Allowing as an open secret

 

Here is one of those “open secrets” which I notice through the day, and which any number of practices – and life itself – invites me to notice.

Whenever I allow an experience – independent of its content – it invites in healing and maturing, and also makes it easier to notice what I am.

And whenever I resist experience – independent of its content – it invites in the opposite. Wounding. Immaturity. A deepening sense of I-Other split.

It is really just Life 101, and something we all know somewhere, but also a remarkable practice when it is made more conscious. And it is also something that seems to happen only when all content of experience is allowed, whatever it is, including resistance itself.

Read More

Awakenings

 

Awakenings are funny things, and come in all different flavors and dynamics. Here are a few things I have noticed from my own – very limited – experience…

First, the difference between the awakeness that is always and already here, and the one that is awake to itself. Everyone -and everything – already is this awakeness, even if there is a “knot” there creating a sense of a separate I. The only difference is that when there is an awakening, this awakeness is awake to itself. It notices itself – and all of its content – as awakeness itself.

On the one hand, it is a pretty insignificant difference. It is all the play of awakeness anyway, whether it notices itself or not. Yet, on the other hand, it also makes a big difference. It is the difference between drama (being caught in it) and absence of drama.

Then, the difference between soul level awakenings and Ground awakening. At the soul level, all is revealed as God (consciousness, awareness, Big Mind, etc.), yet there is still a subtle sense of a center, a separate I, a vague sense of I-Other. There is an I here that is One with all, and that all is God. There is a sense of content of awareness – all content – awakening to itself as God.

A Ground awakening washes all of that out. The center falls out. There is not even a subtle sense of an I-Other, and what seemed like a subtle sense of a separate I at the soul level awakening does not appear very subtle anymore. This is the Ground of experience awakening to itself.

Then, the difference between tastes, glimpses and more stable awakenings.

It is quite possible, for just about anyone, to have a pretty good sense of what it is about – through for instance headless experiments, the Big Mind process, and other pointing out instructions and guided processes. It gives a taste of it, which can be extremely helpful in the process. It helps clarify what it is about. This happens in the midst of all sorts of beliefs in stories (many of them wordless, for instance in the form of images), so it is no more than an intuition or a somewhat fuzzy taste.

There can be a full blown awakening – at either soul or Ground levels, but it gets covered up again. I am quite familiar with this pattern, and it is an invitation to continue to clarify and invite knots to unravel. It is actually a very good place to be since we get to dip into the awakening now and then, and also work with the process from the other – less awakened – side. These awakenings are glimpses that can last for minutes, hours, days, months or years. And even when it is covered up, we still know very well that whatever beliefs, knots and hangups come up are really just mirages – insubstantial, creations of the mental field only.

The more stable awakenings are different only in that they seem to hang around. Since soul level awakenings have to do with content of awareness, and this content of awareness is always in flux, these come and go even if they seem to hang around for a long time. A Ground awakening is not dependent on content of awareness in the same way, so that one seems a little different.

And finally, how the awakening is expressed through this human self. Whatever awakening is there, or not, it is always expressed through this human self and the characteristics of this human self. And this human self can be more or less healed, mature and skillful.

Always only scratching the surface

 

One of the beautiful things about life is that I always only scratch the surface. The unfolding never ends.

This was clear to me even in the initial awakening. It was “complete” in the sense of a Ground awakening, with an absence of I-Other. And it was immensely full since it was combined with a soul level awakening. But there was also a clear recognition that there was infinitely further to go. Within Ground awake to itself, its play continues to unfold in always new ways.

And if the awakening to what we are is not as clear or stable as it can be, then that one too continues to unfold – until the center drops out, and there is not even a hint of a separate I here anymore, just this human self and everything else living its own life.

In terms of the unfolding of the content – of the play of form – there is always further to go in terms of healing and maturing of this human self, and skillful means in terms of how it lives in the world. And there is always further to go in terms of soul levels awakenings and how these allow the human self to reorganize and realign. (Just in my limited experience, there has been a great deal of facets here – yang luminosity, yin luminous darkness, alive infinitely loving and insightful presence, and much more.)

So even in the midst of an awakening – no matter how “complete” or “full” it seems – there is always further to go. It is always only scratching the surface. And it is a beautiful process.

Flavors of tools not working

 

It seems that at some point, most people find that their usual psychological/spiritual tools don’t work anymore. 

And it seems – from my own very limited experience – that this can happen in at least two ways. 

One is when I engage with the tools, and there is no shift. It is life itself telling me that these tools have limited use, which is good to know. More importantly, it is an invitation to notice what I really am – already free from any states and shifts. That which any state and shift and any content of awareness happens within and as. 

The other is when whatever shift happens is seen clearly as not getting me what I really want. It may give a shift into a sense of ease, OKness with what is, a quiet joy and so on, but that is not what I really want. It is not satisfying anymore. Nothing is satisfying, apart from noticing myself as that which any shift and experience happens within and as. 

In this case, there is usually also a noticing of the whole dynamic of being caught up in wanting as coming from not noticing what I really am. There is an identification with wanting content of awareness to be different, and even if it this content shifts, it still doesn’t quite do it. There is still a sense of an I with an Other, a separate I within form, a sense of separation, of precariousness, of something missing.

And the very activity of engaging with wanting to change content of experience, for the sake of trying to find what I am missing, is a distraction from noticing what I already and really am. 

Facing death, and growing & waking up

 

Facing death squarely can have a few different effects…

In terms of growing up (healing/maturing as who I am, this human self in the world), facing death invites in a motivation to grow up. I have limited time here, and want to make the most of it. Similarly, facing death helps me clarify my priorities. I am invited to clarify what is most important for me, and align my life with that.

Facing death at this level happens mostly within the dynamics of stories. I realize that everyone and everything I love and know, incluing myself, will die. I see it. Feel into it. Find genuine appreciation for it. (After all, death at all levels of the holarchy of the universe is what makes life possible. We are made up of stars that died a few billion years ago. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the whole process of life and death that went before us, at the levels of stars, species and individuals. Also, life is dynamic, dynamic=flux, flux=death.) Make it alive for myself. Allow it to work on me and reorganize me as who I am.

In terms of waking up (noticing what I am), facing death may invite in a motivation to wake up. This human self is around for only a limited time, and I want to make use of this opportunity to invite what I am to wake up to itself.

Equally important, I can explore death – or rather, impermanence – here and now, through the sense fields. I can notice how anything happening within each sense field is flux, guests living their own life, coming and going on their own schedule. There are no stable anchors within content of awareness that I can place an “I” on. But still, there is a sense of what I really am not coming and going. What is it that is not coming and going?

Lonesome path?

 

From a recent comment, which brought up some curiosity about it for myself:

No wonder gnostics are so alone, individual in their work.

