We see others as we see ourselves

We see others as we see ourselves.

OBJECT WITHIN EXPERIENCE

If we take ourselves to primarily be an object within consciousness, then we tend to see others that way.

We see ourselves as this body and psyche, and see others as primarily that body and psyche.

We see ourselves as a doer and observer and see others as doers and observers.

We quite literally objectify others and ourselves.

That’s understandable since we do as others do, and that’s what most people do these days.

CONSCIOUSNESS

If we find ourselves fundamentally as consciousness, then we tend to see others as that.

We see ourselves as fundamentally consciousness operating through this body and psyche, and others as consciousness operating through that particular body and psyche.

To us, the world happens within and as the consciousness we are, and we assume that’s how it is for others as well. (Based on their reports and what makes logical sense.)

We find ourselves as what the world, to us, happens within and as, and assume that’s how it is for others.

We find ourselves as oneness and assume others are onenesses as well, whether they notice or not.

IMPLICATIONS

What effect does it have to viscerally find ourselves as one or the other, and see others as the same?

If we see ourselves and others as fundamentally objects, then we literally objectify ourselves and others. We assume that the limited and distorted stories we have about ourselves and others are accurate and perhaps even all there is. We see ourselves as objects in the world at the mercy of other objects and living within time and space. We experience that we move through the world. We experience distance and time as real and inherent in the world. We experience the world as fundamentally matter.

If we find ourselves as fundamentally consciousness, then a lot changes. We realize that any story is a story and question about ourselves, others, and the world. They cannot hold any full, final, or absolute truth. We find ourselves as what time and space, to us, happens within and as. In a car or when walking, we experience that the world moves through us. We experience the world as fundamentally consciousness since, to us, it happens within and as the consciousness we are.

IN MY CASE

I can dip and imagine into the first way of experiencing myself, others, and the world. And parts of my psyche still operate from it. But in general, it’s so long since the initial oneness shift that I have problems connecting with it in a strong and solid way.

In general, I viscerally find myself as consciousness. The world happens within and as the consciousness I am. This body happens within and as consciousness, just like anything else. It all happens like a night dream, within and as consciousness.

I imagine others as that too, and that gets stronger and more clear when I bring attention to it. To me, they too are consciousness. They are consciousness operating through that particular body and psyche. (That’s exciting, the differences and “otherness” of it is exciting.) And that opens for compassion and empathy. They are like me (they are consciousness to themselves) and (like me) operate through a unique body and psyche.

And there is always further to go and more to explore within this.

A FEW NOTES

I’ll add a couple of short notes.

This is all about projections. I find myself as something and assume others are like that too. It’s an assumption – whether I assume they are fundamentally objects or fundamentally consciousness.

This is also about where our “center of gravity” is. It’s about what we viscerally find ourselves to be. Knowing about it or glimpses of it are good first steps, and – through grace and often intention and explorations – it becomes something that’s immediate and visceral.

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The only thing I can know for certain and what it says about my nature 

What can I know for certain?

CONTENT OF EXPERIENCE

When I explore this, I find I cannot say anything for certain about anything within the content of my experience. I cannot say for certain anything about the world, others, God, or even myself. I cannot even know for certain I am this human self in the world that others, my passport, and my thoughts say I am. (That person could, for instance, be a dream or fantasy or simulation.)

I can say something about how something appears to me, but not anything for certain about what or how it is in itself.

And that’s OK. I can still navigate the world and be as good a steward as possible of this life and what’s in my life.

THERE IS CONSCIOUSNESS

So is there anything I can know for certain?

Yes, there is. I can know for certain that there is consciousness. There is consciousness that is conscious of all this content of experience.

If I said “I am conscious”, it would go beyond what I can know something about for certain. This “I” would be an assumption and something within the content of experience – a human self, an observer, a doer, or something similar. I can just say that there is consciousness and something happening within that consciousness, some kind of content of experience.

HOLDING IT ALL LIGHTLY

Intellectually, we can take this as a curiosity or something interesting or fascinating.

And it also has some practical real-life implications.

For instance, it means that it’s wise of me to hold any ideas I have about anything and anyone more lightly. I cannot know for certain that any of it is accurate.

This especially applies when I notice a tendency in me to hold a certain story as true, when it has a charge for me. The charge doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means there is a charge. It just means a part of me holds it as true, and that there is some identification and an emotional issue there.

