Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grieving the Loss of Truth

I was speaking with a coaching client a little over a week ago who is deep in the trenches birthing a worldview and potentially an exterior transition. In our conversation I became aware that he was perhaps longing for and grieving the loss of both objective truth and the projection that truth can be a destination to acquire.

I asked him to engage in the ritual over the next few weeks to truly mourn and honor the loss of objective and destination oriented truth.

Each meme has a different relationship with truth. It seems that with each cycle of development in human growth, truth becomes bigger, more intangible, and is more greatly owned as a subjective experience. I can recall when I experienced truth as something that could be acquired. I can also recall when nontruth was something that could be acquired. As if either was the root of fulfillment.

With awakening, there is the loss of objective truth. Truth becomes, always, the experience that is unfolding. What is true is that which is present.

In development, the relationship to truth develops from object to context, from context to subject, and then from subject to construct, and later from construct to mystery.

In both instances, truth is lost. Truth evaporates like the morning dew. This is liberating, typically, and normally celebrated. However, the longing for solidity and understanding runs strong through our human experience.

As truth evaporates from your experience in all of these ways, I highly recommend that you grieve appropriately its loss and the role this construct played in your life. In honoring this, something powerful might occur.

Loka and the Domain of Perception

Loka, a Sanskrit word, meaning world, dimension, plane, abode, and/or place or plane of existence manifests in a complex, dynamic relationship between both subjective (interior) and objective (exterior) spheres. Lokas are generally thought of as domains in the subtle realm that are visited through meditative states, astral travel, and lucid dreaming. This is certainly a piece of it. There are many worlds that exist in the subtle. For example, Swami Muktananda writes that he visited Siddhaloka, the realm of masters, in his process of awakening.

In my experience, the geographical domain of siddhaloka exists in the gross where ever there is a gathering of masters; in the geographical subtle where disembodied masters exist in subtle form (great place to meet Abhinavagupta); and in the subjective loka of enlightened perception: everyone is a master when you are a master.

Such experiences are neat. However, like most things in the column of spiritual neatness, loka is projected into the future as an event that must be acquired for human completeness. This is err.

Loka is both geographical and perceptive.

A loka as a geographical location exists both in the gross (physical), subtle (energetic, thought, dream, intuitive, etc.), casual (potentiality), and non-dual (location as all and the perception of oneness: ekaloka).

Loka as a perceptive experience includes memes (worldviews) and the state experiences of thought and feeling (by the way, each thought and feeling is a state experience). As we know, we interpret the state we experience from the meme (worldview) we're embodying.

In certain terms, our view of the world is the world. In other terms, the relationship between our world view and the world as it is (though we'll really never know how it is) is the world.

The body is a loka. The mind is a loka. The heart is a loka.

Much of our spiritual and development oriented human universe deals with the problems and pains of our humanity, and seeks to correct the ecology of our inner universe. We start wars with ourselves, striving hard to develop, calm the mind, change our patterns, and become something more, for "if I am enlightened or pushing the developmental envelope of the 3rd tier of human experience I would be happy."

It is my assumption that, just perhaps, you're okay. There is a strong current in integral culture that pushes towards development. This is not my assumption or preference. Think twice (or a lot) before you decide to adjust the nature of both your exterior and interior world. We know from the physical world that ecological environments are sensitive and even the slightest interference (with sometimes the best intentions) can cause great destructive change ending in climate chaos and global challenge.

Don't misunderstand, reality in its perfection chooses to develop as perfection. However, the hell-bent-on-development position that most in the integral and spiritual world embrace as the ultimate truth needs to be deeply reconsidered.

For a week, walk around pretending that everything about you, everyone and everything is okay. You can return to your unbalanced (and probably unchecked) bias towards radical development again soon.

[When one thing arises, there also arises paradoxes and polarities. A major paradox here is that there will be the presumption to let go of striving towards personal and spiritual development in order to be more okay. If you are hell bent on development, this is your own self, and your own self, your own loka, is just okay as it is being hell bent on development. Continue to develop, by all means, but please consider your motivations].

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Unification v. Oneness

A state of unification is not awakening. A state of unification is a state unification. It's nice. Everyone likes this, but it's not awakening. Awake people have states of unification, and they have states of difference as well. Both happen; other things happen too.

Don't mistake a state of unification for awakening. Don't seek a state of unification in place of awakening. Awakening is a deep honest and vulnerability with self. Awakening is complete non-resistance to all that arises. Awakening is oneness with all that arises (not unification).

