Lesson 9 – Presence Becomes Stable – Beyond Ups and Downs
At some point in my practice of recognizing “Existence exists no matter what happens,” I saw very clearly that every experience I had confirmed this to be true. Every appearance of life, I realized, confirmed its own presence, as well as my own existence as a witness to it. Seeing experiences in this way—as being proof of existence—was a great aid in dissolving my doubts about my ability to “maintain enlightenment.” I stopped giving meaning to the ups and downs of recognition.Bentinho Massaro
Most of you are now two to four weeks into your practice with Trinfinity Academy’s First Course, depending on how much time you are taking to absorb and embody the content. I’m sure, at one point or another in these past few weeks of recognizing here-and-now Presence, you’ve created the feeling (judgment) of “I got it, I lost it, I got it, I lost it.”
This is a common experience for many seekers of Presence, and for some, this turns into a long struggle reinforcing the painful belief, “I don’t have it yet” or “I haven’t achieved Enlightenment yet,” because they still experience the ups and downs of recognition.
This lesson is designed to help free you from that ungrounded self-judgment—forever. So if doubt ever comes up again, simply run it through the Presence Rewind Theater exercise, which is explained in this lesson, or return to the Truth Detector Test in Lesson 7.
This is a substantial lesson, so I recommend you take your time with it (a few days to a week). Read it over two or three times, perhaps give yourself a bit of a break after this lesson (but no longer than a week), and let this lesson (and the previous lessons) truly sink in, before continuing on with Lesson 10.
The Ups and Downs of Recognition
- On, off, on, off, on, off…
- Clarity, unconsciousness, clarity, unconsciousness, clarity, unconsciousness…
- Joy, struggle, joy, struggle, joy, struggle…
- I feel free, I feel stuck, I feel free, I feel stuck, I feel free, I feel stuck…
- Enlightenment, ego, enlightenment, ego, enlightenment, ego…
- I responded like a saint, I reacted like a child, I responded like a saint, I reacted like a child, I responded like a saint, I reacted like a child…
- I know that I AM, I forgot that I AM, I know that I AM, I forgot that I AM, I know that I AM, I forgot that I AM…
- I feel aligned, I feel joyless, I feel aligned, I feel joyless, I feel aligned, I feel joyless…
- I did my Trinfinity homework, I forgot to do my Trinfinity homework, I did my Trinfinity homework, I forgot to do my Trinfinity homework… 😉
Do any of the above examples feel familiar to you?
For many people, this can turn into a vicious cycle of self-judgment, from which they hope to escape by becoming permanently rooted in the recognition of Presence-Consciousness—by being in a suspended state of pure meditation forever, where no distraction ever grabs their attention again.
This is not the way the cycle of doubt tends to end, because, quite frankly, it’s not relevant or possible for most people to experience Presence-Consciousness consciously 24/7. I don’t.
The good news is—once you see it this way—Presence doesn’t need to be experienced consciously all the time.
In fact, Presence-Consciousness doesn’t need for you to do anything at all; it is perfectly enlightened already, by and as itself, since it already has permanent self-awareness on its own level of Awareness. It doesn’t need you to be enlightened as well.
It’s important to realize that 24/7 (permanent, constant) conscious recognition of Presence-Consciousness is not the goal, nor is it a hallmark of “finally having achieved Enlightenment.” If you’ve been thinking that this is the way to transcend the ups and downs of recognition, you’ve probably only created more tension and stress for yourself.
In fact, in some ways the desire for permanent Enlightenment is kind of an arrogant, ignorant, juvenile attempt at “becoming a better person.” It’s a form of spiritual vanity that fails to appreciate the wisdom of natural momentum, rhythmic expression, ups and downs (or peaks and valleys), natural and helpful mistakes (lessons), and it misses one of the wisest, most mature of appreciations: that of unconsciousness itself being relevant, too.
That’s right. Unconsciousness is relevant.
