Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unification Anxiety and Nonduality Terrors

Shiva the Destroyer, one hand in 'fear not' mudra
You're losing your grip on reality. Your identity is in doubt, slipping through your fingers like sand. You compulsively grasp at anything within reach as you spiral into dreams from which you may not awaken, in which your separate existence is also a dream. You have a strong feeling that your secret is about to be exposed, but you don't know what your secret is.

Is this the beginning of a descent into madness or dementia? It could be, but you know what it really is.

A monstrous truth lurks just below the surface. When you drop your guard and doze off, you awaken with a jolt, terrified. You shout, "I do exist, I do exist! I think, therefore I am! The more I think, the more I am, so I shall think and think and think!"

To escape the growing feeling of dread, you overshop, overeat, overspeak, overact over anything that will bolster your crumbling sense of being a separate and distinct entity unconnected to anything else. You seek respite in the distraction of adventure novels and science fiction movies. But even there, images and words remind you and frighten you.

"I am Locutus of Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Submerged, you look up and see the surface of the water from below. On the other side is yourself, enjoying the warmth of a sunny day, smiling in the blossoming awareness of interdependence. Below, your painstakingly constructed personal identity fabricated over a lifetime, begins to come to terms with its illusory and temporary nature like a wave on the ocean.

As we unfold, may we be considerate of the part of us which literally fears for its life, and be understanding of its desperate and sometimes destructive attempts to cling to a separate identity.

May we practice and be kind.

May we take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the beloved Sangha.



24 comments:

  1. what a heart-pounding description! We do cling ferociously, don't we? It is heart-breaking, really, and does bring out feelings of compassion for our common plight.

    I like what has been attributed to the Dali Lama, "My religion is kindness." I practice that one a lot, and it feels right and good.

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    1. That's a great quote from HHDL Tara - it does feel right and good.

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  2. David, This is beautiful! I love how you describe that inner struggle between the personal identity and the larger self that is not only infinite but also interconnected without boundaries. It is in moments of being that kindness feels simply natural.

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    1. Thanks, Sara - what a world it would be if everyone felt kindness to be simply natural!

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  3. wonderful... you made me laugh at the same time that you were delivering a profound truth. How tenaciously we cling to our sense of a separate, autonomous self! But, as you note, resistance is futile!

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    1. Thank you Maia, may you live long and prosper!

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  4. Well said... Such a ridiculous reaction. Upon realization that we are all interconnected, instead of "I'm safe!" or "I'm not alone!" it's "What about ME?!?" Aren't we absurd.

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    1. Thanks, Matt. We are absurd, being frightened of shadows. I think that's why Shiva seems to be saying 'fear not' as he utterly destroys us.

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  5. This is one of your best articles yet. I love the dramatic flair as if watching a suspense film, but surprise, surprise, it's just our delusions calling in what we call life.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lola. I like the analogy of the movie - one moment we are mindfully watching it and the next we are forgetful and find ourselves in it.

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  6. Another thought provoking post David. One of your best. Keep up the good work my friend.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Thane - your encouragement is much appreciated!

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  7. Thank you for this captivatingly vivid post! It reminded me of a quote that I absolutely love:

    "Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration; that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death. Life is only a dream, and we're the imaginations of ourselves." -Bill Hicks

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    1. This is a beautiful post, David - thank you for it. (I hope this doesn't appear twice, by the way – I tried to comment yesterday, but blogger seemed to simply swallow it.)

      And something in what you've said reminded me of a comment by my Zen teacher, Ken Jones, here in GB, who got up from sesshin to go to the loo, and was gone a very long time. When he came back, he said, chuckling: 'Queuing outside an empty loo. That's the whole of the dharma.' I thought you might appreciate that.

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    2. Thanks, Kara - that's a thought-provoking quote!

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    3. Thank you, Roselle. "Queuing outside an empty loo" - I love it! Enjoyed discovering your blog over at qualia and other wildlife!

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  8. unrelated to this post, your post recent posts show up on my blog roll but when I link to them, they come up as this post. Hmmm? I cannot get to them. Drat!

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    1. Darn! Sorry, Tara (and anyone else with the same problem). I was working on a draft of my next post, Childhood's End, and mindlessly clicked "publish". I did everything I could to reverse the process, but I guess that didn't quite do it. Maybe I'll give the next post a different name to avoid confusion. Apologies for the aggro!

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  9. I finally found your wonderful blog!

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    1. Pigasus thank you so much - I enjoy yours!

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  10. Wow. The writing. At snow branches, you actually feel the message. Thanks for dusting this off. Love it.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. It tends to creep back and remind me when I get into avoidance mode....

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  11. By following David's Spreaker show via the new Free App on iTunes, you can gain great insights into the true experience of non-dual Awakening. David has a miraculous way of moving far beyond an intellectual understanding of non-duality, with a deep Presence of direct experience with Oneness. non duality teachers

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