|Below is the
original interview by NonDualityMagazine.org, who at a later date
decided to remove many of the comments of the interviewer, which is
fine other than sometimes their removal makes my response in the
edited version seem like I am going on and on without cause and to
me seems a bit confusing. So for clarity, here is the original
dialogue (well - as original as it made it on to the website in the
first place - the sequence of questioning is still a bit out
of order). But for those of you who are interested in
exploring this line of thought, I really think this fuller version
is much better. It poses more questions and arguments, and
outlines it a bit better in my opinion. I hope you enjoy.
NDM: Can you please tell me about your awakening? How this came about and what was going on in your life when this occurred?
unASLEEP: It's funny - I can't count the number of times on my Journey that the thought, "I am just trying to get back to what I intuitively knew when I was five" has crossed my mind. But like most, I was quickly groomed and conditioned to adhere to a certain set of beliefs that well-meaning family, religion, education system and society in general thought was in my best interest. And so, I tried. I tried to adhere. I really did. But I couldn't silence this voice in the back of my head that continually whispered to me, pointing out the cracks in these systems of beliefs and expectations that I had been brought up in and integrated into. Good thing, too, because it was through these cracks that I finally crawled, dusted myself off, laid down my rose colored glasses and saw the world for the first time in a much less filtered way. And I was finally back on my Way.
Or so it felt, but the Truth is, we are always and at all times on 'our Journey'. We can't escape our Journey. Sometimes we choose a new path, or follow a little detour for a bit, but we are still always on our Journey, seeing what we need to see. But at the point where I consider myself 're-beginning' my Journey with conscious intent was at a point where my life had fallen into shambles. Bedrock beneath my world had crumbled in all directions, and in impossible ways. My finances had flipped. Relationships on all sides had suddenly turned toxic. Everywhere I looked lay debris and ruin. My landscaped had nearly completely changed, and the only things I seemed to have left in my pocket were the things I knew I didn't want: Anger, hurt, fear and disappointment. A very sad, bleak picture.
But funny things happen when you seem to no longer have much to lose. In fact, in retrospect I count the demolition of my world as a HUGE gift because it is when everything has been stripped away that we finally have the opportunity to really see ourselves. Unless we scramble to find metaphorical fig leaves to hide behind (and sometimes, some of us do), we have little choice but to see - not only ourselves but the time and space we occupy, because now there is nothing left to distract us or to hide behind.
We're naked, or very nearly so, and this nakedness is a remarkable gift. And this is what happened to me. My little self-indulgent world as I knew it was demolished. My metaphorical orchard that had been handed me and I had so carefully tended all these years had been bulldozed. I was stunned as I looked at this nothingness, at all my well-worn paths and habits, now conspicuously irrelevant.
Nothing much was left. But in exchange, I could begin to see clearly for the first time. And that's where it all begins. Seeing
NDM: What happened when you saw this nothingness and began to see for the first time. What did you see exactly?
unASLEEP: Standing there with nothing much left, I could finally see how much I had allowed myself to be defined by relationships, obligations, expectations, labels, job definitions, and past events not to mention religious and family influence. I could finally see how hard I had worked to contort myself to accommodate these patterns and behaviors. It felt like I shed layer after layer of thick sweaters, and for the first time in a long time, I could see me. Without all that, I could feel me here, in the moment. In the NOW. I didn't realize before that I constantly lived in the past and future, and rarely stood in the NOW. And I had certainly forgotten how good the NOW feels, as well as the sweet clarity that now I realize it always brings.
And I found something else I did not expect. I found that in the midst of my panic and sadness, buried under my anger and outrage, there was this seemingly inappropriate little curious voice of elation growing inside me. How odd ! It could barely be heard over the din of my pain and outrage, but it was definitely there. And it grew.
It was a feeling of freedom, of being released from chains that I had no idea were chains. In fact, these were things I defended things I cared for, polished and held dear. I never saw these soft fetters for what they were before now, never realized how neatly they held me in place.
But perhaps most important, it was at this point that I did something I had never done before, and it was a powerful turning point: This little voice whispered into my ear that it was my choice whether to lay this anger down or continue to carry it with me. I could embrace my anger, and I would certainly collect a landslide of sympathy and condolences. The thought of it felt very satisfying, and I knew I could wear it like a badge. This visualization was shattered, however, because I could suddenly see how it would become part of who I was. Even though people experience anger all the time and refuse to let it go, for the first time I saw how poisonous that act is, not only to whoever I would direct it towards, but even more so, to myself.
I saw I could instead forgive, move forward, and embrace these new vistas that the demolition had opened by the removal of all that once held me in place. And so, somehow, I chose to genuinely forgive on all counts.
To onlookers, it probably seemed a sure sign that I had either lost my mind, or had become a doormat. But that was not the case, though I didn't know it at the time. I was just following that little voice inside - I honestly didn't know what would happen.
So it was to my complete and utter surprise I discovered that I had made was a very powerful choice a choice set things in motion that I had no idea would move. Though I didn't consciously realize it at the time, my act of sincere forgiveness had declared I do not lack and I am strong enough to love you even when you do not act loving towards me. Very powerful declarations. Who knew? Not me. At least, not consciously.
And on the other hand, I could now see how choosing to nurse my outrage would have made opposite statements silent declarations of I am vulnerable and I lack" and "I am injured. Worst of all, this experience would have to queue back up again, and I would be faced with it once more somewhere down the road and given the opportunity to choose again. And I certainly didn't want to go through all that again. I was glad I chose to forgive.
