Trillium Awakening educational offerings and coaching services are by nature experiential. We offer the following definitions as a conceptual starting point, knowing that embodied understanding emerges over time through experiencing the many facets of this work. Feel free to ask your teachers and mentors about their personal journeys in this process.
Some words have been capitalized to signal their transcendent connotations, beyond their more common use.
Aspects of Awakening Realizationa; Awakening to the infinite and unbounded dimension of our Whole Being nature may have a variety of flavors, such as infinite expansiveness (associated with the head center or consciousness), interconnectedness (associated with the heart center or love), or unshakable being (associated with the belly or embodiment).
Consciousness (sometimes noticed as light, clarity, witness, or insight, in the vicinity of the head);
Heart (a multi-dimensional aspect; experiences here range from raw emotion to “divine” frequencies of unconditional love, compassion, or bliss, noticed in the center of the chest);
Being (sometimes experienced as a subtle vibrational energy, aliveness, or “ground of existence,” noticed in the belly)
Awakened Life : Living in the fundamental condition of non-separate Conscious embodiment
Awakening: The discovery, clarification, and ever-deepening recognition of our nature as infinite Consciousness, free of limits while simultaneously embracing them. This clarification prepares the ground for the whole being realization of the underlying unity of Consciousness and matter.
Being Initiation (i.e., quickening): A sense of coming alive and awake, with an increase of energy and internal activity. A “heating up” of your whole being.
Consciousness: The infinite transcendent ground which is always registering everything while remaining untouched and unbounded. That which makes experiencing anything possible. The unlimited and infinite dimension of what we are. We can distinguish two broad types of Consciousness awakenings before Whole Being Realization: 1) Transcendent, in which Consciousness registers everything without identifying with the body-mind and 2) Embodied-Feeling, in which Consciousness registers everything while being also fully present in and as the feelings of the body-mind.
Core Conditioning (i.e. Governing Sentimentalities): Limiting habits of believing, perceiving, behaving, and feeling which take form during childhood experiences, or arise from family or individual karmic seeds. These habits are often comforting, unquestioned and familiar. Therefore, we may resist, or feel we are losing a piece of ourselves, when they begin to shift or dissolve.
Core Dharma: The central distinctions of the Trillium path, which have been informed by principles from the Waking Down teachings and are collectively held by our teachers and mentors. See Core Dharma or Teacher Dharma
Core Issues: The unique psycho-emotional challenges that tend to recur throughout our lives. Core issues are associated with our personal histories, while the core paradox is universal and existential in nature.
Core Paradox (i.e. Core Wound): A fundamental split at the core of one’s sense of self that is initially experienced as existential angst or feelings of confusion, separateness, and insufficiency. It happens because we are both finite, limited human beings AND infinite Consciousness, non-separate from the entire cosmos, occurring in a paradox of simultaneity. The Core Paradox can evoke the sense of contraction and pain that is especially pronounced in people who have not yet fully embraced or relaxed into their paradoxical nature, yet can and will occur in those who are awakened as well. The Core Paradox can also evoke the sense of wonder, that is equally true about our fundamental nature when we are open to this core mystery. Both are paradoxically true and life will ongoingly give us dynamic fluctuations between these felt states as we spontaneously contract and open.
Dharma: Set of teachings. “Core dharma” is shared and understood by Trillium Awakening teachers and mentors, whereas “teacher dharma” refers to offerings brought forth by individual teachers. See Core Dharma or Teacher Dharma
Divinely Human: Much as a ray of sunlight shares the same essence as the sun, we realize upon awakening that we remain simply human while also embodying the fundamental essence of the divine Mystery that pervades all phenomena.
Effulgence and Intensification (i.e. White Heat): The ever-deepening process of recognizing, enjoying, and expressing the seamlessness of Consciousness and phenomena, Onlyness, such that one’s awakened Presence quickens transformation in the field of Being.
Embodied Witness Realization (i.e., Embodied Feeling Witness Consciousness): Experienced by some but not all participants, this is a stage prior to Whole-Being Realization in which Consciousness is recognized to be permeating the body-mind. Here, the infinite and finite dimensions are paradoxically realized within ourselves. However, there is a continued sense of separation of the personal body-mind with all other forms.
Embodiment: Living as the core paradox and embracing the experience of being simultaneously finite and infinite, with nothing left behind or rejected. Embodiment is a paradox unfathomable to the mind that can only be experienced as a lived reality. From this ground, we deeply investigate and embrace the messy, juicy, delightful, uncomfortable, joyful, and sorrowful mystery of being human. With compassion and insight, we explore our patterns and broken zones. Energy and attention become liberated for deeper levels of aliveness and expression.
Greenlighting (i.e. whole being acceptance/recognition): Saying “yes” to our whole-being experience, both human and divine. Greenlighting is a radical acceptance of whatever is currently arising in order to bring it fully into conscious awareness where it can be integrated. A major reason for greenlighting the human aspects of ourselves is to free greater amounts of energy and attention to facilitate deepening awakening. This principle does not necessarily mean uninhibited behavioral expressions without consideration of the impact on others. The point of greenlighting is to teach the participants to accept and hold themselves consciously; this is done through the example provided by the teacher and other participants.
Holding: Being in presence with something or someone with heartfelt support for the other as they are.
