May 29, 2015 8:21 AM
Still in teacher-mode. Sorry…
One of the things that kept coming up in the interview was the separation from thoughts/ego-identity at awakening and then the integration of thoughts at a higher level of awareness.
Here’s how I experienced it:
- I am my thoughts and my body.
- OMG! I am NOT my thoughts or roles or past or opinions! I’m separate from them! (Often called “enlightenment”)
- Everything appears as One Thing! I am Everything, yet I also seem to be nothing. How odd but wonderful!
- I want to share this. I finally know what enlightenment IS.
- (Started blogging as if I knew everything about enlightenment.)
- Hmm. Real life doesn’t fit in so well with Unity. But since I’m not my body or my thoughts, I’ll just call what my body and thoughts do, “conditioning” or “relative truth” as opposed to me as “Absolute Truth.” (Ironically, this “inner experience versus outer experience” is quite dualistic.)
- Damn! This “manifest” world keeps getting in the way of Absolute Truth. Worse, I’ve been blogging for years about my personal life, so I can’t stop now—I can’t hide from this conundrum. How am I going to bring the manifest and Absolute together without sounding like a hypocrite? More importantly, how am I going to bring them together so they are in harmony—so I feel at peace with them?
- Oh… I see. Absolute truth isn’t more true than relative truth, they are equal. Unity is true AND separation is true. They are both concepts of a much greater thing (Tao/God). I, whatever that is, experience/am (what the hell am I?) both unity and separation.
The last item, #8, is where integration happens. This is what I often call the Paradox.
Getting comfortable with #8—reintegrating with your thoughts and your body (but not identifying with them)—is the key to achieving the harmony of the inner experience of life with the outer experience of it (the “real world”).
Unfortunately, most nondual teachers start teaching way back up there at #4. This is perfectly understandable as you’ve been seeking enlightenment for so long, and once you realized it—once you’re hit with the deep insights it reveals about Reality—you feel as if you are qualified to teach about it and you want to share it. I did the same thing via the blog (#5).
It’s perfectly understandable.
But here’s a similar scenario: Imagine a guy who has tried to land a job as a radio disc jockey for 30 years. Finally he gets his break and lands his dream job. Within weeks, he starts teaching others what it is like to BE a radio disc jockey, when instead he is really only qualified to teach what it is like to find a job as a radio disc jockey.
Once you “get the job,” those 30 years of seeking don’t mean squat when it comes to what it is like to actually BEING a radio disc jockey.
My 30 years of spiritual seeking didn’t qualify me to write or teach about what enlightenment is or feels like, it qualified me to write a book about being a spiritual seeker.
The time spent between #2 through #8 should probably be called Enlightenment Internship, as this is where you learn the ropes, see the patterns, wrestle with your doubts, and struggle with the Paradox.
In other words, the Internship is when you are learning how to integrate the inner experience of awakening with the outer experience of living.
But again, it’s perfectly understandable that so many nondual teachers teach from the non-integrated phase, since most people simply aren’t aware of the next, integrated level. In my own case, I was just kind of forced/guided into integration because of my blogging/confessing/journaling habit. So please, don’t take this as a diss of them, nor that what they are teaching is untrue. They are teaching the truth as they see and experience it (what more can they do?), but it’s not “The End” of all spiritual growth. I don’t think it ever ends (ie: separate, integrate, rest, repeat).
Again, I apologize for all this dry, abstract material. There are a few more of these posts (inspired by the BATGAP interview) coming up, but then I’ll (hopefully) get back to living it and sharing it.
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