Posts Tagged awareness
Why is this so?
The psychological being, the person we take ourselves to be, depends on mind.
- Mind is the agent which sets priorities;
- Mind is the evaluator;
- Mind is the decider;
- Mind is the carrier of culture;
- Mind reflects our genetic heritage;
- Mind tells us who we are, who we are not, and who you are; and
- Mind is the holder of the ‘inadequacy belief’.
Mind depends on itself for being. It tells us, time and again, that we are our mind.
In other words, we place our inherent trust in our minds – even if we deny it.
This is even more true for people who are intellectual. The mind of the well educated has even greater importance because it has demonstrated how brilliant it is. It has the capacity to organize vast volumes of facts and it has the ability to perform complex forms of analysis on these many observations. Thus its power and voice are all but deafening.
We learn, a million times over, to trust this mind.
And this is precisely why awakening is so rare for nearly all of us. And this is why I say that Trust is the final hurdle.
We must see that even the great mind is seen and it is seen in every moment, if we are open to that seeing. The challenge of awakening inevitably boils down to this pivotal question: “Do I trust my mind or can I trust open awareness?” It’s very similar to Hamlet’s immortal question, “To be or not to be? That is the question.”
The issue is not can I negate the mind?
Is there a way we can bridge this terrifying gap? Can we find the place where mind seems to end and open awareness begins?
How do we learn? How do we see what is true? The only compelling answer to that question is this: we observe. Awareness is the source of our knowledge. And for forms of knowing that elude us (say, for example the computer programming that has made the internet possible), we learn from those who have observed truth on that level of experience (which we call computer science). Thus a vast web of knowing evolves and grows.
We learn through awareness. If we could not trust this awareness, what could we ever know? This, to me, is the bridge that connects the perceived world with living, open awareness. Our aliveness is a direct and immediate outcome of awareness with mind.
Our problems and our suffering begin when our identity migrates from open awareness to a mere thought of the mind. We have never been a thought and if you observe very carefully, you will see that every manifestation of identity is all wrapped up in thought.
If nothing else, the best thought can do is to inform us who we are not. That’s the best it can do.
Can you trust the clear shining of your open awareness? That is the decisive question. Can we trust what we see in this very moment without needlessly inserting the quest for a personal identity in that seeing? Because as soon as we renew our quest for a personal identity, in that very moment we have severed trust with our primal aware being and overlaid it with our conditioned, thought-based false self.
This is why I say that trust is the final hurdle. Trusting this open awareness is very scary. It’s a kind of courageous falling backwards into space. There is no place to stand here. We are just This.
But here is where and how we can regain our power in this moment – here is where we discover the balance that can never be taken away –
We don’t abandon the mind. We just stop seeking our identity within it. And here is the part that may “blow your mind”. When we awaken into the openness uncontaminated with personal identity, we observe something that is all but miraculous. We see that what we took for “our” mind, is really just another object that seems to float unseen everywhere in the universe. The knowing that we took to be personal and part of the self, is, really, another energy thing that happens here, there, and everywhere. It belongs to know one, but is available in the moment of its seeing. The cosmic narrative that binds all things into one is the mortar of the universe and it is yours’ right now, if you can only trust this open awareness that is before anything and everything else.
As long as we fight the mind, we will be at war against ourselves and our world. What we have taken to be ‘our’ mind is the world and the universe. It is the birds and the rivers and the stories. It is all of that and so much more. It lives to be seen.
Can you trust that? Can you trust your true self, that which does not come and go?
If you take away anything from this post let it be this:
The mind naturally loves itself. When identity is attached to mind, the mind is expressed as ego. It is a normal outcome of the personal inadequacy belief. But when mind is FREE to be mind AS mind, then it can love itself AS itself. So thoughts can love themselves AS themselves – that which is heard can love itself AS itself – that which is seen can love itself AS itself – that which is felt can love itself AS itself.
You’re probably thinking that I am now going to debunk that whole notion. But I’m not, because learning and knowing about the world is a great part of intelligence, for this knowledge has been gained through awareness, attention, and careful observation. It is all part of intelligence and the expression of intelligence.
But there is a greater intelligence than this magnificent system of inventorying that the mind is so well suited for.
Underlying this vast universe of knowledge is a thought. It is the thought of “me that possesses this knowledge”. “I have this knowledge” this thought declares. It makes me special. It gives me power.
But, (and please hear me now), what is this thought really? This is the question you need to ask yourself. Is this thought what it says it is? Is this thought truly me?
I really should end this post right here, for if I were to give you the answer you may not do the inquiry and persist with it until you yourself find that beautiful truth that is on its other side.
