If we lived for eons, would awakening be inevitable?

Through having lived as many lives I have, I notice that all sorts of experiences and states come and go. I have experienced millennia of mostly “ordinary” states with times of profound despair, mind-shattering pain, and amazing bliss. I have noticed that what I am is that which all this happens within and as. Experiences come and go and what I am doesn’t come and go. Of course, I am whatever state is here but it doesn’t last. Only being capacity for all of it runs through it all.

If you want to call that awakening, be my guest. But it’s really very simple. It doesn’t require fancy words, or rituals, or mythology, or even labels.

– from Dialog with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos

To me, it seems that awakening is inevitable (?) if we just lived long enough, perhaps for centuries or millennia. And it wouldn’t seem like anything special. It would just be a natural part of maturing and having lived for a while.

Over time, we get to see that any and all content of experience comes and goes, including anything we think we are, and any identifications we may have. We dream, and are someone different. We have an identity for ourselves and in the world, and something happens and it goes away. We think we are something in particular, and those thoughts go away for a while and we are still here.

So if we are not fundamentally anything within all this that comes and goes, what are we?

What are we more fundamentally? When I look, I find I more fundamentally am capacity for the experience of all of this. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

This is what we may discover through basic meditation, and also what we may – inevitably? – discover if we would be around for a few millennia.

Basic meditation is, in many ways, a condensed micro-version of this. We compress what would happen naturally, over many many years, into minutes, hours, days, and months.

And we can support that process through other explorations, including inquiry.

Here are two dialogs on this topic: Dialog with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos | Dialog with one who has lived eons and has a mystic streak

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How does God see us?

We believe that God sees us from above. But he actually sees us from the inside.

– Shams Tabrizi

If we have adopted a sky-god view of God, then we may imagine that he sees us from above.

If we have a more immanent view of God, we may say that God sees us from the inside.

GOD SEES THROUGH OUR EYES

We can say that…

God sees through our eyes. Hears through our ears. Senses through our body.

God thinks through our thoughts. Feels through our emotions.

God lives through our life.

If we say that reality or existence as a whole is God, then this is clearly true.

A MORE IMMEDIATE NOTICING

And it’s also accurate in a more immediate sense.

If I explore what I am in my own first-person experience, what do I find?

I find I am capacity for the world as it appears to me. My nature allows any and all experiences that are here.

I am what my experience of the world happens within and as. To me, the world happens within and as what I am. It happens within and as what a thought can call consciousness. To me, the world is like a dream since both happen within and as what I am, within and as consciousness.

If I use a big or spiritual interpretation of awakening, I can say that this is all Spirit or God.

And that means that God, quite literally, sees through my eyes. Hears through my ears. Lives through my life. And so on.

FINDING IT ON OUR OWN

It’s something we can explore and find on our own.

If we haven’t noticed it for ourselves yet, it may seem abstract, distant, a philosophy, a fantasy, unrelated to my life, without any practical use, and so on.

If we noticed it sometime in the past, it becomes a kind of reference. A pointer inviting us to notice it again here and now. Our nature is always here, so it’s always here to be noticed. It’s always here to notice itself as all it is in its own experience. It’s always here to find itself as what the world, to itself, happens within and as.

And we can find it on our own. We can explore what we are in our own first-person experience.

How? If we are not familiar with this terrain, we may not even know where to start.

That’s where more structured pointers come in. For instance, Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

That’s where being guided by an experienced guide comes in. Someone we trust, to some extent, and who is familiar with this terrain and in guiding others.

And that’s where any number of supporting practices come in, for instance, basic meditation, sense field explorations, heart-centered practices, training a stable attention, body-centered practices, ethical guidelines, and so on.

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Dialog with consciousness

I thought I would explore a dialog with consciousness.

What are you?

Most minds assume they are, most fundamentally, a being in the world and that they “have” consciousness. They see me as an afterthought, an appendage.

In reality, I am everything anyone has ever known and experienced. I am what their whole word and all the content of their experience happens within and as.

Can you say more about your nature?

My nature is ultimately ungraspable.

One of the essentials of my nature is capacity for any content of experience.

I am ephemeral. Dreamlike.

I allow any experience to come and go. What’s here is then completely gone.

I am a blank slate.

I take the form of any content of experience.

I make myself into the most pleasant experiences and the worst nightmares. I make myself into the deepest delusions and the clearest clarity. I sometimes am not consciously aware of my own nature at all, and sometimes am.

Can you say more about “minds assuming they are a being in the world”?

Yes. Most minds assume they are – most fundamentally – a particular content of their experience, and more specifically a separate being with all sorts of characteristics.

This is not completely wrong, but it’s also not right and it’s not what they most fundamentally are in their own first-person experience.

I sometimes create this experience for myself. I form myself into an experience of a being, and then pretend I most fundamentally am that being. It gives me a new perspective. It’s a kind of game.

What’s the relationship between you, this human self, and a sense of being a separate being?

As anything else, this human self and any sense of being a separate being happen within and as what I am.

This human self obviously has some kind of special relationship with me since it’s the being I have inside information about, in terms of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and so on. When I notice myself, it allows this human self to function more in the context of that noticing, and it allows this human self to transform within that noticing.

