Wanna know how deep the awakening rabbit hole goes? Are you SURE? 🤯
This is the fifth interview in our series Awakening, Explained with my guest Dr. Angelo DiLullo. Angelo is a practicing anesthesiologist and author of the book “Awake: It’s Your Turn.”
In this episode we dive into the stages of realization that can occur POST awakening…and it gets pretty wild and largely awesome.
Get Angelo’s book, contact him, and download his free meditation app here.
The rest of our Awakening, Explained interview series can be found here.
Timecodes for topics covered
0:00 Intro: What happens AFTER awakening?
2:37 The honeymoon period after the awakening “event” and the mass of conditioned beliefs and repressed emotions
6:38 How and why we need to address post-awakening fixations and why conceptual thinking fails us
9:08 Surrender vs. Intention in deepening realization, and avoiding fixation on one or the other
11:50 The fixation of dualism dissolving to non-dualism: the experience of space & distance
18:23 The fixation of identity and “self” and non-dual realization, and the paradox of dualistic language
23:31 If there are no un-enlightened people, why do we talk about ending suffering, “Zen Stink”
26:01 The fixation of “agency” and the experience of “No Self Apart”
31:40 The mundane coming alive
34:12 The fixation of the tendency of mind to “frame” reality
Full Transcript Below
– [Zubin] Guys, ZDoggMD, Dr. Angelo Dilullo, anesthesiologist and awakening dude. So, Angelo and I have done a series now about awakening, spiritual awakening, finding your true nature, identity, unfiltered reality. There’s a series of link to it all here. What I wanna talk about now, though, is something that may trigger some people. We’re gonna talk about, ’cause we’re gonna go deep on it. So, awakening is just the first sort of movement. It’s a profound movement, but the first movement in an unfolding that continues. We’re gonna talk now about the continuing of that unfolding. We talked before about you awaken, you realize the identity is not this me. It’s kind of unbound consciousness and then there’s that feeling of emotion and trying to integrate emotion afterwards, and shadow work, and this sort of stuff that’s been repressed forever now comes to the surface, and working to integrate that. There’s even more than that in the unfolding and it gets kind of awesome and also a little bit like, oh, that’s the nature of reality? Oh. So, over to you, doc, ’cause this is where I just sit like this, and go, uh-huh. Tell me more.
– [Angelo] So, this actually is one of the major areas of interest I had in writing the book. But I got to 130,000 words and I was like, I didn’t quite get to that part. I did, I touched into it many times with the approaches and techniques that are useful after awakening and in the “Stages of Awakening” chapter I definitely show, I point to it with analogies, the pond analogy and that sort of thing. So, these are the shifts that occur later on, but that’s a very metaphorical way of talking about it but it also can give you the experience of it for sure. Aspects of it. But I didn’t actually include, and this is the next book I’m gonna write, I didn’t actually include like, here’s the exact fixation, here’s how to address it. And here’s the next one and here’s how to address it. And then here’s the next one. ‘Cause there’s a handful of things that need to be addressed if this process is to continue itself to completion at least as far as the individual is concerned. It’s never complete. This process is never complete, but there is a certain very distinct finality when it comes to the experience of being an individual apart from a world, navigating that world, struggling with that world, that actually can come to an end. And it does. So, that’s what we’re gonna talk about. Now again, you mentioned awakening is this very transformative, very powerful, it will be the biggest thing that’s ever happened to you in your life. To go through it is an amazing, tremendous release of suffering and emotion and these sorts of things. And the other side of it is deeply, deeply peaceful in a way that you kind of forgot was even possible since maybe very early childhood. And then that’s kind of the honeymoon period. As I’ve said before, you sort of feel enlightened or you’re not gonna think about yourself as enlightened, but the experience is. It is kind of like, when I talk to somebody who has just gone through the awakening, they just feel enlightened to me. Like that’s how when I interact with them, I can interact in a very, very direct way, which is lovely. And it’s just so fluid and yet I can still see their conditioning is there and it’s starting to creep back in here and there. And I try to point it out, but I know that at some point they’re gonna have to really just dive into it anyway. But the conditioning is basically a mass of resistance patterns. And a lot of it has to do with repressed emotions and it has to do with distorting beliefs. We’ve touched on some of this stuff as well in the previous program, so I’m gonna go beyond that and now and talk about, okay, well, what the heck happens after that? So, I can’t give you statistics on this, but I can tell you of the people who go through awakening, which this is happening more and more and more, some people have gone through spontaneous awakening, some people have intentionally moved through this process, but of the people who’ve gone through awakening, I think probably a good number of people kinda get sorta lost in this sorta spiritual no person’s land after for awhile and that was one of the reasons I wanted to write the book because it can be a really confusing time because it’s kinda like once you taste unfiltered reality, you kinda see that everything is unfiltered reality and yet the conditioning can still be there. And sometimes it’s worse for awhile, or it’s more intense, or the emotions are more intense, or your bad habits are more intense, and they’re just in your face and you can’t ignore them, but you’re like, do I ignore them? Do I just continue to be kind of a jerk and that’s just how life is because everything’s unfiltered reality anyway? Or is there a way to actually investigate it more closely? Or is there something else I need to look at that I’m totally missing that’s still operating here? And some people sense that, there’s definitely something here that needs to continue to be addressed. Other people seem to not really sense it. And at some point they might catch on it once they really get tired of suffering, even after awakening. Suffering is less, I would say. It’s different kinda suffering, but if your discernment and authenticity are intact, you’ll still realize, no, there’s still some suffering here. There’s still something going