Essence as Light

AIA Ezine # 6 -- October, 1999

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 Issue # 6.1  -   Awakening into Awareness   -   October, 1999
                  A free ezine dedicated to
             exploring the nature of Reality and
                the experience of Realization
                     [Parts 1 and 2 of 2]


Metta Zetty, Editor                     email:
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AIA Archives:       
    Current Distribution: 1338 subscribers in 29 countries.
Subscription instructions are located at the end of each issue.

[Part 1]

   *  Introduction

   *  The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences
          -  Charles Tart

   *  Excerpts from:
      An Introduction to Awareness Itself: The Nondual View
          -  Brock Travis, Ph.D.

   *  Wisdom and Insights
          -  Notice Awareness Itself
                  Brock Travis, Ph.D.
          -  The Moment of Awakening
                  Thich Nhat Hanh
          -  If things could be any different
                 Peter Fenner
          -  No God, but God
                 Sufi dhikr
          -  Two Words
                 Glenn Bradley

   *  Letters
          -  Natural Great Perfection

   *  Archive Excerpt
          -  Muddiness in Seeing?

   *  Reflections on Awakening
          -  When the student is ready....
          -  This Awakening

[Part 2]

   *  Reader Reflections
          -  A Return to Original Nature

   *  Reader Resources
          -  TASTE: The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent
          -  Noumenon Press
          -  Exceptional Human Experience Network
          -  The Envirolink Network

   *  AIA Updates
          -  AIA's New Audio Tape
          -  Automatic AIA Updates
          -  AIA's 1999 Golden Web Award

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


Dear friends,

This ezine issue marks our AIA newsletter's 1-year anniversary!

The first issue of the AIA ezine was released at the end
of October, 1998, so now -- to celebrate our first full
year of sharing the exploration of the nature of Reality
and the experience of Realization -- this anniversary
issue will be released in 2-parts, with a special
featured Reader Reflection: "A Return to Original Nature"
-- an account of an extraordinary experience of "Awakening
into Awareness."

In addition: we also now have an introductory audio tape
that was made during my presentation at this year's Whole
Life Expo in Austin, Texas.  The tape provides a unique
introduction to both the experience of "Awakening into
Awareness" and the process of Insight Mentoring.  For more
information about the contents of this new audio tape, see:

And, for those of you who have not visited the AIA website
recently, we want to remind you that the Insight Mentoring
Center is now open, and the Mentoring Letter Archives are
now publicly accessible:
   Insight Mentoring Center
   Insight Mentoring Letters and Archives

I will look forward to having you visit the AIA site
and receiving your feedback!

With continuing appreciation,
Metta Zetty


      The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences
                       By Charles Tart
Over the years many scientists, once they've realized I'm
a safe person to talk to, have told me about unusual and
transcendent experiences they've had.  Too often I'm the
first and only person they've ever spoken to about their
experiences, for fear of ridicule from their colleagues
and adverse, prejudicial effects on their career.  Such
fears have, unfortunately, too much of a basis in fact.
It's not that there are a lot of scientists with nasty
intentions deliberately trying to suppress their colleagues;
it's just the social conditioning of our times. I want to
change that, and I ask your help in doing so.

Scientists today often occupy a social role like that of
"high priests," telling laypeople and each other what is
and isn't "real," and consequently what is and isn't
valuable and sane.  Unfortunately, the dominant materialistic
and reductionistic psychosocial climate of contemporary
science (what sociologists long ago named "scientism",
an attitude different from the essential process of science),
rejects and suppresses a priori both having and sharing
transcendent, transpersonal and altered states (or "spiritual"
and "psychic," to use common words, in spite of their too
vague connotations) experiences.

From my perspective as a psychologist, though, this prejudicial
suppression and rejection psychologically harms and distorts
both scientists' and laypersons' transcendent (and other)
potentials, and also inhibits the development of a genuine
scientific understanding of the full spectrum of consciousness.
Denial of any aspects of our nature, whatever their ultimate
ontological status, is never psychologically or socially healthy.

The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences (TASTE),
that I have just opened, is intended to help change this
restricted and pathological climate through the operation of
World Wide Web site in a journal form which will allow
scientists from all fields - from anthropology through botany
through mathematics through physics through psychology through
zoology, to name just a few - to share their personal
transcendent experiences in a safe, anonymous, but quality
controlled space that almost all scientists and the general
public have ready access to.

