Obvious bias

There is an obvious bias in this blog.

It is mainly individual and view/cognition oriented, leaving out or de-emphasizing larger wholes and energy, heart, relationships, policies, culture and so on.

There is of course no reason that an individual and view orientation should be taken as more primary than any other approach. We can understand or tweak the system from anywhere.

It is interesting to notice that I started our much more whole-systems oriented. And then over time got into this individual + view orientation, mainly through traditions that emphasize that approach, such as (current western interpretations) of Buddhism.

Read More

How one form of love becomes another

When what we are is awake to itself, and a human self functions within this context, the way this human self functions in the world will often look like love. And it is as natural, effortless and independent of states and emotions as when the right hand removes a sliver from the left. 

When this love is filtered through beliefs, as it is for most of us, it becomes another form of love. It is a love for what we take as a separate I and its circle of us. It is a love of protection, defense, accumulation. It is a love that is expressed through any of our beliefs and emotional attachments, and any reactivity that comes from these beliefs and attachments. It is really a love for a story, a story taken as true. And it can look as anything but love. 

Again, it is good to notice…. It is all an expression of love.

Read More

Longing to know itself


I was a hidden treasure and wished to be known, so I created that I might be known.  
oral Islamic teaching

Everything can be seen as God longing to know itself. 

Everything is God manifesting, exploring and experiencing itself in always new ways. 

And that includes our human life and the longings in our human life. 

The quiet love for God and truth is God longing to know itself through waking up to itself. 

The impulse to seek and wish for anything is God longing to wake up to itself, and to experience itself in its richness. 

All of these are God longing to know itself, filtered through our human life. 

The quiet love for God and truth is there as soon as there is a sense of a separate I. There is – somewhere – a knowing of what we are, a sense of discrepancy between what we are and what we take ourselves to be, and a longing for what we are to wake up to itself. 

When there is a sene of a separate I, there is longing in the form of seeking, wishing, wanting and so on, and these are filtered through our identifications with stories and identities. 

Sometimes, it looks spiritual. It can take the form of devotion, prayer, meditation, selfless action.

Sometimes, it looks mundane. A search for knowledge, status, safety, approval, love, belonging.

Sometimes, it looks less than pretty. Domination. Cruelty. Suffering. Despair. (Love filtered through particularly strong beliefs.)

But it is all God longing to know itself. A longing to wake up, for what we are and everything is to clearly recognize itself. A longing for wholeness, for recognizing the wholeness that is always here as what we are, and for the sense of wholeness we can find in our human life. And a longing for living and experiencing fully and richly this human life. 

It is all included. It is all God longing to know itself, in always new ways. 

Read More

Love filtered

This is a parallel to the previous post on what everyone and nobody wants, and clarifying intention.

When I look, I find that everything that comes up in me – every desire, story, emotion, behavior – is love. And most of the time, it is love filtered through stories taken as true, so it doesn’t always appear as love in its expression.

It is love filtered through a sense of a separate I, since a sense of I-Other is the first that happens when a story is taken as true. (There is an I here associated with the true story, and Other over there associated with its reversals which I need to defend against.) This filtered love appears as love for this separate I and its circle of us.

And this love for a separate I and its circle of us is expressed through whatever other beliefs are around. It shows up as any emotion, including fear (which is there to keep this separate I safe), as any story (again there to protect and take care of this separate I), and any action in the world. And the stronger the beliefs, the less it tends to look like love when it comes out.

So here too, it can be very helpful to clarify what is behind emotions, stories and behaviors. When I peel back the layers, what do I find? (The Big Mind process is an excellent tool for this, revealing how each voice at the personal level is there to take care of the human self, and are really expressions of love.)

When I have not clarified this, I am at war with myself. There is struggle, drama and a sense of split. I am caught up in the midst of it. I work and struggle against what is.

And when I clarify it, I am not split against myself anymore. The drama goes out of it and there is more clarity, sense of ease, and of a workable situation.

Myth of the Given and The Work

I read through the thread on Myth of the Given and The Work at the Integral Naked forum, and learned something more about the myth of the given.

Apparently, working with and seeing through the myth of the given goes beyond the simple version of it: recognizing appearances as just appearances, filtered in numerous ways, conditioned by infinite causes. It also includes a specific way to analyze why it appears as it does through bringing in the intersubjective, and the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st person perspectives.

