Selfrealization and enlightenment is love-bliss

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A conversation



This is a chat based on an email I received.

The initial email:

Dear Jan, I know, beyond any doubt... that non-duality or Conscious-awareness, or whatever anyone wants to name it... is empty and unperceivable ... unless there is something to notice or be aware of or see or smell... at which point there is also a viewpoint or self identity that sees. I know that at that moment of seeing something, there is also someone who is a sear, and that at that moment when there is this "duality", (or two sides of one coin) of a "sear/seen"... there is duality and separation of identities. When I for a moment stop reacting to what I notice... I am gone and what is noticed is also gone... and there is nothing except empty awareness, which feels very much like the absence of time and space and existence. If you agree with this... than how can there ever be true seeing or experiencing of life from the viewpoint of; "no self"... or of no viewpoint"... or of oneness or nonduality or enlightenment? Unless the answer is that there will always be the dualities of a "sear / seen", or "experiencer / thing experienced"... and that waking up is simply to always know with absolute certainty, even during extreme trauma or loss... that all of these two sided coins of duality are just a dream being dreamt by ... by what? 

The dialogue

Jan. Here are your five main statements about Self-realization and some comments on them:

1) Is empty and unperceivable

It is indeed unperceivable for the senses, but not for itself. It is not empty except in relation to the relative, to what can be sensed. Thus the two adjectives can be understood as metaphorical, or maybe rather referring to how it seems from the ignorant, not the enlightened point of view.

Question. Ok, I sometimes feel what I would call "presence"... and nothing else, but I feel that this "presence" is the sort of felt sense of the oneness. I think that when two people are communicating and have such a high level of agreement there is this feeling of "one Presence" that is both of them. Also, when a group feels high agreement such as when they are being manipulated and stimulated by a good motivator, such as a politician or preacher; there is this one presence feeling. But all of this is within duality. Outside of this duality or phenomena... to me... there is what might be poorly called "pre existence or post existence"... not a "nothing" and not a something either. So I don't understand why you say above: "It is indeed unperceivable for the senses, but not for itself." To me a pure void is not nothing, but is not self aware... it is unperceivable and it is itself not doing anything including perception of itself. It is sort of the potential for all things including, probably first, "perception" of the illusion of phenomena, but at the moment of perception there is the illusion of duality.

Jan. So, you seem to believe Selfrealization is sinking into some unconscious numbness. But void is actually only a step before full Selfrealization; it is an intermediate phase, so to speak. Check out your notion seems to lie in category 1: Vaisesika.

Question. Interesting! I either hadn't read that before or forgot it (this body's memory is not so great anymore). I like parts of 1,2, and 3. When I feel a powerful bliss that is also pure energy, I feel that it is like a means of transportation or flying carpet that takes me out of what ego would call existence. This bliss flying carpet takes me to what I think of as , not an "unconscious numbness", but rather... the analogy of all colors rolled into one which would be "White Beingness", which is fullness and completeness but looks dead and empty from duality. On rare ocassions this "void of fullness" feels like energy being experienced as bliss :-) Of course... if this were more than my mental illusions... I am sad to say... that it would not come and go, but would be my eternal state. As it is this only takes up about .001% of my day. Which brings up some questions for you:
a) I have read so often that the key point is "no self" or no personal identity, so that even horrible experiences are continued to be experienced, but not by anyone. Is this how you see it?
b) Also, when does the coming and going of nonduality and no self, become constant?

a) This is the crux of the matter and it is hard to put into words, so please understand all descriptions as metaphors. I know the "no self" notions, yet I maintain Self-realization is finding the Self -- so how could it be no-self? Yet, there is no small self involved anymore. The self you used to identify with is still there, but there is no identification with it any more. As there is no identification, there is also no small self in the pureness of pure-Being, there is just Self; You. What you really are and always have been (wether you know it or not.)

b) Yes, it stabilizes. Freedom from small self came to me in a flash. Since then nonduality comes and goes, but it too stabilizes. Internally it is permanent nonduality, but outwardly it comes and goes. Sometimes things are things, sometimes the are vibrant Shakti. The latter is very blissful.

Question. I still identify with small self or ego or the player in the game... I have to force it out of the picture by looking at or feeling it for a while and then it is gone for a while... You say: "The self you used to identify with is still there, but there is no identification with it any more." This is a new way of seeing it to me... that it is still there but not me... Maybe I can work with this idea... or as so many say, maybe there are no tools or practices that will help with this awakening.

- - -

Jan: next assumption:

2) There is something to notice or be aware of or see or smell... at which point there is also a viewpoint or self identity that sees.