(For more information, see TASTE in the Reader Resources 
in Part 2 of this zine.)

                           * * * * *

A note from Charles Tart
Please take a look at the TASTE site. If you find it valuable,
please pass this information on to friends and colleagues.  I
have no budget for advertising, so must depend on word of mouth
to get this information around.

If you have a web site of your own that it would be suitable to
link from to TASTE, thank you!  Feel free to copy one of the
TASTE experiences as an example on your web site, if you like.

In terms of more conventional, slower publicity, if you can
recommend any journals I should send notices to, please let
me know.  If you are the editor of any publication, you have
my permission (and thanks!) to print this notice in your

Thank you!
Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., Editor

Professor Emeritus, Psychology
     University of California at Davis
Professor, Core Faculty
     Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA


      An Introduction to Awareness Itself: The Nondual View
                         By Brock Travis
These excerpts are reprinted with permission from the Noumenon
Press, publishers of "Noumenon: A Newsletter for the Nondual

See also:
*  "Notice Awareness Itself" included in the "Wisdom and
   Insights" section, and
*  "Noumenon" in the "Reader Resources" section
...included in Part 2 of this zine.

                           * * * * *

The nonduality of awareness and existence, or the unity of
awareness and the absolute, has been the central insight
of my pursuit of unity, revealing the way that self and
all are one.

Writings by Alice Bailey, Edmund Husserl, Ken Wilber, and
Padmasambhava1 offered directions, oriented me toward the
subject of my study, introduced me to the subject -- its
location, identity and substance - thus referring me to
the point at which one accomplishes the movement from the
notion of unity to the nondual reality. These teachings
provide instructions to noticing awareness itself.

Without hyperbole, I can state that I believe a serious
student of the nondual view could study any one of these
seminal teachings for countless lifetimes without exhausting
the potential for awakening awareness to its own nature.
Apparently direct knowledge of this subject unfolds itself
continuously, for each reading provides fresh insight.
Certain phrases and images from these teachings can be
used as seeds for meditation, or points for conversation,
opening endlessly, becoming clearer and clearer, in effect
transforming one's consciousness as understanding deepens.

These teachings are the theoretical pillars of my approach,
but I cannot trace direct knowledge to any one source. My
sense is that the teachings provide an introduction to the
nondual view, along with instruction for how to attain
direct knowledge, but at some point the student must
realize the subject itself. For me, the process of direct
knowledge, which is basically examining my own awareness,
studying my subject, inquiring into my own being, has
become and remains an everyday discipline, a way of life.

Above all else, these writers and teachers provide inspiration
and guidance for that endeavour. My intention has been to
abstract the meaning of these teachings from sources that
may seem archaic, arcane, sectarian, or just difficult, and
to present the nondual view in a format accessible to a
reader unfamiliar with these traditions and disciplines.

I offer this effort in gratitude to the wisdom teachings
that have led me to the nondual viewpoint, and with the
intention of providing assistance to others who may find
themselves pursuing similar inquiries.

Conversations with others who share the nondual view are
precious and powerful moments in the course of this pursuit.
Probably the primary reason that I have attempted to codify
an approach to the nondual view is to create such
conversations. Any meeting with another carries the
potential to become an encounter with an expanded sense
of one's own being. If that other by some chance shares
the nondual view, then the potential of the meeting is
vastly enhanced. Mutually conscious encounters can become
extraordinary opportunities to engender awakenings and
realisations. Intentional participants in nondual
communication can enter into communion or union together.
The possibility of meeting others in this nondual way
motivates my efforts to contribute an accessible approach
to the nondual view....

The primary learning derived from my attempts to apply
this approach to the nondual view is this:
	Almost no one notices awareness.

In order to study a subject, to direct attention toward it,
the student must notice that subject, must become aware of
it. The subject of the nondual view is awareness itself.
Unless, however, some teacher or teaching refers the
student toward this subject, it is unlikely that it will
ever occur to the student to notice that which notices.
This reference occurs very rarely within the average
human lifetime.

This is the reason the wisdom teachings are priceless.
But even if the reference is provided, the tendency to
be distracted by the objectal contents of consciousness
- bodily sense-data, feelings, thoughts, and personalities
- is so great as to actively prevent noticing the
subjectal context of consciousness: awareness itself.