I guess we have do it one that one specific way for it to count 🙂

So does The Work do it in that one particular way? Let’s see…

  • Intersubjective. Well, The Work is intersubjective in one way (I know this one doesn’t count), in that it is often done with a partner, and also shared with others. Also, it is intersubjective in that many of the subquestions (under question no. 3) specifically helps us look at how our beliefs are created in community, and appears real because they are shared by community. Questions no. 4 and the turnarounds helps us see how they are not absolutes, and that different communities indeed see and filter things differently.
  • 3rd, 2nd and 1st person perspectives. As with the 3-2-1 process, the initial statement and subquestions to question no. 3 is an exploration of the 3rd person perspective (he/she/it). The second person perspective (you) comes in mostly when we work directly with another, reading our inquiries on statements on them while they listen, and we then talk about it afterwards. And the first person (I) comes in throughout.
  • The filter of context. For me, and also others it seems, an analysis of the role of context follows from some of the subquestions for question no. 3, as outlined under the first point. For instance, when we look at the question “when did you first have that thought” it is often clear how it came through culture, family, religion, or some other influence.

This isn’t to say that The Work completely addresses the Myth of the Given, nor that it has to. Also, maybe some additional subquestions, and different configurations of doing it, would make it more aligned? (One question could be “where did the belief come from”, although the answer to that one usually comes through the question “when did you first have that belief”.)

And even if The Work already addresses the Myth of the Given, through many of its subquestions and the turnarounds, why make it explicit? Why not let people discover it for themselves? If it is made explicit, it can too easily just be another myth, another belief, another “should”, another way to blind ourselves.

I also see that the Myth of the Given seemed so obvious to me initially, that we filter the world in innumerable ways, and that these filters are created by infinite causes. But it is apparently not that simple. I still don’t quite get how KW and others use it…

Read More



Narcissism has as its essence a belief in the “story of I”, which inevitably creates a fascination with this separate I.

There is a belief in stories, which creates a sense of I and Other, and we naturally wonder, and sometimes becomes obsessed with, what will happen to this separate self. Will I get what I want? Will I avoid what I don’t want? How can I improve myself? How do I appear to others? How do my actions, or this situation, compare to the identity I have made for myself? I am right, and I want it my way.

Said another way, there is an identification with this human self, and we don’t notice what we really are (awakeness and whatever happens), so everything is filtered as if we are this human self which typically means a certain absorption into and obsession with it.

From there, it can be filtered and expressed in many different ways. Mainly, it can be more or less obvious (usually to others!) and more or less mature.

It seems that in its more mature expressions, there is a recognition of it arising here now, which offer some perspective and disidentification with it. And here is a recognition of it as a universal pattern which makes it less personal and also helps release identification. There is more freedom from being in the grips of it. Our circle of care, concern and compassion is expanded which balances out our concern about ourselves. In general, there is less belief in stories and attachment to identities, so also less need for love, appreciation and approval.

So defined broadly, a sense of separate self naturally gives rise to narcissism, which can be expressed in more or less overt ways, and more or less mature ways. Defined more narrowly, we have the conventional definitions: the lose way it is used by most people in everyday language, and also the psychiatric diagnosis of narcissism.

And as with all of these things, when we see it out there in others, it is because we recognize it from right here, in our human selves. And if attention is glued to it in others through aversion or attraction, it means we don’t quite see it here. Obsession about it in others, one way or the other, is a pretty sure sign of blind projections.

Just a thought?

When we see for ourselves, even to some extent, that the sense of separate self, and also space and continuity, and much more, all comes from thoughts, it can be a little shocking at first. After all, we typically see thoughts as just the verbal type, the one that it seems “I” am thinking and producing, consciously. How can that thought create this sense of separate self, and space and continuity, which seems so substantial and real? It doesn’t make sense.

And it doesn’t make sense, because the thoughts producing all these core beliefs and experiences are of a different type. They are not verbal. They are rarely if ever consciously noticed. They are certainly not produced by me, consciously. And they underlie our whole experience of the world, throughout the day and even in our dreams at night.

For me, these thoughts are image thoughts, and they organize a whole elaborate system of other thoughts, which all filter perception in a certain way, making this filtered perception appear very real and substantial. So real, in fact, that it is rarely if ever questioned. And if it is, then usually only in an intellectual way, as a fun idea to play around with.

