As we contemplate internal samadhi in essential me, we come to appreciate more and more the subtle nuances of this process. We might indeed be able to do the right practice intuitively. However, to truly master self-absorption, our practice must be guided by exact and precise conceptual understanding. The purpose of this understanding is not only to aid our practice. It is also to gain a higher degree of self-knowledge, to truly comprehend the unfoldment of our true self and the deepest meaning of its realization. There cannot be true self-knowledge without intelligence, because knowing is intelligence. The ultimate flowering of our intelligence is to arrive at complete, doubtless clarity about the nature of our experience.
In that spirit, we wish to now dive more deeply into the practice of self-absorption, and particularly into its first and second levels, to uncover the intricate dynamics between the inner and outer knower, and explore how to manifest the complete realization of absolute samadhi.
The first level of self-absorption is what we call ‘passage samadhi.’ Passage samadhi is when the inner knower becomes absorbed in the self-conscious observer, which thereby serves as a passage into the realization of conscious me, the awakened identity of the inner knower. So from the beginning, we can already see how much the inner and outer knower are interconnected. The inner knower must go through the outer knower (which at this point, is the observer) to enter his own subjectivity. And yet the intention to do so is formed conceptually by the outer knower.
The second level of self-absorption, what we call ‘absolute samadhi’ is based on the same principle. The difference is that absolute samadhi can only occur when both the inner and outer knower have already established their centers of bare attention. Still, in both cases the important thing to understand is that it is not the primary identity of the inner knower that becomes absorbed in the outer knower. It is the dynamic identity of the inner knower, which is pure attention. The identity of the inner knower is divided into two: a primary, static identity of conscious me, and a dynamic, moving identity of pure attention. We do not call the dynamic identity of the inner knower its ‘secondary identity’ because the secondary identity of the inner knower is the outer knower.
From the Second Level of Self-Absorption to Absolute Samadhi
The purpose of the second level of self-absorption is not to awaken conscious me, but rather to deepen his internal samadhi by way of merging with pure conscious me, and to actually fuse the outer knower with the inner knower, thereby deepening their unity. These first two levels of self-absorption are the main tools that every student should employ as they work towards reaching internal samadhi in essential me. One might have doubts that such an apparently advanced level of realization such as absolute samadhi should apply to students who have not yet gone very deeply into their path. But absolute samadhi is both an event and a process, a process that should be initiated from the very start of our work with essential me.
Absolute samadhi, where conscious me merges with pure conscious me, and the outer knower fuses with the inner knower, is not a singular act. But by initiating the second level of self-absorption, one can already have a glimpse of this realization and begin to come closer to it. The second level of self-absorption can be seen as a shortcut to unify conscious me with pure conscious me, and to integrate the outer knower with the inner knower.
To realize absolute samadhi fully, which is complete second-level self-absorption, several elements need to be in place. First of all, fundamental me and pure conscious me both need to be in vertical samadhi, which means that absolute pure conscious me is realized. Even though self-absorption can deepen our experience of pure conscious me, it reaches vertical samadhi mainly through vertical surrender and through aligning itself with fundamental me. Once absolute pure conscious me is established, or once one is at least very close to it, the second level of self-absorption still does not automatically manifest the complete merging between conscious me and pure conscious me. For such merging to be realized in a stable way an additional element is required, which is the complete fusion of the outer knower with the inner knower. In other words, the outer knower has to have become the translucent knower. Otherwise, the outer knower will pull the inner knower away from merging with pure conscious me.
Here we come to a very important point, which is that self-absorption is circular, rather than linear. Self-absorption is a constantly reoccurring act or event in internal samadhi. It is crucial that every student grasps the circularity of self-absorption, seeing it as an ongoing process which is constantly deepening our internal samadhi.
