4/16/2010

Rebirth of the Ego-Self by unASLEEP



"Oh,,, my God,,, this Rocks ,,,,, A Must SEE!
This way of Living is How, I AM.
These words are and where in my Head. Get Them, Love Them.
And Pass Them to as many people as you FEEL. When you Teach this it becomes Real with in you. Give it away,,,, to Have IT."

Buddy, The Buddha from Mississippi

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http://www.nondualitymagazine.org/nonduality_magazine.1.unasleep.interview.htm

unASLEEP
Interview with John LeKay

NDM: Can you please tell me about your awakening? How this came about and what was going on in your life when this occurred?

unASLEEP: It's funny - I can't count the number of times on my Journey that the thought, "I am just trying to get back to what I intuitively knew when I was five" has crossed my mind. But like most, I was quickly groomed and conditioned to adhere to a certain set of beliefs that well-meaning family, religion, education system and society in general thought was in my best interest. And so, I tried. I tried to adhere. I really did. But I couldn't silence this voice in the back of my head that continually whispered to me, pointing out the cracks in these systems of beliefs and expectations that I had been brought up in and integrated into. Good thing, too, because it was through these cracks that I finally crawled, dusted myself off, laid down my rose colored glasses and saw the world for the first time in a much less filtered way. And I was finally back on my Way.

Or so it felt, but the Truth is, we are always and at all times on 'our Journey'. We can't escape our Journey. Sometimes we choose a new path, or follow a little detour for a bit, but we are still always on our Journey, seeing what we need to see. But at the point where I consider myself 're-beginning' my Journey with conscious intent was at a point where my life had fallen into shambles. Bedrock beneath my world had crumbled in all directions, and in impossible ways. My finances had flipped. Relationships on all sides had suddenly turned toxic. Everywhere I looked lay debris and ruin. My landscaped had nearly completely changed, and the only things I seemed to have left in my pocket were the things I knew I didn't want: Anger, hurt, fear and disappointment. A very sad, bleak picture.

But funny things happen when you seem to no longer have much to lose. In fact, in retrospect I count the demolition of my world as a HUGE gift because it is when everything has been stripped away that we finally have the opportunity to really see ourselves. Unless we scramble to find metaphorical figs leaves to hide behind (and sometimes, some of us do), we have little choice but to see - not only ourselves but the time and space we occupy, because now there is nothing left to distract us or to hide behind.

We're naked, or very nearly so, and this nakedness is a remarkable gift. And this is what happened to me. My little self-indulgent world as I knew it was demolished. My metaphorical orchard that had been handed me and I had so carefully tended all these years had been bulldozed. I was stunned as I looked at this nothingness, at all my well-worn paths and habits, now conspicuously irrelevant.

Nothing much was left. But in exchange, I could begin to see clearly for the first time. And that's where it all begins. Seeing

NDM: What happened when you saw this nothingness and began to see for the first time? What did you see exactly?

unASLEEP: Standing there with nothing much left, I could finally see how much I had allowed myself to be defined by relationships, obligations, expectations, labels, job definitions, and past events not to mention religious and family influence. I could finally see how hard I had worked to contort myself to accommodate these patterns and behaviors. It felt like I shed layer after layer of thick sweaters, and for the first time in a long time, I could see me. Without all that, I could feel me here, in the moment. In the NOW. I didn't realize before that I constantly lived in the past and future, and rarely stood in the NOW. And I had certainly forgotten how good the NOW feels, as well as the sweet clarity that now I realize it always brings.

And I found something else I did not expect. I found that in the midst of my panic and sadness, buried under my anger and outrage, there was this seemingly inappropriate little curious voice of elation growing inside me. How odd ! It could barely be heard over the din of my pain and outrage, but it was definitely there. And it grew.

It was a feeling of freedom; of being released from chains that I had no idea were chains. In fact, these were things I defended things I cared for, polished and held dear. I never saw these soft fetters for what they were before now, never realized how neatly they held me in place.

But perhaps most important, it was at this point that I did something I had never done before, and it was a powerful turning point: This little voice whispered into my ear that it was my choice whether to lay this anger down or continue to carry it with me. I could embrace my anger, and I would certainly collect a landslide of sympathy and condolences. The thought of it felt very satisfying, and I knew I could wear it like a badge. This visualization was shattered, however, because I could suddenly see how it would become part of who I was. Even though people experience anger all the time and refuse to let it go, for the first time I saw how poisonous that act is, not only to whoever I would direct it towards, but even more so, to myself.

I saw I could instead forgive, move forward, and embrace these new vistas that the demolition had opened by the removal of all that once held me in place. And so, somehow, I chose to genuinely forgive on all counts.

To onlookers, it probably seemed a sure sign that I had either lost my mind, or had become a doormat. But that was not the case, though I didn't know it at the time. I was just following that little voice inside - I honestly didn't know what would happen.

So it was to my complete and utter surprise I discovered that I had made was a very powerful choice a choice set things in motion that I had no idea would move. Though I didn't consciously realize it at the time, my act of sincere forgiveness had declared I do not lack and I am strong enough to love you even when you do not act loving towards me. Very powerful declarations. Who knew? Not me. At least, not consciously.

And on the other hand, I could now see how choosing to nurse my outrage would have made opposite statements silent declarations of I am vulnerable and I lack" and "I am injured. Worst of all, this experience would have to queue back up again, and I would be faced with it once more somewhere down the road and given the opportunity to choose again. And I certainly didn't want to go through all that again. I was glad I chose to forgive.

And this was the first big lesson I learned from facing this stripping away - Not at all what I expected. But having seen this beautiful, unexpected movement in action, it made me wonder What else am I overlooking? And I began to inquire further. I began to pay attention to what happened in my life, and for the first time I truly began to see that there were no coincidences, nothing left to chance. We were all part of this magnificent cosmic dance, calling the partners we need to us, so that we may perform our next step in this eternal dance.

NDM: When you said you "could feel me here, in the moment. In the NOW." Who or what is this me? How did you sense or see this "me”?

unASLEEP: The 'me' I sensed wasn't the 'me' I had come to believe was 'me'. That 'me' was suddenly seen as a jumble of crudely connected beliefs and subsequent actions.

The 'me' I now sensed for the first time since I was a child wasn't as much a localized being (which beforehand, I was quite certain that I was) but rather an awareness that is always difficult for me to effectively describe in words. In fact, I realize it may sound quite silly or a bit esoteric, but whenever I try to find words to relay how it felt to be uncovered after all this time, the analogy that always comes to mind is the experience of suddenly drawing in a breath of crisp cool, rushing air. Refreshing, clarifying and bracing, it was a sharpened awareness filled with quiet joy and constantly alert to the fact of my innate oneness with absolutely everything I encountered, both seen and unseen. It was an absolute knowing of this utter unity - The proverbial "I am the vine and you are the branches" come to 'life'......well, except in 'your world', where you are the vine and I am part of your branches, should I appear. :-)

NDM: Have you spoken to anyone else about this who is also in this same space as you? Someone who is also this vine, and if you have what is it like when oneness recognizes oneness?

unASLEEP: Oneness always recognizes oneness, even if they do not consciously realize what is happening. Most people are usually surprised to find themselves feeling very intimate with me right away. Sometimes it confuses them because they can see no obvious reason for feeling such affinity, but should they open the topic with me, and many do, I have the opportunity to explain that it is the 'them' in 'me' that they sense and are drawn to - the One recognizing 'themselves' in another seeming manifestation. It is true 'Namaste' in action.

NDM: Do you still experience anger or sadness or other emotions like excitement?

unASLEEP: I do experience blips of excitement, and occasionally flashes of anger, but it is nothing like I experienced before. Now, there is an effortless evenness about my temperament. But every now and again (pretty rarely, actually) I might experience a flash of anger, but it is like a match being struck in the wind - it effortlessly goes out on its own before it even has a chance to ignite. And excitement is the same way - I am pretty happy all the time, but if something does especially excite me, the daily joy I experience might accelerate momentarily. But these are like waves on my surface really - the waters beneath remain smooth and still.

NDM: When you said, "I am strong enough to love you even when you do not act loving towards me."; do you feel this unconditional love with all people?

unASLEEP: Yes, I absolutely do. This unconditional love is an effortless, natural byproduct of this awareness. When we truly grasp that we are one, who is there to feel competitive with? To fear or be angry at? No one. Every one is you, wearing a different face, and everyone you meet in every circumstance is like an amazing homecoming where you get to experience a transient intimacy with this seemingly separate fragment of you. It's beautiful. And fun.

