When I am the most important one for another

Merlina, our beloved cat, helped me get something more viscerally.

For her, I was one of the two or three most important beings in the world. When I was with her, I was the most important being in her world. It was very clear2.

How can that not wake up a sense of awe, reverence, and responsibility in me? How can that not change my behavior to be more attentive and wanting to make her life the best possible?

I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON TO THE ONE I AM WITH

That’s how it is in my life in general. I am the most important person for my spouse. When I talk with someone, I am (very likely) the most important person in the world for that person at that moment. They are giving me their precious time and attention. They chose to give their attention to me over all other beings in the world. I become an important presence in their world.

If I am getting this viscerally, how does it change how I am with that person? Am I more present? More attentive? More interested in them and their world? Less distracted by my plans, agendas, and hangups?

I am far from “perfect” in this, but realizing it and getting it more viscerally is doing something with me, and I wish for it to change me and how I am with others.

THE OTHER IS CONSCIOUSNESS TO THEMSELVES

The other wing on this bird is realizing and getting viscerally that the other is fundamentally consciousness like myself. To myself, I am consciousness operating through and as this body1. The world as I perceive it happens within and as the consciousness I am. That’s very likely the case for all beings.

We are all fundamentally consciousness to ourselves. We operate through whatever body is here – human, cat, insect, or whatever it is. To us, the world happens within and as the consciousness we are. We are a world.

That too opens up a sense of awe, reverence, and curiosity about myself and the other. It does something to me. To the extent I stay with this noticing and deepen into it, it transforms me and how I am with others and in the world.

ONGOING EXPLORATION

As usual, this is an ongoing exploration.

There is a lot of room for deepening and maturing into it, in my case.

And that’s part of the exploration and the adventure.

DIRECT NOTICING AND IMAGINATION

This is an example of a combination of direct noticing and imagination, as so much is.

I notice my nature. I am fundamentally consciousness and the world to me happens within and as this consciousness. That’s the direct noticing.

I imagine that others are that way too, whether they notice or not, and stay with that imagination and let it work on me. That’s the imagination part of it. It’s making use of projections.

It’s similar to being the most important person to the other. It comes from noticing that it’s that way for me. When I am with someone, that person is the most important being in the world to me whether I want to or not. That’s the noticing. And I imagine it’s the same for others. That’s making use of imagination and projections.

(1) This body happens to be human with a particular identity but it could be any other body of any species. That realization itself is transformative. The consciousness I am could, if things were a little different, function through and as any of the bodies out there. In some ways, it does since consciousness – pure consciousness – is very likely the same everywhere.

(2) Maybe it was more clear because she was not an imagination-fascinated human. She was more here and now. She didn’t get lost in her imagination about the past or future. She was here with me. I was her world.

The image is created by me and Midjourney

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The relationship between who and what we are (our human self & consciousness)

What are some of the relationships between who and what we are? Between our human self and consciousness (AKA Buddha mind, Big Mind, Spirit).

It’s obviously a big topic so I’ll mention just a few things here, based on my own experience.

PARTS OF THE SAME

The first answer is that they are part of the same.

It’s thoughts that differentiate the two. I can’t find any diving line outside of my mental representations.

I can also say that to me, my human self happens within and as what I am.

Who I am happens within and as what I am. They are not two.

A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP

To me, everything happens within and as my field of experience.

That includes any human self, they all happen within my field of experience. To me, they all happen within and as the oneness I am, as does anything else.

And there is also a special relationship with this particular human self.

It’s around a lot more than any other humans and most or all other content of experience.

And this consciousness perceives through and as this human self. What I am experiences the sense fields of this human self – sight, sound, smell, taste, sensations, thoughts, movement, acceleration, and so on.

OUR HUMAN SELF WHEN OUR NATURE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE ITSELF

When our nature does not recognize itself, our human psyche tends to operate from separation consciousness. It tends to assume that what we most fundamentally are is an object within the field of consciousness. It perceives, lives, and acts as if this is how it is.

That’s how it was for me too. In my childhood, my psyche was formed within separation consciousness and many parts of me learned to function from separation consciousness.

That’s also how hangups, identifications, emotional issues, traumas, and so on are formed. They are expressions of and operate from separation consciousness. If they didn’t, they would align with reality and find healing.

