There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

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There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:39 pm

I just want to open up this concept for discussion. Shunryu Suzuki said "There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity." I guess it depends on how high your blimp flies. Arm-wrestling with my neighbor, paying bills, cooking dinner...well some entity, some agency sure seems to be doing that stuff and it sure feels like "me." In deep meditation, though, well..."I" kind of disappear.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby rachMiel » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:02 pm

Hi Andy! :-)

Sometimes on walks through our neighborhood I focus in on a big old tree and think "That is a tree. That is not a tree. Tree. Not a tree." Both perspectives feel right.

Likewise sometimes on walks through life I think "I am real. I am not real. Real. Not real." Again, both perspectives resonate.

Ultimately (perhaps) this "I" thing is just a mirage, a dream-like expression of the all-encompassing divine. But dammit if it doesn't hurt when I slam my fist on the table ... or get a poor review from one of my students!

I love the personal essence take on self that EZFT spoke about a while back:

EnterZenFromThere wrote:There is also a functional type of ego called personal essence. It is also the individual sense of self but it does not see itself as the center of the universe and does not try and force Reality to it's will. Instead it sees Life / Consciousness as the center and sees itself as an expression of that Consciousness - a vehicle for the Divine, which it surrenders itself to. This personal essence also has likes and dislikes which make it this unique expression of Consciousness. Personal essence does not dedicate enormous effort to pressure Reality and instead allows Reality to flow through it without obstructing it - creating the experience of selfless peace and joy rather than suffering.

I feel the teaching of no ego was probably pointing to this idea of personal essence rather than being some tightly bound concept of an abstract lack of any personal experience whatsoever. As you say, there are some huge issues when adopting a rigid concept of no ego. It's possible to get in a real mess if sticking to that idea, so I think it's important we explore and share our experiences of moving from ego-centricity into personal essence.
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:39 am

"...eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it..."

Those are almost the final lines of that great move...now 25 years old.

Thanks, rach, for that fine post from Jack ...... I was so happy to see EZFT return here, and he has grown, and calmed so much. What a great summary of this "personal essence" we all have. Of course there is something unique about "us" -- David Carse suggested "Davidness" in his book "Perfect Brilliant Stillness." It is the ultimate divine paradox - the both/and paradox. The first few special moments of Unity Consciousness tend to drift away, leaving "me" with my old thought-stream and checkbook and job and family and my feet, too. And that "me" does not ever become Pure Awareness, because that "me" is defined and formed and lives in the relative world. But like Jack says, it does not need to bend the world to its wishes. When we are in conversation, working on a project, painting a wall, the Unity is there subtly saturating the experience. Nothing "becomes" pure awareness.

The "I thought" is more of a sense...an essence...a leaf in the wind. To yield is to conquer.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby ashley72 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:16 am

Andy,

As Douglas Hofstadter has said... enlightenment would be transcending Dualism. Dualism is the conceptual division of the world into categories. Human perception is by nature a dualistic phenomenon - which makes the quest for enlightenment an uphill battle to say the least.

So its not a matter of having no "me" or "I".... you can't have any categorisation at all!...Remember its called Oneness?

We can't fight anything when there is no division or border, so theoretically there are no things to fight so lasting peace supposedly.

Like Hofstadter I don't believe that enlightenment is obtainable. We as humans perceive, break things into categories... so like it or not... division of things is our worldview.


Additional info for nervous sufferers wanting to overcome their illness

But here's the good news, while enlightenment is humanly impossible.... the categories, or divisions of perception themselves are not the root cause of suffering anyway.

In relation to all things, we tend to categorise them in one of three ways.... neutral, scary or friendly. Which is a useful, because if we didn't we wouldn't survive very long when something harmful came along!

But the problem with this system of classification... is it has an inherent fault or weakness. A disorder can occur in the response mechanism... that is the nervous response itself can act as new stimulus for more of the same... increasing the heart palpitations, nervous twitch, sweaty palms or anxious thinking. This system isn't broken as such, but rather a design fault.

This disorder commonly know as the spectrum covering OCD, agoraphobia, panic cycle, PTSD or generalised anxiety...is debilitating to the sufferer.

This graphic demonstrates the breakdown.

Image

The way out is to stop treating the response of danger (heart pounding, nervous twitching, intrusive or anxious thinking) as dangerous! Because if you do, the response becomes its own stimulus and you get on the round-about of fear which can become impossible to get off.
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:18 am

Thanks, Ash!