Some degree of contemplative competence seems to be
prerequisite to accomplishing an introduction to
awareness itself, at the very least the ability to
relax the attention and sustain an expanded focus
is necessary. From my students, I have the sense
that human beings are generally capable of developing
this skill and accomplishing the initial movement of
realisation - noticing awareness. I believe that
the significant factor involved is motivation.


Wisdom and Insights  
Notice Awareness Itself
Relax the attention.
Allow all that is happening to be exactly as is.
Notice all that is happening, exactly as is.
Notice whatever it is that notices -
Notice awareness itself.

                 From "An Introduction to Awareness Itself:
                 The Nondual View
	          By Brock Travis, Ph.D.
	          Originally published in _Noumenon_
                 (See Reader Resources in Part 2 of this zine.)


The Moment of Awakening
To reach truth is not to accumulate knowledge, but to
awakening to the *heart of reality*.  Reality reveals
itself complete and whole at the moment of awakening.
In the light of awakening, nothing is added and nothing
is lost.  Emotions based on concepts no longer affect

The moment of awakening may be marked by an outbursts
of laughter, but this is not the laughter of someone
who has won the lottery or some kind of victory.  It
is the laughter of one who, after searching for
something for a long time, suddenly finds it in the
pocket of his coat.
                                Thich Nhat Hanh
                                _Zen Keys_, p. 44


If Things Could Be Any Different...
If things could be any different than they are,
they would be.
                                Peter Fenner
                                Center For Timeless Wisdom


No God, but God
There is no God, but God.
                                Sufi dhikr
                                (chanted prayer)


Two Words
What is enlightenment in two words or less?
"Only God."
                                Glenn Bradley
                                _What is Enlightenment?_
                                Fall/Winter 1999, p. 159


What kind of insight-guidance-initiation do you offer
into the "Natural Great Perfection"?

Thank you so much for sharing your interest in the
"Natural Great Perfection." For centuries, teachers
in the ancient Bon and Buddhist traditions of Tibet
have described the ultimate nature of Reality as
"Dzogchen:" "The Great Completeness" or "The Natural
Great Perfection."

My use of this term, and the guidance that I offer,
are based simply on the direct, intuitive Insight
into this natural, innate Completeness which I
initially experienced in a spontaneous "epiphany"
in February of 1997.

My guidance and mentoring are grounded in my immediate
experience and Awareness of this Reality as our own
inherent nature. It is not based on any formal
instruction with Tibetan masters, and it does not
involve any initiations.

It is also offered without charge, on a donation basis,
simply as a reflection of the "Great Completeness"
inherent within each and every one of us.

I have adopted the use of the term "Natural Great
Perfection" simply because it is the most accurate and
concise description of the fundamental and essential
nature of the Reality that I have yet found. Based
upon my experience, I believe this Completeness
transcends all religious and cultural boundaries,
and shows up as the innate expression of Reality
within our own immediate human experience.


  |  The preceding letter and the following passage have   |
  |  been excerpted from Metta's mentoring correspondence  |
  |  which is posted in AIA's Questions:                   |
  |            |
  |  ...and in AIA's Insight Mentoring Archives            |
  |             |
  |                                                        |
  |  For more information about subscriptions to Metta's   |
  |  Mentoring Letters: |


Archive Excerpt    
Muddiness in Seeing?
I am experiencing a muddiness of seeing. Along with this,
there is a sense that the clarity and "connectedness,"
which was recently my foundation, has disappeared.

I know (intellectually) that I cannot lose my Self. I
also know (experientially) that I certainly *can* lose
my Awareness of the Self -- because I have.

Can you assist me in recovering my awareness of That
which, I have been told, is closer than breathing?

The best that I can offer is to point toward the truth
inherent within my own experience.  And, if it speaks
to you, perhaps you will recognize it within your own,
as well.

You wrote:
"I am experiencing a muddiness of seeing."

To this, I would reply:
*Who* is it that is Seeing this muddiness?
You are, of course.  You are Seeing it, and as the
Seer of it, you are behind -- and extend beyond --
all the muddiness.

