Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

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Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:48 am

Full disclosure: I have shitty days and behave childishly sometimes. They are rare moments, rarer than ten years ago. And I’ve seen “egoic behavior” (my diagnosis) from famous teachers, who make various claims to having awakened. And I’m going to make a similar statement: I had a BSE. A “Big Spiritual Experience” in 2008. And smaller ones earlier that I recognize only now; there was no reference frame…even with 35 years of TM. One time I was driving and had to pull over because I had merged with the mountains I was driving through. It was an experience of seamlessness, from my deepest “inner body place” to the big mountains. All one, real simple. And then I kept driving and the sensation passed as a bunch of thoughts resumed their big serial flow – I did not recognize what happened - I had no conceptual context.

When our egos got built (and mine had over 60 years to develop), lots of “autopilot functions” also formed. I read a management book once that encouraged bosses to listen to themselves. It’s a good exercise for everyone, especially those on a presumed “spiritual path” (even if many say there is not one.) It’s worthwhile because you get to hear the programmed autopilot plugging away. And because “the Witness” is energized. “The Witness” is simply a name given to a condition of self-awareness available to everyone. Jean Klein talked about it at length. It can be kind of scary at first. It’s a step away from ego, towards Unity, but does not often get that label, especially in the conventional counselor’s office. At first, you cannot be spontaneous for long with the Witness running…but after a while, like a good actor in a role he or she has played many times, there is a level of awareness that is separate from personal action. Except when we are with someone we totally trust, we modulate our conversations, usually with the ego in charge. The ego is “running the show”…the Wizard of me. But the Witness is the fly on the wall. And you can practice being that fly.

So you have a BSE, a kensho, maybe several and maybe you are regularly Present, and there is much less suffering in your life. I hope that Eckhart and the many other teachers are contributing to these personal “shifts” in many people. And your family and friends may notice small changes; that is likely. But, in my opinion, none of your evolution will end forever all your quirks and habits that may allow or simulate apparent egoic behavior. I do not believe personal styles and “personalities” change very much.

On a different subject, the process of waking up also begins to unearth many unconscious patterns, and bring them into conscious awareness. A couple of years ago Envy surfaced for me, big time. But I had my Witness hat on, and rather than becoming envious, and letting that big old egoic stimulant fire up, I just observed the sensation as it sputtered around in the cauldron of Presence. I recalled my parents and peers and television and society and marveled at how deep and unconscious and powerful it was. I also recalled the modest homes of sweet people I had known, and how loving the envy-free ambience was. Other deep personal judgements arose and continue to surface, now, too. On Adyashanti’s website, check out interview #64 with Bonnie Greenwell…he goes on about his first couple of years after waking up. When something deep from the past would surface, he would duck into a coffee shop and reflect on old patterns and their power. Expanding awareness includes finding skeletons in hidden closets.

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: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Rob X » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:03 pm

Nice post Andy, thanks for sharing.

Yes, after realisation, some of our more obsessive and neurotic traits may fall away but many of our quirks, habits and inclinations will continue to play out in what is, inescapably, a biologically conditioned organism. Biological limitations are not in some way bypassed - why would they be - the central nervous system and neurological processing remain intact. Aversions and discomforts DO arise - they can be understood as the functioning of the universe, i.e. they are not ultimately personal.

I have always found it difficult to appreciate the connection between the realisation of the truth of our situation and sainthood. If there is a seeing through of separation and a felt-sense recognition of this spontaneous event of existence then the existential insecurity which is the driver behind much of our negativity and clinging seems to lessen. I'm suspicious of claims that go much beyond that.
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:09 pm

Rob X wrote:
I have always found it difficult to appreciate the connection between the realisation of the truth of our situation and sainthood. If there is a seeing through of separation and a felt-sense recognition of this spontaneous event of existence then the existential insecurity which is the driver behind much of our negativity and clinging seems to lessen. I'm suspicious of claims that go much beyond that.