It is quite different to notice it as it happens, through for instance labeling practice or choiceless awareness, or any other practice that helps us differentiate pure perception and thoughts. (Thoughts themselves are also within the field of perception, but for this purpose it helps to differentiate that one into two.)

Now, we can see the thought image of space overlaid on perception, allowing perception to appear spread out and be localized in particular places in space. We can see how thoughts create the appearance of continuity and time through memories. And we can see how a sense of a separate self is created through image thoughts of a center in space, of an inside and outside, of a subject and object, and other similar ones all contributing to creating a sense of a separate self, and of a doer responsible to thoughts, choices, behaviors and so on.

Appearance of truth

When we believe a story, it is our mind’s job to make it appear true, and it does a pretty good job at it.

Some of the ways I notice this happens…

  • The mind looks for evidence, and selectively pick out that which supports the initial belief and leaves out (or explain away) that which counters it. The input is filtered.
  • Supporting beliefs are formed and maintained. New beliefs support the initial one.
  • Behaviors flow from beliefs, and these tend to create effects that appear to support the initial belief. Beliefs are sometimes self-fulfilling.
  • Beliefs have certain experiential effects, such as reactive emotions, muscle tension and shallow breath, and these may be taken as a confirmation that the belief is true. It feels true, so it must be true.

Say I believe that people shouldn’t lie.

I can find lots of evidence to support that belief, including people and philosophies who are in agreement. I can find lots of good reasons why people shouldn’t lie, including practical and ethical ones. I support people who speak honestly, and confront those who don’t, so there is a pleasant relationship with the former and an unpleasant one with the latter, which provides more proof for my belief. And whenever people lie, it feels awful, I get tense, sad, angry, reactive, which is just further proof that people shouldn’t lie.

Or I believe that life is hard.

I can easily find evidence for that in the world and my own life. People get sick, starve, are victims of violence, exposed to natural disasters, die, and much more. The news is full of examples, and evidence, for life being hard.

I have stories supporting the one of life being hard. We are all at the mercy of an uncaring universe. We are all tested in this school of life, and either pass or don’t. Life is red in tooth and claw.

I get so bogged down by believing that life is hard, and all the evidence and stories supporting it, that life really feels hard. Life gets hard with that belief. I also choose to not act on things that could make it easier, because what good would it do?

Believing life is hard makes it feel that way, I honestly experience life as hard, daily. Also, whenever people act as if life is not hard, I feel uncomfortable, and whenever life shows up in ways supporting the belief that life is hard I feel relief. And finally, that belief gives that familiar comfortable feel of being somber, honest, hard working, stoic, hard nosed, a realist, and maybe a victim. And all of those makes it feel true. Life is hard, because it feels that way.

What is a relative truth relative to?

Any story has only a relative truth. It has limited and temporary validity only, and there is also a grain of truth in each of its reversals.

And it is relative for several different reasons.

First, stories differentiate within the seamless whole of the world, which means that any segment only exists relative to something else. Here is relative to there. False relative to true. Life to death.

The appearance of anything distinct is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to a boundary and something on the other side of the boundary.

Then, there is a grain of truth in each of the reversals of any story. The appearance of limited truth of any story happens when we recognize the grain of truth in its reversals as well. We recognize the relative relationship between the initial story and its reversals, and the grain of truth in each of them.

And if we ignore this, trying to put all truth into one story and remove truth from its reversals, then that appearance too is dependent on the relative relationship between the initial story and its reversals.

When I see the grain of truth in each of the reversals, I may find that I appear as a separate self, but when I look, I also find that this sense of separate self only comes from an image, a thought, and is not inherent in what arises. There is a grain of truth in both. Or, I lie, and I can find that in my life. Sometimes I lie blatantly, and even if I try to be honest, what comes out of my mouth is a lie because it is a limited truth.

Or, if I take I am honest as an absolute truth, then that truth can only appear because there is no truth in its reversal, I lie.

The appearance of a limited or absolute truth in any story is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to, its reversals.

Also, any story has a grain of truth only as related to a set of other stories. It is dependent on a particular context of other stories to have even this grain of truth. And it is when we switch this context of other stories that we can see the grain of truth in its reversals.

I lie. Yes, I can find a set of stories that says that – in memories of times when I did, and even here now because any storytelling, any use of words, is really a lie. It leaves out a great deal, simplifies horribly independent of how complex it is, and splits the world when the world itself is not split.

