Why do most scientists and psychologists ignore our nature?

To me, there is something that seems clear, both from direct noticing and logic.

And that is what we are to ourselves, and what the world is to us. It’s our own nature, and the nature of the world as it appears to us.

WHAT I AM IN MY OWN NOTICING

In one sense, I am a human being in the world. That’s not wrong, and it’s an assumption that helps this human self orient and function in the world.

And yet, in my own direct noticing, it is what I most fundamentally am?

When I look, I find I am something else.

I find I am more fundamentally capacity for any and all experience. I am what allows and takes the form of any and all of my experiences. I am what allows and takes the form of what happens in all of my sense fields, in sight, sound, sensation, smell, taste, and the mental field. (And any other sense fields we can differentiate out through our mental overlays.)

I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

I am the oneness the world, to me happens within and as.

We can call this different things. For instance, consciousness.

And that brings us to the logic side of this.

WHAT I AM LOGICALLY

In our culture, most say that “we have consciousness” as if it’s a kind of appendix we happen to have. There is an assumption here that we are primarily a physical object and this physical object somehow has consciousness as it happens to have arms, legs, and physical organs.

This is a third-person view, and it doesn’t really matter in this context how accurate it is.

The more interesting question for me is: What are we to ourselves, in our own immediate experience?

Logically, if we “have” consciousness, we have to BE consciousness. There is nothing outside of consciousness somehow experiencing consciousness. What experiences and has the idea of consciousness is consciousness itself. Not anything outside of it.

Any experience happens within and as consciousness. It’s consciousness taking the form of that experience.

So to us, the world happens within and as consciousness.

The world, and any experience, happens within and as what we are.

We ARE consciousness and the world and any content of experience happens within and as consciousness, within and as what we are.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WHAT WE ARE

Both direct noticing and (this particular) logic arrives at the same answer for what we are to ourselves, and it also arrives at the same answer for the characteristics of what we are.

What are some of the characteristics of what we are to ourselves?

What are some of the characteristics of consciousness?

To me, what I am has no beginning or end in space. It also has no beginning or end in time. Any experience of space and time happens within and as what I am.

To me, I am one. I am the oneness the world happens within and as. I am what my field of experience, which my mental field differentiates in many different ways, happens within and as.

To me, I am the world and the world is me. The world happens within and as what I am.

To me, the world happens within and as consciousness. It’s like a dream in that way.

To me, any and all content of experience comes and goes. And this includes any ideas of what I may be within the content of experience (this human self) and what these ideas refer to. In some cases, I may not take myself to be this particular human self, for instance in a dream, and what I more fundamentally am is still here. What any and all experiences happens within and as is still here. (Including shifting ideas of what I am as an object in the world.)

When what I am notices itself, I find that my nature is what can be called love. It’s a love that’s not dependent on shifting states or emotions. It’s the love of the left hand removing a splinter from the right. And this love is often obscured by separation consciousness, by dynamics and patterns created from when I took myself most fundamentally as a separate object in the world.

IS THIS WHAT I “REALLY” AM?

So is this what I really am?

Yes, it is. It’s what I am in my own direct noticing.

Outside of that, I don’t know. I don’t know what my nature more fundamentally happens to be from some kind of outside third-person view. And that’s also less important, at least in my daily life.

WHY DON’T WE ALWAYS NOTICE?

If this is so obvious both in terms of noticing and logic, why don’t we always notice or take this into account?

Most likely, because we live in a culture and world where most don’t. When we grow up, we do as others do. We learn to take on and operate from separation consciousness. And that can be very convincing, at least until we start examining our assumptions – about what we are and what the world is to us – a little more closely.

IS IT IMPORTANT?

Yes and no. We humans obviously get by without noticing or examining our nature.

And yet, when the oneness we are notices itself, keeps noticing itself, and explores how to live from this noticing, it can be profoundly transforming.

It can be profoundly transforming for our perception, sense of fundamental identity, life in the world, and our human psychology.

WHY DO MANY OVERLOOK OR DENY THIS?

If this is so obvious, both in terms of noticing and logic, why do so many ignore or deny this?

Most people are not so interested in the question of what they more fundamentally are in their own immediate experience. That’s fine. They get by anyway. They have more immediate concerns to focus on and take care of.

And yet, for some people, this is their job. For scientists and especially psychologists, this is essential to their job and (I assume) interests.

So why don’t more of them explore this? Why don’t more of them take it seriously?

I am not sure.

The essential answer may be the same as above: We live in a world where we are trained in separation consciousness from we are born. It becomes the norm, so we don’t even consider questioning it. And if we do, we feel we are somehow transgressing and entering dangerous waters so we don’t take it very far or speak about it.

To elaborate a bit:

Exploring these things is a kind of taboo in our culture, especially in academic circles. It goes against our shared worldview. It goes against standard norms. (Although all of that is changing.)

Our western culture, and especially our scientific culture, value the more “objective” third-person view over first-person explorations. Again, this has been different in the past and will very likely be different in the future.

If you work as a scientist in academia or as a psychologist, you typically cannot stray too far from the mainstream. As a scientist, you risk losing (or not getting) funding. You even risk losing your job if you get too weird. And as a psychologist, you risk losing your license. (In Norway, psychologists have lost their license for exploring the possibility of past lives in therapy sessions, even if these explorations obviously deal with projections and don’t say whether or not the past lives were real or not.)

In short, cultures are systems and systems want to stay mostly stable. There are many mechanisms operating to preserve some kind of stability. There are many incentives to not explore this, and not so many opportunities or invitations to do so. (Which, again, is fortunately changing.)

At a more personal level, many people may not have the curiosity or passion for exploring this. They are happy exploring other things, and that’s fine. Not everyone needs to explore these things.

WILL THIS CHANGE?

Will this change?

It is already changing. More and more people, including in science and psychology, are interested in a more transpersonal approach and understanding.

I envision a future where the third-person and first-person approaches exist side-by-side and even hand-in-hand, including in science and psychology.

It will be a far more rich exploration of our human experience, and one that reflects a little more of the bigger picture.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE VALIDITY OF WHAT MYSTICS DESCRIBE

If or when this shift happens, something else will happen as well.

And that is an acknowledgment – in science and our culture – of the validity in what mystics across times and cultures have described.

If we look at the essence of what mystics describe, it’s exactly this.

We are consciousness, and the world to us is consciousness.

We are the oneness the world, to us, happens within and as.

Image: Created by me and Midjourney (AI image)

My recent health crisis

I am just back after a few days at the hospital in Oslo.

I broke a tooth. The infection in the root spread to the face. I felt surprisingly unwell and, without knowing it, had the beginnings of sepsis. And following a dentist appointment, my system went into septic shock. There is about an hour I can’t remember, and I woke up sweating profusely, shaking uncontrollably, and without being able to think much at all. Fortunately, I relatively quickly got sent to the hospital in an ambulance and received critical care, was then under observation for a day, and then spent a couple of days in the infection section of the hospital.

It was a dramatic and scary experience, I am profoundly grateful for modern medicine and for being able to receive such good care so quickly. Without it, I may not have been be here today.

SHIFTING INTO BIG MIND

I also noticed what seems to be a natural tendency in my system. In a crisis, the “center of gravity” shifts into Big Mind. I far more strongly and clearly and unmissably find myself as Big Mind, as what this human self and the wider world happens within and as.

I can see it as a kind of safety valve. Or my system may not have the energy or ability to operate closer to the human side of the equation so this is what’s left. Or it just makes sense. In these types of crises, it’s helpful to function a bit more from and as Big Mind.

In daily life, I always find myself as Big Mind. It’s always there. It’s easy to notice. And yet, the “center of gravity” tends to shift around a bit on that spectrum from the human self to Big Mind. Sometimes, its more over to the human side, sometimes more over on the Big Mind side. It depends on the situation and where attention is and what’s required, and also if anything is triggered in me and how much I get caught up in it.

THE EFFECTS OF BIG MIND

How did I notice the effects of having Big Mind more strongly in the foreground?

The most obvious is that in my immediate experience, what I am is this crystal clarity anything happens within and as. Any ideas of boundaries or time or space or divisions between this human self and the wider world and so on happen within and as this crystal clarity.