And this was the first big lesson I learned from facing this stripping away - Not at all what I expected. But having seen this beautiful, unexpected movement in action, it made me wonder What else am I overlooking? And I began to inquire further. I began to pay attention to what happened in my life, and for the first time I truly began to see that there were no coincidences, nothing left to chance. We were all part of this magnificent cosmic dance, calling the partners we need to us, so that we may perform our next step in this eternal dance.
NDM: When you said you "could feel me here, in the moment. In the NOW." Who or what is this me? How did you sense or see this "me'?
unASLEEP: The 'me' I sensed wasn't the 'me' I had come to believe was 'me'. That 'me' was suddenly seen as a jumble of crudely connected beliefs and subsequent actions.
The 'me' I now sensed for the first time since I was a child wasn't as much a localized being (which beforehand, I was quite certain that I was) but rather an awareness that is always difficult for me to effectively describe in words. In fact, I realize it may sound quite silly or a bit esoteric, but whenever I try to find words to relay how it felt to be uncovered after all this time, the analogy that always comes to mind is the experience of suddenly drawing in a breath of crisp cool, rushing air. Refreshing, clarifying and bracing, it was a sharpened awareness filled with quiet joy and constantly alert to the fact of my innate oneness with absolutely everything I encountered, both seen and unseen. It was an absolute knowing of this utter unity - The proverbial "I am the vine and you are the branches" come to 'life'......well, except in 'your world', where you are the vine and I am part of your branches, should I appear. :-)
NDM: Have you spoken to any one else who is also in this same space as you about this. Someone who is also this vine and if you have what is it like when oneness recognizes oneness?
unASLEEP: Oneness always recognizes oneness, even if they do not consciously realize what is happening. Most people are usually surprised to find themselves feeling very intimate with me right away. Sometimes it confuses them because they can see no obvious reason for feeling such affinity, but should they open the topic with me, and many do, I have the opportunity to explain that it is the 'them' in 'me' that they sense and are drawn to - the One recognizing 'themselves' in another seeming manifestation. It is true 'Namaste' in action.
NDM: Do you still experience anger or sadness or other emotions like excitement?
unASLEEP: I do experience blips of excitement, and occasionally flashes of anger, but it is nothing like I experienced before. Now, there is an effortless evenness about my temperament. But every now and again (pretty rarely, actually) I might experience a flash of anger, but it is like a match being struck in the wind - it effortlessly goes out on it's own before it even has a chance to ignite. And excitement is the same way - I am pretty happy all the time, but if something does especially excite me, the daily joy I experience might accelerate momentarily. But these are like waves on my surface really - the waters beneath remain smooth and still.
NDM: When you said. "I am strong enough to love you even when you do not act loving towards me" Do you feel this unconditional love with all people?
unASLEEP: Yes, I absolutely do. This unconditional love is an effortless, natural byproduct of this awareness. When we truly grasp that we are one, who is there to feel competitive with? To fear or be angry at? No one. Every one is you, wearing a different face, and everyone you meet in every circumstance is like an amazing homecoming where you get to experience a transient intimacy with this seemingly separate fragment of you. It's beautiful. And fun.
NDM: What about desire, suffering, fear or aversion. Do you still experience any of these states?
unASLEEP: Transiently, yes, sometimes - but only briefly, and here's why: This is a wonderful example of what I am pointing to - This is where toggling between perspectives, between facets of our awareness, is at perhaps it's most useful. And it is this blending, this toggling, that I hope to point out for your consideration.
Because when we have gained the ability to toggle, then we can walk around in this experience that we call life in our Ego-Self/Projected self, and enjoy an unspeakable, first hand intimacy of exploration. However, should an experience occur that we have difficulty navigating as our Projected Selves (such as suffering or fear), then we switch perspective over to our 'Higher Self' (or whatever label you prefer) where we immediately gain the larger perspective needed to navigate the experience.
And switching to this perspective is no big deal, no more complicated or alien than passing something from your right hand to your left. Once we become open to this ability, we soon do it reflexively. And it would be silly to ask "who or what other hand are we passing this to?" because it is always OUR hand. It's not really going anywhere - just to another part of us, to just another facet.
Thinking otherwise is a bit of a trap, and before we know it, we get all tangled up in words and concepts (often adopted as we transiently affiliate ourselves with certain schools of thought) and we spend all our time dicing or labeling things that need no dicing or labeling because they are just facets of the same thing.
This is the point of my video series 'Seeing' www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYxbWI6EX98 - what we will think of something is directly linked to our prevailing perspective at that moment, but it hasn't really changed. It's all One. And the sooner we permit the reintegration of these facets, the better. Then we gain spiritual dexterity that we cannot have otherwise, and our interaction with things both seen and unseen becomes a much more fluid cooperation.
Leaving our Projected Self behind on the table is like chopping off our arms because our feet seem to carry us where we want to go more quickly. But what happens when we want to eat chocolate? We have no choice but to label the chocolate as 'bad' so that we can live with the choice we made to remove the part of us that would have allowed us to taste the chocolate. :-(
Or, we can just be whole-y, and complete.
NDM: What are your thoughts about the "ego", meaning the identification with a sense of a personal individual self. Do you believe that the ego can be forcefully overcome? How does one not only get to see that one is not ones mind, ego or body, but get to permanently be in this "space" to be this awareness outside of this mind /body? Is there still a witness there or has this also disappeared?
unASLEEP: I am so glad you asked these, because I think this is a very important, but largely overlooked Truth that is going to clear up a lot of issues when it hits the mainstream, not to mention help to dissolve all these different 'camps' or 'schools of thought' that we still tend to migrate towards.