And, as mentioned above, I can still navigate and function in the world. I can use my experience, discernment, and best guesses and make the best choices I can. It’s just about holding it all a bit more lightly.

EXPLORING MY NATURE

There is also an invitation here to explore what I more fundamentally am in my own experience.

If I cannot say anything for certain about this human self, or even that it is who or what I am, what does that mean? Can this human self be what I most fundamentally am? Perhaps I more fundamentally am something else?

When I look, I find that to myself, I am more fundamentally something else. I am what any content of experience happens within and as. I am what this metaphorical field of experience happens within and as. I am capacity for the experiences that are here.

Said with other words… To myself, I am consciousness and the world, to me, happens within and as this consciousness. All I know is consciousness, and it takes all the forms of the content of my experience. In this sense, night dreams and waking life are not so different. They both happen within and as the consciousness I am.

This consciousness is capacity for any experience here. It forms itself into any experience. It’s inherently one. It can take apparently infinite forms. It can even pretend it’s something within itself – for instance this human self or a more abstract doer or observer – with an “I” and “other”.

The word “consciousness” is just a pointer. My nature is something that can just be pointed to and not captured by words or mental representations. (And in that, it’s the same as anything else.)

EXPLORING IT FOR OURSELVES

We can explore this in different ways.

We can investigate it intellectually, which helps align our conscious view a little more with reality.

And we can explore it in our own direct noticing.

We can investigate any thought we hold as true and find what’s more true for us, for instance using The Work of Byron Katie.

We can explore our sense fields and what’s in each one, and how the mental field functions as a kind of overlay to make sense of the world. We can use traditional Buddhist inquiry or modern variations like the Kiloby Inquiries.

And we can explore our nature more directly using pointers from, for instance, the Big Mind process and Headless experiments.

Our nature can notice itself and metaphorically wake itself up from the dream of being most fundamentally something within its content of experience, whether this happens to be this human self, a doer, an observer, or something else. It can make this noticing into a habit. It can explore how to live from and as this noticing. It can allow and support this human self to reorganize within this conscious noticing of its nature. And so on.

This is an ongoing exploration, and it can be profoundly transforming for our perception, human self, and life in the world.

IN MY CASE

This was revealed in the initial awakening shift in my teens.

All was revealed as consciousness, without exception. And any sense of fundamentally being anything in particular within the content of experience – the world of form – was revealed as the temporary play of consciousness.

At the same time, many parts of this psyche were formed within separation consciousness and still operate from separation consciousness. And that’s why it’s been helpful with these types of explorations and inquiries. It helps get more of me on board and aligned with it.

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This experience too is most fundamentally content of experience

I had store-bought pizza last night, which is unusual for me, but I was somehow drawn to it. The result was predictable: a restless night and waking up feeling not very good. (Highly processed foods usually have a big impact on my system, including my emotional state.)

And that’s OK. I can still do some or all of the things I had planned for today.

More importantly, it’s an opportunity to explore.

It’s all content of experience. The weird feelings in my body, and the emotions and corresponding thoughts, are all content of experience. To me, it’s made up of what any experience is made up of.

It’s OK. It’s like any other experience. It’s most fundamentally like any other experience.

As someone said: It’s a flavor of the divine. It’s a flavor of consciousness.

So this uncomfortable experience is, in many ways, a blessing.

It’s an invitation to notice this and let my system soak in that noticing.

And I’ll still limit how often and how much I eat highly processed foods (!). I don’t need to actively seek it out to explore in this way since the content of experience is always in flux anyway.

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The no-thing that allows all things

What is our more fundamental nature?

When I look for myself, I find that one aspect of my nature is capacity.

CAPACITY FOR THE WORLD AS IT APPEARS TO ME

My nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me. Capacity for any and all of my experiences – of this human self, the world, and anything else. 

This capacity is nothing in itself which makes it possible for it to allow anything. 

Somehow, I am that capacity. We can say that it allows any experience. Takes the form of any experience. And can be found within any experience.

CAPACITY FOR TIME, SPACE, MOVEMENT, SOUND

It’s timeless allowing time. This timelessness is here whether or not there is an experience of time. It’s what any experience of time happens within and as. And it’s present even when there is an experience of time.

It’s spaceless allowing space. This spacelessness is here whether or not there is an experience of space. It’s what any experience of space happens within and as. And it’s present even when there is an experience of space.

