Embracing Transpersonal

At our school for transpersonal consultants, TCT® Academy, we offer a seminar (my favorite) that aims at exploring the Subtle transpersonal level of human overall consciousness. I am about to offer this seminar in the upcoming weekend and here are my thoughts.

OK, so what am I going to write about in this blog? I will try to convey my awe, wonder and appreciation for the so called transpersonal. Transpersonal in this context does not include any existing religion, philosophy or New age movement, please. It translates to intimate and subjective empirical knowledge about what has throughout the human history been labeled as Spiritual, Divine.

I am almost holding my breath here, for respect, freedom, integrity (of us all) is soooooo important to me. I always state this while sharing in written word, and it just doesn’t get old, so here we go again: the thoughts below are only my subjective reality and no criticism, labeling, diagnosis or anything of the sort is intended. Each of us lives in subjective universe it seems and yet we can contribute to each other or not. It is my sincere hope that the text below does contribute at least somewhat.

Stages of human identity development

There is a guy, tall, brilliant and, as far as I can see, awake. Awake from social, political, educational,  religious etc. systems. His name is Ken Wilber, they say he is the most read author in the history of humankind. All of his, 15 books I think, are still in print, some in re-re-reprint.

And this guy has come up with, to me, genius idea of producing the map of all existing states and stages of human consciousness. And as far as I am concerned (and most of the professional psychological, philosophical and even anthropological world is concerned, it seems), well, he did it.

I have written extensively on the subject of the Wilber map on this Blog (please see the links above under Wilber map or employ the search engine up there on the right hand side), so there is no need for repeating it all.

What I want to again share, though, is that there is indeed an identity development going on in our human lives. Particularly I would like to point out two stages: Authenticity and the Subtle.

The first is personal and the later is transpersonal or spiritual.

I have sampled all of the levels of the Wilber map and empirically speaking, Authenticity is not as great as it seems on the paper.
All of the words, mere words, below are only generalization and might as well not apply to any of you, dear visitors. 🙂

Yes, it is or it seems to be:
– really wonderful to be able to stand up and say NO, or YES,
– precious to be able to be really personal and authentic in bed, for example, really enjoying oneself,
– great to create our own world, meaning that we apriori bow not to any structure from the outside,
– lovely to be able to express feelings and needs in a way others understand and maybe even appreciate,
– important to be able to share the skills and knowledge of empathy and self-empathy with others,
– it is so dear to be able to have a job just the way we want, to connect only to people we choose, to eat, drink exactly what we want, to have a house exactly as we want etc.,
– glorious to be able to operate outside the expectations of others, and, above all,
– most important to follow individualized will of I and Mine.

Of course, there are not many people who have attained all of the above. In fact, I only know a few.
And hey, who knows, maybe I ought to get out more LOL

That been said, lets take a look at the, what seem to be, not-so-great characteristics of the Authentic level of awareness (as per my own personal experiences and also according to my observations and sharing of others and also according to accepted professional literature penned by Wilber, Rowan, Forman etc., all of which doesn’t really matter; what matters is what is alive in YOU, yes? 🙂 ):
– it is only personal, meaning it is conditioned by personal tendencies (limited empathy, energy, the reach of personal outlook etc.),
– it takes enormous effort to be Authentic, simply because at this level, personal effort is a must,
– everyone gets burned out at least once at this level, for Ego or the Authentic self keeps pushing the envelope by trying to change and improve things,
– Authentic self or the Ego needs control, structure to really feel secure and content,
– at this level, everything that is not in accordance with inner (personal) reality is canceled out, ignored or at least avoided,
– it takes so much energy to emphatically reflect what others feel and need, simply because Ego or the Authentic self still believes and operates on, separation and duality (I am me and you are you),
– vulnerability at this level hurts, even one single thought (coming from the outside or inside) might shake the foundations of the attained personal happiness and peace,
– Authentic self or Ego is mostly timid, meaning that impersonal experiences might leave it distraught and confused,
– even the most flexible and tolerant Ego or Authentic self still needs reassurance, for it is a huge challenge for it to operate outside of its own inner self-created reality,
– when offering empathy, when reflecting feelings and needs of others, the best Ego or Authentic self can produce is best guesses (in accepted professional literature this is called “imagining the real”),
– and again, it takes massive effort to maintain the attained inner psychological climate,
– etc.

