What is referred to as the ego, or the ego consciousness, or the small self, is simply a momentum that builds up within the subjective consciousness and begins to have a feeling of solidity about it. The dissolution of that stream of ongoing experience that becomes like a film, like a movie, with its own identity, is awakening, the beginning of awakening and in a very real sense the end of awakening.
Therefore the ego sense is not a thing. It’s constant process or happening as the result of perception. You may ask, “What then, is this feeling of I? What is this sense of individuality?” It’s just the mind labeling that feeling. It’s the mind’s image of that feeling. It’s that feeling itself that is the “I,” that feeling of experience streaming, with no break. It’s only natural that meditation describes that breakage or that seeing into the non-streaming. There is no non-stream and there is no non-streaming. But the ego will get this feeling that there is a something in back of that stream by simple virtue of the cessation or seeing through that stream. And for a while, it will get fooled into thinking that there is a bigger identity in back of it all, when in fact it’s just nothingness.
So many people are caught in this trap of running after nothingness as though it’s some supreme object of liberation in back of everything, in back of experience, higher than experience. When in fact, it was simply the substratum through which that endless stream of perception was running. And through brief glimpses you begin to see that nothing is happening there. And the longer you glimpse, the deeper the transformation in seeing goes, into recognizing that, as a core essential aspect of Being itself.
But there is no “one” who is enlightened. Nor does anyone ever get enlightened. That’s the paradox and the humor behind all of this. No matter how deeply you see and keep seeing into that nothingness, all you do is dissolve further and further. The sensation of dissolving becomes progressively deeper and it really does feel as though it’s deepening. And at some point there is a snapping away from the entire perceptual field. The perceptual field is recognized as being unlinked to that nothingness, eternally unlinked. That’s liberation. That’s Self-Realization.
So then you have as if two worlds going on, oddly enough, since we call it non-duality. You have a world of perception that’s still going on, waking, dreaming and sleep. It’s still going on. On its own level, eternally, never stops. And then you have the non-perceptual core of Being that simply is. And it’s as if they remain eternally unconnected. They both live side by side, friends and enemies.
So if you are wondering where all these anti-worldly philosophies come from, these anti-relativity teachings. They derive from an attitude or prejudice created by the mind that interprets this separation to be something negative. That is, it begins to imagine or conjure the idea, the concept, that this streaming phase of experience was always a barrier to enlightenment. I want to stress the fact that that is an interpretation and an idea. And it’s one that reveals merely that certain assumptions were in place, in the mind, before awakening took place, that then stereotyped or interpreted awakening in this way.
So this is why it’s so important to have a positive metaphysics in place before you awaken, because you might come out hating the world later. You may come out inherently prejudiced toward relativity. And have not just a revulsion toward it, but you might actually have the ability, to then set up some kind of religion or practice, to influence others into thinking that way, based on what you have “realized.” It’s very funny and very tragic.
So what is in the mind prior to awakening is very important, very, very important. If you have concepts, unquestioned concepts and assumptions like: women are inferior to men, gay people are viruses, matter is evil, the field of birth and death is sordid, then those assumptions don’t get dissolved and liquidated upon enlightening yourself. They actually get carried forward. And now you’ve got a lot of power, both in your mind and in your inner being, to express these views that you may have had prior to your awakening, which is why it is so important to acquire, what I would call, a more tantric understanding of enlightenment and the world, prior to your awakening, so that when this big thing comes, what it ends up validating, is this expansive, tolerant, progressive view, not some myopic, prejudicial Leviticus like, view of life.
Enlightenment, in and of itself, is just the recognition of what’s beyond the mind. It doesn’t make you a better person. It doesn’t educate you. It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t teach you how buy colors that match, when you go to the store. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll use condoms when you have sex. It doesn’t guarantee anything. It doesn’t give any intelligence, which is why one of my teachers in the past would often say, “Don’t end up like a stupid saint. There are many of them in India.” He’d say, “Get three or four PhDs.” Be illumined, even on a relative level. Not that you have to literally get three or four PhDs. There are many ways to self-educate and not all of them are confined to the university lifestyle. But to develop your own form of brilliance, is very important, if not the most essential thing, about this whole process because in the end, after Awakening has established itself, it’s going to be the funnel of your own individuality that communicates the beauty of it. Even though it’s the transcendence of individuality, it’s nevertheless, the individuality, the structure of your mind and emotions, intellect and senses, that gives a radiation or communication of this immeasurable being that you’ve become, that you have awoken to.
Of course, to simply do nothing in it, also has its beauty, even to live on the streets in Sahaja-samadhi. Even that, would have its beauty, its own unpolished, raw, primeval beauty. So there is nothing you can do, to really amplify this, other than follow your own instinct in regards to how you want to live, and living in such a way that really makes you happy, really communicating the essence and the joy of living, in your non-dual consciousness.