on. There’s still resistance. I’m still struggling somehow even though it’s kind of episodic and I don’t really know why or how. So, if you’re able to sorta pick that up then and you find good pointers, you find good teachers, really people who could really point beyond that, then you can proceed through these other sort of fixation stages and untie these deeper, dualistic knots. I always like to say when I talk about this type of subject that it doesn’t happen the same way for everyone. It doesn’t happen in the same order for everyone. And they may not even interpret the nature of these shifts in the same way. Some people will talk about these things very differently, but they are my opinion and my experience and the opinion of other people I know who know this material pretty well. They would say there’s pretty consistent and predictable fixations that are still occurring often after awakening that can be so subtle you can totally overlook them, but if you address them the experiential insight will deepen very, very profoundly. And so, what are these fixation? Oh, and you could also say, even though this is probably a little less accurate way of saying it, that each one of these fixations that gets addressed results in, like, you could almost say like another stage of realization, but even though I have a chapter called “Stages” I’m always a little cautious with that term because it almost sounds like you’re building something, but it’s not like that, it’s a subtractive process. But, when these fixations are untied there’s a very clear, obvious shift into a more fundamentally, obviously true and real reality. And they have different qualities to them, these types of movements and shifts. Does that make sense?
– [Zubin] It makes as much sense as it can.
– [Angelo] So, the other disclaimer I wanna kind of put out there with this is we’ve been talking about something that’s hard to talk about for the last two days, which is awakening and realization and awareness and all that, right? It’s paradoxical, the language doesn’t quite work, but it’s all an intuitive thing. You either get it or you don’t. Or maybe you get it later, but it’s really intuitive. It’s not about the language or the words. It’s not a shift in paradigm. It’s not a way of thinking. It’s totally non-conceptual. It’s beyond concept. So, we’ve already been working with that struggling language kind of thing and this is the nature of talking about this stuff. I’m talking about that which can not be talked about, ever. Now when we’re talking about later stage realization, it’s even worse because it’s more subtle. I’m talking about things that are so subtle that to try to apprehend these conceptually is a complete waste of time. You can make a mental model of them and you probably will, you might even hinder yourself because it’s just, they’re so subtle and they’re nothing to do with concept, they’re to do with more like what we were talking about in the last video you and I shot about the attention where we were investigating the direct nature of the sense world. It’s very subtle stuff, but if the pointing and your technique and your approach is gentle enough, you start to really discern, oh yeah, it’s subtle, but it’s also quite profound that a minute ago that was a glass over there and now I’m kind of feeling it like everywhere. What is that about? It’s that kind of subtlety. So, language really fails here and the farther this realization goes, the more it fails, but there are still pointers that work. There are inquiries that work for this stuff. There are two aspects to what allows you to address these dualistic knots, or these fixations, these deep, very deep seated, fundamental to our processing, perceptual filters. You could say there’s two approaches, but at this subtle level, they become the same approach. And this is, again, we’re talking paradoxically, but it feels like this. And perhaps in Buddhism, you could say this is the Middle Way or at least one iteration of what that could mean. And that is, there’s this aspect of surrender that has to be there. Like surrender. Like the kind of surrender where you can’t even do it. You need to be surrendered. It’s that life is surrendering you to the natural process of disintegration into the radical integration of reality or how, no way to talk about this, but, so there’s this surrendering aspect that’s very critical here. And if you tend too much on the other side and you miss that aspect of this, this can be challenging because you’ll introduce too much struggle. The other side is intention. Surrender is a acquiescent movement. It’s a, “Okay, whatever this is, I’m not really sure what it is, it’s unknowable, but I can feel it coming forth, carrying me forward, carrying this realization forward and deeper into itself. And I’m just willing to trust it the best I know how in the moment. And I can feel into it. I can intuit what it is and I’m allowing myself to align with it.” It’s that kind of surrendering, yeah? And sometimes it’s a surrender of, “I have no choice and this is just going and life is forcing me to experience certain things, to untie things in myself that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.” You start to really have this reverence for life itself or for the genius of this presence itself. It seems to have this intelligence. So that’s a surrender aspect, but the other aspect is intention. And intention just means your own intention to, inhabit truth beyond what you think it is right here. Always being willing to just see a little deeper into truth, into living truth. It’s a little more maybe incisive. It’s the willingness to actually do some inquiry if you have to. And so, there’s a balance between those two, that surrender and intention that really comes into play here. And it’s an aliveness, there’s an aliveness in your practice, your practice-less practice. And with that as the guiding movement, you can start to address these fixations. So what are they? So, one of them has to do with what we experience as the physical world of time and space, specifically space. And that is the sense that the world is dualistic, not even in a thinking way, not in a conscious, thought-based way, but an actual physical experience of, that’s over here and I’m over here. So, when that dualistic knot is untied, you can’t even experience that anymore. You can’t experience that distance anymore. There can be a thought about it, but there’s no identity in that. The non-distanced, or center-everywhere, or here and there at the same time experience is very clearly seen to be just the way it is and there’s no way it could be other. And so it’s like sound sounding, sense sensing, even thought thinking. It’s just phenomenon coming into being and disappearing into nothingness.
