Category: Awareness


Life without a reason, a purpose, a position… the mind is frightened of this because then “my life” is over with, and life lives itself and moves from itself in a totally different dimension. This way of living is just life moving. That’s all.

As soon as the mind pulls out an agenda and decides what needs to change, that’s unreality. Life doesn’t need to decide who’s right and who’s wrong. Life doesn’t need to know the “right” way to go because it’s going there anyway. Then you start to get a hint of why the mind, in a deep sense of liberation, tends to get very quiet. It doesn’t have its job anymore. It has its usefulness, but it doesn’t have its full-time occupation of sustaining an intricately fabricated house of cards.

This stillness of awareness is all there is. It’s all one. This awareness and life are one thing, one movement, one happening, in this moment — unfolding without reason, without goal, without direction. The ultimate state is ever present and always now. The only thing that makes it difficult to find that state and remain in that state is people wanting to retain their position in space and time. “I want to know where I’m going. I want to know if I’ve arrived. I want to know who to love and hate. I want to know. I don’t really want to be; I want to know. Isn’t enlightenment the ultimate state of knowing?” No. It’s the ultimate state of being. The price is knowing.

This is the beautiful thing about the truth: ever-present, always here, totally free, given freely. It’s already there. That which is ever-presently awake is free, free for the “being.” But the only way that there’s total and final absolute homecoming is when the humanness presents itself with the same unconditionality. Every time a human being touches into that unconditionality, it’s such peace and fulfillment.

In your humanity, there’s the natural expression of joy and love and compassion and caring and total unattachment. Those qualities instantly transmute into humanness when you touch into emptiness. Emptiness becomes love. That’s the human experience of emptiness, that source, that ever-present awakeness. For the humanness to lay itself down — your mind, your body, your hopes, your dreams, everything — to lay itself down in the same unconditional manner in which awareness is ever present, only then is there the direct experience of unity, that you and the highest truth are really one thing. It expresses itself through your humanity, through openness, through love. The divine becomes human and the human becomes divine — not in any “high and mighty” sense, but just in the sense of reality. That’s the way it is.

The only price is all of our positions. The only price is that you stop paying a price.

Source: The Only Price – Adyashanti

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Published on Feb 9, 2018

In this meditation we are guided to abide as ‘I am’ which is the source of our longing. The discovery to be made is that objective experience has both a veiling and a revealing power.

Gratitude, along with love, compassion, empathy, joy, forgiveness, and self-knowledge, is a vital attribute of our wellbeing. While there are many definitions of gratitude, at its foundation, gratitude is a healing, life-affirming, and uplifting human experience that shifts us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives. Gratitude provides us with a more intimate connection to ourselves and the world around us. In the feeling of gratitude, the spiritual is experienced.

For those who are ill, feelings of gratitude and awe may facilitate perceptions and cognitions that go beyond the focus of their illness, and include positive aspects of one’s personal and interpersonal reality in the face of disease. Such beneficial associations with gratitude have accelerated scientific interest in and research on gratitude and wellbeing. The number of publications on gratitude appearing in the biomedical literature in 5-year increments,since 1960-1965 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) shows almost no publications until 1996-2000 with about 20 studies. That number doubled from 2001-2005. From 2006-2010 publications jumped to 150, and from 2011 to the present over 275 studies on gratitude have been published.

Much of this growth of scientific interest in gratitude can be traced to the early pioneering gratitude research of psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough. In general, studies find that the frequency with which one experiences the feeling of gratitude, as well as the depth of emotion when experiencing it, are linked to improvements in perceived social support as well as reduced stress and depression. Among groups seeking to support this work, the Greater Good Science Center (Berkeley, CA), in collaboration with the Templeton Foundation (West Conshohocken, PA), has been a strong advocate of advancing the science of gratitude and expanding that science into diverse areas of human health and wellbeing.

