Orion

Life after Awakening

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I have been contemplating this for some months now and it would be nice to get feedback from the community, whether it's scholarly, experiential, or just friendly advice.

 

I'm feeling kind of existentially frustrated right now, having Realized some major things, but also getting the sense that the process is incomplete. I just wanted to preface this by saying that I'm trying my best to put words to embodied feelings, so it may seem like mind, but the sensations come from a centered, embodied experience and then get translated by mind.

 

For me, the embodied sense of emptiness doesn't change with the circumstances anymore. I've felt this way in the midst of some of the highest points of my life, and the lowest. I just wasn't able to put words to the awareness until recently. (This year I had a near death experience and extremely intense suffering which catalyzed the process further.) Whenever suffering gets too intense or happiness gets too extreme, something within me caves in, and I come right back to center, to ground zero, to total presence and awareness. It happens to a lesser extent in other circumstances but even in the midst of passion, I find myself stopping and feeling this embodied sensation of, "What's really happening here? Why am I doing this?" (I'm phrasing it as a thought, but it's a body feeling.) It's like my consciousness can no longer get carried away with idle distractions, even ones that I actively seek. Something in me ceases to believe in what's happening, I unattach, and then go right back to emptiness. It's almost as though people, places, and situations are constantly causing me to suspend my belief and look more deeply, in a very autonomous way. I have some background in psychology and at first I was concerned I might be dissociating, but it turns to such razor sharp focus, presence and clarity that I have ruled that out. For some people, the more intense a situation gets, the more they tune it out... for me it's the opposite, the more intense it gets the more real it becomes and the more the truth is revealed. Maybe it's because intensity suspends all stories and narratives and causes total presence. If it weren't for the crystal clarity of these moments, I would have given up on myself as being insane a long time ago.

There are definitely people who abdicate participation in life by spending too much time dwelling on nihilism, or using emptiness as a means to obliterate themselves. For me, it works a bit differently. No matter if I'm enjoying myself and feeling passion, or having the worst day ever, I find it hard to put my belief 100% into anything. I could be fully engaged in "self" and all its machinations, only to be pulled back out of it a moment later. I know everything's temporary and that's not what stops me; what stops me is that having a belief seems like a distraction from the truth. It's as though every story or narrative a person holds about the truth is what stands between them and the real truth. I'd rather not identify with anything. It's not a rationale or a method to excuse lack of productivity or direction. I feel it is pure truth of the situation incarnate. No matter if I'm happy or sad I'm still experiencing it. "It" never changes. It's totally seamless.

Now here's where I'm at. I've connected with some others around the world who understand what I'm saying. For some reason they are able to move into a state of pure joy and bliss after realizing "it", but that hasn't clicked for me. I still only see the pointlessness (not in a depressed way, but in a temporal way). I have so much love and compassion for other people and living things, but it doesn't negate that I feel like having to live this life and involve myself in material world tasks seems pointless. Again, I'm not saying I'm above it or anything. I still work, pay bills, etc... I just mean, I dunno... how do you move forward when you see things as they really are, when all stories and all choices seem like narratives? How can I choose another mask to wear when the mask has already been removed?

 

The truth that I feel in the meat and understand without equivocation is that whatever's happening is just what's happening. There's no "trying", just awareness observing arising and dissolving. How this plays out in my life is that suffering doesn't end, it just becomes yet another transient state, like happiness, depression, joy, lust, etc. They are all empty states. It is total freedom and so there's no point in "trying" to be anything within it, as there's no "you" doing it.

 

What I'm having trouble reconciling is that there still seems to be another level to this which I am yet to experience, while at the same time levels seem superfluous. I've met others who are awakened in this manner, but somehow it brings them such joy and bliss. For me the experience is bittersweet... all the pain in the world is beyond my control and so is all the joy. I can free myself of extraneous identities on the one hand which is totally liberating, but on the other hand it's like I am watching an ocean of waves arising and dissolving and all I can do is let it flow through me without trying to grasp. So where is this bliss in that? I don't get how these realized people feel so great about reality. Are they merely making a choice with their freedom, to be happy? Or what's the deal? I'm kind of in this lull of pointlessness despite a life that has the potential to be otherwise meaningful, but I can't get beyond the pointlessness.

 

I hope this makes some kind of sense. Thank you for reading.

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How long has it been like this? From what I have read what you describe can be a stage, where all the old motivations fall away and there is a kind of emptiness and pointlessness to everything, but some time later a greater motivation kicks in. 

 

But even after awakening there can a lot of left over beliefs and conditioning to work through, which can filter your experience. To say that there should be bliss is to put a condition on freedom, so it is just another belief that there should be bliss, real freedom means that there are no shoulds and anything can happen.

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Having an experience of awakening is relatively simple and commonplace in the grand scheme of the Great Work.  However, fulfilling the potential which it opens up is a different animal entirely.  Even non-cultivators and non-practicioners may have an experience of awakening, although they usually write it off or try to forget about it.  

 

Being awake is another story.  Its not supported by society for the most part (in fact its more often reviled), so dont expect people to give a shit about it.  However the main issue is the re-deployment of all your life's energy into the direction of being awake - as opposed to the direction of mainstream society.  This is really no small matter, because even if you make a "decision" to pursue self-cultivation and inner work, you must overcome the conditioning which you have taken on while growing up in our society - not to mention the other psychological issues resulting in reactions to this conditioning, and so forth.

