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.
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.
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.
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.