It’s easy to recognize non-dual presence and let it go to your head. The concepts start to replace the direct experience.
At about that time, non-duality becomes like a religion, something to defend, a kind of head game where one’s identity gets wrapped up in the concepts that try to prove that one is awakened, reality is all One or that awareness is all there is or something like that. These are all reductionists concepts when it becomes a religion.
Even though these concepts purport to point to a grand and final realization, they actually create their own divisions in the mind and body and in relationships with other people.
Quite often, this is done as a way to not have to deal with trauma or some underlying, very palpable, human issue that is still running the show on some level – usually in relationships. Something has not been included in the awakening. It has not been embodied. It is not being lived. Awakening is such a fluid, vibrant and ongoing discovery. It is alive in every sense. It cannot be pinned down with any concepts, including what is said here. It is not a state that one reaches, but rather an openness that just keeps on opening.
If one doesn’t remain complacent in these extreme viewpoints and the propensity to bypass these human issues, there is a magnificent opportunity to examine not only the underlying trauma and issues but also the spiritual concepts that act as a cover up job or overcompensation for these issues. If this examination is done with as much diligence as one questioned the concepts around self or ego before an initial awakening, what is revealed is truly remarkable. There is a deepening that is undeniable.
This deepening can’t truly be mapped out with any certainty or science. It is too fluid and so different in how it manifests for each individual. But the people around you will know it as the deepening occurs. You will know it. You will feel it down to your bones, in every fiber of your being. Awakening is not just about recognizing some changeless present space. There are real changes that happen on the level of body and mind and in all relationships.
The Living Inquiries are tailored made to keep one from landing in these extreme views and overcompensation. They invite us to examine the trauma or issues that lead to these head games. They challenge us to question everything that we think we know, every landing point, every identity, every trauma, every issue. And this is not work. It is a natural act of love, an act that comes about organically just from being aware and open and not shutting oneself off from all possibilities.
Luckily, what is left when the investigation goes that deeply is not a blank space or an intellectual head game around spirituality. It is very much an openness to all of life, as it shows up – the good, the bad and the neural. Literally everything is transformed on every level – mind, body, spirit. There is a vulnerability at the heart of experience, where one can no longer hide in all the old escape mechanisms. Bypassing becomes impossible at some point. Relationships harmonize themselves as acceptance becomes the norm, not something we are striving for.
Enthusiasm for the work we do in the world, whatever it is, shines through without effort.
At that point, you could just as soon talk about your favorite TV show or music as talk about how you know what reality really is or what spirituality is all about. The awakening kicks the shit out of you on every level, in the best possible way. You embrace your humanness as much as you embrace the divine. They are both quite divine. In this way, you can embrace the very unique experience called you and where that leads you in life. Your purpose, if you will.
Those who have taken the inquiries deeply have discovered that, in the end, the awareness that is recognized is quite freeing, open and peaceful. And yet they also recognize that the individual expression of themselves as human beings is perfect just as it is. There is nothing to turn away from anymore, either through the intellect or bypassing. It’s this turning towards experience that holds the real gifts.
In this turning towards everything, even the stuff that scares us or that we would like to pretend is not really there, true creativity and potential show up naturally. There is then no need to try to manifest anything, for life lives itself. It manifests abundantly just because we remained open and did not stop looking when we landed halfway up the proverbial mountain.