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Ego Sunday, July 31, 2005 |

The term "ego" is sometimes used in a way that could be a little confusing.

To me, it seems that it refers to awareness (consciousness) identified with the small self. It is completely caught up in the processes of the small self - the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Outer situations trigger habitual responses, and awareness has no choice but to either fuel these or try to push them away. It is exhausting, and leads to a good deal of suffering.

When awareness first awaken to its own nature - as awareness empty of characteristics - the pattern can begin to soften and dissolve. From here, there will be an oscillation where awareness is sometimes caught up in the habitual processes of the small self, and sometimes resting in its own nature - allowing experiences to arise without needing to fuel or push them away. If this is made into a practice, there will be a gradual movement away from the first (caught up in small self) and towards the second (resting in its own nature).

In the gradual process, this process leads to a sense of Big Mind (embracing the absolute and relative), and glimpses and then a more stable awakening of awareness as Big Mind. The full blown experience may also be called Cosmic Consciousness (the universe is consciousness, and I am that consciousness).

Gradually, the "ego" is dissolved. Awareness is no longer exclusively identified with the small self, although it may occasionally - at some times and some situations - be caught up in the processes of the small self (maybe especially in areas where there is still healing needed). This temporary contraction can also be held within the nature of awareness. It is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of humility and of not needing to protect or justify anything. It is what it is.

Footnote: Even after an awakening into Big Mind, awareness may still be blindly identified with aspects of the small self. In short, there is a belief in a thought. In this case, situations that do not correspond with the belief will trigger a contraction, which leads to suffering. There may also be a certain rigidity around it, one-sidedness in view, a need for justification, something (an idea) to protect, and possibly shame and guilt. This will tend to appear unhealthy, even from a conventional view. Any of these is a reminder to look at what is going on. Where am I stuck? What thought do I believe in?

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Here/Now |

I notice how Breema bodywork and Self-Breema excercises creates (or opens up for) a full, rich and wonderful experience of the body. This makes it much easier to come to the body - through the breath, the weight of the body, the posture, the facial expression, the tone of voice. There is so much there - so much richness and pleasure - so it makes it more attractive to come to the body than being caught up in the habitual patterns of the personality. It is a great support in being present - in coming to that part of us that is always timeless and present.

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Anything |

When I don't believe in toughs, in abstractions, I can find anything and everything in myself. I am fluid. There is no fixed or limiting identity to measure my experiences or actions against.

It may be that there will at least be a trace of rigidity/fixedness as long as this awareness functions through a body and personality, but it is always possible to further soften this set of ideas called a self-identity. To soften it, help it become more inclusive and porous, until it melts away...

And there are many ways to move in this direction.

Working with projections is one. Anything and everything I see in the outer world - in other people, in landscapes, in dreams, in mythology, in stories, in movies, in the universe - all characteristics and attributes, are also there in the inner world. When I see a characteristic in the outer world, it can be a reminder to look for it in the inner world. It can be unfolded and experienced already, or it may be there only as a potential. Can I find it? Can I see that there is no difference between the outer and inner world?

Allowing thoughts to drop us is another. Allowing the belief in thoughts - in any thought - to fall away. Byron Katie's inquiry process seems remarkably effective for this. I experience a contraction or suffering, I find the thought behind it, and I inquire into it. Then it releases me.

Awakening to the nature of mind is another - or maybe that which makes all the other ones come to fruition. Here, I find a "ground" distinct from the small self, the body and personality, and all the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors. From this view, I see the inner and outer world as a fluid seamless whole. Nothing is fixed (or need to be), and there are distinctions yet no absolute boundaries. There is a sense of rich intimacy with any and all phenomena that arise in this awareness empty of any characteristics. This awareness experiences more directly, with less or no filters. Thoughts just appear within this awareness, distinct from the direct experiences. There is no need to believe in thoughts. They are just seen as that which they are - just thoughts. Just abstract representations of experiences. Very useful as that, but not anything I need to believe in or take seriously.

And living this, no matter how we come to it, is always a process. There is a continuing and deepening process of insight and integration. And life itself gives us feedback on where we are stuck, where there is still rigidity, where we resist experiences because they do not fit with thoughts we believe in. Suffering or dis-ease is a faithful and loving reminder.

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Second Tier |

In the Spiral Dynamics model of development of value systems, they differentiate between first tier and second tier levels.

First tier is where we see our own value system level as the only right one. (This can actually includes pluralistic views if we appreciate all other views except those which themselves as exclusive.)

At the second tier, we appreciate each of the levels of value system development. We appreciate each level for itself. It is Existence exploring and manifesting itself in a unique way, adding to the overall tapestry of richness of the self-exploration of Existence. And we appreciate each level for being part of the whole sequence of development, and the overall evolution of humanity, the Earth the Universe, and the relative aspect of Existence.

We can be highly developed on the spiritual line, and yet be at either first or second tier.

If we are at first tier, there may be a lack of appreciation of the whole long evolution of the Universe, Earth, the human species, and one's own development up until now. It may all seem as a big mistake, and the only thing that counts is liberation and Enlightenment.

At second tier, we come to deeply appreciate the long process that brought about this now - and that there is an equally long - infinite - process ahead of us as well. Each level of unfolding - of the Universe, Earth, humanity and the individual - is immensely valuable in itself. It is Existence expressing and manifesting itself, perfectly with no mistake. And it is a part of the whole and rich unfolding as well. There is no mistake. It is all beautiful - even the most terrible suffering (which doesn't mean that we sit back and don't work to alleviate the suffering as much as we can - this is also part of the overall picture).

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Clarity |

I have had a new experience over the last couple of days.

Yesterday, during a conversation with a friend, and today during sitting practice, I experienced an unusual clarity in perceptions. It was as if a veil fell away or a light fog lifted.

When I talked with my friend, it seemed that the filters were suddenly removed and I was completely present with him, with no separation. The no separation part is not new, but the clarity of perception was. When the same happened during sitting meditation, it again was an unusual clarity - as if something fell away. In both cases, it seemed so natural and simple - so obvious in a certain way.

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Fuel |

I watched the latest Star Wars movie tonight. These types of movies are a good opportunity to stay in spacious awareness, and allow whatever is triggered in the personality to be triggered. The energy in the emotions helps expand, clarify and stabilize the spacious awareness. It is quite an interesting experience - the more habitual emotional patterns are triggered, the more space and presence there is.

When awareness is identified with the small self, whatever is triggered is blindly related to, in terms of fueling it further or trying to push it away. There is no space for anything else. We are blindly caught up in the drama of our own making.

When awareness awakens to its own nature, all the experiences of the personality unfolds within clear space - and the energy fuels this clarity and space. We see the drama, but there is no need to be caught up in it.

Of course, this happens in only some situations at first - typically those we are more comfortable in - and then spreads to more and more situations in our daily life. As we become familiar with the process, it becomes easier to transfer it to other situations.

This allows us to more fully engage in life, as the drama comes from a dualistic view, believing in thoughts and the reactions that arise when external/internal situations do not conform with these thoughts, and the confusion that comes from both of these. We can allow ourselves to experience whatever is triggered in the personality more fully - without fueling or pushing away. And the filters (at least some of them) fall away, and we can engage with life more directly.

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Aspects & Gradations Saturday, July 30, 2005 |

There is a richness in how awareness functions, and there are many aspects and gradations to awakenings. Here is a very incomplete and unsystematic list...

  • Dualistic
    Awareness awakens to identification with a small self, and functions dualisticly. This is what we see in most (higher) animals and most humans today. We are (blindly) caught up in the habitual process and reactions of the small self. We are at the mercy of the habitual patterns of emotions/thoughts/behaviors triggered by specific situations. The world is experienced as fragmented and there is a sense of clear separation between the two poles of each polarity. From this comes fear, sense of homelessness, accumulation, power-over etc. (basically most of what we see in the world today).

  • Awakening to nature of mind
    Awareness awakens to its own nature - awareness empty of any characteristics. This is the "I" that (apparently) goes on even when this self has died. Here, we can allow the experiences of the small self to unfold within awareness, without automatically fuelling them or trying to push them away. There is more of a sense of overview, freedom and choice.

  • Awakening to transdual view
    This comes out of the awakening to the nature of mind. When awareness rests in its own nature - of clear space and awareness - it finds a new "ground" outside the world of phenomena. From here, it views all phenomena - the inner and outer world - as a seamless fluid whole. This opens up for natural and effortless joy and compassion, indepedent on any particular external/internal situation. Awareness begins to function more transdually, and there is a sense of fullness and richness.

  • Awakening to Big Mind
    This comes out of the two previous awakenings, and is a fuller awakening into a transdual view. Awareness awakens to itself as that which embraces the absolute and the relative, the nature of mind and all phenomena. There are many gradations here, from a mild "feeling" of being Big Mind functioning through the small self to a full blown direct experience.

  • Cosmic Consciousness
    This is a full-blown Big Mind experience, where the Universe and all of Existence is experienced as consciousness, and I am that consciousness. In my experience, there is an experience of very high energies at this level. And there are gradations within this as well.

