Showing posts with label John Astin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Astin. Show all posts

 John Astin's posts focuses on pointing out the seamlessness of anatta and dynamicity of presence.

Reality, Drinking Itself

All there is, is experience.

Feel the reality of this, the undeniable fact that you can never, ever find anything outside of experience. Let it sink in, the reality that experience is all there ever is. Go “inside” of what you think of as yourself and what do you find there? Experience. Go “outside” of what you think of as yourself and you find exactly the same thing. Experience.

Now, within this field of experience, it may feel as if there are two separate things happening—that which is being experienced and the one experiencing it. But in reality, both the apparent subject (self) and object (other), are nothing other than an ever-changing, kaleidoscopic dance of experiencing.

And so when we say that “we” are having an experience of some “thing,” what we’re really saying is that experience is experiencing itself. In every instant, no matter how we might be describing it, all that’s ever happening is that experience is tasting itself, drinking itself, feasting on itself. Feel this, the way in which experience is constantly exploring itself, ever curious about the countless forms it takes each instant.

Drink in the richness, the luscious sensuality of it all. Enjoy this exquisite dance of life savoring itself in all its many forms.

Imagine that the whole universe consists of a single painting and that this painting is exactly whatever you are presently viewing. That’s it; the entirety of reality right there, present as whatever is being seen, whatever is being heard, whatever is being experienced. That’s it. There is nothing else to see, no other painting to experience, no other painting that could ever be experienced. Nope. There is just this, this single, solitary painting, the painting that is your life…

But this painting of reality is unlike any you've ever encountered for it’s not just sitting there, static and unmoving. No, this painting is alive. It is in a state of constant flux; the images moving and dancing, transforming themselves moment-by-moment into something else. Take a look… how is the painting of your life appearing right now? And what about now? It's different, isn’t it? Every instant the painting shifts, even if in the subtlest of ways...

And what about us, the supposed viewer of the painting? It turns out that we're not actually outside of it, viewing the painting as if it were some object apart from us. No we, the apparent viewers, are actually an intrinsic, inseparable part of the painting itself. The seer of the painting is also in the painting. Remember, there is nothing but the painting, the viewer, the viewing and the viewed, a single apparition.

As we move from moment-to-moment, experience to experience, circumstance to circumstance, we are simply traveling to different portions of the painting. You can never enter or exit the painting for there is only the painting.

Remember… you can never be cast out of the only thing that exists.

April 17, 2019
I spent a couple of decades as a meditator, attempting to keep attention focused, trying to get my mind to become stabilized. However, the more I investigated the reality of my experience, the more apparent it became that there was no stability. The closer I looked, the clearer it became that experience (which of course includes attention) is changing from one flash instant to the next. Experience drifts, it undulates. After all, it’s alive! Life doesn’t hold still; it dances around. The flow of experiencing is just that, a flow; it never actually becomes anything solid or fixed. Reality is forever on the move, here for less than a nanosecond. And then gone. Swept away.

Now, because of the non-durational nature of things, I not surprisingly kept failing miserably at my meditative efforts to find stability. I longed for things to settle down and become still. But reality would have no part of it. Nope, any apparent stability, any seeming arrival at something substantial or fixed would be swept away no sooner than it arrived. There was no stability. That is what was revealed.

And yet this relentless instability, this ceaseless dance of transformation, this radically unstable dynamism turns out to be its own kind of stability. How so? Well, it is what’s real. In that sense, the inherent instability is what we can count on. We can count on the fact that experience does not endure but is forever on the move. We could call it the “stability of instability.”

But the deepest truth is that how this is, cannot actually be said. We can’t really say whether reality is stable or unstable, restless or calm, still or moving. Nope. What this is cannot be said for any description implies that experience actually resolves as being some “thing,” something definite and definable. But it doesn’t. And so the only true thing we can ever really say about what this is, is that it is simply un-sayable.