 

Its not like driving a car, more like sailing in a boat.  You ride the winds.  You may want to say "NO! I want to go in that direction now!!" but the rest of your circumstances may not support it, and in fact it might take a HUGE, MASSIVE amount of effort for you to reclaim and reroute the energy that you currently employ to keep your internal and external status-quo alive.  In other words, many years of hard work.

 

Awakened people did not arrive at being awake instantly, all at once, forever.  It doesnt work like that.  There are cycles and revolutions and openings and closings.  There is a transformational process that takes place within time and space in regards to these human bodies.  Around here, it is most often referred to in the sense of internal alchemy - however this idea of the Magnum Opus, the Great Work - it is the universal pursuit of life itself.  In terms of the human species, their dissonance and lack of alignment with such a universal truth at a global level gives you an indication of the difficulty of such work in this place and time.

 

You have encountered the reality of "free will".  This is no small matter.  It is akin to the idea of the blue pill and the red pill in the Matrix movies.  The old Tiger of Turkestan gave a lecture about this once:

 

First you must decide: is the Way necessary for you or not? How are you to begin to find this out? If you are serious, you must change your point of view, you must think in a new way, you must find your possible aim. This you cannot do alone, you must call on a friend who can help you‚ÄĒeveryone can help‚ÄĒbut especially two friends can help each other to revalue their values.

 

It is very difficult to be sincere all at once, but, if you try, you will improve gradually. When you can be sincere, I can show you, or help you to see, the things you are afraid of, and you will find what is necessary and useful for yourself. These values really can change. Your mind can change every day, but your essence stays as it is.

 

But there is a risk. Even this preparation of the mind gives results. Occasionally a man may feel with his essence something which is very bad for him, or at least for his peace of mind. He has already tasted something and, though he forgets, it may return. If it is very strong, your associations will keep reminding you of it and, if it is intense, you will be half in one place and half in another, and you will never be quite comfortable. This is good only if a man has a real possibility of change, and the chance of changing. People can be very unhappy, neither fish nor flesh nor herring. It is a serious risk.

 

Before you think of changing your seat you would be wise to consider very carefully and take a good look at both kinds of chairs. Happy is the man who sits in his ordinary chair. A thousand times happier is the man who sits in the chair of the angels, but miserable is the man who has no chair. You must decide‚ÄĒis it worthwhile? Examine the chairs, revalue your values. The first aim is to forget all about everything else, talk to your friend, study and examine the chairs. But I warn you, when you start looking you will find much that is bad in your present chair.

 

Next time, if you have made up your mind what you are going to decide about your life, I can talk differently on this subject. Try to see yourself, for you do not know yourself. You must realize this risk; the man who tries to see himself can be very unhappy, for he will see much that is bad, much that he will wish to change‚ÄĒand that change is very difficult. It is easy to start, but, once you have given up your chair, it is very difficult to get another, and it may cause great unhappiness.

 

Everyone knows the gnawings of remorse. Now your conscience is relative, but when you change your values you will have to stop lying to yourself. When you have seen one thing, it is much easier to see another, and it is more difficult to shut your eyes. You must either stop looking or be willing to take risks.

 

The way G uses the idea of a "chair" is not just as a simple symbol.  It refers to the resting state.  When you decide to embark on the path, the way - you give up your resting state in ignorance and become restless in the search for the real as opposed to the unreal.  It is certainly possible to find the real, complete the Great Work, recover the philosopher's stone and have the real rest of nirvana - but it is also possible to remain restless, and never find the real, and thus "die like a dog" as G put it.

 

This is akin to the idea that "ignorance is bliss", because it is.  Its not ananda, i.e. real bliss - but its a close enough approximation in the way it "completes" a person.  In the indian traditions people are sometimes described as being "awake" to ignorance and "asleep" to reality - whereas the state of samadhi is described as being "awake" to reality and "asleep" to ignorance.  However, while journeying between them it is possible to be neither "awake" nor "asleep", and thus have no rest AND no motivation.  This is one of the reasons the spiritual path is sometimes considered "dangerous". 

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However the main issue is the re-deployment of all your life's energy into the direction of being awake - as opposed to the direction of mainstream society.  This is really no small matter' date=' because even if you make a "decision" to pursue self-cultivation and inner work, you must overcome the conditioning which you have taken on while growing up in our society - not to mention the other psychological issues resulting in reactions to this conditioning, and so forth.[/quote']

 

To what end?

 

I mean, what is the point of "trying" to be awake? Why is this better than that?

 

 

I promise I'm not trying to be clever, I'm serious.

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There are various notions of attainment. Sometimes ideas about them just end up looking like a bunch of meaningless words to me.

The clincher, at least personally, is the Buddhist teaching of the two obscurations: that actual attainment is when there are no negative emotions whatsoever, and the notion of self vs not-self doesn't bind you. That gives us a good and safe barometer for attainment. Do I have negative emotions and suffering? Yep...not attained!

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I have been contemplating this for some months now and it would be nice to get feedback from the community, whether it's scholarly, experiential, or just friendly advice.

 

I'm feeling kind of existentially frustrated right now, having Realized some major things, but also getting the sense that the process is incomplete. I just wanted to preface this by saying that I'm trying my best to put words to embodied feelings, so it may seem like mind, but the sensations come from a centered, embodied experience and then get translated by mind.

