The Radiance of Stillness and Beyond Awakening [Guest Blog]
by Gary Nixon, Ph.D.
The radiant flowering of stillness is unexplainable as it is beyond you or me. It is a flowering of existence. One has to die to existence for stillness to flower; as long as there is somebody there, there is somebody “efforting” or managing stillness. Desiring awakening or stillness is still just desire, a mortgage on the present moment for the future. When all desire is seen through, the illusion of the separate self dissolves. With this, we realize there is nowhere to go, and nothing to do. We relax, and stillness reveals itself.
“Desiring awakening or stillness is still just desire, a mortgage on the present moment for the future.”
But, what is required these days is much more. Awakening needs to keep evolving, and it is clear that resting on top of the mountain or embracing the passive void is no longer enough. We need to come down and share our awakening and all-encompassing love in everything in life: with our friends, family, institutions, communities, and the whole globe. We rest in no-knowing innocence, and reside in non-conceptual awareness, and yet, let existence reveals its secrets, and we plunge into new creations and valuations that emerge from this wondrous beingness place. We are hollow bamboos of non-doing doing so the lightning radiance of active infinity can shine through. And even allowing ourselves to rest as prior to existence itself, prior to consciousness, we realize we are at home no matter what, we were here at the beginning and we will be here at the end. All of this frees us to enjoy the eternal dance, the eternal play of existence. Always transcending ourselves as we realize this journey never stops, we joyously embrace this wondrous existence, and celebrate this infinite bedazzling mystery.
Can we evolve, ascend, radiate, all that much more, but at the same time descend, be ordinary, realize it is available to all and in that way be humble and grounded in existence? I like what Lock Kelly says, “The plane never lands,” on and on the journey goes. This means the danger of narcissism and ego never goes away even as we evolve beyond awakening. Narcissism all the way down, and narcissism all the way up. Narcissism can show up at any level, any time. So many recent examples show it is never perfectly over, in some sort of perfect enlightenment. Our fall into shadow issues once again can just be around the corner or right now in our new claims of specialness and being first in the world. Can we evolve, move beyond awakening and still recognize our fundamental ordinariness?
About the author
Gary Nixon is a counseling professor (Director of the Addictions Counseling Program at University of Lethbridge) & non-dual therapist in Alberta, Canada. At age twenty-three and qualified in law, he felt a call to make the transformational journey his career path and completed a Masters and a Doctorate in psychology with a focus on the integration of Western transpersonal psychology and Eastern contemplative traditions. He pursued ‘spiritual enlightenment’ with the same vigor and dedication that he gave to his academic career, only to find that intense striving and seeking for spiritual success brought him to a place of ‘absolute hopelessness and total failure-hood.’ Thus it was he came to understand that in seeking a spiritual goal he was merely reinforcing the illusion of a narcissistic separate self. Now that he is no longer ‘special’, he has come to rest naturally in being — friendly with all existence.
Gary enjoys a celebratory ordinariness of the days living with his wife Marcia and going for daily long runs. He maintains a private nondual psychotherapy practice working with individuals and groups — this complements the passionate legacy of his published academic work and his editorship of Paradoxica: Journal of Nondual Psychology. He hosts the annual Paradoxica Nondual Psychology Conference.
Gary is the author of The Sun Rises in the Evening: Beyond Addiction and Limited Recovery to Embracing Wholeness, and [the soon to be released] Bedazzling Mystery: Awakening in Fear, Trauma, and the Dark Night, both with Non-Duality Press.
Gary’s emphasis is on an embodied non-dual being with a full participation in day-to-day life.