Last week, I went to see Adyashanti who was holding satsangs (talks) in Portland. At the end, during the concluding question and answer portion, I raised my hand and, when called on, approached the microphone…
Waiting. Not sure for what. Direction? Without an ego and all its desires, I feel a bit lost. Not sad, just… adrift. Waiting on a wind to guide me.
The sky, returning to its Pacific Northwest ways, has become grey, cloudy and pleasantly overcast – making photography both easy and pleasurable. Light and shadows, softer now, gently bring out colors and textures – smoothing boundaries and enhancing the beauty of everyday things. Wandering aimlessly among the streets and cafes and parks of downtown Eugene (Oregon), a hidden piece of wisdom surfaces that unconsciously was known for years: that a photographer’s eye forces the mind back into the Present moment. Self consciousness can’t exist simultaneously with awareness focused on Reality – with appreciation of simple beauty found in plants and walls and trees and windows and stairs.
Still, self-consciousness, though much weaker than just a month ago, remains. Walking among people again, most seem to sense something a little out-of-place. There are curious, slightly confused stares and involuntary double takes – each often followed by a warm smile or nod. Each gesture, when I catch a glimpse of them, awakens an old, irrational conditioned “tug” of self-consciousness – a tiny, infant-sized fist clenching gently in my stomach.
It’s not important though, not something to be avoided or fought with. It’s just a subtle reminder that the change I’m experiencing is gradual, that – unlike “sudden enlightenment” (where I suspect the ego is repressed) – the old mental conditioning of self-consciousness, is fading. Each small, gentle tug reminds me of who I really am – who all these curious people are: Light within Light; Awareness looking at Awareness; Wandering waves, thinking that they are separate, gliding across the deep still waters of a Divine Sea.
(Note: This is NOT the article about seeing your thoughts that I promised you yesterday. Sorry. – WW)
Before you pursue enlightenment too seriously, you may want to read about my “Dark Night of the Soul” episode that occurred this very morning (Thursday, 9/17/2009).
To preface it. Yesterday afternoon, just as I was posting that day’s blog entry, I received an email from my mother, who, among other things was worried about a dream/premonition she had of a dark entity threatening me. I replied with something along the lines of she’s just naturally worried about losing me to what is happening and I endeavored to explain that this phase of my life felt much like childhood or (if you’re old enough) how your teen years feels like to you now – you’re still the same person, but different. I assured her there was no risk of her “losing” me.
But the “evil entity” concept got me thinking. I have never believed in the dualistic concepts of Good vs. Evil. Jesus, in his 40 days in the desert dealt with the Devil. Buddha, in his final meditations under the Bodhi-tree, dealt with Mara. What do I consider evil? Not that I’m their ranks, but who is my Devil?
Every enlightened teacher tells you that there is no way to teach a person how to recognize their true self (enlightenment). I should be pissed off with them because it seems to me that there are some very simple steps to waking up and if someone would have pointed these out to me, I wouldn’t have wasted most of my adult life futily pursuing dead ends. But I’m not pissed. To me, all that futile seeking means nothing.
Perhaps the problem is that the major (living) enlightenment teachers either woke up the traditional way meditating for decades (Adyashanti), or via the “surprise” method from severe depression and suicidal contemplation (Eckhart Tolle). Naturally, to them, there is no way to “make it happen” as to each of these, enlightenment kinda “popped” for them.
I could be wrong, but it seems to me that enlightenment should be fairly easy to teach, so my guinea pigs readers, the next few articles – hopefully – will help you to recognize yourself as the Witness (the see-er of your experiences) and not the ego story. In many traditions, the Witness is seen as the ultimate level, but which I’ve come to think of as Stage I Enlightenment. If everyone were at Stage I Enlightenment, there’d be no wars, no murders, and no need for billion dollar defense budgets, so it’s probably good enough for most of us. Stage II Enlightenment is Pure Consciousness, but since I’m still shifting in and out of that, I’ll hold off talking about it as I want to speak from experience, not theory.
Funny thing is, I’m not pissed at having spent the majority of my life seeking enlightenment. Not in the least. That’s one of the cool things about it – you realize that this moment is all there is and events that happened to “you” (your body) in the past are completely irrelevant to You (as the Witness). It’s very cool.
As I spend these days in contemplation, it has become increasingly clear that whatever your mind focuses on, that mental image becomes your world.
Focus your mind on Jack Bauer fighting terrorists and even though you are kicked back safely on your sofa, terrorism becomes your world.
Focus your mind on problems at work while washing the dishes, and though your hands are covered with soap, the problems at work become your world.
Focus your mind on anything but the present moment and your world becomes an illusion.
Ironically, focusing your mind on this moment – focusing your attention like a videographer making an art film – reveals a world full of wonder, beauty and bliss.
Watching TV is a pleasurable escape – but tormenting ourselves with problems that aren’t present is a sad and senseless epidemic.
Last night I had a powerful dream:
I walked into a wind surfing store and said, “I want to wind surf.”
The salesman pointed to a wall display and said, “You’ll need a mask first.” The “masks” that he pointed to, were some sort of safety helmets. The helmets were hinged at the top, with a solid colored back and a clear, plastic front. The front plastic, though, was shaped into a mask, a different “face” on each one.
It was obvious that you put the hinged part at the top of your head and clipped the front and back together so your head was completely enclosed.
The salesman handed me one which had a clear, see-through image on the front which he told me was the son of Medusa. “I think this one will fit you nicely,” he said.
I looked at the disgusting face and told him I don’t want a mask.
Then the salesman said, “You won’t survive without a mask.”
More random thoughts during this transitionary period:
One of the most amazing things about this sense of Oneness is realizing with absolute certainty that what perceives the light and images that my eyes see, is the same thing that perceives the light and images that this fly sees. Realizing that what has been perceiving through my eyes my entire life, has been perceiving through every living creature since time began. I am that, the fly is that – you are that.
Why? Because if you look closely, you’ll see an infinite openness which is perceiving your thoughts (reading these words, seeing the photograph) – an infinite openness which has no boundaries. Perception is Source. Perception is Spirit. Perception is God.
Some random thoughts that have arisen over the last week as I acclimate to this new state:
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