Category Archives: Rebirth

Start from a Blank Page

identity-795260_960_720Spiritual awakening is not about gaining more knowledge, it is on the contrary about unlearning everything the mind has defined for you and to start from a blank page.

Conditioning is a powerful thing. You suddenly appeared in a world. You were given a name and you started developing a sense of self associated with that sound. They taught you moral principles, maybe you were given a religious education to take you even further away from what you are, you learned the right from the wrong and you developed a value system. You now have more or less defined boundaries, you are an individual clearly separated from the rest of the world but you forgot what you essentially are.

After all, the story could end here, “…and the non-self-lived happily ever after”, but direct experience shows that this is never the case. What is impermanent is subject to the cycles of birth and death, of pain and pleasure. What is impermanent comes and goes in space and time, it is relative and limited and it is the nature of duality. The non-self-quest for peace and happiness is doomed from the start as the non-self is an impermanent state of consciousness, it has no reality. The non-self, the ego is not an entity, it is just a thought in consciousness, nothing else.

pen with hand. color from tungsten lamp

If you are looking to re-discover your essence you must start from a blank page and erase everything that has been written on it since you appeared into this world. When all words, ideas and concepts have dissolved all that is left is a blank page and you, object-less presence, is the nature of the page.

What you decide to write on it is up to you, but once you know you are the page, you are in a safe place, you are established in Presence, your own pure presence.

Starting from a blank page is to stop taking your current reality for granted and to stop letting the mind define it for you. The deconstruction of the reality elaborated by the mind is an important step towards spiritual awakening. It is what the Christ indicated in his parable “…and no one puts new wine into old wineskins…”

Calwen

Identity and Spiritual Awakening

unknown-userThe question of identity/identification is central to spiritual awakening. We often hear that unless we kill the ego and the impermanent sense of identity, the true self will never awaken, there is a lot of misunderstanding on that aspect of awakening.

Most spiritual teachers will tell you that “you are not your ego but you are that objectless consciousness”. It is a key thought aimed at facilitating the dissolution of the ego but it does not ultimately reflect the reality that unfolds after awakening. After awakening, things are seen in a new light and the above sentence could be changed to “I know myself as objectless consciousness but I am also that temporary ego”. It was first necessary to detach yourself from the impermanent and limited identity in order to awaken to the inclusive nature of the true self.

After awakening, it will naturally appear that everything can be embraced, included and integrated, that nothing is excluded and that it is the nature of love in action. So, if the path to awakening appears initially as a new form of duality it is essentially temporary and it will ultimately lead to what is sometimes called in technical jargon “the collapse of the witness”, oneness back to itself with the integration of all pairs of opposites.

Individuation (the development of a sense of a separate defined self) is a necessary step in the development of consciousness. Infinite consciousness is experimenting a limited aspect of itself by developing self-consciousness and the focusing of consciousness through a mind and an identity is part of that process.

While consciousness is trying to awaken from the ego in some human cells it is important to remember that in other cells it is still developing and reinforcing that sense of ego. In a way being able to stand on your own two feet as a self-conscious individual is also a form of awakening. Gaining and losing identity are both necessary steps in the evolution of consciousness.

One of the big misconceptions is that after spiritual awakening identity is not necessary, that the ego is just a hindrance, an unnecessary fictional character. It is the type of statements you will hear in the pseudo-Advaita circles coming from individuals who have partially awakened but don’t understand the principles of embodiment.

6ec63c5b9ac20fc2de075c838abae821If identification to an impermanent identity might be a hindrance on the “way up” to awakening, it becomes again a blessing on the way down to embodiment. Now that you know that “you are not just that ego”, you can embrace it again ” and use the lines of least resistance of the personality as channels of manifestation. The big difference is that you now know that you are the infinite manifesting thought a limited form and your light can penetrate any thought, emotions and ultimately the physical cells of your body, this is what true embodiment is.

This slow process of the infinite, conscious of itself, manifesting through a limited form is what is called “transfiguration” in The Christian imagery, it is “the verb made flesh”.

Calwen

No Mountains, No Rivers

mountains

Most of you must have heard about the old Zen saying about the rivers and the mountains, for those of you who haven’t here is a condensed version of it:

At the first level on the path, he saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. On the second level of the path, he saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers. And at a third level, he saw once again mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.

That Zen metaphor describes the three important stages experienced by consciousness as it passes through the gate of VISION, COMPASSION and REBIRTH.

At the first level on the path, he saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers
The first stage describes the state of mind-consciousness. Objects are labeled, they have a story attached to them and seem clearly separated and independent from each others. This is the current state of consciousness of the majority of human beings.

On the second level of the path, he saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers.
As the world and our ego start to appear for what they really are, mind constructs, the “contour” of all inner and outer objects starts to blur and the unity of all starts to become our experience. That stage is often considered as awakening. Many individuals are currently going through that process.

At that stage, I would like to add a little note of caution based on my conscious experience of stage 2.

Consciousness can easily be fooled into thinking that stage 2 is the destination. The first contact of the “substance” with Presence can be fascinating. All objects and forms seem to “float” within a pure Presence, Awareness.