OUR HUMAN SELF WHEN OUR NATURE NOTICES ITSELF

When our nature notices itself, there is an invitation to keep noticing, explore how it is to live from this noticing, and for our human self to transform within this new context.

All of this is ongoing. The noticing, exploration of how to live from it, and the transformation is ongoing.

It’s all happening within and as the oneness we are, just like anything else.

COLORING OUR PERCEPTION AND LIFE

Even when the oneness we are notices itself, many parts of our human self and psyche still operate from separation consciousness. These parts of us will inevitably color our perception, choices, and life in the world. And they will get triggered more strongly in some situations.

THE TRANSFORMATION PROCESS

The transformation process can also be difficult and messy at times, especially as deep issues surface to be seen, felt, befriended, loved, and recognized as love and part of the oneness we are.

When this happens, our habitual responses to our deep and painful issues tend to come up as well, with an invitation for us to see, feel, and befriend these too.

In periods, what’s unprocessed in us may be mostly under the surface, although they will color our life and some issues tend to come up. This can happen during a kind of honeymoon period after an initial noticing or oneness shift.

In periods, they may come up in mostly smaller portions and now and then. This allows us to explore and befriend painful parts of us without feeling too overwhelmed.

And in periods, the metaphorical lid may be taken off and a huge amount of them come up at once. When this happens, it can feel overwhelming, confusing, scary, painful, and even unbearable. This happened for me some years ago, and I am still in this phase although it has quieted down a bit.

In general, the more trauma we have, the more this process can feel difficult, overwhelming, and messy. And the less trauma we have, the more manageable it may feel although still with its challenges.

WHY IS THE TRANSFORMATION PROCESS HAPPENING?

There are a couple of answers:

When our general system recognizes itself as oneness, what’s out of alignment surfaces so it can heal, transform, and align with oneness noticing itself.

When our general system recognizes itself as oneness, anything in our human self still operating from separation consciousness distorts the expression of oneness. They are out of alignment. They need to transform and realign so the oneness we are can express itself more clearly in more situations and more areas of life.

To me, this seems a natural and perhaps even inevitable process.

And it’s certainly not always comfortable. For me, it’s been the most difficult, messy, and humbling phase in my life by far, and I have not always dealt with it gracefully.

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Awakening doesn’t change our life?

I have been reading The Triune Self: Confessions of a Ruthless Seeker by Mike Snider and love it as I loved the two talks he gave on request from Adyashanti.

He is clear. He follows his own path. He is unfraid to call out what he sees as bullshit often found in nondual and spiritual communities.

In general, I feel a deep resonance with what he talks and writes about and his process, and he has been unfailingly kind and wise in the few interactions I have had with him.

At the same time, there is one thing I am curious about. He says that his nature recognizing itself – AKA awakening – didn’t change who he is in the world. (This is based on memory since it’s a few weeks since I read it, and my memory is not so good these days due to CFS and post-covid brain.)

Why does he emphasize this point? And does awakening lead to a transformation of our human self and life in the world or not?

AWAKENING IS ITS OWN THING

It’s true that awakening doesn’t neccesarily lead to an immediate transformation at the human level.

Oneness recognizing itself doesn’t depend on anything in particular within the content of experience. It doesn’t require our human self or life to be any particular way. (Apart from having the basic psychological makeup to allow for awakening.)

And the noticing itself doesn’t neccesarily transform our human self or life in the world. At least not right away.

AWAKENING AND TRANSFORMATION

And it’s also not the full picture.

In my experience, there is an ongoing and lifelong process of transformation that happens at many levels and in many areas.

One is transformation in perception. This is a shift from oneness viscerally taking itself as something within itself (this human self and ideas about this human self) to noticing itself to viscerally finding itself as oneness to different layers of its nature (oneness, love, capacity etc.) revealing itself to itself in new ways.

An aspect of this is transformation of identity, of what oneness viscerally takes itself to be.

And then there is the transformation of our human self – of our psychology and life in the world.

Many parts of our psyche were formed within and still operate from separation consciousness and these will inevitably color our perception and life in the world. If they are not actively triggered, they still color our perception and life. And if they are triggered, oneness may get more strongly caught up in them and more obviously perceive and live from them.

That’s inherently uncomfortable. And it gets even more uncomfortable when the oneness we are recognizes itself.

And it seems that awakening sets in motion a process of transforming our human self so more of it is gradually more aligned with oneness recognizing itself.