It is true that any path of growing and waking up is alone work. It is something we have to do for ourselves. And it is an individual path as well, partly since our knots – in their configuration and emphasis – is particular to us.

Yet there is another side to it too.

Often, we can find teachers and groups that share our interest and aim. It is usually not a complete match, but that is a good thing since it brings it back to us. We are not able to mindlessly absorb and follow the group, since our own path has partly universal dynamics and is partly individual.

And while there may be periods where we do experience it as a lonesome path, the growing and waking up itself tends to invite in a great sense of belonging as well. Of finding in ourselves what we see in others – the wider world as a mirror for what is right here now. And of all as the play of awakeness itself.

We find (see, feel, appreciate) a shared humanity right here, which invites in a deepening connection with those we meet as a human being in the world. We find in ourselves what we see in the wider world. And we find all as this awakeness itself, untouched by the mental field overlay of I-Other.

No escape

 

Two ways there is no escape:

First, there is no escape from experience – as it shows up here now. If I fight it, there is discomfort. If I fully allow it, as it is, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way, there is a shift – often into a sense of nurturing fullness from the content of experience, and a quiet joy from just experiencing. And since fully allowing experience invites a shift of identification out of content of experience, it is also easier to notice what I am.

And then, there is no escape from what we are. However much I am caught up with and identified with content of experience, and independent of states and content of experience, what I am is still here. It is all there is.

So in both of these cases, the nature of no escape is an expression of what is, as this timeless present all experience happens within, to and as. It is a quiet and stable guide inviting us to find the wholeness of who we are and to notice what we are. And we can also see it as an expression of the love and intelligence of what is – whether it plays hide and seek with itself, or has discovered itself here now.

What does it mean if there is no other?

 

here are several ways we can discover that there is no Other. There are lots of others, of course, in a conventional sense, but also not in a few different ways.

First, I can notice that how I relate is how I relate to anything happening within experience, including myself, others, the wider world, life and God. Said more accurately, how this human self relates, is how it relates to others, life and itself. The I-Other boundary is there in a practical sense – as this human self and the rest of the world – but not in terms of this human self being able to relate to others or life in a way different from how it relates to itself.

Then, I can notice that the wider world is a mirror for me. Whatever characteristics and dynamics I see in the wider world mirrors what is right here. I cannot find anything in others that I don’t find right here now. Here too, the I-Other boundary is there in a practical sense, but not in terms of seeing something in the wider world and not also seeing and feeling it right here.

Finally, noticing what I really am – that which states and experience happens within, to and as – I find that there is no Other. It is all awareness itself taking different forms. The conventional I-Other boundary is still there, noticed as a mental field creation and having a practical function. But there is no I-Other inherent in what is.

In each of these cases, there is a difference between just noticing this and working with it occasionally, and seeing and feeling it more thoroughly, getting more familiar with it through returning to it over and over, and take the consequences of it in daily life.

How does this human self relate to itself and the world, within this context? What does it mean for this human self? How does it look, in daily life?  How does it look, in this specific situation?

Noticing all of this as awareness itself, what does that mean for how this human self relates to itself and the wider world? How does it live its life within the context of all as awareness itself?

Read More

State independent

 

What we are is of course state independent, and that is a great pointer for practice.

Independent of what is happening in content of awareness – dullness, bliss, clarity, tension, relaxation, anger, joy, confusion – can I notice what I already and always am? Can I find myself as that which all this happens within, to and as?

Having this as a basic practice throughout the day makes it all into an adventure, no matter what is going on.

And it also helps us release identification with whatever within form we tend to identify with, all these things that come and go.

Having worked with tension/stress as a pointer to when I believe a story, it is easy to think that when there is tension/stress, I can’t notice what I really am. But that is of course not true. That tension and stress is also just happening within, as and to what I am, and I can notice that as it happens. (And still inquire into those beliefs of course, the two are not at all mutually exclusive.)

Reasons for growing and waking up

 

When I look at the importance of growing and waking up, I find a few simple things.

Growing up invites in healing and maturing, and that takes care of most of what we seek in our human life, and also what we seek when we are identified with this human life. This includes living a life that is nurturing for ourselves and the larger social/ecological whole and even future generations. (So the universe and God can explore and experience itself through the myriad of life forms on this planet, including humans, a little longer.

Waking up gives the final release from any sense of I with an Other, it makes it possible for reports from this noticing, and it invites our human self to reorganize and explore itself and its life in the world within this new context.

So it is easy to notice the importance of growing up. In short, it is good for ourselves and those around us, and future generations as well. We live a little more responsibly. We are less caught up in blind projections and blindly seeking things from the wider world. We tend to be easier to get along with. We may make choices within a slightly larger perspective – even a global and long-time one.

It may be less easy to notice the importance of waking up. It doesn’t really bring that much more into the picture, beyond the growing up part. There is the final shift of identification out of our human self, and stories in general. There is a noticing of what we already and always are. There is the noticing of all as the play of awareness. But not much more.

So why even aim at waking up? It doesn’t seem to make much sense, from most perspectives.

Yet, for some of us, there is that yearning. Something that is not satisfied by the growing up process, of healing and maturing, as much as that in itself is rewarding and meaningful. There is something else going on for us. We just can’t help it.

Maybe that is why so many teachers – at least in Zen which I am most familiar with – say that if you can help it, don’t engage in a waking up process. Just live your life. Enjoy yourself! Only do it if you can’t help it.

And the can’t help it part doesn’t seem to have so much with the typical reasons people give for working on the waking up part. For me, at least, there is that quiet love for truth and existence. Something that can’t be helped. A very quiet and unyielding pull.

Motivations, and growing & waking up

 

Summary:

  • I can clarify what I seek, and then funnel these motivations into either growing up or waking up.
  • I find that this sorting has to do with the effects of growing up and waking up, and also the effects of aiming at either.
  • The effects of growing up: Healing and maturing in my human life. Finding the wholeness and richness of my human self. A sense of self-reliance. Less caught up in blind projections. A relatively stable sense of quiet joy in life, no matter how it shows up.
  • The effects of waking up: What I am notices itself, already free from an I with an Other. This releases identification with whatever patterns were created from taking this human self as a separate I, and these patterns also wear off over time.
  • The effects of aiming at growing up: Gradual healing and maturing. Typically see good results. Relatively easy to find guidance and support from the culture.
  • The effects of aiming at waking up: May not happen at all, or only in glimpses. Can be discouraging, especially if the only goal is to wake up.
  • Split strategy: Clarify and funnel motivations into either growing and waking up, and use different strategies for each. If someone can only find interest in one or the other, this one works fine. But if they find both, it can be slightly inefficient.
  • All eggs in one basket strategy: Telling people that their motivation for getting something/anything will be satisfied by aiming at waking up. It may work well if people use tools and strategies that invite in both growing and waking up, and they don’t get discouraged if awakening doesn’t happen. But it may not work so well if people get discouraged in spite of progress in growing up, or it they use strategies and tools only aimed at waking up and not growing up. This strategy is quite common in the different traditions, but can also be risky.
  • Consolidated strategy: Clarify and funnel motivations into growing or waking up, and use strategies and tools that invite in both. (This may also work for those who can only find motivations for one or the other.)

Read More

Investigating stories before and after awakening

 

It seems helpful to investigate stories before and after Ground awakening.

The benefits are perhaps most obvious before awakening, when we believe stories, take them as true. In this case, investigating beliefs invites in a healing and maturing of our human self, and also releases identification out of them so it is easier for what we are to notice itself.

But the benefits are there also after (stable) awakening, when we already see stories as just mental field creations. As tools of practical value only, an aid for our human self to function in the world, and as pointers for what we are to notice itself.

If we don’t continue to investigate stories here, we tend to stick with the ones we already know the practical value of and dismiss the rest. We have a quite limited repertoire of stories we recognize as having practical value. (This is maybe most easily noticed in teachers who come out of a particular tradition, and have a hard time recognizing/acknowledging the value in how other traditions and teachers do it. Or teachers/awakened ones who come from a specific culture, and have trouble appreciate the norms and customs of other cultures.)

And if we continue to investigate stories, we can find the practical value in each of them and our repertoire expands. There is a sense of universal appreciation of stories, independent of their content. And also a lightly-held sense of when and how – in daily life and practice – each of them may be helpful. (I see this most easily in Byron Katie and Adyashanti, and also – growing into it through the Big Mind process – Genpo Roshi.)
Read More

Hoping to get something out of it

 

I have been curious lately about people who seem bitter about spiritual practice. First, I found some sites talking about Byron Katie as a cult leader (!) and then the email from someone with a bone to pick in regards to nondual traditions.

So this is a good opportunity to come up with some projections to explore for myself.

The first thing that comes to mind is that there is always some truth to whatever folks are saying, so it is good to find it.

Then, why the bitterness? Well, if we go into anything thinking that we will actually get something out of it, we set ourselves up for disappointment. This may be especially true for spiritual practices, which are not at all aimed at getting us anything, quite the opposite.

I guess this goes back to the recent post on motivations for practice: If what we need and are looking for is to feel better about ourselves, it is more than sufficient to practice with the aim of maturing and finding more of our wholeness as a human being, and find practices aimed at that. But if we are drawn by a quiet love for truth or existence itself, then spiritual practice – with the aim of waking up – may be appropriate.

Also, whatever practice we do – whether aimed at feeling better about ourselves or waking up – it is helpful to also work with beliefs and projections directly. And these include any beliefs and projections we may have about teachers, teachings or whatever we think we may get out of it.

Can I find what I see out there also in here? If I hope to get something out of it, is it true that it is not already here? What are the truths in the reversals of the stories I go to as true?

Growing and waking up, and reasons for practice

 

Just to summarize the previous post…

To me, right now at least, it seems helpful to differentiate practice aimed at growing up (healing/maturing) and waking up (to what we are).

If my motivation and intention is to reduce suffering and find happiness – to get/compensate for/escape from something – it seems appropriate to emphasize a practice aimed at healing and maturing, finding my wholeness as who I am, this human self.

And if my motivation is truth and love –  a quiet curiosity or love of existence – it makes more sense to aim at waking up, inviting what I am to notice itself. (And also working at maturing which aids awakening, and helps it be expressed in a more fluid way.)

It can be helpful to sincerely investigate and clarify our real motivation. Although in real life, it doesn’t necessarily make that much difference, especially if we use tools that work simultaneously at both levels. The ones that help us grow up, and invite in a waking up as well.

Read More

Reasons for practice at the levels of who & what we are

 

Somewhat convoluted…

I find different reasons for practice at the levels of who I am (this human self) and what I am (that which experience happens within, to and as).

At the level of who I am, the reasons for practice are healing and maturing. And at the level of what I am, inviting what I am to notice itself, the motivations are truth and love.

Right now, it seems helpful to differentiate the two.

At the level of who I am, I practice to heal and mature, and this reduces suffering and sets the stage for happiness. It invites in both, in a genuine way and to an extent that is sufficient for most of us.

The world is a mirror for me, so I find in my own human self what I see in the wider world. There is a sense of wholeness, embracing the (evolving) fullness of who I am, of self-reliance. I am not looking for people or situations for happiness, but carry it with me in my own wholeness.

So this alone is a pretty good reason for practice, and – as mentioned – quite enough for many of us.

But for some of us, finding this approximate wholeness as who we are, is still not quite enough. We see that it is an approximate wholeness, no matter how much we work on it, and there is still a sense of I-Other, of a subtle separation, of something not quite right, of something missing, of not quite being home yet.

So then there is the practice at the level of what we are, inviting what we are to notice itself more clearly. The motivation here is truth and love, finding the truth of what we are, and acting on our inherent love for existence itself. (Said in a glib way, there is the love of truth, and also the truth of love.)

I am not practicing to get, compensate for, attain, or escape from anything. I am just practicing to find what is really true, and to act on and deepen my love for existence itself. (Aka God, Brahman, Tao, etc.)

The good news here is of course that the practices – the tools – we use in either case often are the same.

The Work, the Big Mind process, allowing/being with experience, exploring the sense fields, choiceless awareness practice, and many more practices, all work on the levels of who we are (inviting in healing and maturing) and what we are (inviting what we are to notice itself more clearly). The relative emphasis of the two depends somewhat on how we do the practice and our intention.

And even if we start with motivations at the who level (healing, maturing, release from suffering, fining happiness), it may shift (or not) into the motivations at the what level (truth and love).

So for myself, when I see motivations relating to healing and maturing – and reducing suffering and finding happiness, I know they are motivations at the who level. And when I find motivations of truth and love, I see that they belong to the what level.

This is quite different from what I see in most spiritual groups and traditions I am familiar with, and I am not sure if it is just a matter of preference or if I am missing something here.

For me, if I saw someone wanting healing/maturing, I would recommend finding increasing wholeness as who they are. That in itself gives a quite deep release from suffering, and invites in a stable happiness. It may not be “complete” but it is really quite good.

And if I saw someone with truth and love as their main motivation, I would point them in the direction of inviting what they are to notice itself. Of course also including the who level, since working on that level makes it easier for what we are to notice itself, it makes it easier for our human self to function in the world, and when what we are notices itself, it makes it easier for it to express itself more fluidly through our human self.

I would not promote a practice with the intention of what we are to notice itself, if what the person seeks is release from suffering, and happiness. It wouldn’t be honest, since a practice aimed at wholeness at the who level is more than sufficient for this.

Come to think about it, that may be why most Buddhist groups – although their “mission statement” is at what level awakening – often emphasize healing/maturing at the who level. Most people come from the motivation of seeking healing/maturing, and that is exactly what most groups and teachers emphasize.

For the few suckers (like me, it seems) who can’t help it and really want to find the truth and act on their love, there is always the additional teachings, and the additional work that invites what we are into noticing itself.

There are the few more steps beyond the healing/maturing at the who level.

Sense fields at the levels of who and what we are

 

So far, I notice a few different effects from exploring sense fields…

At the level of who I am (this human self), there is a release from being caught up in habitual patterns, and also a softening of the patterns themselves.

So in a purely psychological sense, it seems that exploring sense fields can be helpful in a range of different ways. There is a release from being caught up in habitual patterns, including taking stories as true and its effects such as reactiveness, compulsions and more. There is a release from being caught up in content of experience, including emotions and moods. And there is a release from being caught up in narrow identities, and its effects of being in struggle with oneself and life in general.

Especially noticing what is happening in sensations, how the mental field overlays interpretations and stories, and the difference between taking those gestalts as real and substantial, or seeing how they are made up of sensations and mental field activity, seems helpful.

When I take the sense field + mental field gestalts as real and substantial, I tend to get caught up in them and be identified with content of awareness. When they are seen as gestalts, and I notice what is happening within each field distinct from the other, there is a softening and release from being caught up in it, and identified with content of awareness.

(I am not the first person to notice that, which is why these types of practices are being used more in psychotherapy.)

At the level of what I am (that which experience happens within, to and as), exploring the sense fields helps what I am notice itself more clearly. For instance, I can explore impermanence in each sense field, see how it all is in flux, and that what I am is not in flux. Or I can notice that what happens in each sense field is awareness itself. Or that a sense of an I-Other, center-periphery, inner-outer, all comes from a mental field overlay on each of the fields.

And at the transition between taking myself as who and what I am (the shift from one to the other), I can explore impermanence in each sense field, and find that I am not content of experience. I can notice whatever is happening within each sense field as awareness itself. I can notice how the mental field creates an overlay of I-Other on each sense field, and see that too as content of awareness as anything else, and what I am is not quite that.
Read More

Ordinary as who and what we are

 

We can experience ourselves as ordinary at the levels of who (this human self) and what (that which experience happens within, to and as) we are.

If what we are notices itself, we see all as the dance of Ground, the play of nothingness appearing as something. All becomes ordinary in that sense, of being the play of awareness itself.

If what we are does not notice itself, there is a sense of a separate I which then inevitably appear as special one way or another, better than some others in some ways, worse in other ways.

If who we are is split, divided against itself, this sense of being special is amplified. We cling to an identity which splits us, making some aspects of who we are OK and other aspects not OK.

If who we are is whole, there is a sense of everything happening here being universally human, shared, the wider world becomes a mirror for qualities and dynamics happening right here. There is a sense of this human self being ordinary in that everything here is also seen in the wider world, and the other way around. There is of course still distinctions and differences in a conventional sense, but within the context of shared life and the world as a mirror.

So the sense of ordinariness comes from what we are noticing itself, and more consciously embracing the wholeness of who we are. And a sense of being special comes from what we are not noticing itself, and our human self being split by a limited and rigid conscious identity.

Read More

Disentangle

 

One of the ways of looking at maturing and awakening is through disentanglement.

The process of healing and maturing as who we are involves disentanglement (decoupling, differentiation) in several ways, and so does the process of what we are noticing itself.

In terms of maturing, we find disentanglement of…

  • Kindness and likes/dislikes. We can meet someone with sincere well-wishing and an open heart, independent of whether our personality likes the person or not. This goes for our relationship to ourselves, and situations, as well. I can be kind to myself, even if things are not going the way my personality likes.
  • Giving something to ourselves and receiving it from others. We give what we need to ourselves, and don’t crave it from others – although deeply appreciate it when it is there.
  • Seeing something in our human self and in the wider world. Whenever I see something (a quality, dynamic) in the wider world, I can find it here in my human self. The two are mirrors of each other, yet also distinct and free from each other.
  • Triggers and response. There is a potential trigger, but a (sense of) freedom in how to respond to it. I don’t have to respond from habitual patterns, or from rigidity or reactiveness. Whatever used to trigger a habitual pattern is not a trigger anymore.
  • Kindness and yin kindness. Kindness can take many forms, not just the receptive/holding form. It can also cut through when needed.
  • Stories and beliefs. (As below.)

In terms of awakening, we find a disentanglement of…

  • Stories and beliefs. We see stories as just stories, without taking them as true.
  • Sense fields and the mental field. We see what happens in the sense fields as happening within each sense field, and the overlay from the mental field as just an overlay.
  • Sensations + body image + image of human self and a sense of I with an Other. The gestalt of sensations/image of human self are free from being taken as an I with an Other.

Feel awareness

 

Some teachers emphasize to feel awareness. It may sound funny, but there is a deep wisdom behind it.

When I shift into Big Mind, finding myself as what I am, feeling awareness is an invitation to bring attention to what is happening to my body. I bring attention to the felt-sense, to what is happening with my felt-sense when what I am notices itself.

(I can invite this shift in through the Big Mind process, headless experiments, exploring the sense fields, allowing experience/choiceless awareness, or by following a number of other pointers. And the noticing of what I am can be more or less clear. But the felt-sense will still shift along with it.)

What I notice is a deep relaxation of the body. When it is no longer taken as an I with an Other, it is free to release the tension that comes from being taken for an I with an Other.

Bringing attention to the body, in the context of what we are noticing itself, is also an invitation to the body to reorganize within this new context. It is an invitation to deepen into the felt sense of what we are noticing itself, and to allow the body – and our human self as a whole – to reorganize within it.

And if the heart is brought in, there is a whole new flavor to it, and the relaxation and reorganization goes even deeper.

I shift into Big Mind, invite in Big Heart, a kindness and well-wishing towards anything within form, bring attention to the body and embrace the body, and allow the body – and my human self as a whole – to deeply relax and reorganize within that awareness and love.

Free from the tension and stress of being taken for an I with an Other, and within being seen, felt and loved as it is, here and now.

Conditioning

 

Conditioning – like “ego” and “mind” is one of those words that are sometimes used in ways that confuse rather than clarify.

When I look at it for myself, I find that it can be quite simple.

To me, conditioning refers to habitual patterns created from infinite causes from within and outside of the particular holon (whole/part) we are looking at.

So it is pretty clear that the vast majority of conditioning is very useful. In terms of the conditioning of our human self, we find conditioning in just about any activity we engage in, from language to knowing how to eat and walk. Conditioning makes it possible for our human self to function in the world. Without it, we would be a vegetable, although since even our biological functioning is conditioned, we wouldn’t even be alive or exist.

In the bigger picture, we see that the typical conditioning of all our ancestors – to stay alive and procreate – was also necessary to our existence as a human self. And the conditioning of this universe – its habitual patterns and “laws” – is needed for this galaxy, solar system, planet and a living planet to exist.

So the first thing I see is that from a conventional view point, conditioning is not bad at at all. It is what allows for my human self, and this living planet, to be around. And looking a little further, I see that it is not bad or good in itself, it is neutral. It just is.

So when different teachers talk about conditioning, and make it sound as something slightly sinister, what are they really talking about?

Of all the innumerable forms of conditioning, it seems that they are talking about two subsets of conditioning.

The main one is our habitual tendency to take stories as true. This automatically creates a sense of I and Other, which in turn fuels a sense of drama and unease. This is not bad either, it is only uncomfortable. And it comes from lack of clarity.

And the second subset of conditioning comes from the first one. From belief in stories, and a sense of I and Other, a whole set of other forms of conditioning is created. Mainly the habitual tendencies of a rigid view, an ambivalent heart, reactive emotions, and whatever behaviors comes out of those.

The tendency to take stories as true is what most spiritual practice is really aimed at, or rather – aimed at undermining. Practices such as inquiry, prayer, yoga, precepts and so on all invite us to see a little more clearly that thoughts are just thoughts, and notice a little more clearly what we really are – that which experience happens within, to and as.

The other thing spiritual practice is aimed at, which is mostly secondary and sometimes a byproduct of the first, is to invite our human self to reorganize. It invites the habitual patterns of a rigid view, a closed heart and reactive emotions to reorganize, and our human self to heal, mature and realign with what we really are – whether what we are notices itself clearly or not.

Read More

The Universe Story: Yes, And…, and also Who & What

 

I was reminded of this part of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series yesterday, after Michael Dowd‘s talk.

And we, we who embody the local eyes, and ears, and thoughts, and feelings of the cosmos — we’ve begun at last to wonder about our origins. Star stuff contemplating the stars, organized collections of 10 billion billion billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter — tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and, perhaps, throughout the cosmos.

Carl Sagan, Cosmos

This made a huge impact on me when I saw the series as a kid, and it was a seed of a deep shift in my orientation to life.

Read More

Fully, in three ways

 

In everyday language, we sometimes talk about doing doing something fully, such as being fully responsible.

But what does that really mean?

For me, I can find three quite distinct meanings.

First, doing it fully in the meaning of wholehearted. I do it as fully as I can here and now, where I am, with what is available to me. I am wholeheartedly responsible, in the ways available to me here now.

Then, it means a deepening and maturing over time. What is available to me in terms of being responsible evolves over time, it deepens and matures for me. What appeared fully mature to me then, is not what fully mature means to me now.

And finally, it is the completeness that comes when what we are notices itself. In terms of being responsible, there is a completeness in seeing that there is no I with an Other here, and that everything arising is this I without an Other.

The first one has to do with what is possible for this human self right now, the second one with the maturing and development of this human self, and the third one with what we always and already are noticing itself.

And all three can be at play simultaneously.

I can be fully responsible in the conventional ways. Taking responsible for how I relate to myself and the wider world. Taking responsibility for my actions and their consequences in the world. Work with projections, and see right here what I see in others. Own disowned parts of me. Examine my beliefs, and find what is more true for me. Fully allow experience, as it is.

I can invite in and be receptive to this maturing and evolving over time. What responsible means to me now is not how it will look tomorrow, or in a year.

And I can invite what I am to notice itself, as that which content of experience happens within, to and as. As that which has no Other, so is free from being a victim – and also from (the idea of) being responsible.

Finally, it may be helpful to examine my beliefs around being responsible. I need to be responsible. It is better to be responsible. I need to be fully responsible. Is it true? Could it be that clinging to those beliefs makes me less responsible in certain ways? Less aligned with what is?

What is the difference of taking these stories as practical guidelines only and familiarizing myself with the truths in their reversals, and identifying with them and denying or being unaware of the truths in their reversals?

Trigger for this post: Two excellent posts by Vince on being responsible.

Being special

 

As soon as there is a sense of an I with an Other, we need to maintain and flesh it out with an identity. And that identity, by definition, have to be special. It has to set this I apart from the rest of the world.

We find value in being special, in desirable ways if we can, and less desirable ways if that is what is left for us, because – at least – it gives an identity to this separate I. It helps it maintain its sense of being an I with an Other.

At the same time, the whole process of exploring who and what we are is a process of finding ourselves less special.

When we embrace more of the evolving wholeness of who we are, we deepen into an experience of the wider world as a mirror. Whatever we see in others and the wider world, is also something we can find right here.

Although there is still a unique flavor to how these qualities show up in our life, and others may see us as especially mature and insightful (or not), and we may see that too, the experience of ourselves is as more and more ordinary.

As we embrace more of who we are, we deepen into an experience of ordinariness. Of seeing ourselves in others, and others in ourselves.

There is a deepening sense of us. Of being in the same boat. Of shared dynamics of life.

And we can deepen into a realization of these shared dynamics in several different ways.

What shows up in each of us have infinite causes, and we share the vast majority of those causes – stretching back to the beginning of time and out to the furthest reaches of space. We all seek happiness and to avoid suffering. We all act from fear, which is really an expression of love. Each of us is one way the universe sees, touches, tastes, explores and knows itself.

And when we notice what we are, the falling away of a sense of being special goes even further.

What is notices itself as already and always this awakeness and its content as awakeness itself. It never went away. It leaves nothing out. It is completely unremarkable.

And there is also no “I” here to take credit for anything. No doer. No identification with a sense of an I with an Other, or any particular identity.

As before, it is expressed with a particular flavor through this human self. And others may think it is special and unique, but the experience of it is quite different.

This is why, if we sincerely explore who and what we are, the impulse to be special is a good thing to notice and investigate.

Do I embrace more of the wholeness of who I am to be special? If so, what happens when I hold onto that belief that I should be, or am, special? What do I get for holding onto those beliefs? What is the truth in its reversals? How am I not special? Even in the ways I appear to be different, how is that not different?

Do I explore what I am to be special? If so, who is it that needs to be special? What do I find when I look? Do I find a story? Anchored on sensations? All happening on its own? Happening out of, and as, thin air?

Trigger: Reading Stuff White People Like and noticing the tendency to want to be less predictable than that. (I fit into many of those categories.)

Read More

Lack and sense of wholeness

 

A good post from Vince about taking responsibility.

A few things coming up for me, as usual in a quick skeleton version:

First, in a very practical sense, a few of the things we can take responsibility for:

  • Inviting in healing, maturing and development of this human self. Exploring who we are.
  • How we relate to what is happening, in the wider world and for our human self.
  • The long-term & far-reaching social/ecological effects of the actions of this human self. (By noticing feedback, and learning about sustainability and socially responsible choices.)
    • Noticing what we are.

    Then some of the dynamics behind it:

    • When we take ourselves to be an I with an Other, there is automatically a sense of lack, of being a victim of the wider world, and of neediness.
    • The more we embrace the evolving wholeness of who we are, as a human being, the less sense of lack, being a victim, and of neediness. (The less projections.)
    • Even then, as long as there is that basic sense of an I with an Other, there will continue to be a sense of something missing, and at least traces of being a victim and neediness.

    Some practical ways of working with it:

    • Notice when I am not taking responsibility by its signs, which are the signs of projections in general: Blame. Judgment. Escape. Reactiveness. Tension. Stress.
    • Take responsibility for fully allowing experience. (Release identification out of resistance, running/pushing away)
    • Take responsibility for my stories, investigate, find clarity.

    And finally, what appears as victim mode and neediness is really just confusion. And what appears as responsibility (when it is not an imitation, acting from a “should”) comes from simple clarity.

    Anatomy of meaning

     

    A rambling post that gets a little clearer in the summary… 

    It is the perennial question for any kid and curious adult: What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of my life?

    It may be a little different for each of us, but most of us experience meaning around the same things. Survival. Relationships. Providing for ourselves and our family. Offspring. A sense of connection with others, ourselves, life, the universe. A sense of belonging. Making use of our potentials and opportunities. Being of service to those within our circle of us. Being remembered by others. Exploring the evolving fullness of who we are. Exploring what we really are.

    In short, it all tends to revolve around two things: Taking care and enhancing the life of this human self and its circle of us. And finding a sense of connection with ourselves and the larger whole.

    It is of course important to explore this for ourselves. Where do I experience a sense of meaning? How can I align my life a little closer with it? How can I bring it into my life a little more?

    But the question we don’t so often ask ourselves is, what is meaning? How does this sense of meaning come about? What are the dynamics and mechanics behind it? What is the anatomy of meaning?

    Read More

    Dimensions of practice: who and what we are

     

    Another important dimension of practice is who and what we are. Do we practice to help who we are, this human self? Or do we practice to notice what we are?

    Again, if we are stuck in one or the other, the drawbacks of each tends to come to the foreground.

    If we only focus on who we are, this human self, we can work on it until we die and never find complete satisfaction. There will always be a sense of something missing. We never get to see what we really are, and we know, somewhere, that we are missing out of that.

    If we only focus on what we are, discovering ourselves as Big Mind, we can too easily ignore who we are. The wounds of our human self may stay around and wreak havoc with its life in the world, and even with the project of discovering what we are. We may also end up discouraged, feeling we are wasting our time on something that is not working for us.

    Yet, tempered by each other, we can see each in a more realistic perspective.

    We find that exploring who we are offers a new sense of wholeness to our human self, a wider embrace of all of what it is, and a richer life in the world. At the same time, we know it won’t give us any ultimate answers or satisfaction.

    Exploring what we are becomes something we do for its own sake, not for any imagined benefit in our human life. When I look, what do I find? Am I content of experience, specifically this human self? Am I that which this content happens within, to and as?

    And in terms of tools, it may be helpful to emphasize those that work on both areas. The ones that makes it easier to be this human self in the world, and also invites what we are to notice itself.

    Some tools work about equally at both areas, including The Work, the Big Mind process, and allowing/being with experience.

    Others work mainly at the what question, although helps who we are as well, such as headless experiments and exploring sense fields.

    Stability practice makes it easier to do any of the other practices, and also any activity in daily life.

    And some practices at the who level not only helps who we are directly, but often also makes it easier to do any of the other practices, such as psychological and relationship work, and physical exercise.

    What Ground awakening does and doesn’t do, and what practice does and doesn’t do

     

    It can be helpful to be clear about what Ground awakening does and doesn’t do, and what practice does and doesn’t do.

    To put it bluntly, all Ground awakening does is change who or what we take ourselves to be. We find ourselves as awakeness, the content of experience as awakeness, and already absent of any I with an Other.

    And practice does two things: It invites what we are to notice itself. (Ground awakening.) And it helps this human self heal, mature and develop.

    What Ground awakening doesn’t necessarily do is change how this human self shows up in the world. Although it may happen to some extent.

    Our human self do tend to reorganize within this new context of Ground awake to itself, but it is almost side effect, it takes time, and may need guidance by intention and specific practices to be more thorough.

    And what practice doesn’t do is to control anything. Practice invites change for this human self, and it may invite what we are to notice itself, but that is about it. Whatever shows up within form are guests living their own lives, on their own schedule. And what we are noticing itself is also a guest, living its own life, on its own schedule.

    So when we see people functioning within a context of Ground awakening, and they seem relatively healthy and mature, what we see is probably a combination of practice and awakening. The practice – including ordinary psychology and relationship work – has invited the human self to heal and mature, and the awakening may have encouraged that further.

    In a practical sense, it doesn’t really matter. Whether we are looking for a more healthy and mature human self, or to notice what we really are, practice is a way to invite it in.

    The trigger for this post: Noticing how Joel sometimes talks and writes in a way that may give the impression that Ground awakening does more than it does. And how students at CSS sometimes talk as if a Ground awakening is responsible for what practice is actually responsible for.

    Vulnerable animal

     

    One of the things that impacts me the most is the suffering of animals at the hands of humans. Like the cow I saw a picture of the other day, neglected, standing up to her belly in shit, looking back towards the photographer with big innocent eyes. Quiet, wordless, suffering. Not understanding what is happening to her. Complete innocence.

    I see myself in those animals, and children and humans suffering in a similar way. I see all of us.

    At times, we are all in that situation.

    Vulnerable animals, without a clue about what is going on. That is what it all boils down to.

    In our daily lives, we are – to a certain extent – in control and do understand. But if we look a little closer, we find that behind that thin surface is complete vulnerability and lack of knowing.

    When we find this for ourselves, there is a great deal of liberation. We don’t need to hold onto stories anymore as an ultimate truth or answer. We don’t need to deny our complete vulnerability.

    Instead, there can be a more receptive mind and heart. A mind receptive to the limited truth in any story. And a heart receptive to ourselves and others.

    (If we have worked with our hara, our belly, we also find our hara more receptive, in this case to a felt trust in existence and life.)