As we have explained, before the second level of self-absorption can be practiced, conscious me and the outer knower need to be properly realized, and both pure conscious me and fundamental me need to reach the requisite vertical depth. What happens then is that the inner knower, as his dynamic identity of pure attention, reaches out to the outer knower and absorbs into him lovingly. The immediate result of this absorption is that the outer knower fuses with the inner knower to such an extent that the outer knower is now experienced within the space of conscious me.
From Unconscious to Conscious Self-Fusion
Before we go further, we need to ensure that we understand how different the fusion between the inner and outer knower is in the first and second levels of self-absorption. In passage samadhi, the awakening of conscious me is the result of the first level of self-absorption. So the purpose here is not to deepen but rather to awaken the conscious me. There is also a certain fusion between the self-conscious observer and conscious me. But in the event of this fusion, the identity of that observer cannot be integrated. Only the awakened outer knower can retain consciousness of himself within the state of fusion. So in this case, the moment conscious me is realized, the observer most commonly returns to a subconscious condition, to such an extent that it can appear to be entirely suspended. It is not really suspended. Rather, its sense of me is simply forgotten or overridden by the sense of me of the inner knower. In other words, in the first level of self-absorption there is fusion between the observer and conscious me, but it is an unconscious fusion.
In the second level of self-absorption, on the other hand, the fusion between the outer and inner knower is fully conscious, because the bare attention of the outer knower is brought into the experience.
Having said this, even in the second level of self-absorption there is a still danger that the outer knower will fall into a subconscious condition and fail to integrate his sense of me with the event of fusion. This can happen if the outer knower is not yet fully awakened. Here, the outer knower regresses back to the level of the observer again.
The spontaneous by-product of a conscious fusion between the outer knower and the inner knower is the merging of conscious me with pure conscious me. This merging enables the realization of conscious me to deepen, because it has now absorbed the energy of the pure conscious me into itself. In turn, conscious me manifests a greater pull over the outer knower, thus holding him firmly in the state of fusion.
We should bear in mind that such complete fusion between the inner and outer knower is difficult to maintain, because the outer knower very quickly separates from or moves out of conscious me. As he moves out, he also pulls conscious me away from pure conscious me. This is something that students need to become fully sensitive to in their practice.
Stabilizing Fusion through Repeated Self-Absorption
In order to counteract the pull of the outer knower as it moves out from the state of fusion, we need to repeat the act of self-absorption. We need to keep doing it, over and over again. This is the meaning of the principle of circular self-absorption within our practice. It must be done and re-done until the outer knower never leaves the state of fusion with the inner knower.
As we have said before, fusion is not the same as merging, because fusion implies that the two centers involved retain their own bare attentions. In merging, on the other hand, one center becomes fully dissolved or assimilated into another center. The main instances of merging are, firstly, when conscious me assimilates pure conscious me; secondly, when the absolute knower assimilates fundamental me; and thirdly, when the inner knower assimilates and assumes the identity of essence-me. In the fusion between the outer and inner knower, it might appear that they have become one center, but they are actually still two, distinct centers. If one is not able to recognize the outer knower as a distinct center, this might indicate either a lack of sensitivity or show that the outer knower has fallen back into a subconscious condition.
The Two Modes of the Translucent Knower: Inward and Outward Fusion
Once the outer knower is fused with the inner knower, it becomes what we call the ‘translucent knower’. The translucent knower can be experienced in two modes: inside the body of conscious me, what we can call ‘inward fusion’, and outside of it, what we can call ‘outward fusion’. When the translucent knower is inwardly fused, we are experiencing the samadhi of the outer knower in the inner knower. In this samadhi, the outer knower retains his center of bare attention but is felt as fully unified with the inner knower; he is experienced inside the inner knower and in the same location as him. However, if the outer knower were to remain inwardly fused at all times, he would not be able to attend to the ordinary functions of our consciousness, such as daily perceptions or thoughts. He would be too internalized.