I found myself surprisingly OK with the whole situation. At one level, my human self did its best to get the care needed and to tell the nurses and doctors the symptoms and what had happened. At another level, there was just a noticing of it all and a slight curiosity about how it would all unfold. Would he survive? How would it be to die? What’s on the other side of death, if anything? How is that big adventure?

I also noticed that things that normally would annoy this human self, like a nurse talking unnecessarily loudly in the middle of the night or someone making a lot of slime-related sounds, were fine.

And I noticed and experienced the whole situation as love. The words and actions of the nurses and doctors were love. The iv was love. The cardiovascular monitor was love. The ten tubes and cables attached to my body is an expression of love. All the work innumerable people have engaged in for all of this to exist was love. I know that, for them, it may “just” be a job. And, for me, it was love. It’s an expression of care. It’s what helped me survive and get back to health.

CHALLENGES

That said, there are also some challenges at the human level.

For instance, the first night at home was riddled with restless dreams bordering of nightmares, involving imagery from the hospital stay – including wanting to not move too much because of all the tubes and wires connected to my body. I was also generally disoriented.

At the hospital, I spent the last two days in the infection ward. Since they didn’t have enough rooms, they put me in the corridor. The first afternoon and evening, my bed was next to the room of a woman dying. The nurses said it was best to stop treatment so she could die sooner since there was nothing they could do for her.

My bed was moved down the corridor for the night, in between two isolation rooms. The people in both rooms were screaming in agony – or confusion? – through the night. Groups of nurses went in and out of the rooms most of the night, dressing in and out of their protective astronaut outfits.

In spite of having been close to death just a day or two earlier, I was one of the healthier people there. It really felt like one of the first circles of hell – hearing and imagining the agony of some of the patients and seeing the nurses literally running around to try to keep up with everything while somehow and miraculously still being attentive, with a smile, and often a good-hearted joke.

My body and mind function as if I was ninety years old and in bad shape even for that age, although I know it will change. And I imagine I will enjoy the small pleasures of life even a bit more. I already do.

I get even a bit more viscerally that life is change. Nothing that’s here will last. Enjoy it while you can.

Note: After I came back to the house, I have been in bed most of the time. Just now, I went outside in the beautiful summer afternoon and had dinner in the garden. It literally felt like being reborn into this life.

Note 2: I suspect I may have had this infection for a while, and wasn’t able to have it taken care of it because of a confluence of reasons including the pandemic. It may explain why my body has seemed to struggle and has felt especially weighed down for a while now.

Note 3: I have had a couple of infection-related dreams. A day or so after returning from the hospital, I dreamt that some ruthless burglars wanted to break into my car and there was nothing I could do. Last night, July 5, I dreamt a fake male nurse wanted to put poison into my iv to kill me. The first is a typical infection dream, and it’s a good sign it was my car and not my house. (It seems to suggest that my mobility will be impaired, which it was.) The second seems to mirror the poisoning of my blood that did happen, and perhaps that I am not out of the woods yet. I am still on antibiotics and will take another step to remove the source of the infection. (And, of course, I can explore these dreams in a more psychological-mirror way as well.)

Note 4: I noticed my misophonia went away during this experience. Sounds that usually would trigger stress in me were just sounds. Maybe because of the stronger shift into Big Mind?

Note 5: It’s now a week after I returned from the hospital, and I still feel like I have been hit by a truck – with fatigue and brain fog as the strongest symptoms. (On top of what I already have from the CFS.) This means I am not writing so much here, and that may change in time.

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The experience of my human self when I notice my nature 

I had lunch with family today (father’s day) and experimented a bit with shifting identification and where my center of gravity is in terms of identification.

THE FREEDOM OF FINDING THIS HUMAN SELF WITHIN WHAT I AM

Normally, I notice that the whole landscape – of this human self, others, and the wider world – happens within and as what I am. The field of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensations, and thoughts happen within and as what I am. It’s all happening within and as consciousness. It’s happening as a dream in that it’s created by consciousness and its nature, to me, is consciousness. To me, my world and all I am is consciousness.

This is freeing. It allows a noticing of this human self as he listens, speaks, feels, thinks, does, and so on. It allows a noticing of this human self as he lives his own life.

THE CLAUSTROPHOBIA OF BEING INSIDE THIS HUMAN SELF

I then tried to consciously shift identification more exclusively to this human self. How is it to imagine me as only this human self? Inside this skull? Looking out of these two openings in the skull onto others and the world.

For me, that immediately feels claustrophobic. I feel locked in. Looking out. The world feels more threatening. My social anxiety goes up several levels. I more easily become self-conscious in an uncomfortable way.

Note: I have written similar articles on distancemovementtime, the physical, and doership.

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The loops of consciousness creating a sense of separation within oneness 

When I explore what I am in my own first-person experience, I notice some of the ways oneness creates an experience of separation for itself. This seems to happen through several metaphorical folds or loops.

WHAT WE ARE 

In one sense, I am a human being in the world. That’s how I appear to others, and it’s not wrong. 

And yet, is it what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience? 

When I look, I find my nature more fundamentally is capacity for all of my experiences – of this human self, the wider world, and anything else. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. 

Thoughts can label this oneness, consciousness, love, or Big Mind. Or even, if we are so inclined, Spirit, the divine, Brahman, or something else. 

It may not be the nature of all of reality. But it clearly seems to be what I am in my own experience. 

It’s what I more fundamentally am than a human self, or a separate being, or an I or me or observer or doer or anything else. All of that happens within and as what I am. 

THE REFLECTION LOOP 

So how does this oneness create an experience of I and Other for and within itself? 

An early loop seems to be consciousness being conscious of being conscious of something. 

Consciousness is inherently low grade conscious of everything it creates itself into, and this is a loop of oneness being conscious of being conscious of something within itself. 

This early loop sets the stage for several other loops. 

THE LOOP CREATING THOUGHTS 

One of these is a reflection of an experience in mental representations including mental images and words. 

Thoughts can reflect experiences, and – as we know – consciousness can create all sorts of other mental representations that don’t directly reflect an experience. 

THE SEPARATION LOOP 

From the reflection and thought loop, consciousness can create a sense of separation for itself. 

It can create a sense of observer and observed, of being a human self in the world, and so on. 

It creates an experience for and within itself of being something within its content of experience (an I and me) and not being the rest (the wider world, the background). 

THE SEPARATION-CONSCIOUSNESS LOOPS 

This, in turn, sets the stage for all the dynamics created by separation consciousness. 

It sets the stage for all the drama we know from our own life and from humanity in general. 

It sets the stage for what we find when we ask ourselves: “What happens when I believe this (any) thought?” How do I perceive myself and the world? What emotions come up? What choices do I make? How do I live my life? 

THE RETURN 

And this sets the stage for a possible return. 

The oneness we are creates a sense of separation for and within itself, and may then find itself in a process of rediscovering itself – and its whole world – as oneness. 

This is what we call an awakening process, and it often goes through several phases: An early interest. Early glimpses. Investing in fears and hopes. Going into a more dedicated exploration. Finding itself and its whole world as oneness. Exploring how to live from this. Inviting in healing for our human self and psyche so we more easily can live from oneness in more situations and areas of life. Going through dark nights. And so on. 

CAVEATS 

This is a map, and any map is a simplification and highlights some things while leaving other features out.

It may also be mistaken in certain ways. I am sure others have far more detailed maps based on more detailed examinations and more familiarity with the terrain.

This is just how it appears to me right now, and it’s a very simplified version of even that. 

Photo: One I took in Cañón del Chicamocha

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What is omniscient and omnipresent? Turning the story around and see what we find

Some have the idea that God or the divine is omniscient and omnipresent.

As with any map, cosmology, and story, we can turn it around and see if we can find it here and now in our own experience. We can use it as a mirror for ourselves, for who or what we are, for our human self or our nature.

This particular story seems to more obviously reflect my nature than dynamics at a human level, and the “God” part of the story hints at that as well.

MY NATURE

First, what is my nature? When I look in my own first-person experience, what do I find? 

At one level, I am this human self in the world. That’s not wrong, but it’s not the whole picture and it’s not what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience.

I find that more fundamentally, my nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am what allows any and all experiences including of this human self, the wider world, and anything else. 