NDM: What about desire, suffering, fear or aversion; do you still experience any of these states?

unASLEEP: Transiently, yes, sometimes - but only briefly, and here's why: This is a wonderful example of what I am pointing to - This is where toggling between perspectives, between facets of our awareness, is at perhaps its most useful. And it is this blending, this toggling, that I hope to point out for your consideration.

Because when we have gained the ability to toggle, then we can walk around in this experience that we call life in our Ego-Self/Projected self, and enjoy an unspeakable, first hand intimacy of exploration. However, should an experience occur that we have difficulty navigating as our Projected Selves (such as suffering or fear), then we switch perspective over to our 'Higher Self' (or whatever label you prefer) where we immediately gain the larger perspective needed to navigate the experience.

And switching to this perspective is no big deal, no more complicated or alien than passing something from your right hand to your left. Once we become open to this ability, we soon do it reflexively. And it would be silly to ask "who or what other hand are we passing this to?" because it is always OUR hand. It's not really going anywhere - just to another part of us, to just another facet.

Thinking otherwise is a bit of a trap, and before we know it, we get all tangled up in words and concepts (often adopted as we transiently affiliate ourselves with certain schools of thought) and we spend all our time dicing or labeling things that need no dicing or labeling because they are just facets of the same thing.

This is the point of my video series 'Seeing' (See below) - what we will think of something is directly linked to our prevailing perspective at that moment, but it hasn't really changed. It's all One. And the sooner we permit the reintegration of these facets, the better. Then we gain spiritual dexterity that we cannot have otherwise, and our interaction with things both seen and unseen becomes a much more fluid cooperation.

Leaving our Projected Self behind on the table is like chopping off our arms because our feet seem to carry us where we want to go more quickly. But what happens when we want to eat chocolate? We have no choice but to label the chocolate as 'bad' so that we can live with the choice we made to remove the part of us that would have allowed us to taste the chocolate. :-(

Or, we can just be whole-y, and complete.

NDM: What are your thoughts about the "ego", meaning the identification with a sense of a personal individual self? Do you believe that the ego can be forcefully overcome? How does one not only get to see that one is not one’s mind, ego or body, but get to permanently be in this "space"? To be this awareness outside of this mind /body. Is there still a witness there or has this also disappeared?

unASLEEP: I am so glad you asked these, because I think this is a very important, but largely overlooked Truth that is going to clear up a lot of issues when it hits the mainstream, not to mention help to dissolve all these different 'camps' or 'schools of thought' that we still tend to migrate towards.

Before we begin to awaken, we see ourselves as individuals. We are this person who we think somehow materialized on this planet and are subject to birth and death. We have a family, a history, and (we hope) a future. We pay taxes, accumulate possessions, and attend churches as well as little league games. We think we are subject to fate, or chance, or coincidence. We worry about our jobs, about getting ahead, and about staying on top.

And then somewhere along the line, we begin to ripen. One by one, we begin to awaken, bit by bit. In both my personal experience as well as what I have observed in others, this thing we call "enlightenment" is a door that swings ever wider, as long as we care to look. (quote from my video (see below) It only opens as quickly as we allow it to.

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So somehow, one day we begin to question who we are, and why we're here, and upon deeper contemplation, typically see that much of our perceived trouble is due to what we often come to call our ego-self and all his seemingly insatiable desires and reactions. He's like an out of control teenager, and we have a great deal of trouble with him. In fact, we don't really know quite what to do with him or how to curb his impulses. So, the way some deal with this is to initially seek help within a religion or school of thought that advocates divorcing ourselves mentally from this seeming troublemaker in one way or another. Luckily, these schools are pretty common, and so we do this, and this divorce does indeed settle our world right down. There is no longer anyone doing 'donuts' in your mental parking lot anymore. :-) And when all of that nonsense stops, life feels downright blissful. No more ups and downs - now we can be Steady Eddie, taking life as it comes. It feels good.

And this seems to be a natural evolution for some, a very, very common path that we can travel. Actually, this intellectual sleight of hand where we mentally divorce ourselves for a time from what we like to call our ego-self could be seen as a smart move. It's like walking away from an argument that has escalated into a screaming match and is going nowhere. And by walking away, by becoming quiet, then we can usually find a resolution, a balance, and this balance feels wonderful.

And this is what we are doing when we mentally divorce ourselves from this ego-self who has given us such headaches: We are putting our selves (literally) into 'timeout'. We are interrupting his out-of-control scenario, and giving us room to cool down and regain our balance. And it is a very welcomed relief. For the first time, we are able to watch what unfolds in our life without worry. We are able to disconnect from the overworked nerves that our ego-self pumps. And we slide into the back seat. Whew.

In fact, it feels so good, so right, that many assume 'this is how and where we're always supposed to be'. And for a time, many of us believe that with all our hearts because at that time, that is as far as our awareness extends. But somewhere along the way some dastardly person like myself (or even better, the Voice within) ruins this fun ;-) and whispers to us that "This isn't all - Can't you feel it is only one side of this coin?" And for those who are ripe, the Truth begins to leak in around the corners as this conceptual shell that we unknowingly formed around our selves suddenly feels a little tight. Cracks form, and the Light once more begins to pour in and we awaken a little further and see "How can there be repose without movement? Inflow without outflow?"

Now, those who are not quite ripe will attempt to deflect such an inquiry and maintain hold on this warm and cozy spot they have found by attempting to challenge this arising awareness with "Who or what is there to do this?" Their vision is still completely fixed upon the oneness, and they have not yet opened their eyes and looked around or acquired the tolerance to encounter anything other. And there is nothing wrong with this - it is just a sign that, like an unborn child who hasn't fully formed yet, they have not ripened to the point where they are prepared to step outside of their single-sighted association with That Which they arise from. They are still embedded in the womb, enjoying the transient period when there is nothing for them to do but 'be', and grow in ways they are not consciously aware of. And grow they do.

Because for every thing there is a season. One day, we are reborn. We still see the oneness in the flower, the kitten, and the annoying neighbor - We have not lost our knowing that they are all facets of the One, that there is no separation. But now we see further, too. We see that even though we have been enjoying our ride as a leaf on the river of life, we suddenly realize that we are also this river. And with this knowing, see that there is no such thing as passively experiencing anything. Yes, we are the leaf. We've embraced that for a long time. But we are also this river. So, everything is done by our hand. There is no such thing as passiveness. After all, if not our hand, then whose? And we see the river and the leaf are both facets of the One, and they are us. It is our perspective at the moment that determines which we associate our selves with. But they're both us.

And knowing this, we finally see that this ego-self isn't someone to be shunned, but rather is also a facet of the One. And with this awareness, we begin to function more fully spiritually. Lights and bells we didn't realize we had begin to come on as we learn to toggle between these two different facets of awareness. So, sometimes we are the leaf, enjoying the ride. Other times, we are the river, creating all that the leaf experiences. Because we are BOTH. We are meant to be BOTH. The next step in our collective evolution is to gain our balance, our muscle, our comfort-level in toggling between these two perspectives of the One.

Because the ego-self isn't 'bad'. He is our 'player', our 'avatar' in this expression/dimension. He is an intimate expression of YOU. When you were out of control, so was he. When you became quiet as you transiently mentally divorced your consciousness from him, he settled down as well. And now, you can approach him, saddle him, and ride him. He is you, and now you can come to him as is appropriate and useful. Here is a video I did that further expresses what I am pointing to here (see below), and may make what I say here easier to consider.

Because in the same way, sometimes we are the leaf, floating along in what feels like a passive stance, taking life as it comes, with a broadened viewpoint, focused upon all harmoniously working as One with no little or no need to directly create. As the leaf, we are the Experiencer of all we create. As the River, we are defining and bringing forward what the leaf will experience. And we are both this leaf and the river, and we should not forsake one for the other, because they are the yin and the yang of existence in this expression/dimension.

It's like this: Sometimes we use our close-up vision, and sometimes our distant vision. We would be missing huge parts of the picture if we only used one or the other, wouldn't we? And it is the same with being the leaf and the river. We should go further into this new awareness and become comfortable toggling between both perspectives, because they are the interplay of the All.