We Are Meant to be Human Beings, as Well
We are created (have created ourselves) as human beings, with limited awareness of what’s going on in the rest of Existence, precisely because we have a purpose and a task to perform.
In order to perform this task, we need to be focused on a particular slice of All-That-Is. If we were constantly in an expanded state of Consciousness, we would actually be unable to fulfill our highest desire: to express Infinity in a specific way, in a way that it hasn’t before expressed itself—to build a new relationship from the One Creator to its Creation.
Can you imagine if all the employees in a company stopped being focused on their specific slice of what needs to be done, and they all sat back, pretending to be the CEO? The company would collapse; it wouldn’t function effectively, if at all. It wouldn’t invent anything new or expand upon the organization’s intended purpose.
In any organization—and Creation is most intelligently that—it is relevant for certain levels of the organization to not be constantly aware of other levels of the organization, and what goes on up there. Sure, there are regular meetings being held, within which certain parts of the organization come in contact with and transmit information to other portions of the whole, but then it is time to take that re-alignment and use it to focus more effectively at the designated task at hand.
There are individual employees in every department, office, and cubicle, each with a task specific to their line of focus, their field of consciousness and expertise.
That doesn’t mean that each of these people cannot know and feel in their hearts that they are an inseparable, valuable, crucial part of the overall company or organization; it simply means they don’t need to know everything all the time, and they don’t need to see as the CEO sees all the time, either. The organization already has a CEO. It wouldn’t be effective if the office clerk tried to be the CEO.
Following that analogy, because our purpose as individual humans is to express in new, unique, and highly specific ways, it is not relevant for our “person-in-the-world” consciousness to be permanently abandoned for the sake of remaining “stuck” in an expanded recognition of Presence-Consciousness/Awareness, let alone being absorbed in the Absolute—beyond experiencing.
We are not—as humans—designed for constant conscious recognition; that is not necessarily the intention and desire with which most of us gave birth to ourselves in form.
You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. Krishna, The Bhagavad Gita
To some extent, true wisdom involves honoring the higher purpose for which we created what we have created, even if we don’t fully understand the why or how of our own creations. If “to remain as the Absolute” was truly the intention behind our creation, we would not have been created as human beings with a body-mind. Our consciousness would have remained purely non-physical, or even unmanifest altogether.
Presence-Consciousness is already aware of itself, at all times, on its own level.
The Absolute is already the Absolute. Infinity is already infinite.
Pure intelligence—which is you from a higher level—created the “you” everybody knows and perceives, as the body-mind-consciousness expression of the overall greater Consciousness for a purpose.
You have a world—made of Presence-Energy—at your command, available for you to learn from, benefit from, give back to, and shape, in accordance with your heart’s inspired desire to express Infinity in specific ways unique to your self-created individual expression of the whole.
The deepest you is already aware of all of itself all the time. So you—as a human-focused consciousness—don’t need to strive to attain perfect, constant awareness of yourself at that highest level. That level already has its own perfect Self-Awareness.
Higher Consciousness is doing its job and being itself at its level, while you are doing your job by being yourself at your level, and both co-exist inseparably from the totality of The One’s expression.
One can become more aware of the other, but each level has its own relevancy. This has to be appreciated if you wish to attain stable peace.
Once you fully realize this, a deep appreciation for creation on all of its levels, and a great wisdom and peace in general, descend upon your state of being. And you are relieved of a burden: that vain and immature-but-cute seeker in you—that seeker who always judges itself, based on the idea that it needs to become better, or more enlightened, or maintain a certain expanded experience of Consciousness, in order to be worthy of existing as he or she is. or in order to feel/be enlightened.
You don’t need to become “better.” The best way to fulfill your specific job description as a human, is to be who you naturally are, with the greatest degree of self-love and appreciation for the purpose that made you you.
It is important to recognize this truth—that each level has its own relevancy—and feel the permission from that to relax and take expanded awareness as it comes, while also appreciating your human-focused consciousness, as it is an essential part of expressing the Infinite in new ways.
You are important on all levels of your being.
