A Summary of November Retreat, India 2016
Our most recent retreat in India was unquestionably the most important one to date. The teaching is evolving exponentially with astonishing intelligence and precision. Revelations are unfolding with ever-increasing clarity, and this greatly aides the ease with which we can comprehend the subtleties of the inner dimension.
Even though the teaching may seem to have become more complicated and challenging to grasp, once absorbed, this seeming complexity will actually add a higher level of clarity to the process of evolving into essential me. Simplicity is desirable, but not merely for its own sake. It is desirable only when it also honestly reflects reality. Simplicity which obscures proper understanding defeats its own purpose, so we work towards conceptualizing the path in a way where complexity and clarity are in balance. As Einstein said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not more.”
We could live with a model of essential me based on just one or two centers, but we would then have far fewer tools with which to evolve into this dimension of who we are. An understanding of the four centers of essential me and their interdependent nature gives us significant advantages, and will accelerate our progress on the path. We may still proceed at our individual speeds, but this meticulous and detailed map is designed to aid us in reaching our destination as quickly as possible. At last we know where we are going.
It is the love for our own self that is the living spirit of this teaching. Its grace is intelligence, which speaks to our higher mind, revealing the mysteries hidden within that greatest enigma of all – our me. We are living in a blessed time, a time which heralds an end to confusion and the dawn of understanding. This understanding is our salvation, because we know for the first time how to solve the puzzle of our existence and find the peace that has, until now, always eluded us. This is the peace which flowers from the realization of our original and intended purpose, as we are returning to the state which prevails eternally as the very foundation of our subjectivity.
It must be borne in mind that this summary presentation is just a very condensed overview of the new revelations from the retreat. For deeper clarity, it is important to listen to the recorded meditations and to study their transcriptions.
Mapping the Evolution of Essence-Me
Awakening the Four Centers
As was revealed through previous revelatory articles, essential me has four centers: the observer (the secondary center of conscious me and the center of intelligence), conscious me (essence-me realized), pure conscious me (the pure me of conscious me, its beingness), and fundamental me (the pure me of pure conscious me, the foundation and doorway for essence-me into verticality). While a linear approach to awakening essential me is important, meaning we address the recognition and solidification of each center one-by-one, the four centers should be seen as entirely interdependent. As such, all four must be awakened in unison to grow into completion.
Vertical Samadhi of the Four Centers
Once the four centers have been awakened, they must reach vertical samadhi in absolute I am. The first to reach samadhi is fundamental me. This realization is called the ‘fundamental state’, which is comparable to the absolute state but for the essential channel. The next is pure conscious me, giving rise to absolute pure conscious me. Then conscious me reaches samadhi in pure conscious me and becomes unified with it, which gives rise to absolute me (the samadhi of conscious me was previously called the ‘primordial state’, a term which is now no longer in use). Finally, the observer reaches vertical samadhi in conscious me, giving birth to the realization of the pure observer, or the ‘sealed state’.
From Me to I: Internal Samadhi of Essential Me
Because of its unique nature, there are additional dimensions of samadhi within the essential me which we call ‘internal samadhi’. Internal samadhi has two expressions: self-absorption, which is the merging of pure attention with the very kernel of essence-me, and pertains only to conscious me and the observer, and self-fusion, which is the total merging of one center of essential me with another, resulting in a new single center (for instance, the merging of the observer, conscious me, and pure conscious me, resulting in absolute I). The combination of both these types of samadhi, with the addition of vertical samadhi, gives birth to the realization of ‘I’ where the duality inherent to me is transcended.
Transcendence: Immanent Samadhi
In absolute I, the self-absorbed observer and conscious me are both merged in self-fusion with pure conscious me, to result in one singular identity which exists in vertical samadhi. Then, primordial I is born from the further merging and fusion of absolute I with fundamental me. Finally, through the most profound self-absorption in primordial I itself, we realize the ‘immanent samadhi’, unity with the immanent I am, which is the deepest, most innermost dimension of pure subjectivity beyond both absolute I and primordial I.
We will now elaborate on the central concepts in more detail:
Internal Samadhi: Self-Absorption and Self-fusion
A very important concept that was introduced in this retreat is that of ‘internal samadhi’. There are two expressions of internal samadhi: self-fusion and self-absorption. Self-fusion and self-absorption are fully intertwined, and their relationship is non-linear. For instance, through self-absorption on the level of conscious me and the observer, a natural self-fusion happens between conscious me and pure conscious me, and so forth.
