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

The Wonder of Wonders – Subjectivity as Non-Duality

Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D. Author, Erin Johannesen, M.A., M.D. Editor

Primordial awareness is our own true subjectivity, our own selves – your own self.  Our true subjectivity is awareness itself and ultimately is…gnosis…is subjectivity as direct awareness.  Our awareness of our awareness is our own primordial subjectivity, which is non-dual knowingness, non-dual openness…unbound.  It is [Heidegger’s] dasein…the great expanse.  When hyper-contained in mind alone, however, awareness is constricted, and subjectivity too is then contained in mind alone, in thinking alone.   And so, subjectivity becomes caught in duality alone.

1.  When you experience your own subjectivity as gnosis – as spaciousness, as emptiness, as openness, as potential space of openness, as timeless awareness - you are able to experience the non-duality of the self, which is the field.  You can experience too the non-duality of self within dualities of otherness.  This non-duality of your awareness, your innermost, innate essence, is completely and naturally the Beingness of your own being manifesting itself in time and space as your own awareness.  This Beingness of your being is non-dual Being itself.  Your experience of the Beingness of your being is your own openness, your own subjectivity.  Your awareness of awareness is direct knowingness…direct perception.  And in light of your self experience, you can experience the Beingness of being in other beings and, in time, experience the Beingness of being in all beings...experience non-duality manifesting within duality and duality manifesting within non-duality.   

This primordial inter-subjective experience [of being to being] is inside to inside, and this non-dual oneness is the field of oneness…the field of immanence…entered into by attunement [by felt resonance] and extension.  Going beyond the cage of mentalistic subjectivity [subjectivity contained in mind alone], the subjectivity of open, extended awareness is experienced within the sea of immanence…for what is within me, is surely within you.  Subjectivity is gnosis manifesting as your mind and body continuum for a particular and limited period of time [one’s life span].  Your mind and body continuum is a temporary manifestation of primordial subjectivity that is manifesting as you.  AHAM AH…I am that.  This ‘you-ness’ reincarnates within different minds and different bodies.  The traces [of you-ness] are intrinsic to your sphere of subjectivity, which is awareness itself…alayaic awareness…manifesting through timeless time.

2.  Thus, this awareness, this alayaic, primordial you-ness, is world as anima mystic, as psyche.  “Anima” is the feminine expression of gnosis, of knowingness, of direct knowingness.  This phrase is not a gender description as such, but psyche.  Psyche arises as you attune yourself [as you resonate with others as a co-emergent process of opening and deepening awareness], as the Beingness of being within you attunes the self to and within everything as you as the Beingness of being.  The Beingness of beings attunes itself through beings to beings.  The Beingness of beings is non-duality within dualities [a resonant experience of felt oneness of self with another].  From within to within […from inside to inside], the field of Being manifests itself and attunes itself to all of its manifestations.  This field of Being is immanence, and immanence is the essence of subjectivity as openness, brightness… luminous [spaciousness].  Subjectivity is the manifestation of the sea of immanence and is the opposite of transcendent [for within primordial subjectivity, transcending ‘is’ and ‘is not’].  The transcendent illusion, magical reality of immanence, is experienced as innate, pervasive awareness…the great bliss, maha suka…the bliss of sahaj samadi [the bliss of natural, deep meditation].

3.  The openness of awareness, which is subjectivity itself, is the openness of the light of self luminosity.  Often, unhappily, we approach our own subjectivity, our own openness, through ordinary, mind-based representations that, unfortunately, organize and easily contain subjectivity within the frame, or vessel, of mind alone.  Primordial awareness becomes contained within a mind-body continuum.  By its very nature of growing ‘densification,’ [of its holding more unbounded awareness bound now by the limited vessel of mind], this containment cloaks and conceals the power of the field.   And the power of the field of subjectivity becomes the subjectivity of mind…alone.  And so, the field of subjectivity shrinks, or constricts. Then this vast awareness, with all its wildness, depth, breadth, potential, surges, and pure ‘elementalness,’ becomes maddeningly entrapped and caged.  Thus, subjectivity itself becomes unconscious to the consciousness of representational persona. 

This occurrence is experienced as a maddening and bewildering condition.

4.  The subjectivity, or the openness of primordial awareness, within you, and within you within your mind and body, is extending through your mind and body into everything and everyone.  Even though this knowingness itself is blurred, blocked, and contained, glimpses of the oneness are constantly arising in the gifts of love and expression.  The inkling, or hint, of such reality is always there in the background.  All sorts of religious or spiritual beliefs are conceived in order to reference this felt sense of implication, [these glimpses of oneness].  Yet, more often than not, the reality is that such beliefs are not accessed experientially, [not experienced directly].  In materialistic or concretely bound religion, [mind-based] belief is seen as acceptable, and so the path to direct experience, to primordial openness, to felt oneness, is foreclosed… and pathless.

