Susanne Marie – “Living Beyond Unity”
Interview by Renate McNay
Renate: Welcome to Conscious TV. I’m Renate McNay, and my guess today is Susanne Marie
Susanne: Hello Renate
Renate: Susanne is a mystic, a spiritual mentor and guide, and she is currently writing a book. I’m very much looking forward to that. This is my second interview with Susanne. In the first interview she spoke of her awakening and the challenges she faced raising a family and children and being at the same time being on her spiritual path. You already lived then in unity consciousness.
Renate: So, you had two major awakenings, beside all the other things that happened to you, then something else happened that you never anticipated and that’s what the interview is going to be about. Just tell us, the first big awakening was emptiness of mind. What does that mean?
Susanne: The way I like to describe it, is the mind woke up to itself and that it saw its true nature. It was looking for itself and in the process of deep inquiry, it was searching for itself
Renate: So, inquiry by asking who am I?
Susanne: In a natural kind of way it was wondering about its nature
Renate: So, your attention was always around awakening?
Susanne: Pretty much since I was a teenager, young adult, but I didn’t know those words at the time, longing to return home
Renate: Which you experienced as a child…
Susanne: Yes, what I later discovered was called unity consciousness, as a child, and I think many of us are in that oneness as children. For me it lasted until I was 7 or 8 years old, and then it started to fade. I spoke about that in our first interview. It was so dramatic and so painful for me, so I immediately started to look for what I’d lost, looking for it in various ways, trying to remember myself. I found it here and there, in nature, certain people that I feel which were what we call, probably were awake
Renate: and you started doing long meditations
Susanne: In my early 20’s I studied yoga and started to meditate. Once I started to meditate. I got hooked, and started to meditate for many hours a day
Renate: So, the first stage as I understand it is the mind waking up to itself. You know who you are, you know you are not the body. You know you are bigger than everything else, would you translate it into that?
Susanne: I’m not saying that’s not how I would translate it, but maybe but what I would say is the searching for myself stopped when that which was searching rested on what its nature is, which is a calm empty centre. Once it had rested on that calm empty centre, it just stopped, like resting in a calm still pond with nowhere else to go.
Renate: How did you rest all the time in the cam empty centre, was it through practice?
Susanne: Well sometimes people dip in and out, and I had dipped in and out, but I think once you kind of dive in, you merge into that. You that has been searching, that movement of me that hasn’t been at peace that has been looking for itself, both within and without in the world, and even looking for itself within spiritual practice , so it landed back into that which was looking. It’s like 2 arrows meeting, once that’s done, it’s over. That looking, that movement of mind stops, and it rests eternally. There is no reason for it to start back up
Renate: Then there was the second awakening to unity consciousness. Tell us what that means
Susanne: Unity consciousness to me is an awakening of the heart, and the heart realising its true nature, so the mind realises its true nature. It realises that it is, and the heart when it opens up and has an awakening realises that it is that. It is everything, creation, so that is what we call unity. Unity, there is a long trajectory, that is the field of unity. There are many landscapes that you traverse during the journey of unity
Renate: So, when you are in unity how do you perceive the world? Yourself?
Susanne: Unity is to me like a deepening process. Imagine that a drop has returned to the ocean , it falls into the ocean. A single self- drop, the separate self drops, falls into the ocean, merges and becomes one with the sea. Maybe at first it still has a lingering trace , a bit of a memory of having been a separate something, so the journey of completely dissolving without any previous navigation of how it navigated as a separate somebody, that dissolving is the whole processing of integrating, what many people call embodiment
Renate: From the first awakening of the mind, how did the mind drop into the heart? What did you do?
Susanne: The mind realises that it is. I am, so it stops, completely stops and rests in the I am
Renate: The mind surrenders?
Susanne: The mind surrenders and is at peace in its nature, its relieved to not have to continue searching for itself. So, it rests in the I am, and the higher functioning of mind can start to take place when it’s not searching for itself, there’s much more available. What comes next is I am that which is I am everything, not just I am. The stillness and empty centre of existence, which they’ve proved scientifically is inherently empty, so the mind realises that for itself. The understanding deepens into the human body, it goes from mind. People have different ways that this occurs. The way it happened for me, is that mind became illuminated to itself and then the heart opened and realised its true nature which is all of creation
Renate: All the time Susanne, you were living in the world. You had a job, raised children, I’m sure that was not easy at times. I also understand that you didn’t have an easy life. You needed to earn money, there was nobody who really supported you so, how did you cope? What helped you to cope?