A sense of a separate being is different, it’s a kind of overlay. It’s an unquestioned assumption that what I most fundamentally am is a separate being with certain characteristics – this human self, an I, a me, a gender, a profession, and so on. This is what some call separation consciousness. It’s imagined and yet seems very real when it’s here.

Can you say more about this human self and you?

In a conventional sense, I am this human self in the world. That’s how others see me. In daily life situations, that’s how it looks and what I partially operate from. And it’s not what I most fundamentally am in my own first-person experience.

When I explore my own first-person experience, I find I am me. I am capacity for this human self and the world and any and all states and experiences. I am what it all happens within and as.

What happens when minds notice their nature?

Do you mean when minds recognize they are me and all their experiences are me?

Often, it happens first through glimpses, intuitions, and a sense.

They may have a glimpse of their nature, and then it becomes a memory and ideas.

They may have a glimpse of their nature, and they still operate from several assumptions about what they are which veils the noticing.

They may be in a middle ground where they notice their nature while also noticing that many parts of them still operate from separation consciousness.

And there may be a more clear and stable noticing, the more basic mistaken assumptions are recognized and seen through, and quite a few parts of them have joined in with the noticing.

Can you say more about what tends to happen?

Well, what minds are to themselves is ultimately simple and obvious. They are me and all their experiences are me.

It doesn’t require any metaphysics or any assumptions.

It doesn’t require any spirituality or religion.

It doesn’t require an assumption that all of existence is me.

And yet, a lot of that tends to happen. I form myself into all of those experiences to make it all a bit more rich and interesting for a while.

What about love and oneness?

I am by nature one. I cannot be anything else.

I can imagine I am not, I can perceive as if it’s that way, and this human self can live as if it’s that way, but it doesn’t make it so.

When I notice myself as what all content of experience happens within and as, I find oneness.

And when I relate to others and the world from this noticing, that’s love.

It will, of course, be filtered through all sorts of remaining unquestioned assumptions, wounds, hangups, and trauma.

Hold on, you just said you are one and then said “others and the world” as if there are more than one?

To me, all beings and the world happen within and as what I am. It all happens within oneness.

At the same time, there are apparently other beings and a world, so it makes sense to live as if there is.

For me, the two are aspects of the same. It’s part of the richness of experience and what makes it interesting.

I am interested in dark nights as part of the awakening process. Can you say something about that?

I am the one interested in it, of course. I am fascinated by myself in endless ways and forms, and this is one fascination.

There are many types of dark nights. Typically, they involve a shift that doesn’t agree with some thought or idea held as true. Reality rubs up against beliefs and identifications. Reality reveals itself in ways that don’t fit old assumptions.

One that I know you are especially interested in is when old unprocessed material surfaces. Through the awakening and embodiment process, whatever still operates from separation conscious surfaces to join with the awakening and find healing and reorient within this new context. Often, it happens in smaller portions. And sometimes, relatively early in the process, a lot of it can come up in one big package. And that can feel overwhelming, disorienting, and scary.

Nothing has gone wrong. It’s part of the process. It’s all happening within and as what I am. None of it is ultimately “other”.

Can you say something about dreams and waking life?

Yes, I think I know what that question is about.

It’s easier for minds to recognize that all the dream experiences happen within and as me.

And waking experiences are the same, in that sense. All waking experiences happen within and as me.

Dreams and waking life are no different in that way.

What about time and space?

Time and space happens within and as me. I am capacity for time and space as I am capacity for any other content of experience.

A sense of time and space is created by mental images and thoughts. It’s essential for allowing this human self to orient and function in the world. And yet, it’s not the most fundamental. It’s an overlay.

Again, in my own first-person experience, I find myself as capacity for the world as it appears to me, and as what all experiences – of time, space, this human self, the world – happens within and as.

When I look, I find no real space. All experiences – of this body and the clouds and that mountain over there – happen here. And I find no time. All my images and thoughts of the past and future happen here.

What happens when minds assume they ultimately are something within the content of their experience?

A lot of things happen. It’s one of the ways I create a more rich and diverse experience for myself.

It creates what some call separation consciousness. It creates a sense of I and Other, of being a separate being in a much larger world.

It hinges on and fuels holding thoughts as ultimately true, and not recognizing the nature and limitations of thoughts. That’s what makes it possible and elaborates on the separation experience.

It does also create stress and suffering, and that’s OK since it’s all happening within and as me. I make myself into those forms too.

Why would you choose suffering?

It’s not really a choice. It just is.

If we want to make a story about it, we can say it happens as a natural consequence of separation consciousness. And separation consciousness is necessary for expanding the repertoire of what I can be and experience myself as.

As you (I) have said, it’s the way for the one to experience itself as many. For oneness to experience itself as separation. For love to experience itself as anything but love. For clarity to experience itself as confusion.

Also, as I mentioned, it’s all happening within and as me. It has the same nature as a dream.

At the same time, it tends to be experienced as very real when it happens, and it is real in that sense.

How can minds notice their nature?

It happens when it’s time. It cannot be forced. Nothing can be forced.

If something happens, it’s because it’s time.

That said, there are many approaches that can support this noticing and living from the noticing.

You have written about a lot here, and since I am filtered through you in this dialog, I don’t really know any more than you and what you already have written about.

What’s the purpose of all of this?