And this is how we truly do away with what is commonly called the witness. When we've reintegrated all these facets, the Higher Self, the Ego Self and this experience we call Life. When we do this, THEN you can ask me the question Who or what is there to see this? :-D And there will be no one. :-) But we don't do away with the witness by cutting ourselves off from any perceived part of us. There is nothing superfluous. All facets are healed, reintegrated into their rightful position.

The witness disappears when TRUE oneness is achieved, and all parts are reconciled. Nothing is discarded, except our belief in this un-whole-y segregation. :-)

"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]." - Gospel of Thomas, Saying 22

NDM: Are you at this place where true oneness and all parts are reconciled or do you see this as a work in progress?

unASLEEP: Yes, I am. But sometimes I still have to remind myself. I'll get all caught up for a moment or two from the perspective of my Projected Self, and forget to toggle over to my 'Higher Self' where I have a much better view of the situation. But the more we toggle, the more reflexive it becomes, even though it is quite natural to us.

We often do something very similar in emergency situations where our toggling causes time to seem to slow down and we gain the impossible overview of immediately seeing 50 different factors all at once so that we may attempt to better handle the experience. We already do this. So, though the thought that we ought to toggle may seem to be a new idea to some, the ability to toggle from one facet of our perception to another is something we already do. It's an innate part of each of us, and I hope more of us begin to consciously explore it and use it. Try it on. Walk around it. Does it fit? Only you will know.

NDM: In your video, "Rebirth of the Ego-Self" you state that without him, meaning the "ego", you could not appear in this dimension as you are accustomed to. Then you go on to say “if you pull his plug, you pull your own plug in this dimension”. What or who is it that is pulling this plug?

unASLEEP: Well, that would have to be the 'who or what' that is asking this question, wouldn't it? ;-)

The Ego-Self, or the Projected Self, as I prefer to call him, is like our avatar in this realm of senses. He is our intimate, personal projection. We can view him as a particular vehicle of perception, an interactive 'program' that can either be left in the troublesome teenager stage where he seems to drive us nuts, or refined into a magnificent tool. Too many of us have made habit of just walking away, never experiencing this refinement, and this is unfortunate because he is a facet, an expression of the One, and if we pull the plug and remain disconnected from him, then we are walking away from the ability to experience this facet.

If we remain mentally divorced from him, as many schools of thought advocate, then we have detached ourselves from what his experience brings us. He is not superfluous, or bad. We just use him badly - At first. And that's the point I would like to make.

Here's an example of what I am trying to point to: Our Ego-Self/Projected Self is somewhat like a car. Imagine that no one has even taken the time to understand how to interact or drive a car. Instead, we usually all take planes, useful in some instances, but very inappropriate when, for example, we want to buy groceries.

But since we haven't taken the time to learn how to interact with cars, every timesomeone gets behind the wheel, it's a mess - nothing but tragedy and loss (not to mention we never made it to the store to buy groceries). So, we decide to stay the heck out of cars. To us in our current level of understanding, they seem nothing but trouble. Besides, though planes may leave us exploring the world at a distance (not to mention robbing us of the Direct Experience of direction), at least we aren't locking fenders with someone at every turn.

Now, doesn't this sound silly? Cars are useful tools for certain ventures, and it would be crazy to never learn to use them. But this is how some of us come to treat our Ego-Self/Projected Self, not only steering clear of him, but wrapping this action in congratulatory concepts so that we actually consider it to be wise and appropriate to do so. And maybe it was - for a while. Until we took the time to learn.

He is a facet of you. Sometimes it is appropriate to direct our perception so that we see out of the eyes of the Leaf, and other times it is appropriate to direct our focus to our being the River. We must learn to toggle between the 'two'. And we may as well, because divorcing yourself from one or the other is really just an illusion. We are always both.

And this is what our next step is - to begin to move beyond religions and schools of thought (which should only be used as transitory tools) and begin to shed thoughts and theories that limit us and toggle between all our wonderful facets, because they are all us.

Each facet offers us wonderful colors and views that we will not directly experience otherwise.

NDM: It sounds like you are also saying that you can navigate from the non-dual state to the dualistic state by using the mind like an instrument, and not allowing it you use you and not being stuck in the absolute. Genpo Roshi also talks about another state, which he calls the "apex state”. It’s neither being trapped in the non-dual or dual, but one that transcends both of these states. It’s a fluid place where one has a choice to navigate from one to the other at will. It includes these states, the dual and the non-dual. He refers to this as the ego-less ego. See here.

www.scribd.com/doc/3849331/Mastering-the-Power-of-Now-Series-Genpo-Roshi

unASLEEP: Bingo. I haven't read Genpo Roshi, but this sounds like it may be very similar to what I am trying to point to here. (And apparently, he did it with far less words than I. :-D )

NDM: As with the Zen saying, before a person studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are not waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.

unASLEEP: This is true.

NDM: However, why would you want to maintain this identification with a mirage when all this will bring is suffering, anxiety and keep one in samsara? How can one even be awareness when it is trapped inside the bubble of the egoic self like an air bubble in a glass of water?

unASLEEP: I would have to disagree - That is not all it brings, nor are we 'trapped' by anything other than our own thoughts. To believe that this facet of ourselves only brings suffering or that we are somehow 'trapped' in some way is a slice of well-known, parroted dogma from the perspective of few particular schools of thought, I'm afraid.

Regardless, IS IT TRUE? Yes - It is, for whomever believes it. This IS what you will experience if you never learn to drive your 'car', and instead rely on the words of another that experiencing life 'up close and personal' will only bring suffering and grief. Sadly, that will be your truth as long as you believe it. When you go beyond leaning upon the words of another, you'll find something different.

NDM: Some people say that without a sense of a self being there, as before, there is no longer suffering, desire, fear or aversion.

unASLEEP: Well of course. That's true. When we are 'living beyond the illusion of this personal "self" or 'mentally divorcing ourselves from our 'Ego Self'' (as I like to term it), the room does indeed get pleasantly quiet. No one has disputed that.

NDM: Then what is the cause of suffering, if it’s not identification with this ego self?

unASLEEP: Suffering, desire and aversions seem to quickly dwindle away because we have distanced ourselves from our facet that would have normally experienced those things. This is our motivation for the 'divorce'. It provides us with a sense of 'room' where we can regain our innate balance and peace. The only trouble comes from forgetting to retrieve and reintegrate this facet.

Because the reason our Ego Self/Projected Self was running around, doing this and that, and seemingly causing so much suffering in our life in the first place is because he didn't realize who he was.

Until your awareness expanded to the point where you truly began to grasp the Truth of Oneness, he (you) thought what we all originally think - that we are basically in this all alone with only whatever we manage to cobble out in this cruel world to help us. And that is where our suffering comes from - running about, trying to handle things and make sure we do or don't do whatever we think we need to. Because no matter what we do, we can never seem to find what we need or are looking for, and this causes our suffering.

He doesn't know how to relate evenly to the contents of this world, he hasn't found his balance, and we blame him harshly for it. And since we can't find a way to do away with the world, we do away with him. And since his banishment now places our world at a distance to us, we must console ourselves and say that the experiences of the world only bring suffering. Kind of like in Aesop's Fables where the fox was separated from the grapes, so he tells himself that they are probably bitter anyhow, not worth having. But that isn't true. With just a bit of balance, no separation is necessary.

For example, eating chocolate causes no suffering (in fact, you can count on quite the opposite experience, in my case! :-D). But eating too much chocolate might, as well as worrying if you will be able to get your hands on more chocolate again. But the experience of eating chocolate is completely without suffering. It's our interaction that is uneven and causes this suffering. And our interaction is uneven because we have no idea who we are, and what we may truly need, or not need. Do you see?

So, to transiently cope with off-balanced situation, some (like yourself) find it useful to disavow their 'Ego Self' or 'Projected Self' for a time while they regain their balance, and then come back to him later. Others (like myself) never really disassociate themselves with him - we find it easier to just educate him along the way. Either way works, and here's why:

Once the Ego Self/Projected Self knows who he is, he is no longer afraid. He quits running around like a madman. And we say goodbye to suffering...

....just like you are experiencing right now, but without having to keep your Ego Self/Projected Self (and therefore much of the experience of Life) at arm's length. You can be up close and personal again, without the suffering.

Does this mean that the Projected Self/ Ego Self will never again seem to suffer with an illness? Lose a loved one? Get fired? Probably not. However, now he knows how to correctly view it, and so it is no real problem.

