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Quotes about Being

An Important Difference Between the Mind and Being

These fantasies, beliefs and misinformation actually accompany almost all internalized object relations to some extent. Internalized object relations are rarely true representations of actual events or relationships. One’s memory traces include all kinds of ideas, fantasies and images that never had an objective reality. Another source of extraneous material comes from the psychic processes of organization and integration themselves. These processes modify the original object relations as more impressions are internalized. This is necessary for the integration of object relations units of various affect and content. This extra material, whether it is attached to actual memories of object relations or consists of pure fabrications, cannot be absorbed into Being. This is an important difference between the mind and Being. The mind can absorb and identify with any psychic material it believes to be true. It does not have the capacity, on its own, to discern what is objective truth and what is not. In other words, the mind can be deceived, even by itself. Being, on the other hand, is pure reality. It is the actual stuff and consciousness of truth, and cannot be deceived. It does not try not to be deceived; it is simply truth by its nature, a self-conscious medium made of pure sensitivity. Any falsehood, that is, anything which is not the objective truth of what actually happened in past interactions which produced a particular object relation, is felt in comparison to Being to be dull, gross and distasteful. When one is in contact with Being, these falsehoods are felt to be lifeless, thick and heavy veils in comparison to the luminosity of Being.

Being Does Not Exist in Isolated Parts

Being is a unity, implicitly complete and perfect. When we engage in ego activity to sustain and protect our sense of identity, this activity blocks the experience of Being. It specifically blocks the Diamond Will. Blocking any quality of Being constitutes a barrier to full realization, because Being is a unity and does not exist in isolated parts.

Being has a Final Irreducible Simplicity, the Absolute or Absolute Dimension

This is similar to our view and understanding of the process of spiritual development and the role of the Essential Identity in it. We have explored this in detail in previous chapters, so we will recapitulate it briefly here, to help us situate our work in relation to other spiritual teachings. In our view, Being has a final, irreducible simplicity that we call the Absolute or absolute dimension. It is the original nature of everything, the source of all manifestations (see Chapter 41). Everything arises out of this ground and ultimately returns to it. This ground is totally mysterious and indeterminable, but implicitly contains all the perfections of spiritual nature. It manifests these perfections in a differentiated and explicit way within the soul as the essential aspects. So each aspect of Essence is a differentiated manifestation of an inherent, implicit perfection in the Absolute Essence, each explicitly expressing a specific quality and function. Each aspect serves to provide the soul with a quality and function needed for her life, development, and maturation. But centrally, each aspect reveals one of the perfections of the Absolute in the experience of the individual soul and its role in the relationship of the soul to the Absolute.

Being in Its Purity is Both the Knower and the Known

Then it is possible to see that Being itself is knowledge, knowledge that is not a content of our minds, but rather is the ground for it, as well as for the universe in its entirety. We recognize here that this Being is not only patterned as knowledge which makes up the totality of existence, but that Being in its purity is a knowingness, a consciousness, an awareness. It is both knowledge and knowing. It is the knower and the known. It is both the presence of knowledge and the capacity for knowing, which is implicit in all knowledge. This ultimate knowledge reveals itself also to be the ultimate good, for it is both our essential nature and the nature of everything. It makes us see that everything is available, and that everything is ultimately good in a realm beyond the dichotomy of good and bad.

Being is Alive and Still at the Same Time

So what is Being? Being is alive and still at the same time. In Being, you know that you are alive, that you are, but there is no movement; there is just complete stillness. There is stillness through and through. Even though the deepest level of the body is full of movement -- the blood circulation and movement within all the cells and even the movement of the atoms -- Being is deeper than all of that. Being has no agitation whatsoever. Being is new, always new, and personality is old, because it is always generated from the past. The personality always feels somewhat stale compared to Being. It is a left over. The personality is the remains of the past that have not been completely digested, metabolized and eliminated; it would have been eliminated long ago if it had been completely understood, and could therefore dissolve. The personality is always getting older, fermenting, while Being is always fresh, always new, it is nowness itself.