It’s stillness allowing conventional stillness and movement. This stillness is here whether or not there is an experience of conventional movement and stillness. And it’s present even when there is an experience of conventional movement and silence.

It’s absence of sound allowing conventional silence and sound. It’s the stillness that’s here whether or not there is conventional sound and silence. And it’s present even when there is an experience of conventional sound and silence.

AND SO ON

We can go through the same with any content of experience.

My nature is the absence of color that allows color, forms itself into color, and is within any experience of color. And the same with shapes, sensations, thoughts, trees, people, the world, the universe.

OTHER ASPECTS OF MY NATURE

When I explore my nature, I find it can be talked about in other ways too, using words like awakeness, oneness, even love, and that’s for other articles.

SIMPLER TO NOTICE

When I try to talk about this with words, it easily sounds convoluted and mysterious. Partly because I may not find the simplest and most immediate way to express it, and partly because of the nature of language.

And when I notice it, it’s simple, immediate, and obvious. It’s the most familiar to me. It’s always been here whether it’s been noticed or not.

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Is Big Mind / Headlessness a perspective?

Someone on social media asked this question about headlessness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Differentiating noticing our nature, and noticing our ideas about our nature

When it comes to physical things, we all know the difference between a description of something and the thing itself. We know that a map is different from the terrain. Actually eating an apple is different from having it described. And so on.

And when what a map refers to is not physical, we may get a bit confused. We have a story about how a person is, and we confuse our story with reality and take our story as true. We have a story about the future and feel and perceive it as if it’s true.

We mistake our mental representations of something with what these refer to. We are not always so good at differentiating the two.

This is where structured inquiry can be very helpful. It can help us recognize our mental representations and how they look and what they tell us. And that helps us differentiate these and what they refer to.

MIXING UP DIRECT NOTICING AND NOTICING IMAGES

This also applies when we explore our more fundamental nature.

Since our nature is not a thing and not even an object within experience, it’s easy to mix up our mental representations and what we directly notice.

From my experience, it seems to often be a mix. I have some mental representations, notice these, and can use them to find what they refer to. And sometimes, if I don’t pay so much attention, I may – without noticing – mistake these mental representations for my nature.

For instance, I can find my nature as capacity for my experiences here and now, and I also notice an image (short movie clip) of the same. I similarly have images of oneness, stillness & silence, and so on.

EXPLORING THE IMAGES

This is where it’s helpful to take a closer look, sometimes guided by more structured forms of inquiry.

The simplest is to notice what mental representations I have, and how they look. What images do I have about my nature? About capacity? Oneness? Love? Stillness & silence? Consciousness? And so on. How do they look? Form? Color? Texture? Size? This, in itself, can make a big difference since it helps me recognize these images more easily.

I can also take a closer look. I can explore how these representations show up in my sense fields. Do my mental representations combine with certain sensations? (So the sensations lend a sense of substance and reality to the representations, and the representations give a sense of meaning to the sensations). Is there fear connected to it? Identities? Hope? (The other side of the coin of fear.) Other associations? Memories? A sense of lack? (Living Inquiries.)

I can identify my stories connected with this, and examine these. (The Work of Byron Katie.)

And so on. These more in-depth explorations also help me more easily recognize these images and stories and differentiate them from more immediate and direct noticing of what they refer to.

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Ground of being as other vs what we are

We can see our ground of being as other, or find it as what we are. And that makes all the difference.

GROUND OF BEING

What is our ground of being?

What we more fundamentally are, in our own experience, is capacity for the world as it appears to us. We are what allows any and all experiences.

SEEN AS OTHER

If we don’t recognize that all our experiences happen within and as our sense fields, and within and as what we are, it’s very easy to see our ground of being as other. As something that belongs to the world out there. And as something we typically don’t even consciously notice or recognize as anything of importance.

It’s easier and feels more natural to focus on the content of our experience, not what allows it all. Our focus tends to be on objects, and this what allows our experience of objects.

There is nothing wrong here, but we are missing out of something that can be interesting, or turn our perception inside-out and up-side-down, or even be profoundly transforming for our human self in the world.

FINDING IT AS WHAT WE ARE

If we look more closely, we may find something else.

Conceptually, we may find that to ourselves, we have to be consciousness and anything we experience happens within and as that consciousness. And there is some ground, or emptiness or capacity, here that allows all of these experiences.