There isn’t really any purpose. It’s more like a game. A play.

I get to experience myself in always new ways. I get to explore my own potential.

I get to explore my potential through any experience of any mind anywhere in existence.

What do some call you?

Hm. I assume you mean God? The divine? Big Mind? Buddha Mind?

Yes, when minds notice their nature, they also inevitably notice that all content of experience happens within and as me.

They may then assume that’s the true nature of all of existence. They may assume all of existence is consciousness.

That’s a leap. It’s perhaps more honest to say we don’t know. And there are some hints that it may be accurate.

All of this sounds a lot like how I often write?

Yes, there are two reasons for that.

One is that this dialog is filtered through you and what you notice and your phrasing, culture, and history.

The other is that you are used, by now, to notice me and live from noticing me. You still have an endless amount to notice and discover, but you are also relatively familiar with me and what’s come out in this dialog.

What am I still unfamiliar with?

Anything you have yet to notice and experience.

I cannot be more specific than that.

There is one exception. I know you are not familiar with a certain phase in the process. And that is to perceive and live when more of you is aligned with noticing me, or me noticing myself. You are still in the thick of the process of inviting different parts of you to join in with the noticing. 

Will it happen in this life? I don’t know. It’s a process. There is no finishing line.

It depends on how long you live, and how much you allow and invite it to happen.

Ultimately, it depends on all of existence and how it expresses itself locally through and as you and this particular process happening in you.

And since it’s a process without a finishing line, it’s a bit silly to even talk about it this way.

How do you see me relating to all of this?

It was familiar to you in your teens already. You saw and lived this.

It was all revealed to you when you walked down that path at night with the big wind and the starry sky above you. I revealed myself to myself at that moment, in a relatively clear and complete way.

And at a human level, this has been both comforting and difficult for you.

It’s been difficult because you rarely have met anyone who sees and lives this very clearly. It’s often obscured by unquestioned assumptions and hangups. You often get disappointed when you get to know someone better.

The one person you felt a deep connection with around this was Adyashanti when you had a chance to meet and talk with him in person.

There is a lot of loneliness and sadness in you around this, at a human level.

And all of that is me. It’s happening within and as me. I am forming myself into all this content of experience, including the sadness, loneliness, and the still unhealed hangups and emotional issues related to it.

It’s OK. And it’s good for you to invite in some more healing for you around this. It will help you a lot.

As you know, you also have an issue of both wanting to be seen and understood, and wanting to be invisible. This issue is related to this as well. You write here anonymously and hardly ever talk about this with other people. You hide. That too is natural, understandable, and completely OK. And it feels a bit off for you. You wonder how your life would be without that issue. Perhaps you still wouldn’t share this very much, and that’s fine. And perhaps some things would be a bit different.

Meister Eckhart: The eye by which I see God is the same as the eye by which God sees me

The eye by which I see God is the same as the eye by which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye are one and the same – one in seeing, one in knowing, one in loving.

– Meister Eckhart

Big Mind, how do you see this?

BIG MIND

I am all you know and all you will ever know.

I am you, as an imagined separate self experiencing the divine, and I am the divine having a human experience through and as you.

You may call me capacity for all your experience. You may call me consciousness. You may call me what all your experiences happen within and as.

I am what humans call the divine. And I am all you know and have ever known.

I take all the forms of you experience and ever will experience, and this includes as being a separate self, an I, a me, a human self in the world, and so on.

I am this apparently separate self experiencing the divine – as glimpses, intuitions, longing. And I am the divine experiencing itself, locally and as you, as a human being in the world.

Your eye seeing me, and my eye seeing you, is one and the same. It’s what you call the divine, or consciousness, or Big Mind, or any number of other labels.

I am more familiar to you than you realize. I am more mysterious to you than you realize. I am easier for you to notice than you realize.

This quote from Meister Eckhart makes very little sense to you if you don’t notice me, or don’t have any memory of noticing me. In that case, you can only understand it conceptually and that will always be off. Your thoughts are different in nature to whatever they appear to be about. They exaggerate and they simplify. Reality is always more than and different from your thoughts.

And if you do notice me, the quote is simple and clear. It’s obvious.

Your eye and my eye is the same.

Your knowing is my knowing. It’s me knowing through and as you.

Your love is my love. Your love is the love that comes from being oneness. And sometimes, and just about always, it’s somewhat – or greatly – obscured by your very human hangups, wounds, and traumas. And that obscuration is also me taking all those forms.

All of it is me.

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Dialog with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos

Living for as many lives as I have, I have over time arrived at many of the same insights that many spiritual teachers and traditions talk about. For me, it’s through experience and living ordinary lives. I haven’t been terribly interested in spirituality in itself, except for at rare occasions. But I realize that a lot of what I know – in my fibers and bones and through my being – fits much of what spiritual traditions talk about.

– a quote from this dialog

This is one in a series of imagined dialogs with people who have lived for eons. This dialog is with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos and – through a glitch? – happens to remember it all.

THE DIALOG

First, I am curious about the several lives. Does it mean you remember the life between lives?

Yes, although it doesn’t matter so much here. If you don’t remember it yourself, what I say will just become ideas. And if you do, I don’t need to say much about it.

Okay. How is it to have lived many lives in many different places of the cosmos?

