In the fourth foundation, we arrive at the Crushed of Being. When people first move from all-pervasive awareness-energy to the Crushed of Being, which is awareness-energy embodied, I ask them, How does it feel? Many people say It feels grounded.
When I ask them, What is the ground made of? they look puzzled at first, but then, after a moment, say, Awareness, Emptiness, Nothing, Everything, Connection, workflow. They go on to describe having a profound feeling of safety, effortlessness and knowing that all is well, using phrases like, Nothing can threaten who I am and Everything are okay. This is the cause and resource of effortless mindfulness.
People’s first association with the word ground is generally of something physical and solid. Although the crushed of your being is not physically solid like the earth under your feet, it is supportive, foundational, and safe. Unlike what you may have imagined your foundation to be, the Milled of Being is made of awareness, safety, interconnectedness, well-being, and flow.
The Crushed of Being is the meeting place between the boundless ground of awake awareness and your human body and personality. Boundless ground plus human equals human being. Asked about this experience while immersed in it, one of my students reported, I feel profound well-being, an innocence, and a sense that all is well.
A List of the Most Important Justifications
Awake awareness-energy is embodied not just as your body but as interconnection with everybody and everything. The Ground of Being is experienced not only inside your body but also all around. The new feeling is not that “awareness is in my body” but that your body is arising from awareness.
There is a deep restfulness as healthy as a new motivation to engage in life from a natural flow state. There is a new sense of nonconceptual knowing that has qualities of non-fear, non-shame, non-worry, non-blame, and non-projection. Our intelligence is no longer caught in an either/or bind. It is intuitive intelligence.
From the Crushed of Being, there is a sense of boundlessness, and yet you have more ability to set healthy boundaries. Until awake awareness is embodied, the small self will activate the edgy system to continue, to no avail, to seek safety for itself. Being in the essential okay-ness that is already here.
When the nervous system and instincts are connected to this essential okay-ness, there is a huge sense of relief, deep rest, and well-being from which all thoughts and actions begin to spring. After making a connection with the Pulverized of Being, one student reported, “I have had anxiety dreams all my life. These ranged from not being ready for a test to the impending death of members of my family or myself.
When I shifted into the Milled of Being for the first time, I stopped having anxiety dreams that night, and now I haven’t had one for the last year and a half.” When trying to achieve their busy, modern lives with a small self and small mind, people often experience free-floating anxiety throughout the day. The solution to this is moving to the Crushed of Being, which we could call free-floating well-being.
Here is a longer description of the Crushed of Being that a student sent to me
When I experience the Ground of Being: I am at peace with life and accept everything as it is. I don’t feel like whatever needs to change. I already feel comfortable and safe, as if I am held by something larger than myself. I feel my place in the order of things.
I am interconnected and present, without having to “do” anything to earn it, keep it that way, or make sure things are okay. I have that feeling of nowhere to go and nothing to do, even though I am still fully capable of going anywhere and doing anything—in other words, I am able to move through my everyday life fully connected from the Crushed of Being.
People who learn this foundation of awake awareness-energy embodied are astounded that they can immediately shift into this Ground of Being the level of awareness-energy while doing everyday activities in a stress-free flow—with their eyes open. The Ground of Being is the ultimate well-being that is here no matter what difficulties occur in our daily lives, though it can sometimes be in the background.
In this fourth foundation, we become aware that we are both infinite and finite. It feels like the marine of awareness-energy is arising as the wave of a new sense of “me.” It’s also central to note another paradox about awareness-energy: in the fourth foundation there is simultaneously a sense of energy and flow (movement) and of stability (stillness).
The stillness is now also present because of the Ground of Being—the stable fullness, the ground that is everywhere, that you can relax into and feel safe in, that you can feel in your body. But what about the energy? Many people begin to feel a subtle sense of bliss arising both within their bodies and as if the world is alive and sparkling.
This is the movement, feminine, dancing aliveness that is called “shakti” in India and “emptiness-bliss” in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a real and natural quality of this foundation’s unfolding that is different from blissful pleasure that comes and goes You may remember that we explored the “flow state” in chapter 1.