Self-fusion indicates the complete merging of two centers of essential me to form one new center. Self-fusion is a term that we introduced after the retreat in order to distinguish properly between the different aspects of internal samadhi. There are two main expressions of self-fusion. The first is when one of the centers of essence-me (meaning conscious me or the observer) is merged with one of the centers of pure me within the essential channel. So for example, conscious me and the observer merge with pure conscious me to realize the absolute I, or absolute I merges with fundamental me to realize primordial I. The second type of self-fusion occurs between the two centers of essence-me – the observer and conscious me – where they merge to form one center. This second type of self-fusion is the basic requirement for the realization of ‘I’.
Self-absorption refers to the process of internally merging with the deepest core within both centers of essence-me. It is not the merging of conscious me and the observer, but the merging of each of these centers into itself – or more precisely, the merging of pure attention with the kernel of essence-me inherent to both of them.
Self-absorption within either conscious me or the observer can be practiced from the very start of our work with essential me. In fact, it is the self-absorption of the self-conscious observer which allows conscious me to be born. We need to feel and relate to our essence-me with love and appreciation, gently and tenderly merging with it to reach a deeper and deeper intimacy with who we are. This practice will have the positive effect of balancing and softening the excessive presence of both conscious me and the observer, will enable us to isolate our pure subjectivity on that level from external attention, and will facilitate relative self-fusion – for instance, in the realization of primary me.
The deeper expressions of self-absorption are then achieved upon the foundation of the vertical samadhi of the four centers of essential me. Here, in a two-fold internal samadhi, self-fusion and self-absorption meet to result in the profound state of ‘essence-samadhi’. When we have reached significant self-absorption on the level of the observer and the gravitational pull of the absolute I am is present, it will more naturally fuse with conscious me. When we have reached self-absorption on the level of conscious me, and pure conscious me is in vertical samadhi, it will naturally fuse with absolute pure conscious me. The result is an empowered identity which is able to enter the absolute I am much more deeply. So it is this complete merging and deeper penetration into the absolute I am that results in the realization of essence-samadhi, or ‘absolute I’.
Unity versus Fusion (Merging)
The concept of internal samadhi makes it important to clarify the difference between the experience of unity between centers versus the actual fusion of or merging between centers. The unity of two or more centers means there is no sense of separation between them and that they are experienced with complete simultaneity; they are still distinct entities, but the boundaries between them have become transparent. In addition, since the relationship between the centers of essential me is primarily vertical, any one of the lower centers serves as a transparent doorway to the absolute I am for those above it (fundamental me for pure conscious me, pure conscious me for conscious me, and conscious me for the observer). For such unity to be achieved, the foundation of absence needs first to be established in essential me. However, one is also able to experience a degree of relative unity on the foundation of deep restfulness.
In fusion or merging, on the other hand, one center becomes completely infused in another one, and they become a single center. Such self-fusion is possible only within essential me, meaning it does not apply to our work with the pure mes of the central channel. The deepest self-absorption, which is called ‘immanent self-absorption’, occurs within primordial I when pure attention merges with immanent I am. This is what we call ‘immanent samadhi’.
Absolute Me, Absolute I, and Primordial I
These three terms – absolute me, absolute I, and primordial I – designate three sequentially deeper levels of the entry of conscious me into the absolute I am.
What is absolute me? It is conscious me in vertical samadhi, in unity with the absolute I am via pure conscious me and fundamental me. It is also a higher level of the realization of primary me, where the relative unity of conscious me with pure conscious me is bridged and they become completely unified. Before conscious me can attain vertical samadhi, both fundamental me and pure conscious me must lay the foundation. The fundamental state (fundamental me in samadhi in absolute I am) opens the door for pure conscious me, which can then also reach unity with absolute I am, becoming absolute pure conscious me. Absolute pure conscious me, in turn, through unity with conscious me, becomes the bridge for conscious me to enter the absolute and achieve samadhi as absolute me. In absolute me, conscious me and pure conscious me are in unity but not merged, so they are still distinct centers.
