Falling Through Fear and Surrendering

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Once upon a time, I had major control issues.  Well really, for most of my life.  Let’s take, for example, 1991, which was a fertile year for panic attacks, anxiety, and agoraphobia with a near meltdown. Around that time, a friend and I watched the movie Silence of the Lambs which of course, triggered all my repressed control issues with my father, so between daily life, and all the crap showing up in my head, I was a mess…yet still high functioning at work, which seemed odd at the time.

During the 1990s just the thought of surrendering, losing control, and being vulnerable was so disturbing to me that I knew I needed to see a psychologist and dig around in my head for a few years about why this movie, along with single parenting and broken relationships, shook my control issues to the core.  Perhaps now I can say I am well acquainted with all forms of anxiety, especially agoraphobia and panic attacks.

If you’ve been reading these nonduality posts for a while you know I’ve written at length about our human attempts to better our selves, enhance what we are, and make our selves more spiritual, more humble, less angry, more devoted, and generally polish our selves into a bright shiny probability that awakening will seize us. We seem to get so carried away on the spiritual quest with releasing all our identities, stories, and beliefs, well I did, that we fail to understand we cannot erase the viewer, the point of where we are seeing from, the senses, the eyes, and the impersonal me that seems to be seeing and sensing. Besides, what is is the perfection appearing each moment within and through our sensory perceptions, our dear body.  Yet we name, claim, and label these intense and unsettling perceptions and body feelings as fearful, awful, and unthinkable.  Again, I did this habitually until I finally saw clearly what was happening in the body and how our beliefs shape our biology.

In 1991, I had no idea the tendencies towards panic, anxiety, agoraphobia, and OCD were natural energetic and biochemical expressions of a body hijacked by a brain to see a screenplay of fear.  I had labeled these body sensations as terrible and awful because I was living in the land of thoughts and not noticing and allowing the body to naturally dissipate these chemicals (as the body quickly does) if we don’t create or resurrect a story about what we are feeling and what is seeming to appear.

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

And here was the shocker for me…I could not fathom the biology and body chemistry of anxiety and panic would remain wired within this body after realizing that there is no lasting personal self.  Erasing anxiety, panic, and agoraphobia were the reasons I crawled down the path to awakening…so all my suffering would go away and never return.  I perceive differently now and see all thoughts, feelings, and appearances as momentary expressions of impersonal awareness though it still feels like there is a me here, now, at the center of this aliveness though now “the me” feels impersonal.

When we can gently, thoroughly, and curiously notice and practice seeing what is appearing without adding the old habitual storyline about of how this affects a lasting and solid me, suffering begins to drop away, and we begin to see all appearances as this fleeting Mystery, this Paradox, seeming playing as a dream of itself.  And though I know I am not lasting as the woman in the body, it sure feels like there is a continuity of perceiving from this momentary vantage point. Is truth stranger than fiction?  Are truth and fiction the same momentary play of light, vaporous water, and magnetism? 

Truly, we as selves, as momentary and fleeting vapors of appearance cannot gain, claim, or achieve any spiritual state of mind, if that is what we are seeking.  Again, we don’t exist the way we believe we do and all we can do is seemingly surrender, let go, (our characters have no ability to initiate or make changes) and question all the mental junk blocking our perceptions of this that we are this very moment.  Suffering is simply appearing…to no one in particular…and yet we claim it as our suffering since it feels located close to or within the body.  We believe the body is our personal territory and self-contained.  Nope.  There are no edges. Close your eyes and tell me where you believe the body ends.  See, no edges. You will only find edges if you use thinking about the past. Even the present is now the past since it dissolves so very quickly…poof it’s gone!

And believing we can direct this pathless path of inquiry and discovery is also a trap as it perpetuates that we have free will and free wont to make these “decisions.”

If you are inquiring or meditating there is no you who initiates this. 

The silly ego claims beingness as personal and wants very much for you to listen to the steam of commentary and reason to perpetuate its illusory existence.  As long as you listen and believe that the voices in your head are personal and important to your wellbeing these voices will continue to impress and frighten you.  Once you see all the inner voices and perspectives are not personal to a specific you, tension fades.  Stress begins to abate and the body seems to let go and relax.  Isn’t relaxation and ease what you are after? 

Deep peace within the body will continue to be fleeting until you see the inner voices as the momentary expressions of this edgeless perfection, this dreamy fleeting illusion, playing in its dream of itself as itself. Nothing is lasting.  There is not one shred of personal energy involved in this play of vibrations, electrical energy, and biochemical body responses.  Panic just appears and disappears as quickly as it arrives.  Two good books I recommend to learn about the biology of the brain are Dr. Bruce Lipton’s – The Biology of Belief, and Dr. Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion.  