"What goes around comes around" is a shopworn phrase. Apparently I posted on this subject back in 2010:

You are not Pure Awareness

Ok. That was a “teaser title.” But my point in this post is a big problem with language. I’m reading John Wheeler’s “The Light Behind Consciousness.” Wheeler is a direct-path guy. He repeats himself forever saying essentially “You are non-conceptual pure awareness.”

He’s not the first to assert that. Virtually all the nondual teachers do that. Even me. Even kiki. The problem has to do with the concept of “you” and the concept of “I.”

Before we had ever learned about nonduality, Zen, Advaita Vedanta, Ken Wilbur, etc., we knew about “who we were.” Yes, that is the “I-thought” and all its encumbrances such as “good at math,” “I’m a night person,” “very talky,” “like athletics,” “skilled at music,” “hate my sister,” etc.. etc…all those little pieces of egoic identity. “Comfortable in my own skin.” We know this egoic self of form. We wake up to it every morning, whether we like “our life” or not…it’s there. Little me. (Yes, ET and others constantly remind us that it’s a false self…) But for years, it was the only “self” we could identify.

Now the nondual teachers say “you are pure awareness.” The problem is this: If “I” am “pure awareness” then there is an “I” to “be something.” And we get stuck. The “little me I” is something I can talk about forever (and most of us do that with a jillion “I-thoughts” all day long.) So, if I learn today that “I” am not the little me, but “pure awarenss, Brahman, Being, Self, Source, etc.” am I both??? Both “little me” and “pure awareness?”

What is happening here is that you are not pure awareness. Pure Awareness does exist, and it is the Source of all manifestations in duality…they arise into it and from it, and you can discover that for yourself. But in that process, “little you” becomes just one of many perturbations of the field of Pure Awareness. Your identity shifts, not to a “new me” but to a “no me.” And that is the purest of paradoxes. How can an identity be “no me”???

What is going on is that all forms and details of conventional identity simply dissolve. Awareness remains, yes, but “you” are not that awareness, because there is no “you” to “be” it. The difference between Pure Awareness and the “void” of Existentialism is that once realized and appreciated, Pure Awareness is vital and alive and loving and clear. It is a spiritual experience, not a concept. But you don’t “become” it. “You” dissolve and it remains. There is a simple awareness, and that is all there is…no “you” identified with it. It remains to include all the “little me’s,” all of “time and eternity” – it is the home and source of love (yes, and perceived hate and violence, too.) I do like the term “Self” because that includes all identities.

“Little you” remains also, full of your personal quirks, and the joys of motherhood and intimacy, and the problems of employment and taxes and the environment and all of the rest of duality, like this post you are reading and thinking about. But there has been a realization of the “infinite container” of all of that, the source and the resting place. So that all the moments of suffering and joys inherent in duality are infused with the perfume of Being – and there is a protection and comfort felt also. The experience is one that is had for a first time, and again. And there is abiding there, too. But “you” don’t become a concept.
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Rob X » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:18 pm

Sighclone wrote:I just want to open up this concept for discussion. Shunryu Suzuki said "There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity." I guess it depends on how high your blimp flies. Arm-wrestling with my neighbor, paying bills, cooking dinner...well some entity, some agency sure seems to be doing that stuff and it sure feels like "me." In deep meditation, though, well..."I" kind of disappear.

Andy


Suzuki is coming from the Buddhist perspective of no self. 'No self' means no separate self. There is no self-existing (inherently existing) entity that is separate and independent of (other than) this unfolding present actuality… THUS. But this does not deny the common sense appearance of phenomenal objects including what Buddhists call the (bill paying) 'conventional self' or 'phenomenal self.'

So-called enlightenment (as discussed elsewhere) happens through the phenomenal mind-body - which is not a thing but an (dependently arising) activity of the whole/nothingness. In this understanding, enlightenment is an 'activity' of the whole. Hence "no enlightened people, only enlightened activity."
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby runstrails » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:43 am

IAndy wrote: just want to open up this concept for discussion. Shunryu Suzuki said "There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity." I guess it depends on how high your blimp flies. Arm-wrestling with my neighbor, paying bills, cooking dinner...well some entity, some agency sure seems to be doing that stuff and it sure feels like "me." In deep meditation, though, well..."I" kind of disappear.


Hi Andy,
Good topic for discussion.

The fundamental ignorance is that the human intellect (mind) superimposes the “I” on the ego. After self-knowledge, the intellect realizes that it’s true nature is limitless awareness and places the true “I” on awareness. The reason awareness is called ‘self’ in Vedanta is to reinforce that it is the true “I”. There is only one subject and that is 'you'(awareness).