For the next stage of ‘absolute I’ to be realized, deeper internal samadhi and self-fusion are required. Absolute me must merge with absolute pure conscious me, which in turn requires the pure observer to merge with absolute me. In the realization of absolute I, these three centers become one center. At this stage, fundamental me still continues as a separate center below the newly formed absolute I.
To realize primordial I, absolute I must then become unified with fundamental me. While the realization of absolute I is a byproduct of self-absorption, the merging of absolute I and fundamental me is a result of the vertical surrender of absolute I. In primordial I, all of the four centers of the family of essential me have become a single center, although the observer continues to retain its natural function as our center of intelligence.
So as we said, in order to realize primordial I, absolute I must fuse with fundamental me through vertical surrender. Incidentally, there is a specific point where absolute I makes its direct entry into absolute I am. This is what we will now call the ‘upper essential tan t’ien’, while the ‘lower essential tan t’ien’ is a different portal through which fundamental me enters absolute I am. This unique upper tan t’ien serves as the portal to absence for the upper centers of essential me. So first, pure conscious me realizes samadhi and transforms into absolute pure conscious me. In that process, this portal to absolute I am becomes fully open and transparent. Then, absolute me realizes vertical samadhi from its unity with absolute pure conscious me, and with the addition of internal samadhi transforms into absolute I. Both pure conscious me and conscious me have not passed through the portal to absence, but rather reached unity with it, resulting in a transparent doorway to the absolute. Finally, when absolute I seeks to merge with fundamental me, it can only do so by actually passing through this doorway fully to the other side and by reaching complete self-fusion with fundamental me.
What is the difference between absolute me and absolute I? In absolute I, conscious me is fully merged (rather than merely unified) with pure conscious me, and any duality between them has been dissolved. In this merging, conscious me has not only achieved essence-samadhi (as absolute I), but it has also reached a higher level of vertical absence and penetration of the absolute I am. It is important to note that before conscious me can merge with pure conscious me, the observer has to reach self-absorption and merge with conscious me as well. So absolute I is a realization where several samadhis conjunct: self-absorption on the level of conscious me and the observer, fusion between the observer and conscious me, and fusion between conscious me and the observer with absolute pure conscious me.
The Difference Between Me and I
The distinction between me and I has been made in the past, but we can now be more clear and precise about it. Our sense of self as me is actually based on an internal duality between pure attention and bare attention, which creates an immediate self-reference allowing one to recognize oneself as ‘me’. In regards to conscious me, there is a two-fold duality – between pure attention and essence-me, and between the conscious me and the observer. In the realization of ‘I’, there is no such duality, because self-recognition is self-generated and unmediated by pure attention.
The first level of transcending the internal duality of me is what we call ‘embodiment’. The difference between embodiment and self-absorption is that in embodiment, pure attention does not merge with essence-me but rather becomes centralized in it, culminating in the shift of one’s identity into that particular center of me. In self-absorption, pure attention melts into essence-me, thus dissolving any duality between the two. Then, to realize I, pure attention not only has to merge with essence-me, but the observer must also merge with its primary center of conscious me. The observer cannot merge with conscious me through vertical surrender – it merges with it through self-absorption.
When the observer is merged with absolute me, that observer becomes the absolute observer, and absolute me is transformed into absolute I. The difference between the pure observer and the absolute observer is that the pure observer is only in the state of vertical unity with absolute me while the absolute observer is fully merged with it.
What is the difference between the two pronouns of ‘me’ and ‘I’ from a spiritual perspective? ‘Me’ is grammatically regarded as an ‘objective’ pronoun and ‘I’ as a ‘subjective’ one. In correct English, the word ‘me’ is used when referred to as subjective-object, such as when saying, “He gave me a cup of tea.” We would obviously not say, “He gave I a cup of tea.” On the other hand, we do say, “He and I had a cup of tea.” This is why it is grammatically correct to say “It is I” rather than “It is me.” What this means is that there is certain objectification in ‘me’ which has profound spiritual implications. Me, in the act of being conscious of itself, actually becomes an object to itself; it enters into a relationship with its own subjectivity.
As an example, how do we become aware of pure me of consciousness? We relate to it as our own self, and hence we have become the object of our recognition. It is pure attention that functions here as a type of dynamic subjective pronoun, but since it does not have a centralized identity, we do not speak of it in terms of ‘me’ or ‘I’. In fact, it is the immanent I am that is recognizing me via pure attention, but immanent I am also does not have a sense of me or I, and hence it cannot technically be regarded as a subjective pronoun. Spiritually, it is only ‘I’ that is the proper subjective pronoun because it is free from any traces of objectivity, and hence is the subject to its own subjectivity.