Susanne: Realisation and awakening doesn’t per se make your life any easier, its not like it gives you a magic pill or wand that everything magically becomes better and easy, but it does soften things. It makes it easier in the sense of how one deals with it especially when you slow down for realising, it puts you more in the present moment. The mind is not kicking up scary scenarios of what could happen. Yes, I was taking care of the kids on my own primarily, I didn’t have much money but it didn’t go into the future, the fear of what could happen so, it was a saving grace to have the simplicity of realisation, of living inside. It slowed things down and made me more present to the moment, present to the kids. Actually, unity is such a delightful place to be
Renate: I know you said you had a good time living in unity, looking from the perspective of where you are now
Susanne: Even during the unity, that’s a lot of time of ‘aha’, when you open to realising that you are that, it’s a process, its not like it all happens at once. It happens bit by bit. For me it was I’m this, and this too
Renate: Is it that you see yourself in everything else or is it more like a knowingness, that’s me and that’s me ? Where are you in unity? From where are you looking?
Susanne: Looking through the eyes of unity is looking through the eyes of God seeing itself. Like I said this is something important for people realise it is a process of gaining ever deeper understanding of what it means to be the totality because there are so many things that are wishing to be included along the way. I actually call it the path of inclusion, things get included. It can come up as an emotion or a feeling or something that had perhaps been misunderstood , and this energetic movement of the heart going towards itself, saying , this too is included, this too is what I am. That occurred within and of course without. So, things on the outside are seen more clearly for what they are, not separate. So really, it’s a process of the journey, kind of a reconciliation of all the things we imagine to be separate from ourselves, and outside ourselves, including our own emotional states
Renate: So, when you hear the news and see the suffering in the world, I guess in unity you have reaches out and embraces everything as part of you
Susanne: Right , and an immense welling of compassion emerges and sometimes the molecules themselves get a feeling of being everything. So, the suffering of others is your suffering and the joy, beauty and pain and sorrow are. So, all these seeming opposites … the heart is the great unifier so, it reconciles opposites. So, that what I mean, it’s a beautiful time. It was a difficult time being a single mum… but I was so delighted in being a parent, really loved it, so I had that going for me, even though I was exhausted at times but there is this inner opening and welcoming. I always say the unity state is one of allowance and welcoming of all that’s arising. So, even the discomfort which may seem scary, even survival, all of it starts to get integrated and open up.
Renate: So, it’s like the resistance stops and there’s a constant “thy will be done” or surrender
Susanne: “thy will is my will”, so the seeming duality of life collapses so thy will is one will. It becomes one will, so you can’t really see it as being a mistake even if it’s difficult whatever’s coming up. So that resistance thing…
Renate: That comes out of the oneness
Susanne: And you are that, comes from the oneness so it’s not the mind trying to understand it. It’s not a coping mechanism
Renate: The mind keeps quiet
Susanne: The mind is at rest and that which is remaining, the conditioning in the body and mind… because everything doesn’t just immediately fall into rest and pure allowance. It needs to go through a process which I call embodiment which I call gaining an understanding of all that it does not understand. All the areas that it’s pushed away in innocent misunderstanding
Renate: That process lasted about 9 years, then something completely radical happened to you and you were surprised yourself, so tell us about that. What was the moment like when you realised?
