From the contemplative point of view, being lost in thoughts of any kind, pleasant or unpleasant, is analogous to being asleep and dreaming. It’s a mode of not knowing what is actually happening in the present moment. It is essentially a form of psychosis. Thoughts themselves are not a problem, but being identified with thought is. Taking oneself to be the thinker of one’s thoughts—that is, not recognizing the present thought to be a transitory appearance in consciousness—is a delusion that produces nearly every species of human conflict and unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if your mind is wandering over current problems in set theory or cancer research; if you are thinking without knowing you are thinking, you are confused about who and what you are. “Waking Up” Sam Harris
To be awake is to be free of the dream. To be enlightened is to live as a transparent form emanating the eternal light from within. To be conscious is to be aware of the awareness you are. To be free is to no longer identify with ego and discover your true self.
We use words like transcendence and transmutation and transfiguration to describe in concepts what is the emerging of the formless within the illusory world of form. We let go of our identity with form, ego, body, mind and the person. We wake up to see the form, body, mind and person as manifestations of our true self.
Jesus described this awakening of consciousness as being born again. Isn't that description appropriate for waking up, being enlightened, becoming conscious and finding freedom? We are born again of water (entry into the physical realm) and spirit (awakening to the true self). Jesus described awakening as salvation. The word he used in its various forms was "sozo." This word means "to make whole."
Jesus used a few different words that are translated as "knowing" or "to know" in the Christian bible. In the original language the Greek words can be translated as other than "knowing" or colors of knowing. Sometimes Jesus "knew" something as an observation or an understanding or a perceiving. Sometimes his "knowing" was like our modern expression of how we would describe our relationship with form. He "knew" concepts just like we do. But sometimes he used a special word. This word (translated as "to know") is a word that implied intimate experiencing. As an example: "Adam knew Eve and they had a child."
This kind of intimate knowing is why the formless manifests as form to know the formless.
And they said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven
When we think of the Thanksgiving holiday maybe we think of turkey and dressing and pies and pilgrims. Maybe we think of historical traditions and sharing meals with Native Americans on a cold day when food was scarce. Maybe our minds have those mindful thoughts, but deeper down we have a connection to the formless that bubbles up into our form. The structure of life is a manifestation of eternal life. The formless takes form so the formless can know the formless through form. Take our families as an example.
The "warm feelings" of "graciousness" and "thanksgiving" are really the formless manifesting as form as a result of how the "world works" for the human form. We have parents and siblings and extended families. The warm feelings of the season are really something that we sense from beyond form. We have "blood connections" to our families. This may seem like a physical, scientific fact of human procreation but on a deeper level it is a sharing of like energies that take the form of procreation.
Life reveals contrast. Life brings us conflict. Life can be a struggle that we resist or an eternal life we live. We can flow with the river or be a rock eroded over time. Life is like our body when it is trying fight a virus, there is an internal struggle, a war really, that is taking place to bring harmony back to the body. The way of life is as it is so that consciousness can experience perceived separateness to know oneness. When we are presented with opportunities to flow with life we get to choose which path we will take. The path of resistance is struggle but eventually leads to surrender. Life can be a fire that burns away what is temporal, revealing what is eternal. The path of eternal life is living as a human form in harmony with life to enjoy the miracle of life. As eternal consciousness, we manifested as form to experience the formless.
Years ago I was flying an event as a test pilot evaluating and measuring the response of a new aircraft under adverse conditions. The aircraft was a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (the Navy's newest fighter jet at the time) and the test was to simulate loosing an engine while launching off the aircraft carrier. As I slowed down in airspeed, loosing an engine was more difficult to control. On the last test point I couldn't control the aircraft anymore. The aircraft departed i.e. the aircraft rolled upside down and I wasn't in control. My starting altitude for the test maneuver was 2000 ft (pretty low). Upside down, out of control and that close to the water, my first instinct was to eject. A lot happened in just a few seconds. The details are pretty boring and technical (unless you are pilot). In the end I didn't eject but I did miss hitting the water by only a few feet. That was an extremely intense day sprinkled with moments of sheer terror. Almost crashing a jet is a pretty serious life event. Today many of the details of that day are a little foggy but the intensity of that moment is still with me.
Wonder why we like to dress up and go to costume parties? We like to pretend to be someone else.
Pretending to be someone else is liberating. We have a sense of peace and freedom when we aren't trying to be ourself but instead get to be something else. We expend a tremendous amount of energy pretending to be "me." It takes a lot of work. We are constantly checking to see if the "me" we want to project is the "me" that others see. We seek confirmation and praise. We want to be noticed. We are very self-conscious. We believe the "self" is the "me" we think we are. Being "me" is so important, or is it?
As the ego, we are telling ourselves a story. We are believing we are the story. We are most often asleep to the truth that we are not the story but the awareness that is experiencing the story. I know this kind of language is difficult to process and can actually create more confusion. As the ego, we want to plan and control. The ego's purpose is to plan and control. It is a survival mechanism that is ultimately trying to avoid death. When we begin to wake up, the ego will want to take ownership of the awakening and try to "do" something to awaken (or at least take credit for the awakening). But we are not the ego. The awakening is leaving the ego behind. An ego can't wake up. The absence of a false identity is the waking up experience. It is like something leaves that has always been there and the space that remains is our true self, the divine awareness "we" are. The "am-ness" of the I am.
In these posts I often refer to consciousness or awareness as the divine presence or the divine itself. And there we are again. When I use the word "itself" I've reduced the infinite to something finite. The mind will attempt to make concepts of the formless. It must. It is a manifestation of the formless that categorizes forms as a survival mechanism for the manifested form to interact with the world of forms.
And there we are again trying to create another form to describe the indescribable.
Still, you are not form. Your form is a manifestation of your formless essence. Why? So you might experience forms to know the formless. How? How is it that we can experience and know the formless in the world of forms? Awareness. Awareness is what we are. We are like a singular eye that sees and experiences the world as a perceived seer. When we look as this singular eye to see ourself...we can't. The eye cannot see itself but it is aware that it is. In the absolute, there is no eye to see. There is just the act of seeing. This is the awareness that you are, the "I am" that reduces to just the "am" or beingness.
The divine only knows one thing because the divine is all there is. God is all there is and there is no other. The natural state of awareness is to be intently aware. The natural state of consciousness is to be fully consciousness. God only knows oneness because oneness is all that there is.
By design, the formless manifests as form to experience the formlessness of form. God becomes a character in a dream to know dreaming in a dream. Awareness becomes form to experience awareness as awareness. In our moments of Attention! Attention! Attention! we are experiencing our true nature...only one.