Embodiment - Seeking in Disguise
Embodiment is a practice whereby a person deliberately applies the results of a so-called "awakening experience" into everyday life. By this practice it is hoped that it will gradually permeate the whole of their life and they will achieve the lasting peace that has been so elusive.
Embodiment is a practice done by someone to achieve a certain result in the future. It is time based and is a path. It is seeking in disguise.
Our true nature, Consciousness itself, which "Lives Us" every moment of the day - and always has - does not need to seek in any way. Consciousness is already fully aware (Awareness is its second name !) and it is untouched by the trials and tribulations of life.
Aliveness is also its second name, even thought it is One Without a Second ! (joke)
The great Indian sage Ramana Maharshi maintains that
"there is a single immanent reality, directly experienced by everyone, which is simultaneously the source, the substance and the real nature of everything that exists.... is not the creator of the universe, the universe is merely a manifestation of its inherent power and is inseparable from it."
As Ramana says - " directly experienced by everyone"
This is the Aliveness that breathes us, grows our fingernails, beats our heart. It is that in which the sun shines and in which the super clusters of galaxies exist. It is the Awareness that we are. It is our actual and most basic nature. It is not something distant and far away that has to be regained, although it may seem like that.
The One Life. One without a Second. Our essential and true nature is that.
This is not something that we have to achieve - our actual nature has always been our actual nature. That has never changed. It is simple, delicate, subtle and all-too-obvious for the mind to notice.
The Aliveness that we are only exists in the immediacy of the present moment - and has never existed at any other time. It has never existed in the past and will never in the future.
So it cannot be achieved in the future, recovered in the future, regained in the future.
Any apparent "recovering" or "regaining" is the realization that it has been there all along, and has never been absent.
Any realization that it has been there all along and has never been absent is realised by no-one. There is just a realization, but no realizer. No separate entity there have it.
So here we are, on this planet in human form, The One Life living the Life of a human. It is the One Life that Lives you, and me, and every so-called person on the planet. It is the One Life that Lives every animal and plant. Each of us "natural functioning" in our so-called Lives.
There is certainly no need for our true nature, which is directly experienced by all, to embody anything.
With the development of conceptual thought in childhood we begin to assemble a mental image which details who we are and what we are. This mental image, the self image - the illusory sense of self - soon becomes the one who we are.
It becomes a reference point for all that goes on in life - all is referred to the mind - more specifically - the "me" image in the mind. This image is not alive but soon believes that it is the aliveness, the controller, the watcher, the modifier, the supervisor and all the rest.
It is a pack of cards that is held together by a single belief. That belief is that the "me" is real and that it IS "me".
It is the "me" and its story that is the source of mental suffering. But if the "me" is seen to be non-existent - what happens to the suffering? What happens to the sufferer?
The sufferer is also seen to not exist for it too is just a concept. Sure there is suffering, and - sure - there is a person - both of those exist. But the "sufferer" is 100% conceptual and only ever exists in thought.
Natural functioning is Life Living Us (applies to humans, cats, ants, cactuses - you know - all the rest) and with the exception of humans there is no "me" concept.
Natural functioning in humans is functioning prior to the adoption of the "me" concept in childhood, is functioning when the "me" has been seen through, and is functioning in many parts of life when there is no "me" there at all - which occurs dozens or hundreds of times a day (and, naturally and at the same time amazingly, is not registered by the mind).
The Buddha has said that there is no difference between him and any other person - and this is what he is talking about.
Life Live Us all of the time - after all - we are alive and aware. That is the miracle.
Seeing that the "me" is an illusion only ever occurs in the present moment. Having "seen that" three weeks ago, or three years ago, and attempting to use that past realization to bring about change in the future is done by the "me". It is rooted in the past and aims to achieve something in the future. It is a continuation of the story, a continuation of seeking. And the "me" is there, running the show (apparently), but this time in a more subtle form.
There is no need to embody anything or to integrate an awakening experience into what we call "our life". In actuality We Are Lived. Life Itself Lives through this temporary form, and every other living organism. Life Lives Us.
Seeing always only ever happens in the present moment - old "seeings" wrapped up for safekeeping have already gone. There is no aliveness in them. It is not very helpful to unwrap it and take a look at it from time to time. The only Aliveness is in the present instant and in the seeing that is integral with that.
Our true nature is not like a snail - Escargot - that needs to be "winkled" out of its shell. Its is not like a crop that needs to be cultivated or nurtured. Who does the winkling and who does the cultivating? Our true nature does not have to be "assisted" by a mind based strategy. It does not need to "get confidence" in itself.
Our nature is not "damaged" or "far away". Our so-called "presence" is not poor, and does not need to be improved. Our true nature only exists in the immediacy of the present moment and it is fully functional.
An apparent experience that one does not feel very "present", not not feel "very aware" may occur. From that it is assumed that the reason this apparently occurs is that Presence-Awareness needs fixing - which leads to the the Escargot and Cultivation Practices.
Tantamount in Escargot Practices a continuing belief that our true nature is something else other than us to which something can be done - that is - a conceptual object. This is a conceptualisation of our true nature and then an attempt to "fix" the conceptualisation.
Perhaps the apparent experiences of not feeling very "present" or "very aware" are themselves conceptualisations - the key conceptualisation being a belief in an apparent "me" - which has those experiences. A self-image - a self concept - of ourselves in the mind that we take to be our true nature. The so-called experiencer.
So all through our life we build and nurture the "self image", defend it from aggressors, repair it when necessary and generally cultivate being a "better person". Then comes the "spiritual path" - and so what do we do? The same thing - swapping one self image for another. The story of "me" continues and our right to have it is defended stoutly.
And all the while our true nature is 100% there and fully functional - quietly Living Our Life, whilst "we" apparently live in a conceptual world in the head suffering, defending, repairing and becoming a better person.
It is a case of mistaken identity. A belief in a mistaken entity - "me" - which does not exist outside of thought.
Realised what you are - and you certainly are not that!!
We are THAT which cannot be known in a "mind kind of way". What we are is not an entity and cannot have an identity. Concepts are not it!
So the belief in the "me" dissolves as it is seen to be an illusion and it is replaced by nothing at all. Seeing the false as false, the Truth sp[rings into view.
There is no need for a conceptual version of our true nature. No need to search for it.
Our true nature can only ever be found in the immediacy of the present moment.
" directly experienced by everyone"
Where else could you find something (no-thing - actually) that was never lost?
Only the immediacy of the present moment.
Written by Mike Graham, 7 November 2009, last edited 10 Nov 2009