This is something I have noticed since my teens, but not written down before. It is the sense of a transition between a slightly disorganized field and a crystallizing field.

It is especially tangible in sitting mediation, where the transition usually happens within the first few minutes, and it is also tangible in daily life, where the sense of crystallization is more or less present depending on how much sitting practice I do and other things going on. (During the couple of months last fall where any sense of I fell away, the emptiness itself took on a crystal quality.)

It shows up as a tangible sense of crystallization (or not), and also visually in the energy fields of myself and others. When there is no or less crystallization, there is also less awareness of the energy field and what it represents. As it is brought more into awareness, the crystallization also takes place.

So again, it appears to be more literal than it may be taken by many. There seems to be a literal reconfiguring of the subtle energies which is experienced, and seen, as a crystallization.

Christ meditation

I did the Christ meditation last night, and noticed a new shift and a few familiar things as well.

In the Christ meditation, I visualize Christ in my heart, and in front and behind, on the left and right, and above and below, about 5-8 feet out. Christ can be visualized as a presence, a light, or even in the physical form of Jesus, depending of what resonates the most and gives the strongest sense of presence. For me, a combination of presence and golden light seems to work best.

Soft alive loving intelligent receptive luminosity

The difference this time was the quality of the light. This time, it had a soft rounded quality, as a soft luminous deep infinitely loving, intelligent and receptive luminosity, with an alive presence. It has the deep velvety quality of the fertile darkness, and the aliveness and love, intelligence and receptivity of the alive luminosity.

In my dream that morning, the fertile blackness took on the qualities of the alive luminosity, revealing itself as luminous blackness. And during this meditation, the luminosity took on the deep soft quiet qualities of the fertile darkness. They seem to be revealing themselves as just two facets of the same, in different ways, with one in the foreground, then the other.


I also noticed the experience of the directions again, as I often do.

The front seems to have to do with my conscious daily life and interactions.

The back with my individual shadows, maybe shared with people in my groups such as culture and nationality, and in general what I tend to be unaware of in my daily life.

The sides with community and relationships with humanity, animals, plants and the Earth.

Above with traditional yang spirituality, such as transcendence and ascension.

And below with deep feminine spirituality, and also deeper collective shadows.

Placing, or noticing, the Christ there allows the light of awareness into these realms, allowing them to reorganize within the light of consciousness.

Unique quality

I also notice the unique Christ quality. It involves the heart center, but so do anything else related to Big Heart, such as Avalokiteshwara (Chenrezig, Kanzeon, Quan Yin). It involves the head center as well, especially the crown. But it also has a very distinct quality, a fiery alive presence that I have not experienced with anything else.

Tongues of fire

I also took the opportunity to look at the tongue of fire in the mirror afterwards (I know this is weird! I am definitely pushing my comfort zone by writing about this.) It looks like a cylinder of very clear light attached to the crown, maybe about 1.5-2 inches wide and 5-6 inches tall. When I move my head around, it follows exactly, as if solidly attached to the crown.

So it doesn’t really look like a tongue of fire, but it is very understandable why it may be described – and depicted – that way. It is of clear brilliant light, attached to the top as a flame to a candle (!), and it also has the fiery quality of the Christ presence itself.

Feeding awareness

During a brief Shikantaza practice tonight, I noticed again how it feeds awareness.

Of course, whatever happens, awareness is fed: content arises within awareness.

And this can happen in two quite different ways. One way is with drama, and this brings the drama itself into the foreground. (The muddy water is stirred.)

The other way is with an absence or reduction of drama, through for instance meditation and self-inquiry. (The mud falls to the bottom revealing the clarity of the water.)

It seems that the simplicity of this allows it to be processed in a different way, one that allows for both awakening and a healing and reorganization of our human self.

Meditation: Ground revealed to itself

I notice that a part of me wants to sensor much of this, because it either seems to simple and obvious, or too confused. But I know of course that all this are relative and provisional truths at most, as anything expressed in words or any other way. Relative truths, in this case coming from a not clear awakening, and written down so they can be let go of more easily.

