Our lives are cycles of awakenings and integration. We awaken to in insight or a skill, and engage in a process of integration – learning to apply it and live it.

And this seems to be true for awakenings to ourselves as well.

There is a good reason why in Zen they say that awakening is the easy part, living it is the difficult part – and a long process. And also why they strongly emphasize working closely with an experienced teacher for a long time after the awakenings…

There is a lot to be integrated, and much extra to wear off.

Reading The Awakening West – interviews with awakened teachers in the west – I am reminded of this. The books is great, and the awakenings real (and at different levels), and there is a good deal of useful insights there.

But I also notice how many of the teachers, in particular those who did not work with a teacher for a long time after their own awakening, seem off in different ways. They seem green, somewhat immature. Many appear to either be stuck in the Absolute or Big Mind, not aware of further levels of awakening/integration beyond where they are currently at, and/or seem blind to how hangups of their personality color their words and actions.

As much as I appreciate Byron Katie’s clarity and wisdom, and the wonderful inquiry process (which I have profoundly benefited from myself), I can also see how she seems pretty stuck in Big Mind in the interview from ca. 1996. Now, she seems to have matured beyond it somewhat – and is relaxing more into integrating Big Mind and the small self.

And as much as I appreciate much of what Satyam Nadeen talks about, it is also almost comical to see how he talks about how “saying yes to the no” is something new, which nobody have realized or talked about in the past. To me, it seems to be the essence of the perennial philosophy, and of all the spiritual traditions I am familiar with. We awaken to ourselves as the ground distinct from the world of phenomena, and from here allow all experiences – all polarities – to arise within this space. This is the essence of basic meditation practice, and the essence of living from Big Mind. There is nothing new in this.

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