I am very grateful for having that experience. It’s enormously enriching to live lives through the filters of different beings – and their senses, bodies, perceptions, culture and more – and their world.

What have you learned that many with one life haven’t?

Mostly, to know that we all live from our own conditioning. Everything about us makes sense in the light of our conditioning – from our bodies, environment, culture, and individual experiences.

Because of all the lives I have had, I am less inclined to judge. The tendency to judge has worn off in me over time. I know how it is to live in so many different circumstances, and I know how so much in us flows from our conditioning.

I have a deep empathy with different beings. I know we all just want to live and be free from suffering – and love and be loved. There is something very beautiful in this. It’s also heartbreaking because I know how universal suffering is and how common it is for beings to not feel fully loved and to not fully love themselves.

These sounds like insights from spirituality?

Living for as many lives as I have, I have over time arrived at many of the same insights that many spiritual teachers and traditions talk about. For me, it’s through experience and living ordinary lives. I haven’t been terribly interested in spirituality in itself, except for at rare occasions. But I realize that a lot of what I know – in my fibers and bones and through my being – fits much of what spiritual traditions talk about.

You mentioned empathy with others. What about awakening?

Well, that’s a big word. For me, it’s more simple and down-to-earth.

Through having lived as many lives I have, I notice that all sorts of experiences and states come and go. I have experienced millennia of mostly “ordinary” states with times of profound despair, mind-shattering pain, and amazing bliss. I have noticed that what I am is that which all this happens within and as. Experiences come and go and what I am doesn’t come and go. Of course, I am whatever state is here but it doesn’t last. Only being capacity for all of it runs through it all.

If you want to call that awakening, be my guest. But it’s really very simple. It doesn’t require fancy words, or rituals, or mythology, or even labels.

What do most people not get?

Hm, from my perspective, many things.

They don’t get how precious and amazing life is. Even a troubled life, even a mundane life, is amazing and precious beyond words.

They don’t get that the way they treat others is the way they treat themselves. Love your neighbor for your own sake. It’s good for everyone.

They don’t get the importance of a long and big perspective. Of course, most people get by with a more narrow and shorter perspective. But a long and big perspective enriches life enormously. And for you folks today, it’s essential for your survival. It’s the only way humans can and will survive. And life is showing you just that.

They don’t get that all experiences enrich life. They are not your enemies. Trying to run away from your experiences only creates an added layer of suffering. In reality, it’s the only real suffering.

Of course, most don’t get that what we are is capacity for all and any of our experiences. We are the experiences which come and go. And we are capacity for all of it.

How can we mimic your process and discover this for ourselves?

Well, that’s not my speciality. But it does seem that some things helps people to find this for themselves. It’s definitely possible to people to find this for themselves, and many do – to some extent.

The main thing is curiosity and sincerity. Explore and see what you find. Don’t take your own or others assumptions for granted. Be willing to leave your most basic assumptions about yourself and life. Get close to your experience.

I feel like this is a trick question since a lot of what you write about on this website does exactly that! Is that what you want me to say? I see through you. And of course, yes, the tools you write about here can be very helpful for people, especially if used with curiosity and sincerity.

Yes, I guess that’s why I asked the question. Although I write about these things exactly because these tools can help us find what someone like you have discovered. It helps us discover what someone who has lived for eons tends to naturally discover through lived experience.

Yes, I agree. For me, it comes through lived experience and mostly free form ideology or pointers or shoulds or trying to live up to anything. And for many humans, it’s often more of a mix of genuine lived experience and insights – and some ideologies and shoulds.

What can we do to make it more from lived experience?

You are asking difficult questions. As I said, this is not my speciality.

Get close to your own experience. Be curious about it. Take it seriously. Make use of pointers and use them to discover for yourself. Set aside shoulds and how people say something is. Live your life and pay attention to what’s happening.

Do you have any advice for P. (this interviewer)?

Yes. You already know all this. You even trust it. But there is some hesitation in you. You can trust it even more. You can sink into it. Lean into it. Rest into and as it. It’s what you are. Live it. It can help you to remember me and lean into what I am.

Thank you! I appreciate this interview and especially your advice at the end.

Thank you. I enjoyed this conversation. I don’t think about these things so often so it was fun. And I wish you all the best in your life. As I said, you already know and are all of this. Lean into it a bit more and it will help you a lot. (And if you don’t, that’s completely fine too.)

Dialog with heart ache / survival fear

I have been exploring something over the last few days. It’s in my heart area, and it feels like a combination of issues – primal survival fear, longing, heart ache and so on. It has come up a few times in my life, when I am faced with a loss of something important to me.

I thought I would do a little dialog with it to get to know it better.

Hello.

Hi. Can you help me? I am suffering.

Yes, I want to help you. How can I help?

Be with me. Help me feel safe. I don’t want to be left alone, that’s what I fear the most. Please be here with me.

Yes, I can be with you. I am with you now. And I want to be with you if or when you come in the future.

Thank you. I don’t know if I can trust you since you have abandoned me before. When I come, you get terrified and try to run away from me or get rid of me. It feels terrible. You have treated me terribly.

I am so sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. I feel sad about how I have behaved and how I have abandoned you. I want to be different. I know how important it is for both of us.

