Essence as Light

AIA Ezine #5 -- August, 1999

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  Issue # 5  -    Awakening into Awareness   -   August, 1999
                  A free ezine dedicated to
             exploring the nature of Reality and
               the experience of Realization


Metta Zetty, Editor                     email:
Back Issue Autoresponders:
AIA Archives:       
    Current Distribution: 1196 subscribers in 26 countries.
Subscription instructions are located at the end of each issue.

   *  Introduction

   *  Excerpts from: 
      Voluntary Simplicity: An Ecological Lifestyle that
      Promotes Personal and Social Renewal
          -  Duane Elgin

   *  Wisdom and Insights
          -  The Ultimate Understanding
                  Wayne Liquorman
          -  You are Awareness Itself
                  Ashtavakra Gita
          -  Seeing Purely
                  Dzogchen Rinpoche
          -  Our True Nature
                  Sogyal Rinpoche
          -  Healing
                  Jeanne Achterberg
          -  My Philosophy is Kindness
                  H.H. The Dalai Lama

   *  Letters
          -  Being aware (conscious) of being Aware
          -  AIA and Zen?
          -  AIA and Dzogchen?
          -  Did you seek this "awakening"?

   *  Archive Excerpt
          -  Meditation on Center Space

   *  Metta's Reflections
          -  The Arising of Bliss
          -  Reality Defies Expression
          -  Recognizing the Inexpressible

   *  Reader Reflections
          -  Magic Eye Analogy, by Wayne Powell
          -  A Felt-Sense

   *  Reader Resources
          -  Advaita Fellowship
          -  Rigpa
          -  Jean Klein Foundation
          -  Positive Futures Network

   *  AIA Updates
          -  AIA's New Insight Mentoring Letters Mailing List
          -  Ezine Demographics
          -  Reciprocal Links

   *  General Information
          -  About Awakening into Awareness
          -  Ezine Subscriptions
          -  Back Issues, Copies and Reprints
          -  AIA Mailing Lists
          -  Insight Mentoring
          -  Correspondence
          -  Support AIA


Dear friends,

At long last the "Awakening into Awareness" website move
is finished! 

Please take a few minutes to check out our "new" site:
...and AIA's newest mailing list:
       Insight Mentoring Letters

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You might want to begin your exploration of our "new" site
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For your convenience, more information about AIA's newest
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ezine below, but for now I simply want to extend my thanks
to all of you for your continuing interest in and support
of AIA and I will, as ever, continue to look forward to
hearing from you!

With my appreciation,
Metta Zetty


       Voluntary Simplicity: An Ecological Lifestyle that
                 Promotes Personal and Social Renewal
                          By Duane Elgin
The Three-fold Miracle
In our 'normal' daily experience we do not live with a direct
and conscious appreciation of the universe.  Instead, we live
almost completely immersed in a socially constructed reality
that so fully absorbs our energy and attention that virtually
none remains to experience the wonder of our existence.  The
tragedy of modern industrial cultures is the superficiality
that we accept and, indeed maintain, as the common denominator
in human affairs.  We unconsciously trivialize the human
experiment with shallow pursuits of money and social status
that mask rather than celebrate the magnificence of the human

All the while a miracle of creation surrounds us and intimately
infuses every particle of our existence.  American Indian lore
speaks of our existence as a threefold miracle: 'that things
exist at all, that life came out of things, and finally, that
life became conscious of itself.'(*)  The miracle of form.
The miracle of living form. And the miracle of living form that
is conscious of its life.  We take these three amazing facts of
our existence for granted.  We become desensitized and behave
as if these perpetual miracles were unimportant in the conduct
of our everyday lives.  Then, individually and culturally, we
forget these miracles.  Once forgotten by an entire culture,
they are difficult to rediscover.  Voluntary simplicity --
encountering life more consciously and directly -- facilitates
this discovery.               pp. 108-109
                              * Bill Broder, _The Sacred Hoop_

Living Consciously 
The crucial importance of penetrating behind our continuous
stream of stressed by every major consciousness
tradition in the world....Western cultures, however, have
fostered the understanding that a state of continual mental
distraction is in the natural order of things.  Consequently,
by virtue of a largely unconscious social agreement about the
nature of our inner thought processes, we live individually
and collectively almost totally embedded within our mentally
constructed reality.  We are so busy creating ever more
appealing images or social facades for others to see, and
so distracted from the simplicity of our spontaneously arising
self, that we do not truly encounter either ourselves or one
another.                                        pp. 115-116

