Confused Buddhas

A buddha would see you all as being exactly right; just where you are, all of you are buddhas. Even for those of you who do not know it, it is right for you not to know it at this moment

– Alan Watts

In a sense, we are all Buddhas. All beings are Buddhas.

To ourselves, we are capacity for our world, and what all our experiences – of this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within and as. All our experiences happen within our sense fields, and there is no inner or outer and no inherent boundaries in it. Any sense of boundaries comes from our mental field overlays, and they only appear real if we mistake them for being inherent in the world.

That’s how it is, whether we notice or not. In that sense, we are Buddhas whether we notice or not. We are oneness. We are the love that comes from noticing that oneness. We are the stillness and silence inherent in it. And all our experiences are that. All our experiences are capacity, oneness, love, stillness, and silence, taking whatever forms they take.

Whether we notice or not, this is what’s most familiar to us, more than anything else.

And since most of us don’t notice this consciously, or don’t notice it as fully as we potentially can, we are all not only Buddhas, but slightly confused Buddhas.

It’s how life shows up now. It’s an expression of all of existence and how it has unfolded going back to the beginning of this universe. It’s an expression of the creativity of life and this mind. Any ideas of right or wrong can only be found in our ideas of right and wrong. It’s perfectly imperfect.

And it’s also where a lot, and almost all, or all, of our discomfort and suffering, comes from, along with our confused actions in the world triggering suffering for ourselves and others.

Confused, lost, unlovable

Some parts of me feel confused, lost, unlovable, shunned. And they do so because they are. They are not yet met with love and understanding. As any being who feels lost, confused and unlovable, they yearn to be met with this love and understanding. And although others may remind me that it’s possible, I am the only one who can do it. I am the one who can meet these parts of myself with love and understanding.

I also see that these may come up in a quite gentle way, less identified with, and as an obvious “bubble of confusion”, and it can also come up more strongly, identified with, and with the experience that I am confused, loved, and unlovable. In the first case, it’s easier to meet it with love and understanding. And the second case, it seems to require a more intentional shift.

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Bubbles of confusion

This is something many talk and write about these days:

There may be an initial awakening or opening (as it was for me in my mid-teens). There is a shift into Big Mind/Heart. Spirit notices itself as everything and everyone, without exception. The world (Spirit, God, Brahman) is revealed as a seamless whole. The boundary between inner and outer is revealed as just coming from an image overlaid on perception. The images of me and I are recognized as only images, and identification with them may be released at a conscious level, and may or may not release at an emotional level.

During this time, there may still be wounds and beliefs at the human level. And they may not be noticed much, for a while, since attention is released out of these wounds and beliefs. The brilliant light of Spirit is so strong that these – in contrast – minor hangups are barely noticed.

At some point, these wounds and beliefs surface again. They want to be included in the light. They want to align with reality. Emotions that were stuffed as they initially surfaced, often prior to the awakening, surface now to have their life, to be felt, to move through, and release. Beliefs created earlier in life, and still held at an emotional and sometimes conscious level, surface to be inquired into, so the thought can be released from being taken as true.

This may happen within Spirit noticing itself. There may not be any “need” for Spirit to re-identify as a me and/or I. The surfacing and moving through of stuffed emotions, and the surfacing and inquiry into beliefs, may happen within Spirit remaining aware of itself as all of it. This happened for me, to some extent, during the initial illumination phase.

Another option is that Spirit may temporarily re-identify as the me and/or I. One way of looking at this is that certain crucial images and thoughts have not been seen through thoroughly. Another is that this temporary re-identification allows emotions and beliefs to surface without being eclipsed by the brilliance of Spirit recognizing itself. This may be a darker dark night, and for me, this is what happened following the illumination phase. And even then, it shifted to some extent between the two options.

This is all about our human self, allowing it to reorganize and realign with reality more thoroughly, at more levels, in more areas of life, in relation to more of the possible thoughts that come up in us. It can bring clarity and insights into more areas of life, and it allows Spirit noticing itself to live with more kindness through this human life.

Spirit may well notice itself, as described initially, and yet be hindered in it’s expressed by remaining wounds and beliefs at a human level. The more clarity there is on the variety of thoughts surfacing, the more stuffed emotions are released, the more there is a deep healing and maturing at a human level, the more free Spirit is in it’s expression and it’s life through and as this human self in the world.

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Love vs pity

There is a big difference between love and pity.

Love comes from clarity and may take the form of recognition. I see myself in the other. I have been there. I see the pain and drama is innocent confusion, whether it’s in me or the other. This is (a more) clear love.

Pity comes from confusion. It’s from a set of beliefs, such as it’s terrible, it’s wrong, and possibly my life is better, I am glad it isn’t me. It’s uncomfortable, implies and creates separation, and can be experienced as slightly condescending. It’s confused love, innocently confused love.

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Going to the clearest or most confused parts of me

There seems to be a natural cycle between relative clarity and relative confusion (wounds, beliefs).

One surfaces, then the other, and there is a mutuality between them. They inform each other.

