Toward a Technology for Awakening
Quantum Revelations in Spirit Awareness
The alien dimension
If I were to be transported to some alternate dimension with the great mission to report on the human condition on earth, I would first say that the planet and the animals are absolutely beautiful. Humans, on the other hand, can display some beauty but for the most part they walk around with a chip on their shoulders. Also, over the centuries, they have been hurting and killing each other without much cause. As a result, collectively, they don’t seem to be having a whole lot of fun while in their bodies.
Now that we’ve established that I have a secret wish to become an alien, I wanted to offer a fresh and creative perspective on existential suffering, and particularly on excess thinking. Beyond that, I will attempt a process, which aims at transcending the many false conceptions we have about being human.
Existential suffering and excess thinking
Up front, I’d like to postulate that the only reason we suffer existentially in our spirit is because we don’t know what we are — rather, we think we know who or what we are. So far, not exactly a completely new idea but I am adding the nuance that if you actually would stop for a moment and contemplate your existence on this planet, it might dawn on you that you have been spending an extraordinary amount of time thinking or I should say having thoughts. I invite you to take a chance and hear what I have to say.
It is clearly excess thinking that seems to dominate our species. On any given day, we know or remember our habits, our moods, our desires, our expectations, our goals, our to-do lists, our needs, etc. We also have memories and concepts about the world, about others, what we do, what they do, what we did and, of course, we hold further ideas and beliefs about ourselves inside this matrix. What is remarkable is that it is all “thought through”. It seems that our minds analyze, measure, reflect and compute, in order to make all the decisions we make and of course, make sense out of them. No matter what the decision, our minds are in control.
Whatever circumstance comes at us and no matter how painful or pleasant it might be, it simply “hits” our conceptualization construct and, off we go, into our daily pursuits, fuelled by our focuses, goals, quests, agendas and our thoughts about it all.
Off we go every morning thinking and believing strongly that life is in our hands and that we better get it together and keep it together.
We’re not in charge
Meanwhile, I assert that we innocently or unconsciously ignore the overall context and premise of our human existence: that life is truly and fundamentally out of our hands and that we all participate in a massive personal and collective delusion that “we” are running the show. Quite a statement to make, right!
And yet, if you believe you have an open mind to at least consider it, please, use this essay to find out.
Liberate your cognition
Whereas the purpose of playing the stock market is undoubtedly making money or that the purpose of a species is to survive — the purpose of being aware or of awakening is positively having a “liberated cognition”. As a result, a spirit of compassion for oneself and, as an extension, other beings, is brought about.
To awaken, after all, is to wake up from something as from a different state. In my view, awareness is slightly different because most new-age theories and popular beliefs confuse consciousness with awareness. We will examine the ramifications in this article, but suffice to say that while consciousness is self-reflective, awareness is all encompassing and does not need anything to be reflected back to itself to know what it is. The knowing is intrinsic. Consciousness is always consciousness of something — it needs an observer and an observed to be valid. There is always an “I” as a part of the equation. Awareness is simply aware that it is aware with no need for anything else. It is aware that it is aware without any reference to who is aware and what it is aware of.
Trapped inside ego
Is there a hierarchy to the process of letting go of mental, emotional and spiritual excess thinking and measuring? Well, consider the following: first, the quasi totality of human beings are literally trapped inside the idea of an ego, which was discovered by René Descartes in 1637 and much later further developed in modern psychology by Sigmund Freud. Second, only a few brave western souls have dared to question the idea of the famous ego’s existence.
The English-American philosopher Alan Watts comes to mind as he extensively lectured on the nature of egoless life, particularly in his “Illusion of Self” series and of course Nietzsche.
The word technology is derived from the Greek tekhnē, which means “craft” or “art”, and logia, which refers to “the study of.” Thus, one interpretation of technology is the study of crafting, in which crafting aims at the transformation and transcendence of various energies or frequencies for a practical purpose. Within the realms of (1) intuition, (2) spirit and (3) emotions, the potential energies to transcend and mutate are: thoughts, feelings, well being, perspectives, opinions, sensing, seeing, understanding, experiencing, centering, knowing and freedom.
The only thing you miss is YOU
From my vantage point and to continue to invite your openness, the first step to transcendence is the deep recognition and realization that the only thing you have ever missed or could ever miss in your entire life is you…or at least a real sense of you. Naturally, we might miss someone or something, but there needs to be a me to miss that someone or that something else. From this standpoint, what we call “I” or ego is this organic and legitimate search for the self.
This you, the self, is this complex and reliable cognitive construct that “thinks” it knows precisely what it is or “thinks” it does or still, at least, should know what it is. This “you”, also thinks it understands, with more or less skill or perfection, how to operate in the world — mechanics and chemistry included!
The self is not the ego
The problem as you might have already guessed is that the self is not the ego; and the nature of self is always confused with the “identity” of the ego, which is not the true self. Mind you, both are concepts and while one (ego) is an illusion (a word), the other, while also being a word in language, possesses an essence.