– [Zubin] With no location.
– [Angelo] Yeah, location-ality is seen at this point to have always been a thought.
– [Zubin] A thought. So, location is that overlay we talked about in our attention piece of like, here’s distance and here’s the sensation.
– [Angelo] So, with any sensation or any experience you’re having right now, if you recognize there’s no such thing as anywhere else because the presence has become so clear, there’s just that sensation literally or just that visual experience. When that becomes very, very clear, it’s also very clear there’s nowhere else. And when there’s nowhere else, there’s also no here. And so, there’s no differentiation between here and everywhere else. So space spacing, the activity of creating seeming space in your perceptual experience is gone.
– [Zubin] Wow.
– [Angelo] It’s a trip. Like, it’s really wild, but it’s also just the way it is and you actually get used to it.
– [Zubin] And you can fu-
– [Angelo] You can actually bump into things sometimes.
– [Zubin] Really? I was gonna say, can you function like that?
– [Angelo] You definitely can, for sure. But when you first start to experience it, or if it comes on very strong, very quickly for some people, they literally have to be careful how they move around and drive and stuff at first until you get used to it because it is very different.
– [Zubin] Wow.
– [Angelo] Now again, the mind can still perceive the world in that visual way of you’re over there and I’m over here.
– [Zubin] By creating a thought.
– [Angelo] But instinctually, it’s not real. You don’t actually experience that as real. So, the world of thought becomes very, I don’t know how to say it. I don’t wanna say detached. It just, all of the referencing of the world of thought for what’s real, goes away.
– [Zubin] Ah, so thought can exist, but it doesn’t become the basis of reference for reality.
– [Angelo] It doesn’t say anything about anything but itself.
– [Zubin] Wow.
– [Angelo] Again, thoughts, reflecting thoughts, reflecting thoughts, there’s nothing to it though. No substance. So, that’s one of the disentanglements we could say. And that really, it’s very much a perceptual thing. It makes the world look different, you could say. Feel different, sound different. But, it’s almost impersonal. It’s a sort of an impersonal type of thing because it’s just like, oh, I was looking through the senses one way and all of a sudden I’m looking through the senses in a very, very different way. But, you’re not looking through the senses, the senses just are very clearly not like it seemed before. The sense world. And then it’s like, well, is it even a sense because who’s sensing it? There’s no one sensing it. The sensing is in the sense. So, it becomes completely impossible to talk about, but it’s intimate, very obvious. It’s really wonderfulness in a certain natural way. It’s just, it’s like, yeah. That’s just how it is, you know?
– [Zubin] And sorry, so to get to that subtractive state, subtracting that filter of distance, you are inhabiting this combination simultaneously of surrender and intentionality that you talked about earlier. That’s necessary for this.
– [Angelo] That’s just where I would orient somebody to start to work through these things. Because if you’re too hands on, like I’m going to force this perception to be like this other perception, or remove this filter in some conceptual way you’re thinking about-
– [Zubin] You’re doing something.
– [Angelo] You might be actually putting a little too much effort into it. If you’re too much towards the surrender side, it can kind of be like, “Oh well, everything is just the way it is and there’s nothing to change or move or fix or whatever. It’ll just kind of do what it needs to do.” But then you can kind of, sort of ignore things sometimes. So, there’s this magic place between those two ways of approaching realization or your own practice or process. And that’s not something you even have to really worry about. I was just putting it out there, like, this is helpful.
