“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stages of Awakening

The Buddhist psychotherapist, Mark Epstein mentions in one of his excellent books[1] that a school of  Tibetan Buddhism renders the stages of awakening as “Looking, Meeting, Embracing, Orgasm.” He says nothing further about this, but since I readily relate to those metaphors, I'll give below my own brief exegesis (which adds an ultimate stage). Read the post "A Summary of the Process of Awakening" for a more in-depth explanation. 
  • Looking – for a path with heart. 
  • Meeting – a teacher, a teaching, a community. 
  • Embracing
    • Falling in love – entering the stream, the honeymoon stage, drunk with love.
    • Sobering in love – going deeper, into the unflattering stuff, liberating honesty, dark night of the soulprofound love and compassion (agape, metta).
  • Orgasm – satori, breakthrough, Identification with the Beloved  
  • Family (Integration) -- bringing it all into daily life, nurturing others, producing family (a lineage).

[1]  I can't remember which book. You would think it would be Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life; Insights from Buddhism and Psychotherapybut that's one of his books that I haven't read. 

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