  • Rehumanization
    This is a re-awakening to the human levels of our Existence. From identifying with the nature of mind and then Big Mind, we rehumanize - we become more fully human. The attachment to "enlightenment" is dropped, and we embrace and are more comfortable with all levels of the holarchy. The mind is now free to function in any way on both transpersonal and personal levels. In the Big Mind process, this is called the integrated free functioning self.

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Awareness |

When awareness experiences its own nature, it sees itself as empty of any characteristics. In words, the closest we may be able to come is to describe it as clear spacious awareness, void, deep silence, etc.

Dualistic Functioning

When it is exclusively identified with (or temporarily blindly caught up in) the small self - the body, emotions, thoughts and the habitual processes of this small self - there is a case of mistaken identity. And this has a cascading set of consequences.

  • Awareness has its base, its center of gravity, in the body and personality. It percieves the world from this base, and experiences a strong separation between the body/personality and the rest of the world.

  • Awareness then functions in a dualistic way, differentiating well while overlooking the fluid seamless whole.

  • It perceives absolute - or mostly absolute - boundaries between self and other, body and mind, earth and humans, creator and creation, right and wrong, etc.

  • It perceives itself - as the small self - as one little object in a world of a large number of unpredictable objects. This leads to fear, power-over, accumulation, etc.

  • Biologically, the small self is programmed for aversions and attractions - this is what helps the individuals and the species to survive and evolve.

  • Awareness gets blindly caught up in these attractions and aversions, and adds a set of thoughts, values and ideologies to go with these attractions and aversions.

  • One end of most or all polarities is then seen as "good" while the other is "bad" or "evil".

  • Whatever arises - in the inner or outer world - that does not match this ideology is either repressed or done away with.

  • The perception of the inner and outer world is fragmented.

  • Awareness is blindly caught up in - and believes - in thoughts. And there is inevitable discrepancies between the inner/outer situation and these thoughts.

  • This all causes suffering.

Transdual Functioning

When awareness awakens to its own nature, it has found a "ground" distinct from the small self. From here, it can see all phenomena - in the outer and the inner world - as aspects of a seamless whole. It now functions more transdually. And this has a cascading set of consequences as well...
  • The awakening to the nature of mind can unfold into various degrees of awakening into Big Mind, that which is beyond all dualities. When it awakens to Big Mind, its "ground" or center of gravity encompasses the absolute and the relative, the nature of mind and the world of phenomena.

  • There is a softening and less blind attachment to the small self and the habitual processes of the small self, they seem less important. There is a sense of overview, detachment and perspective. This opens up for choices beyond habitual patterns and the habitual likes and dislikes of the small self.

  • The small self is seen as a vehicle for the nature of mind or for Big Mind. There is an enjoyment of all levels of the holarchy, of all the russian dolls - from the nature of mind to the body. There is a new enjoyment of engagement in the world, and a freedom to be more fully and wholeheartedly engaged in everyday life.

  • The awareness of distinctions as well as the fluid seamless whole opens for spontaneous... Joy - from a sense of belonging and connection, compassion - from no separation, humility - from clear(er) perception, gratitude - from belonging to such a rich Existence.

  • There is a spontaneous wisdom that comes up, especially concerning the differences between being a small self or having a small self. The first comes out of exclusive identification, and brings dualistic perceptions. The other comes out of recognizing the nature of awareness, and brings transdual perception.

  • The recognition of no separation brings power-with, and an appreciation of flow in all areas of life.

  • There is a resting in the clear spacious awareness, and a detachment of thoughts. This also leads to a more fluid and porous self-identity, which allows anything arising to be more fully experienced.

Aspects of Suffering |

There are several aspects of suffering...

  • It is Existence manifesting. It is Existence, God, Buddha Mind, experiencing itself in one of the innumerable ways it is experiencing itself through this evolving universe. It is perfect as it is. Nothing is missing.

  • It comes from a case of mistaken identity. It emerges when awareness is exclusively identified with - or temporarily caught up in - the small self. This causes awareness to believe in thoughts, and function in a dualistic way - seeing the distinctions but not the seamless whole.

  • It is one of the mechanisms through which awareness is encouraged to awaken to its own nature. It is the whip, while the bliss of awakening is the carrot.

  • It is that which motivates awareness, even while exclusively identified with the small self, to be actively engaged in the world. This helps the self develop, the species to evolve, and Existence to unfold in always new and rich ways.

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Advice for me |

I heard a story yesterday about the author of a book I am enjoying very much. The story gave the impression of this author as arrogant, and I noticed a sequence of responses in me...

First, I experienced resistance: the ones telling the story seeemed arrogant, and maybe my currently favorite author is as well. And I hooked into the thought that "they should not be arrogant" which brought up a hardness in me.

Then, it softened as I saw that it was only someone's story. And even the story itself had many different possible interpretations - all which seemed reasonable.

Finally, it all released as I applied the advice "he/they shouldn't be arrogant" to myself. I should not be arrogant. That feels much more true. I am the one who is too arrogant, if I think I can know that about anyone else, if I think anyone else should follow my advice, and if I think that I cannot learn from a book even if the author sometimes act in a way that can be perceived as arrogant. Now, it all seemed comical. Applying the advice to myself brought me to myself and a deepened softening.

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Different Emphasis |

The mystical (practical spiritual) movements within all of the world's major religions all seem to be able to lead people into an awakening into Big Mind. But there are some differences in emphasis. For instance, it seems that the Buddhist awakening emphasizes clarity and wisdom, although the compassionate aspect is strong. And it seems that the awakening through Christianity and Islam (Sufism) emphasizes the fullness and richness of love and compassion. Buddhism may be more head-centered, and Christianity and Islam more heart-centered. Within Big Mind/Heart, Buddhism may emphasize Big Mind, and Christianity and Islam Big Heart. Buddhism may be more yang, Christianity and Islam more yin. And together, there is an even richer experience.

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Who Am I? |

When we say "I" it can have many different meanings both for the speaker and the recipient...

  • It can refer to this body and personality (often only the parts that fit with an abstract self-image)
  • It can refer to the nature of mind - the awareness empty of characteristics - functioning through a small self
  • It can refer to the combination of the nature of mind and the small self
  • It can refer to Big Mind, that which embraces the Absolute and the Relative
For example, when the words "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt. 18:20) were spoken, that which spoke was not identified with the small self called Jesus but with Christ, or Big Mind.

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The Direction |

What is the aim or direction of spiritual practice? In the end, it is just to become a more full and healthy human being.

We start out with dualistic perception. Then awaken to the nature of mind and a transdual view. Then we deepen and clarify it while we also bring it more fully into more and more situations in our daily life. And we learn to become more and more full human beings, to unstick, to let go of any fixed identity, to see this personality - with all its likes and dislikes and hangups - with some humor, to soften, to fully be whatever comes up, to be a good friend, spouse, child, parent, boss, employee, community member... It is the most beautiful path, and in many ways - the most ordinary...

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Empty |

It seems that the word "emptiness" can be understood in a couple of different ways...

One is the nature of mind - the clear, spacious awareness empty of any particular characteristics. The words void and deep silence are sometimes used to describe it. Ultimately, it is distinct from the world of phenomena, so any words - inherently about the world of phenomena - point in the wrong direction. This is the Absolute.

The other is the world of the phenomena. All phenomena are aspects of a seamless fluid whole. It is a holarcy, a set of nested systems - one within another. Whatever we can discern as a whole in itself, is a temporary vortex in the stream. In the world of phenomena, nothing is permanent and nothing exists by itself. There is flux and no absolute boundaries. This small self is empty of any fixed or separate existence. This is the Relative.

In our own experience, it can unfold like this...

Awareness awakens to its own nature - this clear spacious awareness empty of characteristics. It can learn to recognize it and become familiar with it. It sees that it is distinct from any experiences of the inner and outer world that appears within itself. And it learns to come to this experience in more and more situations in our everyday life. It begins to function in a more and more transdual way - embracing its own nature and the world of phenomena, and all polarities within the world of phenomena.

Having found its own "ground" - empty of characteristics and distinct from polarities such as existence/nonexistence - it can allow itself to recognize the world of phenomena as a fluid seamless whole. It is resting in its own "ground" so there is no longer any need to hold onto anything in the world of phenomena. It can allow it to be seamless and flux.

This small self becomes a vehicle, an empty shell through which awareness can function in the world of phenomena. It is recognized as a temporary vortex in the stream.

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Who Am I? |

I sat with this question this morning - allowing past experiences and expectations to soften and melt away, along with (the temporary identification with) the body, personality, all phenomena. What is left is this awareness. Here/now, as it is. Without any particular characteristics of form, color, beginning, end, time, change, boundaries, outside, inside.

There was also a sense of clear empty light in/through this awareness and phenomena.

This awareness is that which is reading these word. When there is effort - as soon as there is a pointing in any direction - I am looking too far away. All that is needed is a relaxing and softening into it, a simpe noticing. It is just what is - here/now - as it is.