And yet, in comparison to Mental or Instrumental level (a level prior the Authentic level as per Wilber map), all of the above is indeed so much rewarding and positive, that some people I have met seem to take this Authenticity as synonymous to Enlightenment or Pure Spiritual Reality.

Interestingly enough even Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of the NVC system which is widely employed all over the world, pointed out that at the core of his system is this Beloved Divine Energy, not Ego or Authentic Self. Please, see the whole text, you can read it here >>new web page opens up).

There is so, so, soooooooooooooooo much more one can experience beyond the Authenticity, in my experiences.

Lets take a look at some of the traits of the spiritual and transpersonal level of awareness, the Subtle level or the Soul level:
– it is like coming home, it is safe, fluid, free and eternal – no need for any effort,
– there is no need to fix things, to create something anew, for the transpersonal Reality has been the same for ever,
– no effort is needed to connect with others at this level,
– empathy for others is not conditioned by effort or amount of self-empathy, it is free flowing, eternal, absolute,
– they say that there is a book called “Structures to live by” and at this level, well, there are no books, the least of which is called “structure”,
– at this level the true self, the Soul shines forth powerfully and gently at the same time, no need to fix it or create it from scratch,
– at this level one is never ever alone, for the presence of the Soul naturally evokes the presence of other Souls from the Subtle transpersonal realm,
– there is no need to trying to become what we really are at this level, for we really already are, way beyond any and all personal projections from the Authentic self or Ego,
– the Soul is the true Self, and the Authentic self or Ego is merely her shadow (that’s why the Ego needs all the fuss and circus to be really content),
– the Soul is witnessing all the drama on the personal level, and denies nothing, for everything is already in herself.

Dr. Rosenberg was once asked:

What does God mean to you?

I need a way to think of God that would work for me, other words or ways to look at this beauty, this powerful energy, and so my name for God is “Beloved Divine Energy.” For a while it was just Divine Energy but then I was reading some of the Eastern religions, and Eastern poets, and I loved how they had this personal, loving connection with this Energy. And I found that it added to me to call it “Beloved” Divine Energy. To me this Beloved Divine Energy is life, connection to life.

Is this lack of connection to Divine Energy responsible for violence in the world?

To me, the violence in the world comes about when we get alienated or disconnected from this Energy. How do we get connected when we are educated to be disconnected? I believe it’s our cultural conditioning and education that disconnects us from God, especially our education about God.
(please, see the whole interview, if you will, here >> – new web page opens up)

Well, at the Subtle transpersonal level, the “God” for a lack of a more flexible word is experienced as real as you and me, and is way beyond the personal Authentic level. It is the Divine in us, in you and me, that acts when the healing of guilt, shame, anger etc. takes place.

How much more healing could take place if we embraced the transpersonal even more, transforming the timid Ego or Authentic self into this Beloved Divine Energy (as Rosenberg himself calls the transpersonal Self)!





Dr John Rowan on Authenticity

Dr John RowanAuthenticity is the natural expression of having made the move from first-tier consciousness – what Ken Wilber calls Mental Ego consciousness, and what is often called conventional consciousness – to second-tier consciousness, or what Wilber calls Centaur consciousness, and which is often called post-conventional consciousness.

This is quite a normal and natural progression, but it often results from a crisis of some kind, which shakes us out of the comforts of conventional consciousness.

First tier consciousness is dominated by formal logic, based on the premise that A is A. This is the logic often taught in schools, and it has been named variously as Aristotelian, Newtonian, Cartesian, Boolean and mathematical logic. It is used very successfully in computers, and is highly suitable for working with inanimate things.

Second tier consciousness is dominated by dialectical logic, the logic of paradox and contradiction, whose basic premise is that A is not simply A. This is the logic we require for dealing adequately with human beings. And it is only if we embrace this form of logic that we can understand authenticity.