Realign rather than Imitate
It’s simply about realigning with these higher truths, rediscovering them—ideally becoming convinced of them—and in this way, cleansing your vision from seeing separation, limitation, and conflict, and instead, seeing infinite potential, unity, and natural perfection.
It is not about trying to imitate the non-dual states of Consciousness, it is about re-aligning yourself with their truths.
In so doing, you will better execute your unique purpose in a harmonious, accelerated fashion and be attuned to your Greater Self with ever more joy, while you continue to be its executing force in manifestation.
Presence-Consciousness—or any “higher” level of Reality—doesn’t need us to recognize it 24/7 in order for it to know itself on its own level. So relax.
You are not responsible for the enlightenment of Consciousness; you are responsible for your own awakening to what is always already here, and to henceforth express yourself as freely, boldly, clearly and passionately as it excites you to.
Periodically—or as often as you are inspired to—recognize that you and your actions are inseparable from All-That-Is; that you are that higher Consciousness, as well as the human expression through which you have chosen to express Infinity.
You are simply to wake up, and in doing so, rid yourself of fears at an exponential rate, cleanse your vision, and be ever more awesome at simply being yourself with love and joy. If you go about it in this way, I promise you that your consciousness’ enlightenment deepens naturally.
BTW, purpose is not something we can fail at. Even if you were to simply live your life in total ignorance of anything awake, spiritual, or inspirational, you would still add to the expansion of Creation in a unique way, carve out a new path, build new relationships with Creation, and thus celebrate the infinite options of The One to express Itself. You always succeed. What is up to you is how you succeed, and how inspired and awe-filled that journey will be for you.
You will find much more explanation and a variety of tools on the topic of purpose, life themes, and how to be in alignment with your true joy, in the courses under the Empowerment teaching. For now, I just want you to realize that constant 24/7 recognition of Presence-Consciousness is not the goal, nor is it relevant or desired by your “Higher Self” to be in a space of conscious preoccupation with Presence all the time.
Now that you have heard me say that permanent recognition is (usually) not relevant, let’s relieve you of self-judgment regarding the ups and downs of recognition. Let’s end this potential struggle right now, whether it has come up for you yet or not, by realizing that even non-recognition of Presence-Consciousness IS Presence-Consciousness. You can therefore safely stop worrying about it.
From Recognition to Conviction
Before we continue with the realization that even non-recognition of Presence rests in and as Presence, I want to share some information with you in advance, so you know where this course is leading you: it’s leading you to Conviction.
More than recognizing Presence-Consciousness, what is important is truly knowing that it’s all there is, and that it’s what you—at a deeper level of your being—actually are, 24/7, whether you recognize it or not.
Initially, recognition is the sure way to realization of Presence-Consciousness, but slightly later on—possibly right around now, although it may still be somewhat early on in the process—after you’ve come to more fully recognize Presence-Consciousness and its obvious truths (qualities), the operative factor naturally shifts from recognition to confidence, or conviction.
So, even though recognition will always remain an incredibly valuable tool, one that you can always rely on, you will start to see how your expansion process is more about becoming convinced of Presence-Consciousness and its essential truths and qualities of being, than it is about recognizing it all the time.
Gravity Analogy: Do you recognize gravity, consciously, a lot these days, when you’re trying to get up from the couch and walk over to the kitchen? Or do you just get up and go there effortlessly, without the need to consciously think about, or recognize, the existence of gravity? I’m assuming you just get up and walk over to the kitchen without contemplating gravity, correct?
On the other hand, when you were just getting the hang of learning how to crawl and walk, you were very conscious of the presence of gravity. Maybe not the word “gravity,” or the intellectual understanding of it, but you were instinctually contemplating its felt force on your body.
You had to recognize its truth—that it pulls you to the ground over and over again—and work with it, become familiar with its qualities in order to become convinced of its presence, its truths. And then after some practice, walking became a natural ability that required no further reflecting on gravity.