A footnote: The dropping away of the body, personality, all phenomena, refers to a dropping away of this in terms of focus... What is left if all these melt away? Who am I if all aspects of this small self - the body, emotions, thoughts - are not there? Of course, this is a dualistic process - separating the world of phenomena from the Absolute - but it does help us differentiate between the two. And when we rest in the nature of mind, in this awareness empty of characteristics, it naturally functions in a more transdual way. Through differentiation we enter into a transdual view.

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Richness of Small Self Friday, July 29, 2005 |

I appreciate more and more the richness of the small self - the body, energies, emotions, thoughts, and the habitual patterns of these making up the personality.

When awareness awakens to itself as distinct from the small self, it begins to function in a more transdual way - and eventually awakens into Big Mind, embracing the Absolute and Relative. This awakening often begins subtly, and can eventually be a full blown experience.

In either case, there is a sense of (a) spacious awareness and/or (b) Big Mind using the small self as a vehicle - an emmisary into the world of phenomena. And there is a wonderful richness and fullness in this - with all the layers from the physical body through the Absolute.

Staying in pure space and awareness brings a complete experience of peace and completeness, which is attractive if the awareness tends to be identified with the small self and functions dualistically. But after a while - after the transdual functioning becomes more familiar and comfortable - there is definitely a sense of richness and enjoyment in operating with/through a small self. It brings a whole new dimension and fullness to the experience. It brings doing to the being.

When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it tends to seek escape in any way possible, including the idea of liberation and escape from the cycle of rebirth. But when awareness awakens to its own nature and functions transdually, it experiences and enjoys the richness of an embodied existence.

Awareness can function on transpersonal and personal levels. When there is both, there is even more richness and fullness to the experience. We can revel in the experiene of the full range of the russian dolls, from the physical body through to the Absolute.

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Layers of Perfection |

There are layers of - and different ways we can experience - the perfection of Existence.

  • The Absolute
    That which is distinct from (and inseparable) from all phenomena. None of the words used to describe phenomena - which are all of them - can describe it, although some words used to hint at the experience of the Absolute is the void, deep silence, and the "ground" of being/existence. We can experience it as space and awareness - the inseparate space and awareness that is reading these words right now.

    The Absolute is distinct from all polarities - it is distinct from existence and non-existence, matter and awareness, creator and creation, etc. All of these descriptions - even when described in polarities - are irrelevant for describing the Absolute.

    The Absolute is within all phenomena, and that from which all phenomena arise. It is the "ultimate perfection", although even the term "perfection" is irrelevant.

  • Big Mind
    Big Mind embraces the Absolute and Relative, the void of the "ground" and the richness of phenomena. Everything is an expression of Big Mind, Buddha Mind, God, Existence. This seamless and fluidly evolving universe is Big Mind exploring itself, in full perfection.

  • Holon
    The holon of our being - all levels from body through the Absolute - is always perfect, as is the internal/external situations the small self is in. When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it may not appear that way, but when it awakens to Big Mind - everything is revealed as perfect as it is.
Of course, the complementary aspect of this - especially as it applies to the small self - is that there is room for improvement.

When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self and functions dualistically, there is an escape from undesirable and seeking desirable situations. And even when awareness awakens to its own nature and functions transdually, there is movement and intention.

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Russian Dolls |

We can see ourselves as a holarchy - as a set of russian dolls, one within another.

Some of the dolls...

  • Physical body
  • Energies
  • Emotional
  • Mental (thoughts)
  • ...? (one level here is the tangible and rich sense of a field beyond/embracing the whole of the body/personality - the centaur level)
  • Absolute (space and awareness)
  • Big Mind (transdual)
  • All Existence (no separation if subtle, cosmic consciousness if full blown)
All of these are always there, as long as there is a body and personality, although awareness may be aware of some and not others. And the center of gravity may be at any of these or encompassing all simultaneously. For me, each of these shift to the foreground or background depending on the situation, and the two last ones are present at varying degrees of intensity (from a constant gentle presence to occasional full blown experiences).

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Lines |

The deeksha process does seem to help people awaken to the nature of mind - and then to Big Mind. Using Ken Wilber's integral framework, this must mean that the development along the spiritual line is speeded up dramatically. Still, it seems to occur in a very grounded way. For me, the unfolding seems the most natural in the world - grounded, comfortable, gentle, and quick.

The other lines of development will (mostly) stay where they are, although they may mature faster now that they exist in a different - transdual - context. And the deeksha process also have a healing component which may help each of the lines of development to heal wherever they are at.

As they point out themselves - the awakening is a beginning as much as it is an end. It is the beginning of the process of deeper healing and integration on a personal level, clarification, deepening and evolution on a transpersonal level, and a deepening integration and richness of relationship between the two.

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Interpretations |

Two people who had awakened with the same guru met, and one - who made his living from teaching - said to the other "so you are still driving a bus?"

This can be interpreted in many different ways...

  • It came from arrogance
  • It came from a gentle nudge, saying "you have such wonderful gifts, why don't you share them with others through another form of paid work?"
  • It was a nudge with an edge to it, to shake the recipient up
  • Or a mix of the above
Of course, even if I were there - or was one of the two - these are still just stories.

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Worst Thing |

Here is another way to identify an area we are still confused about, where we are stuck - and to find a statement ripe for inquiry...

What is the worst thing anyone can say to me? What am I most afraid to hear?

Layers |

There are innumerable layers to our being: physical body, energies, emotions, mental, the field that contains all the below, the nature of mind (spacious awareness) and then Big Mind as well - all of Existence.

Today, I notice that the physical body is worn down and exhausted - from what I don't quite know. If I stay with the body and add a story to it (I won't be able to do what I need to do today. Why is my energy level not more stable?) I feel terrible. I know, because I did this at first this morning when I realized that I would cancel an appointment I had been looking forward to.

If I am in the field that encompasses all of the layers above, the experiences of the body becomes a very sweet softening - a sinking and melting into what is.

In the first case, the changes with the body becomes a burden and hindrance. In the second case, it becomes a way to be with what is in a very sweet way. The contraction becomes a softening and deepening expansion.

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Current Thursday, July 28, 2005 |

I have listed current practices, so I may as well list some current experiences...

  • Soft, warm energy around/in/through and extending beyond the physical body.
  • A soft wholeness of body/psyche, extending beyond the physical body.
  • "Empty light" in/through body/mind and all phenomena.
  • All phenomena as radiant (vibrating light/energy in/around/beyond everything).
  • Deep sense of sensual, calm groundedness.
  • Spacious awareness distinct from all phenomena.
  • "Emptiness" in all phenomena (form w/out substance, radiancy).
  • Rich sense of intimacy with all phenomena (no separation)
  • Sense of some general sickness in the physical body, mild flu symptoms (last few days).
  • The field beyond/through the body is "empty" as well as rich and full, which makes it easy to be here/now and not get caught up in thoughts (thoughts are few and quiet).
  • Sense of the small self - this personality - as a shell, a vortex in the stream, through which the spacious awareness functions/embodies.
  • General sense of ease and comfort, and how it is beyond simple.
  • Resting in the field of awareness through/beyond the body, seeing the habitual hang-ups as a cloud in the distance and not needing to engage in them.
  • Thoughts are quiet and appear within a much larger space, so there is little opportunity to get caught up in them. (I did get caught up somewhat tonight, for the first time over several days, although it was mild and transient - the center of gravity is stably in the field of awareness through/beyond the body).
I sense that the richness and fullness in this comes from a combination of the recent eight-day Breema intensive in the Bay area, daily self-Breemas and Breema bodywork, some minimal sitting practice, as well as the continuing Byron Katie style inquiries and the recent deekshas.

And my external situation has been pretty good (according to the likes and dislikes of this personality) since I came back from Oakland, so there are not too many triggers around... I'll enjoy it while it lasts(!). There is a lot more work to be done. What is listed above can appear due to favorable circumstances, so the direction from here is clarification and deepening, and rest in it - the series of russian dolls from the nature of mind, via the field of awareness and energies through the physical body - in more and more situations.

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Awakening Earth |

At the NWEI retreat, my longstanding interest in ecospirituality, new cosmology, creation spirituality, deep ecology etc. was refueled.

The more I look into it - and as I move along my own process - the less far fetched it seems that we may see a wider scale awakening into a more transdual view among humans. And this will turn our view of the Universe, the Earth and our collective humanity upside-down.

Already, we can see that we are the local awareness-organs for the Universe and the Earth. We are the Universe and the Earth coming into awareness of itself. And this awareness operates locally (exclusively identified with the small self) and dualistically for most species and most human beings today.

For some human beings - and maybe for larger segments of the population in the future - this awareness awakens to its own nature and functions transdually. In this process, it also becomes aware of itself as Big Mind and all phenomena as expressions of Big Mind. God is behind and in front of the eyeballs.

If the Universe and the Earth awakens into a transdual awareness through larger number of humans, it means a radical shift for humanity as a whole. The Universe and the Earth can now be aware of itself as a seamless whole, through large number of awareness organs part of one planet.

It is difficult to say how it may look as it is so different from what we see today. All we can say that the shift may be as dramatic as when the first humans emerged into language.

It is by no means the end of challenges and imbalances (as Ken Wilber likes to point out, there are diseases at each level of development), and as with any transition - it is an beginning as well as an end.

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Always Perfect |

When I engage in the Byron Katie's inqury process, it typically leads to an experience/realization of everything being perfect as it is. And this comes first as a series of glimpses through the specific situations I inquire into.

There is a particular combination of an external situation and internal situation, and something is triggered in me. The external situation provides the hook, and the internal - in the form of a belief not aligned with Existence - provides the ring. When I believe a thought, the hook catches the ring. There is a misalignment between the situation and my belief about how it "should" be which leads to contraction and suffering.

I can then identify the thought behind it, ask the four questions and apply the turnaround, and the ring allows itself to dissolve. By applying the turnaround, I realize something new about myself - and I experience myself as whole and in a fuller and richer way. I can see that the particular situation was exactly what I needed to discover this about myself, and find peace and richness through it.

I see that the situation - for instance an interaction or relationship with another person - was perfect for me. And that any situation is perfect for me. As long as I believe in thoughts and don't inquire into them, I don't see this and experience suffering. When I inquire and the belief drops away, there is wholeness, richness and joy.

Everything is always perfect as it is. At the same time, there may be a natural wish or impulse for movement and change. And when I see that it is already perfect, this intention and movement comes from a sense of peacefulness and joy.

A footnote: When I believe a thought, I typically want change because of a sense of lack or to avoid suffering. When the belief drops, there is only Existence manifesting. The intention and direction of movement comes from a sense of the perfection already here. It comes from a sense of clarity, connection, fullness and richness, peacefulness and joy. The choices emerge and manifest with no need for doer or doing.

Emptiness & Fullness |

Existence embraces the Absolute and the Relative.

The Absolute is the nature of all phenomena, including the mind - it is the "ground" of everything, the void, the deep silence - that which is without any characteristics and distinct from all phenomena and all polarities. At the same time, it can clearly be experienced - just by looking in and see what is left when anything related to the small self is taken away.

The Relative is the fluid seamless evolving whole of all phenomena.

And when awareness awakens to its own Absolute nature, it can function in a transdual way and experience both the Absolute and the Relative. It awakens to Big Mind, to emptiness and fullness. The emptiness allows the fullness to be, the fullness gives richness to the emptiness.

A footnote: Within the Relative, we can also say that there is a form of "emptiness". The Relative is a fluid seamless whole, so there are no absolutely fixed and no absolutely separate "entities". What we perceive as distinct phenomena are vortexes in the stream, temporary manifestations within the fluid whole. This self is part of the seamless fluid whole. It is an expression and manifestation of God/Buddha Mind as all phenomena are, and the spacious awareness which functions through it is an aspect of God/Buddha Mind - as all awareness is.

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The Simplest Way |

The simplest way to Enlightenment/God Realization is to see everything as Buddha Mind/God. Every phenomena is the manifestation of God/Buddha Mind.

Whatever we see as "not God" is exactly where we are stuck. Whenever I resist an experience, there is suffering. When I fully experience it, it reveals itself as bliss.

It is very simple, but not easy. When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it naturally functions dualistically - which creates a filter preventing us to directly experience Existence. When awareness awakens to its own nature - and (often later) to Big Mind - it is free to function in a more transdual way. There is no separation and a perception of the radience of all phenomena. And this more transdual view is brought into more and more areas of life, until everything is revealed as God - in all situations.

This gives us a good guideline for long-term and everyday practices.

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Thoughts |

The Byron Katie inquiry process may appear - before we engage in it - to concern itself with thoughts.

In reality, it seems to help us clear up our relationship with Existence, on all levels.

The "thoughts" we work with - in verbal/written form - are indications of much deeper orientations and relationships with Existence. And these orientations runs through all levels of our being, including physical, energetic, emotional, cognitive and consciousness/awareness.

When there is suffering and/or contraction, it indicates an area where our deeper orientation is not aligned with what is - with Existence. And through inquiry, we can clear up this confusion.

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God's Business |

If we stay with Byron Katies's inquiry for a while, we may see that "our business" is revealed as God's business.

This small self is an empty container, there is no "me" to be found anywhere. This small self is a an aspect of the seamless fluid whole, a wortex in the stream. And this consciousness is that which is expressed throughout Existence, in all the fluid and rich manifestations.

Great Turning II |

None of us know what the Great Turning will look like. We only know that our civilization will change, and that it will change dramatically. There is an obvious/inherent expiration date in operating from a view of unlimited resources while being part of a finite planet. And the transition may be in the form of an ecological/social crash or a softer landing. In any case, the change will be deep and dramatic.

As Joanna Macy says, it is the third major revolution in human civilization - after the agricultural and industrial ones.

And it may involve a collective "dark night of the soul". Our current collective identity - especially in the industrialized countries - will have to be stripped off and replaced with a more ecological identity.

From seeing ourselves as separate and entitled to unbound consumption, we may see ourselves as interconnected and living with limited resources. The "hole" in ourselves that we tried to fill through consumption, is now filled (more reliably) through a sense of intimacy and richness through our interconnections.

This is a process that many have gone through on an individual level, and as more of us do so - the collective changes are likely to be easier and less painful.

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Great Turning |

Joanna Macy talks about the Great Turning from an industrial-growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.

And an aspect of this turning is the change of worldview.

Currently, we operate collectively from a fragmented and dualistic worldview. We see the world as separate objects bumping into each other, with no inherent mutual connection apart from being in approximately in the same space at the same time. This is a worldview that leads to power-over mentality, and to isolation, lack of meaning, fear, accumulation, insatiability, etc.

A collective more transdual worldview helps us see everything as aspects of a seamless fluid whole. The Universe is a holarchy of nested systems, one within another. We can make distinctions, but within the context of this fluid and seamless whole. There are no absolute boundaries. This is a worldview of flow and connections, and one that sees power as power-with. My own health and well-being is intimately connected with that of all my subsystems and all the larger systems I am part of. From this sense of connection comes a sense of deep belonging to the Earth and the Universe, a sense of meaning, a sense of trust (although not naive or blind), and a sense of fullness and richness. With this worldview, we operate in a very different way.

And we can experience this worldview through experiencing our inner wholeness - of body/psyche - awakened through for instance an integral practice. When we experience the whole that embraces this body/psyche, we also experience being an integral part of the larger whole. There are no absolute boundaries. Everything is part of a seamless fluid whole.

Footnote: An integral practice can include all our relationships - to the body, energy system, emotions, thoughts, intimate relationships, social and ecological relationships, and our relationship to Existence. Typical components may be meditation, yoga (any form), exercise, nutrition, studies of/within an integral framework, and - for instance - inquiry.

For me right now, it consists of Zen practice, Breema (bodywork and self-Breemas), Byron Katie's inquiry, being with/being what I am experiencing right now (Raphael Kushnir), deekshas, studies of/within the AQAL model, walking/biking/hiking, solution focused culture change engagement (initiating NWEI courses, permaculture etc.), and the Big Mind process (facilitating myself and others).

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Yes |

The practice of saying "yes" is suggested in several traditions - one example is Chogyam Trungpa.

I notice that right now, even that is too much. It is extra. When I drop the "yes", I am where it is pointing to.

Footnote: This of course is always changing. What works in one inner/outer situation, is extra in another. Right now, just being the experiences as the arise, unfold, fade, is sufficient. It is beyond simple. No extra is needed.

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Only Through the Other Wednesday, July 27, 2005 |

Consciousness cannot be aware of itself;
Consciousness cannot be aware of the other;
Consciousness can only be aware of itself as the other

A beautiful statement, in its simplicity and (as far as I can tell right now) accuracy.

This spacious awareness cannot be aware of itself, no more than an eye can see itself. When we try to find ourselves, whatever we see is not the source.

We cannot see the other, because there is no other. When awareness awakens to its nature, it functions transdually.

This spacious awareness can only see itself through and as the other... The source can only see itself as the other.

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Two Levels of Healing |

In healing, we can see it occurring through two main levels: the personal and the transpersonal, the small self and Big Mind.

When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it has no choice but to try to fix the small self - the body, emotions, thoughts, behavior - with the tools available to the small self. It is blinded by its own filters. No matter how much fixing and healing occurs in this way, it is never quite right - there is always a sense of something missing. There is still dependence on particular external and internal situations for happiness. There is still suffering. There is still dualistic views - pitting health against illness, right against wrong, body against mind, creator against creation, delusion against insight, me against you, humans against Earth.

When awareness awakens to the Absolute - and its own nature of spacious awareness - it finds another "ground". It can view all inner and outer phenomena as aspects of a seamless whole. It seems that it is all ultimately perfect as it is, and that there is room for improvement. It knows a place where it stays the same, no matter what goes on for the small self. This aspect of itself is always beyond health and illness, right and wrong, body and mind, creator and creation, delusion and insight, me and you, humans and Earth. There is no need for healing here. And we find a place where we can be with - or be - whatever experiences comes up. This is the healing the small self needs - to be seen from this view... Here, the healing processes can take place for the small self - or not - either one is Existence manifesting.

Footnote: When we find this place distinct from and embracing the small self, we can view the small self and bring awareness into areas previously in the dark. This in itself is healing, and it allows the healing processes inherent in all life - in the Earth and the small self - to unfold. Where the small self interfered in dualistic and confused views, it has now stepped aside to allow the healing to unfold on its own - according to its own inherent wisdom and intelligence.

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Clarity |

One of many recent postings on this topic...

It is astonishing to awaken to some clarity beyond thoughts. To see the clear landscape of direct perception, not filtered by thoughts and ideas. And to see the mass of confusion from believing in thoughts approaching, and not have any need to engage in it.

From... confusion of being caught up in the habitual patterns of the self + dualistic view + informed by the experiences, knowledge and information available to the self...

There is... spacious clarity + a more transdual view + informed by the experiences, knowledge and information available to the self.

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Tools & Situations |

Any tool is of value and use in certain inner/outer situations, and of less use in other.

I find that many of the tools that were useful for me in the past, now often seem crude - they seem extra.

Counting the breath has been a useful tool. Now, it is often too noisy. It is extra.

Being with my experiences was a useful tool into letting go of resistance. Now, being with is too much of a separation. Why be with when I can be the experience.

Saying "yes" to Existence as it manifests here/now may be useful. But for me, it is extra. It is an effort that brings me away from just being the experiences here/now.

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Breaking Down vs. Breaking Open |

Whenever there is a strong experience, I have two (broad) choices.

I can choose to resist. Or I can be with it - or rather be it.

When I resist, there is suffering. If it goes on for too long, and/or is too strong, I can "break down".

When I am the experience, there is a current of bliss. And I can allow the experience to open my heart and mind. I can break open. The separations between me and others break down - it opens my heart/mind for the experiences of others, and I see that we are all in the same boat. My own pain is a reminder of the pain that all humans experience. It opens for compassion through seeing myself in the other and the other in myself.

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Dualistic and Transdual Joy |

Transdual Joy

When awareness awakens to its own nature of spacious awareness, it naturally functions in a more transdual way which..

Brings up spontaneous joy and bliss, independent of the external/internal situation of the self. Indeed, when there is no resistance to our experiences (how can there be if there is no separation, when we are the experiences), then all experiences becomes bliss. We realize that suffering comes from our resistance to the experiences.

Brings up spontaneous compassion and empathy. There is no separation, so there is a natural compassion for all beings.

Dualistic Joy

When awareness is exclusively identified with - or caught up in - the small self, it functions in a dualistic way. It only knows experiences of joy, bliss, compassion etc. as being triggered by a specific combination of external and internal circumstances. It believes in thoughts, and only allow experiences to come up that match the current combination of beliefs and situations. Otherwise, it closes itself off from them.

When transdual joy, bliss, compassion etc. is expressed through another self, the awareness which is still exclusively identified with and caught up in the small self places labels on the behavior. It calls it "joy", "compassion", and maybe "holy", "spiritual", etc. And from this, it may try to emulate it by creating a "spiritual" identity for itself. It closes itself off from anything that does not fit with the label and the image, and tries to force an expression and experience that does. This does obvisouly not work for very long, and only creates more suffering.

The only solution is to awaken to the nature of mind, from where it can soften and let go of any fixed identity and express itself more fluidly. Which in turn will be "fixed" into labels and images by awarenesses which are still identified with other small selves.

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Breema & Liberation |

I am realizing that an important emphasis of Breema is the process of liberation.

One aspect of Breema is mindfulness practice. By coming to the body - the breath, the weight of the body, the posture of the body, the facial expression, the sound of the voice - we shift our center of gravity to the nature of mind - the spacious awareness distinct from the self and the personality.

From being caught up in the habitual processes of the self - the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors - we find a new "ground" in the nature of mind, distinct from the self. From here, we are free to choose how to relate to and engage with inner and outer situations. We are liberated from being blindly caught up in the habitual processes of the self.

When awareness is identified with - or caught up in - the processes of the self, it functions in a dualistic way. It is trapped in the world of phenomena. When awareness awakens to its own nature, it begins to function in a transdual way. It is beyond and embraces the Absolute and Relative.

(The Nine Principles helps with this shift, as they express Existence as it is viewed from the Big Mind perspective.)

When we repeatedly engage in this shift, in everyday situations, we gradually become more familiar with the nature of mind as well as with the shift to the nature of mind. And from this, there is a gradual shift into and awakening of the Big Mind view.

Breema - at least this aspect of it - is about the liberation process. And from here, to an awakening into Big Mind.

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>poof< |

This last week - after some weeks with Byron Katie's inquiry process, an eight-day Breema intensive in Oakland, and the deeksha last Sunday - I have not been able to believe in thoughts very easily.

I am spacious clear awareness, and when a situation that typically triggered contractions come along, I can see the habitual patterns thoughts/confusion appearing in the distance - but there is no need or wish to engage in them. It is much easier to stay in the clarity. They drop like leaves off a tree. They appear in the distance and go >poof

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Liberation & Awakening to Big Mind |

As mentioned in past postings, there are many awakenings - its a continuing process.

  1. Matter
    Existence emerge as matter.

  2. Life
    Matter reorganize into life - which we can say is a form of awakening. Initially, life operates through instinctual biological processes.

  3. Local Awareness
    Life awaken into awareness. First, this awareness is quite dull and very local - mostly tied to instinctual biological processes.

  4. Self
    Then, awareness awakens to the self - independent of which species it is - as a separate entity, separate from other selves and objects. It is exclusively identified with the self, and caught up in the processes of the self. Here, awareness functions in a dualistic way. The self tries to fix itself, which only has limited and temporary success. It is not a satisfactory situation.

  5. The Nature of Mind
    From here, awareness can awaken to its own nature, as spacious awareness - distinct from its content and the personality. As it comes to its own nature in more and more situations, this realization becomes more stable, and clarifies and deepens. This is the process of liberation. From being blindly caught up in the processes of the self - the habitual patterns of emotions/thoughts/behaviors - it is now released from them. This allows for an even deeper and more intimate engagement with the self and the world.

  6. Transdual
    When awareness awakens to its own nature, it also starts to function in a more transdual way. It awakens to the Absolute, distinct from the Relative world of phenomena. And from this "ground" it sees all phenomena - beyond dualities - as parts of a seamless fluid whole.

  7. Big Mind
    The awakening of awareness into Big Mind is an emergence from the two previous awakenings. Awareness awakens into a fully transdual view - embracing the Absolute and Relative. The self becomes a vehicle for Big Mind.

  8. Rehumanized
    From here, awareness can rehumanize - reawaken to the humanity of the self. In the terminology of the Big Mind process, it learns to freely manifest through transpersonal and personal voices. It is not stuck, there is no fixed identity on any level.

  9. Evolution etc.
    Somewhere along the last few awakenings, there can also be an awakening into evolution. An awakening into conscious evolution - of being a part of the evolution of humanity, the Earth, this universe, and the relative aspect of Existence as a whole. The relative aspect of Existence becomes fuller, richer, more complex - while the Absolute is what it is, beyond simple. Big Mind becomes fuller and richer, while always having the same "ground".

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The View from 2205 |

I participated in the Northwest Earth Institute National Gathering over the last five days. Joanna Macy was the guest of honor, and we did a number Deep Ecology group activities - going through the cycle of gratitude, grief, shift in view, and engagement.

I thoroughly enjoy these activities, especially as they - as the Big Mind process and other practices - help us shift views and make our identity more inclusive, porous and fluid. We have a direct and visceral experience of being not separate from the Earth and Universe, or from past and future generations. Everything is here/now. It is all a seamless fluid whole.

For the Double Circle (aka Seventh Generation) activity, I was a human being from 2205 - living in a life-centered civilization some time after the Great Turning. I listened to a succession of human beings from today, 2005, speaking about how it was for them to be alive in these times - with the destruction and denial all around, and how they find strength to go on.

Then I spoke, expressing my profound gratitude for them and what they are doing as part of the Great Turning. I asked them to remember that their intentions and work as part of the Great Turning are supported by all of life - by the Earth as a whole and all past and future generations.

It became clear that all the problem which face humans in 2005 (and several years before and after), are all very insubstantial. The toxins and weapons are of course very substantial and real, but the problems all arise from confusion in the human mind. They are all made by the human mind, and can be unmade by the human mind. They could go > poof <>poof<>poof< at any moment.

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A Gift for the One it Arises in |

As I continue to engage in the Byron Katie inquiry process, my experiences of processes such as projections continue to deepen and clarify.

It has become very clear to me that whenever an impulse arises in me, I am the one it is meant for. I am the one meant to fully experience it.

It seems obvious, but there is such a widespread confusion about this today (and probably back to the dawn of humanity). Our culture teaches us the reverse: whenever something arises in me, it is meant for someone else. I either project it onto someone else, or I want to share it as a gift with others.

