Liberating the Person

Liberating the Person

While awakening is about liberation, it is liberation FROM the person. It is loosing our identification with being an individual ‘me’ that things happen to.

Both before the shift and for awhile afterwards, there can be a fair bit of unpacking of old baggage: old resistance and incomplete experiences.

There is also a forward progression into higher stages in consciousness.

Part of that forward movement is what can be described as a descent of source into our local experience. Adyashanti described a process of head, heart, gut. This continues to the root.

The effect of this process is the purification of the local vessel (the body-mind) and source becoming increasingly embodied, lived in this life.

At the same time, we become increasingly aware of our cosmic or universal body, even on the level of our local body. The local person becomes increasingly known as a reflection of that, then an embodiment of it.

Unlike the awakening of consciousness, this clearing is very much a local phenomena. It is happening here more than there. While consciousness has awoken, now the person is being liberated.

This is taking place at the same time as we’re clearing the cosmic.

The insides of our body gradually shift from being a shadowy place full of friction and aversion to a place of light, full of celebration and joy.

This makes more sense if we consider the process itself. The stages of development in consciousness are all taking place in our universal nature. But the development of sattva – purity, clarity, and light – takes place locally. Once the stages have unfolded, the process becomes all about the feminine, all about the embodiment. It continues both cosmically and locally – essentially the same thing.

We continue to clear old ideas, barriers, and stories that no longer serve and find new gifts coming on-line. Perhaps unexpectedly, I’ve found that the very awake gain progressively more unique & distinctive personalities. They’re being liberated from many old constraints.

Not that we become perfect or lose qualities we may have considered less desirable. It’s surprising what falls away and what stays. But the laws of nature that structure this form continue. Only they’re liberated and become more able to express their higher qualities.

In curious ways, we can discover that the person isn’t what we’ve long thought it was.

This last comment is interesting. Of course, there is realizing the individual is actually an expression of universal consciousness and the person is actually cosmic. But this goes further than that. This is rewriting the script of the person we’ve been living through our whole life. Without the old constraints and barriers of expression, we find a flowering of fullness right on the surface of life.

One begins to get a sense of how the sages of yore where able to do some of the things they did. They where cosmic and embodied source, right in their body & personality.

Last Updated on November 26, 2020 by Davidya

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    1. Hi Michael

      Right – but keep in mind what I’m describing is post-cosmic body development. This can be bigger and deeper than earlier revisions.

      In other words, the updates to our sense of person continue long into the process. 🙂

  1. michael

    Just to add…after the bliss of reading this post 🙂

    that is what Neidan (taoist internal alchemy) tries to do. they view “liberation from the person” one sided (and had quite some “fights” with the buddhists about this, as the buddhists viewed this to be enough). They try to cultivate both together (“liberation forms”) making one an immortal (full divine embodiment, light body etc.) (they call that the culitvation of xing and ming).

    1. Buddhism originally recognized the full picture but some forms have lost aspects. Zen is probably the more complete. Taoism has aspects one might call magical. Hazardous bits that can get you caught.

      At the SAND conference, my presentation was compared to Buddhist models which turned out to be describing the approach to initial awakening. And yet talks like Thurman’s suggest some view “enlightenment” as a very high maturation of that. That awakening is far from “enlightenment”. It’s a curious dichotomy.

  2. Uli

    Liberation FOR the essential person:
    “Perhaps unexpectedly, I’ve found that the very awake gain progressively more unique & distinctive personalities”

    “The Personal Essence, in contrast, is the sense of being a person independent of ego structures. It is the awareness of presence qualified by personhood. This sense of personhood is independent of one’s personal history; it is a direct recognition of a pure form of Being. This form of Being feels personal, and gives the self the capacity for immediate personal contact. It is an individuated experience of presence, arising from the unique development of the self into a person with essential qualities that provide the self with various capacities, skills, and talents. It is the integration of the development of the self on the essential dimension.”
    A. H. Almaas

    1. Hi Uli
      Nice quote. In Vedic terms, they use the word Ahamkara. This is often translated as ego but more means the “created I”, the Amness. When we identify with this, we experience being a separate individual, a me. When unidentified with, there is more of a personhood as quoted.

      However, what I’m pointing to in the article is a further development of this, after we have also recognized that even the ahamkara is cosmic. There is only one person here.

      As that stage becomes embodied, then that personhood is further liberated.

      1. Uli

        Hi David,
        Maybe because (I’ve been told) the Western Gnosis -Cabalist Jew, Sufi and Christian- have more emphasis about the individuated soul..and maybe there’s less emphasis in the Eastern one, and therefore, less teachings, if any…?