With his new awareness of who his is and what that means, he no longer suffers. Things come, and things go, and he is not unduly troubled. He does not worry. But neither is he detached from their coming or going. He sees them. He tastes them. He experiences them for what they seem to be without losing sight of the Oneness, that these 'things' are him, as well as their act of their coming and going. There is nothing that is not him, whether that be others facets of his psyche, other seeming entities he meets - everything he encounters is all One. And with this new education, he becomes a relaxed and well-behaved man, and we no longer have to exclude him in order to maintain peace in our lives.

We can enjoy experiencing the world through his eyes once more. It's what this unique facet is for.

NDM: What you seem to be talking about here is becoming detached from this ego self. Denying it, mentally divorcing yourself from it through some method, technique, meditation and so on. Or even forcefully suppressing it. What I'm saying is something very different. I'm talking about when this ego dies and there isn't a sense of you at all. There is nothing to divorce yourself from, to suppress, or to still. When you look inside, this personal reference point has completely disappeared and all you see is a full infinite nothingness. No witness either.

unASLEEP: If you disassociated yourself as completely as you seem to be pointing to here, there would be no 'you' to make these inquiries. How could there be? I sincerely have no intention to step on toes, but it seems that those who believe they have done this so completely are only pulling another sleight of hand upon themselves, possibly because still believe the 'self' to be 'bad'. He is neither. He is your player, your avatar here in this dimension. And if you have a name and live somewhere, collect a paycheck, have coffee, if you are still 'here'.....then so is he. He may not be running the show all the time, but he is still here because you are still projecting him. Cease your projection, your projected self, and you will still be 'here', but not as you are accustomed to. Let's put it this way: You aren't going to need a hat. :-D

NDM: Yes, but some say that on the absolute level, complete Paramartha, no one is asking these questions or making these enquiries, enquiries are simply happening. Enquiries arise out of this full/nothingness. Oneness is making these enquiries. On this level it is seen that in essence you are talking with yourself. You ask the question and the answer appears, just through someone else's mouth.

As far as the ego is concerned, believing it is either good or bad, this is not a question of a value or moral judgment, it is neither and this is also seen as a matter of the ego, obfuscating the reality of what things truly are without the mediation of the mind, the sensory perceptions, distortions, conditioning, habit formations, unconscious shadow projections, societal indoctrination, hypnosis, sleepwalking, samskaras and so on.

There is also much more to this than meets the eye. Being aware of your conscious mind is only a tiny amount of this equation. Witnessing your conscious thoughts is just the tip of the iceberg. The shadow self is what has to be integrated and brought into the light. Without doing this, one is simply deluding oneself and still not out of the woods.

The problem with the ego is that it is like a pirate who has hijacked the ship. It believes that it is the ship, and is unable to see that it is not what it believes it is, which is this body/mind. Only when this is out of the picture or is truly seen through, (not intellectually, or with the mind), will one be able to truly see, with out the usual egoic distortion's, interpretations, opinions, beliefs, habits and so on. Because it is like walking around with a tinted pair of binoculars glued to your head at all times and not even being aware of this.

The way to see this, do this is not killing or trying to dissolve it or mentally divorcing yourself from it, because this is like burying your head in the sand. This will happen with awareness, truth and light, or fall away when the person is ripe like a fruit falling from a tree.

unASLEEP: So, here's the test: Can you go through McDonald's and place an order and eat it? Must be still here, then, because he is your player in this dimension. You're still projecting this Projected Self / Ego Self. Oops. ;-D You're not? Then who the heck is doing that?

NDM: As far as having a coffee, this is also another illusion created by the brain/body/mind and the sensory organs. In reality there is no one here to have a coffee or eat a Big Mac. There is no separation from the coffee or the double whopper with cheese. In essence you are eating yourself. ‘You” do not end at your skin. You encompass the entire infinite and boundless eternal universe(s) and everything in it. Like the saying, "when you see an open sewer and the sacred Ganges river as one, you have found God."

On an absolute and scientific subatomic level, we are 99,9999999999 percent empty vacuous space and interconnected with all manifested and un-manifested matter. Yes on this relative physical dimension, this phenomenological level, this is how it appears in the brain; that here is a concrete separate person here and you over there. However, this is only partially true. The reality is you and I are one and the same right now and there is no time or space between us.

Time and space is also an illusion. It is like the metaphor of seeing a rope in bad lighting and believing it is a snake and becoming afraid. It appears real, so one believes it is a snake, until someone turns on the light and all fear dissolves.

unASLEEP: OR, the seeming division here may simply be a case of po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Perhaps we are talking about the same thing, but expressing it slightly differently. You say 'death' and I say 'reintegration'. Either way, an identity that was taken as an independent character is no longer standing there alone. You are everything you experience.

NDM: Yes this seems to be the case to a degree and I can see how easily words get in the way of discussing this. I also see death and reintegration as the same thing when the small self merges with the larger self or oneness, the way a river merges into the ocean.

However, what I’m referring to is liberation, liberation from this false sense of self. You seem to be talking about an awakening or self-realization. I see self-realization as seeing and knowing that one is not one’s ego, one’s thoughts, one’s feelings or one’s mind.

I see liberation as when one is completely free from this because it is no longer there. Not as obviously as before, anyway. How do you see this?

unASLEEP: I agree, this is very difficult to discuss - We two must be very brave to attempt this, or either really big fools! :-D All we can do is our best at pointing. And most likely, I bet we are looking at po-tay-to, po-tah-to here.

My perspective might be explained something like this: When we find out that there is no Santa Claus, we are immediately liberated from this false belief. Santa is 'not', and in fact, never 'was'. We no longer believe that there is a man in a red suit that travels to bring us gifts once a year from his elf-employed toy shop via sleigh and flying reindeer. You could say that, to us, Santa is dead. Gone. Poof! In fact, he never really existed. No big deal. (After the initial shock. :-D )

And when we see the Truth and have this self-realization about our Projected Self/Ego Self, by default, we gain our liberation from him in the same way. You could say that to us, he is dead. Gone. Poof! Never really existed. No big deal. After the initial shock. ;-P

However, there are times when we might like to have Santa around, like when we have children. We no longer believe he is real, but we find his concept a handy vehicle by which we may bring things into our life that otherwise, we would not experience.

Now, perhaps some can banish their Projected Self/Ego Self permanently into the Void, I dunno. But no one I've ever talked to has - they wouldn't be there to discuss the possibility with if they completely dissolved this facet of themselves. As I said before - it's their player, their avatar here.

But we could choose to transiently disassociate ourselves so completely and send him so far away that he seems as though he's really gone. We could. Of course we could. And I suspect this is what has sometimes happened

Because I have noted that many who take this viewpoint do so after they have undergone a physical shock or emergency, like an acute illness, or self-imposed negation of their physical body (often through extensive or methodical deprivation). Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with those - We all see what we need to see. But it is easy to note that in those cases, the ball has already been rolled regarding disassociation. 'He's' already been somewhat sent away, hasn't he? And from my observation, whether the person realizes it or not, (or means to or not) this act of physical dissociation or negation seems to go hand and hand with landing in this viewpoint, and taking up residence there.

But even with the best of efforts, he's not really 'gone'. Can't be. If 'you're' still here, so is 'he'. Because that is his only purpose - to be 'you' - HERE. 'He' is this aggregate, an assemblage that gives rise to the appearance of this 'you'. He is what frames the 'you' you seem to be. If he were truly gone, then you wouldn't be seen in time and space in a traditional sense.

Anyhow, having said all that, I have to be honest and say that I truly don't understand why would anyone want try to do away with him (other than because they are following the dogma of certain schools of thought). I mean, he's trouble at first, yes. No argument there. But once you know who he truly is/isn't, then he knows and he is no longer afraid. Suffering ends. Play on.

Because when you get right down to it, absolutely everything we believe that we experience is an illusion. Right? So why hold 'being an illusion' against our Projected Self/Ego Self? Why target this particular illusion and be so excited to believe you've successfully somehow dispatched him, all resting upon the charges that 'he isn't 'real'?

Nothing is.

NDM: Just because you may have not experienced this the same way, do you think it’s impossible for anyone else to experience this egoless state?