Some of that transformation may happen through various practices before our nature recognizes itself. Some may happen in the moment the recognition happens. And in many or most cases (?), most of that transformation happens after and within oneness recognizing itself.

We may intentionally support that process through various practices and our attention, receptivity, and sincerity.

And, in my experience, most of it happens through unprocessed psychological material surfacing on its own. Often, as a trickle. And sometimes, uninvited and to an extent that can be overwhelming, disorienting, and scary to our human self. (When that happens, we may label it as a kind of dark night.) This may be triggered or amplified by life events and loss – of willpower, health, friends, family, belongings, status, reputation, and so on.

This process happens whether we consciously want it or not, and it often happens in ways that our personality doesn’t like. It’s happens by necessity in that way since it’s a process of our old patterns and conditioning wearing off and something different and more authentic emerging instead. And then that may be worn off so something new and more authentic can emerge. And so on.

WHY THE EMPHASIS ON THE FIRST?

So why did Mike Snider emphasize that his human life didn’t change?

There may be several reasons.

One is that his life didn’t change to any significant degree. Perhaps his life already is relatively authentic and loving? (It seems that way.)

Another may be that he wants to emphasize that awakening is not about getting anything or getting anything from it. It’s about our nature noticing itself, not really about any secondary transformations. If it happens, fine. But it’s secondary and a side-effect.

THE VALIDITY IN BOTH

That’s true. And it’s especially true, in my experience, that a too strong focus on getting something out of it distracts from a simple noticing of our nature and living from that noticing.

At the same time, the transformation does happen and it’s important. Our human life is important. How we live our life is important. It’s important for our human self. And it’s important for others.

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Adapting to our more real identity vs attaching to a familiar mistaken one

I was rewatching a couple of Star Trek: Voyager episodes, including Course: Oblivion.

We follow the crew and ship, strange things start happening, and they discover that they are not who they thought they were. They are a substance that can mimic living beings and objects and that formed itself into the Voyager crew and starship. Some embrace their real identity and want to go back to the planet they came from. Others cling to their more familiar and mistaken identity and try to live out that life, even if it means the end of them.

It’s a great idea for a story, although not so well executed. (The buildup is brief. Most of them immediately accept what they really are, which seems unlikely. And it’s not explained so well why some insist on living according to their mistaken identity even if they also accept their real one.)

And as with any story, it can be fun and helpful to use it as a mirror for ourselves.

EXPLORING IT AS I WOULD A DREAM

If this was my dream, how would I explore it? What do I find?

The essence of this story is: A group of people live from mistaken identity. They realize what they really are. Some adapt and want to live according to their real identity. Others want to continue living according to their familiar and mistaken identity, even if it means their destruction.

SOME PARTS LIVE FROM MY TRUE IDENTITY, OTHER PARTS FROM MY OLD MISTAKEN IDENTITY

I can find that in myself.

At some level, I notice and accept my real identity. In my own first-person experience, I find I am capacity for the world as it appears to me. I find I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. That’s my moe fundamental identity.

And at another level, I am used to my familiar human identity. This identity is not wrong, it’s just limited and not what I more fundamentally am in my first-person experience.

Sometimes, I perceive and function more from my true identity. And other times, I revert back to following my mistaken identity. (Especially when unhealed parts of me are triggered.)

Said another way, and just as with the Voyager crew, some parts of me accept and live according to my true identity. And other parts still operate from my old familiar mistaken identity.

CLARIFICATION & TRANSFORMATION

This points to an important part of the awakening process.

It’s relatively easy to notice our nature, especially if we have some pointers and a guide familiar with the terrain.

The challenge is in keeping noticing our nature through daily life – through different states, through different situations, in different areas of life, and even when unhealed parts of us are triggered.

The challenge is in recognizing any content of experience, including that which is unpleasant and our old patterns don’t like, as flavors of the divine. As happening within and as what we are, and having the same nature as we do.

The challenge is in inviting our human self to transform within a more conscious noticing of oneness, and inviting all the different parts of us still operating from separation consciousness to realign with a more conscious noticing of oneness.

How do we do this? We all have to find our own way, and I have written about it in more detail in other articles. These days, I am most drawn to the befriend & awaken process.

NOT EXACTLY MISTAKEN IDENTITY

I should mention that I don’t feel completely comfortable talking about mistaken identity. It works in this context, with this TV episode, but is not competely accurate.