Authenticity is fully embodied in most of the forms of humanistic psychotherapy, including Person-centred, Gestalt, Psychodrama, experiential therapies, Primal Integration, radical therapy, feminist therapy, several body therapies, dream work and so forth. They are very much at home there, contributing essentially to the humanistic emphasis on the whole person and the authentic relationship. The humanistic view of authenticity is broader and more inclusive than that to be found in existential analysis.

James Bugental has written two books about authenticity. He says that authenticity is a combination of self respect (we are not just part of an undifferentiated world) and self enactment – we express our care or involvement in the world in a visible way.

Here is a key quotation:
“By authenticity I mean a central genuineness and awareness of being. Authenticity is that presence of an individual in his living in which he is fully aware in the present moment, in the present situation. Authenticity is difficult to convey in words, but experientially it is readily perceived in ourselves or in others.” (Bugental 1981, p.102)
In other words, what we in humanistic psychology are saying is that authenticity is an experience.

As Rollo May has said so well: “Freedom is a quality of action of the centered self.” (May 1979, p.176) Ž
The humanistic view is that action is the acid test of experience.

What it seems so hard to convey to many people is that the real self, the self which is to be actualized in self-actualization, is not a concept but an experience. It is not something to be argued at a philosophical level, it is something to be encountered at an experiential level. Otherwise it becomes an abstract and useless concept.

Some existentialists embrace this, as for example here:
Authenticity consists in having a true and lucid consciousness of the situation, in assuming the responsibilities and risks that it involves, in accepting it in pride or humiliation, sometimes in horror and hate. There is no doubt that authenticity demands much courage and more than courage. Thus it is not surprising that one finds it so rarely.
(Sartre 1948, p.90)

It demands so much because it involves moving beyond the confines of the familiar mental ego. To get away from the abstract argument, let us take a concrete example.

It comes from a book by Allen Wheelis, and it goes like this:

Look at the wretched people huddled in line for the gas chambers at Auschwitz. If they do anything other than move on quietly, they will be clubbed down. Where is freedom?… But wait. Go back in time, enter the actual event, the very moment: they are thin and weak, and they smell; hear the weary shuffling steps, the anguished catch of breath, the clutch of hand. Enter now the head of one hunched and limping man.

The line moves slowly; a few yards ahead begin the steps down. He sees the sign, someone whispers “showers”, but he knows what happens here. He is struggling with a choice: to shout “Comrades! They will kill you! Run!” – or to say nothing. This option, in the few moments remaining, is his whole life. If he shouts he dies now, painfully; if he moves on silently he dies but minutes later. Looking back on him in time and memory, we find the moment poignant but the freedom negligible. It makes no difference in that situation, his election of daring or of inhibition.

Both are futile, without consequence. History sees no freedom for him, notes only constraint, labels him victim. But in the consciousness of that one man it makes great difference whether or not he experiences the choice. For if he knows the constraint and nothing else, if he thinks “Nothing is possible”, then he is living his necessity; but if, perceiving the constraint, he turns from it to a choice between two possible courses of action, then – however he chooses – he is living his freedom.
This commitment to freedom can extend to the last breath. ”
(Wheelis 1973, ‘How People Change’, pp.31-32)

For humanistic psychotherapy, authenticity is a direct experience of the real self. It is unmistakable, it is self-authenticating. And if we want to know how to use it on a daily basis, we can go to the excellent book by Will Schutz entitled ‘Profound Simplicity’ (3rd edition 1988).

There is an important link between authenticity and genuineness as described by Carl Rogers.

“It is my feeling that congruence is a part of existential authenticity, that the person who is genuinely authentic in his being-in-the-world is congruent within himself; and to the extent that one attains authentic being in his life, to that extent is he congruent.”
(Bugental 1981, p.108)

Again it takes Bugental to draw our attention to the heartland of the humanistic approach, which is also the heartland of the existential approach. Both Bugental and Rogers are clear that congruence is difficult and demanding, and recent writers like Dave Mearns have made it clear that it cannot be taught as a skill.