Hypermasculine: Using willpower and formulaic solutions to try to fix or avoid experiencing the core paradox. The hypermasculine tendency is hardwired, and cannot be overcome through effort; its unraveling can only be recognized and then welcomed through greenlighting.
Illumination or Glimpse: A state shift that brings a transient peak experience, insight, or energetic opening that reveals a deeper or more expanded sense of self and/or the nature of existence.
Mutuality: A relational disposition that holds both self and others as unique expressions of Being. It involves honoring your true and total self while also making room for others to do the same—which can be quite challenging at times. Mutuality is the exploration, ever-deepening recognition, and claiming of your authentic nature through vulnerable self-expression, even when that might be unwelcome. Mutuality is enhanced by seeing and calling forth the divinity in one another, so we offer profound compassion, conscious listening and reflection. Mutuality also supports us in encountering our broken zones, and further integrating embodied consciousness through our human experience. See More on Mutuality.
Oscillations: As we awaken and experience deepening integration, new qualities arise, and then opposing qualities follow. Waves of expansion are followed by waves of contraction. Sometimes Consciousness blazes forth, and at other times it seems totally unavailable. Understanding that life is relative, we learn to expect these oscillations and no longer interpret them as something wrong. Each wave deepens the fullness of our expression and embrace of the totality.
Paradox: An apparent contradiction that is experienced as inherently true—for example, the condition of being both divine (infinite) and human (finite). A polarity in which both ends of a spectrum are true and necessary.
Presence: A state often reflected by stillness, timelessness, consciousness, embodiment, interconnectedness, and empathy
Recognition yoga: A practice, named and trademarked by Linda Groves-Bonder, to investigate and integrate our conditioning. Its steps include “See it, feel it, live it, be it, transcend and integrate it, and speak it as appropriate with trustworthy others along the way.” Freedom of transcendence occurs in the midst of experience, rather than outside it. Though our patterns may remain, our relationship to them change at the core, leading to greater authenticity and intimacy. In recognition yoga, we greenlight our experience so it can be felt and integrated, rather than trying to change it.
Relational Mutuality (i.e. Coconut Yoga): A process of being sensitive to our effects upon one another even when there has been no conscious intent of harm. Embodied mutuality means being willing to listen to reports of injury resulting from our words or actions and to take responsibility for making amends. In doing embodied mutuality, we honor the true sacredness of the other person. In other words, we bow down and make a sincere apology, without having to believe we did anything wrong.
Sacred Reconfiguration: A post whole being realization passage that is characterized by a profound reconfiguration of our most deeply held conditioning and beliefs about ourselves and the world. Often cyclical, with periods of rather intense immersion in our shadow material and broken zones followed by new openings and expansions of consciousness. The Sacred Reconfiguration ultimately leads over time to greater trust and confidence in Being in the midst of the ups and downs inherent in the human condition, and also to profound compassion and appreciation for ourselves and others.
Sitting: A group gathering led by teachers that typically includes gazing meditation, personal sharing by participants, and reflections by the teacher. See Introduction to Trillium Awakening Sittings.
States and stages: States of human consciousness are temporary; arising and passing like the changing weather. A “glimpse” is a state change. A stage is a stable level of realization. Whole Being Realization is a shift into a new stage of spiritual unfoldment.
Tantra: The union or embrace of opposites. The Trillium path is tantric in that it is both transcendent as well as body-positive and world-embracing. No formalized practice of tantric sexuality is associated with this work, or implied by use of this concept.
Teacher Dharma: Like branches spreading from the trunk of core dharma, teacher dharma is a further elaboration upon the process of embodied awakening that arises out of an individual teacher’s experience and understanding. See Core Dharma or Teacher Dharma
Transmission: A subtle event whereby the radiant awakened-and-embodied Being-force of the teacher is effortlessly and spontaneously communicated nonverbally as a resonant effect to the student through proximity, gazing meditation, writings, focused intention, or other ways of being together.
Trillium Path or Process: These terms refer to the set of principles that emerged from the Waking Down teachings and its predecessors in that lineage, and have been collectively stewarded by Trillium Awakening teachers since 2005.
Unraveling of Fixing and Seeking Strategies (i.e. Rot): The will to try new formulas for perfection and avoidance of suffering are dissolving, leaving one in a free-fall or groundless condition that feels disorienting, perhaps even devastating, but prepares the ground for the quantum shift of Whole Being Realization.
Witness Awakening: A state or stage of awakening that may be experienced by some practitioners whereby their sense of personal identity has shifted to their conscious nature without including embodiment. It includes a greater sense of expansion and freedom from limitation, and may be associated with a location beside or behind the head.
Whole Being Clarifier: A Trillium Awakening teacher who conducts informational conversations to help students clarify if and when they have experienced the shift known as Whole Being Realization. Affirmative results are a prerequisite for most advanced “awakened life” courses. The conversation itself is referred to as a “Whole Being Clarifying Conversation” (i.e., Second Birth interview).
Whole Being Realization (i.e. second birth): Awakening into non-separate conscious embodiment. Consciousness paradoxically fuses into feeling-union with the body-mind, becomes self-aware as the Core Paradox, and realizes its existential nature as the same essence with all that is. While this is a permanent shift of one’s experience of the ground of Being, it requires integration over time that may be categorized into early, middle and late stages for its fullness to be realized.
For more information, see About the Trillium Path.