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.




Who thinks?


A thought arises–any thought–and the perspective of an individual self nods and thinks, “That thought is mine.”

Obviously, the seemingly-separate individual self thinks the thought appeared in the brain attached to the neck attached to my two waggling arms and these sturdy long legs. The person has been conditioned since wee babyhood to equate thoughts to a personal self.

To our seemingly-separate self the idea that thoughts are “common domain” of the flow of life seems bizarre, unreal, absolutely untrue.  To even contemplate that thoughts are not attached to the body/mind reeks of heresy!  No, no, no, my individual separate self proclaims–my thoughts are obviously mine because…well, because my friend Susan isn’t thinking the same thing.  She’s obviously got her thoughts and I’ve got mine.  End of story.

One vase, two profiles?


When and if the perspective of a separate self falls away, for a moment, hour, day or lifetime, a different perspective appears.  In this viewpoint exists only Flow, or Source, or Oneness, or God, or Life, or All, or Whatever-the-heck-you-call-it-because-it-doesn’t-have-a-name-and-can’t-be-defined-by-words.

When everything reveals itself to be One, who’s thinking?  Where do thoughts come from?  Suddenly it’s crystal clear that thoughts are the domain of the One.  Thoughts arise from the field.  Thoughts are common property, somehow channeled into this constantly-changing moment.

A thought now arises and one realizes it’s not personal.  It’s part of the flotsam and jetsam of the brain, the field, the One.  It’s not seen as particularly “true”.  It could be utilized by the flow in the next moment, or it could be discarded.

A thought appears:  I want to read this blog.  Did you think it? Or did it just appear in consciousness, in flow?  The “I” rushes in to claim it so often.  It says–I thought, I decided, I read.  But what if it’s just consciousness that decided?  The flow moved toward the blog.  You’re here reading because that’s where the the river flowed around the bend and paused here just for an instant…

Doesn’t it become harder to judge one’s neighbor with this realization?  Doesn’t it become almost impossible?



Shifting our perspective from form to oneness

Young woman/old woman?

Young woman/old woman?

We all know the fickleness of perspective.

Is she an old woman or young woman? What do you see? Can you view them both? Are they simultaneously one drawing with two images? What do your eyes see? Can your eyes be trained to see the new perspective?

An analogy might be made that it’s possible to shift perspective in the way we view this world.  However, it’s not like seeing a different picture.  It is more like shifting one’s view to see no-picture.

Please have patience.  Every time the mind hears no-picture, no-self, non-duality, no-form, it tends to freak out.  Our minds have been trained to perceive form.  We look around a room and see table, chairs, envelopes, coffee cup, computer.  We look outside our window and view trees, hear chirping birds or traffic, smell distant wood smoke.

Form mesmerizes our attention. We’re entranced by it, even if we don’t like it.  No matter how it appears.  We’re always delineating form, separating it, naming it, calling it forth.  Some might say we’re addicted to form.  We’re especially entranced by the form of ourselves, this being we call “me”.  We view it all as very solid, very permanent, very existent.

It is possible, though, for the view to switch.  Sometimes this happens unexpectedly.  Other times it occurs after a long period of practice in quieting the mind.  People sometimes label it as spiritual.

One vase, two profiles?

One vase, two profiles?

Here’s what might happen.  Suddenly fascination with form disappears.  What comes to the forefront is emptiness.  Some might deem it “the witness” except it’s not really separate from itself.  What-doesn’t-have-form, what is true spirit, what is invisible, what has no characteristics whatsoever dances into being.

This is not rocket science.  It’s actually so simple the mind tends to dismiss it again and again, begging for some more form or experience to entertain or define it.

Turn away from the computer after this paragraph.  Gaze around the room or landscape.  Simply watch your looking.  Can you see in actuality, in direct experience, that it’s one room?  One surrounding field?  One encompassing landscape? One seeing? Sure, form appears.  Yep, there’s that green plant over there in the corner.  But if you’re not labeling objects, can you sense the oneness, the field of existence?

I’ve sat with maybe four or five people in the past several months and asked them if they could perceive the oneness around them.  Every one of them said “Of course”. Some jolted visibly, surprised as the simplicity of it.  Others relaxed and said it felt like “love” or “peace”.

So simple.  Oneness is not a distant concept.  It is the base of our experience, our seeing.  Our essence.

