We-Space II: Supernormal States

Signs of intersubjective entry into the We-Space Sangha.

The yoga of intersubjectivity in all its forms is yielding information and learning at new levels of consciousness and in new configurations of field phenomena. If an individual awakening process is any guide to the nature of collective awakening experience, we would have to consider including the possibility that the nature of intersubjective space mirrors and eventually yields phenomena and capacities similar to those arising from concentrated and prolonged personal practice. The recognition and interpretation of such phenomena as nyams or even supernormal perceptual states might well also yield a database of experience, though great care must be taken to avoid regarding these states themselves as fruition.

First, so much of the lingo of We-Space exploration is about presence: mindful presence, radical presence, etc. The moment we assign a label to presence as a state, as soon as “presence” becomes a capacity or skill, it is reified. Any concept of presence (referencing  time) that doesn’t regard time as merely another form of perception or that presumes the existence of an identifiable basic unit is flawed, or is at least a captive of flawed linguistics.

There is no such thing as a unit of time in any absolute sense. Since that is the case, we must define “presence” as resembling something more like absence. That is, an un-reified vastly spacious awareness that has loosened attachment to and is no longer in the tight grip of a specific identity: one so expansive that “embodiment” implies a limitation, so permeable that emotional states, the ambient phenomena of a group process, no longer  impede the flow of authentic connection. Temporarily at least, one is so completely “here” that time stands still. At the same time, no one is home. Similar to the conditions of advanced meditative practice, the ego has been rendered quiescent. One remains in a non-conceptual state. There is nothing to reify.

Woody Allen once famously said, “Time is nature’s way of preventing everything from happening all at once.” From the dualistic view in which subject and object exist, we can only imagine “everything” as discrete events, jumbled together without order, arising in random fashion, crowding each other out, competing for “space” in the arising and disappearing chaos of phenomena, all competing for attention. The dualistic view is  that this competition appears as the constant arising of sense perception, the evaluation of that perception, becoming thoughts in relation to the timing of “events” that we perceive or imagine to exist.

But awakened mind is not just another unconventional and unfamiliar form of time in which “events” occur. There is no sequence of events. There are no events. It is time-less. There are no discrete moments. There is no present, no past, no future; no procession from one thing to another. There is only what is-now-which is changing constantly.

The term beginningless time is a conception arising from within our limited view of reality, our conditioned view, intrinsically based in time. Normally, we are not capable of another view. The reality of awakening mind lives outside of time. It permeates the construction we call time and it is not time bound at all. Then again, neither is it other than time. Wherever you are standing, you do not do so for “moments”—or for any single moment. You are standing there in and with your entire life, without beginning or end; you may imagine yourself to be in a discrete “event,” yet you are not separate from any other event.

The discipline we apply to the development of attention, to resting in a quality of effortlessness in our daily existence and to the attention we bring to the activity of mind all seems to be limited by the reality of samsara itself, the fundamental limitations to which we are helplessly subject. That limitation is time. And…it is also timeless.

The more we awaken, the more we learn about the terms of samsara and our condition, the more we might come to regard our predicament as a perpetual purgatory, which is in every instant both timeless, with all events happening simultaneously, and a time bound condition over which we seem to have little if any control. Any collective process identifying as a vehicle of awakening, in particular the Surrendered Leadership experience of Circling Europe, will, if the right conditions are cultivated, eventually test the grip of the conventional experience of time. To the extent that a group might experience an altered experience of time, it would have to be regarded as a supernormal state.

A second feature of supernormal collective activity might manifest as transient clairvoyance (sensing a future event) or clairsentience (experiencing someone else’s reality in the past, present or future). Functional telepathy might also be a general way of categorizing supernormal phenomena arising from long-term intentional co-creative practice. Knowing what someone else is thinking, anticipating an appearance, a communication, an unusual ideation, simultaneous events or any phenomena occurring between participants separated by great distance

These states might appear to individuals or small groups, anything up to and including the entire group having a common experience, simultaneously experiencing an emotion or sharing a vision, a visitation, a premonition or gaining intuitive insight into the nature and process of an individual or the group as a whole. Such events might appear as dreams, waking images, bodily sensations or powerful emotions. Recognizing such possibilities will be important conditioning mitigating reflexive discounting or disregard for transient states. Sharing information about such phenomena has the potential to further elevate the level of coherence that is already emerging.

Progress resulting from collective We-Space practices may appear in many and unexpected forms. Cultivating the subtle capacities of our interior life that relate to our mental, emotional, intuitive and spiritual landscape and how we perceive one another—cultivating a grounded and rooted relational capacity is the foundation of every viable We-Space. But it all comes fraught with the same caveats that might apply to the results of any solitary practice. Any group declaring its purpose to be a group awakening beyond the existing limits of grip process is already inciting perceptual bias and unwarranted expectations that will may guarantee failure or at least delay.

There will be a natural tendency of any group detecting signs of collective “awakening,” however they may have arisen, to conceptualize the incubation process, codifying the pathway and limiting the essential open curiosity that probably led to such events in the first place. Such efforts can also become conceptual digressions from what may have been an entirely spontaneous process that may require much more investigation before adopting a formula for its reproduction. In short, there is no linear formula. The more trying, the less arrival. The more looking, the less finding.  Experiences of group opening, especially supernormal states, are created by resonance, not by conceptual practice.

 

The proper response to the emergence of unusual collective phenomena is to remain on the path that got you where you are, not to digress or fall into conceptual traps with it, focusing on a future that doesn’t exist. Focus must remain in the present, which also doesn’t exist, but it’s all we’ve got. These admonitions would apply to individual practice as much as to a group.
The fact that episodes of unexpected collective non-dual consciousness have occurred is a sign that something unusual can indeed happen among groups of people who have sufficiently whittled away at the influence of ego-centered control strategies and entered into powerful practices to sharpen their perceptual skills, feeling everything and rejecting nothing with an attentive and open and exploratory mind.
The technologies that serve as a platform for such collective emergence are gathering quickly. They appear to converge toward traditional tantric practice that regards the present moment as the engine of awakening. Everything becomes a doorway into deeper connection and an enhancement of We-Space. The transcendent is always intrinsic to the prosaic, however ecstatic or painful it may be. It is there in every moment, whether in the experience of deep feeling, exposing the root of suffering, acknowledging the presence and inevitability of death, struggling with resistance or guarding or transparency.
The evolved We-Space is not only one in which the individuals can give presence to the transcendent but also one in which all the barriers and and blocks that individuals construct can be named and seen and forgiven. Learning to recognize the glimmers of fruition in every bump, ever obstacle, every personal and interpersonal challenge is to realize the unity of ground, path and fruition ever more skillfully and completely, bringing us closer to the full expression of the We-Space Sangha.