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Realizing Ordinary Mind

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Published on May 22, 2008

Patrick Sweeney continues his beautiful discussion of nondual consciousness, the nameless, effortless, self-liberating quality of awareness in which all distinctions between self and other, this and that, inside and outside fall away completely, leaving only the brilliant clarity of this very Moment, exactly as it is. Although this "Ordinary Mind" is and always has been the ever-present condition of consciousness, the separate self somehow rarely seems to notice that which it always already is—in fact, it is fair to say that the majority of our actions and intentions as human beings are in avoidance of this simple recognition, with all its ego-shattering implications. However, we have all experienced this radical One Taste many times in the course of our lives, if even for the briefest of moments. Patrick mentions accidents, orgasms, and death as typical moments of spontaneous and profound realization, but these experiences tend to occur whenever the normal continuity of life becomes suddenly disrupted—during which people tend to report radically altered states of experience, including a sense of time dilation, an overwhelming feeling of peace or oneness with the world, and everything simply becomes much more vivid, vibrant, and present. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to miss these experiences without a stable contemplative practice, which helps train our capacity to be persistently aware of ourselves and our environments, making it much easier to recognize our own Original Face whenever it chooses to reveal itself.

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