So many responses have arisen within me and I can't choose which ones are worthy of expression. I have found lately that I have a committment issue with thought. Whilst on one hand I find it amusing that my thoughts are beginning to be bored with me (or I with them?), on the other hand it still scares me. Is this my growing awareness that resistance is futile as no mind (or 'big mind') beckons?
Maybe it is just I realise there is too much to say, it has all been said, we are just finding different ways to express same, we actually all agree and so I am left with no option in the end but to honour with silence. I guess there are always two options - stillness or growth - neither being better or less than the other.
Nevertheless, I will choose to respond to that which made me pause most:
My impression is that the "unchanged" in identity applies not only to what makes me "one" with others but also to what makes me "different" from them . I often thought that the essential distance between people doesn't really change much in a lifetime, no matter how much they talk and interact, live together or apart. That's why I feel true encounters are rare and precious.
Even in 'oneness' I find a different kind of egocentricity which keeps present the perception of separation - this is that "I" 'know' this 'Oneness' but others don't, thus it is my purpose to help others realise same (this applies to me no less). Which is what I was getting at when I said "I wonder if I can even tell the difference ...?" and the necessity of grading consciousness? So, for me, I endeavour to also feel and intuit - because there is more than consciousness of the mind at work here, there is the consciousness of the cells, of life force, of collective consciousness etc, of intention and manifestation (which I know is what you are also conveying).
I admit I was disappointed to go through mental suicide and to arrive 'here' and realise that what you say above is true - that there is an essential distance which always exists - it just looks and feels different now. As such:
as long as one can stand unconsciously playing his/her individual "part" in the social/mental play (taking him/herself "seriously" if you prefer) s/he just does.
... never seems to end in my view. So I think that the purpose of this thread is to identify the markers of the most crucial time (often that first BIG awakening in whatever form it comes) in a person's life when it is possibly dangerous (to themselves and others).
True encounters are rare and precious. However, when one is in state of wholeness, in that healthier state of being you can create or be more aware of opportunities for being totally present with another human and life. This is why teachers speak so much of gratitude and of bringing your attention back to this moment, as this is very much tied in with living in awareness. I have arrived at the point of knowing these opportunities are available in every moment. Whether it happens in every moment is another matter and part of my ongoing learning.
The irony of the quest to realise this as a permanent state is that it is already here - there is nowhere to go.
As antithetic as it may seem I think it is another of "its" names indeed.
(Have you ever read Borges' short novel Undr ?)
I know it may have sounded antithetic. And yes, it was on some level - because I am enjoying (at the risk of sounding like "you are the wind beneath my wings") sharpening my mental axe on your stone :) But to convey what I mean by 'life' would be another whole thread. I am not talking life in a general sense - people, nature, earth. I am talking about feeling a love so pure, for an energetic force which (again at risk of being interpreted very differently because in no sense did this feel religious and I am vehemently anti-religious) felt like I was drinking life's water, a water that not only refreshed my thirst in that moment, but felt like it quenched every thirst I had ever had and ever will have. I can't even describe it as just a spiritual experience because it felt so physical.
No, I haven't read Undr - I will take up your recommendation. I do feel out of my depth when you all discuss classic literature. I am a voracious reader - I am afraid I am a grazer though :)
I doubt there's much value in long term mental suicide. Short term can grant perspective and insight to more effectively live in the social, ego-bound culture we live in; but to stay in that place would be an attempt to live in a place that isn't here (and, one would have to ask, what would be the point of being here but choosing to ignore being here?).
Yet it is interesting that so many of the great teachers speak of the value of 'long term mental suicide' :) . Maybe it is just semantics, but as I have discussed above, whether you view it as 'long term' or a series of stop and start 'short term suicide' - it is an ongoing process which you can either choose to be aware of or not.
I don't believe it is a 'place' but a way of being. Rather than 'choosing to ignore being here' it is quite the opposite - one is so present to life, to the moment, to what is right here in front of you, that you realise there is nowhere else to go. One isn't choosing to ignore what is here, one is only choosing the meaning they ascribe to it, conscious that this 'place' shapeshifts constantly and is not static or a place to land.