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I’d like to check out my experience of awareness, and my understanding of my personal tendencies with it. So, over the years and the different paths I’ve been on, there are people who have a more vibrant inner life –just by nature; they feel more, they experience more, internally– and I’m not one of those people. I have a very quiet inner life; much more engaged externally. So, when I go to awareness, this is kind of another version of the void experience we heard about a little bit earlier. My experience of awareness is infinite, certainly; without lack, certainly; but I wouldn’t give it attributes –and I know happiness is just a placeholder, right?– I wouldn’t give it attributes of peace. Because that implies a particular feeling. And it’s actually quite a “feeling less” state, when I go to awareness. I don’t have… That’s OK with me, as long as that’s OK. OK? [Man and audience laugh, Rupert nods] So, I’m OK being there, and it’s a good place to be, and it informs my world and it helps me engage in my life better.

Over the years, I’ve had a few handfuls of experience, with awareness, that have been rich. And profoundly peaceful. And profoundly unified. There was only one experience; and it was me; and there was nothing else. And so, the way that I’m kind of putting this together, is that the one experience that I have, is only one experience, but it’s kinda like the volume of a good set of speakers: sometimes the volume is down, and sometimes the volume is up. In my particular experience, it’s mostly quite quiet. It’s still there, I can access it any time I want, it’s consistent, it’s right there for me, but it’s usually not one that I would again apply these attributes of happiness or peace to. It’s just that: still, silent completeness. So I guess I would like your feedback on that.

Yes. Yeah. The reason we describe awareness as being innately peaceful and happy, is in reference to the previous agitation and sense of lack. So if you have previously been very agitated and you trace your way back to your self, and you find no agitation in your self, in contrast to the previous agitation, we call the nature of our self, peace. Likewise, previously there was the sense of lack –in other words, we were suffering and we were constantly trying to fulfill our sense of lack in the world– we trace our way back to our self, and when we, so to speak, “get to our self”, we find no sense of lack there. So the word we use to describe the absence of the sense of lack, is happiness. So the words peace and happiness are only used in reference to the previous agitation and lack.

Once you are accustomed to abiding in your true nature, and the agitation and the sense of lack is no longer experienced, or very rarely experienced, there are no longer there in your experience to contrast your current experience, and then it is no longer necessary to refer to your self as being inherently peaceful or happy.

Okay. And those handfuls of experiences where the volume is turned up, as… – not that they’re other than awareness, but do occasionally, rarely but occasionally, have a more intense experience of that place… How does that work?

That could be an example of Walter Kiers’ comment that I mentioned a few days ago, where “Happiness is peace in motion and peace is happiness at rest”. This would be –if you allow me to use the word peace to describe the normal experience of being aware– more neutral…

Okay.

… this nice phrase that Walter Kiers used, “Happiness is peace in motion”. When that experience bubbles up, so to speak, or in your language, “when the volume goes up”, it is experienced as happiness. But in fact, even that is only said in reference to your objective experience, because the experience of being aware is always the same experience; the volume never really goes up or down. It’s never really more or less intense.

So, if awareness is infinite –using the metaphor of the river, it seems to me that we might have a surface-level touch, or a deeper-level touch with awareness– if it’s infinite, and expansive, then might we not have different experiences of the intensity, or volume, of the awareness itself?

The fact that being aware is always the same experience –there are no degrees of being aware, there are only degrees of what we are aware of– so the difference in intensity that you are referring to, I think is the difference in the intensity of the effect that your knowledge of yourself has on your body and your mind. And that gives rise to a varying degree of emotion; you may feel a heightened degree of emotion at some stage, compared to your normal, rather neutral stage. But this is not a heightened experience of being aware, it’s a heightened effect of the fact of being aware on your bodymind. So it is your emotion, your feeling, that is heightened; it’s not the fact of being aware that is heightened.

Hm. So it really is just this constant, most familiar…

Yeah.

… most normal…

Yeah. Yeah.

… most…

Yeah. It never evolves, it has no degrees of intensity… It’s like the sun; it just always shines with the same brightness.

OK.

We could legitimately say, there are various degrees of the veiling of our true nature, depending on the opacity of our thoughts and feelings. And therefore, as we approach our true nature, as the opacity begins to fade, we may feel that our true nature is getting brighter and brighter and brighter. Just as when the clouds begin to disperse, we feel that the sun gets brighter; and the sun doesn’t really get brighter, although it seems to.

So it could be that this… –that’s another… I still think my first suggestion is probably the correct one in your case– but it could also be that you are actually seeing yourself more and more clearly; but I don’t think that’s the case, because I get the feeling that when you say you have the experience of being aware, that’s just the full experience of being aware. I think it’s the effect –particularly if you tend to be a rather quiet person on the inside, with not a lot of intensity of emotion– that sometimes the impact of being knowingly the presence of awareness reverberates in your body and your mind, and there is a heightened emotion of happiness or joy. It’s not a heightened experience of awareness.

That does it. Thank you.

Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros