“That little one never made it”

Who we are

Adyashanti shares an interesting story.  I am paraphrasing from memory, but this is the gist:  A spiritual seeker tells him–I want what you have.  Adya appears puzzled.  What do I have?  The spiritual seeker says–I want to be enlightened, to be awake, to be realized.  I want what you got.  Adya replies something like–oh no, I never got anything.  That young man never got anything.  That little one never made it at all.

This story comes back to me at times.  Like this morning.  Sitting here on the couch, thoughts appear in the background.  They keep referring to a “me”, to a Kathy.  They continue to reference a solid separate person with certain characteristics.  The foreground of consciousness watches them appear and disappear, appear and disappear.

I sometimes want to explain to my friends and blog readers here on line.  To tell them what happened, what shifted, how the outgoing blogger and social media participant dissolved–poof!–now you see her, now you don’t.

I want to make up a story telling you where the person went. “This is what happened,” I will say, craftily spinning a tale, pretending that there is an actual person who can come and go, arise and fall, create stories and fall silent.

But the stories can’t really be told without fabricating more creative non-truths.  I can’t tell you anything about me without shape-shifting into a me.  (Which is perfectly OK if that’s what the Universe wants to do in this ever-changing moment.)

Sometimes, like this morning, there’s a nostalgia which arises for the person.  Oh, that little one, that one, where is she?  I almost want to create her this morning out of sticks and stones and a rib from Adam and some grinning amusement from Eve.  To craft story after story to make a solid character who acts predictably in certain ways, who is dependable as the heroine or villain of the tale.  Or who loves acting unpredictably!

(And some days she returns–oh here I am, darling!  Let’s play today.  What character do you want to be?)

But it doesn’t seem possible right now.  It’s as if the old characters have fallen away into the snowy woods, a snowman melted away, the archetypes empty icicles gleaming in the weak January sun.

Matthew of Biblical fame says it this way:  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

The fullness that remains when one dies while still alive! Wow!  What appears in place of the stories is truly amazing in the most ordinary way.  Fingers typing, can you imagine?  The wood stove humming?  Thoughts and stories appearing? To enjoy encounters with people more than before, but without needing anything in return?  All without reference to a central character, a separate person?

Perhaps it was Adyashanti who said that you may lose the separate self but what you gain is the whole world. The whole darn world!  Can you imagine that?

When Awareness plays as a separate self

One vase, two profiles?

All perspective

In the last week–for two full days–Awareness decided to play as a separate self again.  The “I” seemingly forgot everything and slipped into a dream of itself.  It thought it was a separate person in a separate body with a separate mind and separate feelings making separate choices and doing separate actions.

Oh how that little self suffered when it forgot!  The contraction of identifying as a separate self–with thoughts and feelings fused as an identity–can feel so excruciating.  Unlike the wide-open radiant sense of inclusiveness there is a sense of tightness, obligation, worry.  There is a horrible conviction that one must make the right decision, do the right thing, act in a right way, save oneself.  The little self actually contracted into thinking she was in control and needed to–well, she wasn’t sure what she needed to do.  She just wanted to get away from the contraction of her little self and didn’t know how.  So she kept struggling to regain balance, to regain the Absolute knowing.  To fix herself.

After two days of chaotic feelings and thoughts, Awareness seemingly decided to remember itself.  To awaken from the dream of the separate self once again.  It sat on the couch and prompted the small self to look around…to truly see.  Was there a separate self here?  (The separate self shouted YES!  What the heck could you possibly mean?)  Is there a separate doer here?  (The separate self said:  Are you insane?  Of course I’m the doer. Who else is the doer except this person in this body?)

The separate self literally could not see or remember anything other than its own perspective.  I remember thinking that Awareness was literally crazy with its prompts and inquiries.  That there was no other way of viewing reality than as a person in a separate body with separate thoughts and feelings.  This feeling was absolutely sure.  It was as if I had never heard of absolute awareness before, and it was totally impossible to imagine or reach.

I continued to sit on the couch, looking, looking, peering around the edges of the small self who was so conflicted and contracted.  About twenty minutes in physical time passed.  And then–all contractions ceased.  It was utterly clear once again!  Oh my stars.  Only freedom.  No boundaries.  No exclusivity.  No separate self.  No terrible obligation or decisions to be made (or not made). Now contractions could rise and fall naturally and easily without resistance, without identification.

Simply this Oneness.  The little Kathy felt embarrassed.  Really?  How could I fall head-long into this game yet again?  And yet it was seen clearly that it was only awareness playing, playing, playing, no need to fuss.