I am what the world, as it appears to me, happens within and as. 

OMNIPRESENCE

Here, I also find that my nature, to me, is omnipresent. I am what the world – all content of experience – happens within and as. My nature, to me, is everywhere and everything.

OMNISCIENCE

Similarly, I find that my nature is inherently omniscient.

There is a knowing of any experience before this knowing is reflected in thoughts and any conscious reflection on the experience.

FINDING IT FOR OURSELVES

How can we find this for ourselves?

For me, the most effective way is guided and somewhat structured inquiry, initially guided by someone more experienced. The Big Mind process and the Headless experiments are two of the most direct and effective ones I have found. 

The initial noticing can happen relatively quickly and without much preparation. Continuing to notice it and live from it is where the work is. 

NO SPECIAL POWERS

When we hear the words “omniscience” and “omnipresence” we may associate them with special powers.

In reality, it’s inherent in our nature. It’s what’s most familiar and ordinary to us, even if we may not consciously notice. And it looks quite different from what our thoughts and fantasies initially may have told us. 

At the same time, there is something extraordinary in this. Thee is an extraordinariness inherent in existence and our nature and the nature of all beings.

CONSCIOUSNESS

I prefer to not put too many labels on our nature. Labels can help us mentally get it, and that’s not what this is about. It’s about what we find in our own noticing. 

And if we are to use more direct labels, one is consciousness. 

To ourselves, we are consciousness, and this human self and the world happen within and as this consciousness. All the content of our experience happens within and as what we are. 

To us, as this consciousness, our nature is everywhere. The world happens within and as what we are. Consciousness, to us, is omnipresent. 

And this consciousness knows any and all of its content, before any of it is more consciously reflected on and reflected in thought. It’s inherently and effortlessly omniscient. 

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Finding our value independent of who we are, what we do, and others

In our culture, we are often trained to find our value in our roles, actions, how we appear to others, and by comparing ourselves to others. 

So how do we find our value independent of all of this? 

BABIES!

A good start may be to notice that, for us, babies have immense value even if they don’t do much in the world (apart from pooping and eating) and even if they all are more or less the same. For us, they have an inherent value. So why wouldn’t it be that way for us? And everyone else? 

FINDING LOVE FOR OURSELVES

We can find genuine love for ourselves.

We can shift our self-talk in a more kind and wise direction. (What we wish we had received as children.)

We can do tonglen or ho’oponopono with ourselves as a whole or parts of ourselves that feel unloved or we find difficult to find love for.

We can befriend the painful parts of us, listen to what they have to say, have a dialog with them, give them what they really want (often love, safety, support, etc.), and so on. Just recognizing that there are parts of us having this experience, and not all of us, can shift our relationship with it.

And we can do the same for others. Since they are mirrors for us, finding genuine love for others – no matter who they are or what they do, or what roles they have in the world – helps us find genuine love for more parts of ourselves. 

EXAMINING PAINFUL STORIES

We can identify and inquire into painful beliefs and identities telling us we don’t have value. 

We can identify and inquire into any beliefs we have around ideas of value. This helps undo the whole construct for us. 

We can notice that any ideas of value and our own value (or lack thereof) are created by the mind. They are mental constructs and can only be found in our mental field. They come from our culture. They are not inherent in the world itself, or in ourselves as we are.  

FINDING WHAT WE MORE FUNDAMENTALLY ARE

We can find what we more fundamentally are in our own first-person experience.

We find ourselves as oneness and wholeness and not lacking anything. We find an immense value as what we are.

We find that all beings, most likely, are the same to themselves and have the same immense value.

We find it may be easier to recognize that any and all ideas about value are created by the mind and not inherent in what we are or anything is. 

And we may find the deep transformation that can happen when we notice our nature while also noticing and holding the parts of ourselves that feel unlovable and not valuable.

A NOTE ON WHY WE WOULD WANT TO FIND OUR VALUE INDEPENDENT OF ROLES ETC.

It’s not inherently wrong to find our value in our roles, actions, etc. But it is stressful. It means we are never quite enough. We always need to chase something. If life takes a turn so we lose our roles and ability to act in certain ways, it can be devastating to our sense of self-worth. And nobody benefits from that. Finding our value independent of all of this gives us a deeper sense of rest and we are more available to life. We are more able to follow our deeper guidance and what we genuinely love, and that typically benefits all of us.

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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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Having never left home? Exploring the limited truth in any pointer and their reversals

Having never left the house, you are looking for the way home.

– Nisgaradatta Maharaj

These types of quotes are pointers. They point to something we may, at some level, overlook.

They are medicine for a certain condition.

And they are not meant to be any final or complete truth. Their nature is such that they cannot be any final or complete truth.

WHAT IS IT MEDICINE FOR?

So what’s this pointer medicine for?

The idea and perception that we somehow left what we are and what we most deeply seek.

It can help us turn from seeking it “out there” – in others, in the past or future, in another state, and so on. And turn to looking for it here. What is it that has never been gone, even if all content of experience comes and goes?

WHAT DOES IT LEAVE OUT?

What does it leave out?

It leaves out the limited validity in the reverse.

Having never left the house -> Having left the house. In what sense is that true?

How did I leave the house? I leave it any time I operate from the sense that I exclusively am this human self, a separate self in the world. I leave it when I don’t notice what I more fundamentally am to myself, in my own first-person experience.

Also, since I have lived much of my life from that assumption, and especially some of my formative childhood years, a lot of me operate from that assumption. Many parts of me have left the house, in that sense, and it’s up to me to welcome them back into the house, help them recognize they never left the house, and allow them to realign in that noticing.

THE VALIDITY IN THE REVERSALS OF POINTERS

In general, I find it helpful to look for the validity in the reversals of these types of pointers. It helps me unstick from any one particular view, and find the limited truth in each.

It also helps me find the stuck orientation(s) in me the pointer is medicine for, and what the reversals may be medicine for.

Nowhere to go?

On the path of self-exploration, one of the basic insights is that there is nowhere to go.

What does it mean?

It’s something we each have to explore for ourselves.

The essence may be that to us, the world happens within and as what we are, so there is nowhere to go.

And this has a few different aspects.

TIME

In my own first-person experience, the three times – past, future, and present – happen here and now.

My images and stories of past and future, and any images and stories I have about specific past and futures, happen here and now.

I cannot find it anywhere else.

In terms of time, there is nowhere else to go.

SPACE

I find the same with space.

Whatever happens in my experience – of this human self or the wider world or anything else – happens within my sense fields. It’s all happening within and as what I am.

There is nowhere to go, because to me, whatever I am experiencing happens within and as what I am.

I CANNOT ESCAPE THIS EXPERIENCE

I cannot escape the experience I have here and now.

It’s already allwed and already here.

Whatever I do is too late. I cannot escape it. There is nowhere to go.

I CANNOT ESCAPE WHAT’S UNRESOLVED IN ME

Similarly, I cannot escape whatever is unresolved in me.

It’s here. Whether it’s dormant or activated, it colors my perception, choices, and life.

And life will activate it and bring it to the surface.

If it is unresolved, it’s here, colors my life, and will be activated.

There is nowhere to go.

PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES

I can recognize this, in an immediate and visceral way, through different forms of inquiry.

And it has a few practical consequences.

If there is nowhere to go, what does that mean?

For me, it mainly means to befriend what’s here. If there is nowhere to go, it doesn’t make sense to continue to actively fight with what’s here. It makes more sense, in the long run, to befriend it.

These days, I tend to do this by exploring contractions in me. A life situation may trigger a contraction. I notice where I feel it in the body and ground my attention in the sensations. I thank it for protecting me and stay with that thankfulness until I notice a good shift. I check for what universals it may need or want, and what lack it’s coming from, and notice my system giving it to this part of me and rest with it. I notice its nature, and rest in that noticing. I invite it to notice its own nature, and allow it to rest in that noticing.

This supports awakening (it helps the contraction to awaken to its nature). It supports healing. (Contractions are unhealed and unresolved parts of us.) And it supports living from awakening. (The more healed, the easier it is to live from noticing our nature in more situations.)

All of this fits with ordinary approaches to our experiences and life. If something needs to be taken care of, I take care of it. And if a contraction comes up in me, I can befriend it and help it recognize its own nature.