I am sure I am not in control of this body. I can only verify that the body seems to be appearing here and now, and there is no belief in a sequential time concept anymore.  I am not now, and never have been, driving this human body bus.  How and why any thing at all seems to be appearing is a Mystery.

Life twinkles in and out as appearances and our brains make these energy bits into a solid and sequential story of a me where none exists. 

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

We suffer because we believe we are linear across a horizontal timeline of past present and future. All I can report is that what is appearing this moment seems more a vertical twinkling of fleeting appearance, ever fresh, ever spontaneous, ever momentary, and incredibly mysterious. It surely blew up the horizontal time line of life.  Best we can do, from my perspective, is to be very quiet, still, and notice what is seeming to appear with openness, innocence, and without any beliefs and preconceived knowings.  

Notice now what is only a momentary fleeting appearance…as an edgeless mystery…from the only perspective you and I ever have, as a me, here, now, an impersonal me, as this fleeting impermanent body. 

When all assumptions and beliefs and concepts fall way, including the belief of being a personal identity with a linear storyline living in time and space, what is appearing is known as simply a Mystery with no solid ground upon which to linger.  And this lack of time, stability, and structures makes most of us bat-shit crazy realizing we must fall into infinite not-knowing while welcoming what is showing up in front of us as fleeting appearances.  

anita

 

 

Easy Breezy Waking Up

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden – Southwest Patio Garden

I am not surprised to read the misleading content below from a well known and respected website about the science of nonduality:

“Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness.

For thousands of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have come to the realization that there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it. This substance can be called Awareness, Consciousness, Spirit, Advaita, Brahman, Tao, Nirvana or even God. It is constant, ever present, unchangeable and is the essence of all existence.

In the last century, Western scientists are arriving at the same conclusion: The universe does indeed comprise of a single substance, presumably created during the Big Bang, and all sense of being – consciousness – subsequently arises from it.

This realization has ontological implications for humanity: fundamentally we are individual expressions of a single entity, inextricably connected to one another, we are all drops of the same ocean.”

With “factual” information like the nonduality information above circulating over the web no wonder seekers are popping up everywhere lately as they “awaken to their true nature.”

“That there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it.”  Tell me please how this works – how do you have parts and parcels of an essence that is timeless, edgeless, undivided, seamless, infinite?  Can you divide the sky and be a separate piece of the sky?

Nonduality is a philosophy of appearances as appearing as not-two, undivided, indescribable, immeasurable. But it certainly feels really good to hold hands and sing that we are all part of the same aware consciousness while ignoring the main tenets of nonduality: there is no personal self, is no personal consciousness, no personal awareness, no time, no location, no space.

The universe or reality may seem to appear as awareness here, now, this moment, but there is no external reality. There is no separation into seven billion human units each with their own private thoughts, desires, and feelings.

There is only one…as in not two. And there is not even nothing beyond nor before this moment.

Moments cannot be strung together unless you are creating a fictional story or an irrelevant running commentary about what is appearing now. Even those claiming awakening are still believing in concepts of time and space, still believing in something, some essence, lasting beyond this perfect moment.

Be careful of most nonduality teachers until you completely vet them…some will use your innocence and take your money all the while feeling good and helpful since they honestly believe they really are enlightened.

Here is the gritty grit….it’s much too difficult, if not nearly impossible to awaken to absolute truth. The nonduality and new agey groups, seminars, programs and churches popping up now are teaching oneness, nonduality, and enlightenment but are sadly misinformed and/or they are misperceiving nonduality teachings and offering pleasant and upbeat pablum to folks to fill the offering plates and their wallets.

We long to uncover the natural, peaceful, and intimate timeless perfection as awareness since we have forgotten what we are…and it feels like a wound that will not heal.

And what better way to ensure the survival of the new-agey seminars, conferences, and churches than to tell you that you are part of the oneness, part of the whole, part of the infinite love and joy. Sounds so empowering and peaceful, right?

Certainly I am not suggesting all leaders of new agey programs are intentionally misleading the public…they may believe they are teaching nonduality.  A little bit of nondual language may seem impressive, and may soothe the hurt until you come upon a fully awakened nonduality teacher and begin seeing beyond the fabrications and the pretending. And yet, this too, is the perfection of the appearances.