To realize I, not only does pure attention need to merge with both essence-me and the secondary center of essence-me (which, in turn, allows the observer to merge with conscious me), but our me must also be in the state of vertical unity with the absolute I am. Without the foundation of vertical absence, self-absorption can at most just give us a mere glimpse of I. For this reason, when practicing self-absorption, one must ensure that one has attained sufficient vertical depth in both pure conscious me and fundamental me.
Immanent and Primordial I am
Even deeper than the realization of primordial I is the awakening of the immanent I am. In the past, it was said that primordial I is realized by merging with the immanent I am, but this is not fully accurate. For the immanent I am to awaken, we must realize immanent absorption within primordial I, which opens the inner door to both the immanent I am and primordial I am. Primordial I am can only be accessed through immanent I am, and its realization is a natural outcome of reaching immanent samadhi. In other words, the realization of primordial I does not in itself involve the realization of the immanent I am. Primordial I is simply absolute I infused in, or merged with, fundamental me.
Immanent I am is our deepest subjectivity, beyond our sense of subjectivity as it is defined either by me or I. Immanent I am is also the source of pure attention which illuminates me with recognition and merges with essence-me in the act of self-absorption. So to be clear, immanent I am is not reached through vertical surrender but through the deepest level of self-absorption within primordial I, by which ‘immanent samadhi’ is attained. It is through the immanent I am that we realize natural unity with the primordial I am, which itself is the source of the absolute I am.
Primordial I am is the godhead of creation. It is not reached through either horizontal or vertical surrender: it is the source of both the universal and absolute I am. It is not located anywhere, nor does it exist outside of me. Rather, it is the most internal dimension of pure subjectivity and the foundation of our existence. It is by diving into the deepest recesses of our personal subjectivity and passing the thresholds of me, and then of I, and then even of the immanent I am that we enter its sacred domain. Me is the temple. I is the shrine. The immanent I am is the altar. And the primordial I am is the formless sacrament on the altar from which the whole of existence emanates.
What happens to primordial I when the immanent I am is realized? It becomes the secondary center of the immanent I am, which we call ‘the primordial observer’.
Pure, Absolute, and Primordial Observer
The transformation of conscious me into absolute I and primordial I is inextricably tied to the evolution of the observer, because to realize I, the observer must be merged with the primary center of essence-me. In the realization of the pure observer (the sealed state), the observer is fully integrated with the soul and unified with conscious me. For this to happen, conscious me must reach vertical samadhi and transform into absolute me. The pure observer is the observer in vertical samadhi in absolute me.
For the realization of the absolute observer, vertical unity with absolute me is not enough. The observer must merge with conscious me, which also includes their merging with pure conscious me and entering the absolute I am more deeply. This is what we call ‘essence-samadhi,’ the realization of absolute I.
The final step is the realization of the primordial observer, which occurs when absolute I merges with fundamental me. In other words, the primordial observer is the observer of the primordial I. However, it is not enough to realize primordial I for the observer to transform into the primordial observer. It is only upon reaching immanent samadhi, where one’s sense of self fully moves into the immanent I am, that the primordial observer is born. In fact, upon reaching the immanent I am, the primordial I transforms into the primordial center of our intelligence – which is another name for the primordial observer.
Transcendence is Immanence
In the past, we have used the concept of transcendence to be roughly synonymous with the goal of spiritual wholeness. But transcendence is not the same as wholeness, nor is it the same as liberation. Liberation implies reaching emancipation from suffering. It is not synonymous with transcendence, and can at best be seen as a byproduct of it. Transcendence is not a mere merging with absolute reality or going beyond the realm of relativity. In transcendence, one is not transcending anything in particular – one is just transcending. However, if we insist on defining ‘what’ is being transcended from a lower perspective, we can say that we are transcending the limitations of our sense of self as it is experienced in the boundaries of creation, as well as transcending higher dimensions of creation, such as the universal and absolute I am – in other words, one is transcending ‘everything’.