But I will say this. The thought that says, “I have this” is the attachment thought. It attaches the thought “me” onto knowledge. So, let’s now return to the question – is this thought what it says itself to be? Or, are we looking at something that is different from what it appears?
This thought is not me – it only says it’s me. It is the central lie. It is the decisive lie of our existence, of our society, of our culture, and of our world.
What it is really is the deficiency Wound resonating in the field of awareness. It is the false me. It is the core deception of our lives and it’s time that we all bring this truth to the full light of awareness.
Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. That is a fact. But when the false me claims to possess this fact, this is a lie. The is the psychological dimension of deficiency operating in the world.
Intelligence Has Two Sides
One side of intelligence is what we’ve been discussing; the outcome of learning, of developing a critical and discerning mind, of honing the beauty of our hearts and brains to bring understanding to the infinite phenomena of our world.
The other side of intelligence is the realization that our essence is pure, silent clarity. It is seeing. It is openness. Often it feels like an utterly innocent love that loves everything just as it is.
But this realization is more than this. Realization means to fall out of the trance of the “me”. It is what is when the need for the lie of me dies; when one is this eternal love. The compulsive and/habitual drive to be this me that possesses that attaches dissolves in the very light of loving discernment.
The brilliant, spacious openness is not static. Its aliveness is the aliveness of the universe itself.
This is the other side of intelligence. So return to this deficiency child and bring the same love to him or her that you might to a Spring flower or a puppy just in love with his life. For when you see this identity, this persona as outside of the spacious awareness (an energetic thought cluster within it), you have begun the process of severing your unseen bonds to it. Because he or she never fully leaves us, we might as well make him or her our friend … but she is not who we are.
It is just a story that our primal minds created out of the pain of invalidation, separateness, and aloneness. There is a wondrous gift within this friend and it is the gift of compassion for all our brothers and sisters. The truth of sadness exists in this thought body within all of us and it is what connects us in the infinite web of caring and support. The magic of the Wound is that it binds together on a level of heart that, ultimately, brings an end to the demands and declarations of the ego – the fear-self me. We are together both in this sadness, as well as its joy.
This is intelligence and it isn’t mine or yours’. It just is.
We are free when the need to anyone or anything or any feeling is seen for what it is … a distant echo of a primal Wound.
I have a very old dog. Last week, while visiting her vet, I asked the doctor if she had any idea about our dog’s life expectancy. The doctor answered: “She’s beyond her life expectancy.”
Because she is so old, she has started becoming incontinent. So, as a result, I need to walk her more often and be ready to walk her a lot quicker. This morning it was a cold, windy, driving rain. But very early we went out in the Fall darkness.
There was a time when I could have thought – “I hate walking this dog. I hate it when the weather is like this. I hope she doesn’t spend the whole fucking morning sniffing every dripping leaf.” Etc. I could have been miserable.
This morning we walked in the cold rain and you know what it was like? It was like walking in the rain. The walking was happening. Her sniffing was happening. The sound of the rain was happening. The wind was happening and it was all really quite beautiful.
That’s the difference from living from the conditioned self, loaded down with its agenda and opinions in contrast to living from awareness. Which do you think is happier? Which is more relaxed? Which is more attuned to its immediate environment and experience?
Now let’s look at death.
Is dying any different. We will all die. And like my walk this morning in the cold rain, we can bring our personal agenda and assert that as the only meaningful truth … or … we can simply notice just how right everything is.
How would you prefer to die?
You might want to give it a practice run and just notice the Garden of Eden that surrounds you right now.
But this psychological artifact can be relied upon to continue seeking for a better and more secure self. Nothing real can stand up to scrutiny and will discover, sooner or later, that we just can’t find this always elusive ME. This sense of ‘me’ may be a needed condition for life, but it is not our intrinsic identity.
In its last stand, the ego will hold onto the deepest and most subtle illusion of self. It will be that quality of self that you are most attached to as well as most blind to. It is the last refuge of the illusory self. If approaching it does not create anxiety, jf it doesn’t make you tense, then have probably not found the root of the false self. The deepest root of the self is that which we are most blind to. It is, in the language of Liberation from the Lie, the “mother” of all fear-selves. It is this false persona you will ultimately need to discover.
But there are other pathways.
Notice how the self is always needing to grab onto something – anything. It always needs to be getting somewhere. It needs to be coming from someplace. It needs to take a position on this or that. Or, if you’re a spiritual person, it needs to be not taking a position on his or that.
Now contrast all of that activity with simple, awareness.