Susanne: Well, unity at this point was so normalised… 9 years of living in unity you go through many … you traverse the whole landscape, it’s a journey of gaining understanding that we are totality. That takes a good while
Renate: You learn to navigate with it, live with it
Susanne: Including the separate self so whatever remnants may be there that are innocent misunderstanding, that too gets to be seen as part of the whole. That’s a beautiful time, nothing is made wrong and even that arising of me or the separate self or what we call ego is completely included and welcomed. Any time you include everything it transmutes. So, it’s a real period and time of transmutation. Towards the end of that unity phase if someone had asked me can you find yourself, can you find Susanne? Is there a person there ? I can’t find it and that would be the truth of my experience. Susanne, that energy was so diffused and boundary-less that it didn’t feel to have any more of, a touchstone… you know that sweet personal self you can find in yourself, you can still find a trace of it in unity, but it becomes more and more diffused. You become more and more used to it. I think it’s a generous time, a generous phase because what’s happening is the separate self ascends, is disintegrating and another way of being , another type of functioning is getting on board during that time. It’s like a changing of the guards. So, towards the end of this unity phase… someone says what is like to be in unity? I wouldn’t be able to describe it in the way I had at the beginning. You feel one with everything. You look at a tree, you know yourself as that, everything thing I looked at , I knew myself as. That becomes normalised, it’s like learning a language. It becomes your natural way of being. I wasn’t aware that something else was coming. As far as I was concerned this naturalness, becoming more and more at ease with being the totality was going to be the rest of my life. But what happened was I became ill and was really challenged on a survival level. What I feel is that some separate sense self was still residing in the body, in the form. It wasn’t in the mind anymore and certainly wasn’t in the heart so, for me personally where else could it still be living? I wasn’t looking for it , I wasn’t even aware of it because it was kind of subdued and diffused. Everything was included. Any kind of fear that remained in the body of being… and animal kind of fear, of survival.
Renate: We normally also feel the sense of self in contractions in the body , like pain or muscle tension or we can feel it in our nervous system, trauma. So, what your saying is that you were at that point already so clear, but not completely. There was still something there almost undetectable.
Susanne: I would say that because the whole journey of unity is one of inclusion, that too was included. So, any animal like fear of the body… I had become very sick , had been to the emergency room a few times. The place I was living in was part of what was making me sick so I couldn’t live there, so home, health. My daughter was sixteen at the time, she had to live with her father for a time which was just fine, but I missed her. So, I had this kind of crisis, home, health, parenting crisis. It hit me on this level , in the place of survival that wasn’t completely freed up, but I wasn’t unaware of it , and how everything was displaying itself. I didn’t ever consider contraction as being a problem, nothing was taking me away from the sense of oneness. Totality. Nothing shook it, and even this didn’t really shake it. What it revealed was completely liberated , I’m guessing. So, it was form itself that had taken on identity – I’ll get to that in a minute and walk you through what happened. I went to stay at a retreat centre for a week. I was taking a walk in nature, in this very beautiful place. I was deeply in needing this unsettled place inside. I had to train myself in all those embodiment years of whenever something arose the movement of the heart… the heart just automatically just like when a child cries, you got automatically to soothe it . So, there’s this natural movement of the heart to go towards this unsettled inner experience
Renate: Did you experience anxiety, what was the experience?
Susanne: Sadness, just like when of those koan moments, there is nothing I can do. It was sadness but the truth was there was nothing I could do about this situation, it is what it is. It was like the body got it, finally just kind of settled . I’ve spoken of how the mind was looking at itself and the heart realised it is everything, well this was like the body and its survival came to this koan moment – an unresolvable paradox moment. There is nothing I can do. Instead of wondering what I could do to help my body , to help my situation, everything stopped in the body. There is nothing that can be done. Something unlocked and fell
Renate: Freed up
Susanne: Freed up inside. It felt like the survival instinct itself – of course there is still survival instinct like not being run over by a bus – but the one that may be the psychological self or the identity that had fused in with the body and survival got released. Identity as you know is formed very young. As a two- year old we’re building identity, so we begin from very young feeling I’m the one that’s is doing everything , learning to walk, this is my name , I’m eating. You remember the whole phase, you have grand children… it’s such a wonderful enlivening time
Renate: That’s right and you explain it so well, “suffering arises from the mind’s ability to look at itself” .
Susanne: Yes, it looks at itself
Renate: It’s me. In our culture we’re constantly taking selfies ( laughing), we can’t get enough of looking at ourselves. That’s how the duality is created … that collapsed
Susanne: It’s memory … the conditioning contained in the mind, but it’s also contained within the body. So, the me function- I’m the one who’s doing, the doer- it fuses into the body itself, into form. Nobody had ever told me this. I had never heard this, I’m not saying that it’s never been said, it wasn’t known to me. Of course, the embodiment and all that was very physical and very much body orientated , but the fact that the me is fused in and needs also to have its own liberation, so that the body has it’s own liberation. That’s what happened…
Renate: So that happened in that moment when you were walking in nature, when that happened, what happened ?
