What is the Wonder of All Wonders? The Unfolding Awareness... Luminous Flesh
Rudolph Bauer,Ph.D.Author, Erin Johannesen, M.A., M.D. Editor
1. To experience the unfolding of the kayas of the awareness field, to experience the manifestations of the nature of consciousness in ourselves, or to experience the unfolding of gnosis, direct perception, as the ground of being…is a gifted experience. At times, when this gift and its manifestations are wrapped in the cloth of excess and saturation, the mystic life feels excessive.
And so it is really useful to read and to hear about the lives of yogis: To read [Swami Muktananda’s] The Play of Consciousness: A Spiritual Autobiography, or [Padampa Sangye’s] The Lion of Siddhas; to hear of the life of Meister Eckhart, and of [Ibn] Al-Arabi, to name a few. It is also useful to hear the experiences of [Dzogchen teacher, Chogyal] Namkai Norbu, Yan Xin [siddha qi gong master], Lama Wangdor [holder of both Nyingma and Kagyu lineages and an eclectic teacher], Lama Norhla [who teaches in the Kagyu tradition], Lama Kunzang Dechen Lingpa [Nyingma terton, a revealer of Dharma treasures], H.E. Dudjom Rinpoche [head of the Nyingma lineage during his lifetime]… and Amma [Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, world-renowned saint of love, compassion, and selflessness]…all luminous flesh.
2. There is a famous statement in phenomenology, “What gives itself, shows itself; what shows itself gives itself”. That is, the field of awareness manifests awareness and manifests itself in us as us. Awareness manifests itself in us (in you, in me) insofar as it gives itself in us. The manifestation of awareness actually creates itself as the body of light in us as us and brings forth awareness in us. The experience of awareness is a gift. It is not a function of intentionality, of mind, or of the noetic noema [Husserl’s term for the thinkingness of thinking]; awareness is not a thought. Awareness is an non conceptual experience that is given.
When asked, “Who is God?” Swami Muktananda would say, “God is this fantastic experience that is within you as you.” The divine experience is not a movie. It is not outside of you; there is no distance whatsoever. It is your you-ness that is the place.
3. The sense of subjectivity that takes place when we are in our solipsistic mind, is not the same sense of subjectivity that takes place when we are in awareness of our mind. The sense of subjectivity that arises out of our becoming aware of awareness is not the same sense of subjectivity as occurred in events prior to our becoming aware of awareness. Subjectivity is a floating metaphor. The sense of subjectivity that takes place within the infinite unfolding of the kayas is subjectivity closer to the pure, unbound and unbinding openness of the ground of beingness…without reference.
4. As the kayas, or dimensions of awareness, unfold themselves in us as us—as nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, and dharmakaya, our subjectivity is the dimension. We do not have a kaya. We do not visit a kaya. We are the kaya. AHAM AH –I am that. These experiences as subject, or as experiencer, in the dimensions of awareness are vastly different from our earlier experience of being a subject who is locked in a mind, or locked in a particular function of the mind…like the affective function, or the thinking function. Such is the wonder of all wonders…translucent openness as flesh, translucent openness as light, translucent openness as pure potential space...unbound.
5. The very sense of subjectivity is transformed, dissolved, and reinvented within these developmental movements. Becoming one with the awareness field is not a simple expansion of the mind. Actually, the mind may expand very little, if at all. The expansion is the vast expansion of awareness…into gnosis…into becoming knowingness. Such expansion is a gift that is given. In certain ways, the mind never catches up to what has happened.
6. With each step in this process of consciousness unfolding, our sense of subjectivity transforms and is given by the gift of awareness manifesting. Initially, in the being of our lives, our mind contained, or held, subjectivity. Just like a bottle, or a vase, our mind contained, or held awareness. Yet as awareness gives itself to us (to you, to me) and shows itself to us as us, then a natural reversal occurs, and suddenly, awareness contains our mind...and we know less and less with our mind, with the functions of the mind –our thoughts, affects, sensations, memories, imagination and more. As we experience these functions through our awareness, unbound openness occurs… ineffable-ness manifests…and basic faith arises…we have confidence in our experience.
7. Since we are the receiver of the gift, the gifting of unbound and unbinding awareness, this gift of awareness with its intensity and ineffability brings forth suffering and bliss within us. For the very flesh of the luminous awareness, in its incessant manifestation in the body, stretches the recipient, the receiver, in every way possible. The manifestation of cosmic awareness in the body is excessive and saturating. It is saturating as an event, as iconic radiance. It is saturation of the flesh and of the subtle body, saturation of the visible in excess, and saturation of infinite experience in a finite body-mind continuum.
The receiver of such manifestation is suddenly put in the situation of feeling the experience of unbound and unbinding awareness as one’s own self. We feel our own fragile embodiment… for the gift of awareness is not given simply into a subjectivity, but rather is given as subjectivity. And this subjectivity itself undergoes an alchemical gifting of self-manifestation of gnosis. There is no distance whatsoever [between self and the open, unbound space of awareness]…and so the very structures of a person, of self, are undone and re-done.
The receiver of awareness not only receives what awareness gives to him or to her, but also the receiver allows the given to show itself insofar as it gives itself in him or in her. Awareness is not grasped; it is received.
As the receiver receives the gift of awareness, the receiver accomplishes, or completes, the givenness by transforming the gift into manifestation. That is, what gives itself in us shows itself in us on its own basis.
8. When we approach the doorway of death and enter the deathless place, at that moment, possibilities open…to enter the oneness of dharmakaya, to enter sambhogakaya with its dimensions of deities, luminous devas, and corresponding heavens (all of which are manifestations of consciousness), or to re-enter, to return to, nirmanakaya, the world of the flesh. Regardless of our choice, each option is the dharma of deepening our realization of awareness.