As authentic beings, we recognize our individuality.
Further, we recognize that this individuality is not a static quality but is, rather, a set of (possibly infinite) potentialities. As such, while in the authentic mode, we maintain an independence of thought and action, and subsequently feel ‘in charge’ of the way our life is experienced. Rather than reacting as victims to the vicissitudes of being, we, as authentic beings, acknowledge our role in determining our actions, thought and beliefs, and thereby experience a stronger and fuller sense of integration, acceptance, ‘openness’ and ‘aliveness’ to the potentialities of being-in-the-world.
(Spinelli 1989, p.109)

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

– Dr John Rowan
Text re-posted from:

The New cAge prison

The text below caught my attention on FB. I often relish the simple and yet deep thoughts of Jeff Brown, and the New Age or New Cage text fits right into the overall context of my Integral vision and Integral.life Blog.

Lets first see Jeff’s words (my thoughts below):

New Cage Movement – A term to describe the more ungrounded, dangerous and simplistic elements of the New Age movement, including but not limited to:

  • wishful thinking mantras,
  • spiritual bypass and premature forgiveness practices,
  • superficial healing techniques, and
  • the perpetual denial of common sense realities with fantastical perspectives (‘Everything is an illusion,’ ‘There are no victims,’ ‘All judgments are bad,’ ‘You chose your every experience and circumstance,’ ‘Your personal identifications are inherently false,’ ‘Just ask the universe for what you want…,’ ‘Everything you see and feel is a reflection of you,’ ‘There is no one to blame,’ ‘The ego is the enemy,’ etc.

These perspectives have their place, but taken too far, become a prison of their own making, locking people in with their unresolved pain, obstructed from doing the real work by their addictive flights of fancy. The key to escaping New Cage prison is developing a willingness to do the real work to ground, embody and heal in authentic terms.

On a relational level, New Cage connections are often wound-mates, priding themselves in their seeming spirituality, but actually falling apart at the seams- boundary-less, ungrounded and controlled by all the unresolved emotional material that the crystals didn’t quite heal. In their determined efforts to float above the fray, they actually just perpetuate their own pain-bodies and miss the opportunity to do the real work to become conscious together.
(~an excerpt from ‘An Uncommon Bond’)

Well, that has been rather well said. 🙂
Thank you, Jeff.

What I would like to add, though, is that while my mind is always rejecting the New Age mentality, labeling it as pure bull s**t, my heart whispers that maybe New Age people yearn for recognition, peace, freedom, love, respect and empathy – just like me (and maybe you).

The difference, however, between maybe me and your average New Age person, as far as I can see, is that I am not avoiding or at least I am trying to not avoid darkness, anger, sadness and the negativity within or without.

I am willing to face my own shadow side of inner psychological climate straight on, without overly complicated means (read: tarot cards and elves) .

Wilber comes to my mind here, he likes to say:
“There is no jumping. States are free, stages are earned.”

I understand his assertion to mean that it is impossible to just avoid and jump over a certain level of human identity development. And in the case of New cAge people, it seems they might want to jump (probably unaware) over the Centuar level. And to attain the Centuar or the Authentic level one has to face and clear out the shadow. Basically that means facing all the stuff New cAge wants to avoid.

I have been there, done that and it did now work; I was young and naive. Now I know that transforming the shadow by embracing it amounts to sending my roots really really deep into the ground. And that seems to be the only safe means for spiritual progress (for me).


Q & A: Wilber map, the Causal level

In this Blog I share my answers to the questions about the Causal transpersonal level. Some questions were received via this Blog and some are from my students at the TCT Academy.

Q: What is the Causal level?

A: It is complete One-ness, non-differentiated awareness beyond duality. In practical terms, it is the complete freedom from cause and effect. Why? Simply because there is no difference between inner and outer realities; the Source, the thoughts, emotions, words and deeds – all is only One. There is none else besides Him.

Q: I don’t understand. What do you mean by “beyond duality”?

A: Yes, duality (right-wrong, here-there, me-you, sorrow-happiness etc…) seems to be based on something, right? And the sense that we are something, somewhere in time and that we do things (which is basically the ego, the I & Mine sense deep within) is doing the differentiation. Well. at the Causal level of existence, the ego is recognized as a part of the Source, right along with everything else. Hence: there is none else beside Him (Him being the Causal Self, the I am presence, God if you want to believe in Him).

