What is This Form For?


With the dissolution of the dream self four months ago, I woke up to the shocking realization I’d spent a lifetime with an undiagnosed case of mistaken identity. Like someone with amnesia, in place of true nature, there was a construct called Lori-Ann, a fabrication that suffered from the push away and pull toward pleasures and pains, likes and dislikes.

The most consuming of these pulls was an attraction to ambition, along with the attendant belief I had to do something important in life. Yet I found myself facing my forties with low marks on the achievement index. I tallied my scores for a failed marriage, limp career choices and flagging creativity, added up the trauma of shock-grief from the sudden death of both parents, and somewhat concluded I’d had a life short on success and happiness.

With awakening, the suffering self leaves the premises. What remains is a perpetual welcome mat for whatever shows up at the doorstep. Who is the welcomer? Awareness. True Nature. Ground of Being. No-self. Call it what you will. When this Infinite Self stands at the doorstep of reality, every happening is allowed entrance. When the bouncer has been evicted along with the illusion of a separate “me,” life becomes one big invitation for each moment to show the way.

Lately, the way has been a one of turbo-charged creativity. Unlike when I first woke up (drunk on the spaciousness, languishing in the stillness) these days there is a passion for writing. It started mid November when I had a dream to create a blog called The Awakened Dreamer. I’d never before blogged, but without much effort or fanfare went online and created a word press site. Within weeks this site was mysteriously attracting thousands of hits and now at three months old, has reached over 20.000 views. Since I began the blog, I’ve been invited to feature write for an upcoming book of essays called The Journey Home, and have been given the creative seed for a book called Kisses from God.

What I am pointing to is this irony that after years chasing the muses, the muses are chasing me. After years trying to find my voice as a writer, my voice has found me. Waking up from the suffering self, has allowed an unimpeded creative flow and ease to arise. This flow and effortlessness seem to be a hallmark of living from Awareness –it’s the Welcomer standing at the door, saying to reality: “Come on in. Let’s play.”

I’m not the first one to point this out. Non-duality teacher Greg Goode, in his book Standing As Awareness, notes that after he saw through the illusion of a separate self, “Life became an effortless smooth flow.” Adyashanti writes in The End of Your World, “When you get out of the drivers seat, you find life can drive itself…it can flow in ways you never imagined. Life becomes almost magical.”

This flow feels like a river carrying me along toward purpose without effort–there is no choosing or doing from that sense of struggle. Rather, in waking up from the self who would strive and drive toward a goal, what has emerged is a magic carpet ride in which goals have been replaced by inspired action and effortless creativity.

In a weekend retreat with teacher Ganga-gi in September, she mentioned that one of the gifts of self-realization was also the answer to the question: What is this form for? Until we are free from identification with the illusory self, all ideas of purpose are happening in a dream, to a dream self. The purposing that occurs post liberation is of a different order. It’s not about “What can I get?” to make this dream a happier one. Instead there is a natural impulse toward “What is here to give?” in order for all dreamers to wake up.

In other words, enlightenment is about more than seeing what is true. It’s seeing the stillness of true nature and then, paradoxically, it’s the movement of stillness through form. Some have called this operational awareness, or embodied truth, but by whatever name, it’s about more than sitting for a lifetime alone in a cave (or on a sofa) with your enlighenment.

In his book, Evolutionary Enlightenment, Andrew Cohen proposes that we are entering a new phase where traditional enlightenment is evolving into the collective impulse for creativity and service, toward the birthing of what Eckhart Tolle in his book of the same title calls, “A New Earth.” In a recent Buddha at the Gas Pump interview, awakened teacher Sharon Landrift speculates that “I think we are collectively moving into something that has really not been fully described as of yet…there’s this full waking up right in the midst of form, right in the midst of the earth.”

As awakening catches fire, as bright candles light more candles, we are perhaps all called to be Bodhisattvas. There is a time for lounging in the vastness, and there is also a time for engagement with reality in a way that serves the collective seeing of what we are not, and a collective remembrance of what we all are, beyond the dream.

So I invite you to engage the question for yourself: What is this form for? If you are still asleep, the answer is “to wake up.” If you awakened, then the answer will show itself in the ease and flow of each unfolding moment. Let the magic begin!

Awareness is here (welcome mat out.)

Lori Ann

About Lori Ann Lothian

Lori Ann Lothian writes about love, relationships, enlightenment and yes, sex, at Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Yoganonymous, Origin magazine, Better After 50 and more. She is also a senior editor at the online magazine, The Good Men Project, where she manages a section called Good for the Soul. Lori Ann lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and daughter, where she has learned to transcend the rain and surrender to mega doses of vitamin D. Subscribe to Lori Ann's feed and never miss a post! Tweet her at Twitter
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22 Responses to What is This Form For?