You see, each of us is much larger than anything 
that fits within the limited field of the conscious

The real point of confusion, I believe, lies within
our identification: we tend to confuse the content
of consciousness (which can be muddy, frustrated or
even ecstatic) with the Background of Awareness
(which is always Clear Seeing).

We only *think* we've lost the Clear Seeing because
we inadvertently allow our identification to slip
from the constant Background of Unobstructed Awareness
into the changing content of consciousness.

It is easy and understandable that this can happen.
When our thoughts and emotions and the content of
consciousness become muddy, we tend to get mired
in the mud, and as we become mired it in, we begin
to think we *are* it!

But, in reality, we are more than *anything* we
can observe within our experience.

For example: we see and experience the arising of
thoughts, emotions, and confusion.  We observe the
changes in our bodies as they age.  And, we enjoy
brief moments of ecstasy and joy as they arise.

And, through all these changes, who are we?

We are That which is constant throughout all these
experiences: the Spacious Space, the Openness, the
Perceptual Center through which this Seeing and
Observation occur.  It is almost as if each of us
is a clear window into and from the Infinite,
through which Reality flows into the present moment.

Sometimes this Reality shows up in human form as joy
and delight, sometimes as confusion and muddiness,
sometimes even as fear and madness.... And yet, through
it all, the Perceiving, the Clear Seeing continues....

Again: this is the spacious "headlessness" to which 
Douglas Harding refers (,
and you are right: it is deeper and closer and more
intimate than even the breathing we observe.


You then continued:
"There is a sense that the clarity and 'connectedness,'
which was recently my foundation, has disappeared."

Suppose, for a minute, that your true nature is
comparable to a clear pane of glass -- unobstructed
and undefiled.  When mud is smeared on the glass,
does the mud alter the inherent nature and clarity
of the glass?  No....The glass itself remains clear.

The problem exists *only* with our identification:
until we Recognize unequivocally that we are *more*
than the mud (the contents of consciousness), there
may be habituated tendencies to identify with the
thoughts, feelings and emotions as they arise --
especially if and when they are muddy.

But, once we realize that the changing content of
consciousness *always* occurs against a Background
of Clear Seeing Awareness (i.e., there is always
an Observer of thoughts, feelings and emotions,
which is comparable to the clear pane of glass),
then it is just a matter of reminding the mind
(consciousness) of its own limitations and
realizing that it is simply a reflection of
Awareness, not Awareness, itself.


Finally, you wrote:
"I know (intellectually) that I cannot lose my Self.
I also know (experientially) that I certainly *can*
lose my Awareness of the Self -- because I have."

I would just reword this slightly: the only loss
that occurs is not a loss of Awareness.  Rather,
Awareness remains -- and the conscious mind just
forgets, or loses sight of it.

Our task (if this forgetting is of concern to us)
is simply:
-  to remind the mind of the distinction between
   consciousness and Awareness, and
-  to allow our identification to slip back into
   the larger Space and Background within which
   our innate Awareness naturally resides.


While this distinction between consciousness and
Awareness may appear to be purely semantic, for me
the distinction is *experiential* -- and I believe
that clarifying the concepts and words we use is
one of the ways we can point toward the confusion
or muddiness that obscures our conscious recognition
of who and what we really are.

(After all, it is *only* the mind that has a problem
with this whole issue of Clear Seeing.  At the level
of Awareness, there is -- of course -- no real problem
at all!)

                           * * * * *

For more background on this distinction between the
Background of Awareness and the content of consciousness,
see "Natural Awareness":
...and all the Insight Mentoring Archive posts on


Metta's Reflections
When the student is ready....
"When the student is ready,
the teacher disappears ---
and only Reality remains."

A teacher is only a mirror reflecting the Original Nature
of the student.  In the instant of Awakening, in this
profound moment of Recognition, the distinction between
teacher and student becomes meaningless, and in this
Clear Seeing only the Essential Nature of Reality remains.


This Awakening
This "awakening" into Awareness, this view of Reality, is
no place at which you can arrive, no accomplishment which
you can achieve, no goal which you can attain.  It is your
Original Nature, which you simply Recognize in a profound
and stunning moment of rediscovery.

It is a subtle shift in perception, a refocusing of attention
and perception.  It begins with considering the possibility
that the saints and sages of years gone by might actually
be right: that THIS -- your immediate experience and your
"ordinary" awareness exactly as they appear within the
present moment -- might actually be "It," i.e., the elusive
goal for which you have so long been seeking.