(As Jen said, there is an implicit idea behind this view which says that God/Existence must be very confused: An impulse is meant for Suzie, and it appears in Per. And I don't even know Suzie...!)

Through inquiry, I see that whatever arises in me is meant for me. If it arises in the form of an advice (a "should") then it is for me. If it is a gift of realization, awakening or skill, then it is for me as well - to fully experience and enjoy. I can still make it available for others, but even then I do it for myself - to continue to clarify and deepen it.

A footnote: When I see impulses arising in me as being for someone else, there is suffering. When there is a "should" and I apply it to others, they may or may not conform. When I know the advice is for me, I benefit fully from it. When a gift arises in me and I see it as for others, others may or may not receive and appreciate it the way I wish. When I know the gift is for me, I fully experience and enjoy it. Free from any agenda I would otherwise have on their behalf, this gives others the opportunity to freely enjoy it or not.


They should be interested in my gifts.

1. Yes. 2. No.

3. Let down. Feel ignored, hurt, isolated, judgmental of self and others, arrogant and/or inferior. Experience a split and separation.

4. Present. Enjoy what is. Interested in what is, as it is. (No need to interfere through engaging in the idea of "sharing my gifts".)

5a. They should not be interested in my gifts. (No, what is is. They should not be interested until they are.)

>> 5b. I should be interested in my gifts. (Yes, I am the one they are meant for. They arise in me, so I am the one who is meant to fully experience them.)

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Cycles of Awakening & Integration |

Our lives seems to be cycles of awakenings and integration.

First, we awaken to an experience, a glimpse, realization or insight. Then we integrate it into our lives. These awakenings and integrations occurs at all scales, from everyday glimpses and insights to larger shifts and awakenings.

Our lives are cycles within cycles of awakening and integration.

And these awakenings - when looked at from a larger perspective - typically involve widening circles. Our identity widens, becomes more inclusive, embraces more and more polarities, becomes more porous and fluid - until any fixed identity falls away.

We awaken into the nature of mind, and the integration consists of coming to the nature of mind in more and more situations. We awaken to Big Mind, and the integration consists of rehumanizing and bringing it into an ordinary human life.

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Process Friday, July 22, 2005 |

As mentioned before, the deeksha process seems genuine (and powerful) and leading to genuine awakenings.

This may or may not take place on a large scale, with several tens of thousands of people within the next few years, as they suggest. If it did happen on a large scale, it is - as all transitions and shifts - an end as well as a beginning.

Some of what is left to work with...

  • Living and embodying it on a personal and collective level in everyday life.
  • Healing on a personal and collective level, working through traumas and wounded areas.
  • Development of each of the lines, and through the levels. We start where we are, although the process may be accelerated by awakening.
  • Moving from the Bright Sun to the Hazy Moon - a softening and rehumanization of the awakening, allowing the mind to function freely on both transpersonal and personal levels.
  • Development of new - and still always changing and evolving - social structures.
  • Changes in social structures (decision making, economy etc), that takes into account (a) the stages people are at and (b) those who have not yet awakened to the nature of mind or Big Mind. If an awareness of this is not embedded in new structures, it could lead to serious social conflicts and disruptions. More specifically - and using Spiral Dynamics language - if a green social structure is imposed on those on a blue level, or a green or orange structure is imposed on those on a red level (each cases two levels separation), it could quickly lead to the situation going out of control. The social structure must match and take into account the level people are operating from.
Not expecting any challenges is likely to be the major general pitfall.

And either of the specific ones listed - along with all the ones I am not currently aware of - are potentially major pitfalls in themselves. Although falling into those pits is also part of the process - exactly what is needed for learning and further maturation.

If there is denial and blindness of either of these - and the many others not mentioned - it sets the stage for another awakening on personal and collective levels. And this time more of a rude one...!

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Waking and finding myself as pure awareness |

There was a very active thunderstorm here last night, which is quite unusual in this valley. I woke up, and for a while was aware of myself only as spacious awareness. It was the drop waking up, not fully aware of being the ocean (but not being unaware of it either), and not quite connected to the small self.

For a while, there was just the perception of the room and the lightning and thunder - without any labels and associations. Without knowing which small self I - as spacious awareness - was attached to, if it was male or female, or even which species it was, and also not knowing which planet or universe this was. It lasted for a while, enough for several lightning strikes.

It is very intriguing - all the ways the mind can function, and the freedom in it. Big Mind is in some ways less of a mystery to me, both when it is centered on a small self and when it does not have a center. But this, how it can become a local awareness - whether resting in its nature as in this experience or acting through a personality as right now - that is more mysterious.

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Natural Expressions Thursday, July 21, 2005 |

Everything we see in humanity is just natural expressions of the mind - when it functions in dualistic and transdual ways.

When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it naturally functions dualistically. It perceives distinctions, but not the larger seamless whole every phenomena is an aspect of. This creates a perception of separation between inner and outer, me and you, us and them, body and mind, creator and creation, right and wrong, good and bad, etc. And this in turn fuels everything we see in the world, in terms of attachments, rigidity, confusion, suffering etc.

When awareness awakens to its own nature, it naturally functions in a more transdual way. It perceives distinctions clearly, within the seamless whole of Existence. There is no separation, and from this a sense of being home, and of intimate connection with all living beings. This in turns opens for effortless compassion and clarity.

And in the interaction between the two - between Big Mind and the small self - there is a new layer of complexity which opens up.

When expressed through humans, this process seems to the same for all in its general form, although with different flavors depending on culture and personality. And it is likely to be the same in its general form even if it was expressed through a different species - although again with a unique flavor.

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The Ways the Mind Can Function |

Some of the aspects of the Big Mind process that I appreciate...

One of the beautiful aspects of the Big Mind process is that it shows - clearly and beyond a doubt - some of the ways this mind, here and now, can function. There is nothing in the future, nothing you are asked to believe in - just the direct experiences with this mind here and now.

We explore the ways the mind can function on a personal level - with anger, fear, vulnerability, desire, seeking, etc. - and how it can function on a transpersonal level - through Big Mind, Big Heart, non-seeking mind, the mind that sees impermanence etc.

Personal Voices

In going through the personal level voices, there is a process of clarifying the function of each of the voices, how they help the self, and the relationship of the self to the particular voice. This helps the participant to appreciate each voice - each of the ways the mind functions on a personal level - through clearly seeing that it is present to help the self. When we realize this, there is no longer any need to fight any of them - rather, we can welcome them and the information they each carry into our experience.

There is also a clarification process in seeing which of the voices the self may be too closely identified with, and which it is not able to access very easily. The imbalance in identification is usually supported by ideology, and specifically a fixed and limited/limiting self-image.

Bringing awareness into the voices and their relationship with the self (and each other) in itself brings about a healing and maturation process.

Transpersonal Voices

In accessing the transpersonal voices, there is an escape from the exclusive identification with the self - and an entering into a transdual view. From this perspective, everything looks different, and through the Big Mind process we can become more familiar with this landscape and bring it more into our everyday life.

Of course, it is only the view that is accessed this way, not the full blown experience. For that, it needs to deepen and clarify through sitting practice - allowing the mind to rest in itself and clarify and deepen its experience of itself.

Collective Talks

Another beautiful aspect is that the Big Mind process can be used instead of a regular dharma talk. Normally, there is the "guru" up on a podium speaking and everyone else listening. Now, there can be a facilitator (often the same teacher) who leads the participants into a particular view, and the participants collectively give the dharma talk.

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Doing it for Myself |

As I mentioned in a previous posting, it has become very clear to me that everything I do, I do for myself. Always. I can make up a story that I am doing it due to external circumstances, but when I look into it, I see that I am doing it only for myself. This is a liberating realization.

Some examples...

  • Paying taxes
    The story is that I pay it because I "have" to. "They make me do it". The reality is that I choose to do it, because I don't want the trouble that comes with not doing it. I do it for myself.

  • Doing someone a favor
    The story is that I do it for them, and there can be a substory that I "have" to do it even if it is inconvenient for me or I don't want to. The reality is that I do it to either avoid trouble (unpleasantness in the relationship) or because I experience a connection with the person and it gives me joy to do something for her/him. I do it for myself.

  • I give free Breema sessions
    The story could be that I do it for them, that I am selfless and noble. The reality is that I do it because it gives me so much - both during the session and in connecting with people. I do it for myself.

  • I go to an event I don't want to go to
    The story is that I go because I "have" to go, it is expected of me. The reality is that I go because I either don't want the possibly unpleasant consequences by not going (disapproval etc) or because I expect to get something out of it. And I have judged this to be more important than the drawbacks of going. Again, I do it for myself.
Of course, for some of these - such as attending an event we don't really want to attend - the choice may be different when we realize our real intentions. When we inquire into it, we may choose a different action. In other cases, inquiring just clarifies why we do it and dissipates any sense of ambivalence that may be there.