 

For me, the embodied sense of emptiness doesn't change with the circumstances anymore. I've felt this way in the midst of some of the highest points of my life, and the lowest. I just wasn't able to put words to the awareness until recently. (This year I had a near death experience and extremely intense suffering which catalyzed the process further.) Whenever suffering gets too intense or happiness gets too extreme, something within me caves in, and I come right back to center, to ground zero, to total presence and awareness. It happens to a lesser extent in other circumstances but even in the midst of passion, I find myself stopping and feeling this embodied sensation of, "What's really happening here? Why am I doing this?" (I'm phrasing it as a thought, but it's a body feeling.) It's like my consciousness can no longer get carried away with idle distractions, even ones that I actively seek. Something in me ceases to believe in what's happening, I unattach, and then go right back to emptiness. It's almost as though people, places, and situations are constantly causing me to suspend my belief and look more deeply, in a very autonomous way. I have some background in psychology and at first I was concerned I might be dissociating, but it turns to such razor sharp focus, presence and clarity that I have ruled that out. For some people, the more intense a situation gets, the more they tune it out... for me it's the opposite, the more intense it gets the more real it becomes and the more the truth is revealed. Maybe it's because intensity suspends all stories and narratives and causes total presence. If it weren't for the crystal clarity of these moments, I would have given up on myself as being insane a long time ago.

 

There are definitely people who abdicate participation in life by spending too much time dwelling on nihilism, or using emptiness as a means to obliterate themselves. For me, it works a bit differently. No matter if I'm enjoying myself and feeling passion, or having the worst day ever, I find it hard to put my belief 100% into anything. I could be fully engaged in "self" and all its machinations, only to be pulled back out of it a moment later. I know everything's temporary and that's not what stops me; what stops me is that having a belief seems like a distraction from the truth. It's as though every story or narrative a person holds about the truth is what stands between them and the real truth. I'd rather not identify with anything. It's not a rationale or a method to excuse lack of productivity or direction. I feel it is pure truth of the situation incarnate. No matter if I'm happy or sad I'm still experiencing it. "It" never changes. It's totally seamless.

 

Now here's where I'm at. I've connected with some others around the world who understand what I'm saying. For some reason they are able to move into a state of pure joy and bliss after realizing "it", but that hasn't clicked for me. I still only see the pointlessness (not in a depressed way, but in a temporal way). I have so much love and compassion for other people and living things, but it doesn't negate that I feel like having to live this life and involve myself in material world tasks seems pointless. Again, I'm not saying I'm above it or anything. I still work, pay bills, etc... I just mean, I dunno... how do you move forward when you see things as they really are, when all stories and all choices seem like narratives? How can I choose another mask to wear when the mask has already been removed?

 

The truth that I feel in the meat and understand without equivocation is that whatever's happening is just what's happening. There's no "trying", just awareness observing arising and dissolving. How this plays out in my life is that suffering doesn't end, it just becomes yet another transient state, like happiness, depression, joy, lust, etc. They are all empty states. It is total freedom and so there's no point in "trying" to be anything within it, as there's no "you" doing it.

 

What I'm having trouble reconciling is that there still seems to be another level to this which I am yet to experience, while at the same time levels seem superfluous. I've met others who are awakened in this manner, but somehow it brings them such joy and bliss. For me the experience is bittersweet... all the pain in the world is beyond my control and so is all the joy. I can free myself of extraneous identities on the one hand which is totally liberating, but on the other hand it's like I am watching an ocean of waves arising and dissolving and all I can do is let it flow through me without trying to grasp. So where is this bliss in that? I don't get how these realized people feel so great about reality. Are they merely making a choice with their freedom, to be happy? Or what's the deal? I'm kind of in this lull of pointlessness despite a life that has the potential to be otherwise meaningful, but I can't get beyond the pointlessness.

 

I hope this makes some kind of sense. Thank you for reading.

My friendly advice is to lighten up. Play doesn't always need to have a point. Sometimes there is no point, and that's the beauty of it.

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Sounds like some depressive traits are still lingering on in your experience.

 

I wonder whether hanging out / interacting with the bliss people more would help to experience more bliss?

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To what end?

 

I mean, what is the point of "trying" to be awake? Why is this better than that?

 

I promise I'm not trying to be clever, I'm serious.

 

Only you can answer this question for yourself.  It is a choice, not a necessity.  Mother nature and the rest of the world have absolutely no need for you to awaken.  Everything will be perfectly fine with the rest of existence no matter what you decide.

 

It is good to regard this seriously because I think many people jump into practices of self-cultivation and awakening in a willy-nilly and quite superficial way, for various common reasons: health, beauty, socializing, etc.  But the core of such practice is to bring about a lifestyle which is actually quite radical in comparison to the life of the average person, especially in the modern western world.  It is challenging to say the least, but that is the point.

 

If you are at this point where you question the validity of the path, then I would say you are most certainly still not on it.  Once you truly begin, there really is no going back - and mostly that has to do with the internal conviction and motivation you receive from your own personal experience, rather than some sort of external rule dealing with doom and gloom (although there may be a bit of that just coming to terms with the reality of death).  In other words, you still have a choice in the matter, its not a "do or die" situation for you - which is what happens when you are truly on the path.