Then, as you begin to consider this possibility, and as you
allow the focus of your attention begins to shift, you begin
to see and recognize that within the center of your immediate
experience, within the deep center of your whirling thoughts,
emotions, and sensations, there is a still point -- a Clear
Seeing -- a Spacious Space which contains all THIS, a vastness
within which all of THIS appears.  And, you realize that "you"
-- your most fundamental sense of identity and self -- is
inextricably linked to this Spacious Awareness which is the
background, context and framework for everything you experience.

When you discover (uncover) this Awareness -- this Clear Seeing
at your Perceptual Center -- then you begin to realize that you
are That.  You are now, and have been always.  In fact, there
is no always -- there is *only* Now.

And, with this subtle shift in perception, you now realize how
limited your previous sense of identity has been.  Yes, body
mind, and emotions exist, and you experience the profound
beauty and suffering of Life in and through them, but you --
the essential and fundamental you -- are so much more.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are limited by
thought, belief, experience and sensation -- you are, instead,
the dynamic spaciousness within which all these phenomena
appear. You are the Awareness of these phenomena, not the
phenomena themselves.  The truth of this can be discovered
easily and immediately simply by observing your own experience:
the phenomena change, while your Awareness of them does not.

Ultimately, and in the face of these ever changing phenomena,
your identity remains in the Center -- seated and grounded in
the clear, vast spaciousness of this present moment Awareness,
in this Ground of Being.

When you discover this, when you discover the Fullness of this
empty space, then you also Recognize the absolute miracle of
its innate completeness.  And in this completeness, in this
Wholeness which is inherent within the Infinite present, you
finally rest and find peace.

Meanwhile, the process of discovery and unfolding continues
as the Infinite continues to manifest in and through the
finite, Here and Now, within the immediacy of the present
moment.  It is the movement and flow of this Life energy
which animates us, which we experience as the visible and
physical world, and through which we read and understand
these words.


Reader Reflections
                  A Return to Original Nature
                           * * * * *
                Anonymous (by author's request)
A remarkable account of a spontaneous experience of awakening
into an Awareness of our own innate, Original Nature.

Author's Introduction
Reading your account of your epiphany at the Rodeway Inn
[ ] struck a deep personal
chord....I spent the day at 10,000 feet on a pass in the
Sierras. Before I left, I printed out your 'Epiphany at
the Rodeway Inn' and took it with me to read with lunch.

It was perfect company, and matched an experience I also
have had. Actually reading about it in your words brought
it back just as strong as it was seven years ago.

It was a few hours after I had read your story and I had
actually started back home, when suddenly I could take
a deeper breath. Everything lit up. The sun on the pine
needles, the sparkle of the stream I was driving along,
each tree stood out and glowed with visible energy. The
feeling of joy was deep and quiet and undisturbable. This
lasted for many hours, until I went to bed, about midnight....

Thank you for sharing your story of the epiphany, and for
your interest in helping others Awaken into Awareness.


Author's Account
A young man practicing Zen Buddhism had written something
about how wonderful the concept of no-self felt. My answer
to him was that if he had actually experienced this, he
would call it the "mother of all fears." This fear is a
fake, but it underlies everything, and is what keeps us
from letting go. He asked me if I could tell him about my
experience of letting go and how I got there. The following
is my letter to him:

So glad you asked! Here's my recipe for awakening:

Sincerity and willingness...these you seem to have plenty
of already. Read everything you can get your hands on.
Since this experience already exists in you, in fact,
it has already happened.  What you're looking for is its
TRACKS. When you read the account of someone else's
experience, you are reading their TRACKS. When these
match your own, you know by an internal intuitive reaction.
Some people call it the "Ah-ha!" experience. When Hui Neng,
the 6th Patriarch of Buddhism in China, heard it he
exclaimed, "That is my experience exactly!"

Then, some night when you don't have anything else to do,
sit down and do it.

I will answer your questions on "letting go." 

You're right: the experience is difficult to put into
words. The effort to do so always recreates the original
experience, and so I always love to tell the story.

But, there is a basic dissatisfaction with the words
themselves. They always fall short of the experience,
and so what is left is just the description of my
physical reaction. That is not the experience. When
you read it, you supply the feelings you usually have
with the reactions described. These are not always
the same, even if the writer has done a good job of
describing the experience.

