More of an Understanding
So called Liberation (Awakening etc) is often spoken of as a 'Transcendent state'. It might very well appear to be that, but is it really so?
Others talk of an 'Awakening Experience' which is also an appearance - but is the experience part - the part that seekers are waiting for - the essence of it?
Awakening also is an appearance (it appears to be), but is it the actuality?
Is Liberation, so called, more of an Understanding and less of an experience or state?
The appearance (apparency) is that one is not Liberated. Everyday experience confirms this and many spiritual books and teachers talk about becoming Liberated or Enlightened.
The inference is that you will become something that you were not - something new - an enhanced version of yourself - something exciting - something wonderful. That your normal life will be 'transcended'.
All that is a very good story. But is it real? Is it actual? Or is it something from within the dream. Within the dream of 'me', the story of 'me'?
The story is about the 'me' that is not liberated, 'my' suffering in life, the discovery of the way out and the pursuit of that goal. Hopefully the final achievement with the happy ending of the story will occur.
The whole story is about the 'me'. A 'me' that is only a mental construct - and what is horrifying - a sense of 'me' that can NEVER become liberated or enlightened because it is fatally and intrinsically flawed.
On the other hand there is our true essential nature - Awareness itself which is already fully liberated. It does not need to become Liberated.
The understanding is that these are the only two possibilities - the illusory sense of self and our own true nature. One incapable of being liberated and the other already is.
The understanding is that Aliveness / Awareness / Consciousness is fully present in you at all times and always has been. It is the LIFE in you, it is the AWARENESS in you and is that which is the essence of your existence. You exist and you are aware. You are alive.
This is the meaning of the famous quotes
"You already are what you seek."
"What we are looking for ... is what is looking"
The understanding is that Liberation has always been present even though it had not been recognised. It cannot be a state, transcendent or otherwise. A state is an object in awareness - even a 'transcendent state' is an object in consciousness. You are the one who is aware of that so you cannot be that state.
Nothing new or enhanced is gained. There is no 'transcending' by or of the 'me', although it might appear as that. Liberation is our essential nature and has always been. It cannot be lost and then found.
Liberation is the re-cognition of our true nature. The apparent (appearance only) non liberated 'one' is the insubstantial reference point, the ego.
The ego is not an issue when it is seen to have no independent existence at all.
To "awaken" implies a state where consciousness was not awake. Indeed some go as far as to refer to "awakened awareness", implicit in that is 'unawakened awareness' and that 'their awareness woke up'.
Awareness is aware. There is no increasing of awareness, or decreasing of awareness. Awareness is not personal, not private. There is only One Awareness and it is Universal - so how can it go up and down? Awareness is not yours or mine to go up and down.
Using the expression 'Unawakened Awareness' is like saying that you have some Black which is White. Awareness does not 'wake up'. It is already awake and has always been so - it is its essential nature.
How else could we be so very aware of our suffering for all these years? Awareness is there live and well, fully functional. It is just that 'we' did not like what we were being aware of - cherry picking reality - "yes - I will have this bit, but not that". Even at the worst times Awareness is there, fully functional. How else could we possibly know that things were that bad?
The understanding is that our very nature is Awareness, also called Consciousness, Presence-Awareness. It is not personal, not ours and there is no separate part of Awareness that is 'me'. Fully functional 'no Self' as The Buddha puts it. Awareness is Universal and we are a temporary expression of the One Awareness.
The world appears in that Awareness. The physical world and the mental world are all objects in Awareness. We are not anything that can be perceived, measured, sensed or discriminated. So we are not our body, not our self image, not our thoughts, not our family, not our nation, not our race, not our species.
We are not an experience or anything that can be experienced.
Awareness is just Aware of it all.
Transcendent State ?
If there is to be a "transcendence" - who transcends what?
The only 'players" are Awareness and the Ego
The Ego does not exist in any way other than the content of thought. It has no power of its own and has no substantial existence. It says that there is a 'me' there, but that is not true.
Awareness is the Aliveness / Consciousness / Presence-Awareness that we are, and is Universal as well as non personal. Is is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient and possibly Omnivorous as well (joke).
Bit one sided - Eh?
A description that "I rose to a higher or transcendent state" has got to be an appearance only, as the Ego cannot rise and Awareness needs no rising.
The one who wants to 'transcend' is the Ego, the self image, the reference point, the flawed one, the tragic. It is the 'one' who we think we are - erroneously.
So what really happens? Identification with the illusory sense of self falls away. It is seen to be false. That is all. It has always been false and now it is seen to be. When the false is seen to be false the truth is there in plain sight (as it always has been actually - but it may not have seemed that way). The only change is the Seeing.
As Nisargadatta amusingly put it
"Look at yourself steadily – it is enough. The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
The ‘I am’ is the door. Stay at it until it opens.
As a matter of fact, it is open, only you are not at it. You are waiting at the non-existent painted doors, which will never open."
Awareness is as it is always - Present and Aware, fully functional - no change there.
Who did the Seeing then?
Seeing occurred, but there is no-one there who is the SEER, except as a mental concept after the fact. The actuality is that all there is is SEEing. It is a movement - a function - an action. A verb.
It is Life Living Us.
SEEing and Understanding
The SEEing and the Understanding are one. There is no separation at all.
The Understanding is not a mental understanding sustained by thought and conviction.
It is an innate knowing or understanding that is re-cognised with the SEEing.
It feels like home because it IS home.
Written by Mike Graham 29 Feb 2008, last edited 1 Jun 2008
Note on Ramana Maharshi : Ramana uses the term 'Self' to denote Universal Consciousness / Awareness (there is no other)