Issue #2 - Awakening into Awareness - December, 1998
A free ezine dedicated to
exploring the nature of Reality and
the experience of Realization
Metta Zetty, Editor email: AIA@awakening.net
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This newsletter is distributed on a subscription basis.
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* Reality: The Grand Illusion
"Two Realities" and "The Manifest and the Unmanifest"
by Peter Russell from his online book-in-progress:
_Reality: The Grand Illusion_
* Excerpts from _Self-Liberation through Seeing with
Naked Awareness_, Translated by John Myrdhin Reynolds
* Wisdom and Insights
- Circle of Compassion
- Nameless One
Ram Dass and Paul Gorman
- Infinite Awareness
- Pure Awareness, Natural Being
- The Original and Natural State
Harsha K. Luthar
- The Unnamable
- Explaining the Infinite
Jae Jah Noh
- Processing the Epiphany
- Like an NDE
- Unexcelled, complete Awakening
- The ego-centered putz
- In, but not of, the world
- The All Encompassing Tao
* Metta's Reflections
- Nothing More is Needed
- Our Sacred Calling
* Reader Reflections
- Those who know do not say....
* Reader Resources
- Nonduality Salon
- Snow Lion Publications
- Inner Directions Foundation
- 1999 International Conference on Science
* General Information
- About Awakening into Awareness
- Ezine Subscriptions
- Back Issues, Copies and Reprints
- AIA Mailing Lists
- Insight Mentoring
- Support AIA
There are among us, in life and throughout time, many who have
"awakened" into a larger, broader and deeper understanding of
the fundamental nature of Reality. Those who have experienced
a "clear seeing" into the Essence of our experience. Those
whose profound appreciation of Reality and the Life we have
been given remains a continuous source of inspiration.
There are those who speak to us of that which is Essential
and True and Real. Those who guide us toward our own innate
Recognition and Realization of who we are and of what we may
be capable, if only our vision is broad and wide and deep
enough to encompass our full potential.
This issue of the AIA ezine is dedicated to all these Seers
(both known and unknown), with profound gratitude for the
Insight that their Presence kindles within each of us....
With deep appreciation,
Reality: The Grand Illusion by Peter Russell
The following text excerpts are from Peter Russell's online
book, _Reality: The Grand Illusion_ which can be viewed as a
The Two Realities
It is important to distinguish between two ways in which we use
the word "reality". There is the reality we experience, our
image of reality; and there is the underlying reality...which
is the source of our experience.
In Indian philosophy these two realities are sometimes
referred to as the Absolute and the Relative. The Absolute is
the underlying reality. It does not change according to who is
experiencing it. It is, as it is....The Relative is the reality
we observe, the reality generated in our minds. There is just
one Absolute; but there are numerous relative realities, each
relative to a particular experiencer at a particular point in
space and time.
Other times they are spoken of as the unmanifest and manifest
levels of reality.
The Manifest and the Unmanifest
All that is ever known are the particular manifestations of
reality within an individual's experience. The unmanifest, the
underlying reality, remains unknowable.
To illustrate the relationship between these two aspects of
reality Indian teachings often use the analogy of waves on an
ocean. The ocean is the unmanifest, Absolute, level of reality.
Its essential nature never changes; it is always simply water.
What changes are the waves produced on the ocean's surface as
it is stirred by the wind.
Shining on the ocean's surface is the sun -- the light of pure
consciousness. When the ocean is still, it is a perfect mirror;
and perfect mirrors are, in a sense, invisible. You never see
the mirror itself; just the image that is reflected back. For
most of us, however, the mind is never still. It is always being
stirred in one way or another by activity in the brain. Sometimes
it may be activity stemming from our sensory perception, at other
times, as in sleep, the activity may be coming from past memories
or other sources.
The various manifestations of the ocean -- the waves on its
surface -- are only visible by virtue of the light reflected
back. Each little wavelet reflects the light in many different
directions, producing its own little transformation of the sky
above. We don't see the sun anymore; instead these many little
reflections create a pattern that we see as the waves on the
surface. So too, all the little disturbances of our own
consciousness together create an image of reality within our
mind. We do not experience consciousness itself; only the
myriad of manifestations that it takes on.
Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness
Rediscovered by: Translated by:
Rigdzin Karma Lingpa John Myrdhin Reynolds
The following highlights are selected verses from the
Tibetan text "Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked
Awareness, being a Direct Introduction to the State of
Intrinsic Awareness" translated by John Myrdhin Reynolds,
and published by Station Hill Press:
This scripture is one of several ancient "earth treasures"
or "Termas" written centuries ago by Guru Padmasambhava and
his consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, only to be hidden away and
concealed for centuries in temples and caves throughout
Tibet and the Himalayas until the time at which humanity
was "ready" to receive these teachings.
This particular text was rediscovered by the Tibetan Master
Rigdzin Karma Lingpa, and elucidates the meaning of intrinsic
awareness or the state of immediate presence, known in Tibetan
as "Rigpa." It is part of a larger Terma cycle that includes
the famous "Tibetan Book of the Dead," or "Liberation through
Hearing in the Intermediate State (between death and rebirth)."
"Even though (this light cannot be said) to possess a
particular shape or form, nevertheless, it can be fully
"This immediate intrinsic awareness is insubstantial and
Without being sought after, it is spontaneously self-
perfected from the very beginning." (p. 17)
"Understanding and not understanding are not two
(different things)." (p. 19)
"Remaining in a calm state and not remaining in it are
not two (different things)." (p. 20)
"What is realized and the one who realizes it are not
two (different things)." (p. 21)
"Since it is the basis of everything, of all the bliss of
Nirvana and of all the sorrow of Samsara,
Therefore it is called by the name of Alaya, that is,
'the foundation of everything.'
Because, when it remains in its own space, it is quite
ordinary and in no way exceptional,
This awareness that is present and lucidly clear
Is called by the name of 'ordinary awareness.'
However many names may be applied to it, even though
they are well conceived and fancy sounding,
With regard to its real meaning, it is just this immediate
present awareness (and nothing else.)" (p. 22)
"The unmodified uncorrected nature of the mind is liberated
by its being allowed simply to remain in its own (original)
natural condition." (p. 23)
"So without distraction, simply allow (the mind) to remain in
the state of being just as it is." (p. 24)
Wisdom and Insights http://awakening.net/Wisdom.html
Circle of Compassion
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe,
a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his
thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a
kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion
is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal
desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by
widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living
creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
The Nameless One
...profound moments of spiritual and religious experience take
us beyond identification with our isolated egos. The sense of
separateness falls away as we come into some deeper understanding
of "It All." While these experiences do not always easily lend
themselves to words, the message of all the teachings that
support them have much in common. Don't get lost in what's
apparent. Go beyond the evidence of the senses and the rational
mind. Acknowledge that there are more things in heaven and
earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies. Whatever else we
may seem to be, we're also reflections or expressions of ...
and then we get names for the nameless: "Awareness," "Being,"
"God," "Life" "the Formless," the Way." Whatever it is,
whatever it's called, there's only One of it. It's present
in all creation. We ourselves are rooted in it. It is our
Who we are, from this perspective, begins with the One.
Unity, not separateness, is our starting point. And while our
ego doesn't disappear, its importance is certainly put in
perspective as a result of having experienced a higher Self.
Whether these experience -- through nature, art, love,
service spirit -- are frequent or rare, we see that when we
are not caught up in self-conscious separateness, not defined
by self-image, we still survive. Indeed, we thrive and
function happily, freely, and efficiently. We feel exalted.
Despite all our ego's concerns and warnings of the dire
consequences of not being "somebody special," we are capable
of simply resting in our being. We simply are.
Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, pp. 40-41
_How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service_
The Divine Reality, the Ultimate, the Absolute, God, Godhead,
Nirvana, the Wakan Taku of the Dakotas, is a vast, or infinite
awareness, a boundless consciousness. All reality, life, being,
and cosmos exists [sic] within this vast awareness. For centuries
in the Western world we have labored under the conception of
dualism, that somehow we were separate and distinct from what
we perceived and observed. With the advent of quantum physics
and relativity theory this dualistic approach has broken down.
We know that each one of us inhabits, rather than possesses,
what can be called local awareness. It makes our life tangible
by filtering it through parameters of knowing and being that
allow for this local type of consciousness, this knowing person
here and now who is self-aware. When someone has a mystical
experience, he or she is propelled into a cosmic kind of
perception. The enlightened are those who have broken out of
their local and regional, or individual and species awareness
and have discovered other realms of consciousness beyond this
"Bridging the Infinite: Christians and Buddhists in
Conversation," _Conscious Choice_, November/December 1998
Pure Awareness, Natural Being
All ideas of one's self or the universe are simply ideas.
