Awakening is instantaneous. Clarity takes place in space-time.
Attributed to Jean Klein
I had lunch last Sunday with two old friends from my TM teaching days. I’d not seen either in almost thirty years, though I have been chatting with one fellow this past year via email.
But, this was the first time we’d sat together sharing warm food and physical presence.
It was not just a coming home to my youth, but also to my spiritual roots; a thirty year check-in regarding what we had learned? And, what had become of our hopes?
Mark has taken Buddhist vows. Graham is a yoga instructor. And still we seek.
I asked them to look within and tell me the answer to; “Who are you?”
We all experienced the simple awareness that is the screen for all the play of Life.
However, no one would claim awakening or enlightenment (the word we’d set our hearts on).
Each had a reason for denial: Mark still freaked about money. Graham, dear Graham so gentle and smooth, spoke of insomnia.
And I got totally confused.
Yes, it seems I have found my true Self… but there is also sometimes a “no-self.”
Self is a fullness that experiences.
So, what is this experience of “no-self?
There is no one there: No one to have a thought, No one to feel the emotion.
That seems to be the answer Inquiry seeks.
And I just don’t see how that could ultimately be as I obviously have a self and not a no-self.
“What is no-self?” I felt quite desperate, knotted up, holding my head.
Mark said, “No small-self.”
Well, DUH! I knew that!
“No-self” extinguishes small-self. It was as if something untwisted in my psyche, as if belief and assumptions exists physically. And then like some rubber band, the twist wants to reassert itself and immediately confusion returns.
I take small-self as something small and illusory… like a tree, or a truck.
Illusory trees and trucks make much sense to me. I experience them as illusory, not really real.
And too, I respect their solidity. I’ve live with this paradox each day for years.
Now more lately, small-self seems like the trucks: merely a ghost, but a ghost that’s still in play.
Personal identity remains. Call out, “Patty!” and I turn around.
The next day, I came across these words:
Feeling myself as somebody experiencing Truth, that changed into I am That.
So there was no longer somebody experiencing Truth…. Before that moment there was still a separation… a going into freedom and then back into experience of personality. Like they were two separate experiences… [after that] it was simultaneous.
Kranti Ananta, interview around minute 50.
These words rang a bell with me. “Somebody experiencing Truth… still a separation.”
Yes! I am waiting for the epiphany in which, “I am That,” tolls out.
Well, I read it in a book. I heard it in a video. I have this belief that that is what happens.
And then, you are awake.
(I’m smiling. Are you?)
The me-story is like a fan going. You can turn off the switch and it takes a while to slow down. When this slowed down I stopped allowing my energy going into the me-story… Now that’s automatic… The me-story is “swoosh!”… but the triggers can still happen, the body gets like kind of a hit and feels fear, or whatever can be there, and the body knows this is the moment to meet what wants to be free.
Kranti Ananta, interview around minute 55.
Now these words reminded me very much of what Adyashanti said regarding what it’s like to be awake:
A thought can come that can cause an instant of grasping, that can cause a momentary experience of a certain separateness… when it does happen, the gap between it happening and the seeing through it is very small… at a certain point, the gap between the arising of a sticky thought and its disappearance becomes so narrow that the arising and disappearing is almost simultaneous.
Adya interview with Tami Simon
Coincidentally, as I looked for the above quote, I also came across these words which took me by complete surprise. Strangely, I had remembered the above words and apparently forgotten these from the very same interview:
Awakening is not experiencing vast, infinite space, feeling spacious or expanded or blissful or whatever. These feelings may be by-products of awakening…
Awakening … is a change of perspective.
Everything we thought was real is seen to not be real at all; it’s more like a dream that’s happening within the infinite expanse of emptiness.
What is actually real is the infinite expanse of emptiness.
Oh well, there you go. (laughing) That seems really straight forward. This is the story of the illusory trucks.
One final thought. A friend sent me this link to Shinzen Young, with the simple explanation, “Saw this and thought of you.”
At the time, a couple days before my Sunday brunch, I thought it excellent and beautiful, really not much help… except, it kind of grew on me.