Does awareness need to go anywhere? Does awareness come from anyplace? Can awareness come or go anywhere? Does awareness need to take a position on anything? No to each of these questions.
Now here’s the key – this is the place where nearly all of us make a wrong turn. When we hear about awareness we will usually veer off away from awareness and onto its content.
So let’s make this very simple. This is content:
and the biggest and most important content will always be:
When we identify with content, we are addicted to outcomes. We want to get past the current situation. We’re constantly looking forward or guarding against the next moment. We desire content. We fear content. We are bored with content. We want better content. We believe we deserve a certain type of content. On and on it goes. This is SUFFERING!
Now this is the end of suffering.
This is Awareness:
This picture is, of course, a total distortion, because it too is content. Awareness is that which never comes or goes, that cannot be measured, that has no flavor or color or sound. Awareness has no feeling, but it gives birth and life to everything in the universe. The instant we stop identifying with content and live as awareness in that same moment we are free of all suffering. But as long as there is any quality of seeking, we will be blocked from experiencing direct awareness. Instead what will appear as awareness will simply be the seeker as observer and witness. That is not the same thing. As I’m sure you probably know by now, that’s just going in circles.
Awareness requires no effort. All it takes is a recognition of how addicted we are to content. And the main content is ME. How will this effect me? What’s in it for me? All you really need to do is to disengage with this ME content. The rest will unfold automatically.
End of story.
Awareness has no next steps. The only entity who cares about next steps or what she/he might “get out” of this realization exists exclusively on Level Two identification, the self, the individual, the thought that cries out – that’s me!
This is the fear-based life of belief. The human being who believes she is a thought labeled “me” is living exclusively out of uninvestigated belief. It’s no different from believing in the tooth fairy or santa claus.
Once it is fully realized that we are not a thought, then there is truly no one who could ever be enlightened. That is a huge joke. It’s perfectly okay to be the butt of that joke, for he who is a butt, is also a thought, so who could possibly care?
Every thought that asserts that it is you is false. Thus you can never be improved.
The entity that you refer to as you is just a procession of thoughts that we might label as good, bad, neutral, active, dull, etc.
Everything we experience is just another thought. There truly is no place we could go. The very best the mind could ever formulate, would just be another thought seeking to discover a better thought. Isn’t is ridiculous – absurd? Let’s get off this merry-go-round.
It is all turbulence celebrating a non-entity.
The game of seeking the self – of pining for enlightenment – ends the instant it is truly realized that there is no self that can be contained within thought. None – Zero – Null Set. Yes the personality continues, how could it not????? And why would that ever be a problem? If you hate yourself, then it’s just a case of one thought hating another thought and playing out their theatrical performance … for the benefit of whom????????
All thoughts, especially we must know – those thoughts about the self, are just bubbles passing through a field of awareness. When we pin any identity onto them, then we have invoked the authority of ignorance in our lives. It really couldn’t be simpler than that.
So then, is there anything to do?
The only impact this realization could have for us is that we stop doing what is ignorant. We stop seeking a better me. We stop dreaming of an enlightened me.
Also, we stop believing in an ugly me – a bad me – or an “anything” me.
Our minds respond to realization with grace, connection, pleasure, and love. Ignorance returns and we softly smile, for we have seen it arise in our lives countless times. Emotional pain arrives and we greet it with appreciation (with the same openness that awareness offers everything), for knowledge of emotional suffering allows us to unite with all others who similarly suffer. Thus suffering is a gift – it is essential for authentic compassion.
For we never leave Level 2. Our personality continues in this life, but it is now free to love itself just as it is – or not. It’s all just thought doing its thing. Thus the highs and lows will continue, but they will be free from the enslavement to seeking a better me, an enlightened me. That is the only difference. It becomes bored with such talk, for it has traversed that field a million times and now it’s time to move on.
Our own aliveness is one with the aliveness that is seamlessly everywhere and holds everything.
So what is the freedom of liberation? It is freedom from the running after an alluring me that isn’t real. That’s it in a very small nutshell. Reflect on what that means!
Now you really are free!!!!!
What more can one say? The more we say, the more questions the ignorant false-self will produce. So enough for now. It’s time for coffee and bagels.
This phrase “the world is inside you” is often repeated in spiritual circles. But what does it mean? How can we take this profoundly powerful statement from mere words to direct experience?
First, let’s take a look around. What do we see? What can we hear – touch – feel?
We can notice that our sense impressions are recorded by our brain. We can also realize that our brain is also “inside us”. Everything we experience can be experienced as “inside us”.
