Two different things: letting go of identification, and changing the content

The dream about the Nazis was a reminder of something that has been coming up for me consciously as well: the need to differentiate between (a) surrendering of identification with the content of awareness, and (b) changing the content itself.

Until there is a full letting go of identification with content (realized selflessness), there will be a confusion and slight mingling of the two.

Our conscious attitude is to want, or aim, to release identification with content, which – when it really happens – allows any content to be exactly as it is. It happens independent on the particulars of the content.

But this conscious attitude is also exactly that which (apparently subtly) does change the content itself. This attitude itself is an identification with content, in this case with a wish to surrender identification with content (and wake up.) So it automatically changes content. In my case, it brings an (again apparently subtle) disowning of an active and engaged attitude.

It is all OK, and maybe even an inevitable part of the process, but also good to notice.

Disowning a sense of a doer

This is similar to, and another variation of, what sometimes happen when we begin to realize selflessness. We have a taste of it, or intuit it: there is no separate self here. Only the doing, and no doer. And before this is more fully and clearly realized, it may lead to a disowning of a sense of a doer.

The sense of a doer is pushed in the background, or maybe even the doing itself is reduced (we do less, so there is less sense of a doer!)

This comes from confusion, and can create a good deal of confusion as well, but when it happens, it may – again – be a necessary part of the process. It is one of the ways we explore, learn about, and gradually become more familiar with this terrain.

Eventually, as this is worked through and clarified, there is a differentiation between the two: there is the noticing and realization that there is no doer here, only the doing. And this doing is now free to include being passive and disengaged, or active and engaged, in the world. There can be lots of doing there, but still no doer.

Differentiating 3rd and 1st person identities

I went to a headless workshop in Portland a couple of weeks ago. It was led by Richard Lang, who did an excellent job – making it simple, accessible, very clear, and doing it all in a very personable and heart-centered way.

One of the things that became clearer to me is how the headless experiments help us differentiate between our 3rd and 1st person identities.

Our 3rd person identity is how other see us. It is our appearance at different distances, our name, our age, occupation, and so on. It is our identity in the world, as a human being. It is ourselves, as a he, she or it.

Our 1st person identity is our immediate experience of ourselves, which is as no thing allowing all things, no form allowing all forms, emptiness allowing fullness, no color allowing all colors, no identity allowing all identities… or in other words as headless, as capacity for the world, as awake emptiness and its content (which is no other than this awake emptiness). It is ourselves as awake void and all forms as this same awake void.

When our 3rd and 1st person identities are confused, it leads to suffering. When they are seen as distinct from each other, there is clarity and a sense of ease.

When they are mixed up with each other, my first person identity tends to go in the background, and is sometimes not noticed at all. I take on the third person identity and become a thing in the world, up against innumerable other things. I am completely caught up in a world of desire, fear, longing, anger, sadness, loss, and much more.

When they are differentiated, I am awake void full of the world… I am free from anything happening, allowing it all, and everything happening is revealed as this awake void. And there is full freedom for the little one, this human self, to use the 3rd person identity to function in the world as well. Nothing is left out.