January 15, 2005

The Precipice

Meredith: This passage is from “Nature,” found in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journal. Emerson identifies his awareness when his ego is suspended:

“Standing on bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me. I am part or (a) particle of God.”


Maybe this is a formless experience, where Emerson is taken out of himself in a consciousness illuminated beyond the foreground. His ‘eye’ of wisdom and intuition is very open. I ‘see’ this in you sometimes. Does it resonate with you?

Akilesh: Emerson, in his beautiful quote, was on the precipice. In his quote he stops short of letting himself fall over the edge into the abyss. The nothingness he saw, that he could have dissolved into, is universal being itself. Actually, there is no "me" for any currents of being to circulate through. Emerson is neither a part or a particle of God. He is God. He is the Universal Being itself. When Emerson is not, God is. Dissolving into the nothingness he glimpsed, his mind identified self, his fixation on ego, falls away, recedes into the background, and graceful presence emerges, universal being manifests. It was there all the while, only covered over with Emerson. It abides here and now, always and everywhere, lovingly, graciously waiting for us to open our hearts. Empty of our Emerson, our identity, there is bare ground, we are bathed in blithe air, uplifted into infinite space, unbounded by any ego, any body, feeling or sensation. We become a transparent seeing without a seer. We find we are a nothingness, empty space, warm, loving, intelligent and luminous. Without boundaries, our insight is vast. We are turned into the sky itself. Actually, as Kabir noted later in life: the ocean has merged with the drop, the ocean itself, vast and unbounded, pours into the drop. No Emerson can contain that. No Akilesh, no Meredith. Only just this... Call it love, call it beauty, silence, presence, being, call it God. Who we are is this, and we immerse, or merge ourselves in it. We find one another in it.

Meredith: Do you recognize the precipice that Emerson stood upon? I sometimes recognize that I stand there, too. Not quite able to see into the depths of the abyss, not yet ready to leap. It is my conscious mind that is standing there – some other part of me has already taken the leap. I’m not certain I would be aware of this if it were not for the mirror you hold for me – a reflection empty of me. That feeling of wanting or about to burst – I feel it too at times. This must be the whole of the ocean within us – so big we can hardly contain it. We are no longer – because we cannot hold it alone. We become the energy. This is so beautiful.

Akilesh: So many of us, as egos, in the historical dimension, deeply identified, stand on the precipice. We've all had glimpses, and these glimpses are what you can speak to in others when you relate to them. The glimpse may be described in any number of ways but you can tell it is a glimpse of the beyond because it will have that fragrance. It will show itself with the vibration, aroma or aura of bliss. It will be described in ordinary terms -- just seeing pigeons flying against the backdrop of a gray sky in winter, and yet a poignancy and ecstasy will be present, unexplainable. But you will recognize it.

The mind always wants to analyze and explore the depths of the abyss before it takes the leap. This is impossible. It takes great trust to take such a leap, to not hold on to ego identification, and let oneself dissolve into nothingness, the abyss. You have got it right. "It is my conscious mind that is standing there -- some other part of me has already taken the leap." Exactly. It is in the realization. Once the realization is there, the leap has already occurred. The whole universe is wide awake. Some realize this, most don't. When you release your hold on ego fixation, you find awakening is already there, already present. It's not like you get something from outside that wasn't there in the first place. Initially, fear arises whenever anyone gets close to being -- the space "empty of me." But this fear passes.

7 comments:

james said...

I love this part, "The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me. I am part or (a) particle of God.”

I have jumped into the abyss and found that I have been there all along. Our existence is so beautiful and perfect. Everything is everything and nothing needs to be changed. Tsunami's, earthquakes, mudslides, whatever. Life is what it is and we are what we are. Everything interconnected and apart of God. We are here and now in the Presence of God. We are already in the vast fields of "Heaven." We are already in the "Prue Land."

Good thoughts. Thanks for commenting on Emerson. He is one of my favorite Transcendentalists.

Jon said...