One area of research that has helped to elucidate our understanding of the science of gratitude and wellbeing is behavioral cardiology. The field of behavioral cardiology augments traditional cardiology by examining psychosocial factors as they relate to cardiac health. Traditionally, behavioral cardiologists focused more on traits such as anger expression and hostility. Cardiologists Friedman and Rosenman, who first described the Type A behavior pattern in the late 1950s, conducted some of the earliest and most systematic scientific work in this area. The Type A behavior pattern is characterized by a set of personality traits including free floating hostility, competitiveness and time urgency; with more of these traits being associated with worse disease. Research eventually suggested that it is anger coping styles, and not competitiveness and time urgency, that are the more pathogenic aspects of the behavior pattern, linking them to morbidity and mortality.

In contrast to these types of adverse influences of relatively negative psychological traits, studies of positive psychological attributes indicate potential beneficial effects on quality of life and physical health in cardiac disease. In several clinical populations, spirituality and/or religious wellness are often associated with better mental and physical health. In this literature, spiritual wellbeing is seen as distinct from religiousness. In individuals with symptomatic heart failure, for example, there is a positive relationship between spiritual wellbeing and better physical and mental wellbeing. These are important observations because heart failure is a major US public health concern affecting over 6 million Americans with rates expected to nearly triple over the next few decades as the population ages. Heart failure is the end stage of most cardiac anomalies, with the annual number of hospitalizations exceeding 1 million and US direct costs exceeding $40 billion/year. There is increasing recognition of the value of embracing multidisciplinary therapeutic approaches in heart failure (as well as other chronic illnesses) that include enhancing spirituality and positive psychological traits as part of more routine psychosocial support. Early studies report reduced depressive symptoms and better health-related outcomes among individuals with cardiovascular disease following spirituality-based interventions that include guided imagery, meditation, journaling, and nature-based activities.

A recent collaboration between the UC San Diego Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health and the Chopra Foundation examined associations between gratitude and wellbeing in men and women with asymptomatic heart failure. We found that those patients with more dispositional or trait gratitude also slept better, were less depressed, had less fatigue, had more self-confidence to take care of themselves, and had less systemic inflammation. We also took the opportunity in this study to examine the role that gratitude might have in the known beneficial effects of spirituality on wellbeing. We conducted what is called a mediation analysis (in statistics, a mediation model attempts to explain the underlying process by which one variable exerts its effect on another (in this case how spirituality might lead to enhanced wellbeing) by considering the effect of a third variable; in this case gratitude). We found that gratitude fully or partially accounted for the beneficial effects of spiritual wellbeing on sleep quality, mood, confidence in self-care, and fatigue. That is, in this group of patients, the observed relationships between spiritual wellbeing and better mood and sleep quality were due to the contributions of gratitude as a fundamental component of spiritual wellbeing. Together, the findings from this study are confirmatory of gratitude’s relationships with better mental and physical wellbeing in cardiovascular disease.

Beyond observational studies relating trait gratitude to an array of measures of wellbeing, further work in the form of gratitude intervention studies has begun to demonstrate that when we are intentional with our gratitude and actually create time and space to regularly practice gratitude, other areas of wellbeing improve as well. Though researchers consider gratitude to be a trait, this does not imply that it exists solely as a genetic setpoint that cannot be changed. Instead, engaging in intentional gratitude practices are associated with a variety of benefits and may, in fact, boost the frequency, depth, and range of circumstances for which we are grateful. Practices that actively cultivate a more conscious experience of gratitude take us beyond reciprocal gratitude, and greatly enrich our lives and our sense of connection to the life around us. A recent gratitude intervention study, for example, found that when health care workers kept a work-related gratitude diary they had a decline in stress and depressive symptoms. As anthropologist and author of the book Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life, Angeles Arrien wrote ‘Through conscious and sustained practice over a period of time, we can discover again how gratitude and all its related qualities—thankfulness, appreciation, compassion, generosity, grace, and so many other positive states—can become integrated and embodied in our lives’. When gratitude is present in our awareness, everything changes, we can find ourselves transformed.