What they float in is the truth. Even the purest and truest
sentence one might utter would not be as true as the space
in which that sentence was floating: Pure Awareness.
In a sense we are meditating, watching the mind to see what
we are not – and the more we see that we are not that anger,
not that fear, doubt or lust, the more the Natural Being
shines through. One need not do anything.
The Original and Natural State
To Be One's Own Self is not obtaining anything of value.
Spontaneous Being is the Original and Natural State. What
someone need or need not master to shed the illusion of being
incomplete is left up to them. From the point of view of the
mind, one, upon becoming aware of an illusion, spontaneously
ceases to identify with it and rests in the Natural State.
Spiritual practices, although also constituting an illusion,
are meant to facilitate removing of the thicker veil of
ignorance hiding Reality of the Self. Even spiritual practices
fall away when Truth is Seen in Pure Being.
Harsha K. Luthar
I am pure Awareness or Consciousness in which all entities
the whole world, makes its appearance. Because that pure
Consciousness is prior to everything, and therefore void
of any attributes, in its own nature it is designed as
pure Emptiness. But because nothing can exist outside
that Emptiness, it can equally well be referred to as
Fullness. On account of these paradoxes, it can perhaps
be best referred to as the Unnamable.
"Entering the Stream of Consciousness"
_Inner Directions Catalog and Supplement_,
Summer / Fall 1998, p. 9 [See Readers Resources below]
From: _Discovering the Realm Beyond Appearance_
Soon to be published by Blue Dove Press, San Diego CA
Explaining the Infinite
How can one really explain the Infinite? Only an infinite
explanation could possibly achieve that purpose and it is
immediately available in the form of real life. The infinite
explanation arises spontaneously and naturally as the form
of your very life. Life is itself its own explanation, and
immediately obviates the need for any other.
Jae Jah Noh
_Do You See What I See?_, p. 9
[See the Nonduality Salon in the
Readers Resources below]
The following exchange is a slightly edited excerpt from
recent correspondence with an AIA reader who generously
shared with me a copy of a fascinating book on Awakening
entitled _Enlightenment is Losing Your Mind_. Thank you,
B.K., for all you have shared, and for your wonderful
spirit of Recognition!
I am still trying to process the description of your
Ah -- it certainly was *something*! It has taken a lot of
"process time" for me, as well, as you might imagine....
...and it reminds me in some ways of the tales of Near Death
Experiences (NDE) and how they have transformed people's lives.
Interesting you should say this....In attempting to introduce
this story to others, I actually have said the same thing,
i.e., that it had the intensity of an NDE, in terms of its
impact on my life. It has since become the frame of
reference for all my experience of being human....
As for me, my epiphanies have been somewhat acute, but not as
experientially long lasting.
Even with my 3-hour epiphany, the state of overwhelming
euphoria eventually did pass. And, although a profound measure
of this euphoric Satisfaction has lingered (or, more accurately:
it is now inherent within my present moment experience), most
of my daily experience still feels quite "ordinary" and normal.
It is just that the context and framework for understanding and
appreciating this experience have shifted completely, and it
is difficult now *not* to see everything within the light of
As the Buddha, himself, said:
I obtained not the least thing from unexcelled,
complete awakening, and for this very reason it
is called 'unexcelled, complete awakening.'
In other words, with the experience of Awakening, absolutely
*nothing* is added to our experience. We simply awaken into
a deeper understanding and appreciation of our experience,
exactly as it is, and as it has been all along.
I feel at times that I am enlightened, but at other times
I just feel like the same old fearful, ego-centered putz.
What a *delightful* image! From my perspective, Enlightenment
is simply freedom from past patterns of blocking Reality --
or, an experiential Recognition of the relativity of all
This does *not* mean, however, that relative things disappear,
or even that they are suddenly and mysteriously transformed.
Actually, I think this is one of the most common misconceptions
about the experience of Awakening.
In my own case, before my epiphany, I imagined that if I
ever really *did* "wake up," somehow all the old, fearful,
ego-centered parts of who I am would suddenly and mysteriously
vanish. I imagined that nothing would be left except a pure,
saintly vision of equanimity, and that in order to achieve
this exhalted state of Clarity, I thought I'd have to work
and struggle for years to eradicate or "purify" those "putzy"
parts of who I am....