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Is Big Mind / Headlessness a perspective?

Someone on social media asked this question about headlessness.

In itself, what we are – and noticing what we are – is not a perspective. It’s what allows any and all human perspectives.

When we live from it, it becomes a context for our life. Does this mean it’s a perspective or orientation? Not really, and perhaps not necessarily. Although in practice, we may make it into a kind of perspective for ourselves.

When we put it into words, it becomes a kind of perspective. A framework that becomes a way of talking about things.

And if we make it into an ideology or a belief, it certainly becomes a perspective. One of many, and maybe even one in apparent conflict with other perspectives.

The question may not have a yes or no answer. In itself, our nature is obviously not a perspective. And noticing our nature doesn’t in itself create a perspective. But when it’s translated through and as a human, it can become a kind of perspective.

As so often, it’s good to notice, be honest about it, and inquire into these perspectives and if anything in us feels a need to make it into a perspective.

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Spontaneous awakening: Big Mind as a safety valve

Why do spontaneous awakenings happen? Why did it happen “out of the blue” when I was sixteen?

In my case, it happened without any preparation or previous interest. I had an atheist worldview, although I was interested in parapsychological phenomena and had read books about the topic since I was in my early teens or earlier.

One answer is that I had a strong case of the usual teenage stress and angst at the time, and my psyche needed an outlet or release. Some find it through drugs, or they may develop more serious psychological problems. In my case, and some other similar cases, it seems that the outlet was to shift the center of gravity out from who I am and into what I am.

This happened in two phases. First, the center of gravity shifted from the content of my experience – and taking myself to be this human self – and into observing the content of my experience. The whole world, including thoughts, emotions, sensations, and so on, seemed very far away. This was unfamiliar and disturbing, and I went to several specialists to find an answer but they didn’t have any.

Then, about a year later, there was a second shift into what I am, which we can call Big Mind. I have described this other places so won’t go into details here.

So why did Big Mind become the safety valve and not some of the other, and perhaps more usual, options? I am not sure. Perhaps it has to do with deeper inclinations in my system? Biological and psychological predispositions? Past lives? I don’t know.

When I talk about spontaneous awakening here, I mostly refer to when it comes out of the blue without any apparent preparation. There is a way that all awakenings are spontaneous. Even if they are set up through guidance and practice, they are also – in a sense – spontaneous. But that’s a topic for another time.

Higher consciousness?

Some folks talk about “higher consciousness”. I understand that it can be seen that way. But to me, there is another way to look at it that feels more comfortable and is, in many ways, as or more accurate.

Awakening is about finding what’s already here. It’s about finding ourselves as what we already are. It’s about finding ourselves as what’s at the “bottom” of everything. As awake capacity for the world as it appears to us. As what everything in our experience happens within and as.

Yes, we can call it higher consciousness, for whatever reason. Perhaps because it seems to come after conventional views, or it allows for a more kind way to live. (Or because it makes us feel superior and better about ourselves and we use it to compensate for a sense of lack.)

And we can also call it basic consciousness. It’s at the metaphorical bottom of everything. It’s what’s always here. It’s what’s untouched by any of its content, including any human cleverness or stupidity.

It’s what all already share. It’s what, most likely, all of existence share.

How does God speak to us through nature?

I love to think of nature as unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour.

— George Washington Carver, Tuskegee University, 1930

I love this quote and it fits my experience.

Although the quote speaks for itself, we can also explore it further.

First, what do we mean by nature?

We obviously mean nature in an ordinary sense, as ecosystems, landscapes, oceans, air, water, plants, animals, and so on. And we cannot exclude ourselves from it. We, as human beings, belong to nature. And even our culture belongs to nature. It has grown out of and is part of Earth as a living and evolving system, although I doubt that was what Carver had in mind.

And what do we mean by God?

For me, God is the word for all of existence and what existence happens within and as (awake emptiness). God speaks to us through nature as nature.

So the question is, how does God speak to us through nature?

Nature, through its existence and as it is, speaks to us. There is a huge amount of information there for us, which helps us understand nature, ourselves, and how to better live our lives. Most humans through history have learned from nature in this way. Sometimes, it’s just insights we pick up from living our daily lives. Other times, it’s information systematically sought out. I imagine people through all time and in all cultures have systematically learned from nature, and we do it today as well – including through formal science.

There is another way God speaks to us through nature.

If God is all there is, then we can also find God in nature. Some do it through nature mysticism. They may sense or perceive the divine in or as nature.

There is also a simpler way to find God as nature – as all there is, and there are two ways to talk about this.

We can notice ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us. We can find ourselves as that which all our experiences – of ourselves and the wider world – happen within and as, and we can call that capacity, awake nothing full of everything, awakeness or consciousness, or Big Mind.

We can also call this the divine. If this awake nothing full of everything is not only our own “true nature” but the true nature of existence itself, then this is the divine, it’s Allah or Brahman or God. God speaks to us through nature AS nature.

The true nature of nature, existence, others, and ourselves is right there on display and not hidden at all. It’s just up to us to notice it.

If the true nature of everything is on display, why don’t more people notice? And how can we find it for ourselves?

Why don’t more people notice? Mainly, because we identify with and as this human being, and we are fascinated with these stories of ourselves as this human being with all sorts of identities and roles and activities in the world. There is nothing wrong with this, although it’s inherently a bit uncomfortable since it’s not completely aligned with reality.

How can we find it for ourselves? The most effective approaches I have found are the Big Mind process, Headless experiments (Douglas Harding, Richard Lang), and Living Inquiries. Through these, we can relatively easily get a taste of what it’s about, learn how to re-notice in daily life, and – if we are interested – learn how to bring this noticing more regularly into daily life and explore how to live from it.

Wait a minute… if God is all there is, what does that make us?

Yes, good question. In this context, we are the divine locally and temporarily taking itself to be something physical and separate, and then –sometimes – (re)discovering its true nature. This is the play of the divine, lila. As Alan Watts said, it’s the divine, or nature, playing hide and seek with itself.

Is my true nature the same as the true nature of existence?

I rarely use the term “true nature” since it suggests certain knowledge, although I also understand why they call it that in Buddhism.

My own apparent true nature

When I explore it for myself, I find I am capacity for the world as it appears to me. What I am is what my experience – of myself and the wider world – happen within and as.

One aspect of this is being capacity for the world as it appears to me. I can also say it’s no-thing full of everything. Or void allowing any experience. Or awakeness and all happening within and as awakeness. Or oneness since all is happening within and as what I am. Or love and all happening within and as love. (This is the love of the left hand removing a splinter of the right, not the type of love that is a feeling or dependent on a feeling.)

It can also be called Big Mind, Brahman, Spirit, the Divine, or any of the labels that points to roughly the same.

So I understand why they call it “true nature”. It’s difficult to imagine anything more fundamental than finding ourselves as capacity for all content of our experience, including awakeness, love, and whatever else it may be.

The true nature of existence

If my true nature is capacity, or capacity and awakeness, what about the true nature of the rest of existence?

The honest answer is that I don’t know.

Another answer is that, yes, it appears – to me – to be the true nature of all of existence. To me, the world happens within and as capacity and awakeness, so it naturally appears that way to me.

It makes logical sense that it’s the true nature of existence. After all, what’s more basic than capacity for anything and all? I am not so sure about the other qualities like awakeness. Is the universe and existence awake in itself? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps in part. I don’t know.

And yet another answer is that there are signs that suggests it’s the true nature of existence, for instance synchronicities, ESP, distance healing, and more. At the very least, this hints at the oneness of existence.

Exploring this for ourselves

As I often write about, there are ways to explore this for ourselves. Any words are pointers and questions, at most, and this only comes alive and has meaning as we discover it for ourselves.

Headless experiments is an excellent way to explore this, as is the Big Mind process and the Living Inquiries, and many other approaches out there.

Summary

I can say something about what appears to be my own true nature. I can say that existence itself appears to me to have the same true nature. It makes logical sense. There are some hints. And that’s about what I can say.

This is something we all can explore for ourselves. What do I find when I investigate for myself? Is it similar? Different? Would I talk about it differently?

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Center of gravity shifts into Big Mind & fear comes up

I talked with someone whose center of gravity spontaneously shifted into Big Mind yesterday, and she noticed how something in her human self was terrified of it.

