Ease

Not long after awakening as what is, I withdrew from family and society to spend a month alone in nature. I rented a tiny cedar cabin at a wildlife preserve on a quiet lake in the foothills of Virginia to write, read, be.

Each day at the cabin included long walks in nature. This solitary communion with nature profoundly impacted the body/mind to the point that any remaining perceived boundaries of skin and sky dissolved.

And while retreating in this sanctuary, an unfathomable ease settled into every pore of my skin, absorbing and evaporating the remaining shards of the anita identity.  Nature peeled me to the core, blanched me in the rain, baked me in the sunshine.   Spontaneously, suddenly, I was, in every direction, and with every breath, unified as her, as nature, as impersonal consciousness. And this has not departed…now nearly five years later. The felt experiences at the cabin were like a simultaneous and paradoxical filling, deepening, and emptying. I could no longer locate myself as the center of anything, including the body.

Walking daily, my internal compass fell away. Critters were darting and playing everywhere…squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, feral cats, foxes, deer.  Birds, insects, and butterflies glided effortlessly as the perfection, giving not a care to any schedules, rules, beliefs, or commentary about what life should be or could be. Just ease with every breath.

No latitude or longitude, nor time and space remain…these concepts died within the brain/mind. There is only here, now. The only valid location or direction is here.  The only valid time is now. There is nothing to strive for…no longings, no hopes, no wishes for this to be anything but what is here…now…as this… aware presence.

There is no more efforting or trying, no special way to be, or to see, no particular state of mind to invoke, or particular emotions to crave. There is only this sense of ease here, now…as this…infinite edgeless awareness and knowing what is appearing is perfection.

anita

Experiencing

Can you point towards aware consciousness or aware presence? It’s what all experience is made of. Really. Look at your feet. If your vision is healthy, do you see a spectrum of colors?

You are the seeing, you are the spaceless space that holds the appearance, and the appearance of feet. In other words, you are the seeing, the seer, and the seen.

All sensory perceptions and sensations are themselves nothing but feeling. This is the nature of all experiencing! It’s undivided. Awareness or consciousness is not two, not subject/object, as is the case with a belief in relativity. Nearly all humans believe in a relative world with a personal me or I at the center looking outward upon an external reality.

Believing in a model of life with a “witness” or “person” at the center isn’t accurate or real. This misperceving leaves the “seeker” desperately seeking for “something” that isn’t present. Uncovering our true essence or nature is about abandoning conceptual beliefs and models; and the conceptual belief dividing pure non-dual experiencing into a witness and something witnessed is merely another pitfall to overcome.

We read or hear that awareness is the unseen seer behind appearances. We’re led to believe that awareness is that which is doing the seeing, that which is hearing the sounds, and that which feels sensations. Thus, through every such statement, there’s an implied distinction between what’s appearing to awareness, and awareness itself. This sends us searching for this mysterious awareness.

What is looking through “your” eyes is impersonal awareness/consciousness, and it has never been personal to you.

anita

Sensating

Exploring the non-dual nature of being and working with self-inquiry we notice a “me” that seems to always be present and aware. So what is this “me” that seems to be present? Most of the world claims the “me” as a separate and personal self where none actually exists. This is why self-inquiry is so very necessary….so we can see the intimacy of the aware presence we claim as personal and belonging to a “me.”  So what is perceiving?

Perceiving is the undivided dance of what is and the simultaneous, instantaneous, perception of it…what we see and the seeing (perceiving/sensating) are one and the same awareness, consciousness, but awareness or consciousness not a thing…awareness is what is.

Awareness is not the sensating or perceiving of phenomena (subject/object) but is the perceiving/sensating itself  —  there are no existing objects or subjects…no existing concepts.

Since we only have relative language to communicate in the dreamscape, we might nudge a bit closer to what is appearing if we look in this direction by using these words:  perceiving is perceiving perceiving…there is no perceiver or perceived.  We can also say awareness is aware of itself as awareness.

Awareness, consciousness, is the perceiving, is the sensating. There is no separate seer, no separate seeing, nor a separate what is (as a subject/object) to be seen. Nor is there a beyond or behind/above/below awareness or consciousness experiencing as the witness, the witnessing, or the witnesser of experiencing…there is only experiencing, sensating, perceiving…as aware presence or consciousness.

As characters we seem to have the conviction/belief that there exists an objective universe “out there” in which “we” exist. So…we (brain/minds) divide what is aware presence or consciousness – seeing, hearing, smelling,  tasting, feeling…and thinking, into a subject we claim as ourself, and the seeming objects that make up our belief in an external reality or world.