There are numerous practices to cultivate gratitude. At the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad CA., “What am I grateful for?” is one of four key questions that practitioners pose to themselves prior to entering into meditation. Such practices of gratitude bring awareness to and appreciation of the positive features within and around us, helping us to embrace life as it is with all of its imperfections. Other practices to consciously cultivate a grateful life include journaling, counting blessings, savoring positive moments, and behavioral expressions of gratitude such as thank you notes, to name a few. By cultivating gratitude, we cultivate wellbeing.

For readers interested in learning about current biomedical studies examining gratitude and wellbeing in different states of illness, including cardiovascular disease, a description of these studies can be found at the US National Institutes of Health ClinicalTrials.Gov website (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/home) by searching the word ‘gratitude’. ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.

https://youtu.be/xTPXMv_I-7k

Published on Jan 26, 2018

Self-Inquiry. Non-Duality. Infinite Awareness. Rupert Spira.
Abiding without concepts is the undifferentiated state.

Published on Jan 26, 2018

In this conversation Rupert encourages using direct experience when evaluating the Consciousness-only model.

Published on Dec 22, 2017

Rupert describes the process of inquiring into the true nature of the mind and the subsequent realignment of all aspects of experience.

Published on Jan 12, 2018

A woman wants to know what happens to her faith in God and prayer now that she has recognised her essential infinite being.

Published on Jan 8, 2018

Three Gateways to Peace and Freedom with Tara Brach (01/03/2018)

This talk explores the three archetypal refuges of truth, love and awareness. We look at the outer and inner aspects of each refuge, and then through guided reflections and a Refuge Ritual, deepen our commitment to the pathways that awaken our minds and free our hearts.

There’s a great line from a wonderful teacher who died some years ago named Kalu Rinpoche, a lovely Tibetan monk. He said, “We live in illusion, the appearance of things, but there is a reality and we are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That’s all there is.”

What happens to most of us, and I say most of us, is that when you and I were born, we were born into a social-psychological world, a world with feelings and thoughts, that was inhabited by people who were very identified with their separateness. They were somebody. They were mummy or daddy. They were also this and this and this and this, and they were all the different identities they had, and they trained you about those realities, because those are the realities that were real to them.

Let’s say you started out with completely undifferentiated awareness, and then in the process of socialization, you cultivated your cognitive capacities of this versus that and all your conceptual models that are called your ego and ego structure, and then you got caught in them. You got lost in them, so you thought they were real. You got caught in your own creation, because everything around you supported you becoming somebody. You went into somebody training when you took birth, and you ended up somebody. I bet you think you’re real. I really think you think you’ve got a personal history; you think you’re going somewhere; you think you’ve got problems and neuroses and hopes and relationships; it all sounds real doesn’t it? …Boy were you taken for a ride.

Now, it’s not unreal; it’s just relatively real. The predicament is, you bought into the planes of reality that are all in time. That’s a problem because there’s at least another plane where you’re One with it all, and no one is going anywhere. There’s no time – it’s behind time. So there’s a part of you that is not in time, even though the rest of you is in time, and you bought into the part of you that’s in time, so you think time is passing.

When you get caught in your somebodyness, you as a separate entity, relative to the game of form, are pretty tiny. There are galaxies, and you are pretty tiny, you know, and it’s kind of frightening to have your awareness in something so small when everything around you is big and so unpredictable, and you can’t control it. So to the extent you identify with your somebodyness, there is fear. There is fear of what changes, it turns out, because you can’t control it when it changes. There’s fascination with it, but there’s fear in it. There’s fear of death. That colors almost everything everybody does in a subtle way, all the time. Wanting to leave something behind, wanting to get as much out of the moment as you can because you are fleeting; feeling you’re running out of time because there is too much to do.