Allowing content to come and go on its own

So in basic meditation, such as Shikantaza, everything is allowed to be as it is. Sights, sounds, tastes, smells, sensations, thoughts arise. They come and go on their own. They live their own life. If there is an impulse to change any of it, then that is included as well. That too is just noticed. It is all fed to awareness, simply, with ease.

Initial mimicking of Ground

In this, there is initially a conscious mimicking of what Ground already does: allowing all content to come and go on its own, freely. It is the seeing (or more accurately emptiness) inherently free from the always changing content, and naturally and effortlessly allowing the seen to live its own life.

Ground shifts into foreground

After a while, Ground tends to shift into the foreground. It notices itself, becomes aware of itself, brings itself into the foreground of awareness. The shifting content falls into the background, and may be recognized as no different and no other than Ground itself.

There is just the Ground of seeing and seen, inherently absent of I anywhere.

Ground recognizing itself

So by mimicking Ground, allowing content to come and go on its own, Ground is allowed to more easily recognize itself, to bring itself into awareness, as the Ground of seeing and seen inherently absent of I anywhere.

True Meditation & Meditative Self-Inquiry

I am listening to Adyashanti’s True Meditation and Spontaneous Awakening, and find a deep appreciation for the wonderful simplicity, freshness and clarity of his teachings. I also see how the practices he talks about come from a Buddhist tradition, which is not surprising since he studied with a student of Maezumi Roshi, as I did/do as well (in my case, Genpo Roshi).

What Adyashanti describes as true meditation, just allowing anything arising to be as it is, is a description of shikantaza, or what is sometimes called just sitting. And the practice of meditative self-inquiry is similar to koan studies, and even more similar to the Big Mind process developed by Genpo Roshi.

The meditation allows awareness to notice itself as aware of content, and also as no different from its content. Said another way, it shifts the center of gravity from the content to the seeing of the content, allowing the content to live its own life.

The inquiry allows for a clearer seeing of this process, and also for a clearer seeing of what we really are. Am I the changing content? Am I that which does not change? Am I the seen? Am I the seeing? Is there a separation between the changing content and that which does not change? Am I the seeing and the seen?


Yesterday, I went to an event at Dharmalaya (very different from the Zen practice I am more used to!), and did some sitting meditation for the first time in weeks.

During the sitting period, impermanence came up quite strongly. There was the seeing of everything in the field – sounds, sights, smells, tastes, sensations, thoughts – as very much impermanent. As just happening right now, in this timeless present, with no past or future. And also as highly ephemeral even in the view of time and space.

The room, the people in the room, the landscape outside, this human self, everything comes and goes as guests. What remains is this clear awareness, within and as everything happens.

Resting in and as this timeless, spaceless, clear, brilliant awareness, everything is allowed to come and go on their own, as they do anyway. Only now, that which reacts to whatever happens – tries to hold onto it or push it away, is also seen as part of this field. There used to be an identification with this reaction, being caught up in it, and now it is just part of the field as everything else. It just happens. It comes and goes.

It is one end of a polarity, where both ends are within the field of phenomena – temporary guests.

Anything happening is within this field of phenomena. Ephemeral. Clear brilliant awareness temporarily manifesting in this way.

And when anything comes up, it can be recognized in this way. The center of gravity goes from being caught up in it, from identifying with one end of a polarity and see the other end as Other, to just seeing it, to finding myself as capacity for everything and anything happening, as clear brilliant awareness within and as this all happens.

Polarities and ground

It is simple and unremarkable in many ways.

The world of phenomena arises as polarities. One of these polarities is that of this human self and the rest of the world, or more accurately the likes and dislikes of this personality and whatever it reacts and responds to.

So there is the reactions of this personality, and then whatever triggered (or is the focus) of the reaction.

From here, there are two possibilities.

Typically, there is an identification with this reaction. There is the belief in the thought I, placed on this reaction, which then creates the appearance of Other as whatever is the focus of the reaction. This is where the sense of drama and struggle is created.