Before we begin to awaken, we see ourselves as individuals. We are this person who we think somehow materialized on this planet and are subject to birth and death. We have a family, a history, and (we hope) a future. We pay taxes, accumulate possessions, and attend churches as well as little league games. We think we are subject to fate, or chance, or coincidence. We worry about our jobs, about getting ahead, and about staying on top.
And then somewhere along the line, we begin to ripen. One by one, we begin to awaken, bit by bit. In both my personal experience as well as what I have observed in others, this thing we call "enlightenment" is a door that swings ever wider, as long as we care to look. (quote from my video www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP8ob6AOnbQ ) It only opens as quickly as we allow it to.
So somehow, one day we begin to question who we are, and why we're here, and upon deeper contemplation, typically see that much of our perceived trouble is due to what we often come to call our ego-self and all his seemingly insatiable desires and reactions. He's like an out of control teenager, and we have a great deal of trouble with him. In fact, we don't really know quite what to do with him or how to curb his impulses. So, the way some deal with this is to initially seek help within a religion or school of thought that advocates divorcing ourselves mentally from this seeming troublemaker in one way or another. Luckily, these schools are pretty common, and so we do this, and this divorce does indeed settle our world right down. There is no longer anyone doing 'donuts' in your mental parking lot anymore. :-) And when all of that nonsense stops, life feels downright blissful. No more ups and downs - now we can be Steady Eddie, taking life as it comes. It feels good.
And this seems to be a natural evolution for some, a very, very common path that we can travel. Actually, this intellectual sleight of hand where we mentally divorce ourselves for a time from what we like to call our ego-self could be seen as a smart move. It's like walking away from an argument that has escalated into a screaming match and is going nowhere. And by walking away, by becoming quiet, then we can usually find a resolution, a balance, and this balance feels wonderful.
And this is what we are doing when we mentally divorce ourselves from this ego-self who has given us such headaches: We are putting our selves (literally) into 'timeout'. We are interrupting his out-of-control scenario, and giving us room to cool down and regain our balance. And it is a very welcomed relief. For the first time, we are able to watch what unfolds in our life without worry. We are able to disconnect from the overworked nerves that our ego-self pumps. And we slide into the back seat. Whew.
In fact, it feels so good, so right, that many assume 'this is how and where we're always supposed to be'. And for a time, many of us believe that with all our hearts because at that time, that is as far as our awareness extends. But somewhere along the way some dastardly person like myself (or even better, the Voice within) ruins this fun ;-) and whispers to us that "This isn't all - Can't you feel it is only one side of this coin?" And for those who are ripe, the Truth begins to leak in around the corners as this conceptual shell that we unknowingly formed around our selves suddenly feels a little tight. Cracks form, and the Light once more begins to pour in and we awaken a little further and see "How can there be repose without movement? Inflow without outflow?"
Now, those who are not quite ripe will attempt to deflect such an inquiry and maintain hold on this warm and cozy spot they have found by attempting to challenge this arising awareness with "Who or what is there to do this?" Their vision is still completely fixed upon the oneness, and they have not yet opened their eyes and looked around or acquired the tolerance to encounter anything other. And there is nothing wrong with this - it is just a sign that, like an unborn child who hasn't fully formed yet, they have not ripened to the point where they are prepared to step outside of their single-sighted association with That Which they arise from. They are still embedded in the womb, enjoying the transient period when there is nothing for them to do but 'be', and grow in ways they are not consciously aware of. And grow they do.
Because for every thing there is a season. One day, we are reborn. We still see the oneness in the flower, the kitten, and the annoying neighbor - We have not lost our knowing that they are all facets of the One, that there is no separation. But now we see further, too. We see that even though we have been enjoying our ride as a leaf on the river of life, we suddenly realize that we are also this river. And with this knowing, see that there is no such thing as passively experiencing anything. Yes, we are the leaf. We've embraced that for a long time. But we are also this river. So, everything is done by our hand. There is no such thing as passiveness. After all, if not our hand, then whose? And we see the river and the leaf are both facets of the One, and they are us. It is our perspective at the moment that determines which we associate our selves with. But they're both us.
And knowing this, we finally see that this ego-self isn't someone to be shunned, but rather is also a facet of the One. And with this awareness, we begin to function more fully spiritually. Lights and bells we didn't realize we had begin to come on as we learn to toggle between these two different facets of awareness. So, sometimes we are the leaf, enjoying the ride. Other times, we are the river, creating all that the leaf experiences. Because we are BOTH. We are meant to be BOTH. The next step in our collective evolution is to gain our balance, our muscle, our comfort-level in toggling between these two perspectives of the One.
Because the ego-self isn't 'bad'. He is our 'player', our 'avatar' in this expression/dimension. He is an intimate expression of YOU. When you were out of control, so was he. When you became quiet as you transiently mentally divorced your consciousness from him, he settled down as well. And now, you can approach him, saddle him, and ride him. He is you, and now you can come to him as is appropriate and useful. Here is a video I did that further expresses what I am pointing to here www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtXqJAyr-qs , and may make what I say here easier to consider.
Because in the same way, sometimes we are the leaf, floating along in what feels like a passive stance, taking life as it comes, with a broadened viewpoint, focused upon all harmoniously working as One with no little or no need to directly create. As the leaf, we are the Experiencer of all we create. As the River, we are defining and bringing forward what the leaf will experience. And we are both this leaf and the river, and we should not forsake one for the other, because they are the yin and the yang of existence in this expression/dimension.
It's like this: Sometimes we use our close-up vision, and sometimes our distant vision. We would be missing huge parts of the picture if we only used one or the other, wouldn't we? And it is the same with being the leaf and the river. We should go further into this new awareness and become comfortable toggling between both perspectives, because they are the interplay of the All.