You have become convinced of gravity. You have become utterly familiar with it. This is what we want to achieve with Presence-Consciousness, as well.
We want the realization of your first nature to become second nature. Bentinho Massaro
Recognition and/or meditation are the tools that propel us to the point of becoming utterly familiar with Presence-Consciousness, its truths, and its qualities of being: always already here, free, present, alive, conscious, stable, peaceful, undisturbed, the essence of all forms, and so on.
Once we are familiar with the fact that Presence-Consciousness exists, and once we know that it innately exhibits all these qualities effortlessly—these fundamental truths of creation—we don’t need to emphasize the recognition-aspect as much anymore.
Consciously generated recognition might still be relevant sometimes, and it certainly does continue to clarify our understanding of Presence-Consciousness, since truly there is no end to the familiarization process, but it becomes less crucial and slightly less relevant to your experience and purpose as a being of Creation.
At that point, past the threshold of needing it to become more known to you, it is simply super enjoyable to relax into the ever-clearer and more brilliant recognition of the beingness that’s already alive, here and now, peaceful, satisfied, soothing, awake…
But you won’t need the recognition anymore to know that you are okay, no matter what happens. You won’t need the recognition anymore—in most scenarios—to enhance your well-being, although you may need it in certain intense moments when doubts regarding your eternal well-being may still arise.
In these isolated cases, you can once again simply recognize what’s true and distinguish that from what’s imagined, and find even deeper conviction. Perfect! But for everyday enjoyment and confidence in your freedom and stability, recognition becomes more effortless, more integrated, more automatic, more natural and less crucial, albeit totally available for you to tap into at will.
Recognition also becomes less stressed, because it develops into a more organic part of your everyday sense of Self. This is because your base-identity (where you place your sense of self) starts to shift from Person-World-Consciousness to Presence-Consciousness, and as a result, you begin to perceive more from Presence than you perceive from the point of view of being a person.
Note: At this early stage in your familiarization process, many of you may still find recognition to be crucial, and by all means, I encourage you to follow that instinct. I just want you to be aware of the fact that permanent recognition is not the point; natural conviction is. Recognition is a means to an end, not the end in itself. It is the means to knowing what is true, instead of doubting or wondering. Once you truly know something, once it is obvious to you, the means that were used to come to this knowingness are exhausted; they are no longer crucial or relevant.
When you have this conviction—and no longer need recognition—this leaves you open to move on to different realizations, such as the even subtler enlightenment of waking up to Awareness and its fundamental truths and qualities of being (this will be covered in Enlightenment II).
Or, after having embodied this course and being ever more convinced of the greater Presence-Consciousness you always already are—less fooled by the idea that you are the person you create yourself to be—you might choose to go more fearlessly into exploring the bliss of your individual alignment (Empowerment teaching). You will do this with less, or even no attachment to outcome—simply being passionate for the sake of the activity itself, for the sake of being an expression of Presence-Consciousness, for the sake of knowing that, by following your bliss, you are accelerating your purpose of being an agent of Creation’s expansion to express the ever-unknowable, infinite nature of The One.
Before you can authentically go beyond the need for recognition, you first need to realize that even non-recognition of Presence is held in loving Presence.
Remember: Anything you can possibly be searching for is Always Already Here.
Non-recognition is Presence-Consciousness too
The Presence Rewind Theater Exercise
This exercise is similar to the exercise in Lesson 4, where you took a trip back to different points in your physical life, remembering yourself at different ages and in different periods of your evolution, and recognized that throughout all those physical and psychological changes—something never changed.
The Presence Rewind Theater exercise is not so much about realizing the changelessness of Presence, but rather the fact that it is as present as ever, even when we are not aware of it.
Pick a memory in which you judged yourself to be unconscious of Presence-Consciousness; a moment when you felt you were not awake to Existence.
Or, it could be a moment in which you judged yourself to be acting unconsciously, on automatic pilot, out of old habits, or in any other way that you do not feel good or “enlightened” about.