 

Yes, if I was you I would take some time to contemplate the decision to further pursue these things.  The time for action will come after you are resolved in your decisions, whatever they may be.

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Only you can answer this question for yourself.  It is a choice, not a necessity.  Mother nature and the rest of the world have absolutely no need for you to awaken.  Everything will be perfectly fine with the rest of existence no matter what you decide.

 

It is good to regard this seriously because I think many people jump into practices of self-cultivation and awakening in a willy-nilly and quite superficial way, for various common reasons: health, beauty, socializing, etc.  But the core of such practice is to bring about a lifestyle which is actually quite radical in comparison to the life of the average person, especially in the modern western world.  It is challenging to say the least, but that is the point.

 

If you are at this point where you question the validity of the path, then I would say you are most certainly still not on it.  Once you truly begin, there really is no going back - and mostly that has to do with the internal conviction and motivation you receive from your own personal experience, rather than some sort of external rule dealing with doom and gloom (although there may be a bit of that just coming to terms with the reality of death).  In other words, you still have a choice in the matter, its not a "do or die" situation for you - which is what happens when you are truly on the path.

 

Yes, if I was you I would take some time to contemplate the decision to further pursue these things.  The time for action will come after you are resolved in your decisions, whatever they may be.

 

I appreciate everything you've said. The part in bold doesn't really resonate with what I'm experiencing. It doesn't seem like there's much choice at this point given everything that has already happened. Questioning the path doesn't mean the path has been avoided anymore than merely talking about something is invalidating it. We're just conversing, as far as I can tell.

 

Also, respectfully, it's not for you to determine who is or isn't on the path, or whose experience is true or not. That's not why I made my OP. I was trying to seek some kind of delineation for my experience based on people's feedback, to determine if there are "levels" to this. It doesn't seem to me that there are any real "shoulds" here, just experiences.

 

Thanks for your replies.

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Sounds like some depressive traits are still lingering on in your experience.

 

I wonder whether hanging out / interacting with the bliss people more would help to experience more bliss?

 

I'm not sure that seeking bliss, or trying to be in any particular state, is useful. A lot of people here are asserting that bliss and full conviction are part of realization and that's essentially what I am questioning. I've met many high level people in my life but never any that are blissed out 24/7. I've definitely experienced blissed out, oneness states at many points along the path, but they're temporary like anything else. I'm not convinced that awakening is synonymous with bliss or even the end of pain, which is an integral part of the human condition. It's more about how consciousness interprets pain, or doesn't. We read a lot of stories about such figures in scriptural and doctrinal texts but when it's pointed out that practically no one "is there" the excuse is generally that we live in a degenerate age and that's the reason why. That seems like a tired refrain. Yes, surely there are many distractions in the modern world but it's not like the nature of samsara has ever changed from thousands of years ago to now. The inner work is the same.

 

It's also apparent that there's no real formula. I question if any ingredient is "necessary", not out of laziness but out of earnestness. When you ask most people what enlightenment is, all they can tell you is what it is not, or quote what someone else said about it. These responses via negativa show that nobody can know as it's beyond mind. Awakening and enlightenment (if there is such a thing) are surely spontaneous. It's hard to judge a person's experience as not being "on the path" when each person is already living their enlightened life, with ostensibly all the ingredients to become awake to their own presence. All roads can lead to Rome, I gather, but not all roads look remotely the same. I was just trying to gauge where I might be at with things but perhaps it was a mistake to try and information-gather in this way. People will read my words and have their own self-reflections about them. I guess my mistake was in trying to look for an external understanding that I could grasp onto in a state where there's obviously no point in grasping.

 

What the grasping mind keeps wanting to ask is, "What is the point?", and I suppose the answer is, "There is no point." If some part of me is having trouble accepting that, then perhaps that's where the remainder of the work resides.

 

Sorry btw if my posts seem curt, it's just how I come across online as I'm not the greatest wordsmith. My real time voice is a lot different. Please feel free to cross examine, etc... I welcome debate and disagreement.

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This is a good discussion that you have started.  I have inserted my comments after each section of quotes.....

 

For me, the embodied sense of emptiness doesn't change with the circumstances anymore. I've felt this way in the midst of some of the highest points of my life, and the lowest. I just wasn't able to put words to the awareness until recently. (This year I had a near death experience and extremely intense suffering which catalyzed the process further.) Whenever suffering gets too intense or happiness gets too extreme, something within me caves in, and I come right back to center, to ground zero, to total presence and awareness. It happens to a lesser extent in other circumstances but even in the midst of passion, I find myself stopping and feeling this embodied sensation of, "What's really happening here? Why am I doing this?" (I'm phrasing it as a thought, but it's a body feeling.) It's like my consciousness can no longer get carried away with idle distractions, even ones that I actively seek. Something in me ceases to believe in what's happening, I unattach, and then go right back to emptiness. It's almost as though people, places, and situations are constantly causing me to suspend my belief and look more deeply, in a very autonomous way. I have some background in psychology and at first I was concerned I might be dissociating, but it turns to such razor sharp focus, presence and clarity that I have ruled that out. For some people, the more intense a situation gets, the more they tune it out... for me it's the opposite, the more intense it gets the more real it becomes and the more the truth is revealed. Maybe it's because intensity suspends all stories and narratives and causes total presence. If it weren't for the crystal clarity of these moments, I would have given up on myself as being insane a long time ago.