It is as if the Pristine awareness, the Pure potential of the Causal Self shines through all that we see before us, overshadowing the previously perceived “duality”, eradicating even the most subtle traces of separateness and duality clean.

At the Causal level, there is only One. And That is the only Reality that is really Real.

Q: Does that mean that the world is an illusion?

A: Well, according to Vedanta teachings (propagated by Ramana Maharshi, for example), the answer to your question is, yes.

On my planet, however, the answer is, no/yes. It is not that the world is an illusion, it is only that the duality is not the final reality. It is all a matter of perception, a mental, authentic or subtle one, or the Causal one. At the Causal level, only the Causal Self IS, everywhere.

It is true (according to my experience), however, that while aware of the Causal Self, all else seems to fade away. But then again, that exact Causal Self is also every thing else, inner, outer, everywhere. So, my answer is yes and no. 🙂

Q: Would you be willing to share what the Causal level is like?

A: Yes.This level is one of the experiences on my spiritual path that I value the most. It is also the state of consciousness I can enter at will, thanks to my spiritual master and mentors.

It is the fullness of awareness, the totality of existence where everything is all right exactly as it is: there are no problems at this level, no issues and challenges. Nothing needs to be added or altered; even more, it is not possible to alter anything as there is only One, perfect and eternal.

It is the Witness, the Choice-less Presence, the I am presence, the only One that really exists, for all eternity. It is He that does everything, Is everything – it is the ground Reality. And I am one with Him. And so are you, whether you are aware of it or not.

It is also the so called transpersonal state, above the personal impressions in our awareness. I mention this because I have observed that for some people the impersonal or transpersonal aspect of the Causal level is quite a challenge. It seems that they are used to the personal (read: material) experiences to the extent that negates the impersonal and transpersonal (read: non-material, transcendental) experiences.

The irony is that the Causal Self is the most intimate and up close and personal thing there is. Way more personal and fulfilling than the most intimate feeling from the bedroom, for example. It is THE Self, the only really real, completely beyond the changes of time and space (read: our daily life) and at the same time in complete Oneness with time and space.

It never ever changes, It is Formless, the Un-manifested and is the Pure Being which alone is. Hmm. I speak as though It is something elsewhere, something different from you and me, while in truth it is Me and You beating as One.

Q: How to attain the Causal transpersonal level?

A: You can’t, at least not on your own. No way you or me can enter that realm for good only by our own efforts. It is like trying to capture the Atlantic ocean in one glass. No way. What is needed (along your sincere and firm effort, of course) is a blessing or mercy from above (directly from the Source or through someone who has already been there).

There is a difference between attaining the Causal level or stage and having temporary experiences of that level. The latter is available to anyone, anytime, of course. It is very very easy to enter the Causal level, due to only one reason: it is already attained. There is nothing and none else beside It.

That been said, the meditation on the Formless Reality is one of the ways, in my opinion. Mantra yoga is another way. Enlightenment Intensive technique also tends to help a lot.

Q: What is the value of the Causal transpersonal level in your daily life?

A: That is an excellent question!

Well, to start with, my first experience of the Causal level back in 1993 was the turning point in my life. After the experience, it was as if I viewed the world for the first time. My existence finally received something solid to build my daily  life on. I finally knew what and who I was.

AnandamayiA lot of water has flowed below the bridge of my life since then. Nowadays, the picture is different: the Causal level has been integrated into my daily existence thanks to my mentors and Gurudev. It offers peace, freedom from dualities of life and above all the Presence that is always, well, present no matter where. It is only the scenery that is changing, the Witness is always the same, changeless and free.

I would also like to mention that the Causal level insights have added a lot to my life in terms of detachment. It is very easy to see through the dramas of this world from the Causal level; and so the detachment has become pretty much constant in my daily life.
So much so that I may come across as distant, dispassionate and not very compassionate.

Free access to this level has also provided me with the insights into what all great teachers (Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi Ma, Ramakrishna, Yogananda etc.) are speaking about. No secrets anymore.