The outer knower is our window into creation, into the world and into our human reality. In order to retain the ability to perform regular functions and use reflective intelligence, he needs to move out from samadhi in conscious me and separate himself, forming a center outside of conscious me. This is outward fusion, which should not be confused with the negative scenario discussed above, where the outer knower loses the condition of fusion altogether. Here, he is still in a condition of fusion with the inner knower. What happens is that his sense of me is experienced in a location that is distinct from the inner knower. This is in contrast to him being in samadhi in conscious me, where both of these centers share the same location.
To demonstrate this practically, the absolute knower is experienced at the bottom of the forehead. So when the outer knower is in samadhi in the inner knower, inward fusion, that outer knower is experienced at the bottom of the forehead as well. However, when the outer knower moves out of this samadhi to attend to certain relative functions, which is outward fusion, his location actually moves to the middle of the forehead (or even to the upper forehead, if certain types of contemplative thinking are activated.). Still, even though the outer knower experienced in this distinct location and is separated from conscious me, the inner knower still fully contains the outer knower; the outer knower still feels to be inside the inner knower.
Two Modes of Inward Fusion: Passive and Dynamic
While inward fusion is by nature more static than outward fusion, due to the outer knower being more absorbed, inward fusion also has a dynamic dimension within itself. Even when he is absorbed inside conscious me, the outer knower can employ a further level of self-absorption to enter even deeper into this internal samadhi. This is done for the sake of both deepening the absorption of the outer knower, and facilitating the further movement of the inner knower into essence-me and immanent I am. In other words, through deeper self-absorption, the outer knower adds momentum to the movement of the inner knower into immanency. So we can say there are two modes of inward fusion: passive and dynamic. In the passive mode, the outer knower is just resting, absorbed in the inner knower. In the dynamic mode, the outer knower is continuing the movement of self-absorption, lovingly surrendering into the innermost subjectivity of the inner knower.
The Eternal Pulsation of Self-Absorption
To realize absolute samadhi, the inner knower has to become the absolute knower and the outer knower has become the translucent knower. The translucent knower exists in two modes as the center of our translucent intelligence: firstly, where his location is distinct from the inner knower, and secondly where he is absorbed in the inner knower, so his location is the same and only his identity is distinct. Because of his dynamic nature, the outer knower keeps moving between these two modes. And to return to his samadhi in conscious me, self-absorption must be activated.
While this reoccurring self-absorption serves the further deepening of the inner knower, it is also just the natural way for the outer knower to exist. He spontaneously oscillates between the state of relative non-activity, where he is fully absorbed in the conscious me, and his active engagement in relative consciousness.
This principle describes the natural dynamics between the inner knower and the outer knower within their mutual fusion. It is the eternal pulsation of self-absorption.
Self-Absorption of the Outer Knower vs. Self-Absorption of the Inner Knower
Initially self-absorption applies only to the outer knower. This is because the inner knower cannot self-absorb directly until the outer knower is fused into him. In particular, the inward fusion of the outer knower is required before the inner knower can self-absorb.
Given this, we can see why the self-absorption of the inner knower is not possible in the first level of self-absorption. It is only in the second level of self-absorption that we begin to facilitate the self-absorption of the inner knower more and more, until it becomes the predominate form of self-absorption in absolute samadhi. As long as the outer knower is in any kind of conflict with the inner knower, where it is pulling attention and energy in the opposite direction to essence-me, the inner knower cannot self-absorb.
The self-absorption of the inner knower is possible when the translucent knower is in the mode of outward fusion. However, it becomes naturally more empowered in the context of inward fusion. When the translucent knower is realized properly, he is always in the condition of self-absorption. We can call this ‘intrinsic self-absorption.’ However, he can always enter more deeply into self-absorption through activating his intention to surrender even deeper. Similarly, the absolute knower is in the state of intrinsic self-absorption. But again, he continues to evolve into deeper self-absorption, coming closer and closer to essence-me and immanent I am. The more the inner and outer knower are integrated, the less there is distinction between their self-absorptions. They evolve in complete unison towards the realization of our immanency.
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