        How do you explain that “the very awake gain progressively more unique & distinctive personalities”…?

        Could you elaborate a bit more, please…?

        1. Hi Uli
          Yes, the western has retained more on the jiva or soul. But like the east they have also shifted to a more monks approach.

          The eastern very much includes the soul and householder approaches but the renunciate approach has come to dominate in recent times.

          Basically, we’re born with certain laws of nature prominent. We’re naturally shy or outgoing, intellectual or emotional, and so forth. As an awakening becomes more embodied, there is a deeper and deeper falling away of any constraints that have been imposed on that.

          Thus, more of the natural form of that specific person comes to the fore. More gifts are available, their personality can express without being so constrained by old “no’s”, and the sense of purpose is more clear. We can say we more easily sit in our dharma.

          I can also note that we adopt various constraints from our community around what is considered proper behaviour so that we “fit in”. When we shed those that no longer serve, we become less ‘same’.

          The effect of that is a greater emphasis of unique qualities.
          Make sense?

      2. Uli

        Hi David,
        I’d like to know your thoughts about this

        ” Ego comes from separation from the individuated self. If we fight it, it is a formidable enemy. Eastern religion tells us that there is something wrong with individuation.
        . . .
        One of the pitfalls for Westerners is idealizing depersonalization. If we look around, we see that “high” beings (e.g. the Dalai Lama) are very warm and really personal. It is important to remember that we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. We can mine the riches of both East and West and use them both. We are pioneers weaving the two.”

        “Q. Please describe your theory of three Selves.

        Faisal Muqaddam: The first is the worldly self, the ego, personality. It could be healthy or unhealthy. The second is the heavenly self. Some call it the soul, Individuated Self, or Higher Self. I call it the Inner Star, the point of light within. It is unique for each of us. It is our true identity. Without it the journey is incomplete. All humanity wants this. We are always in search of Self. The third self is the Cosmic Self. It is our Buddha Nature. God as Absolute Presence, like the Ocean and the point of light is a fish in that ocean.

        1. I don’t experience it that way. We have a localized aspect of self that we can call the ego. When we loose our connection with the divine, we grasp for what we know and identify with the ego as a me. This grasping and loss of connection causes a distinction between self and other and we experience being individual & separate. Ego then builds ideas about being in control to sustain itself. And the mind makes stories to support that.

          Our ego identification is in three layers. What Adyashanti called head, heart, gut. I wrote about that back here:

          The first stages of development revolve around seeing through those three layers.

        2. On the second part, there is 2 things.
          Depersonalization is a psychological issue that some try to obtain to mimic an aspect of awakening. It’s very unhealthy.

          Witnessing is a stage of development in consciousness where we become the detached observer of the body-mind. We experience ourselves as consciousness, separate from the ego, body, etc. it is a somewhat impersonal stage but is quite distinct from the above.

          It’s also a stage, not a goal. It may come with awakening, be slight or strong or may happen prior, as it did with me.

          At a later point, the Self is also recognized to underlie the world and the sense of separation ends. The separate witness fades.

          Agreed on the second part. We can very much wake up while still in the world. A friend of mine is living Refined Unity while running multiple businesses.

  3. michael

    HI David!

    Yup have read that also about buddhism, when i read about the rainbow body. they view enlightenment as the end result…long after an abiding awakening has taken place.

    When we look closer at taoism we have to see generall taoism (with its magic and exoteric practises) and the ones practicing Neidan. They usually throw the magical stuff away and focus on becoming one with the dao. In the neidan circles i have been these magic stuff is allways seen as a distraction and not taught at all. The neidan system itself is complex enough 🙂

  4. Uli

    And this
    “In our work, we found that we really don’t need to make that jump from the worldly to the Absolute. The essential domain, the intermediary stage between the two, became open and accessible and the major landmarks in there became more accessible.

    Not only that, we also found that there is an essential self in the middle of that, the individuated soul that can be in the world and in the essence and in the Absolute. It has the freedom to be in any of them. That to me is the pinnacle of this journey.

    The Dalai Lama has said that enlightenment is a very individuated process. When Karmapa becomes enlightened, he becomes more Karmapa, he doesn’t become just Absolute. This is different than the idea of the drop of water dissolving back into the ocean. The boundaries dissolve, we realize that we are pure awareness but we also continue to exist as unique entities that can evolve as unique souls and can become more and more enlightened, and more and more skillful to connect the whole picture together.”
    Faisal Muqaddam

    1. OK – this one I disagree with. While discovering your soul is wonderful, without recognizing your absolute Self, you’re missing 99.9999% of it. You cannot progress through the higher stages I describe nor come to know your true nature.