The experience of awakening happens when everything
else that is not that experience has been let go. 
I know that's vague. This is how it happened to me.

One day on my drive to the monastery (which is some
distance from my house), so I can be alone and quiet
for about an hour, I became aware that I was physically
adding a resistance as I got closer. I also knew that
it was very familiar. It was something I always did,
but I think I thought of it as "paying attention,"
or "being in the moment." It wasn't actually either
of those. It was almost like putting on armor. I
could feel it in my chest.

It was like setting myself against or protecting
myself from anything getting through or from being
vulnerable. When I noticed it, I wondered if I could
do the approach without this armor. So it would get
dropped and then come back -- on and off, over and
over. Whenever I became aware of it, I dropped it.

When I got to the monastery and was talking to the
Roshi about this, it just kept right on happening.
I told him that I had to stop because I was going
to throw up. He just laughed. Here's a tip he gave me.
If you are so upset you think you are going to throw
up, put your attention in the soles of your feet, 
and the nausea will pass.

Throughout this conversation I was very aware of
this resistance. This began to be what I was aware
of in everything I did. It was not just associated
with the monastery; I added this to my experience
of everything. So this is what I lived with -- 
recognizing my resistance and letting it go.

After a few weeks of this, I began to be aware of
what thoughts were associated with that -- what
thoughts would arise when that was going on. That's
where I hung out for several more weeks. It was
long enough to become thoroughly disenchanted with
my own thinking. The kind of thoughts that come up
are not the kind of thoughts you associate with
yourself as the reasonable thinking person. You
usually just let yourself be aware of the thoughts
that fit with your idea of who you are. But actually
there is this incredible soup of thoughts about who
you are, what has happened to you, what you like or
don't, on and on and on. After a while you think I
will do anything if I don't have to listen to this
person anymore! You begin to realize you are a
walking, talking, bag of inconsequential mutterings.

When my son was about three years old, he used to
walk around and talk to himself all the time. I
remember listening to him when he was in the
bathroom on the potty just talking to himself,
yacking, yacking. I thought, "I wonder if that
is going to go on for his whole life?" Whenever
he was alone you could hear this constant stream
of chatter. Shortly after that it became internalized.
It's what we all walk around doing, and what I
call "potty thoughts." It's the kind of thinking
you just do so you know you are alive. When you're
alone driving or something, you're just thinking
so you know you're ok. The parts you are aware of
are the parts that fit your ideals. Otherwise it
is just this soup of thinking with no particular
direction. It's only done to feel secure and alive.

Now we come to that no-self thing. That's the whole
purpose of this thinking protect us
from the realization that in fact, we are not!
So you see, after we have seen this we know we have
always known and protected our thinking mind from
finding this out. That's why I call it "the mother
of all fear." It's because it starts when we are
very young and is the directing force for most
of our lives.

On with the story. With the discovery of the
"potty thoughts," an ability arises to remain in
the thought itself without clutching it or believing
it. Then as that develops you have the ability to
remain in the place before the thought arises. I
think this happens because you are paying very
close attention, not to the content, but to the

This space has just the inclination to think which
feels like a subtle pressure. This takes time,
practice, and a willingness not to be engaged with
the content of what is happening. Just simply the
awareness of the thought: here it comes...there
it goes.

Now I want to diagram this process for you so that
when you are practicing you know where you are.
When you are paying attention or practicing
mindfulness, what you first become aware of are
your feelings...your reactions to things. This is
like catching hold of the tail of a dragon. All
you have is the tail. You have to follow it all
the way up the back to get to the fire. Feelings
are produced by thought. Unless you are aware,
every thought that arises produces a reaction
in the body.

That's why we are doing them. Thoughts are
produced by the inclination to think. So, going
in the other direction: first there is the
inclination to think, then the thought arises,
then the body produces the reaction to that
thought. Don't take my word for it. Check it out!

On to the experience itself.  (Remember, you
asked for this!)  One night I was just sitting
down in my living room doing the practice I have
described to you...letting go, letting go, as
each thought arose. Then something profound

A gulf opened up in my mind and I was aware of
not thinking at all. Somewhere thoughts still
arose and disappeared, but that was not my
identity any longer.