– Ram Dass

Does the capacity of awareness develop, getting stronger and stronger in endurance? Is this what you mean by the awakening of intelligence? If so does this not imply a process?’

Radical Acceptance Revisited (08/12/2015)

One of the truths we most regularly forget is that if we are at war with ourselves, we can’t feel love and connection with our world. This talk looks at the genesis of the “Trance of Unworthiness” and how the wings of mindfulness and heartfulness can dissolve the trance and reveal the loving awareness that is our essence Being.

Discovering the Gold: Remembering Our True Nature By Cultivating Mindfulness And Compassion

Posted on November 13, 2017
by Tara Brach: I remember when I was on a book tour for Radical Acceptance… one of the places I stopped was the Buddhist university, Naropa. They had a big poster with a big picture of me and, underneath the photo, the caption was: Something is wrong with me.

The Trance of Unworthiness: Forgetting Who We Are
I wrote about the Trance of Unworthiness in Radical Acceptance 14 years ago, and I’ve found, over the years, that it is still pretty much the most pervasive expression of emotional pain that I encounter in myself and in those I’ve worked with. It comes out as fear or shame — a feeling of being flawed, unacceptable, not enough. Who I am is not okay.

A core teaching of the Buddha is that we suffer because we forget who we really are. We forget the essence — the awareness and the love that’s here — and we become caught in an identity that’s less than who we are.

When we are in the trance of unworthiness, we’re not aware of how much our body, emotions, and thoughts have locked into a sense of falling short and the fear that we’re going to fail. The trance of unworthiness brings us to addictive behaviors as we try to soothe the discomfort of fear and shame. It makes it difficult to be intimate, spontaneous and real with others, because we have the sense that, even if they don’t already know, they will find out how flawed we really are. It makes it hard to take risks because we’re afraid we’re going to fall short. We can never really relax. Right in the heart of the trance, there is a need to do something to be better, to avoid the failure lurking right around the corner.

Space Suit Strategies: How We Manage in a World of Severed Belonging
Entering this world is difficult. Due to their own wounds and fears, a lack of attunement from caregivers is common. Depending on severity, this can create a core wounding of severed belonging: if I am not enough or if I fail, I won’t belong anymore. It starts early, and we internalize the messages relayed through our families: Here is how you need to be to be respected and/or loved.

In order to navigate this difficult environment, we don spacesuits — our ego survival strategies — to make it through. The suffering is that we become identified with the spacesuit and forget who is looking through the mask. We forget the tender heart that longs to love without holding back.

The sense of unworthiness gets dramatically amplified depending on our culture. Western culture is very individualistic and there’s not an innate sense of belonging. Fear of failure is really big. Every step of the way, we have to compete and prove ourselves and we have a profound fear of falling short. Messages of being inferior are particularly toxic for non-dominant populations. In different degrees, for those that don’t fit the dominant culture’s standards, there is an accentuated sense of not being enough.

So, we all develop our “space suit” strategies to manage ourselves so that we will “belong.” You probably know the ways you go about getting other people to pay attention, or to love you, or to respect you. For many of us it’s striving and accomplishing and proving ourselves. For some, there’s a habitual busyness. For others, there are addictive behaviors that numb and soothe the feelings.

The Golden Buddha: Remembering Our True Nature
One of the stories I’ve always loved took place in Asia. There’s a huge statue of the Buddha. It was a plaster and clay statue, not a handsome statue, but people loved it for its staying power. A number of years ago, there was a long dry period and a crack appeared in the statue. So the monks brought their little pen flashlights to look inside the crack — just thought they might find out something about the infrastructure. When they shined the light in, what shined out was a flash of gold — and every crack they looked into, they saw that same shining. So they dismantled the plaster and clay, which turned out to be just a covering, and found that it was the largest pure solid gold statue of the Buddha in all of southeast Asia.