      The soul is not the absolute. It is causal but not inclusive of the world. It is not the pinnacle.

      The last paragraph is good and oddly contradicts the prior. I wonder if this is a poor translation?

  5. Jesper

    Hi David

    I didn’t know where to asks this so it will just be here :).

    Do you think that it is possible to go from CC directly to BC and thereby skipping GC and UC? And I’m not speaking about myself here at all just to be clear. It just seems to me that in Zen and taoism the speak in ways that sound a lot like BC. And, without knowing for certain, it feels like they radiate something different from both CC and UC.

    The reason I’m wondering wether they’ve skipped UC alltogether is that I often don’t feel bliss from them like I do with you, Lorne and others.

    Examples are Thich Naht Hanh who talk about being and nonbeing, the same with Anadi, Sat Shree calls it (what I think is BC) for truth.

    I’ve been curious about that for a while.

    1. Hi Jesper

      No, BC is not possible without Unity. And Unity requires CC or Self Realization. This is simply the mechanics of each stage. Self has to awaken within before we can discover the same in the world. And that has to mature to a point where it is global in Unity before we can go beyond consciousness into BC.

      Of course, there is a vast variety in the subjective variations of these and even more variety in the language and understanding used.

      The GC or refinement process is somewhat distinct so it is more than possible to skip that. For example, someone I know is going through GC now, post-Brahman.

      Taoism and Zen do originally recognize the whole process. For example, this snippet:
      “Be still
      Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity
      Eternity embraces the all-possible
      The all-possible leads to a vision of oneness
      A vision of oneness brings about universal love
      Universal love supports the great truth of Nature
      The great truth of Nature is Tao”
      (in this case, GC post oneness)

      However, I don’t see much of this understanding in current expression. Most tend focus on stages to a single awakening.

      Also, there is a massive difference between an open emptiness with waking and the nothing of post-Atman BC. Some people co-opt the terminology of one stage, applying it to another.

      Another good example of this is a lot of the “non-duality” discourse that refers to Vedanta when talking about initial realization. Vedanta is “end of the Veda”, not beginning.

      The vast majority of teachers out there now are talking about dry Self-realization. It’s full embodiment is nirvana or sat chit ananda, which is not yet known (as you note). GC, UC, etc are unknown and may even be rejected.

      Initial awakening is very important and is the foundation for all of it. But mistaking that for being done is faulty. It’s a big reason I talk about the stages and process. There is far more to this than most teachers currently recognize.

      But things are changing. Over 3,000 Buddhist monks in Tibet have learned effortless meditation in recent years. Things like this will breathe new life into Buddhism.

      1. Jesper

        Hi David

        Thanks. Does that mean that one can experience a “dry” version of UC if GC doesn’t begin until after BC?

        “Initial awakening is very important and is the foundation for all of it. But mistaking that for being done is faulty. It’s a big reason I talk about the stages and process. There is far more to this than most teachers currently recognize.”

        Yes, I find this very, very valuable.

        1. Hi Jesper
          Well – I would not describe Unity as “dry” in any case but it can certainly be flatter if there isn’t much refinement.

          I suspect Unity isn’t going to unfold unless there is at least some refinement present simply because of the recognition involved.

          Also, Unity itself develops in stages that call for further refinement, like the recognition that we’re cosmic even physically.

          But GC itself requires a deeper value that opens the heart and so forth so that may not flower until later. In the example I mentioned, they woke up within the year. Their process has been quite rapid. They likely would have had a full GC phase had it been a little slower. 🙂

          1. Jesper

            Hi David

            Yeah, I was wondering if “dry” might be the wrong word to use :).

            Interesting how some people go through the process so quickly and others stay in CC or UC for a very long time.

          2. Yes, I’ve been surprised by the degree of variation. I’ve seen people take many years just to be clear they woke up. And others have another shift a few days later.

            The same thing can happen with the next shift or the reverse. Fast and then slow.

            This seems to depend partly on readiness and partly on the cycles of time. But as it’s driven by the Divine beyond space-time, it’s not prone to follow many rules we might devise.

      2. Jesper

        Hi David

        I’m watching the new interview with Adyashanti and Susanne Marie. Adyashanti says that he has seen examples of people reaching Unity after Brahman and I remembered our conversation here. He says it between 13-14 min.:

        Do you think that he misunderstood something or could you have been wrong? I have an intuition that that sequence is possible when I look at other teachers, but then again it is difficult to judge when I’m not even self-realised.