It’s not wrong that we are this human self. It’s just not what we more fundamentally are in our own first person experience.

The two already co-exist (they are aspects of the same), and we can notice the validity in both and live from and as both.

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Working on vs allowing inner transformation

As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.

– Eckhart Tolle

This quote is medicine for a condition. It’s medicine for the idea that we need to work on inner transformation for it to happen. It’s medicine for holding onto that position too tightly.

And that means that while the quote is accurate, it’s not the whole picture.

Yes, creating a space for grace and love to enter is what allows for a deep transformation and healing. This happens most deeply when we notice our nature, notice ourselves as oneness and love, and notice and allow anything in us that needs healing and transformation and holds it within this space of oneness and love.

And yet, we can also do a few things to support this process and help unlock some of the locks that hold wounds and identifications in place.

We can identify and explore painful beliefs and identifications.

We can identify and find love for unloved parts of us.

We can dialogue with wounded parts of us. Hear what they have to say and how they perceive us and life. Ask what they need from us. Help them recognize reality. And so on.

We can intentionally explore noticing and allowing our experiences, including of wounded and unhealed parts.

We can notice that these, and all our experiences, are already noticed and allowed and more consciously align ourselves with this primal noticing and allowing. They are already noticed by consciousness before that’s reflected in an intentional noticing. And they are already allowed – by mind, space, and life – even before any intentional allowing. This noticing and allowing is built into our nature. We cannot avoid it.

We can invite in shifts in the energetics of the hangup, through different types of energy work and inner yoga.

And so on.

The quote is not wrong. It’s medicine for a condition. And it’s not the whole picture.

And that applies to just about any quote and pointer.

The transformations of awakening

In what way is awakening transformative?

If we keep noticing our nature and living from this noticing, it can be transformative in several ways.

OUR CENTER OF GRAVITY SHIFTS

Our center of gravity – the center of gravity of what we take ourselves to be – shifts from our human self towards our nature. It shifts into noticing our nature as capacity for the world as it appears to us, and as what our world – our human self and the wider world – happens within and as.

It shifts from who to what, although both are there and there will be some fluidity in where our center of gravity is depending on our attention and what’s required in the situation.

OUR PERCEPTION SHIFTS

Our perception transforms. It shifts from separation consciousness to oneness.

The mind generally shifts from identifying with the viewpoint of certain thoughts to noticing itself as capacity and what our experiences – of the whole world including us – happen within and as.

There will still be assumptions and thoughts the mind identifies with, either without noticing or in a more conscious way. These are inherently out of alignment with reality, create stress, conflicts, and discomfort, and this is the sign that we are holding onto a mental representation as true and an invitation to identify this, investigate, and find what’s more true for us.

OUR LIFE SHIFTS

Our life tends to transform. It will be more aligned with living from oneness.

To the extent we notice our nature and sincerely aim at living from it, it transforms. And to the extent we sincerely and diligently explore whatever in us is out of alignment with oneness, it transforms.

OUR HUMAN SELF SHIFTS

Our human self and psyche transform.

We have innumerable psychological parts, many or most of these were formed within and operate from separation consciousness, we are likely not aware of many of them, and the invitation is for these to shift into being more aligned with reality, with oneness and love.

This is an ongoing process. It can be messy. It’s sometimes confusing, scary, and overwhelming. We sometimes muddle our way through it. And over time, we gradually get more used to it. We find ways to relate to what’s coming up that are more aligned with reality. (E.g. the befriend + wake up process.)

REALITY IS MORE THAN AND DIFFERENT FROM THIS, AND ALSO SIMPLER

Any map is inevitably simplified and idealized. And this is bare-bones outline is no exception.

It’s all an ongoing process. It requires us to join in and engage with the process. It’s often messy. Our perception and life are inevitably colored by the parts of us still operating from separation consciousness, and sometimes our conscious view is hijacked by these as well. The process also lives its own life and we – if we take ourselves to be anything other than all of it – are along for the ride.

And ultimately, all of it – with no exception – is life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as this.

It’s life playing itself out.

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Is awakening overrated?

Is awakening overrated? As usual, the answer may be yes, no, and it depends.

Mainly, it depends on how we rate awakening and what we expect from it.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AWAKENING

Some people have misconceptions about awakening and engage in wishful thinking.

They may assume it will fix all their problems. It’s a state that doesn’t allow for any discomfort, sadness, anger. It may give us special powers. And so on.

