Related: A Meditation: Climbing Jacob's Ladder

If you realized I AMness, it is important to progress in terms of the Four Aspects of I AM and the Two Types of Nondual Contemplation after I AM.

Four Aspects of I AM

Many people get stuck in the initial I AM realization without much progress for decades. Fortunately I was able to progress relatively quickly (8 months from I AM realization to non-dual and anatta) compared to Thusness and many others that I know, who got stuck for decades due to lack of good pointers and directions for progress from experienced teachers.

For progress after I AM realization, Thusness taught me about the deepening of the "I AM" in 4 aspects: 1) the aspect of impersonality, 2) the aspect of the degree of luminosity, 3) the aspect of dissolving the need to re-confirm and abide in I AMness and understanding why such a need is irrelevant, 4) the aspect of experiencing effortlessness (Thusness: any form of clinging, be it Self/self or Presence, will prevent a practitioner from correctly experiencing 'effortlessness')

1) The Aspect of Impersonality

This is the case when practitioners experienced that everything is an expression of a universal cosmic intelligence. There is therefore no sense of a personal doer... rather, it feels like I and everything is being lived by a higher power, being expressed by a higher cosmic intelligence. But this is still dualistic – there is still this sense of separation between a 'cosmic intelligence' and the 'world of experience', so it is still dualistic.

I experienced impersonality after the I AM realization, however some people experience it before I AM realization. Theistic Christians may not have I AM realization (it depends), however through their surrendering to Christ, they can drop their sense of personal doership and experience the sense of 'being lived by Christ', as in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.". This is an experience of impersonality that may or may not come with the realization of I AM. And as Sailor Bob Adamson said, "That separate entity, the belief in that entity or person, has never done a damn thing! It never can and never will. You must realize that you have been lived. That body-mind that you call 'you' is being lived, and it is being lived quite effortlessly. As Christ said, 'Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?' That separate entity can’t do a bloody thing."

It should be noted that impersonality is not just an experience of non-doership. It is the dissolving of the construct of 'personal self' that led to a purging of ego effect to a state of clean, pure, not-mine sort of "perception shift", accompanied with a sense that everything and everyone is being expressions of the same aliveness/intelligence/consciousness. This can then be easily extrapolated into a sense of a 'universal source' (but this is merely an extrapolation and at a later phase is deconstructed) and one will also experience 'being lived' by this greater Life and Intelligence.

Impersonality will help dissolve the sense of self but it has the danger of making one attached to a metaphysical essence or to personify, reify and extrapolate a universal consciousness. It makes a practitioner feel "God". At this phase it is good to focus on this impersonal and universal aspect of consciousness, but beware of the tendency to extrapolate.


2) The Intensity of Luminosity

The degree of luminosity refers to feeling with entire being, feel wholely and directly without thoughts. Feeling 'realness' of whatever one encounters, the tree bark, the sand, etc. (see the lengthy example below given by Amadeus) As with Impersonality, one may experience this even before the I AM realization. I did. However one should practice to experience this aspect further after the I AM realization. This will also serve as one of the condition for further non-dual insight. (You will also need to engage in nondual contemplation)

This aspect will come by practicing Vipassana, see Thusness's Vipassana and Vipassana

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle:

I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.

That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.

For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.

3) The Aspect of Dissolving the Need to Re-Confirm and Abide in I AMness (and Understanding Why Such a Need is Irrelevant)

Dissolving the need to re-confirm is important as whatever is done is an attempt to distance itself from itself, if there is no way one can distant from the "I AM", the attempt to abide in it is itself an illusion.

On the other hand, abiding in presence is a form of meditative practice, like chanting, and leads to absorption. It can result in the oceanic experience. But once one focuses on the 4 aspects mentioned above, one will have that experience too.

4) Effortlessness

Any effort to sustain a state of Presence is contrary to the self-shining and spontaneous nature of Presence. But this aspect will require further insights (into non-dual, anatta and empty nature) to unfold much further.


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Someone asked, "I often hear people saying that more than a decade has passed between the I AM realization and the subsequent ones. It's very often between 10 and 20 years. Does that mean that there's a sort of maturation process happening very slowly after the first realization? I just wonder if I'm stuck or whether I will make progress"


I said,


"Yes it is common for people to get stuck at I AM for 10-20 years, that's the case for Thusness and many others.
But for me, it took me only 8 months from initial I AM realization to anatta. This is because I had pointers from Thusness. It is possible to progress much faster when there are certain pointers and directions, and I think this blog will quicken your progress."

The same person realized I AM but was facing this issue,

"Though I sort of do feel stuck right now, I have difficulty finding interest in anything, including spiritual matters. I find that everything is hollow and without meaning, and for some reason I keep settling into a sort of zombie mode where I just do things automatically without really caring. It doesn't feel right, but I don't have the willpower or energy needed to get myself out of it.
I don't know if this sounds familiar, is this also just a stage, or have I gone wrong somewhere along the way?"


