Consider this: awareness is the only expression of Totality that reflects its own existence.
Let’s just focus on that statement for a moment. Let’s not sidetrack into a discussion of whether dolphins and chimps and butterflies and pebbles have awareness. I’m fine either way. That’s not the thing we’re looking at here.
Just this: awareness is the only expression of Totality that reflects its own existence.
And that can be simplified to this: awareness is Totality reflecting its own existence.
That’s no headlong leap of logic. Awareness, by the definition I’m using here, is that which reflects its own existence. We could also use the word “consciousness”, but I prefer to save that word for the entire processes of the bodymind as it encounters itself and the world. Awareness, then, is that subsystem of consciousness which allows for the bodymind to experience its own existence.
It does so by what can metaphorically be called an act of self-reflection. That’s just a description of the result. I won’t attempt, nor do I have either the knowledge or desire, to get into the neurophysiology of how that self-reflection occurs. We can leave that to the white coats. We here who play in the pastures of realization need only to understand what the black box does, not how it does it.
So awareness is that which self-reflects; it reflects its own existence.
Now try, just try, to remove awareness from Totality. You can’t even imagine Totality without awareness, since your act of imagining is an act of, at the heart of it, awareness.
Awareness is an expression of Totality. It’s just as much a part of Totality as anything, everything and nothing else. As much as the pimple on your nose and the stars in the sky. After all, there’s nothing that exists (or non-exists) outside (or, for that matter, inside – since in the “big picture” there is no inside or outside) Totality.
Totality is all there is. (And just to keep all you Zen-ists and Zeno-ists happy, isn’t.)
And awareness is part of Totality. And awareness is also that which self-reflects. Put it together and you have: awareness is that part of Totality which self-reflects.
Which, simply put, becomes: awareness is Totality self-reflecting.
Put that in your noggin, and steep your heart in it too.
Because if you do the following, you will eventually attain Clarity, which is the direct experience of Totality experiencing itself.
Oh, I know (nodding to the advaitists), we can’t NOT be experiencing Totality experiencing itself. But you know, that experiencing gets clouded over in a tricky way. We can intellectually accept it and even spout it out a hundredfold to all our friends. But there’s something I’m calling Clarity here, the “direct experience” of it, that’s way more than the intellectual experience of it.
If you’ve ever had that experience, you know it – and you also know it’s available to you again at any time. If you haven’t had it, then you may be telling yourself you have or you may be wondering if you have or you may be resenting all this talk about something which you doubt even exists.
Trust me: it does exist and you’ll know it when you have it. Which is what we’re going to set out to do now.
Woah-hoh! There we go: the advaitists are tying their underwear in knots muttering to themselves, “What’s this talk about doing? There’s nothing you can do! There are no practices that lead to Clarity! Blah blah blah blah blah.”
Sorry folks, us yogis and practical realizationists will disagree. Look, it’s just a matter of “your mileage may vary”. That’s all it is. If no practice works for you, great! If practice works for you, great!
Let’s just do or be whatever we feel we need to do or be to ripen into Clarity. Or don’t do anything and tell everyone else not to do anything, if that keeps your underwear knot-free. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Let it be.
Just let it be. And let everyone else be too.
So, getting back to what us practical realizationists are going to attempt to do (while letting the advaitists wander off muttering to themselves and each other):
1) Hold the notion in your mind as often as possible during the day of the fact that your awareness is Totality reflecting its own existence. Obviously this is just an intellectual understanding at this point. But with time and under the right conditions (which the other two practices should help to foster) that intellectual understanding can ripen into direct experience, into Clarity.
2) Try to imagine as often as possible during the day what Totality really is (and isn’t). Start with the universe. Try to imagine the whole shebang of the universe, all those galaxies and collections of galaxies, out to the very boundary of it and then beyond. Then go small: divide in your mind the smallest thing you can imagine into something even smaller and down to the infinitesimal and all the way to zero and beyond. Place the largest beyond which you cannot think next to the smallest beyond which you cannot go. Hold it all together as one and then know that Totality is all of that and more. Know it’s the fount from which all that comes and the hole into which it all returns. Go infinite with your mind: absolute infinite and don’t stop there, just go, run, fly to it. Surrender to it. Totality is the supreme object of ideation, the one object holding within itself all others. It is the absolute fact of that without an other. Second to none. Know it, experience it, live it.
3) Each time you sit in meditation, spend some time resting in pure awareness. Let yourself be aware of your own awareness. Be awareness and as little else as possible, experiencing it and it alone. Of course, other sensations will arise. No problem. As long as you return to being aware of awareness – allow awareness to directly self-reflect itself – you’re doing the practice. This will increase that muscle of awareness and its self-reflective capacity.
If you do these three simple things, you will cultivate a mind ready for Clarity. Now, when Clarity will arrive is impossible to say. You may be standing in line at the Post Office when all of a sudden, whoops! there it is! Or you may be looking at some odd object – I don’t know, like a scrap of yellow cloth… whatever – and all of a sudden, whoops! whad’ya know!
Give it time. Be patient. It won’t happen tomorrow or the next day. It may be next month. Next year. In five years (but I’ll bet sooner than that if you sincerely and earnestly do the three practices above). Just give it time. Don’t sweat it. Don’t wonder if Clarity happened or not (it didn’t – not if you’re wondering if it did).
Everything’s cool. This is the way it’s supposed to be. Totality is ready. Ready when you are. And you will be.