Q & A: When the Fire of Awakening Burns…

Michael McAlister Blog Leave a Comment

Gotta’ love when the earthquake of Awakening rattles and rolls everything we’ve ever known to be true…

Question(s):

As I sit, all that comes within my attention, or where I choose to turn my attention, exists because I’ve turned my attention on it. Then, when I turn my attention on “the one” who is attending to everything else, then that exists because my attention is on it. Is this what we call “the I”?

What about what’s behind where my attention is? How can the one perceiving know it? This perceiver has never experienced what’s at its source, never felt it, seen it, never, until now, been made aware of it? So if I am also that thing behind and outside of everything that has a boundary, then I am also somewhere within that thing, being perceived.

It feels like some thing breaking apart, and it’s kind of scary (that’s an understatement). Though exciting and interesting at the same time. Where am I? Every spiritual tradition says keep asking the question “Who am I?” But should I just stop trying to answer, and rest in the wonder-awe of it, rather than this feeling that I have to grab onto fistfulls of whatever I think will keep me bound and thus connect me
to what I have known as real…at least identifiable and familiar? Explaining here is impossible.

Is this why we seek connection so ardently?  I have held on to things and people (even harmful ones) for this unreal connection to life. The illusion really is that I’m alone in this expanse since I can’t really know it. But as there are no boundaries to it, the “I” must be there, along with every one and every thing. And w/in the boundaryless, the I has no boundaries either. (however, when a cat chews into my toe unexpectedly,
damn cat, as he did just this second, I feel I sharply and definitely here – boundaries defined again? I don’t get that.)

The pain is disconnection and flying apart (non-being) …and deeper … is total connection, past words, thoughts, sensations and opening into infinite inclusion.  When I was meditating earlier, there was only the breathing left. Where did fear go?

I thought if I stepped back enough, and widened my zoom, and kept doing that, I could fit everything.  It’s way too big…so the only choice is to open completely to the seamlessness and let myself be unknown, seeing that there are no edges.

Answer:

Nice bit of expression there. I’m not sure anything needs to be said at all, but I’ll throw this out there for fun:

So yeah… Who is it that is paying the attention? Indeed. Who is it? Does it even have a name? Does it move? Ever? Or is it just the ever-present spaciousness that sources all creativity from its depths? And what’s in it for any of us?

The Surangama Sutra does a great job of telling us that we can’t see our seeing or hear our hearing in the same way that the Seer of experience can never be seen. And yet everything arises within the open space of the Seer. Nothing is outside of the Infinity that we are. And we get most intimate with it when we can simply rest in the middle of our wonder, since the answers can never come close to apprehending all its Grace. Doing so is the same thing as ditching the camera and just being the expanse.

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