OK. Just be with me now and we’ll see what happens.

How are you? I want to get to know you more.

Right now, I feel much more relaxed. I know you are sincere now. You are with me. You even love me. I know it. I can feel it. And it helps me relax. I feel softer.

How are you when I run away?

I feel desperate. It’s the most horrible feeling possible. I feel abandoned. Unloved. Alone. Scared. I want and need your attention and I’ll do anything to get it. I make myself bigger and louder and impossible to ignore.

Yes, I know. I also really don’t like it when it happens. I guess we share that. And I feel I am beginning to understand you more. I am actually glad you make yourself bigger and louder. I understand where it comes from. I understand you need me in that moment, and I instead run away.

Yes, all I want is your presence. That you are here with me. That you don’t abandon me. That you give me a sense of safety, and maybe even of being loved and understood.

What do you need the most from me?

Just that. Be here with me. Be present with me. Allow me to be as I am. And, if it’s possible, understand me, love me. I need to feel safe. Understood. Loved. That way, I can relax.

I love you.

I love you too. When you are here for me.

Can I speak with Big Heart?

Yes. I am here.

How do you see this situation?

I see you wanting to be in a good and nurturing relationship with this part of you, although you are not always able to. And I see this part of you desperately needing you to be there for it.

I am always here and always love you and whatever comes up for you. Both you – whatever you take yourself to be, and this part of you, are always loved. It’s just that you don’t always notice or remember. And that’s OK. That’s how human life is.

Can you help me and this part of me?

Yes, although it’s really you who need to do it. I am always here.

One thing you can do is remind yourself that what you feel is a flavor of the divine. It isn’t and never was anything else. It helps you to notice.

Another thing you can do is open for me and invite me in. I already love this part of you and what it needs is love. Allow it to absorb this love.

When that happens, it’s easier for you – and it – to notice that it already is this love. It is me. All of this – you, it, your relationship – is me. When that’s more thoroughly clear to you, there is a deeper healing.

Thank you. I love you.

I love you too. I always did. I always do. You are loved. And you are love.

A dialog with suffering parts of us as devotees

This dialog comes from seeing suffering parts of us as wanting relief and liberation from their suffering. And seeking us – as our “global” consciousness – so we can help them. In that sense, they are our devotees.

Hello.

Hi. Can you help me? I am suffering. I don’t know what to do. I feel that you can help me.

Yes. I will help you as much as I can. Can I ask you some questions to get to know you better?

Yes.

Who are you?

I don’t know. I just know I am suffering and that I feel you can help me. Please help.

I want to help you. How can I help you the best? In what way would you like me to be with you?

Be with me. Be there for me when I need you. Love me. Love me as I am. I don’t know how to change so please love me as I am.

I love you. Is there anything you want me to not do?

Yes, don’t try to change me. Don’t make me be something I am not. Please don’t push me away. Please don’t ignore me. Please don’t try to make me into something I am not.

Is there anything else I can do for you?

Yes. Help me understand myself. Help me free myself from the suffering. Help me know what you know. Help me be more like you.

In what sense do you want to be more like me?

I am not sure. I feel you have something I need.

If you could have your deepest wishes fulfilled, what would it be?

To be seen. Loved. Understood. Free from suffering.

Next time you come, how would you like me to be?

Yes, please listen. Be present with me. Help me feel seen. Understood. Safe. Loved. Please don’t run away. I need you.

Do you have any advice for me?

I don’t but there is someone else. I’ll get that one for you.

Hello. Who am I speaking with?

I am the one who knows how to help parts of you liberate.

Welcome. Do you have any advice for me?

Yes. You are doing well. But you still have a lot to learn. You are in the middle of the process. You can become more comfortable with these suffering parts of you. You can be more a friend to them. You can be more a wise guru for them. You can be more the loving one. You can recognize them more as love.

It will help you a lot right now to remember them as devotees. They are your devotees. They look to you for love, understanding, and patient presence. You can do it. You are already doing it. And it will help them a lot. You are doing everyone a great service through this process.

Thank you.

Gospel of Thomas 3b: When you know yourselves, then you will be known

I am going through some – perhaps all? – of the verses from the beautiful Gospel of Thomas to share what comes up for me. I may also give a commentary or response from a few different viewpoints to make it more interesting. The Gospel of Thomas is thought to be older than the four gospels in the New Testament and may be a source for these.

3b. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

I will explore this as Big Mind, Big Heart, and Lila – the play of consciousness or the divine.

Big Heart

Know yourself as me and you know that you not only are love but your whole world and all of your experiences are love. You see behind the surface appearances and the labels human puts on whatever is happening.

If you don’t know yourself as me, you are still me. Nothing has changed except your noticing. And you will feel you live in poverty. You will long for what you are and what you think you don’t have. You may not “have” it but you are it. You already are it.

Big Mind

Know yourself as me and you know what you are. You will understand that as a human being you are a child of me. You and all your experiences happen within and as me.

If you don’t know this, you will live in poverty. You take yourself as fundamentally a separate being subject of birth, loss, death, and whatever else.

Lila

I temporarily and locally forget myself and take myself to fundamentally be a human being. In this, I feel small, limited, temporary, and although my experiences are rich and varied I experience it as a kind of poverty.