The other option is to find myself as that clear timeless awareness within and as it all unfolds. Whatever happens, I find myself as capacity for it as Douglas Harding says. Here, there is a shift in the center of gravity from the phenomena themselves (in this case the reactions of the personality) to either the seeing of it, the Witness, pure awareness (still with a sense of I, now placed on the seeing), or as just this clear timeless awareness it unfolds within and as (absent of any particular I anywhere).

From shifting into Witness to Ground

This seems to be the main secret, hidden in plain view. From identifying with and being blindly caught up in one end of the polarity (the reactions of the personality) to seeing that too as part of the field, first by shifting the center of gravity into the Witness, the seeing of it, and then by noticing the clear brilliant awareness it all happens within and as, absent of any inherent I anywhere.

Whatever happens, there is first the witnessing of it, shifting the center of gravity into the seeing and this timeless pure awareness, that within which time and space and phenomena unfolds. And then recognition of it as this clear awareness, as just a field of clear brilliant awareness taking all these ephemeral forms, absent of I anywhere. Emptiness dancing.

Chanting, dancing and personality

Last night, we did some chanting, chants with movements (dancing), sitting practice, and then some dialogue at the end. During the dancing part, I noticed this personality become slightly uncomfortable and self-conscious. Coming from more of a Zen background, chanting, dancing and waving of hands was just outside of the comfort zone.

In this, there was the noticing of a shift between being caught up in and identified with the reactions of the personality, and just seeing it.

Being identified with it was somewhat uncomfortable. It felt claustrophobic, something another aspect of the personality wanted to get out of – and strategiezed about how to get out of.

Seeing it was… just seeing it – the reactions of the personality, the discomfort, the thoughts of this being weird and how long is it going to last, the tiredness of the legs. All of this happened within the field of everything happening, it was just part of the landscape, no need to be caught up in it. It just happened within this clear awareness, and as this clear awareness, along with everything else.


The Byron Katie inquiries overlaps in many ways with approaches I have used in the past, and also many other approaches out there.

A brief overview of how the Byron Katie inquiries seem to correspond with other approaches.

Question number…

  1. Is it true?
    Awareness of the discrepancy between opinions and reality.

  2. Can you absolutely know it is true?
    Awareness of how abstractions are always only relative truth, unable to touch any absolute truth. Awareness of the limits of knowledge.

  3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
    Psychotherapy (exploring how we are apparently screwed up).

  4. Who would you be without the thought?
    Shikantaza. Big Mind process (Big Mind/Heart, nonseeking mind). Headlessness. Atma Vichara. Mindfulness based psychotherapy.

  5. Turnarounds
    Projections. Shadow work. Everything and everybody are mirrors for myself. Awareness of abstractions as only relative truth, unable to touch any absolute truth.

Harvesting the Nutrients

In any stressful experience, there is a gift – there are nutrients there, ready to nurture our life if we are available to them.

In my experience, if I just use a regular mindfulness practice – coming to my breath or the movements of the body when I notice getting caught up in a hangup – it works in the short term, giving me some relief and reminding me of who I would be without the story. But it also seems to miss something in the longer run. Until the nutrients are harvested, until the gift is received, it seems to just come up again – over and over. Something wants to be seen, and until it is – it will return.

I am sure there are innumerable very effective ways of harvesting these nutrients. Some that work for me are…

  • The Big Mind process
    Exploring in detail the dynamic behind what is happening, including the polarities (complementary/opposite) voices at a personal level and the transcendent voices.

  • Byron Katie’s inquiries
    Exploring in detail what the belief is behind the stress, what happens when I believe that thought, who I would be without it, and integrating projections and loosening up the belief through exploring the various turnarounds.

  • Process Work
    Allowing the process behind the symptom (in this case stress) to unfold, revealing its message and gift, and absorbing this.

  • Shikantaza (sitting practice)
    Allowing it all to unfold within awareness, living its own life as it does anyway. Allowing resistance to even resistance to fall away. Allowing even the fueling of thoughts to unfold within space as everything else.

  • Can I be with what I am experiencing? (daily life)
    Again, allowing it all to unfold within awareness, living its own life.