Susanne: It’s so good that I had training to deal with altered states of consciousness because the me falling away, that’s pretty mind bending. It produces a dimensional shift, it’s a different way of perceiving. The unity of the heart that produces an altered state of consciousness, so this was yet another one. I wasn’t anticipating it. The self, that which is reflecting on itself completely falling away completely from the whole organism and being left purely experiencing without any kind of intermediary, without a filter. Unity consciousness is a filter , that’s the part even though it was so thinned out at the very end of that phase, which was so diffused. It still was a tiny bit of a filter lying between myself and that, everything. I wouldn’t have known that until this occurred, then ‘Bam’. Life being directly experienced without any filter, without any self- sense even that of being divine. The self-sense of unity is divine . Even that is a bit of a thin film of separation lying between yourself and purely being life. There’s no more you and that as a unity phase, just life being life.
Renate: So, the experiencer and the experienced become one
Susanne: Right . You said that before in my last interview , and that was my experience. That’s what so interesting
Renate: That’s very raw, how is that ?
Susanne: It took me 4 months to adjust and sometimes still, it’s not like me adjusting … maybe there’s adjustment. Maybe it’s the organism still adjusting. It is raw. All the senses are really on board, another type of intelligence along the way, is being lived in different types of ways. The heart intelligence is a different type of way.
Renate: I can actually see that in your writing. When I read posts on your Facebook or whatever, I can feel the difference over the years to where it’s coming from now. So, for me the universal intelligence is completely open and coming through.
Susanne: That’s nice that you use the word universal. I would say that in unity, it’s divine. It’s the divine coming through, you as that, you as the divine
Renate: It’s more a holy feeling
Susanne: Universal. Prior to this it was more the individual knowing itself as that and now it’s more universal soul. So, you asked me what it was like when it happened. I’m not going to say this is going to happen in this particular way for other people. Everybody is going to be different in the response
Renate: So, this is not an experience you had which is very common. Normally people kind of stop in unity consciousness.
Susanne: I think so. I think that’s pretty much were most literature, the mystical writings are coming from. I certainly felt this was it… I’m opened minded knowing that it is endless. I could tell things were still opening and opening, so it’s endless in that way, but I didn’t know there would be another dimensional shift coming. I would say that most teachings, most writings coming from the unity phase. It grows. Let’s say unity is an opening it opens up more and more to include more of itself and knowing more and more of the totality. That’s that movement of unity. You can feel the progressiveness of it, that it’s different
Renate: The experience is also called ‘more self’ and that’s actually something quite frightening. I just want to tell of something that happened to me yesterday, just sitting in front of you, just talking about our self really. There was this moment of silence. I just looked at you and I could feel fear arising because it was completely empty. There was nobody looking at me. It actually brings tears to my eyes
Susanne: What are the tears?
Renate: I don’t know, just the enormity of it, the totality and the thought of I never ever will return to how I was. Is there something in you that could return, or you would like to return?
Susanne: I find it interesting how quickly we seem to want to get to the spiritual world, how quickly we want to get to this place. Then there is no one there, no one there in the end. I don’t think there is anything to return but as I expressed to you yesterday, I feel like life is very conservative in its nature. It conserves elements, it reuses in a conservation kind of way. It doesn’t waste, so energy is recycled. So, what returns is energy being reused in the way life feels fit but the little bit of individuality that is left in the unity phase, just enough to know itself as unity, is gone. So, it’s like the soul, the jiva has fulfilled its return function. Something is born, it lives itself out, it returns.
Renate: You said when the karma wheel comes to its end, that’s what’s happening.
Susanne: Yes, that’s it. I think that’s …
Renate: So, the identity from the body, from everywhere is gone. So, what do you call yourself? What is sitting in front of me? Are you a human being?
Susanne: There’s humanness, there’s delight, sadness, hunger, joy, preferences, all that stuff is there, all that’s been learned. It’s so nice that it happens, hopefully it will happen for people at a time when they’re able to seamlessly integrate this as a functional system. Everything is on board, you live however many years, it’s going to be on board.