I managed to wade through much of Being and Nothingness by Sartre a few years ago and was struck by how clearly he expresses the concept of Emptiness, reaching it from neti neti, and leaves us, as such academic arguments must, with the anomie and fear of The Void. And then it's over. Just The Void remains. Missing the "felt-sense" of the wonder and brilliance, absent at least some kind of experience of awakening, Sartre is totally right on. The Source is Empty and without form. But the experience of Presence is completely fulfilling. Maybe he just smoked too much... :wink:

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: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Rob X » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:27 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Rob X wrote:
I have always found it difficult to appreciate the connection between the realisation of the truth of our situation and sainthood. If there is a seeing through of separation and a felt-sense recognition of this spontaneous event of existence then the existential insecurity which is the driver behind much of our negativity and clinging seems to lessen. I'm suspicious of claims that go much beyond that.



I managed to wade through much of Being and Nothingness by Sartre a few years ago and was struck by how clearly he expresses the concept of Emptiness, reaching it from neti neti, and leaves us, as such academic arguments must, with the anomie and fear of The Void. And then it's over. Just The Void remains. Missing the "felt-sense" of the wonder and brilliance, absent at least some kind of experience of awakening, Sartre is totally right on. The Source is Empty and without form. But the experience of Presence is completely fulfilling. Maybe he just smoked too much... :wink:

Andy


Kudos for getting through "much of" Being and Nothingness. I had a copy when I was at art school in the 70s - I never got past the introduction never mind the following 700 pages. :D
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby rachMiel » Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:41 pm

> “The Witness” is ... a step away from ego, towards Unity.

I've tried the witness approach many times over several decades ... and almost without exception it didn't "work."

My problem with witnessing is that it (feels like it) creates a barrier between the experiencer (me) and the experience. This barrier intrudes on the experience, makes it feel clinical, like a specimen to be observed, rather than a free-flowing phenomenon to be experienced fully, unimpededly. It's as if I had a presence on my shoulder watching everything I thought and did. Creepy! I (very) much prefer just thinking and doing, directly, in flow, with no barriers or blocks or extraneous activities like self observing.

So, for me, witnessing feels like a step away from the experience of unity, rather than towards it.

Whatcha think, boys?
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:07 pm

Eckhart talks about separating thinking from Being. (ANE, various places.) My mention of the Witness here is just other teachers' terminology (and my experience) for the same event. It is absolutely not the final recognition of Unity. In fact, Jean Klein said "do not fornicate with the Witness." But, in my post, I called on it to label a condition of consciousness that serves to illuminate the unconscious behaviors of the ego and personality. Not the endgame, by any means.

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: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Rob X » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:14 pm

rachMiel wrote:My problem with witnessing is that it (feels like it) creates a barrier between the experiencer (me) and the experience. This barrier intrudes on the experience, makes it feel clinical, like a specimen to be observed, rather than a free-flowing phenomenon to be experienced fully, unimpededly. It's as if I had a presence on my shoulder watching everything I thought and did. Creepy! I (very) much prefer just thinking and doing, directly, in flow, with no barriers or blocks or extraneous activities like self observing.

So, for me, witnessing feels like a step away from the experience of unity, rather than towards it.

Whatcha think, boys?


It's not a phrase that I use but in my understanding witnessing is just another name for being present with experience. It's the sense that arises when it is realised that whatever is happening is simply a spontaneous impersonal occurrence. The moment we are thinking 'I need to witness' then we are back to referencing a 'me' that must perform some task. So yes, then it becomes labored, self-conscious and, perhaps, creepy.

But then… in the recognition that that too is simply the spontaneous flow of events, witnessing happens automatically.

 
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby rachMiel » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:04 pm

So are you saying that when one is in flow, utterly "into" whatever is happening without a sense of subject/object division, that that is "witnessing?"

For example, let's say you are skiing down a narrow trail at twilight on an icy slope and are deeply in flow (If you weren't, you might fly into a tree at 30 mph) ... is this witnessing?

Or, if I am in flow with a thought, the thought that is enabling me to write this sentence ... is that witnessing?