In addition and in its natural state, the self is aware or awake, while the ego is not — it is only aware of itself as it projects, selects and focuses on things it wants to see happen or measures. In other words, ego is entirely agenda based; its awareness is a consciousness of a self in relationship to what it wants and a consciousness of other things relative to it.
Hence, the strong identification and attachment we commonly display with ego-based life, i.e. our personal identities, our goals, our jobs, our possessions, our family ties, our future, love, money, our aspirations, etc.
If there was a disappearance of these things, it would leave us quasi soulless and very lost. What am I without what I do and aspire to?
Freud, Nietzsche and ego
To continue with the elaboration of ego, Freud also referred to a super-ego and so did Nietzsche in his many references to ego, though for Nietzsche, the concept of superego was closely related to his understanding of human instincts. For Nietzsche, like for many philosophers, “I” is the precondition of all knowledge and consequently, that of reasoning. He, however, denied the common view that the ego possesses reality. For him the ego was not a fact but a fiction, an article of faith, a pragmatic and too often dogmatic necessity.
Nevertheless, Nietzsche observed that this ego fiction was necessary to carry out the operations of reason — whereas reason is an instrument that ensures survival in a precarious world. Reason was regarded as an important human instrument, grounding its conclusions on concepts.
The self is not a concept or a thought
According to ancient and more mystical modern wisdom, the essence of self is equated to “free attention” or “pure attention”; it has no substance and, as such, is not really a self or a thought. It is pure and free attention also referred to as awareness, but rarely expressed as to what it is in essence. One thing is clear; self is not a thought or a concept in its essence, hence, the divide between awareness and consciousness.
Thought and awareness are not the same
There seems to be very little written about the difference between thinking and awareness. Reason has been dominating the scene for a very long time as this powerful capacity to measure, judge and compare through thinking.
For instance, dating back to Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, it was the “I” of reason, which engendered intellectual stimulation and the sophistication of the soul (Psyche). For the Greeks, reason or reasoning was the only true conduit for the elaboration of the highest expression of happiness or well being. For Plato, moral thought, moral conduct, and virtues were the required skills and dispositions needed to attain happiness.
Hence, we can easily observe that it is “thinking and reasoning” that has been given the front seat in the explanation of phenomena such as consciousness and awareness.
Consequently, when we think (as in think about this or that), we become blind to the “essence of awareness or pure free-attention. As thoughts arise, we forget our free-attention capacity. We become literally imprisoned by thoughts and their agendas. Thinking has owned our attention for a very, very long time. It is quite subtle and yet, quite profound to realize.
We are free to watch
Free attention has always been held captive by our thoughts — by mind. Going back to what I was postulating about life being out of our hands, it becomes clear that, while instinctive and cognitive life happens, our free-attention (the essence of what we are) is free to watch what is happening WITHOUT being caught up in any of it or being of it.
If it has been lost for a long time, the time has come to get it back and regain control — so to speak — over our freedom and our well-being, outside of our thinking dimension.
The freedom derived from this practice is beyond words. The other important point to exalt the essence of pure attention is that our free attention is all-knowing and does not need nor try to understand anything. After all, it is “pure” awareness and attention, meaning that it does not need something to be aware “of” (except itself but as awareness NOT as an object of focus), and for the simple reason that free-attention knows no purpose. Pure awareness is simply being aware that you are aware — there is no “object” of awareness. It is quite a challenge for the mind to grasp!
From this point on, it is obviously crucial to integrate why we get trapped in scenarios of objectified consciousness, which is NOT awareness or pure attention — it is not even a derivative of it.
Our minds or egos have objectives and a subject (ego) needs to be present to execute the tasks at hand and confirm its own existence. Put simply, what we commonly think of awareness is more ego-based gestations and pursuits to prove identity and worth. Hence, the difficulty in practicing free attention, which has nothing to do with an identity or self-worth.
Plato and Buddha
If the point of existence is to open up all the expressions of love you can give or share with others, with humanity and life itself, the point is to also maximize happiness and success.
In my view, Plato was on the right track but had no distinction for awareness, though Buddha, born approximately 200 years before Plato, did.
Life takes care of itself.
As you begin to internalize the profound understanding of free attention, you begin to relax in a way unknown to you prior. You begin to love pure attention as yourself. You then realize the second step: that there is no you or I anywhere to be found. In matters of awareness, an I is not a required element.
Free attention is all there is and all “you” (free attention) experience is a dance of perpetual movements and happenings in time and space — but no you, per se, to need to hold on to. Transcendence is achieved through seeing and recognizing what we are in essence, without identity. I like to call it seeing without identity, because it isn’t there.
We are pure awareness
I am pure free and liberated attention-awareness. Think of the birth of a baby. There isn’t a particular event called a birth; all you can witness is a moment-to-moment series of motions, sounds and movement — one cannot actually find a “moment” of birth.
In addition, the baby is born with free attention-awareness, hence our fascination for a newborn — it rings a bell inside our adult ego-based selves, all wrapped up in our thinking. There is no ego nor a self-reflected consciousness in a newborn.