And this is how we truly do away with what is commonly called the witness. When we've reintegrated all these facets, the Higher Self, the Ego Self and this experience we call Life. when we do this, THEN you can ask me the question Who or what is there to see this? :-D And there will be no one. :-) But we don't do away with the witness by cutting ourselves off from any perceived part of us. There is nothing superfluous. All facets are healed, reintegrated into their rightful position.
The witness disappears when TRUE oneness is achieved, and all parts are reconciled. Nothing is discarded, except our belief in this un-whole-y segregation. :-)
"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]." - Gospel of Thomas, Saying 22
NDM: Are you at this place where true oneness and all parts are reconciled or do you see this as a work in progress?
unASLEEP: Yes, I am. But sometimes I still have to remind myself. I'll get all caught up for a moment or two from the perspective of my Projected Self, and forget to toggle over to my 'Higher Self' where I have a much better view of the situation. But the more we toggle, the more reflexive it becomes, even though it is quite natural to us.
We often do something very similar in emergency situations where our toggling causes time to seem to slow down and we gain the impossible overview of immediately seeing 50 different factors all at once so that we may attempt to better handle the experience. We already do this. So, though the thought that we ought to toggle may seem to be a new idea to some, the ability to toggle from one facet of our perception to another is something we already do. It's an innate part of each of us, and I hope more of us begin to consciously explore it and use it. Try it on. Walk around it it. Does it fit? Only you will know.
NDM: In your video, "Rebirth of the Ego-Self" you state that without him, meaning the "ego" you could not appear in this dimension as you are accustomed to. Then you go on to say if you pull his plug, you pull your own plug in this dimension. What or who is it that is pulling this plug?
unASLEEP: Well, that would have to be the 'who or what' that is asking this question, wouldn't it? ;-)
The Ego-Self, or the Projected Self, as I prefer to call him, is like our avatar in this realm of senses. He is our intimate, personal projection. We can view him as a particular vehicle of perception, an interactive 'program' that can either be left in the troublesome teenager stage where he seems to drive us nuts, or refined into a magnificent tool. Too many of us have made habit of just walking away, never experiencing this refinement, and this is unfortunate because he is a facet, an expression of the One, and if we pull the plug and remain disconnected from him, then we are walking away from the ability to experience this facet.
If we remain mentally divorced from him, as many schools of thought advocate, then we have detached ourselves from what his experience brings us. He is not superfluous, or bad. We just use him badly - At first. And that's the point I would like to make.
Here's an example of what I am trying to point to: Our Ego-Self/Projected Self is somewhat like a car. Imagine that no one has even taken the time to understand how to interact or drive a car. Instead, we usually all take planes, useful in some instances, but very inappropriate when, for example, we want to buy groceries.
But since we haven't taken the time to learn how to interact with cars, every time someone gets behind the wheel, it's a mess - nothing but tragedy and loss (not to mention we never made it to the store to buy groceries). So, we decide to stay the heck out of cars. To us in our current level of understanding, they seem nothing but trouble. Besides, though planes may leave us exploring the world at a distance (not to mention robbing us of the Direct Experience of direction), at least we aren't locking fenders with someone at every turn.
Now, doesn't this sound silly? Cars are useful tools for certain ventures, and it would be crazy to never learn to use them. But this is how some of us come to treat our Ego-Self/Projected Self, not only steering clear of him, but wrapping this action in congratulatory concepts so that we actually consider it to be wise and appropriate to do so. And maybe it was - for a while. Until we took the time to learn.
He is a facet of you. Sometimes it is appropriate to direct our perception so that we see out of the eyes of the Leaf, and other times it is appropriate to direct our focus to our being the River. We must learn to toggle between the 'two'. And we may as well, because divorcing yourself from one or the other is really just an illusion. We are always both.
And this is what our next step is - to begin to move beyond religions and schools of thought (which should only be used as transitory tools) and begin to shed thoughts and theories that limit us and toggle between all our wonderful facets, because they are all us.
Each facet offers us wonderful colors and views that we will not directly experience otherwise.
NDM: Yes we are both, the leaf and the river but only one is permanent. This ego/mind/body has to die. What you are also saying sounds like when you navigate from the non-dual state to the dualistic state and using the mind like an instrument, and not allowing it you use you and not being stuck in the absolute. Genpo Roshi also talks about another state, which he calls this the "apex state" Its neither being trapped in the non-dual or duel, but one that transcends both these states. Its a fluid place where one has a choice to navigate from one to the other at will. It is includes both these states, the dual and the non-dual. He refers to this as the ego less ego. See here. www.scribd.com/doc/3849331/Mastering-the-Power-of-Now-Series-Genpo-Roshi
unASLEEP: Bingo. I haven't read Genpo Roshi, but this sounds like it may be very similar to what I am trying to point to here. (And apparently, he did it with far less words than I. :-D )
NDM: As with the Zen saying. Before a person studies Zen, mountains
are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the
truth of Zen, mountains
unASLEEP: This is true.
NDM: Yes from the absolute, paradoxically everything projected on this physical dimension, this relative phenomenological empirical dimension, including the ego is part of the absolute and oneness. However only one is infinite, eternal, boundless, timeless. From this perspective the ego is seen as being a mirage.
unASLEEP: Is this a problem?
NDM: No problem at all. However, why would you want to maintain this identification with a mirage when all this will bring is suffering, anxiety and keep one in samsara? How can one even be awareness when when is trapped inside the bubble of the egoic self like an air bubble in a glass of water?
unASLEEP: I would have to disagree - That is not all it brings, nor are we 'trapped' by anything other than our own thoughts. To believe that this facet of ourselves only brings suffering or that we are somehow 'trapped' in some way is a slice of well-known, parroted dogma from the perspective of few particular schools of thought, I'm afraid.