And we believe these cherished and revered conceptual ideas and beliefs are true and real…but they only exist conceptually. Awareness or consciousness is already seamless, edgeless, undivided, and has never been separated into anything…into relative subjects and objects, only brain/minds create and project separation and external reality where none could possibly exist.

And since all languages are based on a conceptual world, a relative world…a world of this compared to that, of up and down, of here and there, of past and future…this makes all languages dead. All words are dead…they are concepts. Concepts can never be real…only fig newtons of the imagination!

Emerald Isle 2009 – Just rocking.

Nevertheless, in the dreamscape, humans like to use language to create concepts where none exist….we like to name, claim, and label what seems to be unfolding….we refer to this as life or reality, and we even teach our babies and children how to name, claim, and label everything that seems to be appearing.  

This tendency to categorize and judge happens innocently enough though, since the vast majority of humans never question what they are taught about reality, especially humans in well-educated cultures.

 

Most humans judge and sort life experiences into relative concepts with categories/buckets such as:
“worthy” or “unworthy”
“perfect” or “imperfect”
“loving” or “unloving”
“good” or “bad”
“better” or “worse.”

These judgments, claims, beliefs, opinions, and convictions are the root cause of all suffering. We accept some of life, and push away what we do not like, value, believe, endorse, or condone. We create categories, labels, and names describing what we believe defines who we believe we are.  What if there is no “who” and only a “what?”

And yet, there is nothing really going on. It is seen directly that there are no separate objects divided by space or separate events divided by time. The angst and fear of believing we have control of our characters vanishes and it’s felt as a physical and psychological release of giant proportions.

It becomes obvious that life unfolds spontaneously and uncaused…that the idea of you being a doer is silly. It’s what Paul Hedderman refers to as “traveling lighter.” And it become as clear as day that the dreamscape, the illusory duality/relativity is what allows the experiencing of a perceived self and other. Without duality, there can be no appearances of self and other, no characters to play with. You might awaken to realize your external reality or life is a dream and see that you are a dream character, but you will never escape the dreamscape.

anita

Perceiving What Is

I’m often asked how it feels to perceive what is…how it feels to perceive no boundaries, no separation, no specific characteristics.  Well, it feels just like living…like life unfolding…but without a separate and solid “me” freaking out, spacing out, or bitching all the time…or even a me to soak up bliss and serenity.

Understand that freaking out, spacing out, and bitching still continue as appearances of aware presence but there is no separate Anita identity running a constant commentary overlay over aware presence while bitching and freaking out are appearing. If you take this a step further to self inquiry, you will soon see that angry, depression, and freaking out are simply labels applied by the brain/mind as a veil over the perfection of aware presence.

If you believe you are an angry person before awakening to realize what you are, anger and tantrums will still appear but you will know deeply these appearances are simply aware presence aware of itself as angry, petulant, or depressed as the personal identity will be seen as only a belief and not a truth.

What is…is invisible to the human perceiving mechanism (aware presence), yet pervceiving is all we have.

All I can offer is self inquiry techniques, love and hugs, and point towards what is.  This, what is…cannot be described, only noticed as a primal longing, a silent whisper, energy echoes radiating from a vulnerable and surrendered heart.

The only helpful way I’ve found to approach describing what is is to describe what it is not – since what is is like the edgeless, silent stillness between breaths, thoughts, feelings, smells, tastes, touches, sounds, words, and heartbeats.  

We seem to inhabit an imaginary external reality, each of our own making…reflecting our core beliefs, fears, concepts, and principles we hold so near and dear.  Indeed, we are as prisms.

The mechanism at play yearning for this description of what is is the brain/mind — the ultimate label-maker and dispenser of names, titles, and concepts. For most of us, it is nearly impossible to believe or imagine that what is appearing is a seamless subtle energy beyond the realm of relative concepts like time, distance, and space.

Most of us imagine that there is an inside and an outside to what is…to awareness, to bodies, to objects, but what is is not any of these concepts.

And here is the head-scratcher…what is appearing is not a thing yet it appears to encompass and include all things…and yet no things at all are appearing.  The relative world of subjects and objects falls through itself…shatters…and is seen to be illusory projections of the mind upon awakening to what is.

I’m reminded of David Beaver’s classes many years ago in A Course in Miracles when he discussed and demonstrated virtual reality, perceptual reality, and how the brain is so easily fooled! We’re so convinced that there is a you and a me and that both are real and tangible.  Soon, it will be hard to distinguish virtual reality games from what we believe to be reality.