Nothing matters absolutely
If you have read this far, there is the third step. It involves realizing that, from the standpoint of free-attention, nothing in this life actually matters ABSOLUTELY. Nothing actually has an “absolute” importance or an “absolute” significance.
What we find is ego-significance via ideas of self-identification, responsibility, self-improvement and self-importance. Meaning is always added to a situation not contained in the situation. It is pretty deep to grasp. If my car is stolen, there is no meaning to it, i.e. in that someone is driving off with my car. The meaning is not only added but only relative to me. My next door neighbour, who saw the whole thing, did not give it the same meaning. Our personal and psychological existence is essentially a constant flow of interpretations based on what happens. As ego-beings, we are so attached to meaning — it’s not our fault.
You can thus quite easily infer that all we have in life are relative meanings. More to the point, we traffic within illusions of meaning. Yet, you can remember that you have free attention to allow the experiences to be witnessed. It does not mean that you will not try to get your car back and call the police. It is your relationship to what happens that transforms.
In other words, you begin to recognize that life does not matter nor is it important “absolutely” hence, the engendered freedom. Noone is truly responsible for what happens. We think we are. Responsibility is a great killer. Not easy to see. Yet, we can possibly observe how painfully difficult it is to contemplate meaninglessness, even as an honest and creative exercise.
It can be said that what you had before you became free-attention, was relative importance perceived by an impostor, the ego-mind, whose job was to add meaning to that particular event, person, moment, feeling, idea, etc., and get profoundly attached to these things or people — through their false respective meanings and then, hold on to it.
Ultimately, what this inquiry conveys is that nothing is serious or can be taken seriously in any capacity. It is quite a step in evolution but without it, our enjoyment of life becomes extremely limited and, I might add, quite repetitive — no matter what is achieved. It does not mean life does not bring pain. Of course it does! It is helplessness that begins to be cultivated.
How to remain free
This capacity to remain free-attention leads to an irreversible understanding: that blame, fault, fear, desire, rejection, guilt and responsibility are ego-made delusions. They act as causes of suffering because they rest on the false premise that things matter to a “me” or a “we” that is not free because it clearly does not know its own nature and on the even more false premise that life is ABSOLUTELY serious and that we are responsible for what we do.
Cause and effect
“Cause and effect” is a perfect illusion inside the illusion that life matters absolutely. Yes, IT DOES matter but please understand, only relative to the meaning given to things by our false ego-self. If you withdraw the identification to the meaning and recapture your pure attention, whatever was bothering you prior to “getting back online” with pure attention, disappears. YOU have become YOU again.
On the other hand, it is important to understand that the bargains we make with ourselves and others matter but only inside the overall matrix of ego-life, they do not matter absolutely but only to the relative bargains we make with other ego-beings.
The origins of life
I did not imply all this was easy to grasp. As this extraordinary third step reveals itself to you and, again, it is not a walk in the park — what gets released and launched is a reflection on the origins of life, the big bang, and all the chaos or entropy it engendered. Of course, you can add to your reflections and contemplations all the scientific data and all the debates around it, from the beginning of recorded history. In other words, life itself becomes a wonder.
From your intimate and most existential reflections, which are based on the first three steps, you will intuitively embark on the fourth step, which is to discover that there are no rules and no purpose to the Universe itself, only random or quantum events and happenings.
The magical realm of compassion
From that point on, you will enter your mystical journey into the magical realms of compassion only interrupted by genuine laughter. Seriousness or “Seriosis” as I like to call it, will become a signpost to stay alert, poised as free-attention and no longer an indicator that things are serious and absolute.
At last, you will feel the simple yet profound ecstasy of being alive, doing what you do and watching the thoughts that are there floating around. Without involvement of any kind, at least on your spirit side, you become free again. Free as a genuine spirit-awareness, witnessing the fulfilment of the great adventure and mystery of life in human form.
Your body will naturally experience such states as melancholy, sadness, pressure, anxiety, hurry, busyness, doubt and confusion but they will be related to very differently.
From this new perspective, they will appear to you as “content” and no longer as “context”. Problems will get solved through the wisdom of your instincts and intuition, no longer through your mind.
You have awakened to the reality that your life takes care of itself and will organically take you, the free spirit, to the life you were meant to live.
Occasionally, a false sense of identity, interference or involvement will manifest. But with time and dedication, you will transcend by practising free attention until it becomes completely natural.
Wishing you an amazing “free attention” ride!
Note: all my writings should be read with a healthy dose of humor. They are essays in intuitive awareness, offered as creative musings. Sometimes, my aim is to provoke the spirit of the reader in order to inspire new ways of seeing.
Science uses intuition to establish new paths of inquiry and to advance possible theories. I favor a metaphysical exploration through my own intuition rather than fit-all reasoning.
I see myself as a traveling mystic and an emotional spirit filtering universal consciousness in the now. I feel that I am the witness of a great cosmic joke playing with my being on this earth. If I dared to put it in more poetic terms, I would say that inside the tremendous beauty and great mystery of life, I want to be the invisible psychiatrist of lost souls.
My Eyes have Ways of Seeing that my Mind cannot Comprehend.