Ecstatic Experiences, the I Am, and
a Middle way to Awakening
a Middle way to Awakening
I spent most of the evening last night with two friends, both students now in our tradition.
Both are “energy” workers, healers, and both are highly sensitive to the energies in their bodies, and the always-changing “colors” of their constant “I Am” experience. Normally in such Darshan situations, I feel the intensity of energy experiences in myself, the feelings of bliss and love which gradually transform into ecstasy, which itself starts as a flowing energetic movement, to a stasis, a stillness.
Sometimes the ecstasies turn visible, the feeling itself become light, consciousness itself begins to shine in its own illumination. Or sometimes, I feel deep within my sense of presence, an energy “dynamo” of light, like an intense column of light from beneath me to above me, passing through my presence into the Void above and below.
But last night, as each expressed their own experiences, I felt an arising of their bliss in me. I was no longer the source, but I felt theirs too, and it vibrated within me, expanding and blowing up my experience.
One person, Marcus, talked of his new freedom and being now able to follow his own heart and experience great excitement and “fun” just being himself. As he talked louder and faster, an ecstatic bliss arose in me and I shared his happiness, and became as if “drunk” with the arising ecstasy, becoming totally unfunctional, hardly able even to speak. I was aware of myself smiling and moving my right hand in a spontaneous Mudra following his bliss.
The woman, Samantha, was more empty, even more ecstatic and simply quiet. She too was overtaken by the bliss and an awareness of the Void that permeates all, which she called “impersonal love” for the source of everything, the Void or emptiness which we are at rest. The man referred to her as his Shakti; she was the source and inspiration for him and in him for the arising of bliss and ecstasies.
Even while this was going on, in this three-way ecstatic state, we talked of the highest spiritual truths that we had discovered, he while leading an ashram for another bhakti-oriented teacher for many years, she in experiences with him and with her clients, and with me, and I with my experiences with my own beloveds and in Satsang.
We talked about how we were able to “intuit” or feel the presence of significant others over a great distance, especially those whom we love deeply. But even those who are not usually so close to us, we can still feel their moods, distresses, or love and happiness, and this connection has been verified many, many times. Thus we become clearly aware of the One-nature of the Self that operates through each of us within the container of the Void.
We also become aware that often we are “contaminated” by others with whom we are not in direct contact. Sometimes it feels as if a strange mood overtakes us, one of having a sudden urge to read books on mysticism, such as Joseph Campbell, or of myths and archetypes. Other times we feel a strange sense of distress with an intense urgency to understand or do something, that does not seem like us. Later we find out that someone else we both know was experiencing that state with a first person urgency at exactly the same time. Somehow we “feel” their states, even though we are rarely in direct contact, but only are exposed through a common relationship with a third person. Again, we are all connected, and susceptible to “contamination” of moods and experiences of others through sort of “astral” connections and bondings.
After about an hour of this Darshan, of this spiritual meeting in truth with each other, we all sank entirely out of our minds and heads into a direct “heart” experience of each other and the world.
No more talking was necessary or desired. Words became funny things to be laughed at hysterically. The world was ultrabright and vivid, and our bodies and sense of presence was filled with a palpable yet light sense of love and wellbeing, and a deep peace of resting in nothingness.
This is what I told them, “This is the state to be in, resting in one’s own sense of I Am or Self, living in the bliss of I Am, which dissolves into the incredible peace of the Void, realizing one’s own emptiness nature. It is so incredibly easy to reach this state once you learn how to stop thinking and just let your center of awareness settle into your deep sense of presence, which usually—at first—feels identical with an inner, energetic spiritual heart in the body.
Just shut up; stop asking questions and searching for answers to hypothetical spiritual questions about method or the ontology of consciousness. Just get out of your head and settle into your heart. Learn to follow your heart. Once you learn how, it is easy. Just stay there as long and often as possible, and all spiritual questions and emotional/physical distresses will be resolved, by following and being in your heart. No more books are necessary, no more seeking is necessary, no more methods or teachers are necessary. Just stay in and operate from your heart. Eventually all your questions and problems will be answered and resolved by this inner working of consciousness.”
From this state true awakening will come. This state is not awakening itself, but the place where the absolute meets manifestation. From this state, the Absolute in you will realize both the empty and ecstatic nature of all of manifestation, but that YOU are entirely beyond the manifest, beyond existence, the knower of knowing and also of unknowing, the container of all.
Then, with this certain knowing, you can return to the world of the ridiculous, the world of pain and pleasure, the world of suffering pain, but also of love and bliss; you can return in peace and acceptance.
Many people have experienced similar states and understanding in Satsang with me or in conversation, meditation, or in sharing our mutual presence. Yet, they are looking for something else. Many students come with a head filled with ideas about what a guru is or their path is, and they miss this, they miss the ecstasies or the truths revealed by both what the ecstasies teach, and the revelations by consciousness to the Absolute in you what the true nature of consciousness is.
As the woman, Samantha, said to me. “People come filled with ideas, concepts and expectations, and entirely miss what they could receive in Satsang or in the Sangha.” They miss because their minds tell them that this is not enough, it is to simple. Or else they have ideas that the “ego” has to die, or be burnt out, etc., and they is only one way for them to do it.
Yes, there are many, many paths, like that of the true bhakti who loses himself, burns himself out in a dualistic worship and love for God or guru, and are finally felt and left as empty, humble and identical with emptiness itself.
Or there is the way of the Jnani with meditative self-inquiry following the sense of I into the Void. The Jnana too is eventually left empty. Or like most, there is the way of endless exploration within the deep fields of consciousness, the exploration of which is endless and exciting to the mind. But this path really has no end point unless and until the student sickens of endless experiences and understandings, and wishes to finish the journey with ultimate experiences and understandings.
Or, there is this simple middle way, finding one’s own sense of I Am and loving it, worshipping it, while loving God or another deeply, which excites and fills the I Am with love and ecstatic energies which makes ones spiritual practice all so easy compared to the dryness of the Jnani or the constant burning of the Bhakti. The middle way of loving the I Am and loving another, and loving that other results in an explosive love within one’s own sense of presence. This is the easy way, the simple way, the way I learned from Robert and Nisargadatta.
The three of us are thinking of having a mini retreat to add sacred music, chanting, and meditation to the simple mutual Darshan experience we had with each other, and then at some point hold a retreat for our Sangha. Marcus is a talented musician and singer, so that we will have live music and chanting as opposed to canned music and silently listening as we had at our former Satsangs.
The retreats probably will be held at Mt. Baldy Zen Center about 60 miles West of Los Angeles, high on the slopes of Mt. Baldy. The mountain itself has three separate peaks, and the one that the Zen Center is located on is called “Thunder Mountain” because of the sound of the constant wind between the peaks.
Those who may be interested in sharing a retreat, please contact me.