I am honest. Yes, I can find that too, in another set of stories. Even if I blatantly lie in some situations, there are many other situations where I am quite honest. And here now, I try to use stories that honestly reflect my experiences, as much as possible. I try to be true to what appears as true to me here and now.

The appearance of truth in any story is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to, a set of supporting stories.

And finally, a relative truth only exists because there is an absolute truth. It is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to an absolute truth.

Relative truth is what arises filtered through stories, whether these are recognized as only stories or not. And the absolute is this field of awake void and form, recognized as awakeness itself. And in real life, both go together very well.

Awake void and form is inherently absent of and untouched by any stories, including the one of I and Other, whether it recognizes itself as awakeness or not. And the overlay of stories, whether taken as just stories or not, is essential for this human self to function in the world.

The appearance of a relative truth is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to an absolute truth. And the relative truth arises due to, from and within the absolute, so is dependent on it that way too.
Read More

The filter of resistance

In exploring resistance, a few things stand out:

First, that whatever arises, and in particular emotions and strong sensations, are filtered by resistance. They appear in an often entirely different way when there is resistance and when there is not. With resistance, there are clearly recognizable emotions such as sadness and anger, and clearly recognizable sensations such as pain. When there is a heartfelt being-with of whatever arises, each of those are revealed as something else… for me, often as a sweet fullness which cannot easily be labeled even if I wanted to.

Then, that resistance is not what it appears to be. When I explore the anatomy of resistance, there is really not much there. That too, is a gestalt formed by a variety of components, and when these components and the ways they form a gestalt is clearly seen, resistance – as I knew it – falls away. As with a sense of a separate self, it falls into its components.

And finally, resistance is only resistance when it is identified with. Resistance without identification is only part of what arises, as anything else. But with identification, it becomes something that appears very real, solid, substantial, creating a clear sense of I and Other, and separation. In this way, it is no different from anything else identified with. (And all I can ever really identify with is a story, which makes it appear as if I am identified with something else such as resistance.)

Read More

Relating to the world, on both sides of the split

When we relate to the world from within a sense of I-Other split, we relate to both sides (I and Other) the same way. We just can’t help it.

In short, it means that to the extent I am at peace with myself, with what I take as me, with this human self, the more at peace I am with the world. The more acceptance with this little guy, the more acceptance for others and the wider world. The more generosity with this rascal, the more generosity with life in general.

As with so much of the essentials of life, it is very simple.

And it seems fresh when I notice it anew, partly because everything is, even that which a thought may tell me is very similar or the same as a previous insight, and partly because it is always discovered in new ways, from new angles, with different filters, maybe a little more finely grained.

Read More

Gain and loss

In my middle- and high-school classes, there was a running joke whenever we discussed a short story, novel or poem. The teacher would ask us what the story was about, and someone would inevitably respond “gain and loss”. It was funny because it was always true. Our human drama is always about gain and loss. If those elements are not present, we typically don’t find it worth writing about or reading.

It is of course the insight of Buddhism and many other traditions… when there is a sense of a separate self, everything is filtered through gain and loss, or more presisely, attraction, aversion and neutrality. Will it be of gain to me? Will it bring a loss? Is it neutral (for now)? Will it enhance my life? Is it something I need to protect myself against? Is it something I don’t need to bother with?

As I went about my business today, and especially on the bus and while walking around downtown, I noticed how whatever came up was filtered in this way, and to be more aware of it, I labeled whatever attention went to as either gain or loss (attention naturally goes to the things the personality sees as as gain or loss). By doing this, I saw more clearly how this labeling process goes on throughout the day, often outside of attention.

For instance, walking down a street, I see how the labels of gain and loss come up with only seconds apart. Something in a store window is a possible gain (something that would enhance this separate self). Another thing or person a reminder of a loss (a loss of what was or could have been).

Tweaked stories and gridlock

When there is a belief in a separate self, however subtle it may appear to be, any other story is filtered through this core story. Any other story, whether told to others or oneself, is tweaked just slightly to make this separate self look either a little better or worse than the rest of the world (as what it used to be, could have been, may be, what others are, and so on).

When there is a belief in the core story of a separate self, then every other story gets caught up in its gravity and is used to support and prop up that story of a separate self… as better or worse than the rest of the world.

