Hello, everybody! Before we get into the new post, let me say a word about the site’s new look. Many of you doubtlessly noticed in the past week that we were having difficulties with the old theme. I’m pretty sure that the problem at the bottom of that was me! I’m not a coder, but I can make a few things happen with code, and so I basically tweaked and beautified the old theme until I broke it. At least I think that’s what happened. Whatever it was that went wrong, I wanted not just a fix, but an overall more stable platform; we’d also had a significant updating issue with the old theme.
My dear friend and web guru, Roland Jackman once again came to the rescue. In less than a week he converted the old site into this new one, without a moment’s downtime. To me it’s a miracle! I very much like the way this site loads lots of posts per page, and several other things about it, so once again the worst thing turned out to be the best thing. Thank you, Roland!
Also, if you live in or anywhere near Asheville, North Carolina, please see the post just prior to this one for details on stuff that’s coming up.
Finally, Gayle S., thank you for your kindness today!
And now to our post…
Toward Abidance and Embodiment
I want to talk to you today about the real spiritual journey, about the one that truly matters. Awakening doesn’t work the way many of us think it does.
I help people wake up nearly every day, and because of that I’ve learned a great deal about the awakening event and the post-awakening process, as well as the mindset and motivations of both those who seek, and those who find. Regardless of what we might hear to the contrary, my own day-after-day-in-the-trenches experience is that coming to recognize our True Nature is simply not that difficult–not anymore. If it was, I’d still be selling books for a living.
So it’s not the allowing ourselves to see our True Nature that’s the big bear. The real trouble lies in accepting it. It’s not the breakthrough, it’s the follow through! Part of the responsibility for this lies in the typical seeker’s mindset–the very mindset that I had as a seeker. One of the common themes I discover in both helping people to awaken, and in helping them to stabilize, is the erroneous sense that somehow “our” awakening is about us, for us– individual units. That’s what I thought prior to awakening, and it’s what I thought when I was on the wrong side of identification afterward–what we often refer to as “oscillation.”
Fredness was in quite a bad life situation when awakening occurred, and had been for about 2 1/2 years. My first motivation to wake up was relief. I wanted out of my suffering. That’s the most common motivation I find in the field, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. My secondary motivation, however, was entirely egoic. Even my notions of somehow being able to help others was egoic. Those I helped would then see how special I was. Enlightenment was something that I wanted to add to the Fred Story.
There’s actually nothing inherently awful about this shallow motivation either, simply because whatever it is that brings us to awakening is just fine! If I save a bunch of children because I want my picture in the newspaper, who cares? It’s the saving of the children that matters. In this same way, it’s the awakening event that’s most important, not the mental path we took to arrive at it. There’s plenty of opportunity to “go deep” after we awaken by hook or by crook!
But this sort of motivation begins to be a problem if it’s carried over into the post-awakening process. The primary early understanding that most of us come to upon an awakening–whether initial or subsequent–is that we see through the illusion of a separate self. Oneness is “seen,” meaning that we experience ourselves as Oneness to one degree or another. It may come with a “bang,” or it may come with a barely noticeable “pop,” or with no pop at all. It may be seen deeply, or barely. We may have context for it, or we may not.
Ultimately none of that matters. It’s the shift itself that is most important, for once Truth is seen it cannot be totally forgotten. I had a glimpse haunt me for twelve years before I came to a larger, more thorough awakening, but it was that glimpse that allowed me to drive my first stake into a beachhead in Reality and drove me back first to Zen, and then ultimately into a less structured brand of Nonduality. So it is beyond logic–only Maya could pull a stunt like this off–that after awakening, in almost every case, it is the non-existent individual who claims the awakening! “I did it, and it was about me.”
There is a yang for every yin, so when cloudiness again develops–as it almost certainly will–we want to know where “our personal” enlightenment has gotten off to. I spent three years moving between bliss and hell. The more time you spend as Awakeness, the less enchanting–or even pleasant–the dream becomes. And of course I knew that I should be experiencing bliss and clarity in every moment of every day. I knew that awakening was all about living in a constantly enthralled, orgasmic experience. Right? Right?
Yes, that’s what I knew, but since that’s not the truth, what I knew pitted “me”–the very same nonexistent “me” that had been seen through in the awakening(s)–against Reality, and time and time again I came up the loser. My experience “should be” other than what it is: that is the fundamental dynamic of the dream. And so long as we believe that post-awakening is about the unit, and not Awakeness itself, we’re going to dream long and lousy.
The first thing we notice when we see things as they really are—when we come to the stark simplicity of What Is–is that What Is is all there is! There is no alternative to exactly what’s going on right now–until there is. When that “until there is” arises, it will be as the new face of What Is, not as an alternative. It’s one scene at a time, folks. And whatever scene is arising, is the only scene there is until it isn’t. And then there’s no going back, which would be like trying to hang onto one frame of a movie. Can’t be done.
Once we develop enough insight–we could often label that a budding of humility–the true Truth is seen: “our” awakening is not about the ego, and it’s not about the unit. That’s not to say there are no benefits for the unit! There’s no benefit for ego in an awakening–far from it–but there are huge benefits for the unit! Mine and Betsy’s lives are totally different than they used to be, and totally better. The formerly careening human roller coaster of the “thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat” is now still. We still have great interest, and take great pleasure in living, and these units maintain some light preferences, but the old, everyday life-and-death intensity of even the smallest matters is simply gone.
When we wake up, meaning that when Awakeness suddenly recognizes that it’s always already awake, that conscious awareness will be seen to be coming through a particular unit which heretofore only exuded unconscious awakeness. That’s what it will look like from the outside. From Awakeness’s view, however, all that will be seen is that there is nothing but awakeness, which is sometimes conscious, and sometime unconscious; sometimes cloudy, sometimes clear. And that experience of cloudiness or clarity includes all units, but it’s not about them.
The unit, in effect, becomes a window. We have a leg in each world–one in the dream, and one in That beyond the dream. This, of course, is language, so it is clumsy and suggests duality. I don’t mean that at all. That’s why I said in that last sentence “in effect.” That’s as close as I can get with words. That will be the experience. And what awakening is truly all about is allowing That which is beyond the dream to “stream through” unencumbered into the dream by way of skillful action through the surrendered unit.
It’s not “our” awakening; it’s Awakeness’s awakening. The separate personality doesn’t wake up to the truth of God; God wakes up to the fiction of the separate personality. There is Fredness–identifiable patterns–but there is no Fred. Or you either. And since there is no separate individual, awakening cannot possibly be about a separate individual, whether that be the experienced “me” or the experienced “you.”
We have a skewed perception, and awakening merely straightens that out. Nothing new has to happen; something ancient must be noticed. That’s all. If there is an accompanying spiritual experience, the unit is welcome to enjoy it. Have at it! Who doesn’t love a spiritual? There is nothing cooler. But none of that has anything to do with enlightenment. Zero.
Awakening doesn’t add to us, it strips us down. It’s just not about a buzz, or an achievement for these units. It’s not self-improvement, it’s about Self-recognition on an ongoing basis. It’s about the willingness of the apparent personality to be colonized by Awakeness so that it can, at least apparently, shine brighter and broader. It comes to know itself, and to love itself, and that Love then shows up more and more in the world.
That’s what it’s all about.
Let us be willing to surrender to the face of the present arising. This single moment is all we ever have to surrender to. There is only Now. And that Now is You.
Fred Davis 2.16.14