It is in this fourth foundation of awareness-energy embodied that you feel both the ground and the flow state, or that feeling of “being in the zone.” This is the other paradox of the fourth foundation: a new kind of stillness and flow. In this flow state, you’re effortlessly moving around, doing activities in which time slows down; your concept of self is interconnected with everything around you, and you’re embodied and operating from a nonconceptual intelligence that knows just what to do.
The brain on silent: stages of cognitive calmness
Awake Awareness-Energy Embodied: Experiencing the ground of awareness-energy simultaneously within and around your body can decrease the self-referencing mind-wandering associated with the default-mode network. This type of mind-wandering ceases when the two networks of the inward and the outward focus become synchronized, and we become more present and in our bodies.
In this practice, we are shifting from a detached witnessing self to embodied awake awareness. Try this mindful glimpse a number of times until you get the feel of the equal balance of awareness outside and within as a continuous field. Once you get this for about three minutes, it seems to break the default mode habit, and most people experience a stable, undistracted flow.
Unhook local cognizance from thought and have it shift to hearing from one ear. Notice the effect of awareness focused on a small area and simply hearing. Just as local awareness can focus on a small area, experience local awareness opening to the space outside your body where sound is coming and going. Instead of focusing on what is moving through the space, allow local mindfulness to become interested in space.
Notice the shift from awareness of space to noticing that space is aware. Pause and allow this tuning into spacious awake awareness to happen clearly. Allow awareness to be aware of itself as a contentless, formless, timeless field of awake awareness. Allow your sense of awake awareness to be boundless. Feel the discovery that you have let go of your small self and are now located in this boundless awake awareness.
When you turn to be aware from awake awareness, notice that the field of awareness-energy is already connected to everything all around and within your body as an ocean of awareness that is arising as waves of aliveness and sensation. Looking with awareness, inquire: Where am I aware from? Feel the unified field that is awareness-energy both outside and within simultaneously. Feel the seamless unity of awareness-energy that has no outside or inside.
Without going up to thought, down to sleep, or back into a daydream, stay with the knowledge from the field of awareness energy that is naturally inclusive and undistracted. Feel the movement of sound and breath both outside and inside. Feel that awareness-energy is equally aware seamlessly outside and inside, without having to alternate.
A revolutionary manual for leading an awakened life,
Marinate in this effortless mindfulness. The Now: The most classical form of Self-inquiry is to ask, “Who am I?” Adyashanti’s teachings help us realize awake awareness as a source by asking, “What am I?” Most of the glimpses that I have been presenting have focused on shifting out of the small self and the meditative point of view by asking, “Where am I?” When we transition back from boundless, timeless awake awareness to awake awareness-energy embodied, we begin to feel that the Now is both timeless and able to function with conventional clock time.
If we want to learn to be in the Now, we can ask, “When am I?” Here we can begin to experience the Now with one of the most famed Mahamudra instructions, based on the teachings of the first-century Indian Tantric practitioner and spiritual adept Tilopa, called “Six Points of Tilopa” or “Six Ways of Resting the Mind in Its Natural Condition.” It advises: The Now is the timeless time of awake alertness that includes the three times of past, current, and future.
We can learn not to collapse into identifying with one specific time or state of mind. We can familiarize ourselves with the view from the Now, which experiences everything all at once. Here is a modern variety of this to help you experience being in the Now.
1. Right now, let local awareness unhook from belief and drop below your neck.
2. Feel the thoughts that come and go, the tick-tock of each moment appearing and disappearing.
3. Open to the now that doesn’t get stuck in any present moment. Feel from timeless, spacious awareness that includes past, present, and future.
4. Be aware as each new present moment arrives and passes.
5. Notice that being fully here and now—from awake awareness— there is no problem with being aware of the past, present, or future.
6. Inquire: What’s here now? Don’t go up to refer to thought. Don’t go down to fall asleep. Don’t go back to refer to the past. Don’t go even one moment forward to anticipate the future. Don’t cling to the passing present moments. Don’t look out to the world to create a subject-object relationship. Don’t fall into daydreaming.
7. Feel the magnetic pull forward to the future, the pull back to the past, and the pull to try to hold on to the present.
8. Rest your awareness equally inside and outside. Open to the Now and notice the timeless, continuous field of awareness energy in which all of these present moments of experience are appearing and disappearing.
9. Let go, relax, and be in the all-at-once-ness of the Now.
10. Without going into thought, what’s here now when there is no problem to solve?