        1. Hi Jesper

          To be clear, I don’t think thats what he’s saying exactly, though I understand why you got that impression. He said people may have a no-self experience either before or after Unity. And yes, he is referring to post-Unity as no-self and appears to see the 2 as equivalent.

          However, someone who has a no-self experience prior to Unity (which is all about the Self) would experience a very different dropping of that cosmic Self after.

          If someone actually went straight into Brahman with the first shift (I’ve never seen an example but anything is possible), they would not then have a Unity process.

          That would be my take at least. I’ve seen the conversation myself and plan to write an article about it. Most of the conversation is excellent. My only objection is Adyas choice of words on this point, which appears to be leading to incorrect equivalencies.

          1. Jesper

            Hi David

            I can see that what I pointed to around the 13-14 min. mark could also be interpreted as someone having an experience of BC either before or after UC. It is quite possible that that was what he meant.

            But around 33.30 min. Adyashanti says that someone called Suzanne experienced BC for almost a decade before going into UC, which makes me think that it wasn’t an experience, but a permanent realisation.

            I don’t know anything about Suzanne personally, but thought I would add that to the conversation.

          2. Having watched it and discussed it with Rick and Susanne, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

            People can have an experience they call no-self before Unity but thats not the same as the no-Self after.

            Brahman can only be known by Brahman. It is a post-consciousness shift. It doesn’t make sense to have a Brahman shift and then go back to Unity.

            As Adya said in that same section, there is a wide range in subjective experience but there is a common underlying process. I have seen people have spontaneous and very clear wakings that don’t seem to go anywhere but anyone who does progress has a common underlying process.

            You have to be careful about using different terms interchangably when they don’t necessarily mean exactly the same thing – He didn’t say Brahman before Unity. Again, a no-self style of awakening is very different from Brahman. Their commonality is the falling away of the sense of self – but it’s a different self. One is ego, the other Atman, cosmic.

            I have an article on the interview now that includes another video of Susanne talking about the shift in more detail, though there is Unity and Brahman references mixed together (not unusual with a newer shift and little context)

  6. Jesper

    I would think that awareness of stages beyond CC or beyond UC also helps the progress, like what you provide. Not thinking you are done as you say.

    Is there a taoist or zen buddhist alive who have gone all the way, who you would be comfortable naming?

    1. Hi Jesper
      Yes, it can also help with humility. Handy when you have experiences like “I am God”. (laughs)

      The sage Vasishtha also noted the importance of desiring more. Which you can’t do if you don’t know its there.

      I’ve not met anyone alive who has gone “all the way” in the sense of living full potential. That takes a lot of time to embody and is well past the stages I describe. They’re just the platform for that to unfold on.

      Brahman is becoming a bit more common but Parabrahman is still pretty rare, I think.

      Adyashanti (Zen) seems to have had the Brahman shift but is still struggling with energy issues.

      But I have little exposure to modern teachers in those traditions otherwise. Mostly, I know about stages because of being present for their shift or discussing it with them later.

          1. Je

            Hi David

            I know your purpose with the blog isn’t to evaluate teachers, but would just like to ask a last question of this type: Would you consider Bhagavan Nityananda and Shirdi Sai Baba in the category as Swami Brahmananda Saraswati?

            I ask because I feel an affinity with the first two and although I will keep doing TM I like the idea of “belonging” to that lineage. I have enormous for Swami Brahmananda, but somehow don’t feel the same connection. (maybe because I by coincindence got initiated by someone from Nityananda’s lineage and who was approached by Sai Baba in a dream without knowing who he was until later)


          2. Hi Jesper
            No, I wouldn’t. But then it’s not really a fair comparison. After a certain point in growth, people branch into distinct categories depending on the need of the time. Ironically, as they become more universal, they become more distinct. 🙂

            Choosing to follow a teaching should be based on discrimination and your resonance, not who is more famous or illustrious or what friends do.

            I also don’t tend to view such things as coincidence. I started TM after hearing about meditation, then seeing a poster. Only later did it become clear I was picking up where I left off – in both progress and tradition.

    1. We’re in a time of great transition. Thousands of people are waking up all over the world – some in a tradition and some not. Just one of those people, known or not, purifies the crap of many, many others around them.

      People further along, especially if they’re awake to the cosmic body, the divine, and so forth have an even larger effect because they’re operating more deeply. Not by doing anything – just by being.