Both are natural and the fear is not so unusual in a certain phase of the process.

How can we best relate to this fear?

Notice that it’s just a part of our human self that’s afraid of it. It’s not all of us and it’s something we can relate to more intentionally.

Notice that this fearful part of us already is what it’s afraid of. It is Big Mind. It is what we are. It’s afraid of its own nature, and there is a sweet innocence in that.

Listen to what this fearful part of us has to say. What is it afraid of? What is its story? What happens when we believe this? What’s more true?

Notice the sensation aspect of the fear. Notice the body sensations. Allow them to be as they are. Rest with them. Set aside any thoughts for a little while.

Identify and examine any beliefs (as mentioned above) and emotional issues behind this fear. Use whatever approach works for you.

Dialog with this fearful part and Big Mind, and perhaps even allow the two to dialog together.

Find more structured and intentional ways to shift into and explore Big Mind. This can give a sense of predictability and control – in a limited but important sense, and it can help us explore the terrain in a way that feels more safe.

For examining beliefs, I often use The Work of Byron Katie. For exploring emotional issues, Living Inquiries and Vortex Healing are both great. For dialog, Voice Dialog or the Big Mind process works well. And for shifting into Big Mind in a more intentional way, Headless experiments and the Big Mind process are both relatively simple and often effective.

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God is primary

As Ken Wilber points out, it’s helpful for us to be able to shift between zero-, first-, second-, and third-person relationships with the divine. (I think I probably added the zero one since it acknowledges no-self more explicitly.)

When we pray or open to the divine in a second person relationship, we can do it through aspects of the divine or intermediaries – avatars, Buddha aspects, saints, angels and so on, or we can connect with God as a whole. These two approaches complement each other and give us a taste of different flavors of the divine.

God – Brahman, Big Mind, Oneness, Spirit – is primary, and all the other ones secondary. They may be entry points to the divine, but God as a whole is always the context and source. For me, it’s important to have my relationship with God as the primary and the other ones secondary.

There are several reasons for this. It reflects reality. It helps me connect with my own wholeness and what I am. In my experience, it brings in the aspects and intermediaries anyway. To put it simply, the one to trust in is God.

And I have personal reasons as well. In the initial awakening, it was the divine that woke up to itself as everything without exception. Everything was revealed as God. It was a kind of cosmic awakening. So it’s natural for me to primarily relate to God as a whole, and I notice it does myself good as well since it helps me to connect with what I am, Big Mind.

The seed of this article was a Vortex Healing teacher (RW) talking about how he prefers relationships with the aspects of the divine over a relationship to God as a whole. Perhaps it’s because his conscious connection with the divine first was through gurus and avatars? For me, it’s the reverse. Both are equally valid and different flavors of how the divine explores and experiences itself.

Adyashanti: Each human is a point of orientation through which the Universe experiences itself

Each human is a point of orientation through which the Universe experiences itself.

– Adyashanti, Silent Retreat Vol. 57, Garrison 2017

Yes, we are the universe experiencing itself. We are a point in this universe, located a specific place. And we have a unique orientation – a unique way of experiencing, perceiving, and acting.

As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe through which the universe experiences itself.

This is the intersection of science and spirituality, of the universe story & the epic of evolution and Big Mind, of who we are – as this human self and local expression of the universe, and what we are – as capacity for the universe as it appears to us.

Through and as innumerable beings as part of this planet and perhaps throughout the universe, the universe – existence – experiences itself in innumerable unique ways. Each location is different. Each being is different. Each filter of perception – made out of matter and psyche – is different. Each experience is different.

In a bigger picture, we can say that this is not only the universe exploring, experiencing, and expressing itself, it’s existence and even Spirit and the divine exploring, experiencing, and expressing itself – in always new ways. It’s the dance of life or existence. It’s what the old Hindus called Lila.

And we – as humans and humanity and Earth – are part of this dance.

Any mythology or cosmology reflects us here and now. So how does the idea of Lila mirror what’s here and now in immediacy? What I find is that all my experiences happen within and as consciousness. They are, in a sense, this consciousness exploring, experiencing, and expressing itself. Lila is here and now. And to me – as this consciousness – it appears that the whole of existence explores, experiences, and expresses itself in the same way.

This is an instance where we can say that both are equally accurate. We can put a story on existence saying through and as this universe – as us as part of it – it is exploring, experiencing, and expressing itself. And we can say that we, as this consciousness, are exploring, experiencing, and expresing ourselves through all our experiences.

Why is this important? In a way, it isn’t. This view or insight or realization is just one of the many ways consciousness or existence is experiencing itself. In another sense, it makes a difference to us – and through this point of existence that is us.

It helps us be aware of something essential in who – as this human self, and what – as consciousness, we are. It helps us loosen the grip on any (other) ideas we have about how life should or needs to be. It helps us find some appreciation and even gratitude for life as it is here and now. It helps us appreciate the dance of existence as it appears as and to us here and now.

13.8 billion years old

When people ask how old I am, I sometimes say 13.8 billion years old.

It’s the most accurate answer, even if it’s perhaps not what they meant.

We are all 13.8 billion years old, as far as we know.

As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, feelings, and thoughts of the universe bringing itself into consciousness.

We are part of the ongoing evolution of this universe as it explores, expresses, and brings itself into consciousness through us and other beings.

Everything that we are is this old. The matter we are made up of has gone through a 13.8 billion year process to be formed into this human form. Our mind reflects the evolution of our ancestors and their environments, the Earth as a whole, and the universe. Our body and mind are the product of 13.8 billion years of evolution of this universe.

And we are also timeless. We are what it all – this universe and the universe in the form of this human self – happens within and as.

As who we are, we are whatever age is in our passport, and we are also as old as this universe. As what we are, we are that which all of this happens within and as.

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.

Gospel of Thomas 2: When they find, they will be disturbed

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.

2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”

I will explore this through the voices of Big Heart and Big Mind.

Big Heart

I love you as you are and you are love as you are, whether you know it or not and whether you seek love or your true nature or not. If life and love and all of existence has moved you to seek, then keep seeking until you find me and find me as what you always and already are.

At first, you – in the form of a human being – may be disoriented by what you find and you may be disturbed by seeing that all of what you held as true wasn’t true in the way you thought.

There is another way you may be disturbed. At some point in the process, you may be disturbed because all in you that was formed within not knowing all as love will need to be loved and recognized as love and heal through that. It’s a beautiful process, more beautiful than you may be able to see as it happens. And some experience it as deeply disturbing as it happens.

You will find an infinite richness and fullness in finding me as you and you as love and all as love and always having been love. (Even that which humans see as not love at all is love, it’s love in disguise. It’s love temporarily taking these forms and forgetting that it is itself.)

And you will find a rest beyond anything you have every imagined, even as you are active in the world. When you find me as you, and your human self gets infused with this and used to it, you will find a deep rest.

Big Mind

If you are drawn to seek me – which is me seeking myself – then keep on until you find.

As a human being, you may be disturbed by what you find. You discover that what you believed, including your most basic assumptions about yourself and reality, are not true the way you took them to be.

You will also marvel when you discover yourself as me and everything as me.

As me, you will reign over all since all happens within and as me, although that’s an old-fashioned way of talking about it and I wouldn’t say it that way now.

And as you become more familiar with me and everything as me and living from it, you will relax and rest in and as it even as you are in activity.

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Gospel of Thomas 1: Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death

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.

1. And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”

From The Gnostic Society Library, translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer

The verse says “interpretation” and interpretations can be helpful. But it’s what it refers to – the actual noticing – that’s important. In this case, as it comes from Jesus, I’ll assume what the verse refers to is discovering ourselves as Big Mind.

Big Mind. I am what time, birth, death and everything else happens within and as. So whoever discovers me will taste death – because everything within me comes and goes – but will not die.

Big Heart: You will taste death but the one you really are will never die. You are not only loved more deeply than you know, you are that love.

A scientist: When we discover ourselves as what our experience happens within and as, we are not the one who dies. What dies is this human being which others take us to be, and that’s an experience within what we are.

Of course, if consciousness dies with this human self, then consciousness – what we are – dies too. But if all of existence is consciousness, then what we are does not die even when this human self, this planet, and this universe dies.