– [Zubin] Right, right, right.
– [Angelo] Some of this can just happen completely spontaneously.
– [Zubin] Spontaneously, yeah, yeah.
– [Angelo] Totally.
– [Zubin] But you’re saying, by having those sort of conditions, it’s more likely to.
– [Angelo] Yeah, well, I think that that addresses the intense fixation one direction or the other. Again, one of them that’s like way too hands-on, too intellectual, too like, “I know how this is gonna go. I’m gonna make it go that way because I’m picturing the way it should go and comparing my experience to how, you know?” And then you’re just kinda keep putting mind in the way almost. On the other side, again, it’s like this, it’s almost like a bit of a laziness. Like, “Ah, just, it’s good enough and things are very clear and I don’t have to think about anything. I’m just, you know, it’s just life. I’m just gonna go with life, how it is, and it’s great. And, you know, there’s nothing more to do. There’s nothing to do, nothing to address. You know, there’s no one to address it.” You can get into this weird place with that. So, if you kind of find this place between the two you realize, okay, if I’m deeply honest with myself, there’s more to address. There’s more that could be addressed. And that’s kind of the intention or truth side and another part of you just knows and there’s not a damn thing I can do to address that. I have to trust life to really show me how this works. And you just find this place of, “Oh yeah.” It’s like surrendering surrendering itself almost as the practice, the practice practicing itself. Anyway, so that can be applied to any of these sort of fixations that we’re talking about. So, one of them is that subject-object experience that we’re creating with the mind all the time. We’re not creating it, it’s not even there, but the illusion of it is perpetuated by the way thoughts reflect one another.
– [Zubin] Right? So again, again, prime mover is thought. Thought.
– [Angelo] Its the relationship with thought.
– [Zubin] The relationship with thought.
– [Angelo] Thought’s not a bad guy. As I think I said on one of these shows, like you don’t wanna push it away. You don’t wanna make it the bad guy. You don’t wanna sit down and meditate and picture yourself with a sword, cutting thoughts and slashing ’em. Some people actually have said that to me. Like, “Oh yeah, I pictured all. I’m hitting the thoughts and pushing them out of the way.” I’m like, it’s not like that. It’s more like investigate the nature of your relationship with thought and at some point identity falls out of thought and then it actually seems like it’s identity’s in being, but as we move through this, what we’re talking about, identity itself as a construct completely goes away.
– [Zubin] Oh, that is wild.
– [Angelo] So, it’s not like identity is unbound being or unbound consciousness. There’s just no identity. Because identity also suggests separation.
– [Zubin] Right.
– [Angelo] Because if there’s identity, than my identity can’t be your identity or what’s the point in talking about identity?
– [Zubin] Is that, can I ask a question? So, is that why they call it non-dual instead of everything is one?
– [Angelo] Mm-hmm.
– [Zubin] Is it because, even everything is one implies an identity as one.
– [Angelo] Yeah, like a singularity.
– [Zubin] A singularity.
– [Angelo] I don’t really think, neither of these terms are exact. There’s no term to talk about what we’re talking about.
– [Zubin] Got it.
– [Angelo] But, you can sense into it and you can wake up to it and you can also taste it through those exercises we talked about with the attention.
– [Zubin] Attention, yeah.
– [Angelo] So yeah, there’s no exact way to talk about it, but to me, and other people may have a different experience of this for sure. But, to me to call it a singularity, it’s almost sends a picture in your mind of like one thing, or one place, or one point, but there’s no points which means there’s every point, which means there’s no self, or other subject, or object. That’s why intimacy to me just ends up being the right word because even that’s not perfect. It’s not so much a singularity, it’s just more of what it’s not. It’s not a subject-object experience.
– [Zubin] Non-dual.
– [Angelo] And when that goes away, you’re like, “Oh geez, it’s amazing how fixating that was. And at the same time, it’s amazing that I believed it for so long. How did I see this world in that way?” Well, you kinda know the answer to that because if you were there, seeing the world in that way, then there was a perception of a self apart in a world over there. But, experientially it’s just so obvious. Which is odd.
– [Zubin] And so that’s-
– [Angelo] A lot of this stuff is like that. It’s like, “Oh, of course it’s like that.”
– [Zubin] And this is the part of the progression where you really do start speaking in paradox because there’s no-
– [Angelo] You have to.
– [Zubin] Because reality is…
– [Angelo] Language is based on separation.
– [Zubin] Separation.
– [Angelo] What is language for? I don’t know when they started developing language, but like cave person days where they’re like, “Hey, I clubbed, a tyrannosaurus over there, 60 meters from the tree, it’s over there.” It’s like language is designed to describe space and time to people, right?