And it is possible to see this in real time, as it happens, in a finely tuned and finely grained way…

It is easy to resist this, especially as we see more closely what the effects are of all of this (separation, alienation, being caught up in the rollercoaster), but that too is just another story used to prop up a sense of separate self. Resistance itself, or rather the identification with the resistance, comes from and supports a sense of a separate self… an “I” resisting something else.

Eventually, it brings a sense of a gridlock… everything grinds to a halt, with nowhere to go, no way out… with only grace as the only possibility, the grace of a release from a belief in this separate self, an I with an Other…. and no way to create or trigger this grace. It has to happen on its own, in its own time.

And, of course, wanting, looking forward to, expecting, hoping for, wishing for, even praying for this grace, is just another story propping up the sense of a separate self. A story about an I here that grace may happen to, one that is separate from grace and the results of the grace.

Which brings us back to the gridlock. And then the seeing of this gridlock, knowing it is what may invite grace to happen, so a looking forward to it, and then seeing that too as another story tweaked to support the sense of separate self.

And so it goes.

Moby Dick

Moby Dick

The richest stories have many layers of meaning and can be interpreted in a wide range of ways… which is also why there is often a shared fascination with them.

Moby Dick is one of those stories, and the story can be filtered in many different ways, yielding many different meanings and insights.

  • Later, more mature worldcentric
    From a later wordcentric view, we hold both the whales and the animals inside of our circle of care, concern and compassion. We see the struggle between animals and humans as an inevitable outcome of both trying to survive, a story they are both caught up in without much (apparent) choice, almost as a Greek tragedy.
  • Early, less mature worldcentric
    From an early worldcentric view where our circle of care beings to include all of Earth, we may easily side with and have mainly compassion for the whale. The whale is innocent and only tries to protect itself, the humans evil (or at least blind) killing other species without respect and concern for their life and well-being. (Animal rights perspective.)
  • Humans vs nature
    Humans try to put themselves above nature and to subdue nature. Since nature always has the last word (it is, after all, the larger holon), this is only successful to a limited degree, and it may have dire consequences for humans. We are part of a larger living system, so when we reduce the health and well-being of the larger system, it impacts us as well. Climate change is one of many examples of this.
  • Beliefs perspective
    Captain Ahab is caught up in blind beliefs, making it appear to himself that he needs revenge and to settle the score with Moby Dick. It not only creates a split between the two and a great deal of drama and suffering for both, but it also brings the whole ship down.
  • Awakening
    Then there is the awakening perspective. Moby Dick is God (“if God wanted to be a fish, he would be a whale”, “that is no whale, it is a white god”), and Ahab is single-mindedly pursuing God, relentlessly, at any cost, obsessively (which often goes before an awakening). Captain Ahab and the ship is the small self, or more precisely the appearance of a separate self placed on this human self, and that is what is drawn under in the struggle with God. What is left is just the ocean, nondual awakening.

    This is of course an experiential truth, not a literal one. The experience is of a disaster, of dying, of a calamity as U. G. Krishnamurti liked to call it with his flair for the dramatic. It is really just the belief in a separate self that dies, but since that is taken as an “I” the experience is of I dying. The human self goes on just fine, although now without being taken as an I.

    I initially heard about Moby Dick as an analogy to awakening from a friend of mine at the Zen center a while ago, and know that it has been used by others as well. It is an interpretation that comes relatively easily to mind when we are aware of the characteristics of the awakening process.

    Then there are the reflections of a nondual awakening in the text itself (which doesn’t mean the author needed to have awakened, only intuited it), such as… Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is as an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. (Ahab)

Resistance to Ground, etc.

Just a quick summary of what I am exploring these days, as it happens in immediate awareness. What came out below is not very well organized…

