In a previous post:

Conrad Goehausen: Yes, calm awareness, which is not a technique, but an aspect of our original nature.

Soh Wei Yu: Conrad Goehausen I think you have mistaken a formless awareness as a background reality as your true nature. That is dualistic. Have you realized your true nature as green grass without background?

Conrad Goehausen: Soh Wei Yu No, formless awareness is simply one aspect of our true nature. We are both formless and with form, and both, and neither.


My response:

From your post I gather you had non-dual experience. But the "I AM both formless and with form" -- the identification of I AM is the problem of all problems.

Just now I meditated. Thoughts subside, only leaving calm awareness, beingness, presence, bliss. But if I identify this as what I truly am -- the pure formless presence, changeless, inherently existing, then when forms and sounds arises, there is grasping at a dead image of what "awareness" is -- formless, calm, unaffected, behind all the noise.

In the realization of anatta, one realizes that "Presence" never existed in such a way - as an inherently existing, changeless Self, independent of all conditions, separate, or acting with agency. (A hearer is hearing a sound, or a seer is seeing a scenery) Instead, in hearing, there is always only sound, never a hearer, and sound arises as pure presence. There is no 'presence' in and of itself, no background, only foreground manifestation. In seeing, there is always only scenery, no seer. In meditation with eyes closed and senses shut, Presence manifests as formless presence-bliss. But that too is what is 'manifesting' at that moment. By grasping at it and imputing inherent existing, we grasp at a dead image and do not taste Presence as the manifold. Instead we are subtly referencing back to a background, which is effortful. In truth the 'background' does not exist, there is ever always foreground Presence, knowingness is always cognized and formation, even in formless presence. Imputing an unseen, unheard, uncognized are simply mind projections or imputations of intrinsic existence.

For example, after my meditation that I described earlier, where all that is left is calm awareness, my iPhone timer starts ringing. If I identify as formless awareness, then there is a distancing from the sound of ringing, there is no actualization of ringing as pure presence. Presence has no existence in and of itself apart from what is manifesting at that moment. When iPhone rings, consciousness is none other than that ringing.

You may then think "ok, so consciousness is a mirror, whatever comes it reflects, calm state comes it reflects calm state, no senses it reflects blank, iPhone ringing it reflects iPhone."

But that too is an illusion. Consciousness does not 'reflect' phenomena, it is phenomena, which manifests in dependence on conditions. Consciousness by nature manifests in dependence on conditions, not as a reflector, but as manifestation itself.

Anatta insight is direct insight into how Awareness is completely empty of its own intrinsic existence like there is no “weather” becoming or modulating into rain or wind. Weather doesn’t exist other than a conventional label based on those activities, as the basis of designation.

Therefore in the act of meditation itself, we are simply actualizing AS the particular experience we call 'sitting'. We are thus solely sitting. In sitting only sitting, not a 'me' sitting. Or rather, in sitting, universe is sitting, the activity of sitting is the actualization of the universe. When iPhone rings, just that ringing is the actualization of practice-enlightenment. When we open eyes, just the forms appearing is the dynamic ongoing actualization of practice-enlightenment, or buddha-nature.

We are not sitting to get to a state of experience, or get back to or sink back to a dead image of what we feel 'Presence' is, but simply actualizing any and all particular manifestations of that moment.
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