Oneness, the Experience of Formless Being While Awakening
Awakening offers many tiny glimpses of Oneness, Formless Beingness, during everyday life. These small, quick openings are like looking through the tightest, tiniest aperture setting of a camera lens.
In these moments, Awareness sees with clear seeing. In this one moment, the thinking mind, egoic mind-is still, no thought, no emotion. There is no remembrance of a physical body, no physical sensations register in the brain. There is a silent stillness that is aware, alive, vivid and full of Life.
Whatever the body’s eyes had been focused upon (a person, a tree, an animal, a landscape) is temporarily transcended and the separation between “ourselves” and the object viewed — dissolves. There arises a feeling of Oneness, deep unfathomable, uncaused peace and joy. The body might relax with a deep sigh.
In that moment, we directly experience the Truth of Who We Are, the Spacious Formless Beingness of our True Identity as Essence.
These glimpses may pass without conscious recognition by the thinking mind, for ego mind’s passive use of denial is deeply patterned in its immediate rejection of unity. The opposite polarity might also occur, egoic mind may stir in active resistance by quickly filling the Spaciousness with thoughts to renew the separate personal self of “me”.
Whether recognition occurs or not, Oneness imprints upon the awakening consciousness of form. The stirring of egoic mind reveals it has been invalidated by recognition of Oneness in that instant.
Perhaps we’ve experienced this many times. Reflect on these times, now. How would you describe the experience?
One person who’d taken psychedelic drugs said, “I realized everything was alive, everything was vibrating. I could feel colors and smell sounds, there was no boundary between myself and whatever I saw.”
A person who stood at the mountain’s summit at the end of her ascent said,
“I felt at One with the entire universe, it was like my body melted and I was just One with all of nature.”
A public speaker said, “I was speaking and it was like ‘I’ dissolved, my body was gone, but the words kept flowing and it was if ‘I’ was floating, but there wasn’t a body and ‘my’ mind wasn’t mine, there was just intelligence talking.”
Without getting caught by the idea that our experiences have to match these descriptions, how was the direct experience? What did it feel like? Were there sensations? Was there a physical body? Was there a “me” personality? Was there any problem in that moment? Did a feeling component arise (Peace, Joy, Unconditional Love)?
Afterwards, was there a mental or emotional reaction as the egoic thinking mind rushed in to explain or resist the experience?
Common egoic reactions include fear:
“I felt like I was losing my mind, I became afraid.” ; “I thought maybe I’d had a seizure.” ; “I was worried I was disappearing.” ; “There was nothing, it was like a black void.” ; “I was afraid because I thought maybe I was dying.”
Other egoic reactions may come in the form of arguments: “I guess ‘I’ just checked out for a second.” ; “It couldn’t have happened because it doesn’t make sense.” ; “I must have fallen asleep for a second”.
Some egoic reactions may form as urgent attempts to define the direct experience of non-duality using the ego’s thought system of duality: “It was an out-of-body experience, ‘I’ left ‘my’ body.” ; “It was though ‘I’ was no longer here”; “It was like ‘I’ was invisible and ‘I’ became whatever ‘I’ looked at, ‘I’ took on its form and felt what ‘it’ felt, ‘I’ thought what ‘it’ thought.”
No reactions are wrong, they are simply thinking mind’s attempts to quantify/understand/explain what cannot be contained in words or language. Just notice the conditioned patterns of thinking mind. We are not the conditioning, the conditioning patterns arise as an experience within Who We Are.
Language, by its nature, is an expression of duality, a subject followed by an object. “I” grabbed the “apple”. There is this time of confusion during awakening as thinking mind’s duality is used to attempt to comprehend the non-duality of direct experiences of Being.
Take heart, be comforted and encouraged. The Wisdom guiding Awakening is the perfect Interpreter. This Wisdom will inform the intelligence aspect of thinking mind through expanded perception so that direct experience can be understood and communicated using the duality of language and words.
How can we know this is so? If we gain comfort using religious references, we might remember the bible verse recording Jesus’ words in John 14:16: “I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor/Comforter, that he may be with you forever.”
If we prefer direct experience, we can remember the times we “just knew that we knew what we knew”, even if we couldn’t explain nor “justify” it to anyone else. We simply were Certain without knowing how nor why. Some call this Knowing by the label of Intuition or inner Wisdom, Inspiration or Clarity.
Regardless of what words we use to describe it, we have this direct experience of Knowing. This is the place through which the Intelligence aspect of thinking mind is informed by That which is beyond the thinking mind’s egoic belief system. This is the beginning of the shift from dependence upon thinking mind’s “evidence” to being informed from within our innermost depth of Knowing-ness.
If we’re struggling with egoic thoughts The demanding concrete “proof”, we can allow this inner conflict to arise without attempting to stifle it, repress it nor indulge it through further “thinking”. We can open to questions and “hold” them in Stillness, the quiet spaciousness within the depths of our Being or inner Heart.
There is no conflict in our innermost Being. Although the egoic mind or thinking mind cannot see Truth nor understand it…We can.
An intentional practice used to experience the Spaciousness of Being is described by Eckhart Tolle as:
Feeling the inner energy field of the body by starting with our hands.
Take this moment to focus all attention on the hands. Eyes can be open or closed. Feel the energy coursing through the hands. Without moving, touching nor looking at your hands… how do you know your hands are “still there”? Can you feel their inner aliveness? Just watch in alert, aware stillness without thinking. Can you feel the aliveness in other parts of your body? This aliveness is our Being nature, our very existence beyond our physical form, That within which form arises.
We can try another exercise: As you are listening to someone speak, pay attention to the small gaps between their words. Pay as much attention to the gaps of silence as you do to the sound of the words.
If no one is speaking, we can pay attention to the gaps of silence between the words which appear as thoughts within our mind.
If there are noises in our environment, we can intensely listen with every cell of the body to the point where the sound dies off into silence. When another sound arises, watch for that moment this sound also dies or fades out into Silence.
These are direct experience of formless Being using the energy field of the inner body to “pull focus”, (like a camera’s aperture). Energy is removed from thinking mind and channeled through the physical senses to catch the glimpse of Life vibrancy beyond physical form.
Awakening is our opportunity to consciously realize our True Identity, our Being-Essence beyond our physical body and all of the Freedom and Peace this discovery entails.
With You as Awakening Unfolds