This is the peace that passeth all understanding…

By John Astin,
Awareness is Experience
Published on May 23, 2016, by admin in Uncategorized.
In many teachings, an emphasis is placed on “recognizing” or “resting as” awareness. In this modeling of reality, awareness (i.e., that which knows) is portrayed as a special, separate privileged domain apart from, untouched by and free from its perceived content (what’s known). However, this purported separation is simply not the case, at least not experientially.
In direct experience, awareness and phenomena never appear alone but always co-occur. The perceiver and perceived always arise together and therefore represent a singular movement or reality. They arrive as a package deal. There is never actually a perceived object without a subject that perceives it, nor a perceiver without something being perceived. While the two (perceiver and perceived, subject and object) appear separate and distinguishable, in point of fact, they can never be teased apart. The subject literally depends upon the object for its existence and vice versa, awareness and its content, each known by the presence of the other.
Now some teachings will claim that there exists a domain of “pure” awareness, an awareness that has no phenomenal content in it. However, a content-less or object-less awareness is really an abstraction for in order to exist as an actuality, awareness must be experienced. And the moment it is experienced, that experience (of awareness) becomes the content of awareness. It may be an exceedingly subtle, barely perceptible content. But it’s still content, still experience, still an “object” of awareness that is known, even if that object is awareness itself.
From this vantage, we can say that to experience anything is to experience awareness (i.e., the faculty of knowing or perceiving) for awareness is inseparable from whatever is being experienced. They are one and the same reality. And because experiencing never comes to a stop (i.e., it’s continuous), recognizing awareness must also by definition be uninterrupted. In other words, there’s no need to try to sustain awareness for awareness is self-sustaining as the flow of experiencing itself, a flow that is always happening!
And so there is no actual place to go to “find” something called awareness that we can rest in, no need to quiet or stop thinking in order to recognize awareness. Awareness is simply this, this perception, this thought, this feeling, this sensation, this present experience. After all, what else could awareness possibly be?
Published on April 22, 2018, by admin in Uncategorized.
Spiritual traditions tend to speak about awareness and its content (experience) as two distinct domains. And while there is often an acknowledgement that these are really just two sides of the same indescribable non-dual coin, most traditions tend to emphasize this distinction, pointing again and again to the ever-present knowing/cognizing that underlies every momentary experience.
However, as powerful as this awareness-based emphasis can be, what I and others I’ve worked with invariably bump up against is that the recognition of awareness seems to come and go; sometimes it feels as if it is being recognized but sometimes not. And then whenever it seemed as if it has slipped away, there is this understandable effort to re-capture or re-recognize awareness.
But some years ago, it began to dawn on me; the experiences I was labeling as “awareness being absent” were actually 100% present. What is thought of as the non-recognition of awareness is simply another experience that is being recognized! Whatever we might call it—experience, reality, existence—something is always present even if that which is present is constantly slipping away, constantly morphing, constantly refreshing itself. This presence, let’s call it experiencing itself, never goes away. Sometimes it appears as awareness recognizing its ever-present nature; sometimes it shows up as awareness seemingly slipping away. But the experiencing is relentless.
And so in large part because of this, I find myself in my teaching emphasizing the experience side of the non-dual coin. I point to the fact that experiencing itself never turns off and that this ever-present, unstoppable flow of experiencing is actually the revelation of awareness. Two sides of a single coin, awareness and experience.
I find my favorite word to point to this singularity is This. Just This. This momentary flash that dissolves no sooner than it appears. This that is ever-present yet in constant flux. This that can never disappear and yet is constantly disappearing. This that cannot be characterized and yet appears as all characterizations. There are no words for This, no finite descriptions or pointers that could ever hope to capture Its infinite, unresolvable, indescribable nature. This, just This, This constancy that appears as all discontinuity and change…
Part of the challenge in talking about this is that when we hear words such as awareness or the ground of being, we imagine these are pointing to some dimension of reality that is distinct from other dimensions. In other words, if we have a term for something (awareness, ground of being), that MUST mean there is something that is distinct from the reality that word or phrase is pointing to. Otherwise, why even have the words in the first place!
It’s like the word God; the very existence of the word suggests there is something other than whatever entity or being or presence of divinity that word is referring to. But really, there is no God because there is ONLY God! From this vantage, all words are effectively synonyms for the same “thing.” Sorrow, joy, recognition, non-recognition, self, no-self, clarity, confusion… all the display of This.
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