– [Zubin] Yeah.
– [Angelo] That’s how language is.
– [Zubin] To people, meaning not you, yeah.
– [Angelo] Just the fact that, I even said this in the “Thoughts” chapter or somewhere in there, I said, “Even the fact that you’re using language to talk to somebody already assumes.
– [Zubin] Already assumes.
– [Angelo] I’m conveying information to you.
– [Zubin] That’s right, that’s right.
– [Angelo] Or I’m bonding with you through language or something.
– [Zubin] That’s right, that’s right. Because even “we” is not the correct term. “We” implies an us. It gets very sticky to talk about, you’re right. Even in a conceptual way, you can’t do it. Actually this is, I’ve never thought of it this way. Like the fact that paradox means if you’re speaking in language, language is how you’re gonna convey something. That language will contain paradox because language cannot simultaneously explain a actual reality when there’s no, there’s only this.
– [Angelo] And again, it gets more paradoxical.
– [Zubin] Oh boy, please.
– [Angelo] To the point where it’s-
– [Zubin] Please, keep going.
– [Angelo] Everything and nothing. And that’s like, well, that makes zero sense to the mind. It sounds like, blah, blah, blah. It sounds like blah, blah, blah, blah. Like it makes no sense.
– [Zubin] Like an alien talking.
– [Angelo] And yet, when you experience what it means that every thing is no thing, it’s the most obvious thing in the world. It’s not even special. It’s just so simple. So, the paradoxical stuff. And language, it just lends itself to thought. It lends itself to a thought structure and thought and language are very, very intimately tied.
– [Zubin] Right, dualistic structures. And, you know what’s interesting is if you really, like that’s, what you’re pointing at, that sounds so wild to the mind is just how reality is right now for everything. You just don’t see it because of the fixative structures that you describe.
– [Angelo] That’s right. That’s why there’s no unenlightened people ’cause everybody is experiencing this.
– [Zubin] Right now. Only now.
– [Angelo] And they’re experiencing a brain that’s interpreting it as something different than it is. And that’s just thought activity. It doesn’t even-
– [Zubin] Brain is a thought-
– [Angelo] That’s why in a sense it doesn’t even matter that people are awake or asleep. It doesn’t. ‘Cause the reality is what it is. And it’s right there for you when you’re ready to wake up to it.
– [Zubin] Actually, can we dig into that piece for a second because this is interesting. It doesn’t really matter that people are awake or asleep. Yet, we talk about ending suffering in this lifetime as a desirable goal. Are those two statements incompatible?
– [Angelo] Well, the thing about this that’s nice is that I, in this type of movement and what we’re talking about, I find that people can really trust their intuition here. If you hear that and you say, “Well, I’m not suffering. I have a great life and I love what I do. I don’t even know why I would do any of this.” Then I would say to them, “That’s exactly right.” It’s totally fine. I’m not gonna tell you you’re suffering if you’re not. If you’re not, great. So, as I said, one other time in this interview series, I would say it like this, there are people who are waking up, but there’s no one who’s asleep. I don’t see the world as like full of asleep people or anything like that. But when the awakening process starts happening, it’s obvious to the person it’s happening.
– [Zubin] To the person.
– [Angelo] You can’t ignore it. You’re like, “Oh, I gotta do this. I gotta address this. It’s terrifying, but I gotta address it. It’s wild and exciting, and I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, but I know I’m gonna do it.” Has that flavor to it. So if you have that flavor, well then why not talk about this? I’m more than happy to talk about it if that’s real for you. That’s all this comes down to. There’s no moral imperative at all for any of this, for anyone.
– [Zubin] That bears repeating. I mean, we’ve said it in almost every episode.
– [Angelo] It’s important because people pick this stuff up and haven’t even had an awakening, but they start to sense it and then it’s like, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna go tell all my friends, You need to wake up. I know what your problem is. You’re not awake.”
– [Zubin] You’re asleep.
– [Angelo] “I’m not awake either yet, but I’m gonna be and I know what your problem is. I can help you. Here, read this book.” Or whatever. And it just happens. Like we just get these weird spiritual ego things and stuff
– [Zubin] Zen stink.
– [Angelo] Zen stink. Some people go through it in a really intense way. Other people it’s a very mild version, but it’s just, sometimes it’s well-intentioned. We wanna help people we care about and if you feel suffering in them and you feel suffering in yourself, you’re like, “Oh, you need this. But often, we’re actually projecting. We’re saying, “You need this.” It’s like, “No, I need this.” Like just, you know, the Confucius thing. Like, don’t complain about your neighbors roof with snow on it until you’ve cleaned the snow off your own roof. And then by the time you really do that, you won’t complain about your neighbor’s roof anymore.
