Essence as Light

AIA Ezine #2 -- December, 1999

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  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:
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   *  Introduction

   *  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
                  Albert Einstein
          -  Nameless One
                  Ram Dass and Paul Gorman
          -  Infinite Awareness
                  Wayne Teasdale
          -  Pure Awareness, Natural Being
                  Steven Levine
          -  The Original and Natural State
                  Harsha K. Luthar
          -  The Unnamable
                  Robert Powell
          -  Explaining the Infinite
                  Jae Jah Noh

   *  Letters
          -  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
             	    and Consciousness

   *  General Information
          -  About Awakening into Awareness
          -  Ezine Subscriptions
          -  Back Issues, Copies and Reprints
          -  AIA Mailing Lists
          -  Insight Mentoring
          -  Correspondence
          -  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,
Metta Zetty


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 
book-in-progress at:

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
known." (p.17)

"This immediate intrinsic awareness is insubstantial and
   lucidly clear....
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  
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.
                           Albert Einstein


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_


Infinite Awareness
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

Wayne Teasdale
"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.
                           Steven Levine


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


The Unnamable
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.
                            Robert Powell

     "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 
this Awakening....

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 
being human.

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 
        immediate experience.

     *  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,
        immediate Awareness.

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 
Encompassing Tao.  
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 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: |
  |  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
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 
		inexplicable Fullness?

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
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 -
Wholeness divided.

Janet Smith Warfield's website "Word Sculptures" can be viewed


Reader Resources      
The Nonduality Salon
Email: (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
Fax:  607-273-8508 

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 
Directions Journal.

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 
following webpage:
The 1999 International Conference on Science and Consciousness
The Message Company
4 Camino Azul
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Tel: 505-474-7604
Fax:  505-471-2584
Main website:
Conference info:

[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              P.O. Box 781955
email:     San Antonio TX 78278


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