And when we explore this through direct noticing of what’s here, perhaps aided by some guidance, we may find the same.

We find that our sense fields – sight, sound, sensations, taste, smell, mental representations – contain our experience of everything, including this human self, the wider world, and anything else.

It’s all happening within our sense fields. It’s all happening within and as what we are.

There is a human self and a wider world, and yet none of it is really other. Any inside and outside happens within the same field of experience.

Here, we may also notice the ground of being which allows it all. And we may find that as our ground of being. This is what we are that allows any and all of our experiences.

It’s what allows and is and takes the form of anything we have ever known.

THE TRANSFORMATION THAT CAN HAPPEN

It may seem inconsequential. What if my nature, or ground of being, is this capacity allowing all my experiences? It’s literally nothing, so how can it matter?

It is what allows our experience. And noticing that it is our nature, and ground of being, can be profoundly transformative.

When we find ourselves as what our experiences happen within and as, we also find oneness. We find that oneness is our nature, in our own experience, and always was even when we didn’t notice.

Any sense of boundaries comes from our overlay of mental representations and taking these as the final word without noticing what we more fundamentally are.

The question here is: How do I live from this? In this situation, and if I take what I notice seriously, how do I live from it?

And there is often a parallel process. Anything in our human self not aligned with oneness and this noticing comes to the surface to more consciously be aligned with oneness. To the extent we support and join in with this process, it can be profoundly transforming and healing for our human self.

This transformation is partly a transformation in how we relate to our experiences, including our contractions. We are invited to find it all as happening within and as what we are, recognize that our contractions have the same nature as ourselves, and rest in this noticing.

HOW CAN WE EXPLORE THIS FOR OURSELVES?

Knowing about this, and exploring it conceptually, can be interesting and – for some – a first step.

And knowing about it in itself doesn’t do anything. The transformation happens when we notice all of this directly.

How can we do that?

The most effective approaches I have found are the Headless Experiments and the Big Mind process. This can give us a taste within a relatively short time and without much if any preparation.

We can also explore this by exploring our sense fields, for instance through traditional Buddhist inquiry or modern versions like the Living Inquiries.

And we can explore it through basic meditation: notice and allow what’s here in experience. Over time, we may discover several things. There is a big difference between noticing our thoughts and getting caught up in their content and stories. All our content of experience comes and goes and lives its own life. Everything is part of our content of experience – this human self, the wider world, emotions, thoughts, states, and so on. We may find that our nature is what allows it all. It’s what all of this happens within and as. And we may find it’s already more than familiar to us, we just didn’t consciously notice before.

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Our three-part nature

When we find what we are and explore living from it, we may find we have a three-part nature. I mentioned this in a previous post and thought I would say a few more words about it.

What we are to ourselves

We may take ourselves to most fundamentally be this human self, but if we look, we may find something else.

We may find that to ourselves, we are capacity for the world, and what all our experiences – including of this human self and the wider world – happens within and as.

Three distinctions

There are three distinct things going on here.

In a conventional sense, and to others, we are a human being in the world. This is not wrong, it’s just not our most fundamental nature.

When we find our true nature, and we notice that all our experiences happen within and as what we are, we also notice that all phenomena to us are one. Any distinctions come from an overlay of thought. When it comes to our field of experience, we are all of it and also not fundamentally any of it. Said another way, we are the always shifting oneness, and not fundamentally any it.

And as capacity for the world, we are what it all happens within and as. This is our true nature.

When we find this for ourselves, we may see that all three are here and part of what we notice and live from and as. We find ourselves as a human being in the world, as oneness, and as capacity for it all.

The value of wholeness

Most people focus on just one of these aspects: who we are in the world. And that’s understandable, natural, and innocent. Although it does leave out some of the richness of the wholeness of who and what we are.

Some spiritual traditions and teachers (e.g. Neo-Advaita) tend to focus on another aspect: what we are, or even a part of what we are. As a human being in the world, they too have to live their life and take care of that life, but they sometimes downplay or minimize this in how they talk about it.

I like to embrace the wholeness of it. What I find is that I am capacity for the world. The world as it appears to me happens within and as what I am, as oneness. And in a conventional sense, and to others, I am a human being in the world.

And more

Any distinction comes from an overlay of thought, and we can make other, different, and additional distinctions depending on what we want to highlight.