Being is Always Fresh, Always New; it is Nowness Itself

Now, Being is very mysterious. To truly understand the action of the personality, to understand that it is a cyclic movement of reactivity, you must know Being. It is the contrast with Being that reveals the core reactivity. That’s why I have said that you need to go to the sharp edge between reactivity and Being, and when they are next to each other in your experience, you can say, “Yes, this is reaction.” Before you know Being, before you are Being, you are too identified with the personality to get a perspective on it. When you are Being, you are aware of its stillness and objectivity and can see in contrast the feverish activity of the contracted personality. You see that there’s nothing intrinsically there. There’s a contraction, there is movement, pushing and pulling, and there is frustration. The complete perception of the hopelessness of the situation, the realization that your feverish attempts to alter yourself are futile, can bring about the cessation of the activity. The cessation is sometimes called death, which is peace. Then it is possible for us to know Being So what is Being? Being is alive and still at the same time. In Being, you know that you are alive, that you are, but there is no movement; there is just complete stillness. There is stillness through and through. Even though the deepest level of the body is full of movement—the blood circulation and movement within all the cells and even the movement of the atoms—Being is deeper than all of that. Being has no agitation whatsoever. Being is new, always new, and the personality is old, because it is always generated from the past. Personality always feels somewhat stale compared to Being. It is a leftover. Personality is the remains of the past that have not been completely digested, metabolized and eliminated; it would have been eliminated long ago if it had been completely understood, and could therefore dissolve. Personality is always getting older, fermenting, while Being is always fresh, always new, it is nowness itself.

Being is an Existence, a Suchness

Being means no reaction, no mental activity that defines who or what one is. In fact, Being is not an activity at all; it is an existence, a suchness, a thereness, a Presence that is not doing anything to be there. Since Being is itself existence, it does not need the mind to be there. It is like a physical object, which does not need the activity of mind to exist.

Being is Fundamentally Beyond Mind, Beyond Discriminating Knowing

In recognizing that pure awareness is nonconceptual, we discover new and surprising truths about Reality. We see that our being is fundamentally beyond mind, beyond discriminating knowing. We see that, since nonconceptual awareness is the ground of all manifestation, Reality is independent of our minds, and manifestation is not the creation of our thoughts. Without manifestation there would be no awareness, and since awareness is ultimately nonconceptual, the forms in manifestation are not conceptual either. This is a radical discovery. It illuminates the Reality beyond our individual minds, revealing that the differentiation in manifestation is beyond mind. We do not need discriminating knowing to perceive differentiation. Differentiation is inherent in manifest reality, and it ontologically precedes the dimension of basic knowledge, the nous dimension. The basic knowledge of pure presence simply adds discrimination to the already present differentiation of forms in manifest reality.

Being is Really, Fundamentally a Nonbeing, Nothing, Absence

So, first we recognize that being is really fundamentally a nonbeing, nothing, absence. Presence turns out to be the other side of what can only be described as a spacious absence. The ground of the ground, the ground of presence itself, of the luminosity itself, is nonexistence. You feel it . . . it exists. But what is the feeling of existence in it? What makes it exist? What is the ground of the existence of presence? The recognition of the fact that it does not exist, that it is absolutely nothing. Complete transparency, no opaqueness, no thickness, no objects, no solidity, no substance, no mass, no atoms, no time, no space . . . nothing. But we get accustomed to believing in and living according to our ideas of what we think our existence is—an objective existence such as that of a rock. Thus, recognizing the actual underlying nature of our existence—the nonbeingness of it—requires such a subtle understanding that we tend not to see it.

Being is Simply an Appearance in the Ground

The deepest ontological truth about this emptiness of the ground, this openness, this spaciousness, is nonbeing, which is very difficult for most of us to understand. Nonbeing confounds the mental faculties. At the same time that nothing exists, experience arises and forms manifest. For forms to manifest, they manifest being; they manifest presence. Forms are not simply constructed by our individual mind; they are truly manifesting in the field, as a kind of beingness that we experience as presence, as a subtle fullness of the luminosity. The subtle nature of reality is not only radiance, but radiance that has fullness and thereness. The fullness and thereness of the ground of reality, which we can call Being, is not being in the sense of a being that continues in time. The Being of reality is not like a bird that emerges in space, that exists on its own, as its own identified existence. Being is simply an appearance in the ground. The bird is simply a form that the ground takes. And, as it manifests, the form has a sense of presence. The form is there. If we experience it immediately, we experience its thereness. But how can that be? We’ve just said that the deepest truth about the nature of reality is complete emptiness and nonbeing. Now we say that the form is actually there.

Being is the Essence of all Objects

So Being is the nature, Essence, and substance of all physical objects, or mental objects, and all experienceable manifestations. It is the body, the feelings, the thoughts, the actions, the sounds, the sights, and the meanings. Being is everything. At this level of realization, we come also to perceive the unity of all manifestation. Since Being is an indivisible medium (not composed of parts), it follows that everything makes up the unity, a oneness. There is one existence, as opposed to two, or many. It is merely an infinite Presence that possesses a pattern. This pattern is everything we perceive, including all persons and objects. So everything is connected to everything; there exist no separate and autonomous objects or persons.

Being Where You Are

This process of locating yourself is a profoundly personal one, a subtle and sensitive unfolding of inner awareness that does not use obvious external signposts to tell you where you are at any given time. It requires discipline and patience, gentleness and attunement, because the only one who can know where your consciousness is is you. To truly be where you are requires a capacity for listening, a willingness to be open, and a curiosity about your own experience that most likely few people have ever shown toward you. What this calls for is the development of your ability to truly witness yourself, to be a pure and undistorted mirror for where and how you are appearing in the moment. Ultimately, this means seeing yourself without the aid of anyone else’s perspective, anyone else’s experience, or anyone else’s beliefs and judgments. It means not seeing yourself from the outside or locating yourself by where you are relative to external criteria. It is by seeing yourself from inside, from the center of your own experience, that you can discover your own truth, the untouched True Nature of what you are.

Being's Dynamism

Realizing that our experience, both inner and outer, always reflects the action of our Being's dynamism means that, in principle, it is always possible to know whether we are aligned or not with the optimizing force of Being, to discern whether we are progressing, backtracking, or on idle. We don't need someone else to tell us. All the information we need is in our experience at each moment if we can perceive it clearly.

Brilliance of Being

Usually there are only a few brilliant people around, and the rest of us are brilliant only occasionally. And the people that we consider brilliant have only a drop or two of Brilliancy in their heads. Imagine if we could take such a person and work with him or her and activate the Brilliancy to the extent that the whole body and the whole psyche is immersed in the ocean of Brilliancy. Do you have any idea what kind of being this individual would be? Do you know what kind of intelligence this person would have? This would be a person who is intelligent, who is brilliant, in all of the human capacities, in all areas of functioning. Brilliancy would not only be a quality of the mind, but this person would be Brilliancy, the embodiment of intelligence. This kind of experience can only happen to a realized being, for it is a spiritual experience. It is the experience of the brilliance of Being, the radiance of the Absolute Truth.

Brilliancy, pg. 34

Disconnecting From Where You Are

I’m trying to clarify what we are doing when we inquire, what we are engaged in. I am not making value judgments about other practices, and I think that many people here are starting to see that. Value judgment can be part of the problem in inquiry, as we will see later. There is something, however, that is more immediate in our consideration. We are concerned with what happens when you take a position that a certain state is reality, when you say, “That is the truth, and we are going to go there.” The moment you take a position, you lose your thread. You go toward a goal instead of being where you are in the moment. This will tend to disconnect you from where you are, which will disconnect you from the true guidance, which will disconnect you from the optimizing dynamism of Being. I am not saying that one cannot do spiritual practice in other ways, but I am saying that in the kind of practice we are studying, this disconnection will happen whenever you are after some goal. We said earlier that adopting a position from a certain teaching, teacher, or philosophy is one form of goal orientation to avoid. I will continue to delineate some of the other ways in which you can disconnect from your personal thread. These situations are all problematic for your inquiry because they go counter to the natural unfoldment of Being.

Feeling Oneself, as the Personality, Being Absorbed into Being

On the other hand, there are definite experiences where one actually feels oneself, as the personality, being absorbed into Being. As the last primitive and subtle defenses dissolve, due to objective understanding of vulnerability, one feels oneself being steadily absorbed or reabsorbed. One feels taken in, eaten, swallowed, completely integrated. There is no fear and no resistance. The deepest fear of the ego is now actualized; there is a loss of one’s individuality, of one’s separate identity. But it is experienced as a matter of fact perception, without reaction of any sort, and without a sense of loss. At some point one perceives—usually suddenly—that one is the formless oneness of Being. The supreme, pure aspect of Being is now experienced in its aloneness, without the presence of ego structures and identifications. For this reason, the issue of aloneness sometimes resurfaces just before this experience of pure oneness. This state of oneness is in contrast to that of the Personal Essence, but without any contradiction. One feels that one is everything; there are no personal boundaries, and no partitions between objects. One is the supreme aspect of Being, is pure non-differentiated presence, that is the nature of everything, that is also everything. Pure Being is experienced as both everything and beyond everything. As beyond everything it is experienced in its suchness as a pure sense of Beingness. This is referred to usually as the state of unity. As everything, it is experienced as the nature of everything, and this is usually referred to as the state of oneness.

From the Deepest Perspective of Being, All is a Play of Light

The richness that is the world only appears when that world reflects its nature as Being, when it is transparent to its ground, its source, its truth. It is the bright, clear radiance of true nature that gives our life its power to delight us. How much more delighted our soul can be if she can see that radiance directly for what it is! From the deepest perspective of Being there is no external reality of events, activities, and people; there is no physical world: all of it is a play of light and color and delicacy. This is the dance of delight, the true unfolding of Being, and the adventure of discovery that inquiry makes possible to the soul.

How Being Knows Itself

Since Being is pure consciousness capable of direct awareness of itself, it does not require thinking and deduction for it to know itself. This is what most distinguishes it from the personality of the ego, which knows itself through reference to the past. One reason it is not easy to have a clear experience of Being is that the habit of ego is to know itself through reference to other perceptions, as in Descartes' "I think, therefore I am."