...the challenge of living voluntarily is not in gaining
access to the conscious experiencing of ourselves but
rather in consciously recognizing the presence of this
experience, and then learning the skills of sustaining
our opening to that experience.                 p. 117

Despite the utter simplicity of being consciously watchful
of our lives, this is a demanding activity.  At first,
it is a struggle to just occasionally remember ourselves
moving through the daily routine.  A brief moment of self-
remembering is followed by an extended period where we
are lost in the flow of thought and the demands of the
exterior world.  Yet with practice, we find that we can
more easily remember ourselves -- while walking down the
street, or while we are at home, at work, at play.  We
come to recognize, as direct experience, the nature of
'knowing that we know.'  We become conscious of what it
feels like to be conscious.  As our familiarity with this
mode of perception increases, we get lost in thought and
worldly activities less and less frequently.     p. 118

Embedded and Self-reflective Consciousness
The first mode of consciousness I will call 'embedded
consciousness."  Embedded consciousness is our so-called
'normal' or waking consciousness and it is characterized
by being so embedded within the stream of inner-fantasy
dialogue that little conscious attention can be given to
the moment-to-moment experiencing of ourselves....In
the distracted state of embedded consciousness, we tend
to identify who we are with habitual patterns of behavior,
thought and feeling.  We assume this social mask is the
sum total of who we really are....We find it difficult
to pull away from our masks and freshly experience our
identity.  We find life is unsatisfactory...and the real
'self' remains hidden within.                    pp. 118-119

The next step beyond embedded consciousness I will term
'self-reflective consciousness."  Where the distinctive
quality of embedded consciousness is self-forgetting
(running on automatic), the distinctive quality of
self-reflective consciousness is self-remembering....It
is as though self-reflective consciousness provides us
with a mirror that reveals or reflects who we are as we
move through our daily lives.  This is not a mechanical
watchfulness but a living awareness....          p. 119

Beyond Self-Remembering
What is the nature of experiencing that lies beyond self-
remembering? When we simply tune into our moment-to-moment
experiencing with persistence and patience, our experience
of 'self' is gradually though profoundly transformed.  The
boundaries between the 'self-in-here' and the 'world-out-
there' begin to dissolve as we refine the precision with
which we watch ourselves moving through life.  The inner
and outer person gradually merge into one continuous flow
of experience.  In other words, in the next stage beyond
self-reflective consciousness, the duality of 'watcher
and watched' merges into the unity of an integrated flow
of conscious experiencing.                       p. 120

It is the dancing and brilliant darkness of the interior
eye that reveals that the essence of 'self' and 'other'
share the same source.                           p. 137

The capacity of ultimately experience [sic] the totality of
existence as an unbounded and unbroken whole is not confined
to any particular culture, race, or religion.  This experience
of ineffable unity is sometimes referred to as the 'Perennial
Philosophy' because it appears thoughout recorded history in
the writings of every major spiritual tradition in the world.
...Each tradition records that if we gently though persistently
look into our own experience, we will ultimately discover that
who 'we' are is not different or separate from that which we
call God, Cosmic Consciousness, Unbounded Wholeness, the Tao,
Nirvana, and countless other names (for this ultimately
unnameable experience).                          pp. 120-121


Wisdom and Insights  
The Ultimate Understanding
Consciousness is all there is. If that is understood
intuitively and deeply then there's nothing else to say.
Anything else that is said after that is superfluous
because the ultimate understanding is a non-intellectual
state....First, there is a deepening of intellectual
understanding that is part of the process. Intellectual
understanding may result in a phenomenal experience
of Oneness. That phenomenal experience of Oneness is
what is normally thought of as a mystical experience,
and the mystics for centuries have written about that
experience using a variety of terms that reflect their
spiritual culture. The ultimate understanding can be
said to be the result of an impersonal event that
happens in phenomenality, but the ultimate understanding
is not phenomenal in nature. It is that which transcends
and yet encompasses phenomenality.
                       Wayne Liquorman, in an interview
                       posted on The Advaita Fellowship
                       website (See Reader Resources below.)