Now, I want you to close your eyes and bring your consciousness back to that moment. If it helps, you can imagine your present self in a big movie theater, seeing that “unconscious memory” projected vividly onto the screen, and you have the remote control in your hand. You can fast forward, pause, rewind, and replay at will. You can even change the camera angle, if you want to.
Replay that scene however you wish. Perhaps start with how you originally remember that moment, from the first-person perspective (the perspective of being a consciousness inside of your head, looking out of your eyes, seeing your hands move, witnessing your thoughts, and so on).
See every detail in that moment, even if some of it seems “imagined” and not accurately remembered. It doesn’t matter. Just be there again, in that moment you labeled as “unconscious,” or a moment of non-recognition, of “not being aware enough.”
Go on, have fun…
Now, as you’re clearly sensing into that memory, rewind it and go through it again, but this time, place the emphasis on the fact that you were there at the time of the event… that you existed, that you were present at that time.
Recognize how something deeper in you was aware of your personal-consciousness. Even though your brain-consciousness, if you will, was not aware of Presence, Presence was somehow aware of you! Presence-Consciousness, your deeper Self, was totally and completely there.
Alternative: Presence is Present During Sleep
You can even apply this exercise to your (often vague) memory of being asleep, and you can sense that, even when you are dreaming, this changeless Presence-Consciousness is there.
Even in your vaguest memory of deep sleep, of nothingness, there is still some profound, super subtle quality of knowingness present—Beingness/Awareness is still registering the presence of no-thing. After all, you recognize upon waking that you have been in deep sleep, and you can even say whether or not you “had a good sleep.”
This is possible because the fundamental presence of your being is still existent, still present, even when you are dreaming and sleeping.
Back to the exercise. Replay that memory of “unconsciousness” and emphasize the details.Remember (or imagine) your hand movements, the other person’s face, what you felt or thought or feared in that moment. Perhaps you felt uncomfortable or somewhat avoidant. Recall who else was around you, what was going on in addition to you, and so on.
Play the whole scene again, but now emphasize that you were fully conscious of that moment, that the basic sense of Being was present at the core of your experience of that moment. That which never changes was there, even when you didn’t pay it any attention.
Look even further. As the rewind reveals another layer of awareness, see how you were even fully aware that you were acting and thinking in unconscious, automatic ways!
Presence-Consciousness was effortlessly and inescapably present and conscious!
Unconsciousness is an experience held in, and registered by, Presence-Consciousness. Even unconsciousness is (an expression of) Presence-Consciousness!
Let this exercise convince—or overthrow—your doubtful mind by confirming to yourself over and over again, that there is truly no escaping the already-present nature of Presence-Consciousness. Your freedom, your natural state, is absolutely invincible.
Give yourself permission to stop beating yourself up about the ups and downs of recognition, realizing that it is all an expression of Presence-Consciousness anyway, even unconsciousness is already perfect.
You see, non-recognition is itself a moment, an experience, still held by Presence. Non-recognition has only one substance: Presence-Energy.
After all, how else would you know that “you were unconscious?”
Every moment – no matter what it contains – is safe, supported, embraced, pervaded by, and already inseparable from Presence-Beingness-Consciousness. There is simply no escaping the fact that you are always already awake. Always already present.
There is nothing you can do, or not do—including the act of recognition or non-recognition—to change Presence-Consciousness from already being here, now, always and forever.
Let this sink in deeply.
Let this recognition turn into a natural, unshakeable, obvious conviction.
You cannot stop being here, now. Realize this now. Be convinced of it. Let go of doubt. Embrace the obvious truth of Existence existing effortlessly. It is a given, not a choice.
Read this lesson (and/or listen to the audio) at least 2 more times before proceeding with the next lesson. Take your time. Let the contents of this lesson convince you, change you, alter your conviction.
Practice the rewind theater exercise with multiple moments where you, in retrospect, judged yourself to be unconscious, unaware, not mindful/present enough, and show yourself by means of this exercise that these assumptions are not only ineffective, they are also simply untrue.
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