I do not think this is "dis associating" as a mentally traumatized person would do.  But, it does feel similar to that.  Just like all experiences,  there is a period of  arising,  a period of  plateau (or sustaining),  and a period of  cessation.   I have come across the words  "dark night of the soul",  as  a phase that one must go through.   Have  you looked into that ?  I am not saying that you are going through one,  but just that it maybe something that you need to be aware of.

 

 


There are definitely people who abdicate participation in life by spending too much time dwelling on nihilism, or using emptiness as a means to obliterate themselves. For me, it works a bit differently. No matter if I'm enjoying myself and feeling passion, or having the worst day ever, I find it hard to put my belief 100% into anything. I could be fully engaged in "self" and all its machinations, only to be pulled back out of it a moment later. I know everything's temporary and that's not what stops me; what stops me is that having a belief seems like a distraction from the truth. It's as though every story or narrative a person holds about the truth is what stands between them and the real truth. I'd rather not identify with anything. It's not a rationale or a method to excuse lack of productivity or direction. I feel it is pure truth of the situation incarnate. No matter if I'm happy or sad I'm still experiencing it. "It" never changes. It's totally seamless.

I would like further clarification  on your statements above,  even though i understand what you mean.  Does the above imply that you  "stay in  awareness of  1)your body,  2)body sensations, 3)mind and 4)mental constructs"  all the time ? If not (as my guess is),  How frequently you come back to the state of awaress of the above 4 or part thereof ?

 


Now here's where I'm at. I've connected with some others around the world who understand what I'm saying. For some reason they are able to move into a state of pure joy and bliss after realizing "it", but that hasn't clicked for me. I still only see the pointlessness (not in a depressed way, but in a temporal way). I have so much love and compassion for other people and living things, but it doesn't negate that I feel like having to live this life and involve myself in material world tasks seems pointless. Again, I'm not saying I'm above it or anything. I still work, pay bills, etc... I just mean, I dunno... how do you move forward when you see things as they really are, when all stories and all choices seem like narratives? How can I choose another mask to wear when the mask has already been removed?

I do not think paying attention to the presence or  lack of  bliss  is useful in any way.  I wondered about this for a while, and then i let it go.  I concluded that it has to do with  the past  sankara (karma)  of  each  individual.  You have already pointed out in later post that no one can stay in bliss 24x7.   Bliss is a state of mind, and it arises and passes like all other mental states.

 

The truth that I feel in the meat and understand without equivocation is that whatever's happening is just what's happening. There's no "trying", just awareness observing arising and dissolving. How this plays out in my life is that suffering doesn't end, it just becomes yet another transient state, like happiness, depression, joy, lust, etc. They are all empty states. It is total freedom and so there's no point in "trying" to be anything within it, as there's no "you" doing it.

The realization  you have pointed out here is profound, and there are levels to all realizations, IMHO.   There is no  I, no SELF, no  ME,  no  MINE.   This  realization goes deeper and deeper  until  Enlightenment, when  the most subtle  traces  of  I/ME/SELF   get destroyed.   We can talk more about this  point in PM, if you wish.

 

What I'm having trouble reconciling is that there still seems to be another level to this which I am yet to experience, while at the same time levels seem superfluous. I've met others who are awakened in this manner, but somehow it brings them such joy and bliss. For me the experience is bittersweet... all the pain in the world is beyond my control and so is all the joy. I can free myself of extraneous identities on the one hand which is totally liberating, but on the other hand it's like I am watching an ocean of waves arising and dissolving and all I can do is let it flow through me without trying to grasp. So where is this bliss in that? I don't get how these realized people feel so great about reality. Are they merely making a choice with their freedom, to be happy? Or what's the deal? I'm kind of in this lull of pointlessness despite a life that has the potential to be otherwise meaningful, but I can't get beyond the pointlessness.

 

I hope this makes some kind of sense. Thank you for reading.

 

I would venture to say  that the state you have realized is actually  higher than "bliss/joy state of mind"  which is transient.  What you are describing  is ever present  undertone  of  equanimity and subtle  tranquility of mind - an undertone to all life experiences.  For example, you can sense that it is present even when you are watching a movie or when you are fucking someone.  Does it rear its head  every  now and then, interrupting the "show"  that is going on in your life ?  (correct me if my description is wrong).  Please  describe  your level  of  dis-association,  your level of  awareness  as you go through daily life.

 

Another useful thread i participated in (Awakening Vs Enlightenment) points out that the word  "awakening" is being abused in west.  Read  that thread for details.  The first post by  "9th"  correctly points out that  Being awake  is  totally different from getting  "initial glimpses into the path, into the truth".   A lot of us get initial  glimpses into various states of mind.  But, integrating  those  states of mind that we have found into  our daily  lives  requires  lot of work.  Most are not willing or capable of putting in the work needed to integrate the truth into our daily  life.  "Awakening to the path or truth"   is easy, but  "Being awake"  is profoundly  high state that is reached, usually after  many years of  hard work.    For now, i suggest  that you throw out the word  "awakening"  and concentrate  on your progress,  because  progress makes everything else irrelevant.  It is nice to have chat with  "Sangha"  and confirm  that we are progressing  in the right direction.  Since many of us do not have access to a "fully  liberated teacher"  this kind of forums  give  us  feedback  from  multiple  people  who  may have had similar  experiences.....We  live in a great age, the birth of internet.