So what’s the difference between human truth and absolute truth?  Let’s have a brief look below while knowing this topic seems unknowable from a relative perspective.

Truth projected from the relative brain/mind of a human appears to be the sum of thoughts woven tightly from complex concepts, hypotheses, theorems, laws, norms, prevailing wisdom, consensus, facts, and conclusions accepted by all as collective truths. Like gravity, time, location, and chocolate 🙂

Absolute truth is a different critter… beyond the limits and dualistic nature of the relative human brain. So in order to awaken to what you already are – and always have been – it may be helpful to understand how the brain/mind is programmed – – to ensure you continue believing you are separate.  

  • Absolute Truth is not relative and the human brain is  relative.
  • Absolute truth is not describable with languages based on subjects or objects.
  • Absolute truth cannot be taught, shared, described…only pointed towards. If it is describable it’s not Absolute Truth.  Words like abyss and void come as close as any words I’m familiar with but even these words conjure beliefs and opinions of what a relative void or an abyss is, is not, or could be and not be.
  • Absolute truth is.
  • Absolute truth cannot be earned, bestowed, transferred, diminished, expanded, refined, defined, or claimed and comprehended or understood with a brain/mind.
  • Absolute truth is not measured with time, location, distance or any other relative system of measurement since Absolute truth is all there is …and yet is ignored, overlooked, and dismissed by 99% of humans.
  • Awakening is not what you think. 😉 

anita

Ashtavakra Gita

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden – image Pixabay

I devoured the paradoxical and powerful teachings of the Ashtavakra Gita, in particular, and other Advaita teachings on the spiritual path.  Advaita (the Sanskrit word meaning “not-two”) are the scriptures within the ancient Vedanta teachings pointing towards a singular omnipresent energy.  Meaning “not-two” and, as such, Advaita can be said to be the essence of all matter, all particles, visible, invisible, excluding nothing, and including all, even you, me, and God, Universe, Source. 

What is is impersonal, uncaused, and spontaneously appearing and disappearing as what we mistakenly perceive to be subjects and objects in a time and space-filled universe.  What seems to be appearing is indivisible, immeasurable, edgeless, spaciousness, and impersonal, as a paradoxical fullness of emptiness and emptiness of fullness.

I spent more time with this poetic yet disturbing scripture than any of the other ancient teachings.  I read the Ashtavakra Gita each morning upon arising and again in the evening before going to sleep.  I even carried a copy of this Gita in my shoulder bag to read while waiting in line at the grocery store.

For me, this Gita was a gift of wordless words pointing towards the vast and edgeless void, a dissolving of false concepts of the personal self, and brain/mind like no other scriptures I’d ever studied.

These teachings directly and clearly challenge the beliefs and concepts of a separate and personal self and a separate and tangible reality or creation.  I prefer to read Bart Marshall’s translation of these illuminating words.  Bart’s books are available here.

anita

Sounds

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

I hear the nature communicate her  timeless wisdom on many levels, but this “hearing” is not the same hearing that most people label as hearing.

What I am pointing towards is a pure HEARING, a pure sensation just at it meets the ear canal and before it is processed by the brain and labeled and categorized as the sound of surf, and seagulls, and wind.

Consider there is an instantaneous pure hearing and then a second later there is the human hearing after the brain processes the hearing.

Perhaps you might play around with what you hear without placing labels or judgments on the sound vibrations inside your ear.

The singularity of creation becomes evident when the personal identity dissolves.

anita

 

Memory

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

What is memory and what perpetuates this belief-trap?

Long ago and far away I lived in a state of mind that enjoyed and cherished pleasant memories and disliked or feared the icky and gut-wrenching memories…like the day I peed my pants in second grade…all the kids pointing to me, laughing about my lack of bladder control before dear Mrs. Southerland rushed to my rescue.

We are so deeply programmed by society and well-meaning loved-ones that we naturally struggle deeply with the “concept” of memory when inquiring into our cherished and rock-solid beliefs about the nature and mechanisms of time and relativity.

We discover that a “personal” memory can only operate with a belief in time and space… and a concurrent belief in a personal “me” or “I.”

In fact, the belief in a personal “me or I” also requires believing in the concepts of time and space. Are you seeing just how tricky the split mind is at convincing “you” that “you” are real, are separate, by creating and sustaining the concepts of time and space?

As the character Anita, it certainly appears I experienced a richly textured life with plenty of memories of all shades…bright, white, and grey…pleasant memories, painful memories, repressed memories, and traumatic ones.

We cannot imagine that what we know as a memory is simply an arising thought stream or image appearing here now as this aware presence or impersonal consciousness.

