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Essays listed in chronological order starting with most recent. For archives, please see previous volumes below.
  • Writer's pictureRudy Bauer

Phenomenology of The Sublime Vibration as Word and Language

By becoming aware of awareness we can experience the innermost sense or the felt sense of spaciousness and self-illumination. Within this state of open awareness, the openness of spacious luminous awareness, we can enter the experience of the radiance of light as energy through the sublime, luminous vibrations. The experience of the unfolding of sublime awareness and the corresponding energetic manifestation of the self-arising of primordial awareness is self-liberation. These experiences of the sublime manifestation of luminous energy was described by the 14th century Dzogchen master Longchenpa in his text Precious Treasury of The Genuine Meaning. This meditative experience often arises spontaneously in Dzogchen meditation practice. This experience of translucent energetic manifestation is also described in Chan Buddhism, Hindu Kashmir Shavism, and Yan Xin Qi Gong.

This experience of energetic manifestation can be experienced within subtle forms of respiration. Sometimes the ongoing sense of subtle luminous respiration can be experienced even as there is a profound sense of breathlessness. Breathlessness used here means no breath or minimal breath. This experience of the ongoing sense of respiration without breath is very powerful and empowering.  In this experience of vast stillness there is no breath and yet there arises from deep within, a most subtle respiration within the breathlessness. During this respiration of stillness, the body seems to breathe and be breathed by most subtle inner wind. The inner sense of stillness expands and extends throughout the entire body and beyond the body’s boundaries. This stillness opens us into the dimension of potential space, the dharmakaya and pure awareness.

Spanda As Movement and Pulsation

In this openness of stillness, of vast silence and vast breathlessness, sublime vibrations begin to manifest and become felt. This spanda, which  in the language of Kashmir Shavism, means the upward movement of unfolding light of awareness becoming energy. The energy is becoming  sublime embodied pulsation, the pulsation of unfolding and unwinding as inner vortextualness. This non-conceptual vortextualness can be experienced, felt and responded to. In time it becomes language and is conceptualized as words and symbols. The initial non-discursive experience in time becomes the discursive experience of becoming spoken language. The pre-reflective experience becomes reflective and expressive.

This self-arising of the spanda is the arising of the innermost light of primordial awareness becoming energy, becoming vibration. Eventually the vibration becomes sound and sound begins to be felt and experienced  directly and vividly.  This most subtle dimension of awareness is a pre-conceptual or a non-conceptual experience, within which there is a place of the manifestation of the subtle inner will and inner intention. This place of primordial vibration arises as the Shakti of will or the energy of will. This self-arising energy of movement is motivation and is fundamental intention. Within this non-verbal pre-reflective dimension of awareness the subtle power of invocation becomes manifest and arises as the power of manifestation. This power of manifestation brings forth the subtle dimension of the archetypal energies into ordinary life and circumstances.

These timeless moments of experiencing the vibrational dimension of primordial energy within the space of awareness is the direct perception of the nature of awareness as Shakti or Qi or as Energy. Energy or the sublime vibration is the manifestation of primordial awareness. This manifestation arising from within the ground of Being is manifesting as radiant light becoming energy. The dharmakaya or ground of Being is radiating as elemental light becoming energy. The dharmakaya or ground of Being as elemental light becomes elemental energies.

The non-conceptual source manifesting as the sublime vibrations eventually becomes sound and words. This arising of the spanda or movement is the field of awareness as vibration. This field of vibration is not only within us but surrounds us, permeates us and is also beyond us as the world of circumstance. The field of vibration is both the world itself as well as ourselves as bodies, as minds and as our own innate innermost awareness. Our personal awareness is the manifestation of pure primordial awareness. There is spanda or movement manifesting infinite singularities, manifesting worlds within worlds. This spanda, this movement of luminous energetic manifestation, manifests infinite events of singularities within time and space. Events are the manifestation of Being itself. Being is manifesting unceasingly. There is always this unbound ongoing self-arising of experience. This is the manifestation of immanence, the immanence of luminous spacious awareness.

This infinite field of potentiality is the dharmakaya, The dharmakaya is Being itself. Being is not a being but luminous no thingness that manifest everything and anything. Being manifests being in all beings as all the beings. Dharmakaya is not a being, but is Being itself. The dharmakaya is ground awareness manifesting everything and anything. Being is ground awareness. God is ground awareness. Awareness is not an entity. Awareness is luminous no thingness. Awareness is divinity.

This realm of pure potentiality manifests infinite configurations of light, the radiance becoming energy, becoming pulsation. Primordial movements of the field of awareness are radiance as light, then as energy, and then as sound. These vibrational movements of the field as the field become the foundational elements and configurations of various forms of energy and light that bring forth worlds and universes and us. This moving radiance of energy becomes the body/mind configuration and circumstances of the world. The vibrational movements and manifestations are felt as pulsations and vibrations within our bodies. Personal awareness itself is the manifestation of primordial awareness as radiant energy.