I said,

"In my blog the latest post on book recommendations there is a link to the Four Aspects of I Am and in it one of it is the intensity of luminosity. And I put an article there describing the intensity of luminosity. You should practice that and the joy will come. You will marvel at the aliveness of simple things like the blueness of the sky, the colours of flowers and having a simple meal, the tastes. Everything becomes imbued with a sense of magnificence and significance and awe, rather than dullness and meaninglessness. If you realized The I Am then you should practice all four aspects and do the Two Types of Nondual Contemplation. That is the way to progress.

It is also possible to fall into the dark nights in the I Am phase like what happened to Suzanne Segal. The four aspects and Two Types of Nondual Contemplation after I AM leading to nondual insight is the remedy
http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/12/dark-night.html
"


Another person said, "Im curious what was the drive for you to look any deeper? I seem to be content where i am..and it seems to be that a certain level of discontentment would need to be present in order to want to go further. What are your thoughts?"

I replied, "Once the I AM is realized, I'm guided by the taste of a pure, original, primordial, non-conceptual and non-dual luminous state of existence.

To bring it into natural, effortless, full-blown spontaneous perfection and intensity in all experience, manifestation, activities, the way I found out (thankfully not very long process due to pointers by Thusness) is through deepening of insights into nondual, anatta and emptiness."

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After the maturity of anatta insight and twofold emptiness, eventually there is effortless, ongoing and intense experience of "everything as Self", "As in that experience of I AM powerfully present at this moment", "As if like Awareness clear and open like space, without meditation yet powerfully present and non-dual. Where the 4 Aspects of I AM are fully experienced in this moment. This experience will become more and more powerful later yet effortless and uncontrieved. How so? If it is not correct insights and practice, how is it possible for such complete and total experience of effortless and uncontrieved Presence be possible?". "Indeed and this is being authenticated by the immediate moment of experience.  How could there be doubt abt it.  The last trace of Presence must be released with seeing through the emptiness nature of whatever arises. After maturing and integrating ur insights into practice, there must be no effort and action.... The entire whole is doing the work and arises as this vivid moment of shimmering appearance, this has always been what we always called Presence." "Yes and u should in all moment of 6 entries and exits experience all coming together for this moment to arise....this will dissolve all senses of holdings and will lead u effortless and maha experience of suchness effortlessly", "interpenetration, open, boundless, effortless and uncontrieved." (Thusness, 2012)


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Here's a good post on 'the degree of luminosity' by a friend 'JonLS'/'Din Robinson' or 'Amadeus':

I was walking through the park on my way home when something happened. Something holy arose from within and took over. I was standing there looking out at the trees and the grass like it was the first time I was seeing them. I was looking at my hands and feeling my body as it moved and I was marvelling at being alive and being in this body. I was acutely aware of being in the world, that I was a separate being in the world. I was enjoying all this as a child would enjoy a new and novel experience. I went over to a tree and grabbed a branch, I touched it softly and then grabbed it firmly, I really wanted to feel the tree, I really wanted to be there with it, to be present, to feel and see and take it all in. I bent down and touched the trunk near the roots, it was very real, very solid to my touch, it felt very alive. I noticed some bare earth around the tree trunk and picked up a chunk and broke it in my hand and watched and felt it crumble and stream through my fingers as it fell down to the earth. I was feeling so primal, so alive, I went around to the other side of the tree where the branches were a little higher off the ground and sqatted under the branches near the tree trunk and put my hand on the trunk and left it there. I was feeling the roots and feeling extremely rooted myself in being. I stayed there for a few minutes, the feelings arising were so intense and overwhelming that tears were streaming down my face. Finally I left the tree and moved closer to the bench and sat and watched the crescent moon in the clear blue sky, there was a very bright star right beside it, so bright that I thought it might be the headlight of a plane heading towards me. I sat there and watched this scene and marvelled at life and being alive.

I finally got up and was going to go inside but I had to walk by the sandbox and I was immediately attracted to the sand. I bent down and started letting the sand run through my fingers, feeling the texture of the grains on the skin of my hand. I dug deeply into the sand and noticed that the sand was very damp when you dug down 3 or 4 inches. And then I found a flat stone. I don't know why this was so fascinating but I was like a little child, I would pick up the stone with a handful of sand and squeeze the sand so it would run through my fingers and then I would feel the hard stone pressing against the flesh of my palm and fingers. It was like finding a treasure, I did this over and over again.

I left the sandbox and moved over to a very large pine tree and grabbed on the branches really hard. I gave a really good pull on it and ripped that piece of branch clean off and allowed the needles to run through my fingers as they fell through the ground. I grabbed two branches, and held on really tight like I was holding hands with the pine tree, I looked up at it and was just present with it for a little while. But things were beginning to feel really intense inside of me so I went inside.