We also want to believe we have a choice, that we make a difference and we have the ability to direct our lives, and steer our own ship.  This constant battle to assert “our” power is continually fueled from the beliefs and concepts embraced and circulated by the brain/mind and reinforced by society.

We are programmed by parents, teachers, religions, and society to believe we are able to improve, endure, and perfect our worlds and our lives…and yet time and space only exist as a running commentary of concepts, thoughts and beliefs in our brain/minds.  And we cannot accept, even for a moment, that we have never had an ounce of control or choice, and that we are figments of our own imagination.

And this inner friction or itch in the heart is so subtle that we seldom acknowledge or address it. It goes unnoticed, but is sensed as restlessness, discontent, depression, anxiety, panic, boredom, despair,  mania, and everyday unease, frustration, weariness, and malaise. Like the outline of a cloud with no beginning or ending, no top or bottom, we are simply the fleeting appearances of a vaporous suggestion of energy-charged-water…hydrogen and oxygen…and not even that.

There are no words that can describe the indescribable…there is only sighing, accepting, and surrendering, and pointing towards what is when our weary hearts prompt us to marvel at what we label as poetry, silence, song, and beauty appearing.

What I see as beauty, you may see as ugliness. What I see as poetry, you may see as poverty or crime.  What I see as perfection, you may see as war, death, or torture.  I no longer see with the lens of relativity, of good and bad, up and down.  I see all that is appearing, what simply is, as the perfect silent stillness beyond relativity.  You saw this too as a toddler…but you have forgotten.

anita

Longing to Awaken

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

I believed I could experience awakening.  Bart Marshall set me straight and let me know awakening is uncaused and spontaneous…appearing to no one and beyond the beliefs of time and space. Perhaps like me, you believe, or you want to believe,  you can experience awakening…but you cannot…but this doesn’t stop seekers from longing to awaken and be present for the experience of awakening. Not going to happen.

Awakening is a very simple (too simple) and child-like seeing with an up-side-down perspective that is always available, and usually overlooked, every moment.  It’s ripe, ready, available, to be blinked with your very eyes, this very moment.  But the “you” that you believe you are is the very roadblock to simply seeing this.

How often do you hear the stark truth about awakening?  I was fortunate to meet Bart Marshall and learn that “nothing of you will remain” (Bart quoting Alfred Pulyan)  so I knew intellectually I had some lingering beliefs to dismantle about the personal self, eternity, and my concept and beliefs about God/Absolute.

Be aware that awakening will demolish and destroy all your beloved concepts of yourself, and all the beliefs you hold so dearly. All beliefs and concepts will die before or at awakening…and awakening will feel like the death of the self.  There will be deep grief and tears.

I found inquiry to be the best and most effective tool for backing away from content and beliefs of the anita character.

Grace knows when the character is seriously committed to jumping in the deep waters of surrender and finally willing to let go and die.  Only in complete surrender and rawness is there enough of a crack to let the Original Face (Zen phrase) shine through.

Upon hearing that the self must die, most expect the personal self to disappear with Awakening.  It does not. The self is merely seen for what it is – an illusory perceptual lens and “global positioning system” for the character reflecting and refracting awareness…aware…that it is aware.  For me, it certainly felt like the death of the personal self.

It is necessary in the dreamscape to have an imaginary two-ness in order to play as dream characters, to appear as self and other, to feel emotions, to experience virtual reality in the dream of separation.

You, dear one, ARE the painful belief in separation and the feeling you are a separate and distinct entity in a world of subjects and objects. You ARE the feeling of lack that cannot be soothed.  There is no inside or outside to what is, no boundaries to what is, to what seems to unfold…so how can you escape it when you are it?

Separation is a self perpetuating loop that cannot un-loop itself.  Yet, somehow (Grace – if there could be a concept of Grace  – all is Grace and/or nothing is Grace…)  the brain may see through the maze of words, beliefs, concepts, and recognize that all separation is simply a projected illusion.

And, with the direct seeing… it becomes apparent that no-thing and no one in the world needs to be fixed, improved, or sanctified. Life is seen as an elaborate game of smoke and mirrors, and then a quiet calm and perfect ease appears as no-thing-ness and floats like a wave upon a deeply profound peaceful sea and the brain/mind surrenders…and floats undisturbed…as ease and peace.

When it is realized and deeply sensed that there are no separate subjects and objects divided by space, nor separate events divided by time, “you” may finally relax as vast perfect stillness, of no-thing-ness and every-thing-ness, just perfect edgeless awareness appearing.

anita