As this space opened up I had the thought,
"What will I be, how will I get through to the
other side of this? How will I ever come back
to who I am if I let go now?" My answer was,
"Oh, what the hell!" You see, I was very
familiar with the nature of this thinking mind.
There was no way I was going to let it keep me
from this experience.

With that letting go, a new experience occurred.
It is the most full and satisfying experience
of peace, of absolute quiet -- the quiet of the
absence of even your own noisy mind. I was
sitting in what IS.

And the ISNESS is emptiness itself. It is
impossible to describe. The reason is that this
emptiness has no marks, no physical characteristics,
nothing definable in a sense way. What I can
describe is my physical reaction to it, but not
the experience itself.

I noticed after a while that tears were welling
up in my eyes, running down my cheeks, and dripping
on my shirt, without any sense of crying or sadness.
This went on for three hours and completely soaked
my clothing. The experience itself was so overwhelming
that this was the body's way of dealing with it.

The feeling that brings tears is a feeling of
recognition of a loved one. My mother has been dead
for 11 years and the feeling is as if your mother
(long dead) walks into the room.  You have a love,
a bond, a recognition, a feeling of safety with
what has arrived..."Oh, thank God! After all this
time I see you!"  Of course nothing is standing
there (not God -- not my mother). I am looking
at emptiness. That feeling of the recognition
of the beloved, the long-absent beloved, that
feeling, a return to original nature, that feeling.

I began to notice a sensation of heat in my lower back.
It was in the area where I had had back surgery three
years ago. That area began to pulse with this heat.
That feeling spread out along the nerves until I
could feel my whole nervous system light up. I could
see the whole network carrying this something between
light and heat throughout my body. The experience
felt ecstatic, healing, and comforting at the same

After experiencing this for a while I looked at the
clock and two hours had gone by without any sense
of time passing. I was amazed. I looked again and
another hour was gone. In this experience all time
disappears; all sense of time passing, all the
discomfort that you would feel from not having
moved for two hours. None of that exists. There
is only this feeling of oneness with everything.

While sitting in this, I knew beyond any past
feeling of knowing, that this is what I am. 
This is what I have always been, before I was 
born and after I die. THIS IS WHAT IS!

As this knowing percolated through my consciousness,
I was aware that I would never be afraid of death
again. I knew it would be just this. So it erased
fear of death and all fear, because all fear is
the fear of death or loss. The joy was almost
impossible to contain.

There was throughout this experience no distinction
of where I stopped and anything else began. There
was a fire in my wood stove, and my dog and cat were
curled up in front of it. I had the sense that I
was lying there also. There was no difference between
me and the fire, me and the house, me and the animals.
I was part of everything.

After the three hours had gone by, I got up and
had a drink of apple juice. As I lifted this glass
of juice to my lips, it seemed to take forever for
the glass to reach my mouth. As that cold juice
touched my lips and slid in, there was no distinction
between me and the juice. I was the juice, the cold,
the mouth, the throat. It rolled down my throat and
it seemed like every part of that action took forever.
Each separate thought-moment presented itself and
there was no separation in anything.

There was also a knowing that I could understand
everything...comprehend everything. Everything fit
in a pattern that made sense. I felt I knew the
answer to everything and if anyone had asked a
question at that time, I would know, because I was
in the place where all true answers arise.

It was a most amazing experience. For days after,
people who knew me asked me if I had fallen in love.
I laughed and was silly. I glowed. And I felt there
would never be a problem on my plate again. Other
people have written about this reaction. Although
as I struggle to write this accurately and know it
fails to do justice to the experience, I have read
other's accounts of what happened to them and know
it matches exactly.  The words are different, but
the experience revealed by the words has the same

It gradually fades. But the essence of that knowing
has sunk down to my bones and I can never again tell
myself I don't know.  I can never again experience
fear or suffering without knowing its true nature.

All this sounds terribly pretentious. I can hear it.
I am always the beginner, always the person just taking
the next step, always that little kid with stars in her
eyes in love with Buddhism. In describing his experience,
Nyogen Senzaki, my teacher's teacher said: "Like a dew
drop entering the shining sea." And my teacher talking
about his experience said: "The everlasting beauty of
undisturbed vastness."

Maybe after some time I will be able to distill what
happened to me down to something profound.  Although
the words are inadequate, there is nothing inadequate
in the experience.