But, to my utter astonishment and delight, I realized during
the epiphany that all the teachers and saints and sages who
said, "IT is here and now" really weren't kidding! IT *is*
here and now, with things exactly as they are! And, this
includes *all* of who we are within the present moment --
including all the "putzy" and idiosyncratic aspects of
This is what is so amazing and heartening and liberating for
each of us, i.e., the recognition that we don't need to do
or fix *anything* in order to "achieve" Buddha-hood! Our
innate nature -- this state of exquisitely pure, awakened
and naked Awareness -- in already inherent within our
"ordinary," immediate experience.
Perhaps the best reminder of this is the clear insight of
Garab Dorje, the first Dzogchen master:
Directly discover your state.
Don't remain in doubt.
Gain confidence in self-liberation.
The unobstructed clarity of this teaching has (in my mind)
often been misinterpreted to assume that transmission from
a realized master is a necessary pre-condition for this
recognition or direct discovery. But, if that were, in fact,
the case, then this would not be a "direct discovery" then,
now would it?
It's a real trick for me to "be in the world, but not of it".
Ah, but I would have to disagree! The Essence of who you/we
are already *is* "in the world, but not of it"!
In fact, the appearance of world as we know and experience it
would not even be possible without the continuity of this vast
essential Reality supporting the world of manifest things.
The problem is, we confuse personality with Essence, and imagine
somehow that the ego, the persona and/or the personality should
not be "of the world" when, in fact, the ego is the very means
by which we experience the world! It is inextricably linked with
and inseparable from our experience of ordinary reality and of
Moreover, since the ego is the very mechanism through which
the Infinite manifests within our finite experience, there
simply is no sense or value in talking about "destroying"
the ego. What happens is that the ego simply becomes more
transparent and luminescent as Insight and Awakening deepen....
Actually, I think the belief that we should "be in the world,
but not of it" really confuses the issue in many ways, not just
because of the mistaken identification mentioned above, but also
* Within this belief there seems to be a latent assumption
that "the world" is something inferior, less "pure," or
"less than" a higher, more lofty sort of "spiritual"
* We use this assumption as a justification for distancing
ourselves from the Essence that is inherent within our
* This distancing, and this search for an aloof, pure space
apart from the world keeps us from recognizing the vast
spaciousness inherent within the Center of our own innate,
My most recent taste of cosmic consciousness came lakeside at a
park that I ride my bike to on Sunday mornings. As I was feeding
the ducks, I had an overwhelming cellular sense of the rightness
of it all. I'm somewhat of a wordsmith, but it is really hard
for me to describe. It was thrilling and calming at the same
time. Energy, that's what you spoke of and, yes, that was it...
and at that point I definitely felt immersed in the All
Yes, indeed! The example you've given is a brilliant and
beautiful one, and I think it is this kind of Awareness and
Knowing that many people can relate to. Many of us have had
similar peak experiences of one sort or another, and we often
just don't realize that these moments of insight, wholeness
and completeness are actually glimpses of the Essence of
I know that in my own case, after the epiphany, I could look
back over my life and see a whole series of similar events
within my past...events that each, in their own way (and to
a lesser degree), provided an unobstructed Illumination or
momentary Revelation of the Real.
The essential trick I think -- if there even is one --
is recognizing our fundamental "immersion in the All
Encompassing Tao" within *every* moment -- not just in
those moments of illuminated loveliness by the lake....
| If you have any reflections or questions about the |
| experience of Awakening you would like to share, |
| please feel free to send them to: email@example.com. |
| In addition: your feedback and reflections about the |
| AIA ezine and website are always welcome. I will |
| look forward to hearing from you! - Metta |
Metta's Reflections http://awakening.net/Reflections.html
Nothing More is Needed
Into what am I inviting you?
Into an appreciation of the spaciousness of Space?
Into a recognition of the completeness of the Whole?
Into an absorption into the vast expanse of an
How can I argue convincingly for the value of something
I cannot adequately explain or describe,
except to assert, ceaselessly,
the substantive validity and undeniable certainty
of this all-encompassing Reality?
In the end, what more could I say except that
nothing more is ever needed?
Our Sacred Calling
Listen to Life as it happens.
Watch what emerges within each moment.
Learn to trust the processes and energies
that move within and through our lives.
This is our sacred calling.
For in learning to trust All That Is, as It is,
we begin to honor the majesty, meaning, and mystery
inherent within this Infinite universe.