I feel that something is missing. I may long for it and seek it. I may first seek it in the wider world. And then perhaps as what I am.

When I notice myself again I know what I am and I understand that this human being is a metaphorical child of me.

You may see me as the divine and the play of the divine as all of existence. You may see me as consciousness and the play of consciousness. It the same.

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Gospel of Thomas 3a: Rather, the Father’s kingdom is within you and it is outside you

I am going through some – perhaps all? – of the verses from the beautiful Gospel of Thomas to share what comes up for me. I may also give a commentary or response from a few different viewpoints to make it more interesting. The Gospel of Thomas is thought to be older than the four gospels in the New Testament and may be a source for these.

3a. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

I will explore this through Big Mind.

Big Mind

If you think I am in the sky, then the birds will get there before you. If it’s in the sea, the fish are already ahead of you. If you recognize that I am inside you and outside you – that everything already is me – then you are on the right track. You have never not known me, you have just not recognized me.

I am the one who takes all these forms, including as you – as a human being – looking for me and thinking and I am in the sky or in the oceans and then eventually discover all as myself and all as always having been myself.

A note

I cannot help thinking that Jesus was a bit snarky here. Who looks for the Divine in the ocean? Unless you are a fish, of course.

Only lovers left alive: a dialog with someone who has lived for centuries

Well, yes. It’s just that I have seen versions of it so many times, in so many periods and cultures. People are in pain. And they seek and latch onto a belief – a religion or philosophy or political system – that promises to give them relief. And the real relief is in healing the pain, not getting obsessed about a system or philosophy.

– a quote from this dialog

I haven’t seen Only Lovers Left Alive yet, but read enough about it to know that the two main characters have lived for centuries and have amassed a huge amount of experience and perhaps some wisdom in the process.

So I thought it would be fun to try a dialog with someone who has lived for centuries.

When we use Voice Dialog / the Big Mind process, we typically dialog with parts of us that are obviously here like the voice of appreciation, the victim, or Big Mind / Heart.

There is no part of me that had lived for centuries. Or is there? I can easily enough imagine how it would be to have lived for generations, and access that voice or part of me.

And in a quite real sense, I have in me something that had lived for that long. Something that has, through culture, accumulated experience and wisdom over generations.

In another quite real sense, as part of this living Earth, and as part of this universe, I am billions of years old. Everything in me is the product of billions of years evolution of the universe and this living planet, millions of years of evolution of pre-human ancestors, and hundreds of thousands of years thousands of my human ancestors.

So, yes, I can probably dialog with a voice in me that has the experience and wisdom from having lived for generations.

Dialog with one who has lived for generations.

Can I speak with the voice that has lived for generations?

Yes.

How do you see the world?

Not so different from you. Just from more experience. I am much less caught up in the daily fluctuations compared with you and others who have only lived for a short time. I have seen it all. It all comes and goes. Disappointment. Elation. Health. Illness. Birth. Death. It’s all part of life, and I have seen all of it enough to not get caught up in it.

Does it mean you are detached?

For a while, I tried detachment and distance, but that’s deadly boring in the long run. It’s much more juicy to feel and be engaged and play the game, but I am not caught in it. I know it all, including my responses, comes and goes.

It sounds a bit like the wisdom of the Buddha?

Yes, I knew him. Good fella. (That’s a joke, by the way. I was somewhere else back then.)

But yes, it’s pretty similar. I think that anyone who lives for generations will develop that kind of wisdom or view on life. It’s almost inevitable.

Do you have any advice for P.? (This interviewer.)

Well, let’s see. I think he knows it already but hasn’t taken it in fully. He doesn’t completely trust it or allow himself to live from it. So if I can help, here it is.

He allows himself to worry about things that are regular parts of life, it’s the universal ups and downs. And he sometimes takes it more personally than he needs, and get more caught up in it than he would if he had longer experience. Life is not about him. Life just happens, as it does for everyone. Stay engaged, play the game, and know it’s not personal and most of the details are not even that important in the long run. Just do your best.

How do you see the world today?

Most if not all of the problems come from people being short-sighted. They think locally and act short-term, and although that worked in the past when humanity was smaller and had less powerful technology, it doesn’t work anyone. There are too many people, with too powerful tools, for that to work.

Humans need to imagine bigger, or at least enough need to, so they can create new systems that take deep time and global situations (like ecosystems) into consideration.

Human nature won’t change, but humans adapt their behavior to the system they are in.

(I should add: Human nature does change, but not very quickly. Not on the scale of centuries or decades.)

Is there a question you would like to be asked?

Hm. I like that question. Ask me what I enjoy the most.

What do you enjoy the most?

The changing seasons. The seasons of nature, of human life, of generations and human history.

The very small things, the ordinary. A cup of tea. Saying hello to a stranger. Waking a dog. Reading a book. Weathering an illness.

The new. A new dish. A new sunrise. A new here and now.

Is there anything you are tired of?

Not really. Perhaps the predictable, or at least thinking something is predictable. I have seen enough to know it’s not. I guess that’s something I am still learning.

Is there anything else you are currently learning?

I am not sure. I think it’s mainly noticing how everything is fresh.

The mind sometimes tells me that this is something I have experienced more times than I can count, and although that’s true in a way, it’s not the whole picture. This experience is fresh.

