It’s incredible people like you with all this bullshit, speaking of oneness and still saying “me,” “my,” “I.” If there is only oneness how can you talk about past lives? It’s all about the money and it’s a shame. – Mario M.
When I received the email above, I realized I needed a simple, short, clear, explanation for what my “message” is all about.
This is it.
Enlightenment versus Oneness
I woke up to what I used to call enlightenment on September 17, 2009 after a three week collapse of my identity. See Wayne’s Enlightenment Transition for the day-by-day blog entries as it happened.
This is a blog, it isn’t a book, and as such, my ideas, concepts, and understanding of what was happening to me were written “real time” and were based on my limited (and mostly theoretical) understanding. As I was to find out, things change dramatically when you live it rather than when you just think about it.
For one, I no longer consider it enlightenment as that implies a fixed thing or destination. Oneness is a much more dynamic, open, and mystical description which fits the state much more accurately.
Mortal, Soul, Radiance, Emptiness… Oneness
(Note: I have currently stopped taking on new students while I delve deeper into the mysteries of being a Mystic. See this post for more info.)
I teach a path to awakening—a step-by-step approach—not a bunch of theories about what enlightenment is nor a bunch of mental games of “you are already enlightened” circular logic (as most nondual teachers do today). To go directly from ego-centric to enlightenment is like trying to go from kindergarten directly to college. A very few gifted students could do it, but the vast majority would fail miserably.
The Path of Mystical Oneness takes the seeker through five stages of spiritual development: From Mortal (ego-centric), to Soul (ergo the past life criticism), to Radiance (Love and Surrender), to Emptiness (enlightenment), to Oneness (integration). With each step, a portion of your identity is dropped and your sense of self softens.
Live it. Don’t Just Think it.
Unlike most nondual teaching though, this is a lived path. It is not just theory. Students live as a Soul, live as Radiance, live as Oneness.
The benefits of living it versus just understanding it may seem obvious, but what the practice almost immediately reveals is just how much conditioning affects our thoughts and actions. You can rationally understand enlightenment as a no-self concept, but if you aren’t living it, then you obviously haven’t “got it” yet.
This lived experience versus rational theory should be blatantly obvious when you come across one of the hundreds of websites out there today of someone claiming to be enlightened, yet who do not talk about their day-to-day lives. They rationally understand enlightenment (at least they understand what everyone else is saying about it), but they don’t live it. Wouldn’t you find a personal blog of an enlightened individual useful? They know you would, and yet they consciously have decided not to share their day-to-day lives. Why is that? Because they are fooling themselves. They truly think they are awake, but in reality, they are only educated. It’s really quite sad.
That brings us to the “I” thing. When you wake up, there is no longer a “you” or, more accurately, an identity. There is no Wayne Wirs, or Wayne (Wirs) or Wayne, or teacher or writer or or nomad or photographer. From the Oneness perspective, there is just a dynamic, moving Awareness appearing inside this vast, boundless, Openness (the Openness is “you,” not the Awareness). The Awareness (“Witness” in nondual-speak) is centered in a particular human body. A body which is forced to interact with the world.
As this identityless-Awareness-arising-in-Openness-centered-in-a-human-body, it is much simpler to say “I” rather than, as Jiddu Krishnamurti used to say, “the speaker.” That just seems silly and eccentric and if the speaker went to the DMV to get the speaker’s driver’s licensed renewed and replied that “the speaker wishes to be an organ donor” then there is a highly likely chance that not only will he not get his organ donor card, he may get his driver’s license revoked. “I” is just a much more useful term.
So why the mysticism? Why does the speaker (see how silly that is?) insist on bringing the supernatural into the equation?
Two things drove me to mysticism.
The first is synchronicity (meaningful coincidences). As you begin to wake up, synchronistic events happen in your life far more often. After you wake up, they happen multiple times a day. The only way to explain synchronicity is that there is a intelligent, caring supernatural being who is directly interacting and controlling objects and events around you. In other words, synchronicity implies God (whom I call Her).
The second thing that drove me to mysticism is Will. Why would Pure Awareness/Boundless Openness want to do anything? Everything is Self, everything is One, nothing needs to be done, all is Perfect. What then, drives all this stuff? Why don’t enlightened people (who according to nondual theorists are desire-less), why don’t they just sit down on their butts until they die? What drives them? What drives Life? The answer is quite simple and can be summed up in one word: Love.
When you move through the level of Radiance, you begin to feel is a profound sense of outward flowing Love. A selfless, pure, unconditional Love moves through you. As you learn to flow with this Love, you start to realize that it has a purpose behind it—a Will.
But here’s the thing, in my decades as a spiritual seeker, I spent maybe two days practicing in the Radiant Level (I didn’t know that was what I was doing, but there you go). So when I woke up, I was still quite the nondualist. In my first description of the Radiant level, I was calling it the Enlightenment of Passion. It was only later that the implications of Radiance (the implications of a single Intelligence) would convert me to a mystic.
Do you see how different the mystic’s perspective of Oneness is from nondual, theoretical enlightenment? As Oneness, She and you merge together and there is no longer a She nor a you—just pure Perception. But there are steps to getting to this pure state—to soften your identity from Mortal to Soul to Radiance to Oneness—and that is what this work is all about. Not enlightenment, not some mental theory, but a lived and felt Mystical Oneness.
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