– So, are we at the last fixation? Where are we at?
– [Angelo] Oh no.
– [Zubin] Oh God, there’s, wow, keep going.
– [Angelo] There’s more, there’s more.
– [Zubin] Tell me more.
– [Angelo] So, this part of things gets into one of the two or three potentially really triggering aspects of this. One of them we kinda touched on before which was like that no agency or the illusion of agency at least in the way we think about it. And seeing through that. You don’t go and get rid of that and say, “There’s no such thing as agency even though it seems like there is.” That’s not what happens. It suddenly falls away and you’re like, “Whoa, I didn’t, God, that made me feel so much struggle all that time and I was so certain I wanted it. I was defending it and now it’s such a relief to be without it.” So that sense of agency, that’s one thing. But the other one is no self. Dah, dah, dah. Experience of no self. That sounds terrible, like you’re gonna disappear out of reality or something. But, no self just simply means there’s no self, apart from anything else. There’s no self-suffering. There’s no individual, distinct, threatenable self that comes into being and goes out of being. Again, everything gets so close, so intimate, so non-dual, that you really start to see there is no thing that’s an abiding, separate self. It’s just is something like there’s just reality, or just experience, just vivid, alive experience. And so again, that can be really triggering to some people because it sounds, sometimes it’s counterintuitive. Like, well, I know there’s a self, there’s obviously a self. And if that’s your experience, that’s great. In fact, I might even tell you just rest in that sense of what you are, just rest right in. That’s great. Just rest there. And that can actually lead people into awakening. But this paradoxical thing, again, happens after awakening where you can have a massive, very deeply held sense of I am. That happens after awakening or through awakening, pure sense, I am pure being and then all of a sudden it starts to thin itself out and you start to recognize, oh, even that was a thought. Like nisargadatta, the book you have on your table. Somewhere, he says, “If you regress properly, the ‘I am’ thought will disappear.” And that’s exactly what happens. It just disappears like a thought. You just go, “Oh, I don’t need that. That was a thought.” It was a belief. It was a belief. And then all of a sudden things just look very, very different. It’s not scary. It’s actually very, very freeing. So, these later stages start, they actually kinda culminate in the experience of no self. I could say no self apart. It’s less triggering and it’s more true actually.
– [Zubin] More true.
– [Angelo] But what does self mean when there’s only this?
– [Zubin] Stuff.
– [Angelo] There’s only this, it is kind of one thing, but that one thing isn’t in one place so I can’t call it one thing as opposed to other things. So then, what does self mean anymore? What does other mean anymore? So if there’s no self, there’s no other. There’s no inside, there’s no outside. All those dualistic terms in language, you start to see, they were all illusions. There’s just this. There’s just this. There’s nothing you can say about it, but you can fully experience it, as it. With no one experiencing it, you just kind of collapse into it you could say. Anyway, so again, very difficult to talk about this stuff accurately but I will say it turns out to be okay. It turns out to be really, really good news.
– [Zubin] I don’t know why, but I feel that way. Like I know how it could be terrifying.
– [Angelo] There are times when it can be, for sure. It can be almost disappointing when you realize all this spiritual journey has not been about me. I thought it was about me the whole time. You’re just like, geez, it’s not really about me.
– [Zubin] It’s not about me.
– [Angelo] It’s just about what it’s about and it’s not about anything. It’s just this, right? So again, we’re talking about the later stage stuff. And then, there’s this other aspect that often sticks around for a long time and sometimes it’s really intense and sometimes it’s more subtle, but it’s there and it has to be addressed and that’s the relational self. It’s the tendency to, experience life as some kind of external world that’s really your internal world, it’s your mind doing this, but it makes it look like this external world where you’re always managing everything, trying to get it right for yourself. So that you can do okay. Or, even get it right for others. You might have yourself convinced you’re a compassionate person. You’re trying to get everything right so you can be more compassionate for the world and all this.
– [Zubin] Every nurse ever. Yeah, I mean, they really are, yeah.
– [Angelo] But anyway, the point is like, there’s so much struggle in that, it’s intrinsic to it, and you don’t realize that. It feels so much like what you are. To struggle with life. You can’t imagine not doing it, but you can, you can see that it’s unnecessary through inquiry. You can start to recognize there’s no need to hold that relational matrix together all the time. One way of saying it is you learn to really just trust the moment so fully that I don’t have to preconceive what to do, how to react, how to respond, how to give more, take more, from this moment. It’s just this and it starts to feel really, it feels like equanimity. It is equanimity is what this is. It’s another degree of peace. It’s natural enjoyment, but not a big deal. Again, it’s, it’s very simple. And innocent.