I guess that’s another parallel to what Mr. Buddha and others have talked about. And it is the only way to stay fresh and keep enjoying – and not only enjoying but deeply enjoying — life when you live and live and live as I do.

What music, art, and books do you like?

Anything. Anything from any culture and period. What’s familiar and what’s new. High culture and trash. It’s all juicy.

Is it possible to make a mistake?

Well, it depends on what you mean. Of course, we sometimes make mistakes in a small perspective. We bungle things. Make poor decisions. Or make good decisions that turn out badly.

In a bigger perspective, those are not really mistakes. We do what we can based on who and how we are and the situation we are in. And we get feedback from life and have an opportunity to learn. So in that sense, nothing is really a mistake.

What do you think about conditioning?

That’s something I have a lot of experience with. Conditioning is the operating system of humans or at least a large part of it.

Patterns are passed on through the generations, with some variations. Patterns of what’s seen as good and bad, right and wrong; and patterns of likes and dislikes, cultural and family hangups and traumas; ideas about heaven and hell, gods and demons, how the world works, and just about anything else that’s part of how humans function.

When you take a generational view, you see how it’s not personal. It’s all passed on. And then we make it personal, and we have a chance to not take it as personal if we realize what’s going on.

Even how we function as a body is conditioning, passed on with some variations through all our ancestors back to that first single-celled organism.

And how this universe works is conditioning.

Some talk about conditioning as if it’s bad or something we need to get rid of, but that’s a superficial view. We are made up of conditioning. Our bodies wouldn’t function without it. Our society wouldn’t function without it. We would have no chance to function, or survive, or exist, without it. It’s the fabric of what we are.

The only conditioning we need to be concerned about is the one of wounds and hangups, and even here how we relate to it is more vital than getting rid of it. Of course, we can do some of both.

And a part of this conditioning is the beliefs and ideas passed on through the generations that creates pain for us, and an unnecessarily limited life when we hold them as true.

How do you see non-dual spirituality?

I hoped you wouldn’t ask. Yes, it’s pretty close to reality. And in the modern western version, it’s often taken as a belief, something to hold onto to feel secure and try to stay safe. For many who are into it, it’s a security blanket. They just exchanged traditional religion for neo-Advaita. That’s fine but if they are not honest about it, they are deluding themselves.

If I am honest, and I know I sound like an old curmudgeon, many would do better to heal their emotional issues. They would find more ease and real contentment that way.

That sounds a bit harsh?

Well, yes. It’s just that I have seen versions of it so many times, in so many periods and cultures. People are in pain. And they seek and latch onto a belief – a religion or philosophy or political system – that promises to give them relief. And the real relief is in healing the pain, not getting obsessed about a system or philosophy.

To be continued…

A note: When I wrote this, I imagined dialoguing with a relatively average person who has lived for centuries. My partner dialogued with the version of herself that has lived for eons. And it can be fun to explore even more versions: the mystic, the poet, the wise man/woman, the scientist, the warrior, the one who loves earth, the one who loves humans, the one who loves life, the one who has lived innumerable lives in places around the whole Cosmos.

Dialogue with Big Mind / Big Heart

The Big Mind process is a way to shift into the perspective of different sub-personalities (at the human level) and aspects of what we are beyond the human. Big Mind / Big Heart is the whole of existence, and that which is capacity for all of existence, and one aspect of what we are. I thought I would share this brief dialogue with Big Mind / Big Heart.

What does P. need the most to know now?

That he is me, and I am everything. When he gets caught up in worries, struggle, hopelessness, frustration, it helps him to remember I am all. What he is (BM), and what he is part of (as a human), is all. The struggle comes from him forgetting this. And that’s OK. That is still me.

What is something simple and specific he can do in everyday life that will help him?

He already knows. Whenever he notices he goes into stressful stories, notice the sensations of the body, and especially the sensations fueling the stories, and notice it’s all already allowed. That’s how is mind can disengage from being caught up in the stories. That’s how he comes home. (He is, of course, always at home anyway, but when he does this he notices again.) He has noticed this because life brings him back to this, again and again.

Yes, that is true. He has long known the difference between being engaged in something in order to create something in the future, and what you mentioned.

Yes, and he keeps rediscovering it. If he is mainly caught up in creating something in the future – either through healing or awakening practices – he will always feel he is incomplete and not at home. What he is seeking always seems to be somewhere else. He doesn’t notice what he really is and is seeking is always here and always has been here.

And when he does, engaging in practices to shift something can still be very helpful but they happen within and as me. Within and as all there is, and a noticing of this and that what he really seeks is already here. It makes a big difference for him.

When he forgets me, it seems that what he is and seeks is somewhere else. When he remembers and notices, he can engage in activities to create a change and he sees it’s all happening within and as me. It makes it much easier for him. Much more comfortable. As he likes to say, he holds it all much more lightly.

What’s the purpose of his health challenges?

There is no purpose. It’s all happening within and as me. If there is a purpose, it’s just me exploring and experiencing myself as that too and what it brings up in him and others. Or, the purpose is for him to notice me and what he is as me. Or, even more gritty, it’s for him to notice all it brings up in him – struggle, frustration, insecurities, hope, fear, joy, – as already me. It just depends on how you see it.