I surfed over to Wiki to look up memory…click here to read more at Wiki.

We so want to believe we exist in time and space, at a location, and a finite point on the map.  Memory helps reinforce this illusion. But don’t take my words for this…inquire for yourself. Is it possible for a memory to appear separate from an arising thought?

If you believe memory can exist without thought then how specifically does this occur?

Investigate – to your own satisfaction – that all thought streams and memories are not what is appearing here now…as aware presence or impersonal consciousness.

anita

Politics

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

I received these current events questions below via email:

Anita, here are some questions for you regarding conscious responses to the current political unfoldment:

  1. How to Be the accepting of all as is while saying no to actions that create suffering?
  2. How to resist harmful actions by seeming others without inner resistance? 
  3. Having no idea that anything should be other than it is while outwardly speaking and acting to create change?
  4. Would you share anything that arises for you about this?
 

Replies:

  1. How to Be the accepting of all as is while saying no to actions that create suffering?
    True nature, what you already are, accepts all as it is and welcomes all. True nature does not suffer. Suffering only arises to an illusory “you” a split-mind, a relative/dualistic mind that maintains separation of  “what is” into subjects and objects to name, label, measure, and compare.  The illusory person wants change so finding the source of the illusory “you” will help unravel the beliefs in a world of separation with a “you” at the center.
  2. How to resist harmful actions by seeming others without inner resistance?
    What wants to resist? Find the source of resisting…is there a personal “you” offering incessant commentary, labels, and descriptions of what is?  If so, inquire and locate this “you.”  
    Resisting may appear but there is no one resisting…there has never been a person who resists. Resisting appears spontaneously and uncaused, but not to a separate “you.”   Resisting is the same perfection as not-resisting, and neither is prompted by or owned by a personal and separate “you.”
  3. Having no idea that anything should be other than it is while outwardly speaking and acting to create change?  Changing may appear but there is not a personal or separate “you” initiating change.  Again, changing is the same perfection as not-changing, and neither is prompted by or owned by a personal and separate “you.”  Changing and resisting arise spontaneously as the dreamscape, but not to a separate you, a separate person.

Would you (anita) share anything that arises for you about this?   Notice the thought stream that is not happy with what is appearing and wanting change.  This is key.   Be still and inquire to uncover and notice the source, the root of what wants to divide, name, claim, and label life into subjects and objects…me and you…yes or no…good or bad…right or wrong…here or there..now or later.  Notice the energy, the voice, the thoughts wanting life to be different than what is appearing.

Once you determine the source of what resists, what wants change, what does not fully accept what is…that is the work of self-inquiry….of uncovering the millions and billions of beliefs, concepts, stories that appear to create a separate self and cover the infinite and changeless stillness that never moves, was never born, will never die.

Self inquiry was pivotal in perceiving and uncovering the silliness of maintaining any beliefs and concepts that supported an identity as Anita, as a separate self.

Here, now, as aware presence embodying as the concept of Anita, the imaginary personal self died in 2011 and nothing remains to prefer or desire what is appearing to change. There is only infinite capacity to accept all that is appearing and what is appearing is seen as perfection reflections of the intelligent light of awareness. Personal suffering and fear fell away.

As an aside, I see the newly elected POTUS as sadly entertaining storyline…the candidate I voted for did not prevail. Regardless of who is elected as POTUS, or what is appearing as life, the character as Anita is watching the nightly news, reading newspapers, and living life…and it feels like sitting in a theater chair and watching a juicy movie.

Life appears as what is ….just streaming upon a giant screen. In this analogy, I am the movie, I am the movie screen, I am the characters, I am the movie projector, I am the theater, and I am the edgeless, infinite, indivisible empty space of presence that all appearances seem to be appearing upon.

I am, and you are, indescribable…infinite, edgeless, formless, vastness, and more like the glowing no-thing-ness that holds the vaporous appearances of the every-thing…. and I would not change a tiny particle of this perfection we call reality….it’s how as human dream characters we feel and experience self and other as duality.  What a miracle that anything at all appears…and yet we as characters want to change it…aren’t we silly?

The dreamscape is an imaginary stage where the concepts of self and other can play as characters in a relative/dualistic movie script to experience the textures and feelings of duality, of separateness. And yet, not even no-thing truly exists, there are only fleeting appearances, just like the appearances of dreams while you, as a dream body believe you are sleeping.  When you inquire into the concept of time, you will realize it does not exist.  Not kidding.