The monks believed that the statue had been covered with plaster and clay to protect it through difficult years, much in the same way that we put on that space suit to protect ourselves from injury and hurt. What’s sad is that we forget the gold and we start believing we’re the covering — the egoic, defensive, managing self. We forget who is here. So you might think of the essence of the spiritual path as a remembering — reconnecting with the gold . . . the essential mystery of awareness.

Radical Acceptance: Awakening from the Trance of Unworthiness
The practice of meditation, or coming into presence, is described as having two wings. The wing of mindfulness allows us to see what is actually happening in the present moment without judgement. The other wing is heartfulness or love — holding what we see with tenderness and compassion. You might think of it as two questions: What is happening right now? and Can I be with this and regard it with kindness? These are the two wings that we cultivate to be able to wake up out of the trance of unworthiness — out of the spacesuit self — and sense that gold that’s shining through.

I’d like to invite you to take a moment to check in and just to feel into the inquiry: Is there anything, right this moment, between me and feeling at home in myself, at home in who I am? What is here, right now? Can I be with this? Can I regard this with kindness?

Source: Tara Brach

Awakening to Enlightenment

With my practitioner hat on (rather than my academic one), in this post I’m going to explain why spiritual growth [and self development] doesn’t lead to enlightenment; but of course a lot hinges on what we mean by those terms.

First of all, we should get clear that ‘enlightenment’ is in many ways more of a Western concept than a traditional Asian one. The Sanskrit word bodha means, depending on the context: being awake, knowing, understanding, wisdom, intelligence, perception, awakening, awareness, blossoming, opening, or expanding. It’s an everyday word, not an abstract noun, and it doesn’t imply some final state of perfection.

When used in spiritual contexts, it connotes being awake to and aware of one’s real nat ure, of the true nature of reality, or both. The English word ‘enlightenment’ implies (to most people) some kind of super-wisdom and/or a higher state of consciousness that elevates the one who has attained it above the mass of humanity. The Sanskrit word is sweeter, simpler, and humbler: it connotes waking up to the reality of what you really are (and always have been), and becoming generally more aware and open. Abiding in this awake alive open awareness is the goal of the spiritual life as conceived in the Yoga traditions.

In our culture, however, the pursuit of ‘enlightenment’ (which really means abiding in direct awareness of reality) has become confused and mixed up with the self-help / self-improvement project. People talk about wanting to grow and become a better person, and often imagine that the terminal point of this growth process is something like enlightenment. This demonstrates a real lack of understanding of the nature of the spiritual path (as conceived in the Asian traditions, anyway). Not only is abiding-awakeness not the endpoint of the growth process, it doesn’t even lie in that direction.

What??!

Look, if you stop and think this through, you’ll see it’s obvious: according to all the Yoga traditions, your true nature is always already perfect, the core of your being is pure radiant divinity, and you are always already one with the infinite divine Consciousness which gives rise to and supports the entire universe. TAT-TVAM-ASI: you are That, here and now. Therefore, realization of this truth does not depend on any degree of personal growth. Rather, it is a paradigm shift in which you stop identifying with the phenomena within Awareness (e.g., thoughts, emotions, body-image, etc.) and wake up to the fact that you are Awareness itself—the only constant in the ever-changing world of your experience.

And yes, it is possible to become so awake that you never fall back asleep again. You don’t become a categorically different kind of person, you just finally see the truth so clearly and completely that you can’t unsee it, and thus you dwell in a different paradigm from before

Now, despite fanciful stories about ‘sudden enlightenment’, this doesn’t happen overnight. Just as it can take you a while to wake up from physical sleep before you’re fully awake and clear, in the same way, once you’ve touched into the truth of your Being, you have to keep touching in and deepening your awareness of Awareness for months or years before it becomes your default state. In that process, there is a kind of growth that is necessary: reaching a level of maturity where you know what you really want and your daily-life actions reflect your heart’s deepest longing. In other words, you have to grow up enough to get out of your own way and make room for the awakening process to unfold. But this kind of growth is a necessary ancillary to awakening, not its cause.