Edited by seekingbuddha
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Who is feeling this way? Surely not essence. Sounds like the dregs are going down kicking and screaming, no?

 

No intellectual reasoning. You should know better at this stage. Keep going. It's not like you have any choice anyway, haha.

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I have been contemplating this for some months now and it would be nice to get feedback from the community, whether it's scholarly, experiential, or just friendly advice.

 

I'm feeling kind of existentially frustrated right now, having Realized some major things, but also getting the sense that the process is incomplete. I just wanted to preface this by saying that I'm trying my best to put words to embodied feelings, so it may seem like mind, but the sensations come from a centered, embodied experience and then get translated by mind.

 

For me, the embodied sense of emptiness doesn't change with the circumstances anymore. I've felt this way in the midst of some of the highest points of my life, and the lowest. I just wasn't able to put words to the awareness until recently. (This year I had a near death experience and extremely intense suffering which catalyzed the process further.) Whenever suffering gets too intense or happiness gets too extreme, something within me caves in, and I come right back to center, to ground zero, to total presence and awareness. It happens to a lesser extent in other circumstances but even in the midst of passion, I find myself stopping and feeling this embodied sensation of, "What's really happening here? Why am I doing this?" (I'm phrasing it as a thought, but it's a body feeling.) It's like my consciousness can no longer get carried away with idle distractions, even ones that I actively seek. Something in me ceases to believe in what's happening, I unattach, and then go right back to emptiness. It's almost as though people, places, and situations are constantly causing me to suspend my belief and look more deeply, in a very autonomous way. I have some background in psychology and at first I was concerned I might be dissociating, but it turns to such razor sharp focus, presence and clarity that I have ruled that out. For some people, the more intense a situation gets, the more they tune it out... for me it's the opposite, the more intense it gets the more real it becomes and the more the truth is revealed. Maybe it's because intensity suspends all stories and narratives and causes total presence. If it weren't for the crystal clarity of these moments, I would have given up on myself as being insane a long time ago.

 

There are definitely people who abdicate participation in life by spending too much time dwelling on nihilism, or using emptiness as a means to obliterate themselves. For me, it works a bit differently. No matter if I'm enjoying myself and feeling passion, or having the worst day ever, I find it hard to put my belief 100% into anything. I could be fully engaged in "self" and all its machinations, only to be pulled back out of it a moment later. I know everything's temporary and that's not what stops me; what stops me is that having a belief seems like a distraction from the truth. It's as though every story or narrative a person holds about the truth is what stands between them and the real truth. I'd rather not identify with anything. It's not a rationale or a method to excuse lack of productivity or direction. I feel it is pure truth of the situation incarnate. No matter if I'm happy or sad I'm still experiencing it. "It" never changes. It's totally seamless.

 

Now here's where I'm at. I've connected with some others around the world who understand what I'm saying. For some reason they are able to move into a state of pure joy and bliss after realizing "it", but that hasn't clicked for me. I still only see the pointlessness (not in a depressed way, but in a temporal way). I have so much love and compassion for other people and living things, but it doesn't negate that I feel like having to live this life and involve myself in material world tasks seems pointless. Again, I'm not saying I'm above it or anything. I still work, pay bills, etc... I just mean, I dunno... how do you move forward when you see things as they really are, when all stories and all choices seem like narratives? How can I choose another mask to wear when the mask has already been removed?

 

The truth that I feel in the meat and understand without equivocation is that whatever's happening is just what's happening. There's no "trying", just awareness observing arising and dissolving. How this plays out in my life is that suffering doesn't end, it just becomes yet another transient state, like happiness, depression, joy, lust, etc. They are all empty states. It is total freedom and so there's no point in "trying" to be anything within it, as there's no "you" doing it.

 

What I'm having trouble reconciling is that there still seems to be another level to this which I am yet to experience, while at the same time levels seem superfluous. I've met others who are awakened in this manner, but somehow it brings them such joy and bliss. For me the experience is bittersweet... all the pain in the world is beyond my control and so is all the joy. I can free myself of extraneous identities on the one hand which is totally liberating, but on the other hand it's like I am watching an ocean of waves arising and dissolving and all I can do is let it flow through me without trying to grasp. So where is this bliss in that? I don't get how these realized people feel so great about reality. Are they merely making a choice with their freedom, to be happy? Or what's the deal? I'm kind of in this lull of pointlessness despite a life that has the potential to be otherwise meaningful, but I can't get beyond the pointlessness.

 

I hope this makes some kind of sense. Thank you for reading.