What do you think of this Bernadette Roberts here. www.spiritualteachers.org/b_roberts_interview.htm

unASLEEP: Heavens, no. There are as many paths as there seem to be people. If we look carefully, even when our path seems similar to another's, it is still uniquely our own, with our own twist and turns. No two paths are ever truly the same. They may have similarities, or they may be completely different and that is completely irrelevant because we all experience whatever we need to experience to arrive at this point of awareness. Our paths are as unique as we are.

This center can be compared to a coin: on the near side is our self, on the far side is the divine. One side is not the other side, yet we cannot separate the two sides. If we tried to do so, we would either end up with another side, or the whole coin would collapse, leaving no center at all - no self and no divine. We call this a state of oneness or union because the single center has two sides, without which there would be nothing to be one, united, or non-dual. Such, at least, is the experiential reality of the state of transforming union, the state of oneness.

I do completely agree with this thought Bernadette expresses above, but am a little surprised that she also states that

Jung felt that these archetypes were unlimited; but in fact, there is only one true archetype, and that archtype is self. What is unlimited are the various masks or roles self is tempted to play in the state of oneness - savior, prophet, healer, martyr, Mother Earth, you name it. They are all temptations to seize power for ourselves, to think ourselves to be whatever the mask or role may be. In the state of oneness, both Christ and Buddha were tempted in this manner, but they held to the "ground" that they knew to be devoid of all such energies.

I'm not sure what to make of this rather glaring oversight. Jesus did indeed act out all the roles/masks of savior, prophet, healer and martyr. Or am I thinking of someone else? ;-P He was known for them, as well as the acts that ensued, so this statement and subsequent allegation is entirely inconsistent with the actions history attribute to him, as far as I know.

And when I see outrageous oversights like that, it really makes me stop and wonder what would the unconscious motivation be to make such an analogy? Are we focused upon attempting to connect dots that don't belong connected? It makes me think of religions - all these carefully woven tapestries that attempt to depict certain thoughts or events woven together in certain ways. Are such thoughts being woven in attempt to string together things that do not need to be strung? If we have taken up residence in this extreme overview of the one, do we seek to rationalize why we have done so?

And I truly mean no disrespect. Truly. I do indeed respect each person's journey. But this aversion to transiently focusing our awareness within a facet or seeming individual, and instead preferring to largely stay within the perspective of 'extreme Oneness' (or comfortable numbness :-D) is truly very, very curious to thing to me.

I honestly don't know quite what to make of all the fascination over 'center' and 'no center', of self and no-self, of interior and exterior worlds and perceptions. It is simply one of many facets that we may focus our awareness upon, one set of many eyes we may look through, as paradoxical as that may sound, even while we are acutely aware that there is no 'us' to do the focusing, and that we already are each thing we transiently place our consciousness upon.

However, even when I am not "comfortably numb" and have placed my focus upon a facet through my consciousness, I still always have an acute awareness of this prevailing unity. I always still know. And I do this because sometimes, certain perspectives aren't as useful as another navigating our day to day experiences, which is how I came to toggling, or switching.

Because we can dice and label all day, and sort and categorize, and create all sorts of theories about it, but in the end it is nothing more than facets of the All. It's all the same thing. So, why fuss over it? Why even talk about it? As they say, he who talks, doesn't understand. He who understands, doesn't talk. Just be what you need to be, when you need to be it.

For example (true story, BTW), one spring day, I set about to tidy up my ramshackled yard. My focus or perspective at the time was set to 'comfortable numbness' ;-P. There was a fence that had fallen over and weeds and vines had grown all over it, and that was the task I was trying to accomplish that day - clearing this out and repairing the fence. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't!

As I looked at it, trying to see where to start, all I could do was genuinely be taken by its chaotic beauty. From my current perspective, I was utterly mesmerized. I couldn't for the life of me see what was 'wrong' with it, or how anything I did could possibly improve it. It was beautiful. (Now, mind you, it is nothing more than wire fencing that had come detached, drooping on the ground, and weeds and plants and grasses and vines had taken it over, nearly covering it. It wasn't one of those picturesque split fences that artists so often like to depict, with a tumble of wild roses overgrowing it, or something.) Even so, it was a work of art in my extreme-oneness comfortably-numb awareness. I ended up walking away from it, and admiring it out my bathroom window for many days to come before I chided myself, 'jiggled my handle', switched focuses, and finally did the repairs and tidied up. Which perspective will be useful to us at the juncture of a particular experience depends.

'Inwardness' and 'outwardness' are as one. There really isn't a difference between the 'two', and I am constantly aware of this, regardless as to which facet my awareness is currently focused through. It's all the same. However, certain perspectives are clearly more useful in certain experiences. And though it is obviously not a common opinion, I see this ability to switch or toggle between them, rather than getting stuck in just one perspective, as natural. If someone I love seems to die, you can bet your butt I am going to fall back into the arms of this broader, more 'Pink Floyd' view, because it has a much better overall perspective. It works in broad strokes. But if I am getting a hug from my daughter, I am in my extremely narrowed, Projected Self focus/facet because IT works in the details.

I am the stillness in the mountains and trees. I am the ever-moving current of the River, carving out my own bed. I am the leaf that rides upon my current. My awareness can spread out, or be very focused, and I can feel each of the facets I possess like running my fingers over my own ribs. We are One, and we are many, utterly reliant upon my elected perspective of the moment.

I can move to the "still point" (as Bernadette puts it), OR I can dabble my fingers in the palette of paint. Switching is nothing more than a tweak of my focus - effortless and natural. I think we are meant to do this.

Also, just a sidebar - Why is it that those who remain in this extreme focus of Oneness almost always resign to being taken care of by others? This detachment/extreme overview seems to often land us in the street, or if we are lucky, into the arms of friends and families - that is if we don't quickly find a way to earn our keep by peddling our experience in the form of books, and tapes, and seminars. So, in a day to day sense and for most people who experience this, this perspective seems to almost be a handicap if it stands alone. A very pleasant-feeling handicap, granted, but one that leaves us unable or unwilling to focus and do. And they find themselves like I was that day, hopelessly caught up in the quiet beauty and rapture of a jumble of weeds sprawled over a broken fence, utterly taken by its perfection.

How can it be this way all the time? How is it that this extreme vision into Oneness leads us almost universally to dependence? It's an odd scenario - it doesn't make sense. There is a lack of balance. That doesn't make it bad, though - rather, it smacks of an incomplete picture. Something is missing. Something has yet to be realized or brought forward. How could it be otherwise? If we all fell under the spell of this extreme oneness and elected to remain there all the time, we would run out of people care for us all.

That can't be the complete picture, IMHO, even though we may be certain we are indeed seeing just that.

NDM: Are you are trying to wrap your brain around this from an intellectual standpoint?

unASLEEP: Not at all. I hope. :-) Is it possible that you may be unconsciously fulfilling the rites of a school of thought you once associated with? Not that a drastically diminished sense of self isn't a thing who's time has come, but rather that you think this is where it ends, that it could/should go no further?

NDM: I have never associated with any school, but have studied various schools. Zen, Adviata, Gnosticism, Sufism and so on but as far as the unconscious, yes it was driving this seeking, even through on a conscious level, I had stopped doing this years before. This is what comes to light and gets seen through when the sense of self disappears. I also don’t see this as the end, nor the beginning since time is seen through, as far as it going further, yes it can. Do not see this as this is all there is, because when this self diminishes, almost disappears, it all becomes unhinged, and apparent. There is no sense of self to suppress anything, to compartmentalize or hide, submerge anything.

Just imagine, all sophisticated and elaborate ego defenses are suddenly wiped out. All your past memories lose their emotional charge and meaning. No desire at all for anything. No ambition, nothing to prove, no more seeking for anything.

unASLEEP: Honestly, I wouldn't want to imagine a world with 'no desire at all for anything'. That brought to mind 'Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd. "Hello....hello....hello....is there anybody IN there.....just nod if you can HEAR me...." :-D

Just kidding. Well, actually, not really. But no doubt, that is why heroin is so addicting - the numbness/detachment is really quite an escapism, don't you think?

Let's see if I can point more clearly to what I am obviously doing such a bad job explaining: I'm perfectly happy with whatever condition I find myself because I know that it is my hand that sends everything I encounter, and it is here by my (conscious or unconscious) request. I am BOTH the leaf, as WELL as the River it rides upon.

I don't need the trappings of the modern world, but I'm okay with them, too. It's 'whatever', but it is NOT a world where I wouldn't love to go out and watch a nice sunset because I enjoy them - I would indeed go out of my way to see that. But if somehow I didn't make it.....oh well. That's good, too. I think that is the trick, and I must be doing a miserable time explaining it.