      Of course, none of these people are perfect so they have more or less effective days. But the cumulative effect is changing the world.

      Some people are waiting for the “second coming” or a great avatar or similar. But it seems this time, it’s happening through the average person, en masse.

      The stuff I see developing in people I know – astonishing.

      Of course, thats kicking up a ruckus on the world stage. The US elections are bizarre beyond belief, for example. (laughs)

      1. Jesper

        Haha: “Just one of those people, known or not, purifies the crap of many, many others around them.”

        Yes, the US election is amusing and scary at the same time. But it seems to change things for the better.

        1. When we start acting from the cosmic body, it quite ups the game. Of course, it’s not a me that is doing this.

          The US election, like some other world dynamics at the moment, are helping to make some things that have been hidden conscious. How people respond to that is key.

          1. Jesper

            I believe that. And I firmly believe that although politicians often aren’t saints, they simply reflect the broader population. So to really change things, the average person has to change – not just the politicains. There will always be a supply if there is a demand – good or bad.

  7. Jesper

    Thanks, David.

    When he said “no-Self” I thought he meant BC everytime, where the other was called CC or self-realisation.

    By the way, when I wrote Suzanne in the above comment I meant Suzanne Segal and not Susanne Marie. I don’t know if that was clear.

    I wish that Rich would refer more directly to the model from TM with CC, UC and BC when he interviews people, because I think it would be easier to understand the differences in what people are saying and meaning. But he would probably be criticized a lot if he did.

    1. Yes, exactly, Jesper. It’s really not useful for him to be using the same term for 2 different things. And I know he didn’t experience them the same way.

      In his tradition, no-self is often used for Self Realization but he rarely used the term. When he came to Brahman, he found himself beyond Self and adopted the phrase then. But he’s not distinguishing properly. This adds to the confusion of what non-duality is.

      Ah yes, Susanne Segal. Thanks for clarifying. Her book “Collision with the Infinite” has been popular with seekers. But its a rather extreme case. She woke up stepping onto a bus and basically fought it for a decade as it didn’t meet her concepts of it. (she had a TM background) She had people tell her she’d shifted but would not accept it, trying to find a psychologist who would pathologize her experience, etc. Finally, she accepted it and Unity came soon after. Then she died.

      I’ve written about her a few times on the blog.

      Rick used to talk about the stages all the time in the early interviews but that sometimes turned into arguments about concepts and people suggested he was pushing an agenda. So he backed off. He’s awake but has not yet progressed further (one of those taking time to get clear and confident) so can’t talk about further from experience yet, so he’s also careful about that.

      1. N

        Thanks, David.

        Don’t you think that no-self was originally used to explain Brahman, but that people misunderstood it later on?

        I would say that Rich should refer to it anyway, because that is what helps the listeners’ understanding to evolve.
        I just think he should focus on those who are open and who get rather than those who don’t:

        But it is always easy to give advice, when you don’t have to do it yourself :). And I enjoy he interviews anyhow.

        Btw. do you incidentally know a good translation of Tao Te Ching that is available on Amazon?

        1. Hi N
          No – no-self is a term that comes out of Buddhism and is a reference to egolessness. It has been picked up by some in neo-advaita.

          The Vedic tradition doesn’t use the term at all. They describe it as Self Realization – Self not no-self. They also tend to say things like “Ayam Atma Brahma” = Atman is Brahman, describing one way Brahman may be realized.

          It is rarely framed as without self. However, in the current time there are 2 kinds of experience that may be described that way subjectively.

          a) an awakening where Self is not yet clear so the loss of ego identification is more dominant than Self. (people may also use “no-self” due to their tradition, although Adya didn’t prior)

          b) a style of Brahman shift where we leave behind Atman and shift into nothing. What Brahman “is” becomes clear later.

          Personally, I don’t consider “no-self” a great term for either shift as it refers more to what was than what is now. Adya’s use of the term contrary to his own background doesn’t help.

          A fair % of people awake, including teachers, are not aware of post-awakening stages. Many consider it delusion.

          One of the reasons Rick stopped pushing stages is the interview would degrade into arguments about concepts. But the interviews still do illustrate the diversity and depth of unfolding.

          I’m no expert on Asian texts but the Tao I have is Mitchell’s. He’s a scholar and Byron Katies husband. The other is a self-published text from a class.

          1. N

            OK – I knew no-self was from Buddhism, but thought maybe it was the equivalent to Brahma.

            Yes, I can understand that. And I very much appreciate his work.

            OK, I’ll take a look at that.


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