Satsang was quite potent yesterday, to say the least. I wanted to share an experience (if you can call it that), and maybe elicit some reflections from you.
It’s interesting — when I attempt to describe it, I hit a wall. It was such a non-experience — a powerful non-experience, paradoxically — that there’s absolutely nothing to say about. The only thing to say about it, it seems, is what was absent, which was duality of any kind. Radically, totally, mind-boggling-ly absent (although even this isn’t totally true). All the usual spiritual byproducts couldn’t be said to arise (spaciousness, openness, silence, etc.— the sense of formless presence that feels as if it pervades all sensory objects and is “my true nature” —the experience that makes Kenton think “This is IT!”), or at least these qualities couldn’t be differentiated from the totality of the experience. The experience had no distinct qualities whatsoever, but it wasn’t like some blank state, or samadhi, or void, or anything like that. Not at all. It couldn’t be compared to anything. It had no opposite, or alternative. There was neither a sense of self, or no self. There was neither a sense of oneness, or lack of oneness. There was neither suffering, nor the absence of suffering. Because it had no opposite, the nature of the experience as “non-dual” couldn’t be said to be the opposite of other “dualistic” experiences. Upon reflection, the insight was that experience of non-duality is not the opposite of duality since non-duality has no opposite — that’s what non-duality means: no opposite.
Once the labeling mental function started to arise again, albeit in a highly attenuated form, some very interesting thoughts appeared. One was “This can’t be it!” — this can’t be what the whole spiritual thing is all about, since this is a total non-experience. No experiential byproducts. And all the usual spiritual terms seemed not to apply (since no terms seemed to apply). I had heard phrases like “nothing special,” “totally ordinary,” and “the natural state,” and there has been many experiences of pure formless beingness that resonate with these descriptions, but these experiences generally retained a subtle sense of separation, of duality. In the past, the mind would often translate phrases like “there’s nothing to get” as “what there is to get is pure no-thingness, which is what you are.” There is a validity to this translation, I think, particularly as a pedagogical move in spiritual teaching, which points away from identification as a separate body-bound self. Nonetheless, I see the mind’s tendency to take “no-thingness” as a subtle object, which then retains a subtle subject.
I find it hilarious that experiences of what one might call “spiritual duality” (e.g, formless presence versus the world of form) are met with thoughts like, “This is it!” and “Now I got it!”, and experiences that can only be described as radically non-dual can eventually give rise to “This can’t be it!” — since there’s nothing to get and no one to get anything.
I’m not exactly sure what this says about the headspace I’m in, but I noticed this ardent desire to pack my bags, jump on a plane, and come see you. I guess it lit a fire for truth, to fully wake up out of the dream that there is something to get out of life, that life is a problem to be solved, an obstacle course to be negotiated — the mind’s dream that there is anything happening but the one unknowable reality experiencing itself.
Wow, what an experience! I still “feel” like I am the one moving my hand, but I “know” THAT’s a feeling (btw, I love all things “hand”). It’s a funny feeling, after my experience with Fred, to try to watch the one who knows it’s also a feeling of there BEING a somone who knows this is happening. That’s as far as I go, and I get confused and laugh. I’ve also read about the significance of “confusion”. That confusion, fogginess, etc, maybe even depression, are part (of a character’s experience) of the letting go of the mental identification/direction. It’s a grace and a gift for me to have had that pointed out.
Fred has been an amazing guide for areas like concentration (commitment, what to do, …). Your diligence sounds amazing, and I actually had a tearing up on considering the love it comes from. It would be really interesting to know further of your experiencing – I hope you can make it to satsang.
I read of Atmananda, how the “-ings” of the senses (seeing, hearing, …) are “objects” themselves. That really resonated for me, and cool to read your experience of vision as a condensed thought form.
My night dreams haven’t changed much. But the “happier dream” (as my interpretation goes) started with Fred. Could be said that getting sober, and having ACIM practice and like-minded community, could have been happy. Instead I found out that “happier dreaming” is like floating faster and faster once you start rising in water. The more I recognize I Am dreaming the character, the more happy story I am capable of – that is synchronistic input for releasing more of the dream that I am a character. So Fred was the start of that happy story.
I learned that my story is one of retirement from character control. Forced into it by failure, even by “trying” to surrender! But from a higher perspective, this was the movie I have been watching in my retirement, all along.
The degree to which the character seems to progress, is the degree to which I accept (recognize) I need do nothing.
I love your kitty yin yang!
It was indeed a powerful satsang – powerful enough that I almost passed out. Strangely, I forgot to record it, and so did my back-up guy, Mike. It seemed like that was a shame until I saw that it was perfect. Trying to capture Now in any medium is like killing butterflies in order to frame them for later enjoyment.