The sense of bliss comes from the inner most depths of your life where no experience exists. Like in deep sleep. It is a minature death experience. And if you can reach that state in awareness its like letting go of all knowledge and judgement and completely letting go of all identity and completely merging in the eternal now moment or rather the source of the now moment that you contain in the inner most depths of your being. Its an experienceless state and when the awareness dives in those depths a deeper truth arises in your awareness. One that is perhaps the source and not the fleeting manifestations of this Source. And aligning with that Source allows for many synchronisities to occur in miraculous ways. Its a fun life to live. But it can be very frustrating to try to fall in to that deep experienceless state. Its hard to let go of everything. Your identity. Many people become defensive or attach to their identity thinking they are their identity where as it is SUCH a small part of who you really are. All that you are. The fulness of who you are is mostly non-physical. Inner being. Soul. Call it what you want. But it exists. And people go trough great lengths to find it only to realize they are holding on to their identity and its desire to find it. And then they give up and let go of everything and they realize they never had to find it. Because they are it and have always been. Just need to surrender the ego to open the way for this experience of who you really are which is really a non-physical experience. You go there everytime in your sleep but unconsciously. The goal is to get there consciously. If you succeed in that, it can be very life transformative. To completely be enveloped by your souls truth. Thats how it feels. And its a far bigger truth than any truth your ego or personal self can find. As this identity is temporary. Just the vehicle. Its job is to carry the souls truth. But we get distracted by physical reality and think its all there is. And thereby we block the supply of our inner most deepest Source of being. Which is eternal. Non-physical. A superficial meditation will never get you there. Thinking will neither. It requires a complete letting go. Because you can't do it. Its an act of letting go. And act of non action.

 

You always go there when you FALL asleep. Falling asleep is also an act of non action. A letting go. The key is tapping in to that source if your being the very moment you awaken.

 

This is just my assumption. A soul may not even exist. This body may be all there is for you. Consider that aswell. I may be completely wrong misleading. I simply don't know for certain. All I know is that deep experienceless state of awareness feels very good. So I assume something must be there. Why else do so many people sleep. Perhaps its just rest. I don't know.

 

But rest feels very good. So there is that. And I experience as life after awakening to be peacefully supported by my restfulness.

Edited by Everything

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Hallo Orion! I think, thinking about this phase will not get you further. As long as you can keep up with your daily life everything is fine.If you realize that nothing is permanent you see that your state of mind is also not and so you dont have to panic.I went through similar experiences and i am also not through everything.I think one "danger" of new mindstates is that they seem so profound that we dont realise that we also have to let them go.I think realising emptiness is just a new beginning.Let go of emtiness until emptiness is full :)PM me if you want.

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I'm not sure that seeking bliss, or trying to be in any particular state, is useful. A lot of people here are asserting that bliss and full conviction are part of realization and that's essentially what I am questioning. I've met many high level people in my life but never any that are blissed out 24/7. I've definitely experienced blissed out, oneness states at many points along the path, but they're temporary like anything else. I'm not convinced that awakening is synonymous with bliss or even the end of pain, which is an integral part of the human condition. It's more about how consciousness interprets pain, or doesn't. We read a lot of stories about such figures in scriptural and doctrinal texts but when it's pointed out that practically no one "is there" the excuse is generally that we live in a degenerate age and that's the reason why. That seems like a tired refrain. Yes, surely there are many distractions in the modern world but it's not like the nature of samsara has ever changed from thousands of years ago to now. The inner work is the same.

 

It's also apparent that there's no real formula. I question if any ingredient is "necessary", not out of laziness but out of earnestness. When you ask most people what enlightenment is, all they can tell you is what it is not, or quote what someone else said about it. These responses via negativa show that nobody can know as it's beyond mind. Awakening and enlightenment (if there is such a thing) are surely spontaneous. It's hard to judge a person's experience as not being "on the path" when each person is already living their enlightened life, with ostensibly all the ingredients to become awake to their own presence. All roads can lead to Rome, I gather, but not all roads look remotely the same. I was just trying to gauge where I might be at with things but perhaps it was a mistake to try and information-gather in this way. People will read my words and have their own self-reflections about them. I guess my mistake was in trying to look for an external understanding that I could grasp onto in a state where there's obviously no point in grasping.

 

What the grasping mind keeps wanting to ask is, "What is the point?", and I suppose the answer is, "There is no point." If some part of me is having trouble accepting that, then perhaps that's where the remainder of the work resides.

 

Sorry btw if my posts seem curt, it's just how I come across online as I'm not the greatest wordsmith. My real time voice is a lot different. Please feel free to cross examine, etc... I welcome debate and disagreement.

I have no problem with what you have written here.

 

Just pure honesty is what I see.

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I appreciate everything you've said. The part in bold doesn't really resonate with what I'm experiencing. It doesn't seem like there's much choice at this point given everything that has already happened. Questioning the path doesn't mean the path has been avoided anymore than merely talking about something is invalidating it. We're just conversing, as far as I can tell.

 

If there is truly no choice left for you, then everything you have said amounts to nothing more than whining and melodrama.  If there is truly no choice left, there is no possibility for those extensive deliberations to do anything other than hold you back and trouble your mind.  That isnt exactly rare - all of us have these patterns of self-reflection which we use to occupy our time and energy, as opposed to allowing the naked and original reality which is ever-present and ever-renewed.  The patterns are comfortable even though they may be "painful".

 

 

Also, respectfully, it's not for you to determine who is or isn't on the path, or whose experience is true or not. That's not why I made my OP. I was trying to seek some kind of delineation for my experience based on people's feedback, to determine if there are "levels" to this. It doesn't seem to me that there are any real "shoulds" here, just experiences.

 

Respectfully, I speak my mind as I wish.  Its not for you to determine if it "should" be expressed - anyway there arent any real "shoulds" here, as you yourself say a couple sentences later.

 

Its an opinion, which I tried to make apparent with the language used. That is why I said "I would say you are most certainly not on it" rather than simply "You are most certainly not on it".  Unfortunately, people in general are rarely able to communicate in any real way, and this is no different.  Its nice to entertain the possibility, though.
 