The mold of Neo-Advaita, in particular, seems to freeze many seekers into stage 2 through a dynamic of neverending compulsive self-enquiry. They deconstructed their reality and through a form of  new spiritualized ego they tend to compulsively reject all forms and objects that present themselves to their new found awareness. It is just another form of inverted duality and an exclusive expression of consciousness. Exclusive because the all inclusive heart is still not included.

And at a third level, he saw once again mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.
The world of forms and objects has dissolved, the self has acknowledged its essential nature as pure Presence, the time of rebirth has come.

Strong from its “self-awareness” in the substance, Presence embraces the world of forms once again and it is now an embrace of love with the substance. Mountains are mountains again. Body, emotions, and thoughts are “impregnated” by Presence, the “little things of life” re-emerge in a newborn awareness. The VISION is now connected to THE HEART, humanity is embraced in its beauty, limitations, imperfections and fragility. Presence knows itself as the source of all, pure knowing, pure experiencing and the known, the experienced is not separated from it, it is essentially Love meeting Love.

Calwen

See, Love and Shine

Words are just words, they are just pointers, they are nothing per se, all there is is energy and awareness and even those words are just pointers. The following article must be read as an attempt to convey an informal experience, it is just a painting that will dissolve over time. It is only a projection and must be treated as such. The quintessence of this article must be found in the words See, Love and Shine.

The Opening of The Eye – See

The vision of a “me” separated from the rest of the world is real from a mind perspective. The mind is just a response mechanism, it processes pieces of information and deducts. The mind is not creative, it only deals with what is already there, it manipulates already existing thoughts, it does not generate new seeds. If you let the mind rules You it will define hat you see.Fantasy_Eye_robot_android_096785_

When we realise that the mind is just another object within Presence, the mental activity comes to a peaceful standstill, what is left is pure Awareness, Presence, creative thinking can start now.

There is a lot of speculation about the nature of pure consciousness, pure awareness, what I call Presence. There is no need to speculate as it doesn’t serve any purpose, we can only say that it is made of “pure consciousness”, Presence is made of presence.

Also, I don’t think it is particularly wise to insist Presence is pure nothingness or emptiness. The mind, who has a tendency to function in term of good and bad, will invariably generate negative thoughts around that concept. I would instead say Presence is the source of everything, it is formless but is the seed of all forms. Presence is the boundless and permanent container of all forms, may it be a thought, an emotion or a physical form.

The correct vision emerges from Presence. The world is finally seen as One. Other human beings are just seen as another expression of the One Life. The essence of the word “fraternity” is finally embraced. The planet is seen as a living entity floating in an infinite universe of possibilities. The true concept of eternity also become a living reality, all that is experienced is Now.

The “Eye” is finally opened, we can call it awakening but it is just the beginning.

The Opening of the Heart – Love

I always insist that awakening does not turn anyone into a Buddha or a Christ, it only unlocks a capacity to see from a new broader angle, “things” are seen from beyond the mind but the old egoic patterns are not transmuted in a blink of an eye.Divinelove-320x315

The opening of the “Eye” is, in essence, a change of vibration of consciousness and as the seeing expands so does the heart. After seeing with our head we start seeing with our heart.

As we witness the activity of the One Life in all and everything, true compassion starts to be deeply felt and it manifest more and more through our words or non-words, actions or non-actions. At that stage, it can be hit-and-miss but the pain is not of the same nature that the one which is felt by the isolated ego, the balm of Love is never far away and the healing is fast.

At that stage the peace of true forgiveness is also experienced, we understand that “Love is the place where everything is already forgiven” and peace keeps settling in. True Love as nothing to do with sensitivity, it is the true feeling that is born from true vision. Love and wisdom are essentially connected as true wisdom can only be born from an opened Eye that sees through an experienced heart.

Many individuals start teaching immediately after the opening of the “Eye”. Their experience is often genuine but they lack the experience of the heart, they are in touch with the destructive aspect of the supramental that sees but out of touch with the universal heart that unite. They are very skilled at destroying the old but their capacity to prepare the ground for the new is limited. Nevertheless, their work is useful to some extent.

Rebirth – Shine

If the opening of the eye and opening of the heart are often felt as a “taking off” from the world of forms, the last stage can be seen as a coming back in. The old “obsolete” ego has now pretty much completely dissolved, life is ready to manifest again concretely through new vehicles in the world of forms.reborn

The term “ego” is often seen as a negative term in spirituality. In essence the ego is neutral, it is only a centralized operating center for the manifestation of forces and energies and an integrating principle. This concept can be immediately verified if we look at stars. Radiance and heat can only manifest through an intense focusing of energy. The same apply to consciousness, the more intense and focused, the more impact it will have in the world of forces and energies.

In that final stage of Rebirth, the infinite is consciously manifesting as finite, the unlimited embraces the unlimited, the born and the unborn are now consciously One. The impermanent “self” can now see his “radiant visage” and walk the earth again fully aware that it is One with the eternal Presence, with Life.

The personality hasn’t changed essentially, it is now a finely tuned instrument essentially manifesting the spontaneity of life, with intelligence, compassion, and wisdom. The light of Presence can now shine through unfiltered by the limitations imposed upon the vision and the heart by the mind. The self is now an agent of beauty and harmony, it is one with life, human and divine, mortal and immortal, nothing and something, it is reborn and complete.

Calwen