This is what Adya calls the “dream of the ego”. When we assume we most fundamentally are a being in the world, this is what we think will fix what seems wrong.

If our motivation is some form of wishful thinking, then awakening may seem overrated. It’s far more simple and more ordinary. It won’t fix our problems. It’s not a state. (Apart from a state of noticing.) It doesn’t give us any special powers.

DARK NIGHTS

There are also several challenges in the awakening process.

We tend to go through several types of dark nights. Periods where we are faced with whatever is left in us of old assumptions, identifications, and unprocessed materials.

These periods can be among the most challenging things we have experienced. They bring us to our knees and beyond.

If we assume the awakening process is only pleasant and we live through a dark night, the awakening process may seem overrated.

HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD

When we live from noticing our nature, life tends to give us swift and strong feedback if we are out of alignment with what’s true for us. When we stray from authenticity, sincerity, and kindness, life tends to show us and not always in a pleasant way.

If we assume the awakening process is all about freedom, and we notice that life holds us to a higher standard of how we live our life and there is – in some ways – less freedom in how we live, we will get sobered up. The more invested we are in the idea of freedom, the more a part of us may see the awakening process as overrated.

WHAT WE ALREADY ARE

Awakening is about noticing our nature and living from this noticing.

It’s about noticing what we already are.

We may assume that awakening is about something far away and special and unfamiliar. When we discover that it’s about what’s already here and what we – in a sense – are more familiar with than anything, a part of us may feel that awakening is overrated.

WON’T SAVE THE WORLD / NO QUICK FIX

Similarly, if we assume awakening somehow will save the world in a conventional sense, or fix anything apart from our mistaken identity, we are in for some healthy disillusionment.

PROFOUND TRANSFORMATION

There are also several ways awakening is not overrated.

It brings a profound shift in what we take ourselves to be.

It brings a profound transformation in our perception.

It brings a profound shift in how we relate to anything.

And when we live from noticing what we are, it – over time – invites a profound transformation of our human self.

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What we avoid pursues us and what we face transforms us 

What we avoid pursues us and what we face transforms us 

– attributed to D. Kessler

If we compulsively avoid something, what we really avoid is a sensation combined with a scary story.

And when we avoid a part of ourselves, it will pursue us. It seeks to join in. It seeks to be loved and understood.

When we face what we have avoided, when we befriend it and perhaps invite it to wake up, it will transform us.

How do we rewild ourselves?

Rewilding activities are conservation efforts aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and wilderness areas.

Rewilding in Wikipedia

Rewilding is a hot topic these days and is sorely needed. It’s needed for nature in general, and it’s needed for our human civilization to continue and thrive.

I have had a deep love for nature since childhood, and have had a passion for sustainability, deep ecology, ecospirituality, and ecopsychology since my mid-teens.

REWILDING OURSELVES

If we talk about rewilding nature, doesn’t that also mean rewilding ourselves?

What about rewilding the part of nature we call ourselves?

What do we mean by rewilding ourselves?

And what are some of the ways we can rewild ourselves?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REWILD OURSELVES?

In a very real sense, we are a wilderness area that has been impacted and domesticated by civilization.

There is nothing wrong with this. It’s a natural process. Civilization is also nature.

All we know from society, culture, industry, technology, science, and so on is nature taking these forms.

All of it is Earth exploring itself through and as us and through and as all of what we think of as civilization.

And yet, internalized culture can put a damper on our aliveness, passion, and curiosity. It can impact our sense of wholeness. It can lead to a sense of fracture in our connection with the rest of nature and existence. And that often leads to a life that feels a bit disconnected and artificial.

So what does it mean to rewild ourselves?

For me, it means nourishing our natural sense of belonging to our wider natural systems and all of existence. It means restoring our natural aliveness, passion, and curiosity. And it means to invite in and nourish a sense of wholeness.

REDEFINE NATURE

A good place to start is our definition of nature.

Do we have a sense of nature as opposed to what’s human? As only “out there” in the form of conventional ecosystems like forests, lakes, and so on?

Or do we recognize that nature is all of what this living planet has formed itself into, including us humans, our thoughts and feelings and imagination, and human civilization, culture, and technology?

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

For me, a more inclusive sense of nature is an important first step in rewilding ourselves. It breaks down the imagined wall between nature and humans, which was a product of our particular form of civilization.