Keep looking

Keep looking

The first time I sat down to meditate in 2003–there it was.  Everything for which I would search for twelve years.  Not missing, not absent.  There it was, totally present in the emptiness and revealed in the fullness of form.  Every single being in this world experiences oneness at a visceral level of sensation.  It is usually sensed in the gaps between forms, in the spaces between experiences.  In those relaxing moments where we’re not trying to fix ourselves or the world, where we’re not desiring a new happening, or pushing away something we don’t want.  Those are moments of grace.

However, we’ve been trained in the world of form and experience, so our default software usually returns to its viewing of the old lady/young lady.  Instead of the oneness of our original blessing, we divvy up the world into “me” and “other”.  This and that.  We create definitions and stand behind our definitions with guns and knives.

As the separate selves we imagine ourselves to be, we often feel confused and lost and frightened and angry.  We never quite feel whole, enough.  And we wonder why.  We strive to fix ourselves.  We project our confusion onto other people and attempt to fix them.  Nothing seems one, or whole, or peaceful.  Except in the gaps when we relax enough to sense that there is something larger which eludes us.  We often call it God.  We call it “other” as well, because in a world in which we’ve declared ourselves a “me”…then everything else is other.

Both halves of the shell

Both halves of the shell

It’s possible, if you’re called to see another perspective, to realize that oneness is simply another way of viewing the world. It’s possible to learn to inhabit this perspective.  Can you sense the wonder of existing in a world where form becomes secondary?  Where spirit dances forefront?  Where the mind becomes beloved as a servant of love?  Where every form shines as a manifestation of spirit?  Some even whisper that form is then revealed as oneself.

This new viewpoint reveals itself utterly.  Then even the word “viewpoint” disappears.  What remains is…something which can not be spoken.  Perhaps the closest word is Life Itself.  And Life Itself adores itself unconditionally.  It perhaps desires to identify itself as form…as you…as me…as this flower of existence.

Does Life want this through you?  Or is it still wanting to explore the form of you, the preciousness?  Is it still trying to decide if you’re a young woman or old woman?  Or is it delighting in the not-knowing?

Right where we are is the zenith moment of now.  We might embrace it, because it’s changing into something else in the next blink.  If we don’t embrace it, if we fuss and fight and fume, it’s still happening.  It’s arising.  It’s truth itself.  Don’t you want to bow in wonder that there is a way to perceive existence that knows no labels, no separate form, no story of young woman or old woman?  And to realize that nothing is diminished except the sense of separation?

What we can do to make the world a better place

Beauty of smooth waters

Just thinking this morning…

(This is a re-print from a note I wrote on Facebook yesterday.  Carla suggested it should also be printed on one of my other blogs.  Simply Here blog raised its hand and begged, “Me!  Me!  Can I post it, please?”

“Yes, baby blog, you may post it…”) 

So many of our challenges in the world exist because we see the world with a limited viewpoint, with a certain perspective.

Then we see another person acting in a way that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t coincide with our limited viewpoint.

We judge the person because their actions look wrong if they fit in with our preconceived expectations and assumptions. Their actions don’t make sense. Sometimes the actions look wrong simply because they don’t mesh with our own awareness.

If we could only turn the kaleidoscope of our awareness to the other person’s viewpoint–suddenly, perhaps, the actions and responses of the other person would make perfect sense! We would be enlightened beyond our limited focus.

It’s challenging, having a singular perspective. (And no matter how big our awareness still is–it’s often still limited–unless we have learned to flow like water as the different viewpoints express themselves.)

I think if we continually are aware of our limited awareness (and aware that underlying beliefs and thoughts and feelings mean different things to every single person in the universe), we can turn toward another person with soft heart and truly listen to where they might be coming from. In our deep listening, we might hear something beyond our limited viewpoint. We might feel ourselves allowing, allowing, allowing as our viewpoint becomes less rigid, less fixed, less judgmental.

We might truly want to KNOW where the other person is coming from, how they are interpreting the world. Or we might simply be able to stay in our soft and open heart without needing to know, letting it all arise–knowing without needing to know–that the other person is simply coming from a viewpoint that has value, has worth, makes sense to his or her particular viewpoint.

Thanks in part to Sherrilene for inspiring these morning thoughts!