The One Presence also endowed me with almost complete disregard for any kind of activism, elaborate strategies for elevating suffering from this planet and/or trying to master my mind and helping others to master theirs (strategies that belong to personal Mental / Authentic levels, in my opinion). Only one reason I see behind this: why make stormy waves in the perfectly calm lake?

In short, the Causal level brings freedom and peace to my life.

Q: Does God exist?

A: I don’t know. All I know is that there is a level of human psychological-spiritual identity development, a transpersonal one, which amounts to what more religious oriented person might call God.
It is a purely subjective state of awareness and although very well described and sought after in virtually all religious doctrines on this planet, it needs to be experienced to be really understood.

It is the Causal level of existence, the Source of every thought, emotion and everything else.

Q: What is the difference between the Causal and Subtle transpersonal level?

A: Well, according to Wilber map (which is empirically validated by many persons I met and also by my own empirical knowledge), the transpersonal levels of human awareness are as follows:
– Subtle,
– Causal and
– Nondual level.

The Subtle level is in turn experienced as lower and higher. Lower Subtle plane is full of elemental spirits (gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders), souls of persons who passed on from physical reality, our ancestors, animal and plant spirits, lower “demons”, angels, duality.

At the higher Subtle level, there are more spiritually evolved and liberated souls, masters of wisdom, forms of gods and goddesses, arch angels etc…

Subtle level is one of the polytheistic nature, where diverse non-material and spiritual beings dwell…

…and yet, even the most exalted gods and goddesses have their Source. Everything originated somewhere.

And that Origin is the Causal self, the Pure potential, the Un-manifested.

It is as if the One manifested Himself/Herself and transformed into many. From the Causal Level down to the Subtle level.

Q: Is the Causal level of any use in psychotherapy?

A: Yes, yes!
Very much so.

The directness, sharpness and dispassionate insights that the Causal level may offer, can and indeed does help a lot in practical settings of psychotherapy sessions.

Dispassionate and direct insights into dramas of the client can help much more than long hours of soft and compassionate climate in sessions. If and when client is ready, of course.


Question about the Causal level?
Contact me here >>


No escape

“Our ability to offer empathy can allow us to:
– stay vulnerable,
– defuse potential violence,
– help us hear the word ‘no’ without taking it as a rejection,
– revive lifeless conversation, and
– even hear the feelings and needs expressed through silence.”
— Dr Marshall Rosenberg

In my experience, there is no mysticism, no secrets and no escape from eventual realization that empathy may as well be a manifestation of our true, transpersonal and eternal nature.

My previous training (Zen, Kali Tantra etc…, which in my case usually translates to serious lack of heartfelt empathy) resulting mostly in the Causal level of awareness (as per established Wilber map) is still being felt in my everyday experiences of others…but even the most abstract transpersonal experiences can not eradicate the quality that binds together, well, everything. That quality is, for me, empathy.

I only wish I had more self-empathy at my disposal. The more self-empathy, the better and more heartfelt empathy can be offered to others, thus building more harmonious, peaceful and respectful relationships.
And that too, is inescapable (for me).


Heaven can wait

“Taking life seriously does not mean spending our whole lives meditating as if we were living in the Himalaya Mountains or in the old days in Tibet. In the modern world, we have to work to earn our living, but we should not get entangled in a nine-to-five existence, where we live without any view of the deeper meaning of life.

Our task is to strike a balance, to find a middle way, to learn not to overextend ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations, but to simplify our lives more and more. The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity.”
from Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, chapter 2 by Sogyal Rinpoche (on a photo left)

Well, I would like to add a few words:

Following the psychological-transpersonal identity development to the letter, spiritual realms are to be attained only after a practitioner has cleared out the so called shadow and only after he has attained the Centuar or the Authentic level of awareness.

To my understanding in practice that means that there is of little use to strive for spiritual enlightenment if one is not really satisfied (individualized and self-actualized) in his daily life, here and now.

Once the shadow (traumas, inner conflicts, guilt, anger, shame etc…) is thoroughly dealt with, the spiritual realms are safely and easily attained, permanently. To my mind, being really happy and satisfied with oneself in daily life means attaining inner peace and harmony in daily matters (job, relationships, finances, sex etc…).