Please email anita@nondu.org if you have questions.

anita

 
 
 

Archetypes

Jasper – Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Humans, believing themselves to be separate beings, begin collecting stories about themselves because they believe what others tell them they are and they believe the thoughts passing through the mind are personal thoughts.

All this collecting…of stories and beliefs establishes or develops illusory personas, egos, and archetypes animating the traits and propensities humans take themselves to be.  Humans mistake personality traits to be specific to a “me” or a “you” when nothing specific, personal, or separate has ever appeared or existed. Yet another great reason to practice self-inquiry daily, even hourly, or each minute, when you first begin an inquiry practice.

Below are a few of the many thousands of archetypes and egos making up the illusory collective story of what humans take themselves to be. Use self inquiry to notice when these archetypes arise in the persona…and when you notice them, take them into inquiry and see what beliefs glue them together.  This exercise really helped me to untangle and examine the egos and archetypes that formed the anita character.

 

Security:   Pioneer,  Protector, Warrior,  Bully,  Instigator

Resources:   Entrepreneur, Banker, Broker

Information:   Teacher, Student, Journalist, Neighbor, Reporter, Blogger, Scribe

Family:   Parent, Child, Adolescent, Mother, Father, Sibling, Black Sheep

Self-expressing:   Actor, Coach, Musician, Artist, Athlete, Fashionista, Girlfriend, Prince

Daily Routines:   Servant, Craftsman, Worker, Addict, Perfectionist, Slave, Hedonist

Relating:   Wife, Husband, Partner, Associate

Behind Closed Doors:   Lover, Prostitute, Gigolo, Seductress, Surgeon, Shaman, Astrologer

Spirituality:   Preacher, Philosopher, Sinner, Seeker, Guru, Saint, Politician, Judge

Career:   Boss, Executive, Leader, Owner

Tribe:    Friend, Peer, Innovator, Individualist, Hero

Death:   Warden, Hermit, Grim Reaper, Healer, Mystic

 

Aware Presence

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

What can be labeled “wrong” unless thoughts arise of an imaginary thing or imaginary self judging it wrong?  Put another way, what can ever be wrong unless “you” are thinking (imagining) it?

Unless there is a “me” having thoughts about wrongness, does wrongness exist?

Believing in an imaginary “personal” and separate “me” creates suffering. Thoughts have no weight nor importance unless thoughts are claimed as belonging to an imaginary personal “I” or “me.”   Inquiry deeply and see if you can actually find a separate and personal me, or I.

Aware presence…what is…is not personal…has never been personal.

How can aware presence seem personal unless you believe a thought that seems to make it seem so?

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

Caged

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

We’re conditioned to perceive life/reality as unfolding inside or outside a person/body. This caged way of perceiving life is held by the vast majority of humans and is the root of all emotional and psychological suffering. It’s been said by many folks, many times…with our thoughts we create our world. This is how the brain/mind works…conceptualizing, rationalizing, and objectifying what is perceived…and this is how we are programmed and trapped in the mind’s naming, claiming, and labeling cage.

After the perceptual shift in 2011, I noticed the perception of reality was replaced with a simple timeless, indivisible, immeasurable, unmovable, impersonal lens. I saw clearly…our beliefs and thoughts create and inform what we perceive as reality or life.

Before awakening, I believed I was enclosed within a body as a separate and individual anita.  After the shift, I no longer perceived life as being contained and enclosed within the edges of a human fleshiness named anita. I appeared to extend as far as the eye could see…edgeless, undivided, unbounded, still, and vast.  There are no boundaries to the anita character anywhere…just fleeting appearances of edgeless, seamless, undivided, and timeless aware presence, a metaphorical canvas of no-thing-ness and not no-thing-ness…spontaneously appearing/not-appearing as uncaused and fleeting impersonal awareness.

Seekers ask what is “seen” when my eyes are closed…since I have to use words to communicate, it like this…appearances dissolve into a brilliant-yet-inky silent and aware endless void…the same aware, silent, and inky void present when consciousness ceases and the body appears to die. The felt experience of the anita character is of unbounded and overwhelming sorrowful gratitude that anything at all appears upon the silent stillness.

I know it sounds crazy and as a character would not have believed or conceived of this shift of perception fifteen years ago. These unspeakable shifts of perception and identity appear to arise spontaneously and to no one in particular…ignore words claiming otherwise!  There is no cause and effect in play here, life seems to appear here, now, spontaneously, edgeless, and uncaused.