5. Through us, Being sees into itself in others.  The light [of primordial subjectivity] is ever present in the immanence of the totality of the situations in which we find ourselves. 



As background, to help us recognize the existence of subjectivity as our own primordial awareness, there are various historical views of self that fall into three frames:  Non-self, substantialist, and non-substantialist frames. 

- The no-self, or non-self frame, denies the existence of self and occurs both in the early Buddhist ‘bundle’ theory [a theory of aggregates in which a sentient being is viewed as a gathering, or ‘bundle’ of his sensory and intellectual faculties] and in Buddhist illusionary theory (in which everything is illusion and never was). 

- There is a wide range of substantialist and non-substantialist understandings that affirm the existence of subjectivity of self, but disagree about its [self’s] nature.  The substantialist frame views the self to be the bearer of a given substance, property, or quality of a thing or entity.  Some [individuals] would see a substantialist theory [or frame], at minimum, to be the recognition of the subject of experience…a recognition of the ongoing subject of experiencing.

- While a non-substantialist frame views consciousness as the self, self is held here distinctly as not a thing, [as not a reified object in the world].  Rather, self manifests as an entity in and through things.  Some non-substantialists hold the further view that ‘non-things’ simply never existed.


Different from these three views, our framing here, in this text, is one of exploring non-duality within duality in light of subjectivity, in light of immanent and primordial awareness that is self.

6.  The essence of you as person is the drama that you are a being to whom Being itself reveals itself, not only within you and around you, but also through you and beyond you.  There is an essential trans-mission (literally “sending across”), and the essence of sending is the unveiling of Being.  This unveiling is the essence of truth; it is not the “veritas est adaequatio intellectus et rei” [truth as judgment].

7.  What shines into beings and through beings can never be explained by the essence of beings, nor can it be constructed out of beings, for this shining through is Being itself, is primordial awareness itself.  And in it multi-dimensional [manifestations], Being is shining, is manifesting, from Being into beings.  “Shining into beings” is an archetypical expression of the recognition of Being.  The deities and devas, the dakinis and dakas, the gods and goddesses shine through phenomena.  So too are the masculine and feminine, present within each of us, unified in the oneness of Being in human beings.

8.  The gods are more essential than any being, and they are often murkily represented and anthropomorphized.  They manifest affective dispositions, cosmological moods, that are frightening and horrible, beneficent and beatific.  These affective dispositions are neither affective states, nor are they mind alone…they are not emotions as such.  They are psyche, which is the Being itself in its unfolding manifestation of us as us.  They are the unfolding in samboghakaya of the cosmological archetypes shining, illuminating, and manifesting…within the sea of immanence.

9.  The [magical] essence of the deities is their shining into the ordinary and presenting themselves in beings by way of manifesting in beings as Being and by way of attuning beings to Being itself within us, through us, and completely around us.  In this way, the deities are both the manifestation of beings and the compelling attunement of beings to Being itself.

10.  We are surrounded by Being shining into us and looking (gazing) into us.  Our subjectivity is the Beingness of being looking into otherness, which is the Beingness of being gazing into itself.  The Beingness of being is always gazing into itself.  Through the gaze, the Beingness of being becomes unconcealed.  The essential process of Being is manifestation becoming unconcealed from within its concealment.  Luminous self-disclosure shows itself in shining [through].  The situations we are in are always shining into us, and we into them.  The gaze raises the look into the original look of the face of Being, which is manifested in every human face as well as in every sentient being.

11.  This looking makes presence possible.  In truth, Being looks into us; the deities look into us; the samboghakaya dimension looks into us as it manifests us.  The deities, devas, and dakinis see us as Being seeing us, and, as we are Beingness of being, we see them within ‘ourself’ [within ourselves in oneness] and within each other.  The gods, or theos, look into us and present themselves in us as us and beyond us.  Therefore, the look of the deities who arise from and through Being can emerge in us and can look out from the form of us as gathered in the gaze.  Being manifests us through the gods…Dharmakaya manifests samboghakaya, and then together manifest nirmanakaya…manifest us as flesh.  Therefore, we are often ‘divinized’ and conceived as having a divine form as both gods and we receive our essence from Being and from being in Being. 

12.  Of course, when the Beingness of being is concealed, and when the deities and dakinis are foreclosed experientially, subjectivity becomes contained in the technical mind…and we then become crazed…we become ill, both in mind and body, in spirit and psyche…the great absence…[not the vast, abiding elemental emptiness of sunyata, but rather the hollow emptiness of vacuity… blankness].