Didn’t he already know all this?

Yes, he did in some ways. But this is an invitation for him to go deeper. To notice all of it, including that which he doesn’t like, as me. To live as if it’s all me.

It sounds like surrendering to the divine?

Yes, some call it that. In one way, everything and everyone is already surrendered to the divine since it all is the divine (me). In another way, he is sometimes struggling and trying to get things to conform to his ideas of how his life should be. He sometimes deals with his fear by wanting to make his life fit his ideas of how it should be. And that doesn’t work. One easy way for him to shift into noticing me and finding himself as me is to notice sensations, and especially those fueling stressful beliefs and identities, and notice they are already allowed. There are many ways to shift into me, which is what surrender refers to, and that’s one that he has easy access to now.

Big Mind process on the Dark Night

Moving to Wisconsin.

Moving to Wisconsin – initiating the dark night – explored through the Big Mind process.

– 0 –

Dark Night

Can I speak with Dark Night of the Soul? 

Yes.

Who are you?

Dark Night of the Soul.

What function do you have?

I show P. what’s left. I bring it up for him. I bring him face-to-face with it. I make it so he can’t escape.

Does he appreciate it?

No. He often fights it tooth and claw.

How is that for him?

It’s quite overwhelming. He makes himself overwhelmed that way. He exhausts himself.

Do you have any advice for him?

Keep going. He already knows much of what helps. It will resolve with time.

Hang in there.

How do you see his move to Wisconsin?

Well, it was what got the Dark Night started. I got into his life then.

It was the beginning, and then I got into his life even more.

Do you see it as something he should regret?

Well, he does if he does.

For me, there is nothing to regret. It happened. I came into his life.

I brought much of what’s left up in him.

I brought up fear, hopelessness, loss, lostness, beliefs and identifications.

There is nothing to regret there. It’s just what happened.

How can he relate to you better?

Any way he relates to me is OK.

However he relates to me either reflects confusion and what’s left, it helps him see what’s left.

Or it reflects more clarity.

Either way, it’s OK.

Do you have any practical advice for him?

Be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself.

Go for walks. Spend time with friends.

See how it is to meet what’s here, what comes up, as a friend.

It is a friend, so see how it is to meet it as a friend.

Try it out. And be gentle with yourself.

Anything else you would like to say?

Remember it’s all part of your process.

Many have gone through it before, you are not alone.

– 0 –

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Advice from Big Mind on inquiry

Big Mind, do you have advice for P. when it comes to inquiry?

Use inquiry as meditation. Allow yourself to be surprised.

You may also ask yourself a few questions.

Knowing conclusions in advance. Notice your tendency to know the conclusion in advance.

What happens when you go directly to a conclusion you already know? What happens when you allow yourself to use the questions as meditation, and be surprised by what comes?

What’s your fear about using inquiry as meditation, and be surprised by what comes up? What do you fear may happen? Make a list, take these to inquiry.

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Big Mind on taking thoughts as true

Big Mind, what can you say about taking thoughts as true?

It’s what creates your world.

As soon as a thought is taken as true, there is identification with the viewpoint of that story. The mind makes it appear true through filtering and interpreting perception, and adding on more stories.

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Beliefs vs reality: Advice from Big Mind

Just to keep noticing. Notice how you close yourself off from love, trust, gratitude and compassion. You are the one doing it. [….]

It’s really simple. The only reason it seems difficult is that your culture has told you otherwise. Keep noticing, and it will become second nature to you. First nature, actually, since this is who and what you are. You are love, only taking certain stories as true prevents that from being obvious to you. You already know this. You notice it each time you shift into Big Mind/Heart. You notice it each time you inquire into a thought you take as true, and find what’s on the other side.

I’ll tell you one secret: When you *try* to believe this, it doesn’t work. You already know. All that’s needed is to look at your own experience. Trying to believe it is trying to trick yourself, and that’s not going to work. You know when you try to trick yourself too. By trying to trick yourself, you start distrusting what’s already true for you.

Just notice that too. What happens when you try to believe? What happens if you instead look at experience? At simple, honest, clear examples?

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Jeff Foster on depression

I see that nonduality and depression is the topic of Jeff Foster’s new podcast.

Before listening to it, I thought I would see what comes up for me around it.

Big Mind – how does depression look to you?

About depression. He tells himself the world is against him, he tells himself he is a victim, so the mind and feelings respond with creating an experience of depression. It has to, because it’s job is to make his beliefs appear true to him. He then takes that experience of depression as yet another proof his initial belief is true.

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Not only see Reality but *be* real

“Thou hast been a child at the breast, a spoiled child,” said the Eternal Wisdom to Suso. “Now I will withdraw all this.” In the resulting darkness and confusion, when the old and known supports are thus withdrawn, the self can do little but surrender itself to the inevitable process of things: to the operation of that unresting Spirit of Life which is pressing it on towards a new and higher state, in which it shall not only see Reality but be real.
– Evelyn Underhill, from the Dark Night chapter in Mysticism.

Big Mind, what can you say about this?

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In a bind

Big Mind, why does P. sometimes feel paralyzed?

He believes his thoughts and prevents himself from doing what he is called to do, or would like to do.

He already knows what to do. He knows to wait until there is a clear direction. Or he knows the clear direction.

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