I am enjoying reading through David’s articles at justperception. It is the real thing, and quite uncompromising as well. (Similar to U. G. Krishnamurti in that way). In a world where many teachers couch their words, it is refreshing and much needed.
But I am also reminded that awakenings come in different flavors. The awakening itself, to realized selflessness, Ground awakening to itself, is of course the same. But the flavors of the leadup and the fallout are many and different.
The flavors of the leadup can range from very dramatic and painful (strong beliefs and clashes with what is, and little awareness of what is going on) to gentle (more fluidity, and transparency of beliefs), and can progress quickly or slowly, as Vince Horn mentioned in a recent comment of his.
(To me, it seems that the more dramatic and painful version comes from a basic sense of insecurity, which leads to a holding onto beliefs with particular vigor. There is a vigorous war with reality which creates a good deal of drama. A basic and deep sense of safety and security, of trust in life and existence, often leads to more fluidity, receptivity and more gently held beliefs.)
The flavor of the fallout of the awakening also comes in different flavors, and it seems that it depends, at least partly, on the degree of pre-alignment with Big Mind, and also the amount of pressure built up beforehand.
With a more thorough and finely tuned pre-alignment, through inquiry (Big Mind process, headless experiments, The Work, etc.) or other practices, the shift can be more gentle. The pre and post shift terrains are closer together.
When there is not much of a pre-alignment with Big Mind, when there is a good deal of caught-upness in coarse delusions, the shift and its fallout is more dramatic. The gap is greater, so the shift is also greater.
Similarly, pressure builds up through the strength and level of attachment to beliefs (stories). The stronger beliefs, and the more these beliefs are at odds with life, the more pressure. A great deal of pressure leads to a dramatic shift, and less pressure to a more gentle shift.
(My initial awakening, although not complete, was very dramatic due to a combination of absolutely no preparation and a great deal of built up pressure. The fallout, the reorganization needed, was also quite dramatic, long lasting and very painful at times. When it recently slipped into Ground awakening (which lasted for a couple of months and then subsided because more work is needed) it was very gentle, just a simple shift into finding “myself” as awake emptiness and form, without any “I” there at all. This time there was much more familiarity with the terrain, and there was not much pressure built up, so the shift was correspondingly gentle.)
Of course, these are all stories, as I am sure David would be quick to point out. And although it is possible to pre-align to a certain extent, it is also equally (or more) true that no real preparation is possible. When it happens, it comes as a shock, a complete surprise, turning everything upside down – independent of finely-tuned preparations.