But there is a deeper realization here. I have noticed three discrete levels to experience. We can call our experience of our senses as Level One.
For each sense impression there is also a “me” that is sensing. That “me” occupies the center-point of our immediate experience.
So far, so good.
Now let’s take a careful look at this center-point; me. Can’t we also see that this oh so personal me, with its countless thoughts and experiences is also inside us? As we quietly observe this personal me, we realize that it too is an object of awareness. What we have taken as the center point of our experience is, like everything else, on the periphery of the world.
What is this “me” that attracts all of this attention, that seems to anchor our experience? Is it not the body with its drives – this conditioned mind with its fears and hopes – is it not this thoughtfulness that assesses many moments for their value or irrelevance? This me is a compelling zone of energy molded by our physical self and our personal psychology.
From the perspective of Liberation from the Lie, this me is, primarily, one of several “fear-selves” each of which possesses its own cluster of fears and desires. Each is rooted in the underlying stratum of inadequacy and, deeper still, the Wound which gives birth and life to all our Fear-Selves. This rather complex cluster of beliefs, needs, ideas, and all the rest constitute our personal sense of self. But, if we carefully read this book, we can see that they are really an adaptive construct designed to keep us at a very safe distance from the much more feared darkness of the Wound. We can really see all of this – both as an intellectual concept and, more importantly, as a way that predicts and describes our immediate experience perfectly. We see all of this as we might see it all acted out in a play or movie.
When we feel depressed, trapped, or hopeless, we know that our primary Fear-Selves have been unable to adapt to life, as they have in the past. There are chinks in the armor. Our life-long commitment to transcendence, to figuring this “thing” out, to just getting over our own bullshit is now in the very process of collapse. Now the dark essence of the primal Wound enters our immediate consciousness. As our Fear-Selves deteriorate, our positive beliefs about our psychological self morph back into the negative self-images that we birthed by the Wound many, many years ago. We come to believe that we truly are losers, we are unattractive, unworthy of love, stupid, we are insufficient to the demands of our own Fear-Self based beliefs. The pores of our Fear-Selves have expanded and the dark heat of the Wound pierces our once happy life. This is the crisis we both feared and pained for.
This is a gift – for now, we don’t have to flee to some belief system or to something that has “worked” for us in the past. Instead we can abandon the struggle to escape through thought and face what is truly real – our most compelling internal fear. So we turn around and face the immense goblin that resides in the very center of our sense of self and see what happens next. This is something that is explored in great detail in my book and I suggest that if your want to start a path based on reality and direct experience instead of second-half beliefs handed down by everyone that is not you, then you would do yourself a favor to examine this path.
This too is inside us. All of it is inside us.
Once this personal self is seen as another object, not really much different from any other object, what we have taken as our center point dissolves.
If we have followed all of this, we see that we are really that which is aware of this ceaselessly unfolding world. What can we say about this field of awareness? First know that not many people inhabit this world of awareness. Sure, we are all aware, but we are really expericning is the quality of attention and not awareness. Attention is an activity of the mind and often at the service of a Fear-Self. Our identification with the “I/me” blocks this deeper field of life. We confuse attention with awareness. Everything we say and do – everything – including the words of this post, come from Level 2 – the personal me, for Level 3 is silent, seeing, and unchanging. Everything we say and do, is a consequence of attention.
The field of awareness has absolutely no inherent quality that we can ever objectify. It is utterly serene. It is open to the light that is everywhere in and as everything.
At first we just have brief touches from this underlying world and over-girding world. But the more we see the psychological self as just another object among millions of objects, the more space we will allow for the emergence of this underlying field of being. The less said about this field, the better. But the more it is realized that everything and everyone is inside us as a briefly objective truth, the more potential we will enable to arouse the emergence of this very subtle beingness.
Awareness is different from everything else because it is utterly characterless. It is the nothingness that holds the everythingness.
Note: it’s essential that you understand that this post is not you to overcome any fear or concern in your life. It is only to see it as a passing element in your life. The source of this seeing is the vast field of awareness that is your fundamental, unborn nature.
The outstanding teacher, Adyashanti, presents a beautiful description of resting in awareness. This is one of the most profound teachings that has evolved out of a confluence of Eastern philosophy.
But I believe that there is an even more profound teaching that emerges effortlessly as one merges into this practice and realization. That realization is seeing the Lie of the person we have taken ourselves to be! Thus, it is one thing to just rest (no word will really do) in awareness (we ARE that awareness), but as that practice grows in our being to also understand and see the falseness we have believed ourselves to be so profoundly.
This is our ultimate liberation from what is false. This is liberation in its purest form.