"I am nothing." "I am God, or all."
(click to enlarge)
Pretty darn interesting. There's a slide show that explains this schema.
From my quick perusual of his/her writings, The Shimmering Dead End guy/gal appears to believe in some sort of immediate experiential non-dual awareness (whatever that means), but considers that the conceptualizations underlying "I am nothing" and "I am God, or all" are, basically, bullshit.
Popular bullshit, to be sure. I've bought and read lots of books in both spiritual genres -- nothing and everything. I used to think that realizing either possibility via some form of enlightenment was better than the mere something I feel myself to be now.
In recent years, though, my current existence seems fine to me. (As if I had a choice in being anything other than what I am here and now.)
From the above-mentioned quick perusual of this blog, I get the impression that Mr./Ms. Shimmering Dead End feels pretty much the same way.
I say "pretty much," because enlightenment still seems to be his/her goal. But this isn't a transcendent, supernatural, or elevated type of enlightenment. Maybe more like giving up ideas about enlightenment, which enables the thing itself to shine forth in all of its non-ideational glory.
The post "Making the mountain an inner forest may ease your way" reminded me of someone who emailed me after my book about Plotinus, a Neoplatonist Greek philosopher, was published. It is called Return to the One, so there's a lot of non-dual stuff in the book.
The first message this person sent me was positive. The second message wasn't. He'd read a concluding chapter where I used a metaphor about ascending a mountain as a reflection of Plotinus' teachings.
That really rubbed the guy the wrong way. He said that spirituality isn't about reaching a summit of consciousness. Rather, it is about embracing the center of what we already are. Back then, I resisted that notion. Now, it makes a lot more sense to me.
Here's an excerpt from the Shimmering Dead End post along that same line.
I’ve found there to be two main schools of thought which attempt to describe the realization of nondual, or primordial consciousness: the ‘glorious mountaintop’ school and the ‘chop wood, carry water’ school. These denote the metaphor systems employed to make the description. The first makes heavy use the attributes “up,” “higher,” “greater,” “perfected,” “pure,” “chaiste,” and “divine.”
...The ‘chop wood, carry water’ school is quite the opposite in terms of its use of superlatives and attributes. We merely see what has always been present, as the Rinpoche describes. When this moment occurs, there is a recognition of what has been ongoing in our awareness, albeit seemingly overlooked.
...The ‘glorious mountaintop’ is the defacto home of the folk theory of enlightenment. Most of the Vedic-based systems of thought are saturated with it, as well as their Western deriviates, the neo-Advaita schools. ‘Chop wood, carry water’ finds its purview in Zen, Ch’an, and Dzogchen Buddhism, as well as with just about every individual I have met personally who I regard to be a jnani, or knower of nondual consciousness.
I’d like to suggest that the main problem is simply that our embodied mindstake these metaphors too literally. Thus, to make enlightenment something that is higher, greater, more perfect and/or more pure, is to remove it from ourselves in the moment, resulting in the occluding effect of the folk theory of enlightenment.
I also liked another post, "The fantasy known as 'no ego'".
Referencing the map for a moment, we can see that the entire constellation of ideas I’m calling the folk theory of enlightenment find their center of gravity in the notion of “no ego.” There are millions of people around the world fervently and sincerely trying to destroy their own sense of themselves as a path to nondual enlightenment.
Our sense of ourselves is our social nav system. Nondual enlightenment does not affect the nav system, as it’s always shining within the nav system’s functional awareness. Every enlightened person on the planet has a nav system. We experience our nav system, our sense of self and place in the world, as our personality.