Note: When I wrote this, I noticed discomfort with some or much of it. There is always a certain discomfort, because I by writing “solidify” something that is a limited reflection of an experience, and this experience is in turn limited and unclear. This time, the discomfort went even beyond that as I wrote partly based on experience (OK if let go of it) and partly based on ideas (OK when I am clear that it is lies).
Some of what I wrote it is from direct everyday experienece – the nature of awareness, thoughts etc.
Some of it is clearly just ideas – the idea of stages of unfolding etc.
Some is somewhere inbetween, a hunch based on experience – such as God unfolding and manifesting in myriad ways.
Of course, all of these thoughts and statements are just that – thoughts and statements. They have limited validity and value. And as with any thought, if we believe them to be true they will bring suffering. Existence is always more than and different from any thought or sets of thoughts, and we exclude parts of existence if we believe them – and this naturally brings suffering. Suffering is a gentle and sometimes not so gentle reminder to open up, to have a direct taste of existence – of what is right here/now independent of thoughts and ideas.
Awakenings can be many and varied. Here are some thoughts on awakenings in a more evolutionary perspective.
Mind is used interchangeably with God, Existence, Spirit – referring to all existence beyond and embracing dualities. Awareness is mind/consciousness when it is functions as aware.
Matter – Structure and Process
First, existence formed itself into matter. The absolute and the relative are present, but matter does not function in any conscious or aware way. There is only the God, Spirit – the One Mind – beyond all dualities.
Plants – Fluid and Organic Life
The One Mind functions as what we perceive as life, fluidly and organically, but not aware. God/Existence awakens as fluid organic life.
Animals – Sensations, Emotions and Early Thoughts/Beliefs
Here, awareness awakens as an organism with sensations, emotions, and the beginnings of thoughts/beliefs. There is an identification as something separate. Awareness is acutely aware of differentiations – of me vs. you, us vs. they, friend/mate vs. stranger/enemy, food vs. non-food, pain vs. pleasure, life vs. death. There is a strong attachment to anything that generally supports life, and a strong aversion to anything that tends to not support or threaten life. All this is as it should be – it all functions to preserve and continue the life of the organisms, the species, and the living planet as a whole.
Thoughts – The New Evolutionary Phenomenon
In some animals – and especially humans – thoughts and beliefs arise. Awareness attaches itself to thoughts when they come through, and sometimes identifies itself with these thoughts and beliefs. Again, this is as it should be.
The precursors to thoughts and beliefs were there in matter (structures) and plants (processes), and now manifests as what we recognize as thoughts and beliefs. They are the new evolutionary phenomenon, and awareness naturally attaches itself to it and gives it attention so it can be explored and evolved further.
Thoughts and beliefs do not accurately reflect existence. There is a gap between them and the rest of existence. Thoughts reflect only fragments of existence and a limited perspective. Existence is always more than and different from any thought/belief.
There is nothing wrong in this. Again, it is how it should be. The problem only arise when awareness believe the thoughts/beliefs – as this inevitably brings suffering. When we believe in something that is only approximately aligned with existence, the gap brings suffering.
We are existence – beyond and embracing all dualities – and when awareness believe limited/limiting thoughts, suffering automatically comes up. Suffering is a gentle – and sometimes not so gentle – reminder that existence is more than and different from any thought/belief.
It is a nudge to see more clearly the thoughts/beliefs for what they are – only approximations of temporary and limited value, and for awareness to awaken to itself as distinct from its content.
The suffering inherent in believing thoughts/beliefs nudges awareness to awaken to itself as distinct from its content. Here, awareness awakens to itself as spacious, clear, formless, able to function in any number of ways – including in dualistic and transdual ways. When it perceive itself as its content, it operates in a dualistic way. When it perceive itself as distinct from its content, it perceives in a transdual way.
It awakens to itself as the sun always there – over the clouds of its content. Clear, spacious, bliss, joy, vibrant, able to respond appropriately to inner/outer situations. Allowing all experiences to arise, unfold and fade within spacious awareness, with no trace.
And this is without any effort – it is just its nature – beyond effort and trying. It just is, when it awakens to itself as distinct from its content. It is what was always there.
What awareness, when identified with its content, struggled to achieve – through effort, “willpower”, all sorts of tricks and mind games, and always with temporary and limited success – is now revealed as the inherent and always-present nature of awareness.
There is a sense of finally coming home – of returning to what was always there.
God Watching Itself
As awareness clarifies and deepens its awareness of itself, it comes to recognize itself as that which was always there – behind, in, and as phenomena. It is Existence itself. It is God differentiating into all phenomena – watching and exploring itself in myriad of ways. It awakens to itself as everything – beyond and embracing all dualities.
Awareness naturally applies a large number of tools to deepen and clarify its awareness of itself.
When Identified With Its Content
When it is identified with its content, it explores and applies tools to alleviate suffering.
One is to use thoughts/beliefs to buffer itself – believing in ideologies to alleviate suffering. This works to some extent, although the process also produce suffering since Existence always is beyond and embracing any thought/ideology. We see this in the world today – in a wide variety of ideologies from religions and politics to idiosyncratic and personal beliefs.
Another is to reorganize thoughts/beliefs, and we see this in many forms of western psychology. This also works to some extent. It alleviates some suffering through aligning beliefs a little closer to existence (more realistic self-image etc), shifting the focus to beliefs that other beliefs see as desirable (focusing on the “good” aspect of oneself or ones life), or reorganizing beliefs so they come closer to what other beliefs see as desirable. Ultimately, awareness is still believing in beliefs – which are inherently limited and untrue – and this still brings suffering.
When Awakening to Itself as Distinct From Content
There are also many tools to help awareness awaken to itself as distinct from its content.
Sitting practice is a good example. Here, the processes of the content – sensations, emotions, thoughts – quiet down, and it is easier for awareness to recognize itself as distinct from its content. Through bringing awareness to itself, this awareness clarifies and deepen.
Another example is the Big Mind process, where awareness awakens to the view it will have when recognizing itself as distinct from content. It is a glimpse.
The Work is yet another example, where awareness sees through the inherent limitations of thoughts and beliefs, and awakens to itself as distinct from these.
And there are many, including yoga, breema, tai chi, chi gong – which also can function to allow awareness to awaken to itself as distinct from its content.
I find it very useful (right now) to apply an evolutionary perspective. It allows me to deeply appreciate the varied manifestations of Existence/God, and the many ways awareness functions and operates. None of these are inherently good or bad, and they are all good in a deeper sense – just God manifesting and exploring itself in a myltitude of ways.
It is part of the richness and fullness of existence – unfolding and exploring itself.
Our Limited Perspective
From our limited perspective, it can seem as “lower” levels of evolution is primite and inferior, and “higher” levels superior. It can also seem that lower levels are less desireable and higher levels are more desireable. It can appear that awareness identified with its content and operating in a dualistic way is undesireable, and awareness awakening to itself as distinct from its content, is more desireable.
This is just another belief and an illusion, yet it is one that may be one aspect of how Existence evolves and explores itself in yet new ways.
There is a push (suffering) and a pull (freedom from suffering) used as a drive for further evolution and exploration. And we are caught up in it, and tend to believe it. It is similar to what Buddhism refers to as the golden chain. It is a delusion, but one that serves a function.