in terms of generosity of time and energy. As there is less and less of a sense of a separate self, fever and fever stuck views, fever situations and people the heart is closed towards, and less emotional reactivity, there is naturally a life lived for life itself… in whatever ways that come up in the situation.

Our circle of care, concern and compassion widens, the boundary between the health and well-being of the larger (social/ecological) whole and ourselves (as this individual) dissolves. Our actions becomes, naturally, more and more self-less (without a reference to fixed views and identifications), as we realize more and more that there is no separate self here.

In the absence of identifications, life is expressed in our own life as love for itself – as love for life.

The path of sobering up

 

Especially recently, the path of deepening into who and what I am feels very sobering… Which is not surprising. We go from having a lot of ideas about who and what we are and how the world is, which include a lot of fantasies and wishful thinking, to seeing more clearly what is already there, what is already more true for us.

The two main aspects to this sobering up may be working with projections (at the who level, leading into what), and also discovering the void, and ourselves as the void (at the what level).

I thought I was worse and better than everyone else, but the more I work with projections, and maybe especially the shadow, the more I see that is not the case. Whatever I see out there, I also find in here, and the other way around. The more I work with projections, the more the world is a mirror for myself, at the level of my individual self.

And as I find myself to be the void, nothingness, as the void awakens to itself, it is even more sobering. Here, all identifications fall away… as this human self, this personality, finite, separate, and I with an Other, and anything else, it all falls away. There is only the void, which is no thing… nothing… nothing there… awake void and form arising as this awake void itself. Everything is stripped off. It is beyond and includes any and all polarities. It cannot be touch by words, as words split the world up. This is the real sobering up, having all identifications stripped off with not a trace left. Anything I ever took myself to be is stripped away.

At a more finely grained level, both of these include a stripping away of beliefs as well.

At the who level, it involves partly exchanging beliefs with other beliefs. But as the process goes on, the level of attachment to beliefs themselves fades (although some strong attachments usually remain). The whole system of beliefs and identities becomes more inclusive, more transparent, more fluid. We deepen into the evolving whole of who we are, which in developmental terms looks as maturing and developing along the different lines and levels outlined in many different models.

At the what level, it involves examining and questioning even our most core beliefs, those that seems so obviously true that most of the time it wouldn’t even cross our mind to question them in a sincere, thorough and experiential way. I am a human being. I am this personality. I am an object in the world. I am finite in space and time. I am an I with an Other. I am.

So at the who level, we find the wider world mirroring us in a very precise way. What I see out there is also in here, and the other way around. We deepen into the evolving wholeness of who we are, healing, maturing and developing.

And at the what level, the void awakens to itself, allowing all identifications to fall away. The Ground of who and all form awakens to itself.

Additional note: the third part here, in addition to projections and void, is of course to see this human self more accurately, including where it is in terms of lines and levels of developments. Working with projections does just that, allowing for a clearer view of what is, and the void also helps in seeing this human self clearer, as void itself.

Three reasons for practice

 

At another level, the retreat helped clarify three reasons of practice for me…

  • Awakening to what we are… the void awakening to itself, as wakeful, as form, inherently absent of any separate self.
  • Making it easier to be who we take ourself to be, allowing for some release from suffering, an opening for appreciation for life as it is, and so on.
  • Assisting development and evolution… the development of this individual at human and soul levels, as part of the evolution of the larger world of form.

The first is at the absolute level, the absolute awakening to itself even while still functionally connected with a human self.

The second is at the relative level, offering some (apparent) benefits of the practice even in those cases where there is not (yet) a full awakening of Big Mind.

And the third is also at the relative, form, level, allowing for a the human self to heal, mature and deepen into the evolving fullness of itself, and the soul level to deepen into its own evolving fullness. (I like to leave out the conscious evolution part as it is a great hook for inflation…!)

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Deepening into who and what we are (clarified)

 

When I refer to deepening into who and what we are, what does that really mean?

Simply put, it is the individual at the human and soul levels that deepens into itself, as who it is. And it is Ground noticing itself, as what it is. And then, the individual reorganizing within the context of Ground awakening to itself.

And within that simplicity, there is a lot of wrinkles and complexity…

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Pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet

 

Awakening is a process of constantly pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet.

Any belief is stuckness in a particular story, and this prevents Ground from noticing itself as Ground.

Noticing these beliefs, and inviting them to unravel, is similar to pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet. Any belief gives a sense of a platform, a ground, a fixed view and position, it gives a place to stand, an identity. Unraveling beliefs allows that to fall away, until there is no ground there anymore… no fixed positions or identities… no place to stand. Noticing oneself as the groundless Ground of void, and everything arising within, to and as this awake void.

The same is also true for a healing of and deepening into who we are, as individuals (at the relative level, and after the basics are taken care of).