Thank you -- for asking. The experience of the
retelling is delicious! Its joy never ends. If these
tracks match anything in you, use them. Look
particularly at where it struck you -- your own
tracks. It's "how to know how to know" that is
activated. Find the thread in yourself and follow
it. Here are the words of my teacher:


  |  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      
TASTE: The Archive of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences
(See feature article in Part 1 of this zine.)

TASTE is dedicated to:
-- Allowing individual psychological growth in the
   contributing scientists by providing a safe means
   of expression of vital experiences;
-- Leading toward a more receptive climate to the full range
   of our humanity in the scientific professions which, in
   turn, would benefit our world culture at large;
-- Providing research data on transcendent experiences in
   a highly articulate and conscientious population (scientists);
-- Facilitating the development of a full spectrum science of
   consciousness by providing both data and support for the
   study of transcendent experiences.
-- Helping to bridge the unfortunate gaps between science
   and the rest of culture by illustrating the humanity of

Noumenon Press

Noumenon Press
c/o Kriben Pillay
P.O. Box 1280
Wandsbeck 3631
South Africa
Tel: + 2731 2627152
Fax: + 2731 2044830

Publishers of:
"Noumenon: A Newsletter for the Nondual Perspective"
Noumenon is a biannual newsletter dedicated to bringing
the nondual perspective to a wider audience through
articles, interviews, and book reviews.

Exceptional Human Experience Network

414 Rockledge Road
New Bern, NC 28562-9553

The Exceptional Human Experience Network, Inc. is an
educational, research, and information resource
organization dedicated to the study of all types of
psychical, mystical, encounter, death-related, and
enhanced experiences. These experiences are typically
considered anomalous, improbable, remarkable, or even
unbelievable within the current Euro-American worldview.

Because this worldview and scientific paradigm offer
little explanation and insight into the nature of
these experiences, we have taken a wholly different
approach. We call these anomalous experiences
"exceptional." They are "exceptional experiences"
(EEs) because:
-- they do not fit the Western scientific paradigm.
-- the individual can neither explain them, nor
   explain them away. 

The Envirolink Network

5808 Forbes Avenue
Second Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Tel: 412-420-6400
Fax: 412-420-6404

EnviroLink is a non-profit organization...a
grassroots online community that unites hundreds
of organizations and volunteers around the world
with millions of people in more than 150 countries.
EnviroLink is dedicated to providing you with the
most comprehensive, up-to-date environmental
resources available.

The EnviroLink Network was created in 1991 by
Josh Knauer, while he was a freshman at Carnegie
Mellon University. Since that time, EnviroLink
has grown from a simple mailing list of 20
student activists to become one of the world's
largest environmental information clearinghouses. 



AIA Updates
AIA's new audio tape is available now!  
This month Metta was a speaker at the Whole Life Expo in
Austin, Texas.  Her presentation at the Expo was audio
taped, and copies of this 45-minute tape are now available.
This engaging introduction to the experience of "Awakening
into Awareness" provides an unique opportunity for you to
experience the simplicity and clarity of the Insight
Mentoring process.

For more information about the contents of new audio
tape, see:

For a free copy of AIA's new tape, you may join the
Insight Mentoring Center at the US $50 level, or
you may send US $12 (payable to "Metta Zetty") to:
     Metta Zetty -- Expo Tape
     P.O. Box 781955
     San Antonio TX 78278

Your purchase of this tape will provide valuable
support for the ongoing work and service of AIA.


Automatic AIA Updates
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AIA's 1999 Golden Web Award
AIA wishes to offer our thanks to the International
Association of Web Masters and Designers for the
1999 Golden Web Award which they have given to AIA
in recognition for creativity and excellence on
the World Wide Web.  We appreciate and thank you
for this public acknowledgement!
           |                                        |
   ________|       International Association of     |________
   \       |         Web Masters and Designers      |       /
    \      |                                        |      /
     \     |          1999 Golden Web Award         |     /
     /     |   |     \
    /      |________________________________________|      \
   /________\                                      /________\

            Look for this new award on the AIA website!


------------------ |  General Information  | -------------------

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             Awakening into Awareness
            Reflections on Reality and
          The Experience of Realization

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


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              All Rights Reserved.


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