There is an exercise from Nonviolent Communication that can be very helpful here, along with Byron Katie's inquiry process...
  1. Make a list of your top ten least favorable things to do
  2. Write a sentence for each one of these in the format "I have to ... because ..." (this is the story you tell yourself).
  3. Write another sentence for each in the format "I choose to ... because ..." (this is reality).
And from this, there are three typical outcomes...
  1. I see that I really want to do it, and the sense of ambivalence is dissipated. I stop blaming circumstances and see that I do it for myself. My attitude changes.
  2. I see that my reasons for doing it does not hold up, and I stop doing it. My action changes.
  3. I find another way of doing it that is more aligned with what is comfortable for me. The way I do it changes.

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Partnership |

I was reminded of how we are always in partnership with Existence, whether we recognize it or not. Even after we realize the seamless whole of the inner and outer world, there can be a sense of partnership - because there are still distinctions.

For instance in a spiritual practice/deepening, there is always a partnership between what we perceive as "me" and the rest of Existence. We make ourselves available to Existence, and can recognize the nature of mind (spacious awareness) and move into a more transdual view - into Big Mind. This is the case whether it appears that we are doing it "on our own" (as in Zen) or whether it is supported by "transmission" (as in Waking Down or through the deekshas).

In either case, Existence makes it available to itself. And in either case, the realizations has to be clarified, deepened and lived through this life.

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Being Carried |

During sitting today, Existence (through the teacher) spoke about the wonder and mystery of being carried in breath. And can we surrender to being carried in breath? Being carried by Existence?

It struck me how we how we always - without exception - are being carried by Existence. Every moment, in every way. This body and breath, these sensations, emotions, thoughts, this field of spacious awareness - it is all carried by existence.

It is beyond doing and not doing. And there is no separate "I" that creates or can take credit for anything. Existence is. A seamless whole beyond and embracing all polarities and dualites.

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Receptivity II |

Existence is God, Spirit, Buddha Mind, Big Mind. When we resist Existence, there is confusion and suffering. When we make ourselves available to Existence, there is clarity and bliss.

And the way we resist Existence, is through believing in thoughts. When we believe in thoughts, we believe a story about Existence rather than being receptive to what is - to the way it manifests here/now. We resist what is, because it does not - and cannot - conform to our story. And this resistance creates confusion and suffering.

When we are released from believing in the thoughts, we make ourselves available to Existence as it manifests here/now, in the seamless whole of the inner and outer world. And we can make ourselves available to this release through inquiring into the beliefs, or by experiencing ourselves as so much more than our thoughts. When we know ourselves as spacious awareness, and as a whole body/mind, thoughts just appear within the field of awareness. And when we stay in this field - this space around the thoughts - we can engage in them, or not, without being caught up in them.

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Receptivity |

This came up strongly during sitting this morning...

When we are fully receptive to Existence, when we fully surrender to Existence, we make ourselves available to all the gifts it offers to us. When we let go of resistance, there is a sweetness even in the pain, confusion and suffering.

And we see that there is really no separation. The outside and inside is a seamless whole, or rather - there is no outside and inside. We are enlightened by the ten thousand dharmas.

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Symmetry |

There seems to be a beautiful symmetry...

The whole wants to experience itself through its part. And the parts want to experience themselves through the whole.

Existence/God/Spirit/Buddha Mind/Big Mind seems to "want" to experience itself through the small selves, and everything experienced by/through the small selves - including all the delusion, confusion and suffering. Otherwise, it would not be. All the human experiences are just as they should be, because they are. Everything is perfect as it is. Even in our deepest suffering and confusion, it is Existence expressing and experiencing itself perfectly. Nothing is missng.

And the other side of the coin is that Existence seems to "want" to evolve. When it experiences itself in confusion and suffering, it naturally seeks clarity and equanimity. When it is expressed in an awareness that functions fragmented and dualistically, it naturally seeks to function more transdually. There is work to do and room for improvement.

Both seems to be there, in a beautiful and rich symmetry.

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Naked Wednesday, July 20, 2005 |

In any process towards healing (and awakening), deepening sincerity and honesty towards oneself is needed. When we can relax into what is - with all our fears, worries, tension, hangups, attachments, delusion, the pain triggered in ourselves and others by our actions - then it is allowed to transform and heal. As long as we deny it, there is a separation which makes healing difficult... Nakedness - just being a naked human being - is what we are invited into in this process... Just being who we are, allowing the filters of thoughts and ideas to drop... Surrendering to Existence, to what is - as it appears in the inner and outer world.

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Nothing to Achieve, Something to Achieve |

From a Big Mind perspective, there is nothing to achieve. Everything is perfect as it is. Everything is already Big Mind.

But from the perspective of an awareness that has not yet awakened to itself as Big Mind, there is something to achieve. And there is often a strong motivation for it as well. A motivation that comes through a combination of the carrot - the bliss and equanimity of awakening, and the stick - the current suffering from a perception of separation. To awaken to Big Mind, there is work to do.

If we say there is nothing to achieve, then it is only part of the picture. If we are stuck here, we are indeed stuck - with little possibility to awaken to Big Mind anytime soon.

If we say there is something to achieve, that is also only part of the picture. If we are stuck here, then we will always expect the awakening to be somewhere in the future, always over the next hill, and we don't notice the expressions and tastes of Big Mind that is already here.

With both, we can appreciate Big Mind as it manifests here/now, and we are free to engage in whatever practices seems appropriate to prime us for awakening more fully into Big Mind.

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Terminology |

In translations of Tibetan Buddhism, they use the term cognizanse for what I have come to call awareness. It is a more precise term as it clearly indicates the function of perceiving/experiencing, while awareness (or consciousness) could be perceived to indicate something that has substance or independent existence. Still, even as it is more precise, it also seems more elevated - something special. While what it refers to is that which is most ordinary and commonplace - that which we all are the most intimate with.

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Holarchy |

God/Existence/Buddha Mind/Big Mind can be seen as the highest level of the holarchy. It is that which includes, embraces and is all phenomena - as well as the "ground" they arise from. It is that which the Relative and the Absolute are two aspects of.

At the same time, Big Mind manifests as local awareness - in various degrees of awakening - through and centered on local awareness organs (small selves). And these local awarenesses can slowly awaken to their own nature, until they recognizes themselves as Big Mind.

It is very peculiar how this happens. To me, it seems to be one of the great mysteries - after the mystery that anything exists at all... God centering parts of its awareness on a local awareness organ. And this awareness continuing to be centered on a particular awareness organ even while it is awakening to itself as Big Mind.

Of course, there is a level beyond this: Big Mind not focused on any particular awareness organ. Just the whole, as it is, with no particular focus or center (there has been only one glimpse of this through this particular awareness organ).

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God |

Amazing

From the view of the small self, it is amazing beyond belief that anything exists at all... That there is space, awareness, and the world of phenomena.

From the view of Big Mind, there is just a resting in what is. Existence is.

Symmetry

It also struck me that for Existence/God/Buddha Mind to really experience itself, it has to be experienced through local awareness organs. If Existence just is - and aware of itself - without local awareness organs, there is equanimity but not much more. With the local awareness organs, there is a full and rich range of experiences.

There is an irony - and beautiful symmetry - here. God is seeking to experience itself through local awareness organs (not aware that they are manifestations of God). And some of the local awareness organs attempt to escape their experiences and seek God and equanimity. Which in turn makes the full range of experiences even richer.

As someone said, it is God playing hide and seek with itself.

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Bliss |

It seems that the function of bliss is as a "glue" to dissolve - apparent - boundaries.

On a personal level, we experience bliss through intimacy (physical, emotional, mental) with another person. And we can experience bliss through connection with nature, the Earth and the universe.

And there seems to be an experience of bliss each time there is an awakening - from a smaller whole to a larger whole. As the boundaries fall, there is a new bliss. And as we become comfortable and familiar with the holon level we are at, it becomes ordinary and the bliss fades, and we are motivated (eventually) to seek to transcend the next boundary.

The question is, what happens in the "end" - at the highest level of the holarchy (God/Existence)? The answer may be that it experiences itself in myriads of ways through all its different manifestations, all its local awareness organs.

The awareness of a local awareness organ is initially very local, and then slowly awakens and becomes more inclusive, until it eventuall awakens to Big Mind. And here, it manifests in a myriad of local awareness organs all with initially local awareness. It is cycles within cycles, within an unfolding and evolving universe (and whatever wider context there is for the manifest phenomena).

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Healing & Fixing |

Small Self Identification

When awareness is exclusively identified with (or temporarily caught up/lost in) the small self, there is a sense of separation. Awareness functions in a dualistic way. We see the world in terms of absolute separations - in you and me, body and mind, creator and creation, life and death, good and bad.

We see certain qualities in others and not in ourselves and the other way around, and we assign values to these qualities. When I see something desirable in you and not in me, it gives rise to admiration or envy. When I see something desirable in me and not in you, it gives rise to pride and arrogance. When I see something undesirable in you and not in me, it gives rise to judgment. When I see something undesirable in me and not in you, it gives rise to guilt and shame.

And all of this naturally gives rise to a desire to fix ourselves. We want to acquire more of the desirable qualities, and less of the undesirable. We want to be "good". We want to be healed and fixed. As so many have pointed out, this gives rise to the whole self-help industry.