Here, the stuckness of beliefs prevents a wide embrace of who we are as individuals on the human and soul levels. It prevents an exploration of the evolving fullness of who we are, and a lived familiarity with it.

And here too, healing and familiarity with who we are involves pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet, allowing old beliefs to fall away revealing the wide open field that was already there.

Life will do it for us to some extent. But we can also actively participate in the process, and find it to be quite interesting and even enjoyable, for instance by using The Work to explore what is already more true for us than the surface beliefs.

Dark night, endarkenment, and deepening into our humanity and spirit

 

I am learning to appreciate the dark night more and more, especially as I am at the tail end of it… I see how it allowed for a deepening into who I am, as an individual, and also what I am, as awake emptiness. And it both cases, it happened through wearing off of beliefs and identities…

Even before it happened, I saw how there were still identities floating around, most of it taking the form of arrogance, of feeling better and worse than others. And although it allows for an exploration of those splits, it is also a split, preventing a wider embrace of who I am (of everything I see out there also in here) and what I am, as Ground, awake emptiness, awake emptiness and form. And, it also seemed to allow for the shift into endarkenment, the yin complement to the yang awakening… the luminous darkness and a different way of embodiment.

It was of course painful, but the pain only came from trying to hold onto something that had outlived its purpose. It came from trying to hold onto identities that life made it impossible (or at least very difficult) to hold onto anymore.

All of this is very sobering, and it also reveals the inherent neutrality of all of it.

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Happiness and appreciation

 

A few things about happiness and appreciation…

Happiness, as commonly defined, is dependent on external circumstances. I have stories about what I need and want and what would make me happy, so when life aligns with those stories I experience happiness. But it doesn’t last. It is the peak of waves that also have valleys. It is a guest, that lives its own life. We can do things to invite it in, of course, but it still comes and goes on its own, and on its own time.

Appreciation is a little different, and can happen from who and what we are. From who we are, as individuals, it comes from a wide embrace of life, and a deeply seen and felt realization that everything that happens here in my life is universally human. No matter what happens, I can appreciate it for that. From what we are, as spirit, it comes from the joy of experiencing itself, independent of its content.

And then there are related aims, such as finding peace with what is (which invites appreciation), and being with what is (which invites finding peace with it). And the being with includes being with anything that arises, including resistance and whatever else may be going on. It is a being with any visitor, independent of who or what they are. It is the ultimate hospitality, which mirrors (and allows us to recognize ourselves as) the Ground of awake emptiness which already and always allows any content.

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Awakening into what and who we are (revisited)

 

There are two main forms of awakening…

Into what we are, as awake emptiness and form, absent of separate self, seeing stories as just stories. This seems to be an on/off switch, either there or not, although when it is not there, it is, funny enough, possible to be closer to it or further away from it.

This is a Ground awakening, awake emptiness awake to itself, and to form as not other than awake emptiness itself.

And into who we are, as a developing individual human self and soul. As a holon in an infinitely larger and evolving holarchy in the world of form, and as a vehicle for Big Mind either awake to itself or not. This is an ongoing process with no end point.

This is an exploration of the always changing and evolving world of form.

Anything happening at the human and soul levels… projection/shadow work, deepening into our shared humanity, relationship work, changes in experiences of senses, and awakening into/as alive presence, luminous blackness, indwelling God, and much more… is all a part of the exploration of who we are.

It is valuable in itself, as part of life exploring itself in all its many forms. And it is valuable as stepping stones into an awakening of what we are.

At the same time, it is helpful to see that it is just a play of form… transient, fleeting… content.. not what we are.

If an awakening into what we are is our main focus, then it is appropriate to not put much emphasis on it.

If an awakening into who we are is our main focus, then it is appropriate to delve more into it for its own sake.

And if an awakening into what and who we are is our focus (as it is for me), it is important to differentiate the two, seeing clearly what belongs to which.

Increasingly alone at the surface, and at home in the depth

 

Writing the previous post, I realize that the process of loneliness and belonging happens on three levels…

First at our identity level, where we first move out of conventional identities and into more widely embracing ones, and then out of identities altogether. The identities are there, but not identified with. This can give a sense of social loneliness, of not being able to really believe in group or conventional identities anymore, because they are revealed as too narrow, and not being able to even believe in the solidity of the human drama… because we see through, and have found peace with, the drama in our own life.

Then, as human beings, where we deepen into more of who we are which is also our shared humanity. At this level, we find ourselves as part of the human community, recognizing in you what I find in me, and the other way around. This opens for a deepening recognition and empathy, which can be both painful and sweet. Here, there is deepening sense of belonging at our human level, below all the many surface manifestations and differences.

Finally, as Spirit, I find myself as awake emptiness and form absent of a separate self. There is only the Ground which already and always free to allow any and all surface manifestations. This is the final homecoming. The final release of any sense of I and Other.