Jan. Yes, there is nothing but awareness, but that does not necessitate a self-identity. In relation to the relative, there will be something seen and therefore apparently a someone that sees, but this does not necessitate a something that sees (that the seer is an objective phenomena). There is nothing manifest about awareness, it simply IS. Just because awareness interacts with phenomena, it does not necessitate that the awareness is in itself a phenomena.

Question. Yes, it simply IS... I guess I am saying that at the moment of awareness of anything, awareness sees through the lens of identity... and so, sort of seems to take a step down into the illusion or fixation, or trance of duality. I have many times felt that I have taken many steps down from one reality into another reality with each new universe or reality being more solid and trance-like than the one above. This always begins for me as "shock and awe" and confusion and an attempt to look closer in order to understand better and end the confusion... but that very effort to focus harder on what is being experienced results in a transformation that includes a total forgetfulness of the universe above. It reminds me of squeezing carbon into a dense diamond.

Jan. This discrepancy stems back to the previous point. Your notion of pure Being denies activity; hence what you are talking about here can not, in your definition, concern pure Being. In my view pure Being is pure awareness and also active. This confirms with Kashmir Shaivism and the final point in above page on my website.

Question. True, the steps down the ladder from a somewhat free identity down into the state of a very dense hypnotized neurotic identity; is all within duality to me. When you say "active", are you referring to a kind of "pure doingness" done by no one towards the acquisition of no goals... just the joy of beingness and doingness experienced as one single experience? If so I agree... even though I say seemingly contradictory things on occasion... This is Shakti isn't it...? It is also "the dance of life", isn't it?

Jan. Good point. Yes, a unity of the joy of being and doing; no duality there either. And YES: it is Shakti. Yes, the dance of life. When outer nonduality is apparent, it is just a flow, when not, it is not so easy since the Shakti may be there inwards, but not so easy to get to resonate with the outer circumstances.

Question. Yes, I see that too.

- - -

Jan: next assumption:

3) is also someone who is a sear, and that at that moment when there is this "duality", (or two sides of one coin) of a "sear/seen"... there is duality and separation of identities

Jan. There is no duality in pure Being, only duality between phenomena. There is, however, in the initial stages of Self-realization, a duality between manifest and unmanifest. In due course this duality also goes away, but I do not know so much about it to claim authority in that matter.

Question. So, speaking from the viewpoint of duality, this first polarity between "manifest and unmanifest" is the seed from which the entire fractal tree of duality is formed?

Jan. So duality is fractal and not chaotic? Anyway, it does not matter. From the perspective confimed by Kashmir Shaivism (see above webpage) there is no duality between manifest and unmanifest. Such a duality belongs to the immature thought of Vedanta.

Question. Yes... Amazing... duality is chaos! :-)
It's interesting that in mathematics, the study of "fractal geometry" comes within the subject called "chaos theory".
I get trapped often in the foolish mental study of ideas and things, so I am often trying to understand nonduality by using the tools of duality.

Jan. Having only a superficial knowledge of chaos theory I vaguely recal this peculiarity. But I remember I found that chaos theory was not concerned with chaos per se, but with highly complex orders ;-) Have I misunderstood something?

Question. I got the same impression :-) But isn't the implication that all chaos is really highly complex order? ...No matter... Chaos to me is a major trap within duality where it is the source of fixation and lowering of awareness. It is as though a mind believes that it must put order into chaos in order to survive.

- - -

Jan: next assumption:

4) is that there will always be the dualities of a "sear / seen", or "experiencer / thing experienced"...

Jan I think the above suffices.

5) These two sided coins of duality are just a dream being dreamt by ... by what?

Jan. Nice. It is being dreamt by YOU.

Question. But isn't this "YOU" devoid of any qualities... even the quality of selfness? (More to say below).

Jan. It is the Self that identifies with limitations. Limitations are not of the Self, they are to be likened to a dream. Self is devoid of qualities.

a) Yes, but if Self is devoid of qualities than it is what I call nonduality.
b) My confusion is with Bliss or Love Bliss... in that they seem to be qualities or experiences, so I wonder if there is something above them that is a full and empty void, both at once...?
c) This goes back to the story of the guy that comments; "I will be dead a lot longer than I will be alive."
To me he will never be dead and never be alive... as both are the same dream or story. But yet I am aware that I am trying to talk about nonduality with the dualistic tool of mental concepts... this, as I have said, is a trap I get into.

