Okay, so let’s get into the nitty gritty of awakening for a bit. To be honest, there’s been quite a bit of struggle arising here, wanting desperately to return to the experience of wholeness, of unity, of the lack of lack, of the conscious recognition of what I am. One of the main issues about the human condition is the sense of lack within. We can talk about that void that people try to fill with food, sex, experiences, physical possessions, and so on. On a deep deep level, it feels like something’s missing and people will do whatever it takes to fill that void. From the perception of a separate self, I myself am not sufficient and thus I need something other than me to fill this gaping hole within me… but nothing I get is ever sufficient. If it does feel sufficient, it’s only temporary. Like a drug addict, I always need another fix. I always need more…
Now there’s a really weird experience that can arise after an initial non-abiding awakening. Basically what happens is that you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the egoic self is not you, that your thoughts have no reality, and that there is literally no such thing as a separate self, and yet simultaneously for some reason you continue to believe in and experience a separate self. You experience living life as a “me.” It can create a tremendous amount of conflict within, as if something has gone terribly wrong. You believe something and don’t believe something simultaneously. It’s really crazy to really experience both at the same time…
I took a drive down to downtown Denver today to check out the flagship REI store in all its multi-story glory. There was traffic along the highway and I spontaneously found myself falling into a sort of driving meditation. Basically just relaxing into the moment. Suddenly and without warning, it was as if there was a silent balloon bursting within me and there was a sort of separation (too strong of a word.. more like complete and total disidentification) with the body. I just looked down at my arms holding the steering wheel and was stunned to see in perfect clarity that this body that was driving here was literally NOT ME… at ALL. It was just some sort of suit to use to move around with. This body has more in common with the car that was being driven than with who I am. The body is a vehicle.
Then the line of statements naturally arose, “I’m not this body. I’m not anything here that is happening. I’m not any of these passing thoughts or feelings that arising now. What am I?”
Awareness turned back around on itself and it was stunningly clear that there was NO ONE HERE to be aware.
“Ohhh shit” was my response. Pure emptiness was then recognized to be what I truly was. Emptiness is literally no one. No thing. Yet somehow this pure emptiness is aware. Inexplicably. It’s like recognizing that infinite empty space is aware. It is conscious. There’s nothing there and yet it is aware.
Eckhart Tolle talks about our true nature being “pure being.” Isness. Existence. The word “being” is easily misunderstood so I’m gonna get a little nitpicky here because the misunderstanding of this word has led to both delusion and confusion here. When we refer to being, we are not talking about a being. It’s not a spiritual being, as opposed to another type of being, not a human being or a living being or a dead being, not this being as opposed to that being. Just being. One without a second.
We are not conscious beings, as if there are more than one of us. You are not “a conscious being.” Neither am I. There is only being. What you are inside is literally emptiness. No-thingness. Spaciousness.
Have you ever noticed how someone can say something and our minds will spin an entire story filled with drama and fanfare about how rude they were and how wrong they were and how on-and-on-and-on… and yet they were being totally nice! It’s like we misinterpreted them and thus experience them as if they were being mean. We experience something that literally isn’t true and never happened, except for in the presence of our own imaginations. This is the same thing about experiencing ourselves as a separate self. We think we really are a person. I have “my body” and “my ideas” and “my history” and “my life.” There is the experience of a separate self in our imaginations, but there really isn’t one.
Now I know this isn’t what human minds are typically designed to understand. We are taught to “be somebody,” to be rich or famous or a doctor or a teacher or whatever else… be something. Yet what if the reality was that you are not a something at all? What if the very creation of a “someone” in itself creates a “something else” that exists in relationship to “me”? Instant duality.
It seems that the main difference between the asleep state and the awake state is one of identification. Asleep there is identification with something that awareness is aware of. It’s like watching a movie on TV and literally thinking you ARE what you’re looking at. You watch your thoughts going by and think that you ARE your thoughts. You look at your body and think that you ARE your body. Awake, there is just the effortless passing of all form in front of the screen of consciousness. You are the nameless, formless, emptiness that gives rise to all form and yet is not separate from all manifestation. You create it all, and yet paradoxically there is no “you” present to be a creator or do the creating. It all simply arises.
There seems to be a process of awakening which involves all the letting go, surrender, and spiritual work and practices that we can do. It’s the game of the doer. The process takes time. Then there is the actual instantaneous flipping or awakening, the shift from delusion to Reality. The awakening itself takes no time.
After going through this experience, I put Adyashanti’s program The End of Your World back in the CD player and started listening through it again. As always, it is so perfect. It really gets to the heart of the non-abiding awakening process and explores many of the more subtle issues and confusions that arise. Again, highly highly recommended for anyone going through the non-abiding awakening process.
One thing he talks about is the willingness to face anything and everything that creates any anger, resentment, resistance, or inner conflict of any kind. It’s like a willingness to face yourself, or at least what you perceive to be the resistant aspects of yourself. This is one of the biggest parts of my own process right now. I’m finding myself facing lifelong insecurities and fears. What if I wind up homeless? Well I am now. What if I don’t know what to do with my life? Well I have no clue now. What about facing the aspects of myself that have caused problems in intimate relationships? I’m facing those too. Yes there is fear within me, but I’m not afraid of having the fear. Fear yes, but not the fear of fear. This seems to be the big key. There’s an understanding about the nature of fear, of emotion in general, and a willingness to face it. What I’m fearing manifests. What I desire manifests. Everything within me is really showing up in the world. One thing that I’m finding is that those things that I fear really aren’t so bad. It’s almost like our fears are little kittens with the roar of a tiger. They seem terrible before we actually face them.
So saying all this, I don’t want to separate out the living of everyday life from one’s spiritual awakening, as if one’s spirituality had to be separated into a neat little box. Like “I’ll be spiritual when I go meditate in my quiet room, but the rest of my life is separate from my spirituality.” No, no. They really seem to go hand-in-hand.
Is it necessary to go out and physically do all the stuff you’re afraid of? *shrugs* I dunno. This is simply the way much of this experience is playing out here. It’s going out and really putting some of my deepest unconscious beliefs to the test and giving the ego nothing to hold onto. Stuff that I’ve resisted for years, here it is and so what? It’s no big deal. It’s not in alignment with how things actually work anyways. I can let that go. It’s clearly not true and I have no reason whatsoever to buy into those beliefs anymore.
and so there seems to be this Ariel guy here, living his life, doing all the stuff he does, surrendering or resisting, and yet having no control whatsoever over his awakening, as if he was the one who would awaken. Ariel can’t awaken. He is just a mental collection of ideas and physical matter and emotions and.. stuff. He is an abstract concept, but he isn’t real. He has no real existence. He is part of the spinning world of name and form existing only in the mind of consciousness.
Then there is this emptiness that doesn’t actually do anything. The conscious recognition of emptiness by emptiness. The recognition of the Self recognizing the Self that we call awakening, there doesn’t seem to be any real trigger to it. There is literally no control of it. It literally feels like an on/off switch that is switching by itself.
The following quote just passed by on facebook and it feels so fitting right now:
Realise that the conceptual thinker and conceptual thoughts seemingly obscure the non-conceptual natural state. Pause a thought even for an instant and the natural state is fully evident. STOP and SEE. In the seeing, pure awareness gets used to itself…
The bit about pure awareness getting used to itself, this seems to be SO key. It’s about getting used to being no one, just spacious emptiness awareness. It is unborn and uncreated. It has no face. Rather than the world of name and form and thought and physicality basically pulling consciousness in to a sense of contraction and identification which is the hallmark of the asleep state, there is a sort of getting used to being pure awareness, of being the no thing that simply is.