You do prefer this, don't prefer that. You're NOT always comfortably numb or detached. But if it ends up differently than what you hoped - that's okay too. That's because my Projected Self knows who he is, and is cool now. ;-P He doesn't run the show, have a temper tantrum or worry when things don't go his way, but when he DOES get in over his head (because he's still learning) guess who steps in and takes over? That's right - Pink Floyd. And I get all comfortably numb, and gain the perspective I need to navigate what is happening. But I don't stay there. I don't stay there.

NDM: How about your unconscious, is it possible that your resistance to this is an unconscious fear of dying?

unASLEEP; I apologize for dragging out my Christian roots, but this is what was meant by the famous scripture John 3:16 -

For God so loved the world (not thought it was 'okay', or alright, or observed it from a distance, but really loved the world and thought it was pretty cool) that he gave his only begotten son (which is you actually, sent 'here' to experience 'this') so that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have eternal life.

Once we know our selves and accept ourselves for who we truly are, death is gone. When we don't really know, we face the illusion of death. And when we just sit back and watch it all go by and pat ourselves on the back for not having to experience anything notable anymore, well, we're just wasting our ride.

Why show up at the carnival if you didn't plan to enjoy the rides? If we weren't supposed to have preferences (the trick is to not be unduly attached to them), them why the heck did we create a world with so many choices? If we were just supposed to observe it all at arm's length, and have no preference one way or another, why did you invent sex? And war? And iced coffees? Kisses from your daughter? And (of course) CHOCOLATE! :-D

Why?

Seems like quite a waste.......

NDM: Well, everything is “maya”, not a waste, but it all begins with this self. You can only see through maya, when you have seen through your self first. Then you see it in everyone else.

unASLEEP: That's very true. So, we see through ourselves first. No real 'me'. No big deal.

But there does feel like there is a bit of a witch hunt going on regarding the self. I mean, no one gets too excited about the realization that cheeseburgers aren't really real, or that you are neutral whether or not you eat one.

I truly hate to seem like a Big Meanie, but it just doesn't feel like someone really sees the bigger picture yet when they target a particular part of this imaginary landscape - in this case, the self. If one really saw this bigger picture, it would seem to me they would have no more relief or aversion to the 'self' participating or not participating in the landscape than that imaginary cheeseburger. It should be 'whatever', not 'YAY! He's gone!" Because if we really saw our oneness with the self as we might with that cheeseburger, then whether either 'existed' or not, or seemed 'near' or 'far' to us would make no difference. 'Whatever' should apply.

That we often do otherwise and make a big deal about it suggests that we have not fully realized the fullness of integration of all the seeming facets. In explanation, we have imagined this 'self' has disappeared (after all, he isn't really real) rather than being viewed in its rightful place as facet of the One. Just like everything else. Why is it any different? Because we transiently associated with it more closely for a time?

In other words, this behavior suggests there must still be loose ends regarding this 'self' that we are so glad is supposedly gone. If there weren't loose ends, pointing out the self was 'gone' would be as irrelevant as pointing out the cheeseburger was 'gone. Sort of a case of "methinks thou dost protest too much", where being pleased that 'he really is gone' is a sure sign that 'he really isn't gone' because the 'you' who notes this IS the you that you believe has vanished.

I think I just gave myself a headache with that last line! :-D Whew!

Anyhow, it is OKAY that this self hasn't actually vanished, because we have NEVER created a mistake. Never. We have only misinterpreted things, or placed undue focus upon, or related to them improperly for a time. But we shouldn't 'throw the baby out with the bathwater'. Or the cheeseburger. :-)

NDM: When you say, 'He really is gone' is a sure sign that 'he really isn't gone' because the 'you' who notes this IS the you that you believe has vanished".

I do not see it as a sure sign because you are talking about noting this with the mind or intellectually. This is not the ‘you’ that sees this. This has nothing to do with seeing it with the mind.

I asked you earlier can a tongue taste its own taste buds? As far as seeing the bigger picture, the self is the bigger picture because the self is all there is. Everything is in this self including all the cheeseburgers in the world. The entire universe, sun, stars and moon and all the galaxies are in this self. It’s not out there and you are in here. You do not end at your skin. I am in you and you are in me and we are in the gorilla at the zoo. It’s all one. When you see through this, not with the mind, then you see none of it is real.

unASLEEP: Bravo. My thoughts exactly. So, why give any consideration to this 'self' being 'gone' or 'not gone'?

Call me a stickler here (go ahead - do it, I don't mind) but I think it demonstrates a different perspective to see him as 'gone' or 'non-existent' verses understanding 'him' as an integrated facet of That Which Is. On one hand you really aren't friends with him, but the other hand, he is a recognized member of the family. Just like the cheeseburger. AND the gorilla. :-D

I'd like to ask you a question, if I might? What do you see as a problem with having a Projected Self? Or a Witness that observes the Projected Self if he cares to? Or any other facet/perspective that you might like to add? As long as they are integrated facets of the One that simply allow certain 'dexterities', why would someone be so intent upon trying to do away with them? I am sincerely curious.

NDM: Again there is no problem, nothing wrong or right with any of this or what you have said. It is what it is. Having a projected self (ego) sense of self, is what someone may need in order to see that at some point, this is not necessary or anything to fear, neither is it a loss.

How can you lose something that does not really exist like when the snake is truly seen as being the rope? Yes we are on this relative level facets of the one and on another simply one. So both realties are true. Non-duality encompasses both.

However, if one is seeking the truth of the “absolute non-dual level”, and also wishes to end all suffering, fear, anxiety, clinging to attachments and to cease chasing one’s own tail, then one will have to see through these phenomenological, empirical illusions and realize that this is not all who one is.

One is not just a physical manifestation of one’s body or mind on a dualistic level.

One is also not one’s emotions, desires, dreams, hopes, attachments, aspirations, conditioning or habits. One is not one’s suffering. Who one is cannot suffer. In essence what one is, is ineffable.

What I see is that some people only reside in the dual state and have no awareness of this non-dual state never mind going beyond this. This is what I’m getting at. It seems that you are talking about a very advanced stage when one has passed through this non-dual stage and reached the other side. When mountains become mountains again.

I may have misinterpreted this, but what you seem to be indicating is that you can somehow be liberated from this self and still maintain your separate projected self (ego).

I’m saying that as long as there still is a sense of a person there, and an identification with this person, ego, you can’t be free from it, or very easily access this absolute non-dual state, not for more than a momentary glimpse because this ego is the veil that one has to uncover to see this.

It also sounds as if you are using the witness, one part of your consciousness, to watch the other part of your consciousness. Like walking from one side of your fenced in back garden to take a view of the flowers from a distance. Or like stepping back to look at a painting.

I’m also not talking about disassociating, or compartmentalizing the mind, depersonalizing your self from it, dividing it into segments, or controlling it, stilling it through meditation, “being in the now”, using “a thorn to remove a thorn”, mindfulness practice, mastering it, or keeping it in check because I see this as “washing blood with blood”.

What I’m saying is that there is much more to this than that; when this consciousness is no longer confined or fenced in. What I have seen is that it’s more like walking a tight rope over an infinite abyss that is stretched out so far that it snaps and you go into free fall, and there is nothing to keep you supported or identified with any longer.

What you then become is this infinite abyss because your frame of reference shifts from being localized in your separate ego to everything, and the personal frame of reference is no longer there to monitor this.

What I mean is that there is a place outside of this fenced in garden of one’s mind altogether; beyond the witness. In this place the witness and the mind disappears. The sense of self is no longer there, you become your breath, you are footsteps walking across the room, the tea going down your throat and the sun rising in the sky.

Now this place can be pretty stunning, one cannot not stay there blissed out all the time looking at yourself in a blade of grass, the beautiful trash in your garbage can, and be functional, or eating yourself in a bowl of cereal for breakfast. To function on this relative level, to even communicate, one has to use words which are dualistic in nature, so one has to go back and forth, or to this place that transcends both the non dual and dual reality but simultaneously encompasses both. It is like standing on top of a mountain and being able to see all the other valleys and peaks and all perspectives at once. However it is not “your” perspective because there is no one there to see anything. At this place you see there is no one there who is “enlightened”.