You Are Awareness Itself
Be quiet.
You are awareness itself.
Live in the happiness
Of your own nature,
Which is happiness itself.
                                Ashtavakra Gita


Seeing Purely
...So perception is just the way we see things. If an
object remained always and exactly the same, and
everyone saw it in exactly the same way, then it would
have what we could call objective truth. In reality,
however, nothing has a fixed or permanent identity and
we do not all see things in the same way, and therefore
the way we see things is more important than trying to
find out what they 'really' are. Even if you wanted to
analyse what an object really was, you wouldn't find
an answer because no object has any inherent existence
anyway. What matters to us is how we see it.
                    Dzogchen Rinpoche, "Seeing Purely"
                    _View Magazine_, Issue 3, p. 17
                    (See Rigpa in Reader Resources below.)


Our True Nature
Our true nature could be compared to the sky, and
the confusion of the ordinary mind to clouds. Some
days the sky is completely obscured by clouds. When
we are down on the ground, looking up, it is very
difficult to believe there is anything else there
but clouds. Yet we only have to fly in a plane to
discover up above a limitless expanse of clear blue
sky. From up there the clouds we assumed were
everything seem so small and so far away down below.
                     Sogyal Rinpoche
                     _The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying_
                     (See Rigpa in Reader Resources below.)


Healing is embracing what is most feared; 
healing is opening what has been closed,
softening what has hardened into obstruction,
healing is learning to trust life.
                                Jeanne Achterberg


My Philosophy is Kindness
There is no need for temples;
no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, 
our own heart is our temple;
my philosophy is kindness.
                                H.H. The Dalai Lama


On your home page you have included a quotation which reads:
	Remember: you are aware that you are Aware.
	This reflective quality of human consciousness
	is the key to understanding your own essential
	and fundamental nature.

Why does it state, be aware of your awareness?  In your
terminology, shouldn't one say "be conscious of your
awareness"?  We are not generally conscious of it,
of course.

Yes!  You are absolutely correct!  This is a very
important distinction -- one that I'm delighted that
you caught, and one that I *do* try to clarify in
the mentoring process as we begin to look at the
relationship between awareness and consciousness.
As a matter of fact, I even attempt to point toward
this distinction through my use of capitalization:
	"Remember: you are aware that you are Aware."

The reasons I use the language?  There are several, actually.
The first and main reason links back to a very significant
experience in my early childhood: I was probably about 5
years old, or less.  One evening our family had been out,
and as we came home after dark, we approached the house and
pulled into the garage.  In one brief, absolutely crystalline
moment, while I was still sitting in the back seat of the car,
I looked over and saw my reflection in the dark glass of the
back seat window.  In that moment, I recognized that I was
"aware of being Aware" and -- without fully understanding
why -- I *knew* then this was a very important realization,
and one that I should be sure to remember....

As for the other reasons I use this language, I like the
rhythm and assonance of "you are aware that you are Aware,"
and I think that on a psychological level, this circularity
points to the reflective nature of the relationship between
consciousness and Awareness.


Does the AIA website have any connection to Zen Buddhism?

Formally, no.  At the level of experience, yes.

The Zen tradition refers to the experience of "kensho" as
"insight into the essence of one's being."  From my point
of view, this experience of Insight transcends the boundaries
of religious and cultural traditions in showing up as the
innate expression of Reality within the human experience.

At the same time, though, the Zen tradition is one of the
very best in evoking and conveying many of the essential
qualities of the "awakening" experience, including:
--  its ineffability
--  its paradoxical nature
--  its intimate connection with the commonplace
    and the ordinary, and in many cases
--  the absolute suddenness with which it strikes....

For this reason, I do not hesitate to borrow heavily
from the literature of the tradition, but I am not
an advocate of the practice of zazen (seated meditation),
and I do not use traditional Zen koans (profound 
"riddles" designed to confound the mind and trigger
the awakening of Insight)....


I'm curious: had you been studying or practicing Dzogchen
before your Awakening?

No, not in any strict, or traditional sense. In fact,
my only exposure to Dzogchen, prior to the epiphany
( was having read
several books by Namkhai Norbu, and I've had no direct,
personal contact with any Dzogchen teachers before or since.


Editorial Note:
Dzogchen is an ancient Tibetan wisdom tradition which
is usually translated as the "Natural Great Perfection,"
Based on my experience, "Dzogchen" is one of the best
descriptions of Reality inherent within the present moment.

For several Dzogchen-related links, see:
   *  Rigpa in the Reader Resources below, and
   *  the AIA's Links page (


Was this experience of "awakening" something you were
seeking, or did it just happen?