But the self-realized mind also needs to function in this world and assumes the ‘role’ of the ego-I, to interact with other people.

Any wrote: In deep meditation, though, well..."I" kind of disappear.


Yes indeed! In deep meditation, the mind is very sattvic (calm and peaceful) and the ego disappears (as there is no need for it). The expansiveness/silence experienced in meditation is the reflection of the self. This reflection, is of course, also an object witnessed by the self (awareness).

Andy wrote: Shunryu Suzuki said : “There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity."


Self-knowledge reveals that there is no doer. It is seen that any ‘doing’ is done by Ishvara or God or the complex field of existence which is simply unfolding according to its laws (Newtonian, quantum etc..). The enlightened mind will always act consciously or aligned with dharma because it understands (1) that it is part of this field of existence and (2) that it's essential nature can never be affected. The mind sees that it is part of the 'whole' and therefore acts in the best interests of the 'whole".
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:10 pm

Hmmm...rach, ash, Jack, Rob X and rt...some of my favorite members here...to comment. And with such clarity and well, yes, wisdom.

I particularly like rt's refinement of the "Self" and "I." The mind's concept of "I," (Ramana's "I thought") switches from a superimposition, or identification with the ego to awareness. Recalling ET's definition of the ego being "a false self created by unconscious identification with the mind." (PON p.22.), this is important. "I" becomes "Self," not "little me."

And this new "I" is utterly nonlocal. It's kind of like a "field of awareness," that includes "you." The concept of "who I really am" morphs. "I am" becomes "am-ness" (horrible word, sorry, but possibly helpful??) Adya noticed in his "third" awakening that he was the carpet, the tree and even his sleeping wife.

So just who is typing on this keyboard now? Is it God? Or is it "little me" Andy? Or is it kiki? Or is anybody typing at all...i. e. typing is just happening without an agent?

The pure Advaitist answer is that there is no agent, no I, only the flow of the dharma of the multiverse, the impulse of Ishvara, God pouring God into God.

Fine, except that, despite 40+ years of seeking/finding/regressing/whatever, I look down and see my fingers typing away, I sit back and feel the thoughts form into language, and "Andy" becomes both a subject and an object...wow.

Kind of reminds me of Jean Klein:

You are not the doer, the thinker that rejoices and suffers. Take this for a fact and do not try to be a spectator, to be detached. The fact that you can recall your previous acts proves that you were a witness to them. So above all do not try to be a witness -- this would only be projection, and would keep you in the frame of ideas and expectations. If you accept this, a change will come about within you, probably without your even realizing it at the time it occurs.

The witness is only a crutch to bring you to understand that you are not a doer. Once you are free from doership there will be a change of axis and the energy once directed towards the object will shift to the subject aspect, to the witnessing. In the end all residues of subjectivity dissolve and the witness with them. You discover yourself as that in which the object and subject exist, but you are neither one nor the other. Then there is only living silence.”


The point here is that while there may be a transcendent silence, there is also a vibrant life to it...whoops, another paradox......

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby rachMiel » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:53 pm

Sighclone wrote:The point here is that while there may be a transcendent silence, there is also a vibrant life to it...

For me living from stillness is like living in a field of uncollapsed wave functions: teeming with potential, un-pin-downable, unstoppable. So the "stillness" is both still and moving, or neither still nor moving ... or or or ... ________________ 8)
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:45 am

uncollapsed wave functions
- lovely...the field of infinite potential. In my first Physics class at Harvard, the instructor tossed a piece of chalk in the air and it smashed onto the floor. He said "darn, that could have ended up on Mars." Of course, the probability of that event was pretty low (try -10 to the 900th power?)
My life is often not still. But there is lila in maya for sure. And not a lot of suffering. But I have been known to utter an obscenity or two at Windows 10....:-)

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby rachMiel » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:03 am

Sighclone wrote:But there is lila in maya for sure.

Can Andy come out and play?

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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:11 am

Now that looks like big fun! Can we invite Jac O'Keeffe?

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby rachMiel » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:33 pm

Andy have a little non-dual crush? ;-)
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby Sighclone » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:01 pm

She's pretty neat. Of course her husband is 6'4" - also very nice. She was asked about getting married and pooh-poohed it for several years. And, of course, I'm already married to a lady from Dublin!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
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Re: There is no "I" to be "Pure Awareness"

Postby rachMiel » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:34 pm

Your spouses won't mind ... they know that we are all one, right? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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