The awake are one with whatever arises. At times, what arises is a reality that appears to be separate. The unawake spiritual person practicing awakening will fear this as a mistake allowing it to be proof of their non-awakeness and inherent deficiency (which keeps them in a place of delusion). The awake are one with reality whether it appears to be separate of unified - as both are an expression of the same.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You + The Universe

[This is not something to be agreed or disagreed with. I am not presenting truth. I am presenting a tool for you to use to make meaning of your reality and experience]

There is an interior and exterior in our experience of ourselves. There are individuals and collectives. In a certain perspective (a useful perspective), these four polarities comprise all experience. The collective is comprised of interior and exterior, as is the individual. This is all helpful, I promise, and gets more interesting towards the end of the post where I curse a lot.

Within these four polarities there is the perception of spheres of movement and stasis.

These movements are development, embodiment, uncovering, and awakening.

Development: Vertical movement. The process of growing, widening perspectives, greater fluidity of with internal experiences, and greater ability to understand and empathize with others. With each emergence into a new stage of being, the universe becomes experientially a bigger place. In the sphere of development, there is development, regression, and stasis.

Embodiment: Lateral movement. Is the flow between experiences at a specific level of development. One can develop capacities, take on new perspectives, play with internal content, and shift in external action without developing or regressing. This is a lateral movement in experience and perception. In the sphere of embodiment, there is movement, ownership, and stasis.

Uncovering: Depth movement. Uncovering is the process of opening reality to peer beneath the surface in increasing layers of depth. Some refer to this as state (of consciousness) development: gross, subtle, casual, and non-dual. The Wilber-Comb's matrix is a lattice that places states along the vertical line of stages allowing for a fuller internal landscape. Terri O'Fallon later improved on this by turning the lattice 45 degrees establishing the perspective that the more anyone was developed in both, the more room in the universe they had to play (it's not all about stage growth and it's not all about state development - it's both). A non-dual state is not enlightenment. The embodiment of non-dual stage is. In the sphere of uncovering, there is stasis (everyone is born into "gross" level of consciousness) and movement.

Awakening: Self-orientation movement. Awakening is moment-to-moment oneness with all that unfolds. In awakening, the identifying center is not the limited, ego-self, but the expanded universal self - it's the experience of perception without an "I" or "me". To be awake does not mean to always be in a non-dual state, so to speak. To be awake is to be one with reality as it's arising, and sometimes it arises as a seperate universe (you can be one with a separate universe and you can be one with a unified universe). From the perspective of the unawake, there is awakening and unawakening. From the persective of the awake, neither and both are true, and rest equally within. Again, there is movement, regression and stasis.

Again, awakening is not necessarily permanent oneness with the non-dual state. It's just a peice. I am always aware and present to the non-dual state; however, it is not always in the forefront of my experience. Right now, I am mainly aware of the gross (with slight awareness of the subtle and casual), and the non-dual rests in the background as the perceptive guiding light.

In the movement of development (stage), embodiment (capacity), uncovering (state), and awakening (enlightenment) there is a universal flux/flow: establishment, death, release, and emergence.

Establishment is a fixed perspective, like the "I/me" prior to awakening. In awakening, there is a profound death of self where all passes away into a complete release from former self. From release there is a re-embodiment towards the affects of the self (ego), but from a completely different orientation.

self --> no-self --> liberated self

The liberated self is what I am discussing as the Passionate Self.

All deaths are painful. Each stage of ego transition is painful. But enlightenment is the greatest pain of all, as it is, in a sense, a permanent death to the attachment to ego structure (a permanent big death followed ad infinitum by little deaths).

Anyone at any stage of development can become enlightened. Someone at an early stage of development will be one with a universe that is fairly small, fixed and limited, whereas one that becomes enlightened at a later stage of development will become one with a much larger, much more expansive universe.

In teaching, I recommend working on all four spheres, with an emphasis on awakening (and not being an asshole). In my experience, the more awake one is the less attached they are to their ego structures and generally more willing to release them. Awakening invites a more rapid ego development process (in the right contexts).

I said this on a call with Marc Gafni the other day and he almost fell over laughing stating, "I totally disagree. I know a lot of enlightened assholes." I agree. There are a lot of enlightened assholes. There's also a lot of unenlightened assholes. There are a lot of assholes everywhere. I am also a big asshole most of the time. As a matter of fact, we're all assholes. You too, dear reader, are probably an asshole. Take a moment and rest in your assholeness. It feels nice, doesn't it? The more you avoid, the more you become.

The observation remains consistent though: awakening, authentic awakening, provides a fluidity within one self that makes stage growth much cleaner and less painful. Note, I did not say that all awake beings will develop, I simply think that it becomes easier. It also requires the right contexts and structures.

This leads me to The Passionate Self, which has been the teaching that the universe has unfolded through me (and many other) the last two years as my own experience. Stay tuned...