– [Zubin] And innocent. You told me something this morning when you walked up and you’d parked in my garage and you said, “You know, I was walking through your garage,” and used to be like you’d spend time. You’d just be like, “Oh, I gotta get through this garage ’cause there’s nothing going on here. I need to get to point B.” And instead you said something quite remarkable which is, “So this is what it feels like to be in love with a garage.”
– [Angelo] Yeah, with the basement of the garage.
– [Zubin] The basement of the garage. Can you unpack that for us through this?
– [Angelo] Well, I was just walking to the elevator and the thought came of, yeah, in the past, I would have thought of this as, oh, I’m just walking through this place that is unimportant. The garage is usually an unimportant, it’s a practicality, and it’s just like the thing you have to get through to get to the next thing that’s more important. Whatever. I see this a lot with people who feel really impatient, like at the grocery checkout. They’re just like, “Ah!” In their mind they’re picturing the dinner they’re gonna cook when they got home or the glass of wine or whatever. And it’s natural, we all do this kind of thing. Humans do this. But if you really look at what’s happening, we’re rejecting that experience right then. We’re like, oh, this isn’t a real experience. The real one’s the one I’m imagining in my mind when I get home. And then somehow when you get home you can’t actually be present there either ’cause your mind is so used to not being present.
– [Zubin] It’s already somewhere else.
– [Angelo] Yeah, so this is, it was kind of a remarkable reflection on how I used to process reality. And as I was walking through garage, like, I just feel love. Like I feel intimacy for the garage itself, but it’s not a garage, that’s why, it’s everything. It’s you, it’s me, it’s what all this is made out of. And I was like, you know, the feeling of it, the sensation of the foot striking the cement, the visual experience of that cement in a non-dualistic way, it’s in the body, it’s out of the body, it’s just alive, it’s just aliveness, “garaging.” And what a wonderful experience. I don’t need anything outside of this. I don’t need anything more than this. I don’t need to get anywhere. There’s nowhere to get. There’s only this and it’s wonderful. So, you could say that’s an example of the mundane coming alive.
– [Zubin] Coming alive.
– [Angelo] Or the mundane just demonstrating to you that presence is immediately available all the time and in depths that are unfathomable if you’re willing to look into it, one way or another and willing to let go, willing to examine beliefs, all the things we’ve been talking about.
– [Zubin] Ah!
– [Angelo] Yeah, and then there’s more.
– [Zubin] There’s more! Keep going.
– [Angelo] There are a couple of other things. I’ll mention one, I think we’re moving forward on time. One other aspect of this that’s important is that when I mention no self, again, if you think about that and think something’s gonna disappear that’s here right now that feels like myself, you’re not gonna be able to imagine what it is that disappears. It’s not like that. It’s a sudden lightness and a holy whoa, whoa, what is that about? And also at the very same time as like, yeah, it’s exactly like this. It couldn’t be anything other than this. And it’s a flow, it’s a flow state that’s just always there, sort of, something like that. Anyway, what it is that goes away, what it is that ceases activity, which I’m gonna call the self for this way of talking. What it is that ceases activity is kinda made up of a few different aspects that are intertwined in a way that feels so intimate that they feel like one thing, but you can actually sorta pick ’em apart a little bit in these fixations. I’ve already talked about two of them. A third one that’s prominent and probably one of the slipperiest, it’s one of the most subtle, easy to overlook, is this. It’s this tendency and operation of the mind to frame reality. At first it’s framing your reality. Then it’s framing whatever reality you perceive when you start to wake up, whether it’s consciousness or awareness, but it’s a framing that goes on. So, one analogy I’ve made in something I wrote that I’ll put in the next book is, you can say in one sense the most fundamental movement of the thinking mind is to take a picture of reality. Go click, this is how it is. This is how it is. Click, this is how it is. It always wants to know how it is in the most fundamental sense. Because if the mind doesn’t know how it is, how this is, how I am, it’s done. It has nothing more it can do. So, the most fundamental movement of that, might identified egoic-seeking mind or whatever, is to take a picture. I can’t even start seeking until I look and see, oh, this is how it is. And then I can seek and go and this is how it could be with another thought, right? So, this is how it is, click. This is how it is. It’s like taking pictures. When you inquire into this fixation, this tendency to form frames of reality, to extrapolate a certain kind of reality, a universal reality, an infinite reality, any kind of reality at all, any specific way that things are, it can stop happening. And it’s a whole other degree of freedom.
– [Zubin] Oh wow.