a) yes, Self is nondual in that it is unmanifest and therefore structureless and therefore without duality.
b) Bliss is not an experience in the sense that joy or mundane "bliss" is. Bliss is not an emotion and there is no subject experiencing it. It is just there. Bliss is the nature of the Self and when the Self realizes itself, it realizes Bliss as an unmanifest, non-dual non-experience of pure Being.
c) Yes, never dead and ... what? Never alive? You are only alive! Well, you can say life><death is a dichotomy and therefor within duality.

a) There are so many schools of thought about this entire subject and each have their own terminology. I must remember how you use the word "Self" :-) In the past I have used the word "Self" to refer to ego or identity.
b) Maybe the emotion called bliss is a lower harmonic or echo or memory, of true Bliss. When seen this way, the emotion of bliss is a pointer out of duality to where Bliss is eternal and un-losable, as ... What Is:-)
c) Yes, the man in the story is never alive in duality as that is simply the dream of being alive and trying to survive. Do you agree?

Sorry, I am getting off the subject, I am reading that link you sent me (above). You write that in regards to "Tantra": "Self in other is a matter of degrees of purity and perfection." To me purity and perfection are ideas within duality... To me, anything having to do with "contrasts" or "comparisons" or "degrees of..." are within the subject of the finite or dual.

In the link above there is this paragraph in which you wrote abotu purity and perfection:
"This brings us to the interesting question of illusion (false or wrong knowledge). Vedanta says illusion is neither a projection of the Self nor something unreal; it is simply false and neither real or unreal. In contrast Tantra maintains that illusion is real enough and that its nature is the same as any other knowledge, but in the case of illusion it is wrong knowledge. This has interesting implications because it means knowledge can be more or less perfect. Thus Selfrealization is one thing, but realization of the Self in other is a matter of degrees of purity and perfection. Ignorance is not absence of knowledge, it is wrong or imperfect knowledge. Vedanta on the other hand denies illusion any ontological status by maintaining it simply does not exist. Vedanta therefore has a problem explaining why everybody is not living in utter wisdom, enlightenment and Self-realization. The best Vedanta can do is say that people already are enlightened, they just don't know it. Which is quite true, but vedanta offers no explanation for why people don't know they are already enlightened; vedanta then refers to something called "Maya". The Maya of Vedanta is generally translated as "Illusion" and ignorance is ascribed to this mysterious force. However, where does Maya come from? Vedanta has no satisfactory answer, thus we are still in the dark about why people are ignorant about their own Self. "

Jan. The point is, that after Selfrealization there is another kind of progress where you gradually realize the Self in others more and more."

Question. That is great! I sometimes do this... but how!? I am not Sefrealized... What happens is that at times I see myself in others but it is an effort and I am still reacting to part of them within duality... and other times I see myself in others and this Seeing is just another word for true nondual Seeing. I believe that this is true...

I have no idea where "Maya" or the dream, or duality comes from. That has always been a mystery to me! LOL:-) Some call Maya "the dream that is dreamt by no one." But to me that sounds more like the paradox of a Zen Koan :-)
Also, I agree that: "the Absolute is both unmanifest and a dynamic creative force. From this creative force everything arises"... but I also feel that the "Absolute" or nonduality, has no goals, no plans, no intentions about any future. But this viewpoint of mine leaves me in mental confusion. I guess my thinking is the product of Vedanta viewpoints:-)
I don't see Duality and Nonduality as polar opposites... but have no good explanation as to why not! LOL :-)
I am so glad that you referred me to this link!! :-))

Jan. No, explaining "maya" is the big problem of Vedanta. Shaivism does not have this problem in that it does not acknowledge maya (illusion) as such, but only acknowledges ignorance. For Kashmir Shaivism the world is Shakti and Shakti is Shiva and is the Absolute and is totally real. Not seeing the manifest as pure Aboslute "essence" (Shakti) is a sign of ignorance and philosophies that advocate the world is an illusion are considered immature by K. Shaivism.

Question. Now I am beginning to understand this. Between your satsang on the subject and Peter Browns on YouTube, I am beginning to see that the truth is the energy of Shakti and that "Maya" is not illusion but rather names and beliefs that aren't being clearly seen as energies:-) The goal to know things in words instead of as nameless flowing energies seems a waste of time.

Jan. Yes, this is an entrypoint to Shakti, but it is not Shakti per se.

Question. But when I experience the energy of Kundalini after it has risen out of the top of my head, and is no longer noticeable as only a body energy phenomena... Isn't that energy Shakti?

Jan. It sounds like kundalinishakti. What you described before was more in the category of mental and psychological phenomena. Actually kundalini is also an entry way to Shakti/Shiva. Rather than flush the energy out of the top of the head, try letting it stay in the brain, or let it return back to permeate the entire body. This might open up to bliss. Pull shakti up on the inbreath, saturate the brain (or the body) on the outbreath. You could also try holding your breath shortly between the inbreath and the outbreath, meanwhile permeating the brain. This could also open up to bliss.