For instance, as our true nature, we can find that we are awake no-thing and that this is what allows any and all of the experiences we have. This is something we can bring attention to and explore, and there are specific practices that help us explore this facet of what we are. Exploring this can be interesting since it is, in a sense, the polar opposite of the conventional view, and it can bring about shifts and transformation. It’s a place to visit and then return to the wholeness.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 17

Jesus says: “I will give you what no eye has seen, and what no ear has heard, and what no hand has touched, and what has not occurred to the human mind.”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 17

Jesus will give his disciples a taste of their true nature, and this cannot be seen, heard, touched, or grasped by a thought.

This is similar to the Heart Sutra: no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body and no mind.

What we are is capacity for the world, and what all phenomena to us happen within and as. As Jesus said here, it cannot be touched by our senses or thoughts. And as the Heart Sutra says, what we are has no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, and no mind.

Why cannot it be touched by our senses? Because it’s what all our senses and sense experiences happen within and as.

Why cannot it be touched by thought? It’s not because it’s too complex or even hidden. In a sense, it’s because it’s too simple. Thoughts make distinctions and as capacity for the world, we have no distinctions, it goes beyond and contains and is all distinctions.

Why is there no eye and so on? The simple answer is what I mentioned above: As capacity for our experiences of all phenomena, we are none of those things. I’ll say a few more words about it in another post.

Ikkyu: At the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon

Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain, but at the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon.

Ikkyu, 1394-1481

If we seek to find our true nature, then there are many paths from the foot of the mountain, and in each case, when we get to the “peak” we gaze at the single bright moon.

Some of these paths are within a tradition and some may be outside, that doesn’t matter so much. And we can emphasize heart-centered practices, inquiry, basic meditation, or some other practice, or a combination of several.

What we find – our true nature – is the same in each case.

There is also some that’s slightly different… The way we talk about it. Exactly how we live it in our life. The challenges we encounter and apply it to. Some of the insights that are more specific to the particular practices we are familiar with. Anything that has to do with our human self and our life in the world is colored by who we are as a human being with our own unique history, inclinations, and experiences.

In general, the “peak” may be noticing our true nature, or also living from it, or also bring most of our human self onboard with it. Only noticing our true nature is the “single bright moon”, and the two others will be colored by our uniqueness as a human being in the world.

Adyashanti: The truth of your being can do fine without a name

The truth of your being can do fine without a name.

– Adyashanti

This is why I usually don’t give it a name, and if I do I tend to give it many names.

Names and ideas point to something. They are like road signs.

And it’s very easy for the mind to mistake a name or concept for what it refers to, and for us to think we get something while what we are getting is the concept. Especially when what it points to is not tangible in a physical sense.

I assume that’s the reason behind this Adya quote. It’s a way to help people recognize names as pointers only and what they refer to as inherently free of any names.

Is my true nature the true nature of all of existence?

Is my true nature the true nature of all of existence? This is a side to awakening that is interesting although it doesn’t have great practical importance for us at an individual level. I thought I would briefly revisit the topic here.

My true nature

Our true nature is capacity for the world, that which all our experiences happen within and as. The content of experience is the normal one – this human self, thoughts, emotions, sensations, the wider world, and so on. The awakeness here is the ordinary awakeness all conscious living beings have. The only thing that changes is that our true nature – this awake capacity – notices itself as all of it.

Since the world to us happens within and as what we are, it seems that the world has the same true nature as ourselves. It has to appear that way to us.

If I am honest, I cannot say that I know for certain that my true nature is the true nature of all of existence.

What are some of the features of our true nature? My true nature is capacity for the world. It’s awake. And it is – if it separates itself a bit from itself – conscious of itself. Those are three aspects that stand out.

The true nature of existence as a whole?

So what about existence as a whole? What can I say about it?

It seems that the true nature of humans is the same as mine, based on their reports. And I have to assume that the true nature of all beings is the same. It’s difficult to imagine it’s otherwise.

Beyond that, it seems that existence as a whole is capacity for itself. It has to be no-thing that’s filled with itself, otherwise, it wouldn’t exist.

Is it awake? Parts must be. In this universe, any conscious being is awake in this sense, whether their true nature notices itself or not. There may also be non-embodied beings that are awake. And yet, other parts may not be awake, like rocks. (When I say awake in this context, I just mean the ordinary awakenes of all conscious beings.)