13.  In the primordial look or gaze, we are looked (gazed) upon; I am looked upon and you are looked upon, and precisely as the looked upon, we are received and taken up into the relation of Being to one’s own self.  And so, we are led into the perception of that which looks also looks into unconcealment. ‘Theos into theos’…the divine looks into the divine.  The divine looks into us, and we, as divine, look into it…from inside to inside, for there is no difference between the ‘gazer’ and the ‘looked or gazed upon.’  ’Beingness looks into the Beingness of our being.  The divine, the gods, are the ones who look into the ‘unconcealedness.’  For the ancient Greeks, the word thea has two meanings:  Thea is ‘the look [or gaze] as the essence of co-emergent existence’ and thea is also ‘the goddess;’ both meanings are present in one and the same word.

14.  The ‘looking ones’ [or ‘gazing ones’] are present as the ones who look into the ordinary; they look into the ordinary as us in the form of us.  By way of looking, or gazing, a person appears as one who is present.  Thus the gods manifest and appear as human, not because they are thought of as human and so are anthropomorphized, but rather because a human is a person, or being, whose Being is determined through relation to a self disclosing Being itself.  On the basis of this very relation, we call our selves ‘human’…we know ourselves as us.  The look of the god, who arises from Being, can emerge in us, can look out from the form of a person, and that [Being] itself is gathered into the look.  The difference between us as ‘being’ and us as ‘person’ is the look, is the gazing of Being into Being through beings.

15.  Within subjectivity is enfolded the masculine and feminine configuration [enfolded within each of us in a non-gender specific way].  We have discussed this [enfolded configuration] in the language of gnosis and skillful means.  We have discussed it also in the space of transitional awareness within the context of openness and extension…of being held and of being in the world, of being in non-duality and duality.  

Within subjectivity, non-duality is being expressed as agency in the realm of duality.  

16. For a few moments, we will now use Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory, for his description of the masculine and feminine configuration takes place in the realm of the symbolic.  For Lacan, to approach the masculine and feminine is to understand that the presence of masculine and feminine is not simply gender specific.  The phallus, present in eros as life force, is central to Lacanian understanding of both masculine and feminine sexuality.  For Lacan, eros has two dimensions:  Phallic and non-phallic.  While masculine sexuality is phallic, feminine sexuality is both phallic (‘masculine’) and non-phallic (‘feminine’), and both dimensions (masculine and feminine) are held, in varying amounts, within any one individual.  [A more ‘feminine configuration,’ for example, may be present in either a man, woman, boy, or girl and is distinctly different from both one’s gender and one’s sexual orientation.]   Both men and women can have non-phallic sexuality.  This powerful combination of masculine and feminine being within one person, however, is often split between two persons, who may be male or female.  Such a split may diminish the felt ‘wholeness’ of either individual.  

17.  This union of phallic and non-phallic is a doorway to understanding the mystics as beings of oneness…as beings of bliss.  The innate awareness, or subjectivity, as bliss is the sahaj samadhi, natural samadi or natural ecstasy, and continuous bliss…[emptiness, nothingness, no-thingness]…’nada.’

18. What might the mystic’s jouissance [French term for ‘ embodied joyfulness’], of either gender, have in common with feminine jouissance?  What mystics have in common with the feminine is a special relationship with the infinite.

19.  What is infinity?   …It is not a contained quality or quantity.  It does not stop.  It is without limit.  For both mystics and women, the feminine jouissance is without limit, for they are beyond the laws and constrictions that govern phallic jouissance.  Divine bliss is without limit and continues in an uninterrupted way to the horizon…and the horizon too is infinite.

20.  Many individuals who are only masculine live by phallic power alone…by phallic happiness alone.  Women, however, have both phallic jouissance and non-phallic (or feminine) jouissance.  And mystics, regardless of gender, have phallic jouissance and non-phallic (or feminine) jouissance.  The balance of masculine and feminine is continuous in its expression.  You can ask yourself about your particular balance in this area.

21.  Feminine jouissance is infinite and unbound in depth and continuity.  While phallic discourse can be studied directly, feminine jouissance cannot be seen; it is invisible.  Sometimes the jouissance may be visible, but its source remains invisible.  The phallic posture and symbolic function have limits and boundaries.  Feminine jouissance, however, is unbounded and without boundary…without form.

22.  In depth and breadth, this formless bliss is both embodied and goes beyond the body.  This jouissance is in the dimensions of nirmanakaya and samboghakaya.  It is archetypical and enters into the nirmanakaya realm as flesh. Yet, it is simultaneously the unbound openness of dharmakaya permeating the rupakaya forms [the subtle forms of nirmanakaya and samboghakaya].

23. This balance of masculine phallic and feminine jouissance in one person is the unity of skillful means and gnosis…and is the essence of tantra. 

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