These sublime vibrations as sound and movement become the body, speech, mind of the person, and these primordial sounds become the unfolding circumstances of our world within worlds. These sublime vibrations become events within events, becoming openings within openings as awareness within circumstance. All these events are openings and clearings for the manifestation of spanda, the vibrational enworlding of the worlds.

The manifestation of primordial awareness as different dimensions of experience unfolds from very subtle to most dense. There are the divine manifestations of the apparitional dimension of light forms or what is called the sambogakaya dimension and the dimension of embodied appearance or what is called the nirmanakaya dimension.  There is the primordial dimension as source which is pure awareness, pure potentiality, pure Being, pure creativity, pure luminous no thingness, pure dharmakaya from which everything and anything arises.  All these dimensions are within you and around you and through you and are you.

The Vibrational Dimension of The Word

The vibrational expressions can be considered to be the word of Being and the felt sense of being. The word is first the word of potentiality, the word of Being that manifests everything and anything. The word manifests as human awareness and manifests as human mind. The word is both expression and manifestation. The very nature of Being is manifestation and expression. This nature of manifestation and expression is primordial vibrations becoming sounds, and sound becoming syllables, and syllables becoming words, and words then becoming signifiers and significations. Vibration becomes language. Through the mind the mental process of language as signifiers and significance arises.  The mind brings forth signs and associates signification to sounds and manifestation of the sounds as words, words that acquire signification.

Signs and Meaning

 The first phase of the word is vibrational and is without sign or signification and then through the manifestation of mind the world of language as signs and signification of meaning arises. The world of meaning arises out of the world of signs and signification. The process of knowingness of awareness as felt sense brings this experience forth, brings the non conceptual into conceptuality, from pre-reflection into reflection, from non discursive into discursive experience.

Through the mind the mental process of language as signifiers and signification arises. The mind brings forth signs and associates significations to sounds that become words and meaning. The first phase of the word is virbrational without sign or signification. Then through the manifestation of mind the world of language as signs and signification of meaning arises. The world of meaning arises out of the world of signs and signification.

Forms of Knowing and Experiencing

Human awareness and the human mind within awareness are openings to different forms of knowing and experiencing. Human awareness as awareness can know directly and immediately the nature of the sounds and vibrations of awareness. These manifest as configurations of words and as matrix of fields of configuration becoming cirucumstances and situations. Human awareness can know directly, immediately and non-dualistically because of the indivisibility of personal awareness and primordial awareness field. In awareness humans can know non-dualistically the unfolding of events and situations. In awareness we can experience directly the nature of sound as light and as the radiance of ground awareness, which can be felt as sound. In awareness we can know directly sublime vibrations manifesting as worlds and as innermost experience.

A person can experience the vibrations without signification or signifiers and without conceptual meaning. The human awareness as direct perception can know directly and non-conceptually the nature of experience without thinking the experience. In awareness we can know the configuration of experience without thought. The nature of phenomena is known directly through awareness and is also known in the mind as the symbolization of language, which are formulations about the nature of the phenomena.

The human mind as cognition can make infinite associations and attributions of signification to the sounds and vibrational configurations and thus words and the significant bring forth the world of meaning and the linguistic experience. Symbolic signs and signification enter into the human drama. The world of narrative begins both consciously and unconsciously. Unsaid becomes said, the un-thought becomes thought, the un-signified becomes signified through linguistic sounds.

Silence and Stillness

All this drama arises out of the silence and stillness of dharmakaya. All this arises out of the silence and stillness of primordial awareness. All this drama arises out of the stillness and silence of primordial awareness manifesting as human culture. All this arises out of the field of Being manifesting beings. Word as vibration is not a being. Word as signifier becomes a being. Words are momentary beings.

Thingness and Reification and the Field of Being

The world of thingness and reification can arises out of language as signifier. For those located in the mind alone the significant signifier realm becomes located as the world of thingness and reification happens naturally and swiftly. For those located in awareness and who experience the self-arising of energy and light as presence, the world is and becomes the field of Being. In the field of Being, the world is poetically lived and dwelled within. In the mind of those who live within awareness, words are thin signifers of meaning and events, translucent signifiers, translucent indicators. The narrative becomes thin. The process of the signification of events is infused by the radiance and spaceousness of timeless awareness.

Bimodal Dimension of Experience

Language reflects bimodal dimension of experience, the bimodalness of human knowingness. Knowingness of human awareness with its directness of perception is non-duality and the knowingness of mind with its subject object differentiation, is the knowingness of duality. There is the knowingness of the experience of sublime vibration and the knowningness of experience of sign or signifier of signification. There is knowingness of direct awareness and the knowingness of mind alone as signifier signified. So the union of the mind awareness continuum is the integration of both modalities. Mind integrated within awareness field opens the wonderful actuality of experiencing duality within non-duality and within non-duality within duality. How Wonderful!