I went in the bedroom to change and got undressed, but when I was completely undressed I was drawn down to my knees and I bent very low with my forehead against the carpet. The energy was flowing like crazy inside, it felt like it was all emanating from the gut area. My head was on the carpet and my gut was much higher since I was still on my knees, this felt right as it had so many times before. Energy was flowing from my gut down through my head and out. But the energy also radiated outwards in all directions at the same time, like a sacred sun was shining in my gut. It was extremely intense and overwhelming and continued for at least 15 minutes.

I have no idea what is going on and I don't care. It feels very right and it makes everything sacred, my own body, and everything else in the world. It's almost a mystical experience at times to be alive.

I'm completely filled by this experience, it's overflowing.

I love you.



...............

Entry in my E-Book:

20th December 2011
All views of self lead to suffering (clinging, effort, seeking, desire, craving, and other forms of suffering). If you were to achieve mastery of samadhi and abide as the I AM 24/7, which can have profound life transforming effects, nonetheless you cannot overcome the subtle clinging and achieve liberation. Even if you sit in samadhi bliss all day, this is not the same as liberation - as Buddha left his previous teachers who were masters at samadhi and had their own insights. When you achieve higher insights, your clinging lessens and disappears, your effortlessness increase. You also see how deeper insights are a natural progression of your original experience - the I AM is not denied, but now experienced in all manifestations in all conditions, effortless and spontaneous, without any attempts to re-confirm or any effort needed to sustain any experience. As I told Thusness: I just realized that the four aspects of I am are not just four aspects of I am They are also four aspects of non dual
442
Four aspects of anatta Four aspects of shunyata Etc Those four aspects are refined in every phase as an example: seeing through the need to abide in non dual and dropping it - notice the tendency to reconfirm nondual by giving rise to thoughts like "the sound is as much you as the thought", seeing how ridiculous it is when always already in seeing just sound, in thinking just thought, all thoughts to reconfirm nondual arise due to falsely perceiving there to be a self to be nondual with "that" which turns into one mind and worse still it presumes there to be a subtle split that needs to be resolved when that notion of separation is entirely illusory. The entire movement to become nondual is illusory when anatta is fully seen and all self notions are dropped Intensity of luminosity in non dual - peak is in "no cold no heat", no mind, pure transparency, luminosity as textures and shapes and forms and all details of manifestation Effortlessness - when all latent views are replaced with right views then there's effortlessness of nondual Impersonality - even in nondual and anatta, impersonality must be matured Etc... Thusness replied me, This I have told u. I have told you that later you will understand. (though I didn't remember him telling me - not that he didn't as I'm sure he has, but when I heard it then, I probably didn't understand it at all) He also said, U must also understand that the four aspects are conveyed to you so that in the event you got lost In "I Amness", they can lead you back to the deeper insight of anatta n DO. So as you can see, each arising insight leads to greater freedom and liberation, greater effortlessness, greater bliss.
…..
443
I believe the Buddhahood is the ultimatum of spirituality. Why do I believe? Because I have no direct knowledge of Buddhahood. I have not experienced Buddhahood. But I have faith in Buddha, partly due to confidence from my direct experience - how it completely lines up with what the Buddha taught, how deep and profound was Buddha's insights... that by inferrence surely, what the other stuff I've not seen but have been said by Buddha, must be true too. However what I do know from experience (without any need of inference) is this: as my insights progressed, there is deeper freedom experienced, deeper liberation experienced, greater effortlessness, greater clarity, lesser clinging, lesser afflictions, etc etc... greater insight into the nature of reality. Therefore this is of course a very obvious progress in my path. And I say - without anatta, emptiness, etc, you cannot achieve maximum effortlessness, maximum clarity, trueliberation, etc. Even in I AM due to belief in purest identity of I AM it is clung to tightly and practice aims at achieving 24/7 abidance in a purest state of presence - a form of contrivance and effort. In non-dual, though lesser effort and greater seamlessness with the manifold manifestation, still there can be subtle habit to reconfirm a source, an attempt to be nondual, etc, which are again subtler but still present effort, clinging, ignorance. And so on... so as I said, greater freedom, lesser effort, greater clarity, greater bliss, lesser clinging, lesser suffering, lesser afflictions (in their various forms)... greater results with the deepening of insight into the way things are. Which is why this is worthwhile for me. This is why while there is no strict one-for-all linear hierarchy of things, it does not mean there is no observable progress. Ultimately, all Buddhist paths that aims at liberation, i.e. the total ending of suffering, clinging, craving, etc must lead to twofold emptiness, to the qualities mentioned above. Believe me - or not, I am only stating my experience, just see for yourself.

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