A GOOD STARTING POINT IN REWILDING OURSELVES

There are some relatively simple ways we can explore rewilding ourselves.

We can spend time in nature. Especially long periods in nature, over weeks and months, tend to deepen our sense of being part of nature.

We can learn about nature, including the patterns of weather and animals.

We can learn how to survive in nature and how our ancestors lived. We can learn what plants are edible, how to fish, how to cook food on a campfire, how to make and fire pots from local clay, and so on.

We can do gardening and grow food.

We can rewild our yard, or join a local rewilding project.

We can develop inter-species friendships. We can get to know someone from a different species and seek to understand their communication. We can make a practice of seeking to understand what they wish for and give it to them if possible and imagine how they perceive us and the world.

We can follow the natural cycles of nature. Go to bed and get up with the sun, within reason and what’s possible. Rest more and seek nourishing environments and activities during the dark season, and naturally be more active during the warmer and lighter season.

We can have days where we minimize our use of electricity and anything electric or motorized.

We can sit by a campfire in nature.

We can spend time in nature in the dark. (It’s amazing how much we can see on moonlit nights, and many other nights if we allow our eyes and senses to adapt.)

We can spend time under the night sky.

We can walk barefoot in nature.

We can walk in the rain without protection now and then.

We can go to the shore and watch the waves during a storm.

We can swim in lakes and the ocean at any time of year.

UNIVERSE STORY AND PRACTICES TO RECONNECT

As mentioned, how we see ourselves in relation to Earth and the universe is an important part of rewilding ourselves.

We can explore views that help us find a more fundamental reality beyond our ideas and images of separation. This includes systems theories (Fritjof Capra), deep ecology, deep time, Big History, the Universe Story, and the Epic of Evolution.

We can participate in, and perhaps learn to facilitate, the Practices to Reconnect.

We can seek out and explore local or global ecospirituality groups. If we belong to a religion, we can explore the ecospirituality movements without our religion. (There is always one.)

We can participate in any form of nature-oriented rituals.

EXPLORING OURSELVES

We are already part of nature.

Any sense of disconnect comes from our own imaginations that we – somewhere in us – hold as true.

For both of those reasons, it makes sense that rewilding ourselves includes exploring ourselves.

AUTHENTICITY

When I explore rewilding myself, I find that authenticity is a vital component.

We often allow internalized culture to hijack us and lead us away from following what’s more authentic and alive for us. This is an important part of how we domesticate ourselves.

So finding what’s authentic for me at the moment helps me rewild myself.

This doesn’t mean acting irresponsibly or in an unkind way. That worry is the voice of our western culture.

For me, I find that authenticity means living in a more responsible and kind way. It means to find what’s alive and juicy for me, in a way that’s kind to myself and those around me.

How do I know what’s authentic to me? If we are used to following culture and shoulds rather than our own inner guidance, it can be a process to uncover our authenticity. For me, it’s what brings up a spontaneous YES in me.

Acting from a “should” feels a bit disappointing and discouraging and it tends to lead to resentment. Finding what’s more authentic comes with a whole being YES.

GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR PHYSICAL SELVES

This is another obvious approach to finding the wild in and as ourselves.

Go barefoot. Swim naked in lakes, rivers, and the ocean.

Dance. Move with the rhythm. Make music.

Do yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema.

Run. Swim. Play.

Learn inner yoga and energy work. Get in touch with you as an energetic being and the world as energies.

See how it is to bring playfulness and authenticity into this.

UNDO ASSUMPTIONS AND BELIEFS

For me, an important part of rewilding myself is to examine my assumptions and beliefs.

I find that just about all of my stressful assumptions and beliefs come from somewhere else. They come from culture. Many of them are common or universal within my culture. And some may be relatively universal across cultures.

Identify a stressful belief. This is often a version of a universal assumption and belief from my culture.

What happens if I hold it as true and live from it?

How would it be if this assumption didn’t exist?

What’s more authentic for me than this assumption and belief?

FIND WHAT WE ARE IN OUR FIRST-PERSON EXPERIENCE

For me, another aspect of rewilding myself is to find what am in my own first-person experience.

At one level, I am this human self in the world. That’s not wrong and it’s an assumption that works reasonably well. (Although it does come with some inherent and inevitable stress.)

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

When I look, I find I am more fundamentally capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am more fundamentally capacity for any and all experience, for anything that appears in my sense fields.