Two dimensions of Language

There is the primordial non-conceptual language as vibration and the mental language of mind as sign or signifier of signification. There is the primordial language as vibrational sound manifestings as sound syllables and vibrational letters and within these letters and syllables is the felt sense of meaning as gnosis. Then this felt sense becomes the language and experience of a signs of signification, of meaningfulness. The manifestation of awareness, which manifests as sublime vibrations, becomes the manifestation of the sounding of the vibrations, which are within the density of experience. Then the sound experienced through the associative mind becomes the mental signifier of experience and mental understanding and thus the sign signifier becomes the focus of language as the medium of meaning. Language as sign becomes the possession and medium of the mind, mind as meaningfulness or lack of meaningfulness.

The sign dimension of manifestation is the labeling of a phenomenal event and signifying an event of appearing and experiencing. The appearance becomes a semiological event. First the experiencing of the event, the sublime vibration appearing as the event becomes upgraded as signification and the corresponding meaning of the event as signifier and signified. The event becomes contained in mind alone and its signifier signified relationships. The manifestation of mind as signifier is the manifestation of the field of being becoming beings as words and language.

Words as beings and thingness

Language is the manifestation of words as finite beings. Language easily becomes thingness. There is space between the signifier and the signified. Without space there is identification and concreteness. The signifier becomes the thing. Concrete minds leads to concrete thought. Concrete thought becomes concrete mind.

The sign becomes a thing. The original word or the original sublime vibrational event is an event like appearing sounding. The sign understood as a thing or object forecloses experiencing of the manifestation of the sublime vibrations as eventing. The sign, taken as an object, is defined in terms of the play of the signifier and signified and is confined to how it represents, reproduces and reorganizes language through its function of signifying and designating. The function of sign operates within the experiencing of beings understood as object and thus confirms the forgetting of being as the field of Being. Language as signs alone obscures the manifestation of Being. Language as signs alone obscures awareness.

The wording of sublime vibrations is an expression of manifestation. The sign or signifier is kept within the essence of the word. The essence of the word is the sublime vibrations. Words reflect the vibrational dimension of experience and manifestation. Words are modifications of vibrational experience and vibrational manifestation. Words take the signifier and signified dimension of mind. Within the mind /awareness differentiation there is the differentiation of word as sign and word as vibrational expression, word as medium of vibration.


The word as symbol is mentally expressive of cognitive connections and significations. Symbols are also the iconic dimension of awareness. Symbols are signifiers of experience and meaning.  Symbolization is also an enworlding. The latter is the poetic and mythic dimension of the manifestation of a direct doorway into the experiential dimension of vibrational experience and vibrational manifestation. The symbol is a doorway into the vibrational dimension of the manifestation of imaginal and energetic meaning. Symbol is also the function of the signifier signified the mind dimension of experience.

The vibrational is manifested from the silence of potentiality, the silence as dharmakaya. This manifestation is the sublime radiance of the light manifesting as vibrational energy. This energy consolidates into vibrational field configurations and field manifestations. These vibrations are the manifestation of elemental luminous energies.

Tones as Words

Before the sound becomes the signifier, there are only tones as words. This dimension of word is pre-signification. The primordial expression of sound as word is the manifestation of the vast movement of intelligence as sound as word and as thought. The initial expression of word is non-conceptual knowingness as vibration and this can be known directly by those who have access to this dimension of awareness manifesting itself. Those who have direct perception know directly the experience of otherness in the oneness of knowingness. This depth connection is indivisible with this primordial elementalness as sound and as vortexualness as it becomes archetypical powers and energies. These archetypal powers become vast imagery and forms manifesting as the infinite worlds.

Some people directly experience this multidimensionality of creativity and have vast power in their invocation of these dimensioins from within the dimension itself. Some experience through gnosis the pure potentiality of the dharmakaya manifesting the luminous archetypal energies as sambogakaya. Some through gnosis experience the archetypal luminous sambogakya manifesting the nirmanakaya in the realm of ordinary life.

In experiencing this unfolding of luminous manifestation, knowingness is a function of primordial awareness and not mind alone. The linguistic mind functions when the vibrational words become associated with the signifier and significant. Here we have non-conceptual language going beyond the vibrational and becoming linguistic. The realm of semiology is born. The transfer from awareness to mind becomes complete. The mind at times replaces the primordial awareness of the vibrational. Unmediated knowing becomes completely replaced by the mediations of symbols and signs. There can be a dissociation between language as awareness vibrations and language as mental signifier alone. Thus the mind loses its connection with psyche.

The Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and The Washington Center for Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy Studies

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