    As with other forms of investigation, it is a process of seeing and feeling what is more true for us. It invites in an embrace of (more of) the fullness of who we are, as human beings. And releasing struggle – in this case against seeing that we don’t know, and the vulnerability of our human self – makes it easier for us to notice what we are.

    Read More

    No biography to write?

     

    Joel wrote his biography up to his awakening, because there was nobody there to write about following the awakening. But is that quite true?

    It is true, in the sense that there is no separate I there anymore following the awakening. No I with an Other, placed on this human self or any other content of awareness. It is just this field of awakeness and its content, which is awakeness itself, inherently absent of an I with an Other, absent of center and periphery. Yet still, somehow, functionally connected to a particular human self. (In his case, Joel. In my case, this human self. In your case, your human self.)

    Yet it is also false, in that this human self still lives its life in the world, as before. And the story of this human self can indeed be told, and may offer valuable insights and pointers for others, maybe even inviting what we are to wake up to itself.

    Of course, saying that there is nobody there to write about is a teaching tool, throwing a wrench into our habit of taking ourselves to be content of awareness and inviting us to look a little closer.

    But it is also a partial truth, a quite one-sided way of talking about it, and I can’t help thinking that it may be more helpful to include both of these sides.

    Yes, there is no separate I here to write about. But the story of this human self can still be told, and it can have some value (or not) to do so.

    Koans

     

    I only worked with koans for a short time, and was pretty slow, but here are just a few things I noticed about them in general.

    To put it roughly, koans work from the absolute and the relative sides, with Big Mind and our human self, and how Big Mind/Heart can be expressed through our human self.

    Each koan has a different emphasis and focus, similar to a prism filtering light so we can explore the different aspects of it more closely. And each koan has a specific and unique resolution, which becomes obvious when it is seen, and something to work with in terms of bringing it into daily life.

    Koans invite what we are to notice itself. After a while, thoughts tend to exhaust themselves, inviting in a release of identification from thoughts. And the resolution to the koan can often only be found from the Big Mind/Heart side, from shifting into and finding ourselves as Big Mind/Heart.

    They invite in specific insights into what and who we are, through emphasizing specific aspects of Big Mind/Heart and how it can be expressed through our human self.

    And they invite us to explore, through our daily life and in specific ways, how what we are can be expressed through who we are. (When I worked with koans, my daily life was often infused with the koan, there was no separation between working on it on the cushion or through daily life. And as it clarified, there was a curiosity about how to express it, live it, in daily life.)

    This is one of the many things about Zen I appreciate. It is very much focused on what we are noticing itself. But it is no less focused on how it is lived through this human life, in a healthy, mature, thorough and skillful way.

    Lookin’ good for Jesus

     

    looking_good2.jpg

    I thought this was cute. Why not look good for Jesus?

    Seems that it would be part of any comprehensive and integral approach 😉

    looking_good1.jpg

    And it is always interesting to explore where I find the genuine truth in this, for myself. Where do I find the genuine truth in looking good for Jesus?

    For me, it has to do with inviting guests.

    Any content of awareness is a guest, so if we take a visit by Jesus to happen within content of awareness, we can invite it in.

    We can do certain (second person) practices, find receptivity of the three centers, and more. We can invite Jesus in as alive presence in its many forms such just alive presence, or its aspect of luminosity, or infinite love, or wisdom, or the fiery heart quality I find when I do Christian practices, or for others, maybe as a vision or a voice, or something else. Or just the good old taste of an open heart at our human level.

    And if we take Jesus, or Christ, or the combination, to be a noticing of what we are (that which experiences happens within, to and as), then that is also something that can be invited in. We can prepare the situation, as best as we can. And that guest may come as well, or not.

    So by inviting in Jesus as any or all of these guests, we want to look our best. We want to look good for Jesus, inviting him in for a visit.

    Of course, Jesus, as anything else, lives his own life, on his own schedule. And that is also part of the game.

    Being a tool of stories

     

    When we take a story as true, we become a tool of the story. We live out our life in its service. We are the way it comes alive in the world. The story becomes God, Master.

    And when we see a story as just a story, when identification is released out of it, the story becomes a tool for us. It is a tool of practical value only, for helping our human self orient and function in the world. A tool as any other tool, of temporary value in some situations. A tool we are free to use or not, for practical reasons only.

    I am reminded of all the stories in books, movies, fairy tales, mythology and even science, where someone is taken over by an entity of some sort. Possessed. Taken over by a demon, ghost, alien, virus, or anything else. These stories mirror closely what happens when we take a story as true. We are taken over by it. Possessed by it. Live our life in its service.

    Read More

    Karma

     

    Another look at karma, and how it is and isn’t, and is personal and universal, belonging to the part and the whole.

    As with any maps, models and stories, the story of karma is a practical tool only, a tool that helps our human self to orient and navigate in the world. A tool that can be more or less useful depending on what we want to use it for. There is no value or truth in it beyond that.

    And we can say that karma is and isn’t.

    It is, because there is, obviously, cause and effect in the conventional sense.

    It isn’t, because there is only what is here now, the five sense fields and what appears in each one. Anything else comes from the inside of a story. Past, future, time, continuity, space, extent, causality, all that is only found on the inside of a story.

    It is individual, because we can find, in a conventional sense, causality within the boundaries of this human self. We see how thoughts and decisions are followed by actions in the world, and so on. It is also individual as a practical ethical tool, inviting and helping the human self to live in a more ethical way and follow the golden rule more easily.

    It is universal and of the whole, because everything has infinite causes and effects, reaching back to the beginning of the universe and out to its furthest reaches. What we see locally, including what appears as local causes and effects, are just the local effects of movements within the whole.

    So karma, cause and effect, exists in a conventional and practical sense. If we look a little closer, we cannot find it in our immediate experience. It can only be found on the inside of a story.

    It is individual, again in a practical and conventional sense. And it belongs to the whole of the world of form, in that everything happening locally has infinite causes and effects, and is a manifestation of the movements of the whole.

    And we can find all of this here and now, in our own immediate experience. How is it true for me, here and now? What do I find when I look for myself?

    Awakeness noticing itself or not

     

    Sorry for this slightly dizzying stream…

    It is not important for awakeness whether it notices itself or not. That too happens as content of awakeness, and is no other than awakeness itself.

    Getting caught up in the content of awakeness, being identified with it, or noticing all of it as awakeness itself, it is all happening within, to and as awakeness.

    But it is, sometimes, important for who we take ourselves to be. When there is identification with content of awakeness, it can, in some situations, seem important. There is a feeling, a thought, of wanting awakeness to notice itself, or at least a curiosity about it, and this too happens within, to and as awakeness.