Question. I stopped doing meditation a week or two after Shaktipat because all of the energy was already beyond the limits of my body.
Just before writing this I did as you suggested above, (in the midst of physical discomfort and the aftermath of no sleep), and it is as though I feel bliss and discomfort both at once and the bliss ends within minutes of stopping the meditation... although I do feel like I am now existing at a higher energetic level that I did before this very short (5 minute) meditation...
Now I feel the energy, again beyond the limits of my head or body.
On a similar subject... I have no sense of my chakras. I feel no energy where they are suppose to be and I am not even aware of their existence... what might that indicate?

Jan. Yes, discomfort can remain even though bliss arises. Discomfort could also go away, there are no fixed rules here. Bliss and discomfort belong to totally different spheres of existence, one is of the Self, the other is of the mind-body complex. If bliss stops when stopping meditation, it is because you have the notion that it should. When meditation time is up, don't give up the results gained in meditation, but let them continue into your regular activity. When meditation time is up, continue meditating but open your eyes and look around while still in bliss. After some minutes, when you have realized open eyed activity is no impediment to bliss, get up and do what ever you have to do, but continue with your meditation of watching the breath in the entire body, etc..

Not feeling the chakras apart from the crown chakra indicates nothing at all. The other chakras are unimportant, so don't worry. Only important things are Self, bliss and Shakti.

- - -

Jan: Actually there is more to your initial question:

1) What is the relationship between two Selfrealized beings? Are they one and the same, or are they two points of awareness.
2) Is there only one consciousness that manifests different awarenesses? Then these awarenesses would be illusory.
3) In full enlightenement do these awarenesspoints melt back into the One and vanish? This would be ultimate death.

Without being able to argue much for any of my answers, I would say:
Not one and the same, but similar. Since the similarity lies in being unmanifest, there would be no difference either, so the word similar is inappropriate. If point 2 were true, it would mean ultimate reality is death, I believe it is life, love and bliss. This is based on my experience as far as it goes. I only find love and bliss gets more and more intense and deep and have never found progress to diminish awareness. No one evolves into stupidity or a coma.

Question. So two Selfrealized beings would be different from each other only in their personalities and histories within duality and totally unmanifest and so not similar or different, in nonduality or oneness...?

Jan. That would be an obvious conclusion. I tend to agree, but wether the unmanifest in one and the unmanifest in the other are one and the same with the implication of omnipotence and omniscience, I do not know.

Question. I don't understand what "omnipotence and omniscience" have to do with this?... I feel, as you by now would have guessed:-), that since I believe that in nonduality or the Absolute or the unmanifest... there can be no contrasts or gradations... so also there can be no polarities such as "more powerful / less powerful", or "all knowing / not-knowing". I have much to look at regarding my uninspected Vedanta viewpoints... I have always loved Zen Koans, because I love inexplicability or havening no clear ground to stand on... yet in truth I get sea sick or motion sickness, and hate to have problems or confusions... so I must be denying some very basic truths... amazing... I have for a very long time hopped that when personal identity ceased to exist that all of these contradictions of mine would cease to exist. But maybe all I really need to acknowledge is that "Whatever is, IS". IOW, maybe there is nothing about the way I experience things that I need to overcome or change in regards to "what is" ! :-) (I realize that my last two sentences may seem confusing.) If you have anything else to refer me to concerning Tantra viewpoints, or ther error of Vedanta viewpoints; I would love to read them. Strange... that I don't think of the melting away of all realities and qualities as any kind of death... It feels to me like the wonderful exhilaration of potential... the thrill of the "about-to-be-born-ness", the eternal quiet before the eternally finite storm! :-)

Jan. E xactly, omnipresence/omniscience are irrellevant. But if the Absolute /unmanifest is one and the same in me as in you, then if you realize it, you will be me as much as anybody else, or a banana, hence omniscient and omnipresent. So maybe there ultimately is some distinction in consciousness even though it is unmanifest. I have never seen indications of omniscience in anybody, no matter how realized, and I certainly can't boast it.

Question. When I was 19 years old I had a short moment of being totally one with the trees, the ground, the sky, the bird flying in the sky... to me that was omniscience. There was nothing more to know so all was known. No data was known but all that IS was known. Now, today, as I write this; I feel that knowing of being without the need for data... but I do not feel the total bliss and total freedom from suffering that I felt then when I was 19... I am a bit exasperated about not being able to know that level of bliss. Why should I know any suffering at all? It can only mean that my understanding of Truth is a counterfeit mental copy of Truth... Or maybe all the sleeping pills I have taken for 27 years has messed up my brain chemistry too much to know bliss...

