What I call interdependent origination is the embodied insight that arose from full tantric awakening.
What I call tantric awakening comes from awakening every different aspect of experience in both your individual being and the collective experience.
This differs from sutric awakening, which focuses on bringing awareness to the things that are perceived through the mind.
Tantric awakening includes how things are (the physical matter), how things feel, how things appear, what everything means and how this relates to our environments.
It includes our bodies, hearts, minds, souls and environments.
Like with awakening of the mind, in order to get to the bottom of it you have to awaken every aspect of the collective experience, not just your individual experience of it.
So with the mind this includes opening to the collective experience of perception itself – the impermanent changing nature of how things are appearing to arise by themselves in this moment.
With the archetypal realm or karmic forces, for example, this involves experiencing all aspects of this part of experience – going through the experience of allowing it all to express itself through us, not just our own inner archetypal or emotional content.
When we have gone through this process with every aspect of experience, the outcome of awakening everything is an embodied insight into interdependent origination.
This is different to what I am going to call dependent origination, which is the outcome of awakening just the mind. The final realisation of dependent origination is that the Universe is a simulation that our minds create. Our minds create everything, including our bodies. While this is a clever idea and an interesting and potentially liberating way of looking at the world, it is patently false. It doesn’t hold up to basic fact checking and any 5 year old could tell you that.
It’s also not that useful as it tends to leave us in a bit of a disconnected dead end.
In order to describe interdependent origination I am going to need a word to describe the fundamental building blocks of the Universe. In more spiritual contexts this has been called Buddha nature.
For the sake of neutrality, and to distinguish that this is a personal experience that has happened to me, rather than some fundamental truth, I’m going to call it Universe Soup.
Experiencing Universe Soup to me was like an embodied three dimensional rainbow fractal kaleidoscope that was the container for everything and was contained in everything all at once.
The first time I experienced this took an unfathomable amount of build-up to get to, and experiencing it truly scrambled my understanding and felt-sense of life in a way that I will never be able to go back. This is what gave me an embodied understanding of interdependent origination.
I have since experienced aspects of it in different degrees of intensity and in more and more integrated ways. This is how experience presents itself to me – it is the model of the world that my body, heart and mind feels and trusts to be true.
Interdependent origination goes as follows:
- I am creating it: Universe soup only arises because I exist, if I wasn’t here, this aspect of experience wouldn’t exist
- It is creating me: I only arise because Universe soup exists, if there was no Universe soup I wouldn’t be here to experience it
- The Universe is creating it: It is every aspect of the Universe ever that has created Universe soup
- It is creating the Universe: The Universe only arises because of Universe soup
These images show each of them in action. The headfuck is that all of these are happening simultaneously. It’s not really a concept that we can land on – it’s more like an experience that we can simultaneously perceive, feel, embody and know in certain moments to greater and lesser extents.
Remember that the rainbow Universe soup is in all these places at the same time, but that the parts of experience – the Universe as a whole and the beings experiencing the Universe – keep it separate from itself also at the same time. They can’t solely be boiled down to Universe Soup – they are here in all their complexity of expression, too.
Essentially what this is saying is that if you follow cause and effect all the way back, the entire concept completely dissolves; everything becomes a symbiosis that everyone and everything is inextricably enmeshed in together in a way that can’t be solved.
For reasons that I can’t be bothered to explain here I have used a donut to represent the Universe.