The Person

The Person

Rory by Randen Pederson
Rory by Randen Pederson

There was a time in India when the householders approach had become universal. The sage Shankara revived the path of renunciation for that small percent who are naturally monks. But then the pendulum swung to the other extreme and the householders path became obscured in many teachings.

Practices came to emphasize renunciation, even for householders. Inquiry is prominent, for example, even though it is primarily a monk’s approach. This is because close inquiry into reality is difficult when we have worldly responsibilities. We have to pay attention to appearances. 🙂

Extracting oneself from ego identification is key for Self Realization in either case. But that’s not the same as no ego, in the ahamkara or “I” sense.

Even for householders, there may be a subjective experience of an ego death. Yet as I’ve mentioned, this is breaking identification, not killing the “I” sense itself.

With Self Realization there are three changes in self-sense:

a) The asmita or possessive self (mine-ness) ends with the end of ego identification. It was a side-effect of that identification. It may soften considerably prior.

b) The “I” sense or ahamkara ends its identification as the primary sense of self. And yet there still needs to be a personal self-sense to function as a human. Not as “who I am” but as a function. We still need to distinguish what is this body and what is the floor or wall. We still need to take care of the physiology and avoid hazards. This personal self-sense is a function to be in the world. It just loses its dominance.

c) The self-sense shifts to the cosmic Self or Atman, the self as universal consciousness. It’s called the Self because it gains the “I” sense but as an infinite “I”. This is experienced as a liberation. We drop the constraints of being a person and become boundless.

Some wake up to a sense of no-self when that personal identification ends. This may be because the cosmic sense of Self is not yet clear. In such a case, there is usually a sense of emptiness rather than fullness. Update: this can also arise because of a renunciate emphasis in the approach where the local sense of self is denied.

However, there are several variations in how this may be experienced subjectively. Key is the end of local identification and infinite being waking up to itself.

This isn’t just jiva recognizing atman (the point recognizing the whole), it is atman (the whole) waking up to itself through this body-mind (point).

Some suggest there is no local self-sense at all. That seems delusional here. It can leave us blind to the shadows that remain. Just note any enlightened being you’re aware of. They have a very distinct personality, opinions, and dislikes. The laws of nature they’re born with continue. What has changed is from where they’re experiencing them.

Further along, I’ve observed that people in Brahman stage becomes a law unto themselves. Freed even from the restrictions of the cosmic, they’re driven by totality.

Our body and mind are a vehicle for enlightenment to be lived. We require a functional human for the stages of enlightenment to unfold. We can’t follow this path as an angel, for example.

Yes, it may be necessary to lose the world to gain the absolute. The hazard is in resting there or thinking this is the entire picture. Wholeness and oneness arise when the absolute and relative come together.

The body-mind is not who we are but is a vehicle, a means of enlightenment. We carry baggage and identifications that impede clear seeing. But that’s not their fault any more than low oil in your car is the car’s fault.

The content of our body-mind, the thoughts, emotions, and sensations, are also not who we are. Nor are they the problem.

The key is going beyond the body-mind to discover our true nature. Then we can bring that back into our daily life. We can be a human who knows their cosmic reality. That is a blessing indeed.

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  1. oskari

    Thank you, David. Beautiful article.
    I feel the same avoidance, suppression and control that are prominent in our times not only often flavor and frame how the above is experienced by the person but are also reflected in the broader (spiritual) discourse. And both are ok as well, I feel, as long as they are acknowledged (or rather there is an intention for further openness/surrender as they often are our blind spots.. 🙂 )
    We can often grasp on the context/perspective while being on denial about the content that is revealed for healing (or indeed further perspectives). I did at least. And that’s ok as well, I feel, until its not, or it’s outlived its usefulness. I understand that being quite common (though changing) part of the growing process in these times as well as healing, which then only happens through further allowing, love, kindness, compassion, gratitude, humility, surrender, forgiveness.. That at least was the experience here.
    As there is increasing healing across the continuum not only have all the (now more aligned) perspectives and accompanying experiences their place but that the flow itself becomes a true prayer.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Oskari
      Yes, we’re in a time of rising awareness so the habits we developed during the dark age are coming to light and being cleared.
      And yes, it’s typical behaviour for an identified me that takes its experiences personally. And yes, shifting from resistance , fear, and the lower emotions to the higher ones.
      Beautiful. Well put.

  2. Dawn

    Is that precious little Buddha Baby the young Davidya? So adorable! Thanks for the beautiful, clear post which he illustrates so well:
    —I am unbounded Oneness, Source, the nothing that is everything…And I have a giraffe with a real mane on my shirt.

    1. (laughs) No Dawn. Oops – the image lost it’s caption. Fixed.
      The young David was not a Buddha. More a nerd.
      And a wonderful example. I have cave-painting horses on my t-shirt. No real manes though… 🙂