The experience occurred absolutely spontaneously, and
without warning.  (See

I cannot point to any one factor or set of factors that had
a uniquely causal influence or effect in triggering this
experience. As Nisargadatta said:
   "A thing is as it is because the universe is as it is...."

In fact, what I realized during the epiphany is how intricately
*everything* is interconnected and interrelated, in ways that
we ordinarily do not recognize or even imagine.....

In this context, it may be of some interest to know that I
have had a long-standing interest in questions of meaning
and purpose. I was exposed to yoga when I was 16, and
I majored in Asian Religions in college.  But, by my
mid-twenties I resolved simply to live my life -- paying
attention to the experience of being human -- without
worrying or "trying" to achieve anything in terms of
Realization. Quite honestly, the possibility seemed
remote, and not likely in this lifetime (in part,
because of the beliefs and assumptions I held about
what "needed" to happen first, before any sort of
"real" Recognition could occur...).

So, instead of actively pursuing an experience of
Realization, I decided instead to focus my attention
on the direct and immediate experience of being human
and living a simple life -- which at the time, for me,
meant becoming a wife and a mother....

Nonetheless, my curiosity about the fundamental nature
of Reality remained strong, and I was consciously and
intentionally engaged in exploring the nature of Reality
and my relationship to It throughout all the intervening

Years later, after the epiphany, I realized that two
books I had read much earlier in my life were very clear
descriptions of the Recognition I eventually experienced:
   (1)  _I Am That_, by Nisargadatta
        (See Advaita Fellowship in Reader Resources below)
   (2)  _Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness_,
        a traditional Dzogchen text translated by
       John Reynolds (See

I also saw the Essence of this Insight in quotations
from Ramana Maharshi and the words of many other mystics.
(Hence, the development of the AIA website....)

So, I suppose on a deep and fundamental level, the answer
to your question really is yes, I *was* seeking This, simply
by virtue of my hunger to know/understand/grasp something
of the fundamental Nature or Essence of Reality.  However,
I was not actively pursuing "enlightenment" or "realization"
through any formal means or any established religious
tradition, and the "event" actually occurred at a point
in my life when much of my attention and energy was focused
on my professional work in the business world....Naturally,
then, this experience of "awakening" came as quite an
unexpected, inexplicable and delightful surprise....


  |  The preceding letters and the following passage have  |
  |  been excerpted from Metta's mentoring correspondence. |
  |  You may preview more of her letters in the Insight    |
  |  Mentoring Archive   |
  |  or by requesting an "Archive Guest Pass" from:        |
  |                            |
  |                                                        |
  |       See for        |
  |      Mentoring Letters subscription information.       |


Archive Excerpt    
Meditation on Center Space
Take a moment now, as you are reading these words,
simply to be still --
to slow down, and to breathe deeply --
to look within.

Focus your attention and
dive deep into who or whatever you imagine yourself to be --
into THAT which feels as if it is
at the very Center of who you are.

This Center Space is quiet, clear and Aware --
Listening, Seeing, Alert.
When you pay attention to your immediate experience
-- within this moment --
your True Nature will be
that sense of Perception,
Spacious Openness and Awareness
you find inside.

Recognize this still point, and
you will directly discover
you are none other than THAT.


Metta's Reflections
The Arising of Bliss
If the universe did not move,
things would not appear before us.
The first movement is the arising of bliss,
then desire, then suffering,
and then inevitably, and finally,
bliss again.

Before and after every storm
there is always stillness.


Reality Defies Expression
Words and the workings of the mind are, at best,
limited tools pointing toward an Infinite Reality
which ultimately defies expression --
except through Life itself.


Recognizing the Inexpressible
While words are not fully adequate,
in and of themselves,
they can -- if we listen deeply enough --
evoke a Recognition of the Inexpressible.


Reader Reflections
Magic Eye Analogy                              by Wayne Powell
When we last spoke, you essentially asked me what it is that
I want.  Since you posed that question, I have been looking
at that question and returning repeatedly to that question
in the normal course of my day. No "efforting" involved,
no searching frantically for an answer, but just looking.

Tonight, an analogy came to me that really communicates
what I want. It involves those "magic eye" pictures that,
when we just look at them in the normal way that we look at
everything, they seem to be just a colorful jumble of lines
and shapes without any deeper significance. We don't see
anything worth a second look. Then, someone says "Look at
this picture with your eyes focused differently and just
relax." We try and try and at first we are sure they are
just fooling us, but we notice that other "lookers" are
seeing the image that is there. So we keep looking and
continue to follow the instructions until (finally)
something *shifts* and we see "it" (the hidden image)
clearly. We recognize that "it" was there all along and
it was never hidden at all!