– [Angelo] Where it’s like, there’s no define it, definite defining way that reality is. It’s too free to be defined at all, in any way at all. It’s not a certain way. And then it’s really weird ’cause it’s like, what was making it seem like it needed to be a certain way? This can be kinda like at the same time, totally mind blowing and totally like, duh. How did I ever think things had to be a certain way? Because everything’s changing all the time. Of course, everything’s always in flux to the point where there’s no things.
– [Zubin] Okay, so when I read that in your book, it was one of the advanced stages in chapter 10 of like, oh, by the way, there’s no way that things are. You just go ah! You describing it now, I actually am getting a sense of what you’re saying. Now again, can I run this by you? So, let me just see if I understand this, what you were trying to communicate. I know I won’t do it quite justice. The mind takes an integrative sort of integrative mind moment of what is reality and goes it’s this, it’s this way, it kind of shows it to you, almost in a delayed fashion, almost in a slightly, non-immediate fashion and says reality, oh, konk, here, this is what reality is. This cohesive thing that has this connection. But, what you’re saying is when that drops away, you realize there’s no way that reality is…
– [Angelo] You can’t even open your mouth to say a word about it.
– [Zubin] Just language stops.
– [Angelo] So, that’s not a bad way of saying it. I’m gonna adjust it a little bit. When you say, you’re looking at reality and it’s saying, this is the way it is, you actually put your hands in front, that’s still looking from a subject-object conformation in consciousness.
– [Zubin] That’s collapsed already.
– [Angelo] So yeah, that’s gone and it’s actually not out here that’s saying this is the way things are. It’s the sense back here of the most fundamental sense of you. It’s the one looking through those eyes, looking at reality, this is a very, very fundamental movement of mind. It’s so easy, you can’t actually look directly at it because you’re looking from it. So, it’s very subtle and tricky to inquire into this. Can you sense that?
– [Zubin] Yeah.
– [Angelo] It’s that which is looking out into the world in the most fundamental subtle way, into the mind, into the senses. It feels like it has to be there until it’s not. So, that’s another important key to this that maybe it’s a bit of like a triad of what creates the sense of self. There’s other ways to talk about all this stuff as well.
– [Zubin] It just shocks me that people wouldn’t want this, you know? That’s just me.
– [Angelo] At some point it becomes not wantable ’cause who’s gonna want it? It’s so paradoxical.
– [Zubin] This is nothing the way things are, there’s no one to notice that and I’m in love with a parking lot, beeyatch. It’s just amazing. It’s amazing. Is there any more, or is that?
– [Angelo] There are more subtleties I could talk about, but that’s the gist of-
– that’s the gist of it.
– [Angelo] And there’s ways to address each one of those.
– [Zubin] So, when people have their awakening-
– [Angelo] It’s all basically inquiry.
– [Zubin] Inquiry, inquiry.
– [Angelo] Pretty much. Or just a certain kind of surrender, or, you know, some people have a real devotional surrender to this.
– [Zubin] Explain it.
– [Angelo] I am not really that kind of person necessarily, but just they have a feeling of like devotion. It’s almost like a movement of love for the process itself or for, I don’t know what, and that devotional, it’s a very surrendered type of movement and that carries people through this as well. But at some point it’s just, there’s no one to do anything anymore. So, it gets very tricky. You can’t even really teach anything or point anything because there’s nothing to do that anymore. So, it’s just a matter of what’s happening now. And it carries itself forward is one way of saying it. Or it carries itself deeper into itself.
– [Zubin] Wow.
– [Angelo] And your job is to just be really, be willing to be really alert and discerning in what you notice and if you notice any way that you’re getting in its way, be willing to relax that a little bit. So, your job is to get out of its way at some point, but it gets, again, subtle because who’s even gonna do that?
– [Zubin] Yeah, who are you talking to?
– [Angelo] It becomes very tricky, yeah.
– [Zubin] Who are you talking to, yeah. It’s beautiful, man.
– [Angelo] And it’s totally possible. This is possible for people, for sure. I mean, I’ve seen people do this. I’ve seen people go through this and it’s happening more and more and more, it’s crazy.
– [Zubin] Dude, dude, this was, I really enjoyed this. I think there’s three people in the audience who are gonna be like, “Yeah, bro.” And then 23,000 that are like.
– [Angelo] That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
– [Zubin] Uh, he said parking lot. Dude, thank you, Angelo. So, we’ll put this out. So, for people who wanna go deeper on this stuff, “Awake, It’s Your Turn,” that’s Dr. DiLullo’s book. We’ve done a series now, I’m gonna link to it. It’s all gonna be kinda tied together. Just like the universe, man. It’s all dependent origination, whatever that is. And share the video and we are, there’s no we, just out.
– [Angelo] There’s not even an out.
– [Zubin] Peace.
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