In my recent post I linked to a text by Steven Norquist. After thinking about this for a while I feel there is a lot of truth to this but it does paint too dark a picture. Yes, enlightenment does include a form of ego death and this can cause a kind of mourning process, but it seems that enlightened experience in many cases is still colored by the person’s characteristics dependent on the depth and clarity of the awakening. There are too many examples out there of awakened beings who are happy and loving, so I’m not going to be deterred by this article. ‘My’ experience of nonduality didn’t feel shocking, was smooth, logical and comforting. Everything was just okay as it was.
I’m changing my approach towards meditation. I’m focusing on nonduality for the coming period -until I focus on something else 🙂.
Since my true nature is the simple awakeness that observes all objects in consciousness, I thought I’d try meditation with my eyes open. I’m meditating since 2014 and I’ve always done this with my eyes closed (with a few rare, unsatisfying exceptions). I’ve learned a lot from Fred Davis though and I’m looking at it from a different angle now.
So I placed my phone in front of me with this video on, a simple burning candle. I did this because otherwise attention will always be scanning my field of vision for something interesting to think about. By fixating my view on the candle and keeping it there, I can stay more concentrated. So I’m fixed on the candle, but in my peripheral vision I see the whole room if course, and my arms and legs. While staring at the candle I’m also aware of breath, thought and body. I’m trying you stay aware of the process of perceiving, because that takes me closest to my true nature. I did this for an hour. It actually worked well, it’s hard to explain but it was easier to get into a witnessing mode, slightly dissociated from experience. A few times there was an itch and the hand moved to scratch it and I had the distinct impression that this was happening by itself (which is true) and I did not actively decide to do that. The same goes for seeing the candle, this also is just happening. ‘Seeing the candle’ just happens, it is What Is in this moment. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but it does to me; it resembles the short experience of nonduality a bit ‘I’ experienced in February of last year. So I’m probably going to keep doing this for some time. It’s like many teachers say; you can’t do anything to get enlightened because nobody is doing anything so you just have to be lucky, but you can create circumstances that increase the odds of you being lucky. I feel that maybe this may increase my odds. Next to that I’m doing my best to stay in observation mode during the day, so that at all times part of my awareness is noticing What Is in the moment, looking through the body instead of as the body.
I came across this amazingly clear text. Read at your own risk.
What is enlightenment?
This morning, as I was doing my morning meditation, my mind started thinking about the nature of consciousness and the thought stream was interesting enough to just let it happen.
I’m not as focused on the subject of non duality lately but still I always wonder who I am. As I was flooding my body with white Light I thought ‘ who is doing the flooding, is it really me because I am my higher self? Then, am I flooding myself? Who is noticing that?’ I already know (rationally) who I am, I am the simple awareness that is aware of everyday impressions. The simple attention that is conscious of thoughts, senses, emotions. If my thumb hurts and I’m aware of feeling the pain, I’m as awake as I’m ever going to get, so it’s not a matter of reaching a different level of awakeness. The problem is identification. I’m identifying with the thoughts, senses and emotions. But with what should I identify and how does that fit in the picture of a small self and a higher self? Am I my higher self? This doesn’t fit. So this morning a picture presented itself in my head that was better: I’m an individuated aspect of the Higher Self and it’s purpose is to experience the physical plane by being aware of thoughts, senses and emotions and to this end it is intimately connected to a physical body. The problem is that that individuated consciousness is identifying with what is being noticed, instead of knowing itself as the Observer.
In this model all the principles of non-duality and higher self seem to fit. By the way, this is also how the Seth entity describes our nature, but I took some time understanding that 😉.
I’m focusing on non-duality for the moment. Yesterday and today were unusually clear days for me, it was relatively easy to ‘find’ the I Am feeling which is the canvas for all objects in consciousness. From this perspective life is like a movie that is played before you, but a very elaborate movie that not only includes sight and sound but all senses as well as thoughts and emotions. It’s not like I was in a non-dual state but it was easier than usual to sense a kind of distance between me (awareness) and what is being perceived. All that is needed is to stay aware of the fact that perception is happening and that everything in consciousness comes and goes except awareness – that’s permanent.
That is not to say that I was peaceful or anything, there are lots of worries, doubts and tensions inside but I kind of use them to stay in observation mode.
Tonight I was at a birthday party, the same place where I had a very short experience of non-duality in February. I was sitting at the table in a chair and I was feeling pretty clear , I noticed hearing the people talking and I could notice that there was sound coming in and there was hearing, but no ‘hearer’. I’ve heard this many times; that there is only seeing but no see-er, feeling but no feel-er, smell but no smeller, thought but no thinker etc but always found this difficult to notice for myself. Now I could see it fairly clearly. Hearing just happens. It was funny because I heard the sound of the talking and I knew my brain was interpreting the sound as language into meaning but this was a process that is fully automatic and requires no effort at all. It just happens. ‘I’ didn’t do anything.
I was wondering why this happened there again and it occurred to me that normally around that time I would be meditating at home. Maybe my mind went into a more meditative state out of habit?