It's being in flow without a sense of subject/object division that I really love, not in a state of observing myself loving the flow. Get what I mean?
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:15 pm

It's not a phrase that I use but in my understanding witnessing is just another name for being present with experience. It's the sense that arises when it is realised that whatever is happening is simply a spontaneous impersonal occurrence. The moment we are thinking 'I need to witness' then we are back to referencing a 'me' that must perform some task. So yes, then it becomes labored, self-conscious and, perhaps, creepy.

But then… in the recognition that that too is simply the spontaneous flow of events, witnessing happens automatically.

 


Spot on, Rob. The only possible time we might feel "I need to witness" is when we are suffering, i.e. when the old ego has grabbed the wheel. Eckhart talks a lot about being Present under stress, and also reminds us that we are simply consciousness anyway, so when anything arises into awareness that is stressful, might as well just Be there and let it flow through. One of the important messages in nonduality (and in other therapeutic modalities) is the necessity to not resist discomfort, particularly psychological discomfort -- just let it be. I think "the Witness" is simply a noun applied to Being, in reflection. "I can just Be with this" = Witnessing. Adyashanti refers to "witnessing from the inside," which is to say it is not a dryly disengaged spook. There is a quality of "spacious intimacy" that can welcome whatever arises.

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: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:25 pm

It's being in flow without a sense of subject/object division that I really love, not in a state of observing myself loving the flow. Get what I mean?


Czikszentmihalyi started the discussion on the concept of "Flow" in 1990. I think there is a subtle difference in the experience of Flow vs. the Witness. In witnessing, there is a witness and an object - yup that's a duality. But there is a duality also implied in ETs creating a space around tense thoughts and feelings. As I said, the Witness is not completion. "Flow" introduces the "task positive network" (the skier, totally absorbed in his/her descent, the freehand mountain climber, etc.) It is a neurological pattern in the brain (less ACC, more MCC or something...) that is distinct from the constant flow of self-referential thoughts in the default mode network...all pretty new discoveries.

Unity Consciousness dissolves the witness/object duality. Happens to me now and then. And I think it's also going on in pure Flow, but that's just my opinion.

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: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby rachMiel » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:18 pm

Unity consciousness ... I really like that term, it isn't tinged with New Agey (or some strands of Neo-Advaitan) quasi-mystical fluff. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Assuming I understand it correctly, I'd say unity consciousness does happen in deep flow. When the mind is engaged fully in an activity, there is no brain processing power left over to split the world into self/other.
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby rachMiel » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:27 pm

Sighclone wrote:I think "the Witness" is simply a noun applied to Being, in reflection. "I can just Be with this" = Witnessing.

What does "in reflection" mean? What's the difference between just being, and being in reflection?
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Sighclone » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:45 am

By saying "in reflection" I guess I was trying to say that it is easier to say "I Witnessed" rather than "I Was," or whatever the past tense of the word Being might be. "I was Being???" "I Was?" But you have me thinking about this, so the rest of this post is sort of free-associated ... an important question is, of course "who witnesses?" Subject and object are separate, so this is not complete awakening. I think it's fair to say, in my experience, thinking back, I can recall when I was witnessing myself in action (the thrust of the original post). I can also recall moments when I was "very present" (ET uses that concept) with others in tense situations. I guess I'm using The Witness more as an experience of being present with one's own ego...thanks for the question....

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: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby Rob X » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:51 pm

We can be participating in seemingly dualistic activities and simply have a felt-sense recognition that this too - is nothing other than the spontaneous happening of the moment. That is what I would call witnessing. There is not me and activity - there is simply THIS as it presents itself. This is how I understand it but it may differ from other definitions. This is what Ramana calls the natural state.
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Re: Innocent patterns: The Ego after Awakening

Postby rachMiel » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:46 pm

Sighclone wrote:I guess I'm using The Witness more as an experience of being present with one's own ego...

Unless I'm misreading this, it implies that there are two things involved: an ego and an entity present with this ego.

I think this is a good way to learn, analytically, about how the ego works. But it's a dualistic way to live, right?

I think about golf. When you practice, you analyze, divide into swinger and club, ball, physics, etc. But when you step out on the course, you simply play golf.
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