  • The Ground, here now, is the field of awakeness, of awake emptiness and whatever arises. It is inherently free from any center and any separate self. It is just one field, beyond and embracing seeing and seen, awareness and its content, this human self and the wider world of form.
  • This Ground is is what is here now, for each of us, only absent of a sense of I and Other. Imagine the content of your awareness, and the awareness itself, as it is, only with a sense of I and Other subtracted from it.
  • When there is resistance to Ground as this field, there is an appearance of I and Other.
  • This happens when there is a belief in a story, when thoughts are taken as anything more than innocent questions, when they are seen as absolutely true.
  • A story becomes a belief when another story is added to it, saying it is true.
  • A story becomes a belief, also when it combines with a sensation. Sensation+story=belief.
  • When a sensation is combined with a story, it gives a sense of a center located at a particular place in space, specifically at the sensation, somewhere within the physical boundary of this human self.
  • This center also allows for a split of space, and a sense of I here and Other out there.
  • This split allows for placing one end of any polarity here, somewhere in this physical body, and the other end somewhere out there in the wider world.
  • This placing of ends of a polarity here and out there, is also how projections work. If, according to how I place a polarity (which in turn is decided by beliefs and identities), one end of a polarity should be out there, then when it arises, it is interpreted as out there. For instance, if I believe I shouldn’t be angry, and have an identity as someone who is not angry, then when anger arises, I have now choice but to filter it so it appears out there in the wider world, placed on appropriate targets (the ones I place it on may indeed experience and act from anger, which only makes them better projection objects).
  • Any belief automatically creates resistance… to the truths in its reversals, and what doesn’t fit the identity that goes with it.
  • The split of space allows for resistance to what is. It filters the appearance of what is allowed and not allowed into different locations of space… what is allowed appears to be in the region where there is a sense of I, and what is not allowed appears as if in another region of space. (What is allowed/not allowed is determined by beliefs.)
  • The sensation a story is combined with serves as a base for a split of space into I and Other (providing a fixed point in space to define the boundary), and also for resistance to parts of what is arising.
  • The sense of density, substance and reality of a sensation provides a sense of the same, of density, substance and reality, to the story it is associated with.
  • If a belief needs to be amplified, it can be amplified in two ways. One is to amplify the sensation it is placed on, which in turn allows for a stronger belief, a sense of more substance to the belief, and a stronger sense of split between I here and Other out there. Another is to engage in and develop supporting beliefs.
  • If a story needs to be combined with a sensation (to create a belief and a split in space), and an appropriate sensation is not available, muscles tense up to create appropriate sensations.
  • A belief also amplifies tension, because it creates a sense of I and Other, and something to protect (a truth or an identity), which in turn creates mental and physical tension.
  • Any belief creates a split in space, of something that is true here and false somewhere else, so also a sense of I and Other.

Filtering out awakeness, and leaving emptiness far in background

I have written several posts on this topic, as with so many other recurrent topics, but it still comes up for me…

Awake emptiness when identified with content: in the background

When I identify with the content of awareness, this sense of a separate self is usually placed on this human individual, and its thoughts, sensations, views of itself, tastes, and behaviors.

The ground of awake emptiness typically goes far in the background, if it is noticed at all. And its two aspects of awakeness and emptiness seems to be filtered in two different ways.

Awakeness, in its direct experience of it, is filtered to only belong to this individual. But even here, it is partly within and outside of the regions of the separate self, coming and going on its own. (I am this individual, this human being, and awareness comes and goes, sometimes stronger and sometimes less strong, sometimes here – when I am awake, and sometimes not – when I am asleep.)

And the emptiness aspect is usually not noticed at all. It is at most intuited, and then often associated with fear and discomfort. (If I am an object in the world, then emptiness – nonexistence – is not something I want to be connected with.)

Awake emptiness when absence of identification with content: in foreground

When the identification goes out of the content of awareness, and back into the ground of awake emptiness, the content of awareness – including this individual – arises as the awake emptiness itself.

The awake emptiness goes into the foreground, and form arises as nothing other than the awake emptiness itself. There is a field of awake emptiness arising as form, as this individual and the wider world, and there is no center and no separate self inherent anywhere.

The awakeness is no more or less associated with this individual than with the wider world. It belongs to the field of awake emptiness that everything – the thin surface of form – arises within, to and as.

And the emptiness is the void all forms arises from, as, and goes back into. Within the timeless present, all forms arises as the void. Within time, all forms comes out of and goes back into the void. It is a continuous stream of form emerging from and going into void, a stream with a hidden source and destination.

A lot of work

A lot of work goes into filtering all this through a sense of a separate self. The emptiness has to be ignored. The awakeness has to be placed on this individual human being. The world of form has to be split into I here and Other there, and from this split comes a great deal of struggle and friction (which is essential for exploring the world of form, but also takes a lot of work.)

No wonder it is experienced as such a relief when identification goes out of the content of awareness, and there is just the resting as the ground of awake emptiness – within, to and as all content and form arises. It is much easier.

It is what already and always is, even if it sometimes filters itself through a sense of a separate self and appears – to itself – differently.