I understand why the misunderstood and those perceiving differently (including artists, musicians, saints, and sages) are often ridiculed, reclusive, or sedated and locked in mental institutions. Society is generally fearful of what it does not understand or what is outside the leaky edges of normalcy…and the going consensus, whatever the majority agrees upon, is labeled normal.

Perhaps we might consider, even briefly, the nature of what is… a vibrant aliveness we call reality or life…perhaps even consider the scientific evidence suggesting humans are misperceiving themselves and the world. This is a sadly funny exercise for the few who question reality. Quantum physics attempts to describe and explain the unexplainable and unspeakable shift in perception in terms of probabilities and collapsing waves and particles. Words and descriptions move us away from the essence and into our thinking brain/minds so give attention to the intimate feelings of awareness — just don’t claim awareness as your awareness!

What you are…is…what you are…improvement is not possible or needed…as the “you” is simply impersonal awareness, always aware presence, appearing as a vast and edgeless field of fleeting potentialities.  Yes, most misperceive what is and believe what is to be distinct, measurable, and operating within time and space. I have seen the folly and felt the suffering of these tenacious and socially endorsed beliefs.

Our perceptions and sensory experiences are shaped by conditioning, the influences of society, science, religion, philosophy, and various tribal and ethnicity beliefs. There are many perceptual lenses and ways of seeing. For a simple example, just imagine seeing life with the fresh and clear eyes of a pre-verbal toddler…seeing life/reality as a little child sees it…undivided, spontaneous, outside of time, unmeasurable, and fleeting.

What’s looking through your eyes?

anita

 

Eliminating Thoughts and Feelings?

Recently in the news I’ve heard or read of several well-meaning teachers, gurus, therapists, and medical professionals suggesting we change, suppress, or eliminate negative thoughts and feelings — as if this were even possible.  This approach rests on the core beliefs of being a doer and being able to create change.

There are no doers doing the doing!  It’s not possible to remove, change, or substitute emotions or actions either…what is appearing…is…what is appearing.

Is it possible for what’s appearing to change as it’s seeming to appear? No — it is already appearing! Most humans want the imaginary now, future, or past to be different than what is unfolding…a guaranteed recipe for suffering!

I’ve come across many blogs and websites suggesting practices, methods, and treatments to “manage” or eliminate unwanted and uncomfortable thoughts and emotions and these practices and methods simply perpetuate our misperceiving:

  • that there is a separate person to whom these thoughts and feelings seem to occur, and there is not.
  • that separate thoughts and feelings occur, and they do not.
  • that there are some thoughts and feelings that are better or worse than others, and there are not….especially feelings of anger (as if anger is inappropriate or wrong)

Notice that any method, practice, or teaching, suggested by anyone, including those deeply revered – Buddha, Christ, Allah, or Krishna, etc… perpetuate the illusion of a separate person, a separate goal, an endpoint, a finish line, a desired place, or state, or feeling.  As Bart says, there is no use polishing the terd. 🙂

The biggest and shiniest goal, carrot, or achievement in the spiritual realm seems to be enlightenment, salvation, and realization — also fueling and perpetuating a consensus belief in a separate self identity that might eventually reach these imaginary prizes.

Nonduality, spirituality, and oneness preachers and gurus are incredibly popular and are a convenient way of avoiding and hiding from the flimsy and illusory nature of the separate self and reality.  These teachers and gurus offer a safe and secure comfort zone for those obsessed with reaching these goals. Interestingly,  I have seen many of these gurus are themselves believing in a lasting unicity or eternity of existence beyond the bodymind.

Anytime you hear or read of gurus and teachers referring to an essence, entity, awareness, or consciousness as anything lasting, solid, or fixed… such as a true self or an eternal self, or as an absolute awareness or consciousness…look out!

There is nothing lasting, remaining, transcending…and concepts and words are simply the objectifying brain/mind/ego attempting to perpetuate itself in an imaginary future, heaven, dimension, when not even nothing exists – just edgeless, infinite, impersonal awareness aware of itself.

In short, all perceptions are illusory appearances of impersonal awareness perceiving itself in an imaginary dream as itself.  No separate self or dream character can awaken or be enlightened outside of the illusion. At best, an illusory character might realize itself as an illusory character in a dreamy illusion of impersonal awareness and laugh at the possibility of escape or enduring beyond the apparent physical death of the dream character.

The duality, the relative world, is the only platform, or place, if you will, where aware presence or impersonal awareness can know itself, as itself and as other, by spontaneously appearing as it’s own dreamworld.  How brilliant and remarkable that appearances appear at all!

anita