It’s Awareness choosing to play–a simple thing, really.  And Awareness choosing to return to itself.  This seeing relaxes the body/mind so fully and deeply. And the whole world arises in itself, as it always has.

 

 

The inner place that scared me most

 

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It’s early, so early in the morning and I want to write a personal blog here on Simply Here, a place where personal blogs don’t usually appear because the fingers are too busy delightedly typing about non-duality and awareness and Oneness.

For most of my life this ego-personality has felt very restless, unsettled, a bit uncomfortable and confused.  A spiritual journey ignited early in life as a quest to *find myself*.  To learn to deeply settle into this skin, to collapse into the solidity of these bones, to breathe clearly from these lungs, to beat upon the earth in full cooperation with these feet.

It felt like the journey to truly claim the self would somehow serve others, in the same way the action of a single bird serves the entire flock.

 

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Not awake, not asleep.

Not awake, not asleep

Not awake, not asleep

I sometimes get confused with the term “waking up”.

In spiritual circles the word “awake” often seems to describe a state of realizing Oneness, enlightenment or unity consciousness.

It points to a place where primary identification as the separate self no longer exists.

In non-dual groups people will chat about “when I woke up…” as if one day the light switched on, never to turn off.

My experience has not been like that.

Yes, I have had awakening experiences.  But “awake” still does not describe it.  It’s not as if we’re asleep and then we’re awake.  (Maybe it is for some beings.)

Something may definitively shift, eventually, and then we abide without identification.  Adyashanti speaks of how an initial awakening often occurs as ego dissolves.  We may then still operate from a sense of self, albeit a larger more unified self. Later, awareness wakes up from the self, into the realm of no-self.  Bits & pieces of both awakenings are often experienced as coming and going in many of our lives.

Our minds sometimes hear “awakening” and think it’s something superior, something to which we must aspire.  My experience reveals that awakening usually reveals something very humble, connected, compassionate.  Without division, what is there to do but love?  Without a sense of self, what can possibly feel superior?  All our nemesis’ are clearly seen as ourselves.

In 2008 the first awakening experience happened for me.  Driving to a nearby city on my birthday, the “little me”, that essence usually at the forefront, receded.  OK, she seemed to disappear.  What existed?  Spacious awareness fascinated with Life. Peace, delight, openness.

It lasted on-and-off for about three weeks before the “little me” reasserted herself as the primary character in this play. Then the seeking-enlightenment game accelerated tenfold, further cementing “little me” in place.  (She who seeks is definitely an ego.  That’s what an ego does.  Seeks the next cup of coffee, the next tantalizing experience, $100 for the next arbitrary purchase of goods to soothe itself, enlightenment.)

In the next seven years awakening experiences occurred.  The little Kathy would be eclipsed by the sun of awareness. That sun shone bright in the forefront.  And then, two days or three weeks later, it didn’t.  The Kathy then thought she was an independent character, separate from the shining sun.  Separate from the person who didn’t like her, didn’t understand her, didn’t behave appropriately.

In May this year, one fine evening listening to Adyashanti, suddenly understanding of what he spoke down to the tippy toes, awakening happened yet again.  Gone was the Kathy from her throne of identification.  I asked my husband, “Can you tell a difference?”  Nah, he shrugged, giving a familiar resigned look (oh, here she goes again) and said, “Well, maybe you’re a little nicer.”

Awake?  It wasn’t noticeable on the outside.  From the inside it felt incredibly different.  It was as if consciousness shifted. Awareness became forefront.  Kathy appeared as background, almost an insubstantial piece of music playing.  Kathy certainly wasn’t “awake”.  Perhaps awareness was awake to itself.  But even that’s misleading, as awareness has ALWAYS been awake.

This awakening lasted about ten weeks.  Last weekend, filled to the brim with mental activity, confusion, some emotional pain, stories, the sense of Oneness seemingly disappeared again. (Although not in the old drama of “I’ve got it/I lost it.  It’s still possible to physically see Oneness.  To know that it’s immediate.  It’s just that the Universe is investing itself in the personality once again, bringing it forefront.)

Here’s where it gets challenging.  I can’t say anything about where I am today.  Awake?  Asleep?  Those words suddenly have no inherent meaning.

There is only what is arising next.  It can be identification.  It can be compulsively checking email.  It can be deep peace.  It can be bliss.  It can be mental activity.  It can be gardening.  It can be a negative thought.  It can be a positive thought.  It can be a sense of Oneness.  It can be a searing pain.  It can be total delight.

There’s no word for this that makes sense.  Just:  life arising.  Not awake, not asleep.

P.S.  A half hour ago lost this essay.  One minute, here it is.  Next moment, gone.  Not in drafts, nowhere to be found.  I looked around for an internal reaction.  Mild disappointment.  Oh well.  Life wants to move in some other direction.  OK. Then, ten minutes ago, the blog reappears.  Mild satisfaction.  Oh, Life does want to publish this blog. One never really knows…

Ridiculous to even try

Ridiculous

Ridiculous

It’s funny.

I rarely talk about non-duality to anyone, except on this blog.  It rarely comes up as a topic of conversation (except maybe with a friend who seems to resonate).  Years ago I talked about spirituality to everyone who cared.  My husband, kids, dozens of friends and acquaintances.  It felt integral to talk about it.

Now, all these years later, it rarely comes up in everyday conversation.  Even with close friends it’s impossible to articulate. My husband probably doesn’t even know the term non-duality.  Earlier this summer I met someone who actually knew the language of Oneness and we attempted to talk around the edges of it.  It’s truly impossible to speak. Yet speaking sometimes arises.

It feels much preferable to live it.  Simply to be it.  To be with the person to whom you’re speaking, sensing the intimacy of our connection.  To see the thoughts attempting to explain the interaction, doing what the Mind does.  To witness emotions rising in the field of non-separation.  To perhaps find oneself suddenly totally identified with a personality.  To, in the next moment, experience a knowing that awareness is Joy.  To realize–I AM THIS JOY which never ends, even when we seemingly forget it. To watch Life reaching compulsively for something through your hand.  Thinking you’re that separate person reaching compulsively.  To witness judgments arise. To watch Life reaching non-compulsively and deliberately toward something else. To notice that no judgments appear. And then watching another person walk across the room and you suddenly FEEL that person’s steps, the way you are the dream which contains that person and the room and the person we call “me”.

How in the world can one talk about this?  Impossible.  Ridiculous to even try. 

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When you’re feeling blue

The winter of ourselves

The winter of ourselves

Sometimes when we’re blue and shackled and not-knowing-what-to-do-next the Universe can manifest the next right person who lights our way, who provides a flashlight onto our path, who confirms our right to exist with so-and-so opinion.

OK, I admit, the Universe also sends us that irritating person who destroys our confidence, who takes away our voice, who confuses us with his righteous tone as he tells us what we’re supposed to do next.  (Especially when our inner voice points in a direction that feels more right.)

I don’t have any answers.

Like you, I bloom at this place here-now and witness Life sharing its tidbits, both wanted and unwanted.

I share my questions and temporary answers, unbidden, in many spaces.

Like you, I sing the notes of Oneness and separateness.  I won’t take the high-and-mighty path, except when I do.  I don’t even believe in “me”, except when I do.

I don’t claim enlightenment–or even wanting it–except maybe last Saturday.

Today, when I was feeling blue, a friend wrote with words of support. When I couldn’t see the larger picture because of stinging wasps of opinions, she etched it with brilliant colors.  She said, “You provide a space where people can find their voice.  This is no small thing.”

Like those who struggle to find their voice, I find and lose mine a hundred times a day.

I don’t like those who pretend they know, except sometimes when it seems delightful to exist in a multi-faceted diamond hologram of opinions.

Sometimes I want to quit blogging because of the weight of other’s insistence.

Other times those opinions seem so logically a shining part of the Oneness that I beg, “More, more, more!”

Some people try to banish their blue hues with positive thinking. Sometimes, so do I.  Yet, more and more, I sit patiently with the blues, allowing them to exist, allowing them to shine their unwanted color into the rainbow of what-I-am.  (Which, sometimes, is everything, even you.)

Don’t try to tell me how or what to be next.

Like you, the Mystery flows through like a river, illuminating this and that, sorrow and delight, the Holy Grail of its unfolding.

Waking up, round two

As many of you long-time readers know I experienced an awakening three to four years ago.  It blew the socks off this personality temporarily.  One minute a Kathy drove the car and the next minute…something I later called “It” drove the car.

The personality metaphorically took the back seat.  Something so alive and rich and textured and appreciative and responsive took the front seat.  It thrilled in the color of the road signs, the shape of trees, the curve of the creek, the immediacy of the waitress smile.  It sipped wine, it chatted with husband, it laughed, it cried, it did whatever arose.  And it was beyond good.

However, the personality simultaneously protested in the background like a mis-firing engine, “What?  What’s happening?  I’m dying!  Help me!  Nothing is the same!  Help!  Help!”

The identification with personality began to stick and come unglued for the next three weeks, stick and unglue, stick and unglue.  It began to feel like a violent roller-coaster of delight and despair. Over and over again the roller coaster rose and plummeted until suddenly, very definitively, the personality cemented itself back together.

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