Going back to Genpo Roshi and the apex state, he says that the only way to access this apex state is by first transcending the non-dual state. The only way to get to the non-dual state is to transcend the dual ego state. You can’t access the apex state without passing through the non-dual stage. In essence, if there is a sense of a person there you can’t get to see this apex state because this ego will be in the way. It’s only when the ego is gone that one can then visit this non-dual state.

unASLEEP: Interesting, because without knowledge of Genpo Roshi or the specific teachings of the Buddha that he derived his "apex concept" from, I (have attempted to) explain in detail to you the very same thing. And from my experience, there was no 'death', but rather, an education, moments of clarity I suppose, where I saw that this 'me' was really my shadow, my reflection. But I never disassociated myself from it. I saw no need. I just 'shushed' it (over and over, I might add), and stopped letting it run the show all the time. And if I am sometime shushing it, then it stands to reason that someone needs to be behind the wheel, so intuitively I found myself toggling back and forth between these perspectives, using whichever was more appropriate. And that's how it happened.

I mean, anyone can take this natural evolution/education and make it all very complicated and state this and that about it and outline supposed parameters and requirements, but I can tell you that I knew nothing of these, and still found myself there. It is innate.

We're like salmon swimming back upstream. It's up to you - You can stop and buy all the maps you want from salmon stands along the stream who say they have been there, and these instructions may or may not be useful to you, it depends. But you already have what you need to get there. It's hardwired in. We just need to get to the place where we no longer believe route and measure are so important, because they aren't. We like them, though. We feel comforted when we are surrounded by maps and measures and instructions, and we cling to them until we have tried so many or for so long that we can finally give our inner compass a turn.

Then things really start to happen.

NDM: Can you tell me about your mind? Is your mind still active like before or do you experience long periods of silence with no thoughts or emotions at all, no witness either?

unASLEEP: It's funny because I rarely think at all anymore, and this is coming from someone who heavily relied upon an intellectual relation with the world. It was quite a surprise to suddenly realize that somewhere along the way, I switched from 'thinking' (where I weighed and deduced things), to 'knowing' (where answers arise without the normal, prerequisite mentations). And I will not lie to you - it's pretty darn cool, actually. ;-D

NDM: Do you mean as with "gnosis”, intuition, and do these answers come in words, pictures, or the sound of a voice?

unASLEEP: It can be literally anything - occasionally it has seemed to be a nearly audible voice, but many times it feels like I suddenly had a really fantastic idea pop into my head out of nowhere. But it could also be a sound, or even like a picture or short movie.

Or if I am having a hard time hearing a thought or answer I am seeking, it often pops into my head first thing in the morning, just as I open my eyes, or just as I drop off to sleep at night. And (this may sound strange) but I have even attended 'instruction classes' in my sleep - dreams that repeat over and over (4 seems to be the magic number of repetition) and are very much like a little seminar. So, I never know how this non-thinking information will occur.

Also, the thought or message can be very concise - like one word, OR, it can be a tremendous amount of information that seems to download all at once into my awareness.

NDM: Also, has your sensory awareness become more heightened?

unASLEEP: Yes, it has. There has been quite a bit of this, but it would take too long to go into here, and would probably raise more questions than it addressed, so maybe we'll save the details for another day.

NDM: Do you spend more time in the body or the mind?

unASLEEP: Oh, the 'mind', fer sure. Guilty. :-) But that is something I have worked on balancing since I more fully realized that not only were the body and mind utterly ONE, but that THE DOOR SWINGS BOTH WAYS. A verrrrry useful thing to know.

In other words, our body is the projection of our mind, the outward reflection of what we contain 'within'. It's not just a somewhat random collection of dna and environmental influences, pushed into this world by our Mothers. It is us - manifested here. As above, so below. Makes sense. It is the common localization of the Projected Self/ Ego Self.

And because mind and body are one, not only can our thoughts change our bodies (i.e. - Our thoughts instruct our body not to eat as much chocolate, and so we lose weight) and world (I think will practice more compassion and make my world a better place) etc., but what I didn't consciously realize at first was that our BODIES could change our THOUGHTS. Literally. I mean, try smiling even when you don't feel like it, and sure enough - you quickly somehow feel happier. Your body can show your mind things, and in very surprising ways because the door swings both ways. I could go on and on about this in much more detail, but maybe we should also save this for another day.

NDM: Have you ever experienced your mind being completely still, with no thoughts at all? I don’t mean just when meditating, but the rest of the time.

unASLEEP: Yes, I have. It is an indescribable state.

NDM: Can someone still push your buttons, do you get irritated if someone questions or challenges you?

unASLEEP: Occasionally, but as I mentioned, it's like a match lit in the wind - it goes out before it barely catches. I wouldn't see someone as 'challenging me' anymore because these are not 'my' thoughts or theories, nor am I vested in supporting them. I am only interested in Truth, and would drop a belief in an instant if I suddenly saw it was incorrect. In a lesser way, I do this all the time as I see deeper and deeper layers of the Truths I currently hold in my awareness. There is a constant refinement.

Do I sit and argue? No, I have nothing to sell you, and have no 'team' to tally points for. I'll share what I have with those who wish to hear what I have to say, but I have absolutely no interest or motivation to argue or debate or try and convince. But as long as someone is open, I'm usually happy to answer any questions they may have about whatever I am pointing to.

NDM: You also indicated earlier that there is a choice in this matter?

unASLEEP: We do choose everything we experience. Who or what could be doing this choosing for you? ;-)

NDM: Well it depends on what you mean by ”we" or "you". If one is truly liberated, there is no chooser, no doer, no experiencer, no thinker, no one to make a choice. I mean you make it sound like anyone can simply dissolve their sense of self. As if it is something that is achieved?

unASLEEP: When have I advocated dissolving the self? I have said the opposite - KEEP the 'self', your avatar, your player here but learn how to use him. He's not a bad fellow, you know :-) Just misunderstood by those who fear him. He IS you. Who else could he be?

I mean, do you feel the need to argue with your reflection in the mirror everyday, telling it and anyone else who will stop and listen that "This is not really you - it is just a type of mirage, just a reflection" ? No. That would be silly and unnecessary. You just know it, and quietly go about your day, consulting your reflection whenever he is useful to you.

NDM: Of course not, arguing with yourself, trying to dissolve yourself is often futile. Your ego, sense of self is like a snake biting itself with its own built in anti-venom. On an absolute level, this reflection, what you see in this mirror is not who you are. This reflection is simply an illusion. Your true self has no reflection, or projection. It is not a thing or an object. It has no shadow; it is un-manifested and cannot be seen with the mind no more than a tongue can taste its own taste buds.

Yes, on a relative level and on this physical dimension, I agree paradoxically, we are the un-manifested manifested. When you speak of this reflection, this projection, do you mean the mind, consulting the mind, thoughts and so on, using the mind as an instrument?

unASLEEP: The best way I have found to grasp this is by thinking of these other 'illusory selves' as facets of the One. These different facets, not unlike facets on a diamond, all have slightly different perspectives - that's what makes them facets. And because of their slightly different perspectives or viewpoints of the One (the diamond) they arise from, they reflect differently.

I mean, if you reeeeally want to get down to it, there is nothing BUT 'Awareness'. There is no 'Mind' to be used as a tool, much less any Ego Self/Projected Self, or Witness, or what have you. There isn't even really any Oneness, though that is how we currently speak of it for convenience's sake, but rather a singular multiplicity. An empty fullness. And this is why we get into so much trouble and confusion when we begin to try and lay it all out and label everything. It just can't be done. But it CAN be known.

NDM: Yes, I see it the same way and also agree with you about the labeling, but as far as having a choice if this were the case then the entire world would be "enlightened". There would be no psychological suffering and this would be heaven on earth for all.

unASLEEP: The whole world IS in the act of becoming That Which they already are. (see below) Sounds paradoxical until our eyes are opened to a certain degree, but nevertheless, true. :-)

NDM: Yes I watched this video clip about perception. As Ramakrishna put it, "everyone thinks only their clock tells the correct time." Do you mean this as some kind of evolutionary awakening of sorts?

unASLEEP: "Some people think only their clock tells the correct time." Hmmm. I'm honestly not quite sure how that is relative to my response. However, if that were the case, then I would have to say that "those people should refrain from asking others what time they have, shouldn't they?" ;-D

NDM: Well your video was about perspectives. You say in it "each one has their own perception, they are certain that what they see is all that there is". This brought to mind Ramakrishna’s quote which is very similar to what you said. That's all.