Is the true nature of all of existence conscious of itself? No, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It is, locally, through some beings, perhaps through some non-embodied beings, and perhaps in a divine realm, but that may be about it.

Does it matter?

Does it matter whether my true nature is the true nature of all of existence?

Not really. It matters in the sense that it’s good to be honest about what we can say something about and what we are guessing or imagining. It also matters for physics and cosmology and our general worldview, although most mainstream physics and cosmology don’t (yet) address these questions. But in a practical sense for us as individuals living our lives in the world, it doesn’t matter so much.

Is all of existence consciousness?

This is a related question. Since my world happens within and as consciousness, it appears to me that all of existence is consciousness. But is it really? It’s a thorny question and I am not sure if I can say much about it, and it also depends on our definition.

We can say that the universe is the body of the divine, or the divine taking a physical form.

And we can, depending on our definition, say it’s consciousness that appears to us as matter and energy. But it’s not necessarily as a whole awake consciousness in the way consciousness is locally awake in and as living beings.

Summary

So locally, existence notices its true nature here and some other places. To me, the true nature of all of existence seems to be the same as my true nature since it happens within and as what I am. It seems that the true nature of all beings is the same as my own true nature. All of existence must be capacity for itself. It’s awake locally through beings in whatever form they take. And the true nature of existence is conscious of itself locally through and as some beings.

Adyashanti: Anything you avoid in life will come back, over and over again, until you’re willing to face it – to look deeply into its true nature

Anything you avoid in life will come back, over and over again, until you’re willing to face it – to look deeply into its true nature.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment

Why would it come back?

What we want to avoid tend to visit us again for a few different reasons.

Life is rich and diverse and the same type of situations, thoughts, emotions, and experiences tend to visit again.

Anything we want to avoid or hold onto has a charge for us. Or, rather, the idea of it has a charge for us. The thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions we have about it, and the identities we associate with it. Anything that has a charge is something the mind’s attention is automatically drawn to.

Our system seems to have a natural tendency to bring what’s unhealed to the surface so it can be seen, felt, befriended, and healed. For that reason too, the parts of us we want to avoid tend to come up again. It’s an invitation for healing our relationship with it, and for it in itself to find healing.

We cannot escape it, so we may as well face it and get to know what it really is.

How can we find its true nature?

The easiest is to first find our own true nature. If I find myself as capacity for my world, as what my experiences happen within and as, then I can notice that any of my experiences has this same true nature.

An emotion comes up. I notice the physical sensations of it, and I can notice it’s true nature is the same as my true nature. And the same with thoughts, sights, sounds, and so on.

I can also ask it what’s your true nature? And notice. (The answer is in noticing, not what a thought says.)

Our true nature vs the true nature of our experiences

If we notice our own true nature, wouldn’t we also notice the true nature of all our experiences? After all, it’s the same thing. Our experiences happens within and as what we are.

Yes, in a very general sense. But many parts of our psyche likely still operate from separation consciousness, and when these come to the surface, we tend to see what’s triggered – and often what triggered it – from separation consciousness. We revert to a separation consciousness way of perceiving it and relating to it.

That’s why Adya’s second pointer in the quote – to look into its true nature – is important.

Getting to know it

Adya goes straight to the heart of the matter, to seeing the true nature of what we – our conditioning and habits – want to avoid.

There are other ways to know it, which can support this process and give us some insights.

We can inquire into the beliefs telling us to avoid it, saying something terrible will happen if we don’t, and any other belief related to the situation.

We can inquire into how our mind creates its experience of the situation – how certain thoughts and sensations combine to create the charge, associations, and our earliest memory of this wish to avoid it.

We can do a mental imaginary dialog with the part of us that want to avoid it and get to know it, its experience of the world, what it fears, what it wants to protect us from, and seeing that it comes from a wish to protect us and from love for us.

The importance of guidance

We need guidance and experience to do all of this, otherwise we can just create additional unfruitful discomfort for ourselves.

We may need to try out different guides and approaches and see what works for us.

For me, Headless experiments and the Big Mind process seem the simplest and most effective supports for helping us notice our own true nature, which then helps us notice the true nature of our experiences – including the ones our personality wants to avoid or hold onto.

What we want to avoid

What do we want to avoid? We may want to avoid certain situations as much as we can if we wish to be a good steward of our life, and that’s a very good thing. It makes sense to avoid being hit by a train, or getting sick if we can avoid it, or going hungry for too long.