Context and content

In my late teens, I got into Jung and read a good portion of the Bollingen series (his works translated into English.)

I noticed early on that as I got more into Jung’s world view… is insights, views, experiences and examples of work with clients, the more my own dreams resembled the dreams, archetypes and dynamics he described and wrote about. My dreams became, in some cases, textbook Jungian dreams. And why not?

The whole of us wants to communicate with that which we take ourselves to be, and it will use whatever language is most readily understood. It is as if it is saying: if the guy is attuned to a Jungian language of archetypes, let’s use that to reach him.

During my time at the Zen center, I did some regression therapy sessions, and as I was immersed in a group focused on the whole human/Big Mind dynamic, that was the main themes coming up in the sessions, along with the more usual rt material (which seemed peripheral.) The strongest session was one where I saw the innumerable cycles of incarnation of my individual self, the shifts and swings between being incarnated and disincarnate.

As I got into Process Work, the themes in my PW sessions where typical PW material and dynamics, weaving into the small me (my conscious view of myself) more pieces of Big me (the whole of who I am, and can be, as an individual).

Then there was a period of more outward focus, working with sustainability on a community level, and my dreams were more free ranging, less conforming to any particular approach (since I was not consciously focused on much inward related at the time.)

Nowadays, being into the two (closely related) streams of working with the three centers and the essence, and realized selflessness, the shifts in my waking life and my dreams tend to reflect these themes, and use a language available to me from Barry and Karen (the local diksha givers) and now also Almaas (since I have started reading some of his books.)

The whole of what/who we are, using a language familiar to us

One way to look at this is that the whole of who (individual soul/human) and what (Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman) we are wants us to…

(a) awaken to what we are (realized selflessness),

(b) embrace all of who we are (the fullness of who we are, as individuals, right now), and

(c) unfold as who and what we can be (heal, mature, develop as individuals.)

And it is using whatever language (a) is available to it (dreams, inner images, synchronicities, and even sensations and feelings), and (b) is most easily understood by who we take ourselves to be (our conscious world view, what we are consciously familiar with.)


The other level here is interpretation. Whatever arises will naturally be interpreted through whatever filters we have, from the basic makeup of this universe to the astronomical context of our planet, our ecology, our biology, culture, family, subcultures, conscious world view, and other influences.

Familiar language, and interpretation

So if we live in a Hindu culture, the symbols and themes in for instance our dreams (or visions, or Process Work processes, or journeying) may take a Hindu themed form. And even if they do not take an explicitly Hindu form, they may still be interpreted in that context.

Instead of Hindu, it may be any other worldspace or combinations of worldspaces, such as Freudian, Christian, pagan, socialist, Sufi, cognitive psychology, evolution, sci-fi, classic literature, or whatever else we are into – consciously or subconsciously.


There seems to be a dialog between the fullness of what and who we are (and can be) and what we take ourselves to be. The fullness seems to be using a language as available to us as possible, and our conscious view tends to aligned more with the direction our fullness takes us, if we allow it.

Some effects of the filters

This filter… of the basic makeup of the universe, the astronomical context of our planet, the ecology of our planet, evolutionary history, biology, culture, individual history, current situation, and so on… seems to have many different influences.

There may very well be processes and dynamics deeper than for instance any cultural, and even biological, and maybe even physical differences. And for each of us, they appear to us filtered through all of these layers. So I may have a glimpse of what I really am, and it takes the form of an encounter with Christ or Krishna, or finding myself as Big Mind, or something else. If I am an individual somewhere else in the universe, with an entirely different planetary context, biology and culture, I may still have this glimpse, but filtered in a quite different way.

A full blown awakening may have the same basic features, such as the field of awake emptiness and form awakening to itself, inherently centerless and selfless, but even this one will be heavily filtered in how it is expressed and lived.

At the same time, these filters may determine – to a lesser or larger degree – which processes and dynamics are available to us, and how. For instance, if we are deeply entrenched in a view that upholds the ultimate reality of a separate self (for instance theistic traditions), we may not so easily drop into realized selflessness. Or if our view is strongly materialistic, we may not so easily notice ourselves as pure wakefulness, and the content of this wakefulness as no other than wakefulness itself. Or if our orientation is strongly transcendent, we may not so easily drop into endarkenment and the belly awakening.

And these filters certainly influence our interpretation of whatever happens. They are our interpretation of whatever happens.