It is quite important to realize the truth of subjectivity and objectivity, in the sense of opinion vs fact.
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After awakening from the perspective of the mind essentially there is no point or advantage of being awake because such an evaluation comes from belief, which is seen through as fundamentally illusory. Yet if you still have arguments with your partner and have issues arising in your life then clearly the awakening still hasn't penetrated into all areas of your being, those things are still going to be registered and sensed on the level of body as suffering. So the shift of awakening is out of mind into the sensing body.

 

After awakening many teachers now talk about embodiment, or one way Rupert Spira talks about it is that the awakening can start to colonise all the other areas which aren't yet touched. The point of actively doing this or moving towards it basically isn't that it is some sort of ultimately superior or better place, but in terms of your life the more of your being is awake and colonised the more in harmony and less suffering you are going to experience. Living from illusion or from a place which isn't true hurts a lot more the more awake you are. So in that sense there are further levels, deeper awakenings, to move to. 

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Try reading some of Eckhart Tolle's books or watch some videos with him. What you write sounds a lot like him, but without the pointless part.

According to him the Universe is in a transition where we need to go beyond the mind (thoughts).

After the shift in consciouness happened to him he sat on the park benches trying to figure out what happened, now he's a spiritual teacher and help others. Maybe you can go and talk him personally, he also has retreats from time to time where you can ask questions. From what he says he can stop thinking for long periods of time and not just in meditation, he can do it in the daily activites, too.

 

To me it looks like you are still identifying with the thought of what's the point, I'm asking myself the same question, but it is what it is. If you can leave this thought aside and other thoughts too, what's left? In my case there are other thoughts...

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I hope this makes some kind of sense. Thank you for reading.

 

The Journey is NOT the Path.

 

Seek a different Path but continue the Journey > The Cross Roads

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@ Orion

 

You express yourself well and I’m deeply touched by your sincerity. I’ve read this thread with great interest and particularly like 9th’s comprehensive initial reply. I hesitate to write because it seems to me intellectual knowledge is of no real help here. Perhaps the best I can do is to express my feeling of empathy for your search.  Too much conceptualisation is a problem in that it separates me from direct connection with nature. For me it’s about a different experience of life; a different way of being in the world. The actualisation of this simple realisation is at the heart of classical Daoism.

 

For me, in the situation you describe, it‚Äôs definitely not about learning to accept pointlessness, but rather about real action to change my situation into one that‚Äôs meaningful. I‚Äôve needed to make a series of radical changes in my lifestyle over the past 40 years or so of my adult life. I‚Äôve had little option but to follow my changing inner reality; when what was once meaningful becomes meaningless then I must move on. ¬†Certainly I‚Äôve made many, many mistakes - but because they‚Äôve been my mistakes pertaining to my ‚Äėweaknesses‚Äô, they‚Äôve given me totally meaningful experience (in retrospect, certainly not at the time). To my observation, that‚Äôs how it is for everyone who pursues their own authentic path; in Jung‚Äôs words, the path of individuation. ¬†Here how he expresses it in terms of chakra theory‚Ķ..

 

‚ÄúWhen you have actually entered a higher chakra you never really turn back. Part of you can split off, but the further you have reached into the series of chakras, the more expensive will be the apparent return. Or if you return, having lost the meaning of connection with that centre, then you are like a wraith. In reality you are just nothing, a mere shadow, and your experience remains empty.‚ÄĚ

 

(from C G Jung The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga ) 

Edited by Yueya
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Thank you so much everyone for your thoughtful and well-considered replies, I really appreciate this. I know that this issue is beyond intellectualization, and the truth resides more in silence. I suppose what I've been seeking here is some kind of external reflection of my experience, like a teaching, a reference, or something else... but there is no real reference better than the prime referent, if you know what I mean.

 

I have many other things to say but due to lack of time I have to stick to this point. Something that stands out is the idea of coming back around again, of the return, and of suffering more if you're already awake but misaligned. That has essentially been my experience this year. Over the past decade I've had many death and rebirth experiences within my body, in terms of near-fatal illness. It's always brought on by resistance, either to change or to truth. The death process brings me back to center, through extreme suffering. I don't want to live this way anymore.

 

I must incorporate and integrate all aspects of my life into the awakeness, if I'm to stay alive. (That's an awkward way of putting it, but you know what I mean.) At the same time I have zero fear of dying, so I guess it is what it is. The realization is either completed or it isn't.

 

Maybe the pointlessness I'm experiencing is my current temporal lifestyle and not the nature of the awakeness. Since my lifestyle has been relatively static / stagnant during these realizations I may be conflating the two.

 

I better stop writing. I'm tired and this is likely to get incoherent. Goodnight!

Edited by Orion
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Sounds like you have entered the theme park where 'mountains are sometimes mountains and sometimes not', awaiting entry into 'mountains are once again mountains'. 

 

The key is to see behind all the arising and falling away of fleeting states, and recognise the ground, the womb. 

 

Once tasted, all oceans share the same taste. An equanimous poise will slowly pervade your being. 

 

Then be of service to others. This is the secret meaning of true awakening. 

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Hopefully this thread has given you something you can work with in terms of dealing with these difficulties, and I wish you luck - its all part of the process.

 

Perseverance is the key to this work!

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