Layers of Stages

Yesterday, I posted a couple of articles, one on Dyer and the ego, the other on the discussion of the layers of clearing from Tom Stine’s blog. Tom also wrote about how to tell if you are actually clear. Is there still a hold? Can you just allow it fully?

It came up that it would be useful to discuss another aspect of this layering. Letting go can seem to be in layers and layers or have a series of nodes or facets or a mesh to clear. Some see knots of energy. But there are also stages of the process that bring different qualities to the layers that arise.

In his book “emptiness dancing”, Adyashanti described it thus:

“For realization to be complete it has to hit on 3 levels – head, heart, and gut. You can have a very clear enlightened mind, but your being won’t be dancing. Then, when the heart starts to open along with the mind, your being starts to dance. Then everything comes alive. And when your gut opens up, there is that deep, deep, unfathomable stability where that opening, who is you, just died into transparency. You are dancing – the emptiness is dancing.”

Typically we will find those 3 qualities to clearing: head or mind, heart, and gut – the core identity stuff. Lets review how they may be experienced.

Mind:
The head stuff is around concepts, ideas that help or hinder our growth. As I wrote, concepts can be useful but it’s important to remember they are constructs. Concepts can be illusion or a ladder to truth, they are Maya.

For many people, this is the first stage of their journey, the beginning realization that there is something more. That life is not just this surface stuff. We can experience major resistance, even emotional reactivity to concepts that threaten closely held beliefs and habits of thinking.

We tend to experience the process as intellectual uncertainty, resistance, and confusion, punctuated by those aha moments when we reach a new synthesis and certainty.

When the soul awakens, the inner reality of the Self is known. This can take some further processing and clearing of our ideas about reality.

Indeed, often our ideas of what awakening is can be the last barrier to actual awakening. This is the value of study and inquiry, those questions like “Who is the one asking the question?”

With first awakening or cosmic consciousness, the core idea of ego falls away and we switch from being a person experiencing Self to Self experiencing a person. After this, various other ‘ego shrapnel’ gradually comes to light and is seen through. These are habits of mind, a conceptual framework laid down to support the ego construct. Typically we will notice them as resistance and reactivity to what may come along in our lives.

At each stage of opening, more ideas fall away until we stop seeking concepts altogether. We simply allow it to be as it is. In that is supreme knowledge.

Heart:
Clearing the heart is initially about clearing our emotional baggage. Before first awakening, much of it is closely related to the concepts of mind above. In being mindful or paying attention, we become aware of emotions that have been lurking in the background. As we fully allow the emotion, it can wash over us in a brief wave, then is cleared. But often when we notice the emotion and look into it, it hides another deeper one. This is another way it can seem layered.

“In Depression is Anger, In Anger is Fear, In Fear is a Hurt.”
–- Rev. Austin Hennessey

We can feel great fear of our feelings, only to find the fear was worse that what we’ve been holding back all this time. What has cast a shadow over our life for years. If we go deep enough into any feeling, we find that under even our darkest pain is peace. It is the beginning of all things. And a great assistance in awakening.

As we clear the coarse emotions, the more subtle values become seen. Our intuition is greatly enhanced. We can begin to deeply feel again. And we can work to clear the crust on the heart and the common block we have between our heart and gut.

After first awakening, Self moves forward to absorb the heart. As Adya described it above, you begin to dance and everything comes alive. Life itself is living through you. You begin to see how the deep heart is the bridge to unity.

Soon you can stand with an undefended heart. A deep inner connection to love and bliss that cannot be overshadowed by anything that may arise. Indeed, all of the suffering of all beings can be held in the open heart. As Gangaji observes, we embrace of all of it, the good and the bad.

Gut:
This brings us to the core of identity. Those ideas of mind Dyer talked about like “I am what I have” or “I am what I do” arise in the mind and constitute the illusion we call ego. These ideas are fueled by the heavy emotions, supporting our ideas of separateness. But what drives those emotions? What caused the ego idea in the first place? It is the core identity. Until the heart is fairly clear, the core identity remains largely subconscious. It can best be described as a kind of gripping fear. A holding in the gut, very like an angry little troll.

Thus, the holding that arises in this phase has a different quality, a more general fear value with a sense of grasping. As mentioned in the Dyer post, this can often have some past connotation, some fear from a past hurt. It forms the key nodes in the mesh of our deep past.

(It should be noted here that when we come to this place, we are largely without attachment. It is simply an experience of fear, it is not us who is afraid. It is part of the unfolding adventure and the training to fully allow.)

Like the ego, at a certain point, the core identity is seen through. Adyashanti calls this the BBQ. Without personal identity, there is no longer an “inside” or an “outside”. It is simply One. Thus, the second realization or awakening takes place. For many, this is even more profound than first awakening. In first awakening we wake from the illusion of the individual. In the second waking, we wake up from everything else. And I mean Everything.

Just as there can be ‘ego shrapnel’ after first waking, second waking or unity often entails some further clearing of bits of identity. These are deep core needs: to hold certain memories, to know, to be seen and recognized for something, to be a certain way, to cling to certain things, to feel a certain way… all of this falls away. As this clears, a very different reality dawns.

It’s worth noting that in all of this, we may notice a shift from releasing to allowing, from letting go to being OK with what is, what remains. This is important – all of what we have judged wrong in our experience may not leave. We will remain who we are with our unique qualities and characteristics. We will still be human. It will be our task to be OK with that. In ourselves and everyone we may meet – even the teachers we may have. Indeed, I’ve heard some great stories of people being shocked by the behaviour of saints. Never forget we all remain human no matter how illustrious our being. And the judge of right and wrong is the ego, not the truth.

Of course, this is just a brief summary. The process is rarely tidy and we tend to be working on various things at once. But it can give you a sense of the nature of the layers you are working on as the shell falls away and the light begins to shine through.
Davidya

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6 Responses to Layers of Stages

  1. Kris says:

    Hi Davidya,

    Five or six months ago, i wrote to you about a realisation of another level of being beyond mind.
    I can’t even honestly call it a realisation as it came and went after a few days. Even this i am not sure of.
    It seems to come and go, but less intensely as the original event.
    Whenever there is confusion or doubt as to whether anything happened at all, there is the seeing that this realisation is completely self-validating….there is the doubt, and it is seen, then there is the recognition that because of the seeing, the doubt is not who I am. In this way, any objection to the original certainty is invalidated simply by the seeing of this objection.
    However, there is still alot of discomfort, dissatisfaction, despair and anxiety etc
    I am confused as to whether this is another subtle trick of the mind, claiming because it sees it has achieved something, where are the fruits, the peace, clarity etc??
    I am aware of the contradiction in my words, while seeing the doubt and realising it to be not me there is still a heavy sense of attachment to the confusion and the desire to feel some benefit.
    The mind cannot accept the simplicity of it, this cant be it! It wants more, it wants some concrete evidence that something has occured.
    It cant ever, or doesn’t want to find that evidence, if it does there is nothing left for it to do.
    The mind can only doubt, but never KNOW anything.
    Once there is a genuine knowing the mind ceases to have any importance, as knowing seems to be the antithesis of mind and its structure of belief.
    Belief/mind = not knowing
    I hope that makes sense.

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Kris
      You make complete sense. Sometimes, this coming and going is because of values of clarity. Sometimes it is levels of contrast. That is- at first it is very distinct as it is something new. But as it is simple, we soon get used to it. It becomes normal and ordinary – even deep values of bliss and peace. We should not expect the intensity of the event to return as we will have become used to it, integrated it. But we can expect it to deepen and get clearer. Remember – the flash is not the important part.
      I know a few people who have passed early stages of contrast, like being a distinct separate witness, but they still look for the witness as the contrast was a kind of marker.

      That said, there are some things that will continue to ramp up indefinitely – those fundamental values of reality. Like the depth of bliss, peace, and freedom. Just when you think you have experienced the ultimate peace or rapture, some deeper value comes along.

      In any case, you illustrates the cyclic nature of the process. We take 2 steps forward, then a step back to integrate.

      Another point I can mention is not to hold to an experience. It may form a milestone for you, but looking to it and holding it will hold you from moving further. If it’s an experience or memory, it is not being.

      You clearly see 2 aspects there – there is the quiet self-validating opening which gradually becomes integrated. (normal, ordinary) This is awakening to the Self within, it is now real, not a concept.
      And there is the mind, seeking to understand or grasp what is beyond it. It is easy to fall into doubt as the mind receives few messages that are not such. Our world is full of messages of dis-validation. This is the nature of the ego. It needs to be right so makes what it does not perceive as self to be wrong. Black and white, good or bad, right or wrong.

      And in the seeing, you see you are not the doubt, nor the mind that brings it up. This is seeing through the illusion, the noise.
      The discomfort and so forth arises for a few reasons. For one, you are moving forward and so this brings what no longer serves to the surface to be seen and released. The world is also moving forward, pushing us along. And because of your increased clarity, you see stuff you didn’t used to see. It has always been there but now you have a step back and see what it has been. Not pretty. (laughs)

      And yes, the mind is attached to consequence, to result. Expectations lead to suffering. But the process takes time. In the cosmic scale, it is the blink of an eye, but in the middle of it, it seems to take forever. When we put our attention on it, time seems to slow down. The whole thing just an exercise in being OK with what is so we can learn to allow.

      The contradiction is a good thing. It means you have made deep progress. That there are now as if 2 of you. The heavy sense of attachment arises from something that may not be conscious yet, the grasp, the identity.

      But you see the simplicity of it, so the grip begins to loosen. The concepts of ego begin to loose control. Of course this makes them nervous. Remember you are human and the beauty of this process is you will see it clearly and thus can help others who follow. There is some more mud to clear, some long habits of thinking. But the benefits will come. Amusingly (or not), they will come mostly when it no longer matters (laughs). At first they are subtle, so easily overshadowed by want and expectation. Later, they will dominate everything.

      These days, mind will seem the enemy, playing tricks, pretending to be what it’s not. It has created an illusion of staggering proportions that you cannot begin to imagine. Our entire universe, but a pearl in a much bigger place that itself is one of many. But it’s a game the mind cannot win for Self is so much greater. Eventually, the mind will be your friend again. It will be your ladder home, your means of expression to bring bliss.

      It is a curious paradox. What you are looking for is not concrete and thus will have few concrete ‘benefits’. Yet, once you are that, it will become more real than the world and person you once thought real. And then that realness will move forward and absorb all of it, into a greater real than we can conceive.

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