Regardless, IS IT TRUE? Yes - It is, for whomever believes it. This IS what you will experience if you never learn to drive your 'car', and instead rely on the words of another that experiencing life 'up close and personal' will only bring suffering and grief. Sadly, that will be your truth as long as you believe it. When you go beyond leaning upon the words of another, you'll find something different.
NDM: Yes I agree its not all it brings, but this is also not about words of another or book knowledge, religious dogma but up close and personal experience and living beyond the illusion of this personal "self." What I found is that without a sense of a self being there, as before, there is no longer suffering, desire, fear or aversion.
Then what is the cause of suffering if its not identification with this ego self?
unASLEEP: Well of course. That's true. When we are 'living beyond the illusion of this personal "self" or 'mentally divorcing ourselves from our 'Ego Self'' (as I like to term it), the room does indeed get pleasantly quiet. No one has disputed that.
Suffering, desire and aversions seem to quickly dwindle away because we have distanced ourselves from our facet that would have normally experienced those things. This is our motivation for the 'divorce'. It provides us with a sense of 'room' where we can regain our innate balance and peace. The only trouble comes from forgetting to retrieve and reintegrate this facet.
Because the reason our Ego Self/Projected Self was running around, doing this and that, and seemingly causing so much suffering in our life in the first place is because he didn't realize who he was.
Until your awareness expanded to the point where you truly began to grasp the Truth of Oneness, he (you) thought what we all originally think - that we are basically in this all alone with only whatever we manage to cobble out in this cruel world to help us. And that is where our suffering comes from - running about, trying to handle things and make sure we do or don't do whatever we think we need to. Because no matter what we do, we can never seem to find what we need or are looking for, and this causes our suffering.
He doesn't know how to relate evenly to the contents of this world, he hasn't found his balance, and we blame him harshly for it. And since we can't find a way to do away with the world, we do away with him. And since his banishment now places our world at a distance to us, we must console ourselves and say that the experiences of the world only bring suffering. Kind of like in Aesop's Fables where the fox was separated from the grapes, so he tells himself that they are probably bitter anyhow, not worth having. But that isn't true. With just a bit of balance, no separation is necessary.
For example, eating chocolate causes no suffering (in fact, you can count on quite the opposite experience, in my case! :-D). But eating too much chocolate might, as well as worrying if you will be able to get your hands on more chocolate again. But the experience of eating chocolate is completely without suffering. It's our interaction that is uneven and causes this suffering. And our interaction is uneven because we have no idea who we are, and what we may truly need, or not need. Do you see?
So, to transiently cope with off-balanced situation, some (like yourself) find it useful to disavow their 'Ego Self' or 'Projected Self' for a time while they regain their balance, and then come back to him later. Others (like myself) never really disassociate themselves with him - we find it easier to just educate him along the way. Either way works, and here's why:
Once the Ego Self/Projected Self knows who he is, he is no longer afraid. He quits running around like a madman. And we say goodbye to suffering...
....just like you are experiencing right now, but without having to keep your Ego Self/Projected Self (and therefore much of the experience of Life) at arm's length. You can be up close and personal again, without the suffering.
Does this mean that the Projected Self/ Ego Self will never again seem to suffer with an illness? Lose a loved one? Get fired? Probably not. However, now he knows how to correctly view it, and so it is no real problem.
With his new awareness of who his is and what that means, he no longer suffers. Things come, and things go, and he is not unduly troubled. He does not worry. But neither is he detached from their coming or going. He sees them. He tastes them. He experiences them for what they seem to be without losing sight of the Oneness, that these 'things' are him, as well as their act of their coming and going. There is nothing that is not him, whether that be others facets of his psyche, other seeming entities he meets - everything he encounters is all One. And with this new education, he becomes a relaxed and well-behaved man, and we no longer have to exclude him in order to maintain peace in our lives.
We can enjoy experiencing the world through his eyes once more. It's what this unique facet is for
NDM: What you seem to be talking about here is becoming detached from this ego self. Denying it, mentally divorcing yourself from it through some method, technique, meditation and so on. Or even forcefully suppressing it. What I'm saying is something very different. I'm talking about when this ego dies and there isn't a sense of you at all. There is nothing to divorce yourself from, to suppress, or to still. When you look inside this personal reference point has completely disappeared and all you see is a full infinite nothing ness . No witness either. You become the typed words on the screen. You are the sound of key boards typing themselves.
When you look inside your self, what do you see?
unASLEEP: If you disassociated yourself as completely as you seem to be pointing to here, there would be no 'you' to make these inquiries. How could there be? I sincerely have no intention to step on toes, but it seems that those who believe they have done this so completely are only pulling another sleight of hand upon themselves, possibly because still believe the 'self' to be 'bad'. He is neither. He is your player, your avatar here in this dimension. And if you have a name and live somewhere, collect a paycheck, have coffee, if you are still 'here'.....then so is he. He may not be running the show all the time, but he is still here because you are still projecting him. Cease your projection, your projected self, and you will still be 'here', but not as you are accustomed to. Let's put it this way: You aren't going to need a hat. :-D
NDM: Yes that's right, I agree, most people who believe they are in this place are pulling a slight of hand on themselves. This also happened early on in my case until this was seen through 6 months later on. This can so easily happen. see "intermediate zone" where the enlightened ego steps in and claims it. One persona, mask, hat, is replaced by another ego trip. More so than ever. Claiming one is enlightened can be the biggest of all.