I have always been delighted, mystified and fascinated
by those "magic eye" pictures. I realize now that I am
delighted because it is such a perfect and compelling
metaphor for "Awakening to Awareness."

                           * * * * *

Compare with the Insight Mentoring Letter in AIA Ezine
#3 (March, 1999):


A Felt-Sense                        (Name withheld by request)
If I had to describe what's going on (and I generally
avoid doing so, even to myself as much as possible), 
I would analogize it to the exercise of some physical
skill in which one is well trained -- whatever comes up,
whatever the conditions are, one simply responds via a
seemingly automatic whole-organism felt sense, and when
thinking (of the planning and plotting sort) tries to
assert itself, one doesn't get distracted by it.

Surprises on several fronts (work, money, family, housing),
not all of them positive by any stretch, have occurred,
and I've found myself moving with them; and within that,
there's been a certain peace, energy, and satisfaction.
No awakening, to be sure.  Nor am I impervious to the
intrusions (and seductions!) of scheming and obsessing.
But the momentum right now favors the "felt sense" and
I'm pulled to stay with it, work with it, explore it as
long it remains fruitful.


  |  If you have any reflections or questions about the   |
  |  experience of Awakening you would like to share,     |
  |  please feel free to send them to: |
  |  In addition: your feedback and reflections about the |
  |  AIA ezine and website are always welcome.  I will    |
  |  look forward to hearing from you!   - Metta          |


Reader Resources      
Advaita Fellowship and
Advaita Press Store

P.O. Box 911-WS
Redondo Beach, CA. 90277 
Tel: 310-376-9636
Fax: 310-376-0708

"All there is... is consciousness."
Website and store dedicated to the teachings of
Wayne Liquorman (a.k.a. Ram Tzu), Ramesh S. Balsekar,
and Nisargadatta Maharaj. 


Rigpa is an international network of meditation centers
and groups under the guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche and
HE Dzogchen Rinpoche located in the following countries:
Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany,
India, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA.

Publishers of the dzogchen news and View Magazine.

Jean Klein Foundation

Jean Klein Foundation
P.O. Box 2111
Santa Barbara, CA
93120 USA
Tel: 1-800-484-9888-6507
Fax: 805-967-0721

[From the Foundation website:]
"Jean Klein's teaching springs from a profound insight
into the nature of being and existence. He is regarded
as one of the greatest teachers of Advaita in the 20th
century....The teaching is 'direct,' completely cutting
through all experiences, states and stages, interpretations,
and paths of purification and elimination, which belong
to progressive teachings. What we are fundamentally is
not a name or state and cannot be attained...The direct
approach says that our real nature cannot be known or
experienced as an object. When this is clearly understood
there is a letting go, a giving up of trying to achieve,
become, find, understand. This letting go is the beginning
of real maturity and openness to our true nature."

Positive Futures Network

P.O. Box 10818
Bainbridge Island WA 98100
Tel: 206-842-0216
Fax: 206-842-5208

Positive Futures Network is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to supporting active engagement in creating
a more sustainable, just and compassionate world. PFN
is the publisher of "Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures."

Subscriptions: $24/year
Call: 1-800-937-4451

[Editor's note: "Yes!" is an extraordinary publication.
Each issue is densely packed with an incredible wealth
of resources and information about alternative futures
which are being created now.  Highly recommended.]



AIA Updates
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For more information about the Insight Mentoring Process,


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Samples of Metta's Mentoring Letters are available
on the AIA website at:
Readers may preview the archives of Metta's mentoring
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------------------ |  General Information  | -------------------

About Awakening into Awareness
Awakening into Awareness (AIA) is a website, ezine
(electronic newsletter), and an online mentoring program
dedicated to exploring the nature of Reality and the
experience of Realization. All AIA ezine issues are
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"The recognition of the fundamental, essential nature
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and deepest fulfillment."



             Awakening into Awareness
            Reflections on Reality and
          The Experience of Realization

Insight Mentoring                     Metta Zetty              P.O. Box 781955
email:     San Antonio TX 78278


            1997-2000, Metta Zetty
              All Rights Reserved.


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