#5009 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - Editor: Jerry Katz
#5009 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/
The Natural Bliss of Being
by Jackson Peterson
Three Essential Approaches to Realization
There are essentially three approaches to realization within the frameworks or paradigms in which I have been taught. In practice, the most appropriate approach would be dictated by the capacity of the student. In the approach known as the immediate realization or direct awareness approach there is no concept of there being something wrong with the student that needs fixing or repairing. The perspective of this teaching is taking the goal as the path. The goal is realizing the core aspect of consciousness that has always been perfect and has never needed some help or improvement in the first place. We need to recognize that core aspect of consciousness as being our current perceiving awareness, just as it is. The path of practice is simply remaining in recognition of the existing naked awareness that we just recognized. It is the knowingness within all experience. It is the changeless perceiving within all changing phenomena whether as perceptions, sensations, feelings, emotions or thoughts. This default observing awareness is always a non-evaluating observing. It is an observing without a defined observer. It is awareness without thoughts about the various experiences observed. The thinking about, comes later when and if the conceptualizing mind becomes active.
For instance, it is through opening our eyes that seeing just happens. No one is making seeing happen. The seeing is there by default. It’s completely impersonal, meaning that it remains the same sensory function whether you have a personal sense of identity or not. The same applies when we hear a sound. We don’t have to do something special to make hearing happen. This is true for all five senses as well. But most of us don’t notice that we also have an impersonal, default quality of consciousness or awareness present at all times. It is that awareness which is registering or noticing the input from the five senses. It is also that which is noticing all thoughts and mental phenomena as well. It is possible that someone could recognize this default, impersonal quality of observing awareness as being who and what they actually are, as opposed to the mind’s believing in an imagined identity. This newly recognized observing awareness is timeless and changeless presence, our True Nature. It is this sudden shift of self-recognition that is aimed at through the methods of the direct awareness or immediate realization approach. It seems those who have immediate self-realization with this approach upon their first exposure, are much less burdened with psychological issues and intellectual grasping to begin with. They are more open and ripe for this type of skillful intervention. We could say these individuals are of the highest capacity.
The second approach is for the more average seeker. This approach directs the student to engage in gradual practices of meditation in order to bring the mind to some degree of stillness, calm peacefulness and transparency. Most Zen today is taught through the “gradual” approach to realization. This approach requires periods of sitting meditation and a practice of mindfulness throughout one’s daily activities. Mindfulness training is simply being mindful of what you’re doing as your doing it. In other words you are being present to your actions, feelings, thoughts and perceptions in the immediate experience, as opposed to fumbling through your day in a mental fog or a state of trance-like daydreaming. Through many months of this type of training one may come to a significant state of clarity, significant enough to warrant moving into the first category of approach as mentioned above. Due to the fact that the mind has been brought to a greater state of stillness and transparency, a more matured condition develops that could be called “ripeness”. This student would then be “easy picking’s” for a teacher of the immediate realization or direct awareness approach. In my experience the bulk of seekers fit appropriately into this gradual approach category, at least initially.
The third approach deals with yogic practices that work with the internal energies of the body along with meditation. These practices may include yogic meditation postures, clearing blockages within the inner subtle energy body and seeking to transform our ordinary state of mind into that of an enlightened higher-consciousness. It doesn’t matter what one’s philosophical or religious beliefs are in this case, as they will all be dissolved along with ego-consciousness through the use of the energy practices themselves. What remains is your original pristine awareness in the knowing of its own spiritual Beingness. Although this approach is the most strenuous, it is the most profound in its depth of realization. All doubts regarding your true spiritual identity are swept away.
As a teacher, I teach and utilize all three approaches, often in combination based on the capacity of the student. The realization achieved is ultimately the same in all three approaches with slightly different nuances based on the differences within each student’s constitution. Let’s examine the three approaches in greater detail:
I like to refer to the immediate realization approach as the direct awareness approach because the entire modus operandi of the methods is geared around the internal dynamics of awareness itself. This approach is simply to recognize the already-existing, perfect aspect of consciousness that is the awareness within the stream of experience in terms of thoughts and sensory perceptions. Then after authentic recognition has occurred, one simply rests as that changeless awareness allowing it to blossom fully as it transforms all other states of mind naturally and organically into itself. No other agency is utilized or required. It is understood that we have within our own awareness or consciousness the full capacity to realize our own true nature without any knowledge or special transmission having been acquired from without. Let’s now continue by acquiring a deeper understanding of the most basic concepts regarding the direct awareness approach.
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