The Nondual Diary: “How come I can’t stay THERE?” (Part I of II)
WORDS ARE GOING TO FAIL US time and again today. I’ll be moving back and forth from the relative to the Absolute views without warning, so just follow the best you can. I don’t see any way around it. To fill the language with constant references, explanations, and wordy, cover-my-spiritual-ass-in-public Nondual Correctness will absolutely kill any spontaneity between writer and reader. So, other than this little prep talk, we’re just plowing ahead. Damn the torpedoes and naysayers.
There is a phenomenon that arises in post-realization which I will call Second Movement. That’s my label for the rubber band of ego snapping itself back into place after that True Seeing, whether it was a glimpse or a more sustained experience. Having witnessed the causeless, spontaneous, present-only nature of the universe; after clearly seeing that nothing is random and that everything is already done; after knowing that everything is already fine; ego nonetheless set me up once again as the conductor.
I say “once again” because I had been the make-believe conductor for all of my life. All of us have. Each of us is the apparent conductor of our own make-it-up-as-we-go-and-then-call-it-objective world. Every relative object—call them nouns—is an unwitting member of my grand pretend orchestra. This has nothing to do with Reality, but everything to do with the dream. In fact, it could be said that the conductor is the dream. Neither conductor nor orchestra actually exists, but that doesn’t stop this movement from happening, whether in me, or in just about everyone else who has a spiritual breakthrough. My pretend world, when it exists, needs a conductor to first imagine problems and then fix them. Such is the dream.
Since you’re reading this essay, the odds are pretty wonderful that you either know what I’m talking about already, or that someday you will. I strongly recommend that you make mental note of the material here. While I’m at it, let me also recommend you read Adyashanti’s book, The End of Your World. It didn’t pull me out of Second Movement all on its own, but it certainly started the ball rolling. If you don’t do either of these things, that’s fine, too. And don’t worry, if you don’t, then you’ll get plenty of suffering, just like you want. Which is also just fine. At least until it isn’t.
When I had my first glimpse of reality, back in the early 1990’s, ego almost immediately incorporated that event into the production of a (pseudo) Newer, Better, and Wiser ME. It literally took only minutes for it to do so. The seeing was barely over before the personal-I who had just been seen through was patting itself on the back and now calling itself a particularly special personal-I. True Seeing had been co-opted and used to aggrandize ego. It’s what happens. There’s nothing wrong with it, nothing unnatural. It’s part of the process for most of us. I’m not saying it’s a problem, but I am saying that Second Movement carries some stiff penalties. The first penalty is that for most of us,that’s where the process stops.
We never move beyond it. Most seekers spend years and years on devoted and serious practices before they ever have a breakthrough, if they have one at all. They have some moving spiritual experiences, but little in the way of authentic realization. Certainly there are exceptions, but that’s just what they are: exceptions. So, the rule, which does now seem be changing somewhat (but less than you think), has been long years of work with spotty, iffy payoff. You had damn well better enjoy the path, because the path might well be all you get. Most people were perfectly happy with that, though they said otherwise.
The primary change I see is that now initial breakthrough is far more common. I’ve seen it happen several times, and I’ve seen it appear to go away just as many times. Few are willing or able to continue to honestly monitor and painfully clean the ever-cluttering windshield that is the body-mind’s viewpoint, and so True Seeing quickly becomes spotty, iffy seeing, or no seeing at all. If people want enlightenment at all—and few really do, trust me on this—then they want lazy enlightenment. I did, it’s not a crime. But neither is it available, at least not to so-called normal folks like us, or not so far as I can tell.
When we finally have something we were beginning to doubt actually happen—not to someone we heard about or read about, but to us, for God’s sake—we don’t want to let go of what we see. We want to claim it. We want to sit in it. We want to take it with us. We want the light show and the bliss-candy to last forever. It’s understandable, I’m guilty as charged, but if that attempt to hold and own is continued it’s fatal to the deeper seeing that comes out of the light-and-candy show. We confuse the by-product with the product, if you will. We are back to being in love with the path.
In 2006, when I had a much deeper opening, it took a while longer, probably a few days, perhaps as little as a few hours, it’s hard to say, before Second Movement moved in with real force. My memory of that apparent event is hazy. There was a hell of a lot going on in the dream about then, and damn near all of it was painful, so it’s understandable—even commendable, in a bizarre way—that ego would use whatever tool it had at hand to prop itself and its carrier host back up. After all, had that organism committed suicide early that autumn–and that possibility had reached not just pondering, but opendiscussion stage–there certainly would have been no further openings through this body-mind, and there would not be an Awakening Clarity, or at least not one authored by our so-called Mr. Fred Davis.
By the way, I don’t see any of this personally, because there’s nothing personal about it. I am seeing this body-mind as a vehicle for Clarity, which wanted things to play out in a certain way for “it’s own” reasons. I use quotes there, because I don’t mean to project human logic or desires onto divine spontaneity. I told you words would fail us.
At any rate, once Second Movement has taken hold, present-moment-enlightenment ceases. The memory of that divine realization stubbornly remains to both confuse us and haunt us, but the actual seeing and being are over. Now we have a new burning desire, which burns in our stomachs every day and every night even hotter than the seeking virus burned. That desire is: How do I get back THERE?
To be continued…