Is the small or big interpretation of awakening correct? We’ll see when we die, and we may have hints before then.

A pragmatic: Is it true? The only way to find out is to explore and discover the meaning of these sayings. It’s very clear right there in the first verse: It’s not about faith or believing anything or taking anyones word for it. It’s about discovering it for ourselves.

How do we do that? There are many approaches. Find one you are drawn to and where you can find experienced people who can guide you. Try it out. Does it work? Then keep it. Does it not? Then change how you are in relation to it and try it again. If it’s still not working, then find another approach.

A personal note: In writing this post, I see that my usual writing-persona for this blog is the pragmatic scientist. I also noticed that the voice of Big Mind and Big Heart are easy and familiar to me. And the voice of the poet or the mystic drunk on the divine were more difficult to access and I judged what came out of them more. I guess I have set aside and perhaps even disowned those sides of me. And it’s also possible that, right now, this particular verse didn’t resonate so much with those voices.

Shunryu Suzuki: Nothing comes from outside your mind

Nothing comes from outside your mind.

Usually we think of our mind
as receiving impressions
and experiences from outside,
but that is not a true understanding
of our mind.

The true understanding
is that the mind includes everything;
when you think something comes from outside

it means only that something
appears in your mind.
Nothing outside yourself
can cause any trouble.

You yourself make the waves in your mind.
If you leave your mind as it is,
it will become calm.

This mind is called big mind.

– Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

The Fool & Stepping Into the Unknown

Although I am no expert on the Tarot (or even a beginner!), I know it can be very helpful as a projection object. Through synchronicities and universal symbols and archetypes, the cards become a mirror for us.

I enjoy taking a quote or the title of a book and explore it for myself and see what I find. And I also like exploring universal symbols in the same way.

So what about The Fool from the Tarot?

The first thing I see is someone who seems to enjoy the sun and the beauty of life and is about to step off a cliff. Perhaps the dog is trying to warn him?

In a conventional sense, that’s obviously foolish. Here is someone living in his own world and not taking care of the basics of his own life, and that can sometimes happen to all of us.

It’s more interesting to me to explore this in a bigger view. For instance, I can see how The Fool represents awakening.

Stepping off a cliff is similar to stepping into the unknown. We are always stepping into – and living – in the unknown, whether we know it or not.

This moment – and life – is ultimately a mystery. We cannot know anything for certain. Even what seems the most certain to us is ultimately not.

At the same time, we know many things in a provisional sense. We know our name. How we appear to others and in the mirror. What labels we have in society. How to go about our daily life. And much more. All of this is very useful in a practical and pragmatic sense. Even if there is no ultimate or final truth to any of it.

Many will admit that this is accurate, although most of us will also cling to certain ideas and identities as if they were ultimately true. And from this way of living, deeply embracing and embodying all as the unknown may seem attractive, foolish, and slightly disturbing.

The Fool is dressed in a tunic decorated with stars and leaves. He encompasses the whole universe and all of life. He knows about Big Mind and that it’s his true nature. Big Mind may even notice itself as all there is including The Fool knowing about the ultimate mystery of all.

The dog is perhaps warning him from stepping off the cliff. In this view, the dog represents the parts of us scared of embracing the unknown. The dog may also be excited that he is knowingly stepping into the unknown. When we are more free from the constriction of beliefs and identifications, it can free us to more deeply embrace and embody our animal nature. (We are also more free to follow our inner guidance and live a more kind and authentic life.)

The flower may represent beauty and enjoyment of life and nature. Embracing the unknown, we open for gratitude and appreciation of what is – both what our personality likes and what it doesn’t like.

He carries a small bag. In it, I imagine he has whatever he needs for his journey. He doesn’t need much and he carries the little he needs with him. [Note: After writing this, I was informed that the bag contains the whole tarot deck. The Fool carries with him all the archetypes and the wholeness.]

There is a circle above him. Perhaps this represents zero or not knowing. Or the unity of all life. Or the oneness recognizing itself – including as this human self who doesn’t know anything for certain and always steps into and lives in the unknown.

The sun is shining. When we discover ourselves as that which all our experiences happen within and as, we find that which is independent of the “weather” of experience. A metaphor for this is the clear sky above the weather where the sun always shines. (At least, during the day!)

Interpreting The Fool in this way, it becomes a very beautiful image and archetype. He becomes the holy fool.

Space exploration and the epic of evolution

And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos we’ve begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars, organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the cosmos.

Carl Sagan, Cosmos, episode 13

When I was a child, I was strongly influenced by Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, and especially the quote above. It touched something in me. It resonated with a knowing in me.

Later, in my early twenties, I read The Overview Effect by Frank White, and that too resonated deeply with how I already experienced the world. In it, he describes how astronauts, when they see the Earth from space, often viscerally realize that the Earth is one seamless whole, fragile, with a thin layer of air supporting life. For some astronauts, and especially those who went further away from Earth, it was a deeply transformative experience.

All of us have access to it through photos, movies, and first-person accounts. And also through seeing the starry sky at night, and any time we are reminded of the Earth as one seamless whole. In my case, I had a profoundly transformative experience when I was 10 or 12 years old, in a sleeping bag under the vast starry sky on a mountain in Norway (Sølen) with an equally vast view of the landscape stretching our below me.

I see that Frank White has a new book coming out in a few weeks: The Cosma Hypothesis – Implications of the Overview Effect.

Following the pattern set in The Overview Effect, the book draws on interviews with astronauts about the ways in which spaceflight shifted their understanding of our relationship with the universe. The Cosma Hypothesis suggests that our purpose in exploring space should transcend focusing on how it will benefit humanity. We should ask how to create a symbiotic relationship with the universe giving back as much as we take, and spreading life, intelligence, and self-awareness throughout the solar system and beyond. 

From the Cosma Hypothesis book description.

I obviously haven’t read the book yet, but again it resonates with me.

As Carl Sagan said in the quote above, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe bringing itself into awareness. We do it in all the different ways we live our lives, individually and collectively, no matter how exciting and novel or mundane and familiar it seems to us. All beings are the local senses, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. All beings are the universe locally bringing itself into awareness.

And so it also is with space flight and space exploration. That too is the universe bringing itself into awareness. The universe exploring itself beyond this one living planet. It may even be how the universe spreads the life on this one living planet beyond this planet through colonization and terraforming. From the Earth’s perspective, we may well function as the reproductive organs of Earth.

The universe brought itself alive through this living planet and us, and it’s very natural for it to wish to explore itself beyond this one planet, and even to spread life beyond this one living planet, and to do so through us. We happen to be the social and physical organs of the Earth that are equipped to do just that, and the time for the first small steps happens to be now.

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Adyashanti: People suffer terribly when they lack a self-transcending orientation

People suffer terribly when they lack a self-transcending orientation

– Adyashanti

Yes, and that can be several forms of self-transcending.

It can be a genuine care for someone else – a partner, parents, children, friends. It can be a genuine care for the larger society, Earth as a whole, and future generations.

It can be a sense of belonging to a larger whole – whether it’s a family, group of friends, a larger society, the Earth, or even the Universe or existence as a whole.

It can be a sense of oneness with the larger whole or all of existence, or a realization that all of existence – as it appears to us – happens within and as what we are.

What are some of the benefits of a self-transcending orientation?

Most of us have a self-transcending orientation, at least sometimes and in some areas of life. It’s more a matter of what we give our attention to. I notice that when I give my attention to the larger whole in one of these ways, there is a sense of belonging, care, and gratitude. I know who I am in an important sense.

Also, a self-transcendent orientation tends to reward us back. We serve ourselves and the larger whole, and the larger whole responds.

ltimately, a self-transcendent orientation is aligned with reality and who and what we are. We are the universe locally bringing itself into awareness. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. And as what we are (aka consciousness), we are that which existence – as it appears to us – happens within and as.

And that also gives the answer to why a lack of a self-transcending orientation creates suffering. It’s out of alignment with who and what we are. It’s out of alignment with who we are as human beings, completely interdependent with all of life and as a local expression of society, Earth, and the universe. It’s out of alignment with what we are, as that which everything – ourselves and the whole world as it appears to us – happens within and as. And pragmatically, it’s very unwise and tends to create a miserable life.