Seeing that the Totality of Being is Everything Plus Something Beyond Everything

The totality of being usually first appears as the totality of our individuation, the totality of our individual consciousness. We are an individual consciousness that has thoughts and feelings and history and memories and faculties and mind and even spiritual experiences. When we experience ourselves as the unity of all things, then the totality of being is appearing as the totality of the whole universe. And when we experience ourselves as beyond even that, then the totality of being is everything plus something beyond everything. Simultaneously we are an individual who is experiencing unity, we are the unity of all things, and we are beyond the unity of all things. So we can be aware of our individual being, or we can be aware of ourselves as the unified being of the whole universe, or we can be aware of ourselves as something beyond the universe, generating the whole universe and, at the same time, appearing as an individual being.

Simply Being is Just that:Being

As we have seen, the incapacity to be authentically ourselves is the expression of not being able to simply be. Simply being is not a matter of being anything in particular; it is not a matter of being according to any view of ourselves, realistic or not. Simply being means the absence of any activity, inner or outer, to be ourselves. Simply being is just that: Being.

The Presencing of Being

The reason we have the capacity to experience Being is that the self is an actual ontological Presence, a presencing of Being, not simply a construct, and this Presence has the capacity to be self-aware. Thus for the self to become directly aware of the realm of Being is for it to directly experience its own nature.

Three Ways to Experience Being

There are basically three ways to experience Being. The first way the self can experience essential Truth is easily accessible; the self experiences truth as Presence, without experiencing itself as Presence. In this condition we retain the normal feeling of identity. We experience ourselves as an individual, with a sense of identity, who is experiencing the presence of truth. In this situation the subject is the conventional self and the object of perception is the presence of truth. The second and third ways of experiencing Being arise from the functions of the Essential Identity. We have said that the Essential Identity provides the capacity to situate one's awareness in any form or dimension of Being. For instance, we may experience Being in the aspect of Truth, not in a subject-object relationship, but by experiencing ourselves from within and through the Essential Truth. In this direct experience of Truth we do not perceive ourselves experiencing Truth, but we are present as Truth. The third way of experiencing Being is similar to the second with an added quality. The Essential Identity provides the self not only with the capacity to situate awareness within Essence but also provides the feeling of identity. In the third mode, Truth and Identity are completely coemergent, absolutely nondual.

What the Presence of Being Does Not Exclude

Awareness of the Presence of Being does not exclude awareness of the body and its sensations, feelings and emotions, the mind with its thoughts, images, and ideas, and the totality of the functions of the psyche – such as imagination, thinking, planning and remembering – and the rest of what ego psychology calls the ego functions.

When One Experiences Oneself as Being, One is No Longer the Self-Image

However, when one experiences oneself as Being, one is no longer the self-image. One’s sense of being a human individual is now based not on the internalized self-image, but on pure beingness, beyond all images of mind. This means that this new sense of oneself is not in relation to mother’s image. It is not dependent on past object relations, and is not a reliving of them. This is the autonomy of Being, that we discussed in detail in a previous chapter. The mother’s image is completely irrelevant to this sense of being oneself. It is in fact in a completely different dimension of experience. One is living on the Being level, while mother’s image and all mental representations are on the mind level. These representations are experienced as mere thoughts, concepts, images and of no fundamental reality. The disengagement from the mother in this experience is complete, utter. One feels no relation to the memories of mother or her image, in the sense that one’s sense of identity is completely independent from both. The experience of the mental representation of the mother is seen as completely alien to one’s experience of Being, as if from two different universes of experience. So the separation involved in the experience of Being is complete, total, and profound. Ego never feels such separation, regardless how separate and autonomous it is on the mental sphere. It is a different order of separation. Ego separation is like a distance on the surface of the earth; while Being separation is like going to another star system. In fact, it is more like dying. And many individuals respond to it as a kind of death. So now, either due to a remaining partial identification with ego or a late reversion to such identification, the ego reacts to this perception of such radical separation. This will naturally activate the already existing unresolved old conflicts about separation. However, even if ego development has been smooth and very successful, with little conflict around separation, there is bound to be a much greater pressure on one’s capacity for separation. The ego has never experienced such a measure of separation, and this naturally scares the hell out of it The fear of death or disintegration is one of the usual reactions among others .

With Being, Mind Begins

Thus we see that at the beginning of mind there is being, which we experience as undifferentiated presence. We can say that true nature reveals itself at some point in its ontological manifestation as the beingness of all things by clothing itself with the concept of Being. It manifests its nature beyond mind as being-knowing by manifesting the first concept, a concept that pervades the entirety of its manifold. It is then pure being, which is pure knowing, which is pure knowing of being, which is pure being of knowing. Such is the fundamental gnosis, which is the origin of all knowing. To put it succinctly, with being, mind begins.

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