Do you mean this as some kind of evolutionary awakening of sorts, that people are becoming enlightened?

unASLEEP: I mean, we already are what we are. 'Enlightenment' isn't something you attain, per se. It's not like before you are one then, and then turn into another. Like before you were enlightened, you were an alligator, and after you became enlightened you became a buffalo. Or more closely, before you become enlightened you were this crude entity, and afterwards you are this luminous being. You were always this luminous being. You just were not consciously aware of it. Enlightenment is simply becoming aware of who you are.

NDM: What about the shadow self. The deep unconscious blind spots, imprints and aspects of the egoic self as well as samskaras, vasanas and so on?

unASLEEP: To me, the consideration of samskaras, vasanas, shadow selves, etc are more an indication of perhaps attempting to align our awareness with a particular school of thought than anything else, and I do not advocate that you follow any school of thought, or take anything that another says as true unless you have experienced it firsthand.

NDM: Do you believe it’s possible to be enlightened and still be unconscious of one’s shadow self and see how this shadow self is projecting itself? Creating all kinds of elaborate and subtle ego defenses and mechanisms to sustain itself out of fear of annihilation.

unASLEEP: This thing we call 'enlightenment' is equally available to all. If there is special knowledge you needed to know, you will innately already have this knowledge. All you must do is bring it forward. Uncover it. And you will. This 'uncovering' is what we call our Journey. My video "Dorothy and the Deserted Island" (see below) might be useful in trying to see what I am pointing to here.

Because all methods/schools of thought/etc are really no more than man's attempt to recapitulate this innate information into a form that they can hopefully understand from their 'unenlightened' state, but much is lost in the process. Much. Not to mention, it is tedious to acquire. And in the end, you will discard it, because it is (at best) a crude representation of what is being pointed to.

Sometimes these schools of thought are somewhat useful in a transitory sense, to take us to a certain point. But they should be used like a hammer - used while they are useful, then laid down at the first opportunity. Because what everyone is trying to see is not fully contained within any school of thought or religion. What everyone is trying to see is well beyond those doors, however hallowed.

NDM: Did you use any kind of method, meditation, and spiritual practice, prayer to get to this place of becoming awareness?

unASLEEP: No, I didn't rely upon any particular method or concept to get to where I stand today, other than two things: 1. Direct Experience and 2. Listening to the Voice within.

NDM: Do you teach?

unASLEEP: No, I don’t officially teach right now. I do have a website that I sometimes post things at (www.unasleep.com ), as well as nearly 80 videos on YouTube ( www.youtube.com/unasleep) that people often find helpful or inspirational. I have thought about it, though, as well as perhaps writing a book, but quite honestly, there are deeper areas that are taking my attention right now, and I just can’t seem to tear myself away. :-)

NDM: Did some kind of energetic shift take place in the body/mind when this enlightenment occurred? Did you experience any unusual phenomena in the mind or body.

unASLEEP: Yes, I have experienced notable phenomenon as I pass through certain doorways, and still continue to do so. But I'm always a bit hesitant to discuss them specifically because there tends to be a disproportionate amount of interest in them. But yes, it seems to be a natural byproduct of acclimating and integrating certain Truths.

NDM: There are many people out there making claims to be enlightened? How could you know if the person was not telling the truth or was simply deluding themselves?

unASLEEP: Well, I never really worry if someone is or isn't "enlightened". I don't argue with people about what they believe. We can only see as far as we can see at that moment. As for changes to that paradigm, we will either be on the verge of making the jump to a higher Truth, or not. Something we experience will either kick us over into this clearer seeing, or it won't. There's no merit in arguing about it.

Overall, IMHO, whether someone is telling the Truth or deluding themselves really should be somewhat irrelevant, because we should never, ever follow anyone. Don't give weight to one word (not even from me ;-P) unless it resonates with you. Before you buy into any thought or concept and take it home, try it on first, walk around in it, see how it works. Does it fit? Does it work? Is it True? Make the act of Direct Experience your habit, and you'll never wonder again whether or not something is the Truth. You'll know.

NDM: Under your video on youtube, “Rebirth of the Ego-Self”, you say” While I'm rocking boats, I thought I'd like to rock one more :-) Most schools of enlightenment advocate the necessity of subduing what has been labeled our "Ego-Self", with the goal of hopefully vanquishing it altogether. In this video, I hope to show how the Ego-Self isn't really what we've imagined him to be, and what we should do to help him uncover what he really is.”

These various schools of thought have been around for thousands of years and have produced people like Buddha, Jesus Christ, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Rumi and so many others.

Do you feel that all these peoples’ understanding of this were somehow off to a degree?

unASLEEP: We all transiently move through whatever we need to see to get us where we can see. But by relaying his experience, Buddha inadvertently created his own 'school' as those who were interested in what he was saying tried to capture it. Same for Jesus. He didn't create Christianity, rather followers created it around him.

Each may have entered this leg of their Journey through an established school, but quickly began to follow their own paths, oftentimes building upon these schools so what they were trying to teach would be more palatable to its listener. AS for the rest, I personally wouldn't put them in the same category as Buddha or Jesus, as they do still somewhat bear the stain of a particular school of thought. But that doesn't mean they don't have wonderful things to share. They do - I've enjoyed things from all of them.

NDM: Also when you say you are 'rocking boats', you must realize that doing this will bring you some flack in non duality circles. How has this video been received so far?

unASLEEP: As far as rocking the boat goes, so far it has been unbelievably well received. Even with all my videos, and as controversial as the topics have been, I think I can still count the number of comments I have elected to remove on two hands - and most of those were simply inappropriately expressing an attraction to my voice. As long as they are reasonably polite (and most times, even if they aren't) I like it when someone posts a contrasting thought - it gives me a platform to reply from and expound upon.

NDM: Your videos are really quite beautiful and very well made (the images, music and the voice over). How did the idea come about to make these videos?

unASLEEP: Thank you. The idea came about because I am a bit of a compulsive writer. It has always been very therapeutic for me to pull thoughts out of my head and pin them down to paper, where I can observe them better. Because of this, I ended up with a ton of spiral notebooks filled with all these poems and writings.

I really can't place my finger on what made me want to do them up in a video and place them on YouTube. I mean, they were my most private thoughts, largely controversial thoughts. It was nuts. But I did it. And I KEPT doing it because and whatever magic happens when I write thoughts down to paper and pin them down where I can seem them, happened much more when I did the videos. The act of creating the videos added a new life, a crystallization of the concept I was trying to point to.

NDM: Why did you decide to use this name unASLEEP instead of using your real name?

unASLEEP: I chose to go by unASLEEP because I wanted to strip the viewer of as many filters as I could. We all have them, just aren't aware that we do. After all, I wasn't doing this for fame or money, so what did it matter? By just using unASLEEP, they were left to focus on the only thing they could - what I was pointing to. It worked out well. Until, that is, as time when on, I could tell most of my viewers assumed I was a man. And I'm not. And that bugged me a little. Also, I was at a point where I wanted more intimacy with my viewer, so I began to add voiceovers in my own voice.

I was very nervous, fully expecting to get bad feedback because of my slurry Southern speech, but to my surprise, people not only liked it, they really responded to it. And I cautiously admitted it was me doing the voiceovers. Some of my viewers who assumed I was a man are still in denial, I think, but it's true. :-D I am woman. Hear me roar. Or at least hear me drop the hard consonants at the end of my words. :-D

NDM: Are you working on any more of these videos?

UnASLEEP: I have quite a backlog of videos that I have written, some have even been recorded, but I don't know when I'll get to them. I am trying to see this other thing right now, and it is taking my attention at the moment.

NDM: Why do you think most people thought you were a man?

unASLEEP: I think people thought I was a man because if you look at those considered worthwhile or revolutionary 'teachers' through history, there are only a tiny handful of women. So, it is indeed a bit of conditioning, I think.

NDM: Do you still identify with being a woman or do you see this as more societal conditioning, habit and so on?

unASLEEP: I only see myself as a woman in certain lights (flattering ones, preferable ;-P). I see myself as a 'person', and I don't really give much thought to conditioned male or female behavior, and I suppose that leaks out.

So no, I only am really conscious of being a woman under certain conditions. I am just 'me', doing 'this'. :-)

For more info visit www.unasleep.com



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