    It is awakeness as confusion, desire, discomfort, blind to itself, noticing itself, releasing identification out of its own content, recognizing its own content as itself. It is all awakeness, and is never anything else than awakeness.

    So what is the big deal? There isn’t really.

    Only the draw for awakeness to notice itself, sometimes, when it is temporarily identified with its own content.

    And the compassion that naturally arises when it is noticing itself, and also sees itself suffer over there, through identification with other living beings.

    When awakeness is awake to itself and functions through this human self, and sees itself over there identified with its own content, with another living being, and experiencing discomfort because of it, there is naturally compassion and actions out of kindness and whatever wisdom is available.

    There is naturally actions to help alleviate the suffering, in whatever ways the other asks for and is receptive to. In conventional and temporary ways, and sometimes also in helping awakeness notice itself also over there, through the other human self.

    Mystery

     

    The mystery of existence, and not…

    What we are is not really a mystery. It is something we can notice for ourselves, here and now. We are this awakeness that everything happens within, to and as. Independent of the particulars of its content, which is no other than awakeness itself.

    And some of the conventional things in the world is not that much of a mystery. We understand it well enough for practical purposes. We wake up, eat, go about our days, and generally function pretty well with our conventional understanding of life.

    But everything else is pretty much a mystery.

    Why is it that anything exists at all, including awakeness? Why is there something rather than nothing? Is there anything more astounding and amazing?

    And within the world of form, everything is really a mystery. Our experience and understanding is always limited. There is always more to explore, new perspectives to apply, new maps to help organize the world and parts of the world. There is no end to what we can discover and explore within the world of form. Always new landscapes opening up. Always new aspects of landscapes we thought we were relatively familiar with.

    Pulling the rug out

     

    This is the case whether we work on our human self or on discovering what we are: it is a process of pulling the rug out from under ourselves.

    It is a process of going outside the familiar. Allowing what appeared as true for us to go. Be willing to be wrong. Allowing familiar identities to go. Exploring the truth in the reversals of our habitual beliefs and identifications.

    We pull the rug out from under ourselves, find what is already more true for us, stay with that for a while, getting more familiar with it, and then repeat.

    At our human level, we discover and embrace disowned sides, embracing more the fullness of the evolving wholeness of who we are.

    As what we are, we notice ourselves through inviting beliefs and identifications with stories and identities to fall way, revealing ourselves as what we always and already are.

    Compassion independent of a feeling

     

    This is another one of the common landscape features we can come upon when we explore who or what we are, or even if we don’t: compassion independent of a feeling.

    As long as we quite strongly take ourselves to be a separate individual, compassion is relatively closely connected with a certain heart feeling. We feel our heart open up, and we act on that open heart. But then something happens, our heart closes down, and we don’t act that way anymore. Or we may still act in a similar way, but now from a should, a belief which usually comes from our culture, religion or even spiritual tradition.

    There is nothing wrong in any of this. It is where we are, the particular landscape we are exploring here and now. And it is beautiful with the sweet heart feeling, and the actions that come from it. And even acting on those shoulds has its place as well. As long as we strongly take ourselves to be a separate individuals, shoulds sometimes keep ourselves and others out of trouble. There is a reason why cultures instill them in us the way they do.

    But then this changes in a few different ways.

    First, through expanding our circle of care, compassion and concern, our circle of us. When we see someone as us, we need less of the heart feeling to act compassionately. (That feeling is there more readily too, for that matter.) As long as situations are not too extreme, and even then sometimes, we will act with respect, concern and care towards these beings.

    Whether they are fellow humans, animals, plants, the Earth, and maybe in the future – who knows – fellow beings of this galaxy, as long as our circle of care expands to include them, we will act relatively compassionately towards them because they too belong to us.

    Then, more thoroughly, there is another shift when we discover ourselves as Ground, as awakeness, and as this field of awakeness and form, inherently absent of an I with an Other. We may even just glimpse or intuit it, and that is often enough for a change to begin to take place.

    Here we realize that all beings and all form is the one I without an Other, and as we deepen into seeing, feeling, and loving this, it seeps into how this human self lives its life. It naturally acts compassionately towards others, with whatever skillful means it has at its disposal, just as naturally as the left and helps the right when it is needed.

    At this point, it all happens independent of a feeling. If that sweet heart feeling is there, good. If not, that is fine too. Acting with care and compassion is freed from the feeling.

    Another way of saying this is that when this human self operates within the context of Big Mind noticing itself, Big Heart naturally comes in. And Big Heart is sometimes associated with that heart feeling and sometimes not, but its activities in and through our life is not dependent on it.

    Final release

     

    The final release is also what allows any and all experiences and any and all ways the world of form happens. The only way this can happen is to see, feel and love as all God. And the only way that can happen is to release identification with the idea/sense/feeling/experience of an I with an Other.

    It is only then that there is a final release, and an allowing of all since it is all God itself. It is God allowing itself as it happens to show up here and now.

    And it is really just God noticing what it already is… This awakeness inherently free from any content and characteristics, so allowing it all. This awakeness here and now, allowing this field of content which is this room, the music, this body, these sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thoughts.

    In the process up to this noticing, there are often layers or release and allowing, going in the familiar way from personal development (embracing more of all of who this human self is) through mysticism (a sense of all as God shines through everything, including the remaining sense of I with an Other) to a release of the final sense of I with an Other.

    Identification with stories creates these layers, veiling who and what we are. And as one is released, there is an invitation and opportunity to explore what is revealed right there, in a unique way. Our center of gravity is in one particular place, and the world is revealed as it only can be revealed right there.

    It is God manifesting, experiencing and exploring itself in a unique way, here and now.

    So even as there are more veils, there is also a perfection right here and now. It is God exploring itself in a unique way, as it only can when these particular veils are here. It doesn’t get much more beautiful than that.

    And yet, as long as there are veils, there will always be a sense of dissatisfaction, of something being slightly off. Because it is. Something is off. There is an identification with a story, and this veils who and what we really are.

    There is a dissatisfaction inherent in an identification with a story, a sense of I with an Other, and this dissatisfaction comes out in two ways.

    When there is an I with an Other, there is a sense of precariousness. There is identification within form which is flux, so what is born will die, and what is an object within the world is at the mercy of the larger whole. It is always at odds with the world, even when things temporarily is going its way, so there is always a sense of dissatisfaction.

    At the same time, there is a knowing of what we already are, and in the tension between what we are and who we take ourselves to be there is also a sense of of dissatisfaction, of something being off.

    And within this sense of something being off is a great beauty. It is God exploring itself in a unique way, as it only can when these particular sets of veils are here. While there is a sense of something being off, and something may be off according to our stories, there is really a great beauty and perfection in it all.

    A perfection and beauty that can only be fully appreciated when what we are notices itself.