This may work to some extent and for a while, but is never in the end quite satisfactory. There is always someone who has it better than us, always something more to achieve and acquire. It is samsara - a nagging sense of uneasiness. Something is never quite right.

Nature of Mind

When we awaken to the nature of mind, we find another "ground" - one that is distinct from the small self. And we discover that everything is perfect as it is. It just is - complete as it is.

For the first time, we gain some overview and a perspective of the small self. We still see it with its peculiar characteristics and flaws, but nothing seems so serious anymore. We are more than the personality, and that which is more than the personality is perfect as it is and knows that everything is perfect as it is.

There is still room for improvement, and we may still engage in various ways to "improve" the small self, but now it is for a different reason. Now it is to finetune this vehicle for the expression of the nature of mind, or Big Mind.

And there is a new focus as well - to just be with whatever is. To rest in the nature of mind while being actively engaged in the world.

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Spontaneous & Unconditioned |

It is sometimes said that the compassion and wisdom that arises in Big Mind is spontaneous and unconditioned.

When we awaken to the nature of mind - to spacious awareness, it has several consequences.

Transdual View

First, since there are no absolute boundaries to find, there is a sense of no separation, which in turn leads to a transdual view. We see the whole as well as the distinctions within the whole. We experience all phenomena as aspects of a seamless whole, within which there are innumerable possible distinctions.

Spontaneous Expressions

Second, since there are no absolute boundaries and no separation, it gives rise to...

Joy, since everything is here/now. We have finally found our real home, that which we thought we were separate from. It is the joy of a beggar discovering that he always had a fortune but did not know about it until now.

Love and compassion, since there is no separation. We are all manifestations of Existence. We are all human. We are all in the same boat. We all share the universal human experiences, although with slightly different flavors. We recognize every being as an manifestation of Existence, just as this awareness experiencing it. God is in front of and behind the eyeballs.

Wisdom, from recognizing the nature of mind and the seamless fluid whole of phenomena. We see the confusion and blindness that arises when we believe in thoughts and ideas. We see the futility of trying to "fix" the small self.

Equanimity, since nothing is foreign. All phenomena and all experiences we can possible have are manifestations of Existence. It is God experiencing itself. There is no preferences, no good and bad.

Unconditioned

All of these experiences - of joy, love and compassion, wisdom, equanimity - are independent of any external/internal situations of the small self. They are unconditioned in that sense, although they are conditioned on recognizing the nature of mind.

Layered

Of course, this is all expressed in layers.

The nature of mind is spacious awareness, and when we recognize this - it gives rise to joy, love and compassion, wisdom, equanimity and more. At the same time, there is this small self with its sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Often, we will experience both simultaneously - with one in the foreground and one in the background. Sometimes, one can overshadow the other. We can rest in the nature of mind and the bliss that comes from it, and the small self retreats far in the background. We can get temporarily caught up in the processes of the small self - the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors - and the nature of mind retreats far into the background. It is all the play of the mind - functioning in some of the many ways it can function. It is all part of the process.

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Already Here II |

Some examples...

Do it for yourself

This is one of the pointers in Breema bodywork, and one that I have found very useful. What I discover is that I am already doing it for myself. I am always doing it for myself - in anything I do, although I can create a story for myself that makes it appear different. Whenever it appears that I am doing something due to external circumstances, I can ask myself How - in what way - am I doing it for myself?

It is already here - I am already always doing it (only) for myself. The process is in uncovering it.

Being Present

I am always present - how can it be otherwise? I exist here now. These sensations, emotions, thoughts, this awareness, is always here now. And when I come to the nature of mind, to the spacious awareness, I experience it as well.

A little shift is all that is needed. A shift from being exclusively identified with the small self - caught up and lost in thoughts and images of past/future - to this always present spacious awareness.

Love, Compassion, Equanimity

When we awaken to the nature of mind - the spacious awareness - it is expressed in the form of love, compassion and equanimity. We experience that we are these qualities - it is our nature. And this love, compassion and equanimity is only conditioned on the nature of mind, not any inner/outer circumstances.

It is already here, and again - the process is in uncovering it.

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Already Here |

So much of what we are looking for is already here. We just need to see it.

And the other aspect of this is the process. The process of uncovering and living it.

It is already here. And there is work to be done.

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Projections |

There is often a deepening of my experiences, even of that which I thought I had a good grasp on. The words may still be the same, but the experience different.

During the Breema intensive, there was one particular long body-centered meditation during which we listened to a Breema talk. I sat in the back of the room, and noticed how reactions came up for me triggered by the fidgeting of some of those near me. I had judgments come up and associated emotions, and began to fidget myself. My attention became more dispersed and fragmented. I noticed that my central judgment was "they should pay attention".

When I turned this around to myself, "I should pay attention", I experienced a (somewhat dramatic) shift from fragmented attention to being here/now, from discomfort to well-being, from dispersion to containment (myself as one whole beyond body/psyche), from a sense of weakness to strength, from confusion to clarity. I was present, here/now as one whole - breathing, with my weight on the ground, listening to the words of the talk.

What came up as very clear to me, is this process...

1. An impulse arises in me.
2. If I apply it outwardly (as judgments or looking for something outside of me), there is a sense of dispersion, fragmentation, weakness, confusion, impatience, and uneasiness.
3. If I apply it inwardly, there is centering, strength, clarity, direction.

The impulse is a gift from the universe, it is exactly the message I need, pointing out the direction I need to go. If I apply it to something outside of myself, I cannot benefit from its gift. If I apply to to myself, I benefit fully from the richness in it.

The advice is always for me. As Byron Katie says, "I am the one I have been waiting for".

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Conscious Partnership with the Body |

At the Breema intensive, one of the participants asked what she could do about her habitual eating of foods not good for her body. The suggestion was to talk with the body, tell it how much she appreciates it and also apologize for what she does that makes it difficult for the body.

I have tried this over the last few days, and notice a clear shift. There is more a sense of a conscious partnership with the body, and of a friendship with the body.

It is not only a physical object, an appendix that allows me to move around and live in the world, but it becomes a partner, a friend. It becomes someone I have a more conscious relationship with. Someone I want to treat as well as any other living being.

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Inquiry |

Here is my current impression of Byron Katie's inquiry process...

Is it true?

Creates a crack in and some space around the belief, a chink in the armor. I open up for the possibility that it is not absolutely true, which makes it easier to inquire into it further and allow it to drop (me).

Who/what am I with/without the thought?

First, examining the many forms of suffering which arises when I believe in the thought - on all levels and areas of my life. Then, realizing who I am without the thought. Coming to the nature of mind. And also visualize - make come alive - how I would live my life without it. I live it in myself which makes it available for me to live it in the world.

Turnarounds

I recognize and integrate projections. The advice that arises in me (in the form of "you should") is always an advice for me. It is what brings me to myself.

Integral Practice |

Current practice...

  • Breema (bodywork, self-breemas, principles)
  • Being with what is (asking myself Can I be with what I am experiencing right now? - from Rapahel Kushnir)
  • Inquiry 1 (nature of mind)
  • Inquiry 2 (Byron Katie)
  • Relationships (friends + intimate)
  • Shamata/Vipassana
  • Deekshas (just started)
  • Work (engagement in the world)
  • Social change work (NWEI courses at workplaces)
  • Nature (hiking, backpacking, some deep ecology group activities)
  • journaling (here and in physical journal)
  • Framework (AQAL model, integral framework)
  • Visualizations (health, well-being, view)
  • Exercise (walking, biking, hiking, backpacking, some strength)
  • Nutrition (whole simple foods, listening to the body)
  • Just breathing, walking, standing, sitting, talking - being and living and experiencing

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Centaur |

After the Breema intensive last week, I notice the centaur level - in Ken Wilber's terminology - very clearly. The whole which includes (and goes somewhat beyond) body/psyche. The whole of the person, the small self.

And in this, that which is beyond the small self is awakened. The spacious awareness which is distinct from the small self. There is a body, sensations, emotions, thoughts - all arising within this larger field.

When I recognize myself as this larger field - from spacious awareness down to body/mind whole and body, sensations, emotions, thoughts - I am here/now. It is always present, even when temporarily engaging in thoughts.

The centaur level almost seems to have a substance, or what they in Breema calls the "Breema atmosphere". It has a fullness and richness in it, even while appearing within the empty, luminous and aware space. And this fullness and richness makes it easy to rest within it, and not get lost/caught up in sensations/emotions/thoughts.

When I lived at the Zen center and did yoga and sitting practice every day, this atmosphere was there very strongly. Now, through Breema - it reappears.

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Stripping Off |

When you close your eyes and try to find yourself, here in this moment, who or what do you discover yourself to be?

And a follow-up question to help clarify...

Who or what are you if you strip off the body, sensations, emotions, thoughts? What are you aware of as being left?

Answer for me now...

Space which seems infinite... formless... distinct from the world of phenomena... any and every experience can unfold within it. Space and awareness. Luminosity... empty light... And from this - joy, bliss, seamless fluid whole of all phenomena.

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