It has been an interesting summer, in which many people have checked out and checked in...lots of projects and extra demands. I want to apologize for not addressing questions and comments sooner. My thanks to those who read these posts...I am not a "teacher" in the formal sense, but I'm happy to participate in an exchange of ideas, or explorations--such as this one, on "The Way In":
I’ve been enjoying reading your blog for several months now. I find these last two entries particularly interesting, as I am at a place where I am looking at the whole concept of “story.” It appears that in non-dual circles there is the idea that we wake up from the “story” – aka – the dream, and the “stories” dissolve, and we no longer participate in the story. It has been my experience, however, that when one has “awakened”, one awakens *to* the dream or story, not *from* it. In other words, you realize that it’s *all* just a story, whether a story of being victimized, or a story of enlightenment or liberation… Once one “awakens” or should I say once That which Is wakes up to Itself, or, once That which chooses the story to be lived – ie: “your” story – once That storyteller wakes up, “you” realize it’s all just a story, a dream! And the dream story continues. You continue living life the way it is. The only difference is you *know* it is just a story, but you keep living it, *aware* of it, as opposed to being caught in it unconsciously. (sounds dualistic I know). It seems it’s about living life as it is – knowingly – with awareness, with inspiration and yes feeling, passion and creativity – even humor. But some in the non-dualistic community give the impression that one becomes immune, living aloof from “the rest” – in their non-dualistic ivory towers – which is just another dream world as far as I can see… Maybe you can address this more...?
Thanks for your offering here. It is much appreciated.
You are most welcome. :)
It has been my experience that, rather than becoming "immune" to suffering after awakening to the story, one, instead, has the strength, fortitude and perhaps curiosity to actually enter deeply into that state to see what it is. None of us are immune to physical or emotional pain. It is true that a great deal of it falls away, instantly seen for the compulsive grasping that it is...however, there are deep rifts and losses, major injuries and fears that seem to be part of our individual landscapes.
These features beg and long for exploration--not in support of the story of victimhood, but rather in the spirit of open willingness to feel them all the way through. If it appears, it is meant to be felt. The necessary degree and depth of this "feeling of" and exploration becomes more and more obvious as a person traverses the full territory of themselves. There comes a time when one can discriminate between a chattering, habitual thought/feeling (Oh--you again? Hi! Now go away!) and something with deeper roots that is asking to be followed.
The "language" of nonduality is such that it does have that "ivory-tower" feel to it. All the storying and identifying and so forth really is just that...our active minds are "set up" to storify everything, to create beginnings, plots and endings; however, there is also a "silent" quality of mind that is recognized not to be apart from this activity, but more a matrixing and vantage point where the origin of all stories is clearly experienced. Not from a "higher" place, but more from the heart of it.
Having said all that, there is a deep shift in realization, in which the absolute pointlessness of storytelling, clinging, polarizing, etc. is glaringly obvious. I think this is the place where lots of people stick. It's a perfect hangout for an ego that senses its own demise...a ledge of semi-denial on the face of a cliff, high above the silly people that believe themselves, but below the "holy leaping-off place" of absolute admission. That jump is probably the most painful and terrifying decision ever, as it involves complete honesty. Ironically, one lands back in the sea of humanity, in the ocean of dreamworlds and stories...but not the same, not blind. At that point, a person can decide to pack it all up and move to that cave in Tibet, or go back to work at Wal Mart. Bliss is located in either place. Love is no longer an item, a location, a reward.
The degree of participation in the story is always optional. Thing is, "the story" is not something out there, standing by itself, as if there literally was a giant, sequined Veil of Illusion blocking the view that needs to be torn assunder! So the degree of participation in oneself, which is all of Being, said and unsaid, is what we're pointing to, here. "Duality" lies in being aware of the story. "Nonduality" lies in being aware as the story...which is when the entire thing dissolves, having lost its name!
I woke up to the fact that, not only is life in my face, it IS my face, all of it! This used to be a threat, somehow, but now it is a joy. It is as if I present myself with a gift, every moment of every day, whether I am high, low, or in-between; whether I am creating a story or sitting in an absence of spacetime. There is literally nothing between you and I, as we are a continuum, points of contact in Contact Itself.
I accept this gift, and toss it over to you. :)