Your brain is a great separator. It separates stuff into categories. It separates good from bad. It separates likes from dislikes and desires from repulsions. We need it to survive. We need the thinking mechanism of the brain tool to keep us well and safe and fulfilled. It is not however a good tool for waking up, enlightenment, satori, salvation, being born again or any other way of describing the experience of heaven on earth or nirvana. You can't discover ultimate truth with a conditioned brain.
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."
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.
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.
When the collective consciousness of humankind is lost to the egoic illusory identity, it resists what IS in a powerful way. We become very busy beavers. We are judging everything as acceptable or unacceptable based on conditioning and a separate-self illusion. It can take the form of inserting so many boards into the stream we create a dam. We stop the flow of the stream of life in an attempt to control the stream of life....
Our collective consciousness dams are our structures and organizations and paradigms. They take the form of religion and political parties and even nations. We will dam up with intensity to try to change the flow of the river. Consciousness is lost to the illusion of the dream and is trying to change the course of the dream when it doesn't remember it is the dreamer. The flow of life brings opportunity for the form to awaken to the formless. Along the life cycle of the river there will be droughts and dams and flood stage flows. So even the dams, the egoic insistence on control, the resistance to what IS, will create a sanctuary for consciousness to survive the illusion of the dream. At some point, the flow of consciousness increases and the dams are broken. The flow of life returns to its natural course....
Life has a flow. Life is living. We are life...not the "my life" we've been conditioned to believe in. No, the eternal life we are. Life moves and conforms and changes and finds a way to its infinite oneness. It's like a stream finding its way down the mountain, into the river and ultimately into the ocean. Life finds a way around the rocks and through the gorges. It carves a path through the deltas, merging with more and more of itself.
Life is consciousness finding itself. It is awareness becoming aware of awareness. It is divine waking from the dream. It is form realizing the formless. Consciousness, unconscious as form, becomes conscious of consciousness. Every turn, every bolder, every twist and rapid and waterfall is opportunity for the awakening of the dreamer from the dream. Once awake, the form enjoys the ride down the stream, into the river, finding peace in the vastness of the ocean.
WE are that life, that extension of the formless, that consciousness, that awareness. We are not just our form. We are not a person living a "my life." We are the observer of eternal life as a form experiencing the form of formlessness. We are the stream, the river and the ocean. Our form is on a journey of discovery, experience and awakening. We are waking up to life. We are waking up to what IS. As a form we might say we are like this paper boat traveling down the stream:
Before there was a beginning, there was just the divine. Before there was time, there was only “God.” Before there was form, there was only the formless. Within the formless, forms came into being as a natural expression of the formless.
In the beginning the divine manifested as the heavens and the earth. The heavens were the divine truth. The earth was the physical manifestation of the divine. The earth was formless. It had no separateness but was one formless form. Then divine consciousness entered the cosmos of forms. God said “let there be light.” This consciousness began to take the form of all the substance of the cosmos.
Time began. Consciousness divided itself. Day and night came into being. Matter took shape. Consciousness as the earth divided itself. There was water and there was dry land. Consciousness divided itself further to be plants and animals and living things. Consciousness then took the form of what we call humans. These humans were special since consciousness could become aware of itself in the human form. Man walked with God in the garden.
Then consciousness in human form further divided itself into concepts and ideas and labels. Man named the plants and animals. Consciousness in human form became aware of self. Man needed a partner. Man needed community as it became aware of self. Then mankind took the concept of self and created self-centeredness. Man walked with God in the garden as a centered self and then “fell” into the world of self-centered. Good and bad were created as the self-centered preferred one thing over another. The apple was pleasing to the eye.
Consciousness became unconscious. Death became real. The illusion of a separate self was born. The identity with the body/mind took the place of awareness. The seeds of consciousness became the illusion. The dreamer forgot it was dreaming.
And this was as it should be.
When the ego is constricted or constrained or squeezed, it will respond. The ego's job is to respond to conflict in order for the biological unit to survive. Consciousness focuses its attention on the form and through the form. "God" can't help but willingly give "himself" to the identity of form because "God is love." The dreamer looses himself in the character of the dream. Like the prodigal son story, the father willingly gives himself (his inheritance and identity) to the son so the son can take his journey of discovery to find himself as the son of the father.
When the ego or the false self or the illusory identity is constricted the response is to either grow stronger as an ego (the sun is still resisting the gravity within) or the ego will collapse (gravity wins and a Supernova is born). Many who have awakened did so as a result of great tragedy or trauma or fear or collapse of their egoic identity. The stronger ego will continue the cycle until it collapses (maybe in another life or just prior to physical death). With the collapsed ego, awareness emerges through the physical form as the "light of the world" Jesus described.