So you have to ask yourself: are you subconsciously holding the belief that abiding in awakeness to your real nature has to wait until you’ve completed your therapy, or until your life’s not a mess, or until you can retire to a forest retreat, or until you’ve attained samādhi? Are you spending a lot of time and energy on a self-improvement project that yields only incremental gains, without first accessing the source of unconditional love within? If so, you’re suffering. And you’re not alone.

This is what looks really weird from where I’m sitting: a lot of people doing self-improvement type spirituality are working really hard to acquire the traits that are natural byproducts of abiding in awakeness (bodha-stha). This is going at it back-to-front. First wake up to what you really are, then integrate that realization into all the aspects of your life. Waking up is actually the easy part compared to integration, but way harder than both is trying to integrate a realization you haven’t really had yet. Which is what most people in this game are trying to do. I know, you’ve had powerful experiences in which you tasted your divine essence; but this is really not the same as properly waking up out of the belief that your thoughts, memories, and story have anything to do with who you really are.

It’s this simple: you cannot heal the ‘broken self’ as long as you believe that you are it. Or you can, but it’s ridiculously difficult. By contrast, if you wake up to and become centered in your real nature, then you can lovingly address any misalignments in the body-mind that need addressing. If you’re willing to do the work of integration, every layer of your being becomes permeated with the powerful energy of awakeness. You start to then embody that awakeness, which is beneficial to all beings. If you don’t do the work of integration, even if you’re centered in your divine core, you’re not really benefitting anyone else.

This is important. Some people wake up to their real nature and then dismiss the body-mind and its problems rather than work with them. This is called ‘transcendentalism’ by my teachers (and ‘spiritual bypassing’ by others), because such people seek to simply transcend the body-mind. By contrast, on the Tantrik path, we seek to allow the energy of pure Awareness (chit-shakti) to permeate all the levels of embodiment and aspects of daily life. This is called integration. But again, in order to do that, you have to be able to access the energy of Awareness at will, which takes practice.

So integration is the real spiritual growth, but it has nothing to do with trying to recondition oneself to conform more closely to an ideal found in books on spirituality or in the mouth of a teacher (which is what most people call spiritual growth). Rather, it means doing whatever is necessary to open up the body-mind system in such a way as to allow the energy of awakeness to flow unimpeded and permeate every aspect of your life (when actualized, this is called mahā-vyāpti, the Great Pervasion, in Tantrik Yoga).

Dwelling in the midst of the sea of nectar, with my heart-mind immersed solely in the worship of You [as the substance of every experience], may I attend to all the common occupations of man, savoring the ineffable in every thing. ~ Utpala Deva

This process of integration-and-embodiment involves a lot of looking. When you hold up a thought or self-image and look at it in the Light of Awareness (again, assuming you have access to that Light), you can clearly see to what degree it is misaligned with your deepest nature and discard it (by definition, they’re all misaligned to some degree; but the less misaligned thoughts can be useful for a particular purpose). For most people, this doesn’t happen automatically; they need to actually do the work of looking & discarding; or, in the case of saṃskāras or unresolved experiences, looking & digesting; this is a crucial distinction. This explains why some people can be ‘enlightened’ but unintegrated; and if they become teachers, they usually cause harm. There’s a difference between having access to the Light of Awareness (prakāsha) and doing the work of seeing what does and doesn’t reflect that light in its fullness (this is called vimarsha, or self-reflection).

Artwork by Jungle Eye

Someone who has done a lot of vimarsha and has therefore shed their self-images and digested a lot of their unresolved experiences dwells in a state of freedom called moksha. Such a person is called jīvan-mukta, liberated while still in the body. This is significantly less common than awakening or even abiding-awakening. It is the ultimate goal of the spiritual life, but it’s not an attainment since nothing has been attained; rather, something has been lost. It’s a state of being truly unburdened and free. But even this is not a terminal state, since there’s always more saṃskāras that can be digested and more integration that can be done. Still, there is a tipping point beyond which you could never go back to the state of bondage and delusion. Passing this tipping point is what caused the Buddha to say simply and humbly, kṛtyaṃ kṛtam: that which needed to be done is now done.

