“We are part of a mystery, a splendid mystery
within which we must attempt to orient ourselves
if we are to have a sense of our own nature.” Marilynne Robinson
“Why should things be easy to understand?” Thomas Pynchon
"We are stars wrapped in skin
The light you are seeking
has always been within." Rumi
North American surveys repeatedly show that most of us have mystical experiences, but due to family, societal & other pressures, we tend to downplay, discount or suppress these powerfully meaningful events, to conform to today's materialistic orthodoxy.
Nevertheless, more & more of us are taking direct experiences seriously, investigating, integrating, & sharing them. David Bingham is an example of someone who underwent a major shift in consciousness, referred to as 'awakening' ('enlightenment') or directly experiencing one's 'True Nature' - who or what we actually are:
"The main thing that happened, and this is true for most people I’ve spoken to where there’s been a similar shift (in consciousness), is that seeking stops. Because up until that point, we’re convinced that we really are this human being bound in time & space, moving through time towards something that we want. That can be a spiritual motivation. It can be trying to find the perfect relationship; it can be trying to find somewhere to live that you like; trying to have children; trying to have a good job; trying to make money. All of those things are all forms of seeking. Spiritual seeking tends to come after those have been exhausted, but really, there’s no pattern to it.
But in terms of the integration, what took place to me is that the seeking stopped, because having seen clearly who & what you are, there’s no possibility of any seeking. So then an enfoldment takes place, because you realize that actually you’re already where you need to be. And then there’s a kind of fine tuning where one’s own inner knowing, one’s own intuition becomes much more clear. ... much more reliable. So even though there’s a desire to kind of share this, because consciousness is at the helm, it can only be shared when consciousness gives you the nod. So there isn’t anything you can do about that.
In terms of personal life, the integration that took place is that actually, because there is only present awareness, then everything takes place within present awareness, so the unfolding of life, all of the stuff that continues: it appears that time’s going by, it appears as though there’s an aging process, that things are changing on the surface of life. It’s all from the point of view of completely stable knowing of who & what you truly are.
There’s a line in the Bible where Jesus said, ‘The lilies of the field neither toil nor spin.’ And what happens in the development of consciousness is there’s a certain point that’s reached where seeking comes to an end, and then life begins to go by itself almost. So there’s a knowing of what to do in certain situations as they arise. Because there’s no motivation to do something in order to get somewhere, then everything is purely for what it is. So for instance, being here is totally about just being here with you. There isn’t anything else that actually matters. So it’s actually giving full attention to everything. So whether it’s in terms of a relationship, or whether it’s in terms of a perception, or an experience, everything is just seen purely & totally for what it is – and you’re just fully present with that.
The state before that (ie our common, shared sense of reality), is that there’s something missing, that this is incomplete, this can be improved on, that actually I can do something to be in a better situation than this. So full attention is not something that’s available to you.
Interviewer: People are always trying to find happiness. The human mind is always trying to move towards what it perceives as pleasure, and away from what it perceives as pain. And you go through this process where you get money, and you get material things, and hopefully you have your health and a good relationship, beautiful children and whatever, but still this feeling ‘it’s not enough.’ So we all try in our own way. It may seem unintelligent in what we’re doing, but most of us are actually trying to move towards what would appear to be an intelligent place of happiness, but unfortunately happiness on a human level doesn’t really contain the magic missing ingredients, does it?
No, it doesn’t. And that’s part of the incentive in a way, or that’s part of the way consciousness unfolds. Because it’s that incompletion that allows the game to be played because as there really is only present awareness, then everything is already home, so there isn’t anything to find. But the way consciousness plays the game is that most of the stuff in the manifestation, is actually in contrast to its own essential nature. So it’s the idea of not being home. It’s the idea that there’s something missing. It’s the idea of incompletion. It’s the idea of impermanence. It’s the idea of imperfection. So all of the things that are actually the polar opposite of one’s true nature, are apparent in the manifestation. And in one respect, the reason it’s like that is to allow consciousness to know itself fully, because it’s by the contrast of the imperfection that perfection can be known."
David Bingham interview: http://conscious.tv/single.php?vid=4480053001
Using terminology with which you might be more familiar, we are BOTH frightened children desperately seeking safety & unconditional love (often "in all the wrong places"), AND wise elders who are the very source of safety & unconditional love. The Zen version of this is "not one, not two." The left-hemisphere of our brain is all about looking after the noisy frightened child & discounts & tries to drown out any other approach. Our right-hemisphere recognizes the important, restricted role of the left-hemisphere AND is aware of & values a FAR broader, FAR wiser perspective.“As a man is, so he sees.” William Blake
|Luis Del Rio Camacho - cover photo, Orion Magazine, Autumn 2021|