  3. Lew

    Hi David. It seems like most teachings have that element of renunciation to them. It seems different with those who in the West and East who have become awakened… Those in the East have stories like going into long periods of samadhi, silence, un-awareness of body, surroundings etc. Some have gotten enlightened on the path of activity but it seems that the path of seeking God necessitated a full time job of being a sannyasa… The sanyasa would then be supported by the householders and community by being given good rtc. Many were put in charge of temples etc. Householders had a lot to do it the renunciates were able to keep the contact of the earth with the absolute going… Now there seems to be more time and better techniques for householders to be able to unfold the absolute within themselves and be able to function without losing touch with their real selves. Here’s another question sort of unrelated but when you discuss experiences it’s great to hear your broad overview but could you take a few minutes to discuss more closely some of the “elements” of the Absolute such as Sat Chit Ananda… It seems like this is the core of it all…the essence of Brahman…or is there something beyond even this? Being, awareness, and bliss. I would intellectually think that being is the root … that there is a state of being without anything else…but it seems that being does come in unity with awareness… Which makes sense… The fun part is the bliss! Is the essence even more bliss than it even is awareness of even being… If so, fire some reason, I’m relieved … The end result of all of this can’t be just nothingness… One final thing could you stop over and discuss the Godheads in more detail …Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, Lakshmi, Sarsswati, Durga, Ram, Krishna and others. We worship them and meditate on them … and we even gain God awareness through this… They are symbols of absolute reality and are connected to do many things and all the parts of our lives such as learning, restoration, eating, nurturing, protection etc. We do prayers, rituals, and build temples so that they can relieve our suffering, erase ignorance and bring us God awareness…It would be nice to know more about the connection or experiences of them after awarenesss is attained. Thank you… Great stuff here…. PS please forgive spelling errors and auto correct errors

    1. Hi Lew
      It was a historical trend due to the dark age. There was a time where you had to leave the world to make any progress spiritually because it was so thick with mud. But that time has now past. However, many teachings have maintained that influence.
      Older traditions usually have deeper roots that predate the period.
      To some degree, it depends on when they unfolded. If it was in the last century, there is often more of a withdrawal. But the more recently the less needed, generally. Note the distinction between taking a time out and having it dominate the life. Lorn spent 7 years on a monks program. I did 6 months of rounding early on. But the need for that is so much less now.
      Also, there can be a period of time during anyones journey where they do go very inner due to aspects of their process or their cycles of time. But again, these are periods not the life as a whole.

    2. I have discussed these points more earlier on. But in brief… Sat Chit Ananda is a Self Realization perspective and is essentially describing qualities of consciousness.
      Unity also includes the world, so absolute and relative merge. There is no longer an “absolute”. Just one wholeness. Bliss becomes more flow.
      During this time, consciousness/ being is experienced as the source of it all.
      Then we transcend consciousness/ Atman into Brahman. This is quite distinct. Brahman is a no-thing, beyond any expression. Thus is doesn’t have any of those qualities. Rather it has the seeds of consciousness.
      Deeper still is ParaBrahman or pure Divinity. The source of the source. The origin of those seeds of consciousness.

    3. Each word is a topic unto itself. Bliss comes in layers and is experienced more and more profoundly the deeper you go. There’s an article where I talk about how each layer is 100x the bliss of the previous.
      Similarly, the perspective of consciousness and being are different in different stages.
      Making sense to the mind is nice for the mind but this really isn’t about that. This is about going ell beyond the mind into our true nature. In other words, making this a living reality, not figuring it out.
      So no, then end is not nothingness. Not in the slightest. It is totality. Wholeness. There can be a phase of nothingness or emptiness (the first being without space, the second empty space). But those are just phases and best understood that way.

    4. (laughs) The Divine is a huge topic.
      There is recognizing the laws of nature or primary principles of the Divine – both in the world and in form.
      There is recognizing our own primary form, the personal God.
      There is recognizing God as essence, Being.
      There is transcending all that into Brahman.
      And there is coming to pure Divinity.
      Godhead is term meaning the source. Its singular. What you’re describing is primary forms or expressions of fundamental principles. Shiva is the witness aspect of consciousness, for example. Expression has polarities, so there is masculine and feminine forms.
      God Consciousness is a stage where we recognize these as aspects of consciousness and the personal God. We recognize them as aspects of ourselves in Refined Unity.
      There are many forms, not just those described in Vedic literature. The same laws may appear in forms that are described in the Western traditions. Or unique to us. This is called personalization.
      The forms don’t do those things. The Divine does them through those principles. Many forms, one Divine.
      All of these topics can be searched on the blog here for much more… There are also links on Key Posts and the Glossary.

  4. Tim Owens

    “The asmita or possessive self (mine-ness) ends with the end of ego identification. It was a side-effect of that identification. It may soften considerably prior.”
    I’ll say. And that seems to give rise to spontaneous generosity. Increasing fullness makes giving more and more effortless(and fun).

    1. Right, TO. When our possessions don’t possess us, that in itself is a liberation. They are simply tools for life and we can allow them to come and go in ways that were not possible before. Satisfaction comes from flow, movement rather than static possession. Generosity is easy. Beautiful. And fun, yes.

  5. David, I especially liked your last paragraph:
    “The key is going beyond the body-mind to discover our true nature. Then we can bring that back into our daily life. We can be a human who knows their cosmic reality. That is a blessing indeed.”
    We can have many brief epiphanies, even a few extended trances, but they are only effective when they transform our sense of being to a transpersonal outlook on life.

  6. oskari

    David, just to clarify: do you (and if you know, in general do people) use Godhead when referring to supreme Divinity or maybe something else? While I couldn’t find this in the glossary, it’s an amazing resource along with the blog of course! Tx

  7. Hi David,

    ‘…ParaBrahman or pure Divinity. The source of the source. The origin of those seeds of consciousness.’


    I often fondly recall being in class at school and how on a bright summer day we would hold up a prism against the window and the light streaming through and wonder at the previously ‘hidden/unseen’ colors suddenly appearing reflected upon the dark grey slate board: how magical those different colors and yet: all the one light, and simultaneously, the sun was also instantaneously known.

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