Jan. Don't worry about the sleeping pills, kundaini/shakti/bliss does not care at all.
Yes, I know that oneness very well, this is what I call seing pure Being in everything as well as in your self. What I meant with omniscience was not this, but the somewhat trivial recognition of what is going on in someone elses heart and mind as if it was you own; where "data is known" as you say. It is totally unimportant and uninteresting. What you describe is very interesting, though. But you should discern between "oneness" and "non-duality"; oneness is within duality, nonduality encompases oneness. "At one-ment" is not non-duality.

Question. Hmmm... so oneness of "things" like space, time and objects... is within duality...I see:-) Yet this would seem to mean that non-duality is not noticeable because it does not contain, or is not made of either "things" nor the "viewpoints which see things"..? If Consciousness or Awareness, is empty or without anything to notice, noting to anchor attention to... that would be non-duality?

Jan. From the relative point of view, that is from the senses and the thereto attached mind, non-duality is indeed not noticeable. At one level things are not part of non-duality, but at a more advanced point, you realize that things are manifestations of Shakti, and seeing all as Shakti a deeper non-duality arises.

Freedom from suffering is often misunderstood to mean there is no longer any suffering at all. Suffering, as Buddha said, is part and parcel of life. But when you are no longer identified with the sufferer, there is freedom from suffering while suffering is present. This of course reduces suffering a lot since there is no involvement with it, only witnessing it.

Question. Yes, I have read that many times, in reference to there being no true egoic identity, no dualistic separate Stuart... but even though I clearly see that there can be no "thing that owns or is attached to suffering or joy"... and even though I know that "that which owns" arise at the same moment as "the thing owned" (two sides of the same coin)... I don't feel and live like I know it...! How can it be that I know it, but still feel like an owner of pain, or sleep depravation, or life problems??

Jan. Two reasons. a) Because life problems belong to the karma attached to the mind and body in which you are incarnated. They do not belong to you. Life problems will go on after realization as they did before. b) Because your basic concept as here described in within duality and you are not realized. You say you know "it", yet what your know is still within duality, hence there is still identification with the sufferer and with suffering.

Nothing needs to change, you just need to disidentify from it all.

Question. yes, thait does apply to me right now:-) I need to disidentify from it all... I have felt that identification has to do with the the belief in an inside and an outside... and also it has to do with believing that I have a located fixated point of view rather than an omnipresent lose view.
I think that; inside/outside... and the belief that I view form outside of whatever my attention is on... results in my believing myself to be the effect of, or the cause of things. A friend of mine once said that life is like children playing cowboys and Indians. That it can all be experienced as play and pretend and very real fun... and that one does not have to go down the slippery slide of "noticing> curiosity> strong interest> desire> etc"... all of which is the slide down from awareness to hypnotic fixation and believing that one is stuck in a trap.
Duality is this slippery slide from freedom to entrapment... to me.

Jan. Awareness on something, no matter where or how it is placed, gives rise to fluctuations in the mind. Other parts of the mind then relate to these new functions and identify with them "I am experiencing this or that". But in this process the experiencer is never seen and I remains a foggy notion made up of countless other such relationships between fluctuations in the mind. The experiencer is of course the pure awareness in itself.

Question. Yes, when I try to home in on or focus on this "owner of experiences", I find only false and vague deception like a mask with no face behind it... The mind creates this deception... but it is so successful at fooling me... I must be vigilant, alert to this trick. Thank you for causing me to notice it:-)

Jan. With radical disidentification, awareness turns in on itself and becomes self-aware. The mind will claim it is the experiencer, but some analyss of the mind will quickly reveal mind is only a conglomerate or network of relationships without any ontological basis at all. Thus mind is not something in itself, it is only a mass of energy fluctuations carrying awareness within links of identification. This also explains why the sense of self prior to selfrealization is so foggy: there truely is no such self of the mind. The only Self that exists and has ever existed is the absolute innermost Self prior to mind and identifications.

Question. You said: "mind is not something in itself, it is only a mass of energy fluctuations carrying awareness within links of identification."
Brilliant!:-) The mind links awareness to an owner, but since upon searching, the owner cannot be located; the mind makes this false owner of awareness very vague and hard to put ones attention on. I still do not see how Self or Life can exist after death of the body?

Jan. You still do not see how life can exist after death of the body? Well, if you can be 100% disidentified with the body and the mind, and you can be 100% the Self, then who cares if the body is there or not?

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