What Adya talks about is wanting to avoid certain experiences – emotional pain, physical pain, distress, discomfort, and so on. One purpose of basic meditation – notice & allow – is for these to surface, for us to see how we habitually relate to them, and for us to shift how we relate to them (befriending them) and notice and get familiar with their true nature.

May still visit

If we see its true nature, does it mean it won’t come back?

No, it may still visit again and likely will. It’s just that seeing its true nature helps us relate to it differently.

It tends to undercut the struggle we habitually have had with it, and that’s where most or nearly all of the discomfort and unpleasantness is.

This noticing happens here and now. Having noticed in the past can help as a reminder and pointer, but the noticing happens here in immediacy.

Adyashanti: Because of an innocent misunderstanding, you think that you are a human being in the relative world seeking the experience of oneness

Because of an innocent misunderstanding, you think that you are a human being in the relative world seeking the experience of oneness, but actually, you are the One expressing itself as the experience of being a human being.

– Adyashanti

This can sound mysterious but it’s not really.

To ourselves, what we are is capacity for our world. All our experiences happen within and as what we are. And we can notice this through inquiry.

Here, we find that what we are is capacity for the world. It may take itself to be something within the content of its experience, which for us is this human self. It does so through taking thoughts – of being this human self with roles and so on – as true. When that happens, it seems that we are this human self seeking oneness (or not!). It can also seem that this human self is having glimpses of oneness and so on. While, in reality, it’s all always happening within and as what we are. It’s the dance of the mind or life. It’s lila.

Words can only point to this and we can explore it for ourselves through inquiry and basic mediation. When we find it for ourselves, its very simple. It can seem very obvious and it seems almost inconceivable that we didn’t notice it before.

At the same time, putting it into words is not easy since this is about oneness and the function of words is to split the world in our imagination. And when we put it into words, it’s obvious to those who notice and may seem complicated and mysterious if we haven’t noticed yet.

I have here chosen to write from the small interpretation of awakening, the true nature of what we are to ourselves. It may make it more relatable, less mysterious, and something we may be able to notice for ourselves. Of course, our own true nature – as capacity for the world – may well be the true nature of existence as a whole. (The details about this is another discussion.)

Adyashanti: You can’t see your true nature without seeing the true nature of everything

When you wake up from your story, guess what you realize about everybody else? They are not their story. They are spirit, too. And that spirit is totally independent of their story and your story about them. So you not only lose your center, you lose their center, that box you would put them in. You see they are the same. This is why it is said that enlightenment is never a personal matter. You can’t realize you are enlightened and still believe that others aren’t. You can’t see your true nature without seeing the true nature of everything. It is literally impossible. This is a tremendous act of compassion, an act of love.

– Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

Yes, that’s true. And there is a slight nuance or wrinkle to it.

To us, it appears that everybody and everything has the same nature as us.

Everything happens within and as what we are, so naturally it appears that their true nature is the same as “my” true nature.

When we check with others, their reports seem to confirm that their true nature – to them – is the same as my true nature to me.

But is it true for everything? Yes, it appears that way. There may be hints, and sometimes a lot of hints, that the true nature of existence is the same as the true nature I find here. But if I am completely honest with myself, can I know for certain? For me, I find it helpful to have the flexibility to acknowledge the validity in both.

Is this important? Yes and no. It doesn’t really matter in a practical sense. But it’s good to be honest about these things. It helps us clarify and differentiate.

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

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

My own apparent true nature

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

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

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

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

The true nature of existence

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

The honest answer is that I don’t know.

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

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

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

Exploring this for ourselves

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

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

Summary

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

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

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Our true and truer nature

I notice I hesitate when I use the words true nature.

In a sense, our true nature – the true nature of my whole world, including you and everything and everyone – is love, awakeness, presence, infinitely creative, silent, silently active in all it’s many activities and forms.

And yet, behind that is an even more profound silence, capacity for all of this – capacity for love, awakeness, presence and its appearance as everything in my world of form. This is also our true nature, perhaps a truer nature even.

And who knows what other facets and layers are here, revealing itself to itself, surprising itself (and not really!).

When I use the words true nature, it is – as anything else – provisional. It’s just pointing to what appears that way now, and it may well be different tomorrow, next month, in a year, or the next moment.