Clarity informs confusion, there is an invitation for it to align with reality.

Confusion informs clarity, there is an invitation for it to become more clear.

And both may happen through some form of investigation and inquiry.

Confusion (wounds, beliefs) surface, and I can (a) open to the experience, feelings, allow them their life, and (b) identify and inquire into the beliefs behind it. In this way, clarity informs confusion. There is an invitation for it to align more with reality. And in the same process, clarity can become even more clear. It may learn something. Find clarity on different thoughts.  Discover something new. Confusion informs clarity.

I notice how these cycles happens at different levels of intensity and different time spans. Over minutes, hours or days, there are shifts between confusion and clarity. And over weeks, months and years, it’s the same. For years, there was relative clarity, and then relative confusion. (For me, this took the form of illumination and dark night.)

And, as mentioned above, when there is an opening to the experience of confusion, and inquiry into the beliefs behind it, then confusion and clarity coexists and inform each other.

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Deny me three times before dawn

I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” – Matthew 26:34. Also Luke 22:34. Mark 14:30. John 13:38.

Adyashanti talked about this during his July intensive this year (I have listened to the two first session on CD.)

As so much in the New Testament, it is a beautiful expression of what we are likely to encounter on the path.

I find this for myself in small daily situations, and also in the overall process of recognizing what I am and taking the consequences of it in my daily life.

Mainly, I notice I am caught up in a story. I find what is more true for me. I live from that for a while. Get caught up in the story again even if I know better. Shift into living from what is more true for me. And so on.

John is, as so often, even more to the point:

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” – John 13:38

Of course, for most of us it happens more than three times. But it doesn’t have to.

(The illustration is an Ethiopian painting from the 1600s.)

Tug of war

Over the last few days, and especially last night, I have noticed what seems like a gentle tug of war going on in the body. Maybe a tension between dynamics from a mistaken identity and existence inviting in a release of it. A gentle murmuring tug of war between confusion and clarity.

This is probably something that goes on all the time, for most of us. A tug of war between beliefs in stories and what is more true for us. A tension between what we try to take as true, and what we know is true. A tug of war that goes through all of who we are, including the body and its energies.

And sometimes, like now, it feels like something is working itself out. But those are all interpretations, and it feels better to let it have its life without me needing to know.

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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.

Ego as love

I don’t often use the word ego, and when I do, it is mostly to show that it is not very useful.

Or it could be to differentiate the two meanings of the word: In a western, psychological sense, where we want a healthy and strong ego. Here, it refers to the “operating system” for our human self, that which helps it orient and function in the world, and we want it in as good operating order as possible. And in an eastern philosophical sense, where it just refers to a sense of a separate I and whatever comes along with that.

In the second sense of the word, as a description of a sense of an I with an Other, and whatever goes with it, it sometimes has a sinister tone to it. “The ego” as some evil entity lurking somewhere, with no good intentions. (Which is why I don’t like using the word.)

But really, the ego in that sense is just from innocence, an innocent belief in stories, taking them as real and substantial, and temporarily overlooking what we already are.

And beyond that, the ego is pure love. A love for this human self and whatever is within its circle of care and compassion. It is pure kindness, pure compassion behind it. No matter how it may look on the surface.

Ego, in both meanings of the word, is pure innocence, pure love.

And, in the second sense of the word, pure – temporary – confusion.


Exploring confusion…

I shouldn’t be confused.


  • I should be confused.
    • It helps me pause when there is insufficient or conflicting info/impulses.
    • In some situations, it spurs me to seek more or different info.
    • In other situations, it helps me shift into not-knowing, and be OK with that.
    • It is a pointer for when I cling to hard to clarity. (If I identify with clarity, confusion comes up as Other, as a disturbance.)
    • It invites me to stay open and receptive to the situation, to additional information, to new views and insights, to something surprising.
  • Confusion should be me.
    • Yes. Instead of identifying with clarity or wanting clarity, and see confusion as a disturbance, as Other, I can get to know confusion more. I can find myself as confusion, shift into confusion, explore the world from the view of confusion, see what it can contribute to the life of this human self, and what it asks of this human self. I can allow my identity to flow in ways that include confusion, in a more wholehearted way.
  • Confusion shouldn’t be me.
    In two ways. First, when I disown it. Then, as part of a wider terrain that I can find fluidity within.

    • My identity is sometimes rigidly attached to clarity, so confusion appears as not-me. When that happens, it is OK. It is what the dynamics lead up to right now. It is just another experience, another part of the terrain. In that sense, I should see confusion as not-me, because that is what is happening. It also helps me discover what happens when something is disowned, and the shift into including it.
    • My identity shouldn’t be rigidly attached to confusion (or clarity). I should allow for more of a flow between them. Knowing both, being familiar with both, yet also not limit myself to either.

Gifts of confusion

What are some of the gifts of confusion…?

(That question came up in a conversation today with a friend, who tends to get contracted when she is confused.)

This is a somewhat confused and exploratory post, so more after the jump.

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