  1. Sagittal says:

    Congratulations Lory …you write like a Goddess

  2. Thank for sharing your awakening with us

  3. There is no form to contemplate. Doing so and holding onto such constructs is unnecessary. You are already enlightened, as we all are.

    Your friend on the path.

    William

    • Joel says:

      These are empty words. A Bodhisattva should know that no-one can truly be called enlightened until all sentient beings are liberated. While you might argue that all sentient beings are in you, and you are already enlightened, it might be wondered what the caged tiger pacing back and forth in anguish is trying to communicate to His Serene Holiness, who doesn’t appear to be listening, too guzzled up on the formless.

  4. ashok z says:

    Hi Lori,

    Great post, and one that resonates with me greatly. It’s very tricky to navigate the language and philosophical waters of the Non-Dual and Dharma-speak, it can be a very logical portrayal of the Highest experiences of reality. The Person and the world it knows collapses in the overwhelming face of Timeless Eternity, no beginning or end. Forget the ego, the ‘great story of everything’ is finished, it never actually began, it’s overwhelmingly and incomprehensibly Real.

    Yet, ‘here’ we are. The map, is not the terrain.

    And the life of the ordinary mind, as dreamlike and unreal as it is, as much as you have woken up from it and see it clearly as if standing from outside, still has its own agenda and direction it projects for itself. I’m not talking about his or her or anyone’s ordinary mind in particular. ‘The’ ordinary mind, egoic life as it behaves and acts through humanity at large.

    From the Ultimate perspective (and I’m definitely not seated there now, but once, let’s say sat on the barrier, the causeless ground of Being, ‘seeing’ the person disappear and the world along with it…. that changes one inside and out forever, I am no longer really ‘Ashok’), it is all just dream, empty spectacle, the Self imagining a person and world, and being the Self all the same. All that appears, disappears. The great Pralaya.

    However, take a considered look at what egoic life has planned for it self, and it’s plain to see why there is so much profound importance and mystery around the Bodhisattva path. The Cosmic-Consciousness and its innumerable beings. The fact and mystery of ‘Existence’. That nevertheless, Life ‘is’, and continues to be after your body drops away. For you this matters very little, but for humanity still dreaming, it’s their whole world and life.

    I think at large many sincere seekers get caught up in the sophistry of Dharma-speak, and Non-Dualism, and it tends make people believe Enlightenment is an either/or thing, and can be unconsciously world-denying (apart from the kind of socially acceptable dramas of better society, human rights, environment, healthy balanced life etc.).

    So, relatively speaking, what is the future of egoic-life, as it has planned for itself, and given the direction it has taken across its history? Certainly, the life of the mind is not the same as it was in our past, it wont be the same in the future. And how much future does it actually have left if it keeps on with its own self-agenda? What does that say for the majority of humanity still entranced by its dream?

    This is the evolutionary crisis that Eckhart Tolle is referring to, and the possibility of a New Earth. The character of which the ordinary mind by itself cannot grasp, in the same way that Life could not comprehend the character of ‘Mind’ as it appeared and grew in its midst.

    It’s a ‘game’ but one we must play well!

    If ever there was an age for the Bodhisattva, in doing everything it can to ensure the conditions for Realisation remain available to all beings, it’s ‘Now’.

    Yours with Love,

    Ashok.

    • Thank you Ashok for your well worded thoughts. If life had a slogan, from an awake place, it might be a “stay-tuned for the unknown next” — with the illusion of control or certainty gone, what remains is curiousity…i wonder what indeed is happening to the collective “mind” and I too wonder, what does A NEW EARTH look like? hugs, Lori Ann

      • ashok z says:

        ha! I love it :)

        Awakened qualities shine through peoples words, lyrical, sharp, fierce, poetic, devotional, philosophically rigorous or not. One just ‘feels’ it.

        Looking forward to what unfolds next, as the Muses silently whisper their secrets to you. The songs of realisation are a great and long standing tradition :)

        With love,

        Ashok.

  5. GAURI KULKARNI says:

    wow lori!!!!!! I am going through this-
    The most consuming of these pulls is an attraction to ambition, along with the attendant belief I had to do something important in life.
    I am extremely thankful to my LORD for giving me an opportunity to read this post..
    Love you Lori!!!