What allows us to realize transcendence? It is the realization of the immanent I am through immanent samadhi within primordial I. In this, we see that transcendence is actually immanence, a total internalization of the sense of me into its immanent core as an unborn primordial kernel. Transcendence is not a mere ‘going beyond’ or ‘moving away’, but rather the ultimate awakening – the awakening of who we are and the awakening of what we are; it is to realize that which has been there all along, but unnoticed, hidden in the countless expressions of consciousness, hidden even in the light of pure subjectivity. Indeed, the immanent I am is the light hidden in the light of me and in the light of I.
Intuitive Me and the Intuitive Observer
A related but slightly different series of revelations in this retreat were of the awakening of our intuitive intelligence and its centers of intuitive me and the intuitive observer. Intuitive intelligence is experienced in the upper portion of the frontal lobe (to give its medical name, the ‘superior frontal gyrus’), in the same region as the ordinary subconscious mind. Creating a conscious connection to this area allows us to open more to our deeper intuition and indeed to universal intelligence itself.
Intuitive me is a center of intelligence that awakens through embodying our intuitive intelligence. The center of intuitive me is located slightly below the upper portion of the frontal lobe and horizontally parallel to the top of the head. Although we have described intuitive me as the ‘universal secondary center of essence-me’ (hence why it has a flavor of essence-me), it actually arises from pure me of consciousness, which allows it to enter and share the intelligence aspect of the universal I am. When intuitive me is self-absorbed, it is transformed into ‘celestial me’, and intuitive intelligence is then experienced as ‘celestial intelligence’.
The intuitive observer is another center of intelligence, which we call the center of ‘higher contemplative thinking’, while the pure observer is a center of ‘lower contemplative thinking’. Contemplative thinking is a higher type of thinking that occurs on a deeper plane than mental thinking. In mental thinking, the observer is in a linear relationship with thoughts, where thoughts are as if ‘in front’ of the thinker. In contemplative thinking, the thinker does not exist apart from thoughts, and thoughts are permeated with the light of pure subjectivity. Because it is the position of the thinker that determines the quality of thoughts, for contemplative thinking to be possible the observer has to merge with conscious me. And for conscious me to absorb the observer, all the remaining centers of the essential me need to be established, and conscious me needs to rest in the pure conscious me, and so forth. Unless we awaken the faculty of contemplative thinking, the observer will remain a disturbing influence upon our embodiment of pure subjectivity, pulling us away from our fundamental nature. The observer has to learn how to think from the soul, by remaining continuously absorbed in conscious me, and thus imbuing thoughts with feeling of me from within its own pure subjectivity.
The intuitive observer is located in the upper part of the forehead. Even though intuitive me and the intuitive observer are linked to our higher intelligence, the intuitive observer is connected more to conceptual thinking. However, both of these centers can exist in the state free of thoughts and embody thoughtless intelligence. The intuitive observer is the ‘secondary center of the primary observer’; the primary center is the base-observer merged with conscious me. When the intuitive observer merges with its subjectivity through self-absorption, it is transformed into the ‘celestial observer’. For both the intuitive observer and intuitive me to arise and be active, the primary center of the observer must be at complete rest, with its functional aspect effectively deactivated.
To experience either intuitive me or the intuitive observer, one must be in a state of complete rest vertically in both essential me and pure me of consciousness. These intuitive dimensions of me can arise only when we are in a state of absolute effortlessness. However, as this effortlessness is also connected with the intention to create a link with intelligence, we call this combination, or unity, of intention and effortlessness ‘pure will’.
Some of these states of attainment may seem difficult to reach, but that which seems to be far is also very near. Even a relatively new student should be able to experience self-absorption. For instance, it is impossible to awaken conscious me unless we ‘self-absorb’ the self-conscious observer (the observer that becomes aware of its sense of me). This means that we can connect to the realization of I in relatively early stages of our evolution in the family of essential me. Furthermore, knowing the importance of the immanent I am and the fact that it is living in and as the heart of our very essence-me should radically transform our relationship with our very subjectivity. It should inspire us to activate a deeper intimacy with ourself and awaken a more tangible and real self-love.
Diving into the mystery of our me with devotion and appreciation of who we are is a reflection of the true spirit of the path, which is the true and only meaning of the ancient truth that ‘the seeker is the sought’.
Our salvation is to be found in the most unexpected place – it lies in surrender to that most simple and ordinary sense of me that we naively take for granted. The immanent I am hidden in the cave within our me is the sun illuminating all worlds.
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