I was discussing Adyashanti’s idea of abiding and non-abiding awakening with a good friend of mine last night. He reminded me of an important observation to make on this subject. I touched on it in a follow-up post, Abide Some More, but I want to make the point very clear.
Long before we awaken we may have experiences of what might be called symptoms of awakening / cosmic consciousness /Self realization. Even after awakening, the experience of being awake may seem to come and go before it is never overshadowed. Adyashanti called this non-abiding awakening. Once it is permanent to our experience, it is abiding or lasting awakening.
What we’re talking about here though is experiences. Experiences are NOT awakening. Awakening is not about an experience. It’s about the experiencer.
This point can be a little hard to grasp as the mind can only relate to experiences. But it’s critical to understand to avoid confusing if and when. Also, most descriptions of waking you read will describe experiences. This is very simply because experiences can be described whereas waking cannot. They are often describing the experiences AROUND the awakening, not the awakening itself.
How does the eye that looks describe itself? As space? Awakening is a change in what experiences, not what is experienced. Most people find the shift is a surprise because it is never what we conceived of. It is beyond concepts.
Awakening can have many symptoms that may imply it, but they are not that. All experiences are relative, indicating changeable. Awakening is not changeable, it is permanent. It may not be fully experienced that way at first, but the actual shift is.
In awakening itself, we awaken to our reality, to our true nature. We change from a person experiencing source/Self/spirit/silence/being/Tao/Brahman/whateveryoucallit to That experiencing a person. It is a shift in being, in who we are.
We change from a relative experiencer to an absolute being. When the experience becomes abiding, that unchanging background remains. Always. We are awake even in deep sleep. Even in death.
How can one make a statement about being awake even in death? Because when we become the unchanging, permanent witness that underlies all experience, time soon comes together into the present moment. All the past and future becomes now. We see our life has continued through countless births, always awake. Deathless.
From this, we can see why awakening itself is described as being a distinct shift or switch. Who we are changes radically and permanently. We change from this floppy uncertainty to this solid being.
After that, the process continues. More experiences. More clearing of ego shrapnel, clearing the identity, the identifications, the holdings, the resistance. We also experience refinements and openings. But these are the effects of awakening, not the awakening itself.
Then we come to another, even deeper switch. Then another even deeper switch. We become ever more encompassing and expanded values of the absolute, unchanging oneness.
We become what we already are. You already are that.
Last Updated on April 10, 2014 by
Thanks, good commentary on the experiencer/experience dynamic. Without a little pointing out or gentle guidance a practitioner can push back on what you call ego-shrapnel for decades ( I call it the old chair we may feel is in the room, but don’t sit in anymore.). That pushing, trying to get rid of attitude, only re-enforces, stretches out the “me” identity who’s trying to get somewhere… As you said, “You are already that.” it is already the case.
Very nice clarification Davidya. Thank you! You write…
“In awakening itself, we awaken to our reality, to our true nature. We change from a person experiencing source/Self/spirit/silence/being/Tao/Brahman/whateveryoucallit to That experiencing a person. It is a shift in being, in who we are.
We change from a relative experiencer to an absolute being. When the experience becomes abiding, that unchanging background remains. Always. We are awake even in deep sleep. Even in death.”
I would say that I am in between in the sense that I am the knowingness, openness, whateveryoucallit. That is the current realization here. So, in that sense, I am an absolute being.
In another sense, I am not in that I am not seeing or experiencing in an abiding way that I am everything.
So there a subtlety there in this case. I love the exchange though as I am getting clarity in it.
Thanks so much!
Yes, I know what you mean. For awhile, I was in a non-abiding place. I was the Self inside, yet the ego remained. I had many “symptoms” but it was clear something wasn’t complete.
And yes, once it’s clear we are the Self, it is clearly abiding. But we may not yet fully have shifted to that, so the experience is more variable.
Glad I can offer that. It wasn’t available back then.
Yes, it’s so easy to be drawn back by the habit mind, but not necessary. Some will reengage it anyway. But with this clarity, it can much shorten the drama.
Well observed. But you may be surprised by what happens to the old chair. You may not sit in it again, but you’ll become it. (laughs)
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So true. Thank you <:
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