In a sense, life rewards a grounded, sane, mature self-transcending orientation. And it discourages the opposite. Life can’t help it, because a self-transcending orientation is aligned with who and what we are, and a lack of a self-transcending orientation is out of alignment with who and what we are.

Let Your will be done

let not my will, but yours be done

Luke 22:43

Let Your will be done, not mine.

When I say this prayer, with some sincerity and wholeheartedness, what happens?

For me, there is a shift into that which already allows all that is. A shift into what I am. A shift into what we can call Big Mind / Big Heart.

There is a release out of my smaller views and concerns. A softening. A release out of being completely caught up in it.

And there is an opening for receptivity, gratitude, and recognizing all as already grace.

And what happens in a more specific sense?

My will is the will of the one taking itself to be a separate being. It’s what comes when I am caught up in my very human reactions. We can say it comes from (blind) identifications with thought, or when thoughts are believed, or from emotional issues and trauma, or reactivity to own experience. All those are ways of talking about what is, in essence, the same.

Your will is what is, what’s here, what happens. It’s how existence is both “inside” and “outside” of me as a human being. It’s all there is.

When I say this prayer, there is a shift in perspective, or a shift in context. There is an acknowledgment that this is already God’s will. There is a shift more into what I am, into Big Mind / Big Heart.

And within this new context, I am still responsible for my own actions as this human being. I am still responsible for being as good steward of my own life as I can. I am still responsible for my own life and my own choices and actions. Only the context has shifted.

So when I pray let your will be done….

It’s an invitation to notice that all already is God’s will.

It opens for receptivity, gratitude, and awe.

It moves my center out of this human being and more into Big Mind / Big Heart.

It helps me step back, shift out of small views, and look at the bigger picture and what is more kind and wise in the situation.

Sometimes, it requires a crisis before we do this. In our daily life, we may – without noticing – live from our will, and it works relatively well. Then a crisis comes, we notice that “our will” is no longer enough or what’s called for. So we pray let your will be done and invite in grace and everything that comes with it.

We remind ourselves of reality. All is God’s will. All is grace. And when I remind myself of this, it’s easier to shift out of my small concerns and find what’s kinder and wiser in the bigger picture.

What that is depends on the situation. Often, it involves forgiving myself. Finding gratitude for life itself. Finding some trust in life as it is. Stepping back from my small and very human concerns. Connect with my knowing and inner guidance. Perhaps find what seems the kindest and wisest for everyone involved, and in the longer run. (As far as I can tell.) And make a small step in that direction.

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Trancendence vs reorientation

The word awakening is used in different ways. 

Sometimes, it refers to a temporary release of identification as a whole. This is also called transcendence since our center of gravity temporarily shifts from human to Big Mind.

Sometimes, it refers to a stable release of identification as a whole. A more stable resting in and as Big Mind, and a fluid shifting between Big Mind and human perspectives. 

And there are a couple of more wrinkles to this.

Our conscious center of gravity can be as Big Mind, but some of our human parts are not quite on board with this yet. They are still stuck in separation consciousness. (They were formed within separation consciousness so they are aligned with this experience of the world.) These parts may be transcended most of the time (inactive, dormant), and sometimes they are activated and take over so our center of gravity shifts back into separation consciousness. It may also be that we mostly operate from Big Mind but in areas of our life operate from some of these parts and their separation consciousness. 

Another way of talking about this is what Byron Katie says. We are awake to a thought or not. We can be awake to the thought that’s here, or not. If we are, we recognize it as a thought and are free to act in a more kind and wise way. If we are not, we are caught in the belief that the thought it true so we perceive and act as if it is.

Almost all of us are enlightened to some thoughts and not others, we are only aware of a fraction of the thoughts we are not awake to, and some of these are more or less permanently activated and partly run our lives. (Similar to Freud’s unconscious.) 

We can also talk about this in terms of wounds or trauma. The parts of us aligned with separation consciousness are, in a sense, wounded or traumatized. So we can invite in healing for these, one at a time, as they surface in daily life and we get to know them. 

And another aspect of this is how we relate to these parts of ourselves. To the extent we see them as a problem (or bad, embarrassing, wrong, not fitting our image), we’ll tend to get caught in identification as soon as they are activated. We’ll get caught in the view of these parts, or in the parts reacting to them.

To the extent we have befriended them and recognize them as innocent (and even beautiful, humanizing, and an invitation for continued healing, maturing, and clarification), we tend be less caught in identification when they are activated. 

This means that our awakening continues to stabilize, clarify, and deepen as more and more parts of us are aligned with Big Mind. It means that our healing and maturing as human beings is ongoing.

And it means that the mix that’s what (Big Mind/Heart) and who (our human self) we are as a whole is not only an ongoing and continues process of exploration, clarification, healing, and maturing. But also of failing and messing things up in a very human way and sometimes even learning from it. There is no end point. In a sense, the exploration itself is the point. 

A couple of quick notes: In this context, there isn’t any failure since it’s all part of the overall process. I am just using the word in an everyday conventional way. 

I also wanted to say a few words about these parts of us operating from separation consciousness. They are formed at a time when we operated from separation consciousness, typically in our childhood. They reflect this idea that we are (only) a separate being and view and act as if that’s the case. And they are formed from, and form, a wound or trauma, even if this wound or trauma is very gentle. These parts of us can also be called beliefs (in the The Work sense) or identification (with and as the viewpoint of a thought). 

Spiritual identification is a form of body identification

Even identification as “spiritual” things such as awareness, Spirit, oneness, Buddha Mind, Big Mind, Brahman etc. actually involve body identification. Any identification requires sensations associated with images and words, so it is a form of body identification. For instance, when I explore “awareness” or “I am awareness” I find an image of awareness connected with subtle sensations in my head, and also other imaginations and sensations making up my experience of awareness or being awareness. Any identification involves body identification, also when it’s a “spiritual” type identification.

– from a previous post

Kate Bush: Nocturn

Nocturn

[The chorus:]
Sweet dreams…On this Midsummer might
Everyone is sleeping
We go driving into the moonlightCould be in a dream
Our clothes are on the beach
These prints of our feet
Lead right up to the sea
No one, no one is here
No one, no one is here
We stand in the Atlantic
We become panoramic

We tire of the city
We tire of it all
We long for just that something more

Could be in a dream
Our clothes are on the beach
These prints of our feet
Lead right up to the sea
No one, no one is here
No one, no one is here
We stand in the Atlantic
We become panoramic

The stars are caught in our hair
The stars are on our fingers
A veil of diamond dust
Just reach up and touch it
The sky’s above our heads
The sea’s around our legs
In milky, silky water
We swim further and further
We dive down… We dive down

A diamond night, a diamond sea
And a diamond sky…

We dive deeper and deeper
We dive deeper and deeper
Could be we are here
Could be we are in a dream
It came up on the horizon
Rising and rising
In a sea of honey, a sky of honey
A sea of honey, a sky of honey

[The chorus:]
Look at the light, all the time it’s a changing
Look at the light, climbing up the aerial
Bright, white coming alive jumping off the aerial
All the time it’s a changing, like now…
All the time it’s a changing, like then again…
All the time it’s a changing
And all the dreamers are waking

The lyrics of Kate Bush are full of pointers, as a friend of mine also mentioned on Facebook this morning.

This song is especially direct. It’s a reflection of how an initial opening or awakening can be experienced.

It’s a shift into Big Mind recognizing itself as all there is.

We stand in the Atlantic
We become panoramic

The stars are caught in our hair
The stars are on our fingers
A veil of diamond dust
Just reach up and touch it

It’s also a reflection of the elation and awe that comes with this initial opening or awakening.

All the time it’s a changing
And all the dreamers are waking

And it does easily seem this way. Big Mind (Spirit, God, Brahman) notices itself as all there is. It does seem like everything and everyone is awakening, as if Big Mind is awakening to itself through everyone. In a sense, it’s true. That’s what’s happening here, in “my” world. This is what the historical Buddha experienced too. (And it doesn’t mean it’s happening “out there” in others, especially on a large scale.)

Open presence experiencing a me

First, there is apparently a me – a human self – experiencing presence.

