What another incredible morning–another blessed gift–to awake infused with the feeling of being boundless, boundaryless, where consciousness is located outside of the personal (I/me) self and contains everything known and knowable.
And in this heightened or expanded awareness–the feeling is not of love as much as it is a feeling of emptiness, peace. There are no words here–there is just pure, raw being. Just naked being-ness–when most of the veils have been removed, there are fewer stories left to obscure absolute awareness.
I first experienced this state in 1993. I was living in a little cabin in Napa. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening–the emotional pain was excruciating as my mind had to be unwoven to allow for this expansiveness. All of the demons from my past had to be acknowledged and let go. I sought help–“I think I am going sane, but it feels real crazy getting there”–I told my psychologist. Fortunately, he was familiar with this state of being/non-being. And for 3 years he let me unravel the person I thought of as me. Never once did he offer me a new story, or suggest a solution–he just held the emptiness. And yes, it was very scary—a necessary deathing—and I felt vulnerable–a turtle without a shell in a huge ocean.
This is when I first picked up a pen and started to draw. I had fallen through the spaces between words—poetry failed me—it could no longer express the weaving and unweaving that was going on. Elemental lines, geometric shapes were my building blocks. I had been stripped down to that level. Zen tangles before Zen tangles were popular.
But eventually I had to weave a new ‘shell’ to go out into the world and get back to work. The winnowing, the removing the chaff from the grain, continued. Many things changed for me; I came to understand:
1. There is a real self, the state of awareness that contains everything that I can think, see, touch, taste, smell, feel, know—in other words—it contains this whole world. Even the way my personal I/me thinks about God is inside of this awareness. All of my emotions are inside of this awareness (like a drop of water in the ocean). The scientists exploring the world are inside of this awareness. Quantum physics is inside of this awareness.
2. There is a contracted self or personal self, which I call I/me—it has been conditioned since birth with words, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, feelings (perceptions) to believe there is a world OUT THERE and that I am in this body. The body is really just a vehicle, mostly made of emptiness. Think of all the doings that are assigned to our ‘body’—to this bag of emptiness.
3. When I am in the I/me—contracted state—when I believe that I am my body—the concepts that my mind has taught me to use, reduces most things into opposites–good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, love vs. hate, white vs. black, courage vs. fear, life vs. death, war vs. peace, male vs. female—and I am always in judgment, or choosing a side. With more expansion I have come to see that this is a dynamic of the conditioned—I/me—mind. If there was no contrast–all would be gray–no distinguishable differences. Celebrate the differences, they are temporary—but if the differences offend—pluck out your eyes—perhaps joy will be easier when you are blind to differences.
4. When awakening—when starting to make the shift—I would get glimpses of my true self (emptiness/joy/peace) and find my boundaries had disappeared. Sometimes there would be no separation between me and the object of my attention. The intimacy was alarming and I struggled to maintain some sort of subjective me. (Actually, I first felt this when I was 8 years old and the feeling of me disappeared and I inside of the girl standing next to me—I could feel her body as my body—and sensed that she didn’t like her heavy legs—or maybe I didn’t like the way her heavy legs felt as mine.)
5. What I do not fall in love (in one) with–points to a veil, a judgment, a belief that is still obscuring peace. The real self is always something experienced—unable to be grasped with concepts. The mind is not useful here.
6. Pain keeps me in a contracted—in a I/me—state and identifying with the body. If the body is a bag of emptiness—where is my pain? The I/me mind is so tricky. Pain is not felt as painful in the expanded state—it is just what is happening.
7. The I/me love is always conditional and false. Absolute awareness cannot be limited to the I/me concept of love. I/me love is contained within it. Within absolute awareness—all is equal—love and hate are both of the same God stuff. When the I/me tries to create more love, health, wealth, etc. on the I/me plane of being—the opposite is also created. Remember the I/me mind doesn’t know one without the other.
8. Desire is always on the I/me plane of existence and will keep me on the hamster wheel or swinging on the pendulum. If I/me desires wellness…then boom, my lack of peace begets lack of peace—and starts the pendulum swinging…good/bad, right/wrong yada yada yada.
9. The I/me God is contained inside of absolute awareness—and is always a personal or changing God—the God from a multitude of religions. I often refer to unchanging, absolute awareness as God—not to be confused with the I/me God.
10. There is no death—the I/me thinks I am this body, this bag of emptiness. The I/me is a story—a character playing a part in this elaborate, wonderful mystery. The very first condition or instinct that programs our mind is the ‘fear of death/drive for life’ couplet. This kept me playing the part in someone else’s story (family, society). The more you desire to live life at its fullest—the greater your fear of death. That is why awakening feels like a deathing—it keeps you away from the edge—but you must dive into this abyss to finally have the autonomy needed to fully actualize life. What if you were not afraid–ever?
11. Once mind is divested of its programming/conditioning—it continues to create—dressing in veils of its own choosing or resting in silence. The journey is never over…
I wrote all this because someone wondered where my creative ideas come from—and I answered ‘mindlessness’—then felt the need to explain–crazy mind. bjb 2015