Renate: You also said you had to relearn certain things. How to put a fork to your mouth, how to do certain tasks.
Susanne: It wasn’t relearning, it was the body mind – one thing- how to ?? 39.01 to get something, to ?? all these functions, without a doer being within it. We don’t realise that like driving…
Renate: It goes automatic
Susanne: It goes automatic. So, functioning is already on board, bringing the fork to the mouth is on board it doesn’t need a doer to do that because we have been… the body’s conditioned. When the doer falls away throughout the whole system, which for me in a graceful way for me it took a long time. Almost my whole life in a way preparing for this. It took a little bit of time to get on board. I just remember the fork coming ( raises hand towards the mouth) , it doesn’t need any doer. It took a little time to integrate it for me.
Renate: Would you say that Susanne moved out and God moved in?
Susanne: Yes, I would definitely say Susanne moved out, and she had been moving out for a while and there was like a little package left in the living room ( laughing). That package that was controlled, fused with survival, of I’ve got to hold this together. I think we all have our particular reasons. I think mine was my children. I’ve got to hold this together. Maybe this package would have gone before but my daughter was growing up so this bundle that I didn’t realise was still there in form… everyone has their reasons, and mine was parenting. I’m meant to be there. That makes total sense and luckily could completely function.
Renate: That’s right, it’s the intelligence of nature
Susanne: We wanted to touch on the sensory…
Renate: That’s right, so let’s go to the body. There are so many other things… you moved so completely into the now. It’s like the past and the future are gone, you are operating from the now. It’s also that memories, or experiences, after you had experienced, were fading away. You don’t need them anymore because as you said the way you live this moment like everybody else, creates the next moment, and the next
Susanne: I like how you say that, ‘like everybody else’. So much of what I’m living is like everybody else, it’s just that it’s not recognised. The no- self is not recognised because the filters kick back in. But coming back to what you were saying about the now, the memories… and a lot of people who have dropped into the emptiness, of no mind, no self -centre of mind, opening to unity after that, there is a whole phase of mind falling away of memory. Sometimes you can wonder what happened
Renate: But it’s not called Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Susanne: That’s something that when I work with people, I like to bring soothing to the mind and body and reflect back. That this is ok, it’s safe. That we can operate and function really well without the need to locate our self. When memory and mind fall away in that kind of way, of tracking, that that is ok. Sometimes chunks fall away, sometime things come on board back again. So, there are different phases of the computer letting go.
Renate: One thing I’d also like to mention. There is no landing ground
Susanne: Right. There is no landing. Within unity, the landing ground is totality, diffusion. You become increasingly used to not being localised and knowing yourself as everything. So, your whole reference softens and your boundaries dissolve, so you become more diffused. You get used to being able to function and operate really well that way. But when this other happens where…
Renate: no self
Susanne: No self, that word is referring to the self, that any part of the self that’s left falls away. Unity is still an aspect of self, all capacity to reference yourself , to reflect disappears. When you are in unity especially towards the end of that long phase, is the divine reflecting on itself. I am that, the divine is reflecting on itself. It’s very satisfying, but it’s still a movement of that self -mechanism looking at itself. You don’t know that until that too , leaves. When that leaves that’s what we’re calling no self. That ability to look at yourself in anyway and reflect completely disappears. That’s part of the integration phase for me. There is no more feeler, just feeling. There is no more sensor, sensing , no more feeling unity, it’s just one thing. Everything disappeared of being able to imagine myself as anything.
Renate: There is a quote I’ve always loved from Jesus which I never completely understood. It goes something like “every bird has its nest, every fox its hole or den, but I have nowhere to rest my head”.
Susanne: yeah, makes sense now.
Renate: Yes. Let’s talk a little about the body. What can we do? What should we do?
Susanne: On the top of the body? Well…
Renate: To free ourselves
Susanne: Oh, what can you do to free yourself?