Individuation and connections

 

As we mature and develop, we naturally grow beyond conventional identities, and eventually beyond identities themselves. First, we shed the conventional ones of gender, age, social norms, and so on. Eventually, our identification may go out of identities altogether, finding ourselves as awake emptiness allowing a fluidity of any and all identities.

Increasingly lonely

As this happens, we find ourselves increasingly alone, at least in a certain way…

  • We cannot find belonging or comfort through group identities or by blindly following social norms (nor in breaking them)
  • Our views and experiences are often not aligned with conventional views
  • We don’t play the game of narrow identification anymore
  • We don’t play the game of splits so much, seeing me as right and you as wrong
  • The typical human drama, with all its variations, has less and less charge for us (which sometimes makes us dull, although understanding, companions for those caught up in it)
  • We have to stand on our own feet

This process has many rewards, and we do find companions on the way. Freed from much of the drama, there is a new clarity and new aspects of existence and our human life opens up to us.

And deepening sense of belonging and connection

And although it may leave us lonely in some of these ways, not being able to believe in group identities and less caught up in the human drama, it also brings a deepening sense of belonging and connection.

As I learn about what I see in you in myself, as more and more of what I am is included in my conscious view on myself, I deepen into my own humanity, which is also our shared humanity. I find myself in you, and you in me. We are perfect mirrors for each other. There is a deepening into the sweetness, and sometimes pain, of our shared humanity.

And as identification goes out of identities altogether, finding myself as awake emptiness and form, and as emptiness as the Ground of it all, there is another deepening into intimacy. This one, as an intimacy with my life, with Existence itself. First, as a growing sense of no separation, as oneness. And then through the falling away of the core identity as a separate self, allowing wide open space for anything arising, without any sense of separation.

This is the deep homecoming. The final release of any sense of I and Other.

Increasingly lonely on the surface, and increasingly at home in the depth

So there is a process of being increasingly lonely on the surface of it, in society. Not being able to wholeheartedly play along with the games of separation anymore.

There is a process of a deepening and more intimate connection with oneself and others, through a widening embrace of who I am as a human being.

And a process of any sense of separation falling away, leaving only the wide open space for anything to arise, the void already and always allowing it all.

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.)

The path of untying knots

 

Broadly speaking, there seems to be two paths of awakening to who (individual) and what (Spirit) we are. One is of focusing on – and noticing or invoking – what we are seeking, the other is of focusing – and working – on what is blocking what we are seeking. And most paths of course include both, in different ways, and with different emphasis.

Only noticing or invoking who and what we are

If we only do the first – going for noticing or invoking what we are seeking – the pitfalls seems to include missing out of, or ignoring, some knots that needs to be untied and some healing that needs to occur. It can for instance lead to a (partial or more full) awakening to what we are (awake emptiness and form absent of a separate I), functioning through an individual that still has a lot to work through, and who may not be aware of everything that needs to be worked through.

Some forms of self-inquiry fall into this category, such as noticing that we are not the content of awareness but awareness itself (and that the content is no other than awareness), and also the headless experiments.

Only untying knots

If we only do the second – untying knots – we may miss out of noticing who we are at a soul level, and what we are at a Spirit level. We may pass right through it, because we don’t know what we are looking for.

Together

Using both together, we reap the benefits of working through knots and stuck places, which naturally reveal who and what we are, and also noticing who and what we are when it is revealed, and then deepening into it.

The Work is a great example of an approach that includes both the untying of knots (the whole process), and noticing who and what we are behind the clouds created by the knots (question #4 and turnarounds.) And the same is the case with the Big Mind process, allowing knots to unravel at our human level, revealing what we are as Spirit (Big Mind.)

Untying knots works at all levels

One of the great benefits of the second approach, of working with knots, is that it helps us at all levels. It unties knots at our individual human level, allowing for a healing and maturing there, and for less stress and discomfort. And it reveals (more of) who we are, in our evolving wholeness as a human individual, who we are as soul (alive presence), and what we are as Spirit (this field of awake emptiness and form absent of center.)

We don’t have to choose among developing as individuals or awakening as Spirit, and we don’t need to deny the importance or validity of either. Both are an integral part of the process, and the path benefits and works on both areas equally.

Shifting of who and what in foreground

 

I am noticing how who and what I am shift in being in the foreground.

When who I am (individual) is in the foreground, the what (Spirit/Ground) is either less noticed, or comes up as a context, a sense of time/spacelessness. The personal arises within and as the universal.

When what I am is in the foreground, the individual arises within the field, as a grain of sand in the Sahara, or one thread in a vast tapestry. There is a sense of the impersonal and universal even in the individual.

The shifts are usually quite gentle and happen throughout the day, especially if I sometimes remind myself of headlessness – as capacity for the world. Then the personal is in the foreground as I am engaged in different tasks, shifting into the impersonal in the foreground as I notice my headlessness.