In answer to your question, on the absolute level, what the Indians refer to as "Parabrahman" No one is asking these questions or making these enquires, enquires are simply happening. Enquires arise out of this full/nothingness. Oneness is making these enquires. On this level it is seen that in essence you are talking with yourself. You ask the question and the answer appears, just through someone else's mouth. In this case an email.
As far as the ego is concerned, believing it is either good or bad, this is not a question of a value or moral judgment, it is neither and this is also seen as a matter of the ego, obfuscating the reality of what things truly are. Without the mediation of the mind, the sensory perceptions, distortions, conditioning, habit formations, unconscious shadow projections, societal indoctrination, hypnosis, sleepwalking, samskaras and so on. There is also much more to this than meets the eye. Being aware of your conscious mind is only a tiny amount of this equation. Witnessing your conscious thoughts is just the beginning of this process like the tip of the iceberg. The shadow self is what has to be integrated and brought into the light. With out doing this, one is simply deluding oneself and still not out of the woods.
The problem with the ego is that it is like a pirate and has hijacked the ship. It believes that it is the ship, and is unable to see that it is not what it believes it is, which is this body/mind. Only when this is out of the picture or is truly seen through, not intellectually, or with the mind, will one be able to truly see, with out the usual egoic distortion's, interpretations, opinions, beliefs, habits and so on. Because it is like walking a round wearing a tinted pair of binoculars on you head at all times. The way to do this is not killing it, trying to dissolve it, mentally divorcing your self from it because this is like burying your head in the sand. This will happen, fall away when the person is ripe like a fruit falling from a tree.
unASLEEP: So, here's the test: Can you go through McDonald's and place an order and eat it? Must be still here, then, because he is your player in this dimension. You're still projecting this Projected Self / Ego Self. Oops. ;-D You're not? Then who the heck is doing that?
Yes I do this all the time. As far as having a coffee, this is also another illusion created by the brain/body/mind and the sensory organs. In reality there is no one here to have a coffee or eat a Big Mac. There is no separation from the coffee or the double whooper with cheese. In essence you are eating yourself , or it is eating you. You do not end at your skin. You encompass the entire universe(s) and everything in it. Like the saying, "when you see an open sewer and the sacred Ganges river as one, you have found God."
On an absolute and scientific subatomic level, we are 99,9999999999 percent empty vacuous space and interconnected with all manifested and un manifested matter. Yes on this relative physical, phenomenological level, this is how it appears. That here is a concrete separate person here and you over there. This is only partially true. The reality is you and I are one and the same right now and there is no time or space between us. Time and space is also an illusion. It is like the metaphor of seeing a rope in bad lighting and believing it is a snake and is afraid. It appears real, so one believes it is a snake, until someone turns on the light.
unASLEEP: OR, the seeming division here may simply be a case of po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Perhaps we are talking about the same thing, but expressing it slightly differently. You say 'death' and I say 'reintegration'. Either way, an identity that was taken as an independent character is no longer standing there alone. You are everything you experience.
NDM: Yes that may be the case. However awareness has nothing to integrate. It is the mind that needs to adjust to this.
unASLEEP: I'd like to ask you a question, if I might? What do you see as a problem with having a Projected Self? Or a Witness that observes the Projected Self if he cares to? Or any other facet/perspective that you might like to add? As long as they are integrated facets of the One that simply allow certain 'dexterities', why would someone be so intent upon trying to do away with them? I am sincerely curious.
NDM: Again there is no problem, nothing wrong or right with any of this or what you have said. It is what it is. Having a projected self (ego) is what someone may need in order to see that at some point, this is not necessary or anything to fear, neither is it a loss. How can you loose something that does not really exist like when the snake is truly seen as being the rope.
However if one is seeking "truth", and wishes to end all suffering, fear, anxiety, clinging to attachments and to cease chasing ones own tail, then one will have to see through these illusions and realize that this is not who one is. One is not ones body or mind. One is not ones emotions, desires, dreams ,hopes, attachments, aspirations, conditioning or habits. One is not ones suffering. Who one is cannot suffer
Genpo Roshis says that the only way to access this apex state is by transcending the non-dual state. The only way to get to the non dual state is to transcend the dual ego state. You cant access the apex state with out passing through the non duel stage. In essence if there is a sense of a person there you cant get to see this because this ego will be in the way. Its only when the ego is gone is that one can then visit this dual state. At any point in your path did you experience death of this ego? Did you ever go through a phase where you did not know who or what you were?
Genpo Roshi also says that the only way to access this apex state is by transcending the non-dual state. The only way to get to the non dual state is to transcend the dual ego state. he says you cant access the apex state with out passing through the non duel stage.
In essence if there is a sense of a person there you cant get to see this because this ego will be in the way. Its only when the ego is gone is that one can then visit this dual state. At any point in your path did you experience death of this ego? Did you ever go through a phase where you did not know who or what you were?
unASLEEP: Interesting, because without knowledge of Genpo Roshi or the specific teachings of the Buddha that he derived his "apex concept" from, I (have attempted to) explain in detail to you the very same thing. And from my experience, there was no 'death', but rather, an education, moments of clarity I suppose, where I saw that this 'me' was really my shadow, my reflection. But I never disassociated myself from it. I saw no need. I just 'shushed' it (over and over, I might add), and stopped letting it run the show all the time. And if I am sometime shushing it, then it stands to reason that someone needs to be behind the wheel, so intuitively I found myself toggling back and forth between these perspectives, using whichever was more appropriate. And that's how it happened.
I mean, anyone can take this natural evolution/education and make it all very complicated and state this and that about it and outline supposed parameters and requirements, but I can tell you that I knew nothing of these, and still found myself there. It is innate.