Then, open presence is revealed as experiencing a me, a human self. (And experiencing the world through this human self, through its senses, emotions, thoughts and so on.)

This shift often happens first as one or more glimpses, and perhaps as a sense of “thinning of the veils”. Then, it may become more clear and stable, and there is an exploration of how this “new” realization is lived through our human self in the word.

During the transition, it may at times seem that the realization is “lost”. And here, there is an invitation to find here and now what was realized, independent of specific states and experiences. For instance, it may seem that “I am a me experiencing presence” but is that really so? Isn’t that too open presence experiencing a me?

It sounds simple when put this way, but the transition often involves time, maturing, a deep healing of the human self (bringing love and understanding to the wounds, pain and trauma), and life circumstances that require us to live with authenticity and from love and understanding.

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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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Embracing what’s disowned in the field

Here is one of the explorations I am called to these days:

I notice the field of experience.

Is there anything there is resistance to?

Is there anything in the field of experience there is a slight “no” to?

How is it to consciously include this? Embrace it? Meet it with a yes?

How is it to open my heart to it?

What happens?

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A shift into being it

I felt completely stuck yesterday – caught up in dissatisfaction, internal complaining, unease and general discomfort. Nothing seemed to work, apart from lying down and intentionally open my heart to it, allowing it to be, and giving it all over to the divine. Later, as I went to bed for the night, I continued this, and there was an impulse to shift into being it. And that’s where it seemed to fall into place. Being it was the only resolution that felt complete and honest in the moment.

I also remembered what Evelyn Underhill writes in Mysticism. The dark night is a preparation for, and shifts into, being whatever is.

It’s not new to me, but when it happens in this way, it feels new. Surprising. A fresh discovery.

Misery. Resistance. More misery. Allowing. Opening my heart to it. Then, a shift into being the field of experience.

I also see that being it can have two or three flavors.

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Big Mind, Heart, Belly, Integrity

I guess Big Integrity comes naturally from Big Mind, Big Heart and Big Belly.

Big Mind is what we are – that which everything happens within and as, including the images of a separate self – a human, a doer, an observer – that we sometimes identify with.

Big Heart is what happens when our human self functions within the context of what we are awake to itself. It is love lived through this human self, whether there is a feeling of love or not there.

Big Belly is the felt sense of all of this. It is the human self feeling all as Big Mind and Big Heart. A reorganization of the emotional level of the human self.

And Big Integrity is to live from all of this, in daily life.

Of course, it’s not this simple. It can feel temporarily satisfying to say or read something that’s relatively simple, clear, and resonates to some extent. It can be inspiring. It can even be something we wish to bring more into our lives. And yet, in practical terms, there is a little tweak we can do so it’s makes more sense and is more useful. And that tweak is to pay attention to where we fall short.

What shoulds or ideals do I try to live up to? What do I hope to get out of it? What thoughts come up when I fall short of my own expectations or ideals? If not falling short seemed within reach, what fears – if any – held me back? What do I find when I explore this further? For instance with heart practices, inquiry, or parts work?

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Facets of reality

Not only are there different forms of awakenings, but there are also different facets revealed within each one.

For instance, within an awakening of what we are to itself, there are facets of emptiness and fullness.

When this awakening is lived through human form, love comes in.

At the soul level, there seems to be innumerable facets, including luminosity, alive presence and fertile darkness.

Independent of – or coexisting with – any of these, is the experience of oneness. All form is one. All is God.

And when any of these are lived through our human self, insights can also come in – which is another facet.

There must be many more, but these are the ones I am most familiar with from (very limited) own experience.

I also notice how there seems to be a natural shift among any and all of these. Any one of them is sometimes in the foreground and sometimes in the background. Said another way, the volume of each is sometimes turned way up, sometimes moderate, and sometimes turned way down.

Another aspect of this, which Adyashanti pointed out at his most recent radio broadcast, is that each of these are revealed as complete and omnipresent – because they are.

So it is understandable how some, at least in the very early phases of their awakening, take whatever one is alive for them in the present as all there is. (And sometimes get into slightly comical debates with others around it.)

I must be lucky here. Even in the midst of my initial awakening, it was clear to me that in spite of how amazing and complete it seemed (in that case a mix of Big Mind, Big Heart, alive presence, luminosity), it was only a small aspect of what God is. And whenever there is a shift into any one of these, or one new to me, and even if the volume is turned quite a bit up, it is still clear that it is only a small facet of God.

The lesson in all of this, including for me, is to not limit God.

Whatever experiences and insights I have is always very limited. And whatever story I have about reality or God, God is untouched by it and goes far beyond. If I attach to any of those stories as true, I only create struggle when experience moves on… which it will.

Beliefs taking Big Mind into its service

Anything can be used to make a story seem true, and anything can become a tool in the service of a belief.

So also with what we are – Big Mind, awakeness, the infinite or whatever we like to call it. (And this can happen whether Big Mind remains an idea or there is a genuine glimpse.)

I notice this especially well with stories that keep my personality within its comfort zone. I may know that it is appropriate to take a certain action, yet it is somewhat outside of what the personality is comfortable with, so I can shift into Big Mind, see that all is perfect as it is (which is true), and use that as a reason for not acting.

It is not a big problem, and it is perfectly natural at certain phases of the process. It is innocent.

And it is also relatively easy to notice. When I am caught up in this, there is still stress here. And this stress points to a belief which I can then inquire into.

What is more true for me than the belief that stops me from acting in ways that my heart or intuition tells me to, and seems most appropriate in the situation?

A felt sense of all as God

To shift into a seeing of all as God is not difficult. Especially not a partial seeing of it through the Big Mind process, headless experiments or choiceless awareness practice.

But how is to to feel all as God? To bring it into the body, allowing the body and emotions to reorganize within this new context?

I find it helpful to first shift into seeing all as God, through one of the pointers above. And then bring attention to the felt sense. How does it feel in the body when there is a seeing of all as awareness? (God, Big Mind.) What happens with the body and emotions? What is different? How would it be to live from this felt sense? Can I invite my body and emotions to reorganize within this new context of all felt as God?

When I do this, I notice a few things…

There is a deepening and felt-sense trust. In nothing in particular, or in life/existence independent of how it shows up. There is a deep relaxation and sense of being home. There is a sense of nurturing fullness. (Which seems to replace the tendency of emotional reactivity.) Emotional attachments releases. In general, there is less drama, distractions, and kicking up dust, and a relaxed trust and clarity.

All of this makes it easier for what I am to notice itself.

And it also invites who I am, as this human self, to heal and mature. Before awakening, this healing and maturing makes it easier to be who I take myself to be. After awakening, it allows the awakening to be expressed in a more healthy and mature way.

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Interface

I enjoy listening to Byron Katie because she so clearly comes from Big Mind, and at the same time meets people where they are. In that way, she serves as an interface between Big Mind and confused mind in a beautiful way.

Btw: This is one of the exchanges where she also addresses emotions, in addition to beliefs.

Feel awareness

Some teachers emphasize to feel awareness. It may sound funny, but there is a deep wisdom behind it.

When I shift into Big Mind, finding myself as what I am, feeling awareness is an invitation to bring attention to what is happening to my body. I bring attention to the felt-sense, to what is happening with my felt-sense when what I am notices itself.

(I can invite this shift in through the Big Mind process, headless experiments, exploring the sense fields, allowing experience/choiceless awareness, or by following a number of other pointers. And the noticing of what I am can be more or less clear. But the felt-sense will still shift along with it.)

What I notice is a deep relaxation of the body. When it is no longer taken as an I with an Other, it is free to release the tension that comes from being taken for an I with an Other.

Bringing attention to the body, in the context of what we are noticing itself, is also an invitation to the body to reorganize within this new context. It is an invitation to deepen into the felt sense of what we are noticing itself, and to allow the body – and our human self as a whole – to reorganize within it.

And if the heart is brought in, there is a whole new flavor to it, and the relaxation and reorganization goes even deeper.

I shift into Big Mind, invite in Big Heart, a kindness and well-wishing towards anything within form, bring attention to the body and embrace the body, and allow the body – and my human self as a whole – to deeply relax and reorganize within that awareness and love.

Free from the tension and stress of being taken for an I with an Other, and within being seen, felt and loved as it is, here and now.