Deepening into the ordinariness of what and who I am

 

Our path is in many ways one of continuously discovering more of what and who we are, which can seem remarkable at first, and then deepening into the ordinariness of it.

Discovering, and then deepening into the ordinariness, of what we are, as the field of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form, centerless and selfless… allowing our individual self to reorganize, mature and develop within this context.

And of who we are and can be, as individual souls and human selves, embracing the whole of it right now, and as it unfolds and develops over time. At our human level, it means deepening into the ordinariness of being human, embracing and owning more of what we are, which is not so different from what we all are.

Together, there is the ordinariness of Big Mind awake to itself, functioning through an individual soul and human self. And the ordinariness of this human self, as increasingly more mature, rounded and deeply human.

Wings of Desire

 

I finally watched Wings of Desire tonight, and besides being a beautifully filmed, poetic and deeply human story, it also has some parallels to some of the things I have written about here recently.

The angels in the movie bear witness to human lives, and also consoles, they provide a gentle and quiet presence. And this reflects the wakeful aspect of Spirit, as pure awareness, and also how (it seems) we experience the soul, or essence, as an alive presence, tangible, quiet, supporting, nourishing.

At the same time, there is nothing more (some of) these angels wants than to fully experience an embodied human life, and many of them do as Peter Falk mentions. And we also see one of the main characters choose a human life.

There is a desire for Spirit and soul (essence) to fuse into human life, for all three to be alive as one, in this individual life. For it to awaken to what it is (Spirit), and who it is (individual soul and human), alive, fused, deepening and maturing into and as this human life.

Food and digestion

 

My partner is watching a movie for a language class she is taking, and the movie – with its violence and sense of impending doom – does not sit so well with her. And at the same time, she is smart enough to see that it is less about the movie itself, and more about how she receives it.

The analogy with food and digestion seems quite close…

Any experience is food, and how we relate to the experiences is how this food is digested.

So if our coping mechanisms are not so well developed, then many types of experiences will be difficult for us, even traumatic. And the more developed they are, the more types of food are OK, or even nourishing.

Ultimately, any type of experience can be deeply nourishing, although this requires not only that we awaken to what we are (realized selflessness) but also a great deal of maturity in who we are, as an individual.

If there is only an awakening to what we are, then the experience just sails through us with few or no hooks. It is teflon land. But it does not mean that it is deeply nourishing on a human level.

For it to be deeply nourishing, we need to digest it also as who we are, as an individual. Use it to mature as a soul and human being, to become more deeply human.

Insatiable as who and what I am

 

Both as what (Spirit) and who (individual soul/human) we are, we seem to be insatiable…

I notice this most recently in exploring music (through Last.fm, online radio, and other sources).

There is a deep and quiet exitment and satisfaction in exploring all this music from all over the world, having it at my fingertips, in my living room, being able to share it with others who have similar taste (or not.)

As who I am

As who I am, part of the satisfaction is to explore different parts of myself through this music, especially that of other cultures. I experience myself differently through this music, as I experience myself differently through the larger world in general… any situation, any relationship, any interaction, any engagement, any music, literature, theater, movie… all of these allows me to experience myself and the world differently… bringing new aspects and qualities out.

As what I am

And as what I am, it is the same. The infinite variety of the world of form allows me, as awake emptiness and form, to experience myself in, through and as this infinite variety. Why would awake emptiness arise as form, if not to experience itself as form…?

Awakening to what I am, while embracing who I am

By the way, this is where many approaches to spirituality seem to be a little one-sided. It is true that to awaken as what we (already) are, we need to disidentify with all our (fixed, limited) identities, to die to what we have taken ourselves as, to let go of beliefs in thoughts and ideas.

But this does not exclude living a full life. On the contrary, it allows us to live a far more full life, as who and what we are, in and through this human life. It is fully possible to disidentify from fixed identities, and let go of beliefs, in the midst of a full life.

Awakening to what I am, and experiencing without holding on

What they got right is that to explore life only as who we are does not give any lasting or complete satisfaction. Something will always seem to be missing, and that is awakening to what we are. And in awakening to what we are, we allow anything… There is an absence of holding on, no pushing away, of anything in the world of form.

We can be insatiable, just allowing what arises to arise, without holding on, without pushing away. Just experiencing (and enjoying) our form aspect, as this individual and the wider world, independent of its particulars.

Insatiable?

The word insatiable has connotations of craving, desiring, clinging. When these are blind, it means that we have not yet awakened to what we are.

Here, I am using insatiable in a more free and loose sense, to include Spirit arising as, and experiencing and exploring itself as form. Spirit is “insatiable” only in that it arises as and in innumerable forms, always as new. But since there is no Other here, there is also no clinging.