What would it look like for you to drop all self-improvement projects based in a sense of unworthiness and spend your practice time learning how to access and abide in your already-perfect innermost Self? This is not as easy as it sounds, since it means going beyond enjoying a feel-good idea of your own divinity and accessing the real deal, which humbles and softens you more than it exalts and affirms you (‘you’ here meaning the body-mind-personality complex).

What if you stopped trying to be a ‘better person’ and simply learned how to fully embody the being you already are?
✽ ✽ ✽

By speaking to important misunderstandings of the goal and clarifying the nature of the path (according to tradition, my teachers, and my own experience) this post addresses #1 in my list of the Eight Great Pitfalls on the spiritual path: that is, lack of alignment of View, Practice, and Goal. Alignment of these three, by the same token, is #1 in my list of the Eight Keys to sustainable Awakening. I’ll be posting on all Eight going forward (I already posted on #2, Energy Leaks.)

Do you want to understand the awakening process in more detail, avoid a major pitfall, and ensure alignment of View, Practice, and Goal? In the Trika lineage of Tantrik Yoga, we find an important teaching about three primary phases to the awakening-and-liberation process. In the first phase, you awaken to your divine core or real Self or ‘soul’, then integrate that awakening (which entails shedding a critical mass of what’s not alignment with your ‘soul’).

In the second phase, you awaken to your oneness with the entire universe, your seamless unity with the whole field of energy, then integrate that awakening. In the third phase, you awaken to the formless ground of being, the field of absolute potential ‘beyond’ manifestation (yet permeating it), then integrate that awakening. (To be more accurate, you don’t awaken to the formless ground, it wakes up to itself through you, and ‘you’ dissolve. No more you; only the One.) In Sanskrit, these three phases are called:

  • āṇava-samāveśa ~ immersion into your soul-essence or innermost Self
  • śākta-samāveśa ~ immersion into the whole field of energy
  • śāmbhava-samāveśa ~ immersion into the ground of being

When a person intentionally or unintentionally tries to reach phase two before phase one, or phase three before either, the results can be messy. It’s more or less impossible to sustain and integrate phase two or three without stabilizing the prior phase(s), my tradition argues. This explains why so many people who experience unity-consciousness (phase two) or the absolute void (phase three) can’t seem to integrate the experience in a sustainable or healthy way. It’s crucial to be stabilized in your absolute center (phase one, ‘Soul Immersion’) if you want to actualize phase two or three in a sustainable manner. (Not that it’s about ‘wanting’ it; you’re either called further or you’re not.)

Written by Hareesh (Christopher Wallis)

What is Awakening?

Most people have heard about a phenomenon called “Awakening”, but what exactly is human Awakening, what does it mean experientially, and how does precise understanding of it clear the path of its most common obstacles?

Nearly every spiritual tradition names awakening to your true nature and/or liberation from mind-created suffering as the goal of the spiritual life, and this has been true for millennia. So why aren’t we surrounded by awakened beings by now? Partially because people on the path today don’t have access to some of the key insights of those who have come before, especially regarding the successive phases of the awakening process and the many areas where a person can get “stuck”.

This workshop outlines in clear and precise language the three main phases or stages of Awakening, drawing on the Trika lineage of classical Tantra.

Through clarifying the nature of the path and the goal, and understanding the obstacles and the pivotal forks in the road, our path suddenly seems shorter and clearer. We see that we have what it takes to walk the path — and our whole life is energized by that conviction.

The sequel to the above video is on the 8 common pitfalls on the path: vimeo.com/livetru/8-pitfalls


A questioner realises that there is only the knowing of experience and that no practice brings us closer to ourself.

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