Susanne: First of all , the way in is through love, to learn to love and welcome every aspect of yourself, including the body. Wherever any tension, any contraction is located, the separate sense locating in the body, to open to that and learn how to embrace it as a movement of love. When we do that it reorganises, our whole body reorganises and learns to relax and sink into its true functioning which is to be free of the separate self -sense. It takes a lot of energy to operate as a separate self, not only as mind but as body also. It’s exhausting to the system. So, the path is one of embracing yourself as you are, that is a function of the heart. So, I would say learn how to rest more and more your awareness on your heart. This area (pointing to chest), is the sensing organ, that this is. It has a way of perceiving life. Perceive through the heart. Turn the perceiving towards yourself what’s going on here, and turn it outward and perceive others, and perceive life, all that’s arising. Be of the heart, this intelligence centre. Allow the way you perceive from mind to sink more and more into this intelligence centre. That is the first step for learning how to get the body, and the intelligence of the body on board. From there you start to realise that actually that you can start to lean more toward being a sensing being versus a thinking being. Sensing through the heart and then this whole intelligence centre against on board, which is the body. And that is one of sensing, like the trees and the plants. We have these capacities which are already functioning in everyone, but they are quite a bit dormant. So, we get this sensing organism on board and it turns outward like a plant, without processing information through mind. So, you learn how to directly perceive life without filtering it through the mind.
Renate: Yes, that’s true, but I’m just thinking that life is so fast, and everyone is so busy, stressed and automatic, that you really need to make that as a priority and slow down, to be able to do that.
Susanne: Well it’s a love affair
Renate: A love affair
Susanne: It’s a love affair. What do you give yourself to? Where are you placing your attention? What is it that you love? And wherever you place your attention you get more of. You put your attention on what you’re addicted to , you get more of that. Put your attention on being busy, you get more of that. Put your attention on learning how to perceive through the heart, and waking up your sensing, being a sensing being without needing to interpret reality and what you’re sensing. Just learning how to perceive directly and experience what you’re sensing without filtering it through mind. Oh, I’m sensing blah blah, which is fine, but can you get closer to it? Can you lean into what your more deeply, more intimately without putting an interpretative layer over it? That’s when you start to wake up more and more deeply the body’s intelligence.
Renate: I like, very much what you say “I know you by sensing you. I don’t know you through understanding you through my mind. I know you that way”.
Susanne: Yes, and you can get the belly on board too. It’s another sensing of the body, the belly, the heart. I think we all know each other through sensing but I think we have it kind of backwards. We filter it really quickly without acknowledging it, in the mind and override oftentimes what we’re sensing. If we sense sometime that someone is unsafe, follow that sense. Don’t go into override.
Renate: So, you’re talking about intuition
Susanne: I am talking about intuition through being intelligence, from head to toes being intelligent. It’s an intelligence system and learning how to welcome that, bring it on board. So, I know you through sensing you, that has tons of information in there. You don’t even have to access the mind so in the end actually it all becomes mind.
Renate: The awakened mind
Susanne: Yes, the awakened mind, the awakened heart, the awakened body becomes one intelligence centre.
Renate: We’re slowly coming to an end unfortunately. There are two thing I want to read that you’ve said, “ The human being world of mind created dreams isn’t sustainable. Just below the surface of our fabricated reality there exists another world of earthly delights, quietly, humbly and with reverence we enter her kingdom”. I just love the way you say that. It is a created dream we are living. What you say about entering the body and living through here can enter something completely different.
Susanne: We can, stop creating wars within and without. We can stop creating the hell realms that so many of us are living in. It is an acquired and humble thing. If you go out in nature for instance, it’s so itself. It’s so quietly itself, and that’s what we are, at our core. We’re that, we’re the nature, we’re alive. So, it’s actually very simple and ordinary. We’re always have heard that spiritual realistaion is in the end, simple and ordinary. As ordinary as a tree but complete and whole. It’s not anything exalted or spectacular , that’s more in the undoing phase, the unity phase is more spectacular, hallelujah. This is more completely naturalised without the layer of separate self. Without that it wouldn’t know how to function in this way. It wouldn’t have the humanity thing which comes on board… there are still preferences. You wouldn’t have that without any kind of journey through ego, feeling like you are a separate somebody and developing that. We wouldn’t have the same functioning. So, I see it as a very intelligent experience and not a mistake at all.
Renate: It’s so mysterious isn’t it. Who figured it all out (laughing)? Thank you for talking to us. It was such a joy
Susanne: Thank you for inviting me back
Renate: Thank you for coming all the way from California. Thank you for watching Conscious TV, and again to Susanne. I’ll see you again soon.