Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
A few years ago a good friend and me got together to watch The Neverending Story, a shared childhood favorite. We were ecstatic, planning the occasion for a week. Pizza, soda, and other childhood novelties accompanied our adventure into childlike wonder and excitement.
We popped the movie in with great anticipation. 15 minutes rolled by and we scratched heads. We remembered it being much better and looking much cooler. Just wait though - we reminded ourselves of an upcoming scene. The scene would soon arrive, and again disappointment struck.
The movie didn't look as cool and feel as cool enchanting us into ecstatic fantastical pleasure. Damn! With today's cinematic technology and storymaking means, the awkward special effects of the 80s, though amazing then, don't compare to today. Even films of the 90s (have you seen Jurassic Park lately, yawn) don't compare. In reflecting on this recently, I remembered again that things are never as good or bad as we experience them and things are typically not as good or bad as we remember them.
When I first saw The Neverending Story, I was of coursed enchanted. I was 9 and the princess was supremely hot. For a boy that was entirely interested in mysticism and fantasy, myth and magic, and girls, it was a fantastic film incorporating live action, animation and claymation - wow it was a special effects masterpiece. And I wanted to be Bastian so bad - sort of nerdy, bookish and misplaced, he saved a universe from complete destruction. Things have clearly changed, and some things haven't (I still identify with Bastian).
Though the movie didn't look and feel as cool there are some interesting philosophically poignant moments, namely the title. One thing that we can now intuit in Spirit and Cosmos, in enlightenment and freedom is the ever-unfolding story of self, culture and nature - the ever unfolding state of enlightenment itself.
I loved the sense of possibility the film created in me as a child - the idea that a story never ends. This is still exciting for me today - the idea that the story of our experience, the story of my experience and the story of the Cosmos will never end, and wonderfully we can participate in this story.
There is never a point to anything, including this universe. The point is what you perceive in certain terms, and in other terms the unfolding and evolving nature of these perceptions create the ultimate point - the collective point. However, an important and transformative point is that your story and our story will never end and that we can absolutely participate in the unfolding of our own stories.
An advaita vedanta realization brings us to the beginning of the story of each moment. It shows us that there is no story. A tantric, Kashmir Saivistic, realization shows us that the no-story and the story are both aspects of an unfolding universe and that we are one with this universe. We are one with the story and free from the story.
These two realizations are essential to freedom. However, there is a third and ever more poignant realization: the integral awakening. The integral awakening instills within us a unity with the unfolding and evolving Cosmos and Divine. One with the Cosmos and Divine, we evolve the Cosmos and Divine.
Just like the story, The Neverending Story, our story constantly marches on as each of us author it. March on, Bastian, the Empress awaits.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The universe, the intersubjective matrix of consciousness, is indeed one. There is the great light of awareness unfolding and enfolding within all things equally. The path of yoga, of spirit, of enlightenment is to become aware of this underlying and overarching oneness. It is within this oneness that both unity and separation unfold, arising and falling from state to state, experience to experience. Every experience is a state, both individually and collective. (Do remember that every state, that is every experience, is interpreted from the immediate level of one’s egoic development).
Within oneness, separation and unity flow. In the state of separation there are four primary perspectives: individual interiority, individual exteriority, collective interiority, and collective exteriority. (More on this in a future post).
In the state of both unity and separation, self-awareness is present. In Kashmir Saivite theology, oneness is referred to as Prakasha, the great light of unified consciousness, and self-awareness is referred to as Vimarsha, the great reflective awareness.
In the state of separation, certain objects and beings have greater self-awareness, that is to say, greater consciousness than others. Humans have more self-awareness than rocks. Some humans have more self-awareness than others. Self-awareness is what unfolds and evolves – self-awareness is our becoming self.
Oneness is the ground, the great web, the infinite sameness and selfness of the universe. Self-awareness is present in all in differentiating degrees. My teacher Sally, when writing a paper on Prakasha and Vimarsha in the early 80s, asked her Guru to explain Prakasha and Vimarsha. He said that Prakasha allowed the toaster (he pointed at a toaster sitting next to him) to appear in consciousness and Vimarsha is what allowed the toaster to know it was a toaster. “The toaster knows it’s a toaster?” Sally asked.
“Of course the toaster knows it’s a toaster,” he said.
In reflecting on this and then experiencing this, objects that are thought to be without subjectivity, without self-consciousness, do indeed have self-consciousness. Rocks, for example, have enough self-consciousness to remain rocks knowing that they are rocks. There is a physical, subtle, and deep awareness that allows rocks to remain rocks.
Cut to humans. The practice and path of enlightenment is to not be more conscious, for that’s a give. If something exists, it is consciousness. The practice and path of enlightenment is to become ever more self-conscious. It is to rest as consciousness allowing the self-reflective nature of consciousness to shine brightly, for it is here that unity unfolds and separation unfolds as expressions and experiences of consciousness. It is here where God brightly shines forth as all things and in all things, forever great and divine, and forever present as self.
(There is more to come).
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
In observing the movement of your individuality, you see clearly that there is no permanent division between self and everything, and eventually the lines dissolve. The observer and the observe merge. There is, then, the awakening to unity, to oneness, to freedom.
This seems like the end point - what else could be left? There is a sense of completion and finality that feels very satisfying. This is not the end, though, in a universe that is forever unfolding.
Meditate, now, on the illusion of oneness, and this too disappears.
The universe is neither separate or whole. There is an apexing between the separate and whole that is an entirely new universe, liberated and unfolding in magnificent perfection.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
I, naturally, look at it differently.
The idea of grace supposes that there is actually an experience we are meant to have. It supposes that this universe and you were meant to experience something very specific. As if all of this exists for you to wake-up, find truth and experience fulfillment. I know some narcissists and two-year-olds that feel this way, but this is not reality.
The perception that the universe exists for truth, awakening, and evolution is just a perception.
The experience of grace, of mysterious support and freedom, of deep love and awareness are damn nice. They are, however, just one side of the coin (a very complex coin).
In truth (meaning: in my experience), grace and effort are one. Every experience you have is the experiencing you're having. Your life is the experience you have. Grace is experience itself. Effort is grace functioning through you as life and volition.
Isn't life as it is just enough?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I am the most enlightened being that has ever existed. I am the most deluded being that has ever existed.
Most on the spiritual path of awakening assume that with awakening there is a suspension of all negative and delusional qualities, but this is not reality, this is not the universe. The universe is comprised of consciousness and unconsciousness, held within the power and grace of one consciousness. To awaken is to embody these polarities and hold these within one's consciousness.
In the process of awakening, there is the tendency to suppress and deny all that is unconscious, undeveloped, and unaware. In the this, half of the universe is suppressed. You, and the universe, remains divided.
In your practice and process, seek the unawake within. Practice the delusional and deluded aspects of yourself without denial, without hiding, without posturing, without pretending. In embracing your true nature, both the aware and unaware, you embrace the entire universe. In practicing your delusion, hold your unconsciousness, your selfishness, your lust, your greed, your jealousy, your pain, your fear, your suffering, for these too are perfect consciousness.
Wake-up to your own delusion - be free.