We're like salmon swimming back upstream. It's up to you - You can stop and buy all the maps you want from salmon stands along the stream who say they have been there, and these instructions may or may not be useful to you, it depends. But you already have what you need to get there. It's hardwired in. We just need to get to the place where we no longer believe route and measure are so important, because they aren't. We like them, though. We feel comforted when we are surrounded by maps and measures and instructions, and we cling to them until we have tried so many or for so long that we can finally give our inner compass a turn.
Then things really start to happen.
NDM: Can you tell me about your mind. Is your mind still active like before or do you experience long periods of silence with no thoughts, or emotions at all. No witness either?
unASLEEP: It's funny because I rarely think at all anymore, and this is coming from someone who heavily relied upon an intellectual relation with the world. It was quite a surprise to suddenly realize that somewhere along the way, I switched from 'thinking' (where I weighed and deduced things), to 'knowing' (where answers arise without the normal, prerequisite mentations). And I will not lie to you - it's pretty darn cool, actually. ;-D
NDM: Do you mean as with "gnosis', intuition and do these answers come in words, pictures, a sound of a voice?
unASLEEP: It can be literally anything - occasionally it has seemed to be a nearly audible voice, but many times it feels like I suddenly had a really fantastic idea pop into my head out of nowhere. But it could also be a sound, or even like a picture or short movie.
Or if I am having a hard time hearing a thought or answer I am seeking, it often pops into my head first thing in the morning, just as I open my eyes, or just as I drop off to sleep at night. And (this may sound strange) but I have even attended 'instruction classes' in my sleep - dreams that repeat over and over (4 seems to be the magic number of repetition) and are very much like a little seminar. So, I never know how this non-thinking information will occur.
Also, the thought or message can be very concise - like one word, OR, it can be a tremendous amount of information that seems to download all at once into my awareness.
NDM: Also has your sensory awareness become more heightened?
unASLEEP: Yes, it has. There has been quite a bit of this, but it would take too long to go into here, and would probably raise more questions than it addressed, so maybe we'll save the details for another day.
NDM: Do you spend more time in the body or the mind?
unASLEEP: Oh, the 'mind', fer sure. Guilty. :-) But that is something I have worked on balancing since I more fully realized that not only were the body and mind utterly ONE, but that THE DOOR SWINGS BOTH WAYS. A verrrrry useful thing to know.
In other words, our body is the projection of our mind, the outward reflection of what we contain 'within'. It's not just a somewhat random collection of dna and environmental influences, pushed into this world by our Mothers. It is us - manifested here. As above, so below. Makes sense. It is the common localization of the Projected Self/ Ego Self.
And because mind and body are one, not only can our thoughts change our bodies (i.e. - Our thoughts instruct our body not to eat as much chocolate, and so we lose weight) and world (I think will practice more compassion and make my world a better place) etc., but what I didn't consciously realize at first was that our BODIES could change our THOUGHTS. Literally. I mean, try smiling even when you don't feel like it, and sure enough - you quickly somehow feel happier. Your body can show your mind things, and in very surprising ways because the door swings both ways. I could go one and on about this in much more detail, but maybe we should also save this for another day.
NDM: Can someone still push your buttons, do you get irritated if someone questions or challenges you?
unASLEEP: Occasionally, but as I mentioned, it's like a match lit in the wind - it goes out before it barely catches. I wouldn't see someone as 'challenging me' anymore because these are not 'my' thoughts or theories, nor am I vested in supporting them. I am only interested in Truth, and would drop a belief in an instant if I suddenly saw it was incorrect. In a lesser way, I do this all the time as I see deeper and deeper layers of the Truths I currently hold in my awareness. There is a constant refinement.
Do I sit and argue? No, I have nothing to sell you, and have no 'team' to tally points for. I'll share what I have with those who wish to hear what I have to say, but I have absolutely no interest or motivation to argue or debate or try and convince. But as long as someone is open, I'm usually happy to answer any questions they may have about whatever I am pointing to.
NDM: You also indicated earlier that there is a choice in this matter?
unASLEEP: We do choose everything we experience. Who or what could be doing this choosing for you? ;-)
NDM: It depends on what you mean by "we" or "you" If one is truly liberated there is no chooser, no doer, no one to make a choice. There are not two wills and no longer a house divided.
I meant as if anyone can simply dissolve their sense of self. As if it is something that is achieved?
unASLEEP: When have I advocated dissolving the self? I have said the opposite - KEEP the 'self', your avatar, your player here but learn how to use him. He's not a bad fellow, you know :-) Just misunderstood by those who fear him. He IS you. Who else could he be?
I mean, do you feel the need to argue with your reflection in the mirror everyday, telling it and anyone else who will stop and listen that "This is not really you - it is just a type of mirage, just a reflection" ? No. That would be silly and unnecessary. You just know it, and quietly go about your day, consulting your reflection whenever he is useful to you
NDM: Of course not, arguing with yourself, trying to dissolve yourself is often futile. Your ego, sense of self is like a snake biting itself with its own built in anti-venom. On an absolute level, this reflection, what you see on this mirror is not who you are. This reflection is simply an illusion. You true self has no reflection, or projection. It is not a thing or an object. It has no shadow, it is un-manifested and cannot be seen with the mind no more than a tongue can taste its own taste buds.
Yes on a relative level and on this physical dimension, I agree we are the un-manifested manifested. When you speak of this reflection, this projection, do you mean the mind, consulting the mind, thoughts and so on. Using the mind as an instrument?
unASLEEP: The best way I have found to grasp this is by thinking of these other 'illusory selves' as facets of the One. These different facets, not unlike facets on a diamond, all have slightly different perspectives - that's what makes them facets. And because of their slightly different perspectives or viewpoints of the One (the diamond) they arise from, they reflect differently.