Being a psychotherapist and seeing my share of people trying to be spiritual and enlightened before they have actually cleared out all the debris of personal negativities, well, all I can say is, it is simply not possible.

So, the path I am advocating is to learn to walk first and when walking is really mastered (i.e. when inner psychological climate is tranquil in daily life), then and only then it is safe to move on to the spiritual realms (the Subtle, Causal and Nondual levels) where one can really fly.
Heaven can and does indeed wait.


Gone, gone beyond: anatta

Thus far I have shared on the Blog transpersonal insights (i.e. sabikalpa and nirbikalpa samadhi) into Absolute reality as per Vedanta awareness teachings.
There is more to be realized, however.
In the realm of so called Emptiness teachings or teachings of the kind Buddha, there is no self, no center, no agency, no God involved in the natural ground Reality: anatta or an-atma.

From my upcoming book, After anatta:

“…After three days of enjoying almost constant personal audience with Dr John Rowan or “the living Buddha”, as I lovingly refer to him, I was sitting on a bench in a park, sun was shining, and it was a warm, lovely autumn day. I was browsing through a book on integral psychotherapy and transpersonal identity development (Forman 2010), and it all started while reading the information about the Nondual.

But before sharing the anatta insight, certain notions are worth mentioning, I think.

In Kashmir Shivaism, ancient guidelines about obstacles to ultimate reality are outlined, so called malas or impurities (Forman 2010, p.158):
– anava mala (belief that any given person occupies particular space, i.e. I am here not there, and certainly not everywhere),
– mayiya mala (belief that there are other objects outside of us, i.e. John is out there, not here where I am located). Basically that is the root perception of a false ego, the illusory center of reference, according to my current understanding.

By the time I got through reading this, Nondual was already present (only seeing the seen, hearing the sound etc…), it seems the first two malas were recognized as false straight away: with the Kindle reader in hands, boundaries just vanished, and the little ego and also the well established and stable Causal realization was gone, gone beyond and what remained was seeing only images, hearing only sounds. It, the “I am Presence” (Causal Self) became only what five aggregates or skandhas, according to Buddhism (Form, Sensation, Perception, Mental Formation and Consciousness) were offering from moment to moment, arising and ceasing.

It is important to note that I was at that point still able to switch back to the “I am” presence, perceiving the well known impersonal presence of the “True self”. For years I entered that state, hence falling back to the “I am” presence was happening so easily, I guess.

It was different this time, however: I realized with the aha! moment that the “I am” presence in the centre of my consciousness is exactly the same as the arising and ceasing manifestation which  was being intimately experienced. The seen, sensed, cognized AS the “I am” presence – only that “I am” presence was not there anymore.

What instigated the further insight, it seems, was comprehension of the third mala (or impurity) from Kasmir Shivaism:
– karma mala – belief that a person must perform an action, do something to remedy any given situation, say “I need to meditate to get enlightened”.

It happened a few moments after I read those words (obviously I was using the entry of mental formations and consciousness), everything just became crystal clear, no switching back to “I am” presence, for there was no one here, there, anywhere to switch to!

And I am not talking only about the little false ego (which, in my opinion, may also be called the Authentic Self from Centuar or Authentic level); I am talking about the “I am” presence, The Witness Itself.

For years, I was grateful to abide as a Witness, Omnipresent and liberated, as it were, relatively free from mental/emotional/physical impressions, laughing at the drama I was continually witnessing. But now, the “I am” presence itself, or the One Witness was gone! Even the Pure abstract potential or the so called Unmanifested “I am” (higher Causal level) was nowhere to be found! It seems that after years of entering samādhi at will, I was allowed to move on.

Only there isn’t anyone to give the permission or anyone to be allowed to move on or do anything else. No one is here, it never was, and it cannot and does not exist, because events are unfolding on their own. No center needed. Phenomena are free, separated from every other phenomenon, not touching and yet interconnected but liberating as they come and go!

Gone (leaving little ego behind), gone (beyond the Causal Self), gone beyond (leaving even the lure of the Nondual behind).”

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