I find I am fundamentally what the world, to me, happens within and as. I find I am what whatever appears in my sense fields happens within and as.

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

Here, I am already inherently free of any particular identities. I am free to allow and use any one identity. And I am inherently free from it.

This is what already allows the rewilding process, as it allows anything else.

And noticing this and resting in (and as) that noticing supports the rewilding process.

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Enlightenment is a destructive process

Make no mistake about it—enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.

– Adyashanti

NOTICING WHAT WE ARE

Noticing what we are doesn’t necessarily require that much of us. We can be guided to it, and notice it within a few minutes without much preparation. It can be so quick and unremarkable that some will dismiss at as not the real thing, or they don’t quite get the significance of it.

LIVING FROM THIS NOTICING – AS BEST WE CAN

In a sense, living from it here and now doesn’t require so much. It just requires noticing what we are, and living from this oneness as best as we can in the moment. It requires some intention and sincerity, and that’s about it.

We’ll do it imperfectly, for a few different reasons. It may be relatively unfamiliar to us, especially at first. Our human self will still be partially caught up in old habits formed from separation consciousness. And we’ll have parts of us still operating from separation consciousness, and this will color our perception and life, and when triggered, we may get caught up in the separation views of these parts of us.

LIVING FROM NOTICING WHAT WE ARE – THE TRANSFORMATION

And that brings us to what I suspect Adya talks about.

Living from noticing what we are requires a profound transformation of our human self, and that costs us everything. The many parts of us operating from separation consciousness come to the surface, one way or another and at one time or another, to join in with the awakening.

This requires us to experience how they experience the world, which is not always pretty or comfortable.

It requires us to heal how we relate to these parts of us, from seeing them as an enemy to befriending them.

It requires us to help these parts of us heal and join in with the awakening.

Although this can sound relatively simple and straightforward, for many of us, it’s anything but that. It’s a process that will bring us to our knees. It’s a destructive process, as Adya says. And as Evelyn Underhill wrote about the dark night of the soul, it’s a deeply human process.

MORE ABOUT THE TRANSFORMATION

There is a lot more to say about this transformation process.

It’s often called embodiment. We bring the awakening into our life, and that requires this transformation of our human self.

We are along for the ride. At some point, it becomes clear that we are not in control of this process. We just relate to it and deal with as best we can.

It can involve one or more dark nights, and different types of dark nights.

It’s an ongoing process. There is no place to arrive, although we can get through the most intense phases and have periods of more calm.

It doesn’t always look pretty. It can involve a great deal of struggle, confusion, overwhelm, despair, and so on.

We will likely see things about ourselves we rather would not see. It will demolish our pretty picture of ourselves.

It requires us to lose every cherished belief, ideal, and image of ourselves. It requires us to lose any idea of gaining anything from this process.

We experience it as a deeply human process because it is. It’s a transformation of our human self and life.

It requires us to meet any trauma, emotional issue, identification, wound, and so on in our human system, and there may be a lot more than than we thought or expected.

It requires us to notice any experience as the flavor of the divine, and as having the same true nature as ourselves.

It may require us to shed whatever in our life is not aligned with truth, whatever is not authentic and real and aligned with our heart. This may fall away on its own whether we want it to or not. And sometimes, we’ll have to make the hard choices. (In my experience, if I don’t life will do it for me and often in ways that don’t look pretty.)

In many cases, early phases of the awakening process involves a temporary transcendence of the human. We pull out of the human a bit so we can get more familiar with what we are. This is the opposite, it’s a process of descending and going deeply into the human messiness so it can join in with the awakening.

It is something many spiritual teachers don’t talk about in public. Perhaps because it happens after we notice what we are, and they like to do this one-on-one with these students. And perhaps because it can scare people from even starting on a spiritual path. (As if we have a choice.)

Many of the basic spiritual practices serve us well in this process. Heart-centered practices help us meet ourselves and these parts of us with more kindness, compassion, and love. Inquiry helps us investigate stressful thoughts coming up, and also identifications and anything with a charge in our system. Body-centered practices help us stay more grounded and kind with ourselves. Service can broaden our view beyond our own limited life and struggles. Ethical guidelines may help us avoid acting on some of the pain in destructive ways.

Ordinary forms of therapy and emotional healing can be very helpful in this process, especially if we find someone who understands what’s going on and have gone through it themselves.

For me, this has been a far more destructive process than I could have imagined.