  6. Menno says:

    The dream characters, would instantly completely disappear too. A habit of describing awakening states within our dream character, also. Why focus on the after ‘o wow i feel so good this is amazing’ effects of ‘awakening’ in the dream as part of that dream, for that dream character so much? Who is left to describe her/ himself as being/awareness labeled as….

    • Joel says:

      The Self dreaming the universe, the Self dreaming it is awake, is the same Self, empty witness of phase changes. The same Self that loses itself in a person persons itself in the Self.

      • I love this Joel: “The same Self that loses itself in a person, persons itself in the Self.”

      • Menno says:

        But I do not know what I am. How do you know that of a Self dreaming some universe? What is then a ‘Self1 that loses itself2 in a person3 persons4 itself5 in the self6’.
        What type of pointer we use, and how smart we seem to describe certain routes to ‘awakening/enlightenment’ in how to bypass obstacles, these are just pointers in the benefit for the dreamed role-player we think we are. If you read a sign on the road that is pointing to for example London or Amsterdam, then you know that that sign is not the same as these cities.
        Once you arrived in London or Amsterdam, you don’t need these road signs anymore, and following these road signs is silly. You know for sure that you arrived in London or Amsterdam. The hustle and fighting about ‘awakening’ is that it is placed within the imaginary world for benefit of a person. The deception is the awakening story as proposed within the dream world as if somebody can awaken from its own dream.

      • Joel says:

        Menno — Isn’t it an assumption that you are asleep and in need of awakening? If you are not asleep and not dreaming, then clearly you can look on the ‘awakening story’ as simply something cooked up by those who are similarly not asleep but are labouring under the delusion that they are. For them, such an idea may be useful and does not contravene the idea that you cannot point outside of a dream from within a dream, because there is no dream, only an assumption of one.

    • This is a good question. ANd the answer is one I do not have. This writing is happening here, and it’s really not something I am too concerned about in terms of the ettiwquette of non-duality, awakening lingo or even the deeper question you pose, dear Menno–which is valid and which is pointing to the limits of an analogy of ‘dreaming/dreamer.” that I use as a convenience to communicate a truth. However it is quite possible as well, that I have merely awakened within the dream, not from the dream, a disctinction that ACIM would make, for instance. And in the fine-tuned vedic or buddhist or zen traditions where levels of disidentification are parsed, its very likely I’m just one level one :-) I am willing to simply follow the muses/urge here and see where it leads. What comes to mind, however, is something a teacher of mine once said. He was a masterful psychologist who had created a mini-empire based on a transpersonal type of counselling that required peope take a prerequisite workshop before heading into any of the deeper work he offered. His simple statement was you had to meet people where they are, to take them to the next level. Perhaps that is what this blog is for? I am not on a lofty pedestal of “teacher,” and rather, am literally trying to “report” in an edutainment way, this unfolding of one person’s “awakening.”

      Thank you for your question! Perhaps another reader can answer this better.

      Lori Ann

      • Joel says:

        One way to look at it is that the one who sees the awakening was never asleep. In other words, using the word ‘awakening’ is identifying the wrong way. Looking back at what has ‘happened’, instead of seeing that nothing has happened. Certainly if one ‘identified’ the ‘right’ way, there would be no confusion over levels or any need to attempt to place oneself in the schemas of others. There would be nothing to answer.

      • Menno says:

        Hi Lory, Thank you for your reply. I am enjoying your ‘reports’, therefore my comment. Yes funny, quick Joel replied to answer my question for you, how it is for him. The ‘problem’ and fun is to see the impossibility to communicate a truth. That any attempt always being brought back on these levels of where I think I am. Source of discussion, as knowledge comes, and then love will disappear.

  7. Brook Bartlett says:

    Yes!!!

  8. miriam louisa says:

    Oh yes! Beautiful post dear Lori Ann.
    The magic unfolds …
    ~ ml

  9. learning for the past…cocluding corect in present and planning for future ! i like you`re blog and site, maybe will inspire me in future. thank you for sharing!
    best wishes,
    dan izvernariu

  10. SimplyBegin1 says:

    All the past and future truly falls away…. This being/awareness labeled as Kate is walking around with silly grin on her face, realizing, understanding and accepting what is LIFE …. Almost as a marvelous secret has been discovered ! Definitely like taking T.N.T. To ones mind and then realizing there is no mind….. Sweet!!!! :-D

    • HI Kate. Yes, the feeling is sort of like when you first learn to ride a bike, or that was the feeling here. Delight at this “just this” that was always available but simply not seen.

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