I mean, if you reeeeally want to get down to it, there is nothing BUT 'Awareness'. There is no 'Mind' to be used as a tool, much less any Ego Self/Projected Self, or Witness, or what have you. There isn't even really any Oneness, though that is how we currently speak of it for convenience's sake, but rather a singular multiplicity. An empty fullness. And this is why we get into so much trouble and confusion when we begin to try and lay it all out and label everything. It just can't be done. But it CAN be known.
NDM: As far as having a choice. If this were the case then the entire world would be "enlightened", there would be no psychological suffering and this would be heaven on earth all all. Not just for the ones who are in this place.
unASLEEP: The whole world IS in the act of becoming That Which they already are. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVtxiqd1sCY Sounds paradoxical until our eyes are opened to a certain degree, but nevertheless, true. :-)
NDM: Yes I watched this video clip about perception. As Ramakrishna put it, "everyone thinks only their clock tells the correct time." Do you mean this as some kind of evolutionary awakening of sorts?
unASLEEP: The whole world IS in the act of becoming That Which they already are. www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVtxiqd1sCY Sounds paradoxical until our eyes are opened to a certain degree, but nevertheless, true. :-)
unASLEEP: "Some people think only their clock tells the correct time." Hmmm. I'm honestly not quite sure how that is relative to my response. However, if that were the case, then I would have to say that "those people should refrain from asking others what time they have, shouldn't they?" ;-D
NDM: Well your video was about perspectives. you say in it "each one has there own perception, they are certain that what they see is all that there is" This brought to mind Ramakrishnas quote which is very similar to what you said. That's all.
Do you mean this as some kind of evolutionary awakening of sorts ,that people are becoming enlightened?
unASLEEP: I mean, we already are what we are. 'Enlightenment' isn't something you attain, per se. It's not like before you are one then, and then turn into another. Like before you were enlightened, you were an alligator, and after you became enlightened you became a buffalo. Or more closely, before you become enlightened you were this crude entity, and afterwards you are this luminous being. You were always this luminous being. You just were not consciously aware of it. Enlightenment is simply becoming aware of who you are.
NDM: What about the shadow self. The deep unconscious blind spots, imprints and aspects of the egoic self as well as samskaras, vasanas and so on.
Do you believe its possible to be enlightened and still be unconscious of ones shadow self and how this shadow self is projecting itself? Creating all kinds of elaborate and subtle ego defenses and mechanisms to sustain itself out of fear of annihilation.
unASLEEP: To me, the consideration of samskaras, vasanas, shadow selves, etc are more an indication of perhaps attempting to align our awareness with a particular school of thought than anything else, and I do not advocate that you follow any school of thought, or take anything that another says as true unless you have experienced it firsthand.
This thing we call 'enlightenment' is equally available to all. If there is special knowledge you needed to know, you will innately already have this knowledge. All you must do is bring it forward. Uncover it. And you will. This 'uncovering' is what we call our Journey. My video "Dorothy and the Deserted Island" www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYxbWI6EX98 might be useful in trying to see what I am pointing to here.
Because all methods/schools of thought/etc are really no more than man's attempt to recapitulate this innate information into a form that they can hopefully understand from their 'unenlightened' state, but much is lost in the process. Much. Not to mention, it is tedious to acquire. And in the end, you will discard it, because it is (at best) a crude representation of what is being pointed to.
Sometimes these schools of thought are somewhat useful in a transitory sense, to take us to a certain point. But they should be used like a hammer - used while they are useful, then laid down at the first opportunity. Because what everyone is trying to see is not fully contained within any school of thought or religion. What everyone is trying to see is well beyond those doors, however hallowed.
NDM: Did you use any kind of method, mediation, spiritual practice, prayer to get to this place of becoming awareness?
unASLEEP: No, I didn't rely upon any particular method or concept to get to where I stand today, other than two things: 1. Direct Experience and 2. Listening to the Voice within.
NDM: Do you teach?
unASLEEP: No, I don"t officially teach right now. I do have a website that I sometimes post things at (www.unasleep.com), as well as nearly 80 videos on YouTube (www.youtube.com/unasleep) that people often find helpful or inspirational. I have thought about it, though, as well as perhaps writing a book, but quite honestly, there are deeper areas that are taking my attention right now, and I just canít seem to tear myself away. :-)
NDM: Did some kind of energetic shift take place in the body/mind when this enlightenment occurred? Did you experience any unusual phenomena in the mind or body.
unASLEEP: Yes, I have experienced notable phenomenon as I pass through certain doorways, and still continue to do so. But I'm always a bit hesitant to discuss them specifically because there tends to be a disproportionate amount of interest in them. But yes, it seems to be a natural byproduct of acclimating and integrating certain Truths.
NDM: There are many people out there making claims to be enlightened? How could you know if the person was not telling the truth or was simply deluding themselves?
unASLEEP: Well, I never really worry if someone is or isn't "enlightened". I don't argue with people about what they believe. We can only see as far as we can see at that moment. As for changes to that paradigm, we will either be on the verge of making the jump to a higher Truth, or not. Something we experience will either kick us over into this clearer seeing, or it won't. There's no merit in arguing about it.
Overall, IMHO, whether someone is telling the Truth or deluding themselves really should be somewhat irrelevant, because we should never, ever follow anyone. Don't give weight to one word (not even from me ;-P) unless it resonates with you. Before you buy into any thought or concept and take it home, try it on first, walk around in it, see how it works. Does it fit? Does it work? Is it True? Make the act of Direct Experience your habit, and you'll never wonder again whether or not something is the Truth. You'll know.