So they filter how deeper and more universal processes arise in our individual life, to some extent they filter which processes are available, and they determine our experience and interpretation of these as well.

All the way up and down, it is all filtered by the makeup of this universe as a whole, including its very local characteristics of planet, ecology, biology, culture, individual history, and current situation.

Intermediary filters

These two quotes from John Wren-Lewis is an example of how an early awakening can be filtered…

I feel as if the back of my head has been sawn off so that it is no longer the 60-year-old John who looks out at the world, but the shining dark infinite void that in some extraordinary way is also “I.” […]

Thus, in one sense, I feel as if I am infinitely far back in sensing the world, yet at the same time I feel the very opposite, as if my consciousness is no longer inside my head at all, but out there in the things I am experiencing . . .

What is happening is that Big Mind awakens to itself, but can’t quite believe it. So as an intermediary step, it filters itself in a different way, as a stepping stone into a more full and clear awakening.

What is always and already here, for all of us, is the field of seeing & seen which is inherently absent of I. And for most of us, it is filtered through a sense of I and Other. The seeing is interpreted as right here, in or around this human self, and the seen is outside and inside of this human self.

When there is an early awakening into Big Mind, when this field catches a glimpse of itself as a field, it may be too radical, too different from what it is used to. It cannot find itself comfortable with the field of awake emptiness and form, as a field with no center, with no separate I anywhere, with no I and Other.

So it filters its experience of itself in a slightly different way, for instance as the back of the head sawn off, or as a sense of I somewhere behind the human self, or as a sense of I infinitely far back and also out there in the seen, or as a subtle I here not separate from anything, or a subtle I here yet also out there.

Eventually, as it gets more comfortable with this, and catches more glimpses of itself in a more unfiltered way, it may be ready to let go of even these filters, and awaken to itself as a field with no center and no I anywhere.

This can initially be experienced as a free fall, as having no anchors anywhere, no fixed identity and nowhere to anchor any identity. And then this too becomes familiar.

Unfamiliar and familiar

In my experience, there is an experience of unfamiliarity and familiarity at each of these shifts. It is radically unfamiliar, new, completely different from how any previous identity, and can be scary in that way. At the same time, what opens up is strangely familiar, nothing new, known at some level.

And this is really what we would expect. For each shift, there is a stepping outside of old identities and into something that seems unfamiliar and maybe even frightening. And for each shift, what we already and always are awakens a little more to itself, with a few less filters.

Most unfamiliar, and most familiar

There is an irony in this, and especially in the final shedding of filters.

Shedding filters into the field awakening to itself as a centerless and selfless field, is often perceived as most frightening, as loosing all ground, any fixed identity, anything familiar.

Yet at the same time, it is the most profound homecoming, a relaxation into what we always and already are. A letting go of all the filters of I and Other and any fixed identity, which it takes so much energy to uphold.

We find ourselves as the Ground of everything, of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form. There is nothing to resist anymore. No need to filter through a sense of I and Other. All as the I that has no Other. It is the home free from, behind and within any more conventional sense of home and homelessness.

In terms of our old identity, as a separate I with a (more or less) fixed identity, it is the most unfamiliar. And in terms of what we already are, it is the most familiar.

Gathering awareness

A friend of mine wrote me an email of a shift into all as alive awareness…

There was just this strong sense of awakeness, without any apparent location or identifiable characteristics. At the same time, there was a sense of this same awakeness being the forest and landscape I was walking through, being my body and its sensations, being […] with his thoughts, energies, and feelings, all the contents of experiencing.

And it reminded me of how we gather awareness into a bunch sometimes.

We are this awakeness, everywhere, in and as everything. Yet, when we believe that we are a separate I, and place it on this human self, then we have to work very hard to not notice that we already are this awareness, which is formless, timeless, spaceless, and also arises as form, time and space. We have to, figuratively speaking, pick up any trace of awake emptiness “out there”, in the wider world, and place it “in here” on our human self. We have to diligently gather it up, and pile it all up here in this poor self. It is hard work to filter existence in this way, to make it appear so different to ourselves than what it already and always is.

Which is why there is often such a sense of release, joy and even bliss, when this awakeness awakens to itself. When the filter of I and Other is released, and the awakeness again and consciously notices itself as selfless, formless, timeless and spaceless, and also as all the selves, all the forms, and time and space.