Remember: it is enough simply to pay attention.
Reader Reflections http://awakening.net/Reflections.html
In response to the last AIA ezine issue's reference to
Lao Tsu's insight:
"Those who say do not know.
Those who know do not say."
...Janet Smith Warfield wrote:
Just because they don't say "I know" doesn't mean they
don't speak. There are so many other effective ways to use
language as a catalyst to *Knowledge*. Socrates used
questions and dialectic and refutation of every
generalization. Jesus used parable. Mystics and poets use
paradox and analogy. Zen masters use koans or sometimes,
just plain action. Part of *Knowledge* is knowing that
mind and language are part of the problem and need to be
used with care.
Words twist and distort
the perfect imperfection -
Janet Smith Warfield's website "Word Sculptures" can be viewed
Reader Resources http://awakening.net/Links.html
The Nonduality Salon
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jerry M. Katz)
The Nonduality Salon is an extraordinary website dedicated to
the realization of Nondual Reality which includes insights
from and links to a wide range of "Realizers, Scientists,
Scholars, [and] Poets, of Nondualism." The Salon itself is
a relatively high-volume listserv dedicated to the expression
and exploration of Nondual Reality.
I highly encourage readers to visit and review the extensive
list of Advaita and Nonduality links of "Gurus, Teachers,
Masters, Realizers, Confessors (beginning and beyond)." This
list is an invaluable resource, and a powerful reminder that
Awakening is not a distant and elusive goal, but rather an
immanent Reality, inherent within our immediate field of
Snow Lion Publications
PO Box 6483
Ithaca NY 14851-6483
Tel: 800-950-0313 or 607-273-8519
Snow Lion is the premier English-language publisher of
scholarly and trade books on Tibet, Tibetan culture, Tibetan
Buddhism, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Formed in 1980,
Snow Lion is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture
and has become a major force in bringing Tibetan culture and
Buddhism to the West.
Snow Lion also publishes picture postcards, posters, audio
and videotapes, and a free award-winning Newsletter/Catalog
featuring news on Tibet and Tibet-related events plus a
catalog of over 1,400 items gathered from around the world,
including: books on Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai
Lama; works of art; textiles; and Buddhist ritual objects.
Inner Directions Foundation
P.O. Box 130070
Carlsbad, CA 92013
Tel: 760 599-4071
Fax: 760 599-4076
The Inner Directions Foundation is a nonprofit educational
organization dedicated to exploring authentic ways of
Self-Discovery and Awakening. This vision – of sharing the
ageless wisdom which lies at the heart of authentic spiritual
and philosophical teachings – is specially reflected in our
periodicals, which include the highly acclaimed Inner
Their catalog of publications, the Inner Directions Catalog,
represents one of the finest collections of books, audio, and
video that reflect the heart of genuine spirituality – from
both Eastern and Western perspectives.
Foundation Associates receive several benefits, that include
the Inner Directions Journal, discounts on all items in the
Inner Directions Catalog, additional discounts on all
pre-release publications, participation in the Internet
Dialogue Forum, and reduced rates when attending the yearly
Inner Directions Gathering.
For more information about this year's Inner Directions
Gathering, "Open to the Infinite," which will be held in
La Jolla, California on February 12-14, 1999, visit the
The 1999 International Conference on Science and Consciousness
The Message Company
4 Camino Azul
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Main website: http://www.bizspirit.com
Conference info: http://www.bizspirit.com/science/scihome.html
[An introduction to the conference from the BizSpirit website:]
At some point in history, a split occurred and we ended up
with Science and Religion. Science limited its study to the
material world and the Church took charge of the metaphysical
There has been a major surge of interest recently in studying
consciousness as more and more people have experiences that
cannot be explained by the old scientific paradigm.
Now, with science studying consciousness, we are ready to
reintegrate Spirituality and Science. At this conference we
will explore the scientific and spiritual dimensions of
Consciousness. Come explore with us the frontiers where
Science and Consciousness meet.
The Message Company also publishes the _BusinesSpirit
Journal: The Journal of Spirit at Work in Business_.
For more information about the Journal, visit:
------------------ | General Information | -------------------
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Awakening into Awareness
Reflections on Reality and
The Experience of Realization
Insight Mentoring Metta Zetty
http://awakening.net P.O. Box 781955
email: AIA@awakening.net San Antonio TX 78278
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