Wow. What a wonderful explication of "the precipice," that stopping place before--it. Brilliant insights, and so lucid and understandable. Thanks to you both!

jon

Trev Diesel said...

"The whole universe is wide awake." AH!

Thank you for your post.

isaiah said...

I don't know where to begin- so much has been said here. I feel like if I add anything- it will take away from the spirit of the post. I must say "Thank you" for taking the time to share of yourselves.

"It's not like you get something from outside that wasn't there in the first place. Initially, fear arises whenever anyone gets close to being -- the space "empty of me." But this fear passes." A few brief seconds spent here are enough for a hundred lifetimes.

Is it the fear that keeps us from longer glimpses? Is it the wanting that gets in the way?

Akilesh said...

Isaiah-
Thank you for your kind post.

Coming from non-identified open space, in the ultimate dimension, there are no glimpses. The glimpses arise because we are looking through the structure of ego, which obscures the view of vastness, wholeness, our original nature. Coming from ego fixation, in the historical dimension, we divide the whole, and thus experience glimpses of our original nature within a nearly continuous stream of thinking. We naturally posit a solid entity, a thinker behind this stream of thought. This is the proverbial veil, a mind identified self, "me." There is tremendous sociocultural conditioning which supports this fundamental delusion. This is the day-to-day "normal" consensus reality the vast majority of us subscribe to by default. Like water to a fish, we don't even register it. The hypnotic grip usually remains intact from cradle-to-grave, leading to a sonambulistic life. Our allegiance to self-identity is formidable. This is the clinging the Buddha spoke of. Without this ego structure we feel unanchored and fearful initially: we don't know who we are. But by and by we come to see this structure, and the want and fear closely associated with it, as covering over our original face; we see we have been looking at the world through a veil or through a glass darkly. With this realization we become softer, more vulnerable, more willing to dissolve into the empty space of our original nature, to dissolve into nothingness. Our confidence grows in our ability to live outside the confines of our cocoon, to live out in the open. When we drop the delusion of self obscuring our original nature, the vastness of the beyond -- of which we have had many glimpses -- is suddenly present, whole and complete, with not one thing left out. This is the ground of being. It has always been present, here and now, abiding, silent being. Most often we are placing our precious attention on the unreal, the delusion, hence the real comes through only in glimpses. That's all. Releasing our fixation on and preoccupation with self identity, we naturally turn within, and there we find our original home, our treasure house, vast and open, authentic presence.

Marjorie said...

I enjoyed your post but am left with the question of how (me and my questions!). How do I jump into the abyss or let myself fall into it? Why do these moments leave me so quickly? I know I'm asking the wrong questions -- I should simply rejoice in those feelings and wait patiently for them -- its probably only in the patient waiting, suspending my desire, that I get closer to it -- or rather, get farther from myself.

Thank you Meredith and Akilesh and all others who gather here -- you are my cherished companions.

isaiah said...

Akilesh- I am most thankful for your reply. I grasp what your words are saying here. For me, I understand. When I am alone walking the Laurel Creek trail beside the flowing river and I am naturally stilled- no peering inside, only an emergence illuminating from within- everything merges into one and I cease to be. I feel this illumination even now as this body responds to you in typing these words.

“When we drop the delusion of self obscuring our original nature, the vastness of the beyond -- of which we have had many glimpses -- is suddenly present, whole and complete, with not one thing left out. This is the ground of being. It has always been present, here and now, abiding, silent being.”

For me, there is a ‘fear’ I may never return …is this understandable? Yet, isn’t this the search and aim of enlightenment?

I know
knowing nothing
knowing all-things
I go and return yet
I am unfamiliar and unmoved
Gone is the journeyer
All is now One
Where the beginning greets the ending,
I return.

This is the best I can do, I only have words and they consistently fail me.

When I was a small child I would disappear into the vastness of the universe by shrinking away until I felt the feeling of not feeling anything. No stars, no planets, no wind, no rain, no me...nothing...except a hum and an emergence into blinding light. Is this where I am now- where I am trying to return- to where I am? Why do I ask when I know the answer?