Monday, December 31, 2007

Lila, Play of the Gods

Me is the name I place on awareness here. I am in a room, I see paintings, a lamp, a desk, a chair. A body, which I call mine, sits in the chair. All that I can see of my body are parts -- objects in my field of vision. If I cut off my foot, I would still be here. If I cut of my leg I would still be here. If I cut off my hands, I would still be here. If I follow this to the logical conclusion, what I am really calling "me" is awareness. That's the only thing I could loose and and me would be gone.

I am looking out through the limitation of my form, assuming the awareness here is mine. The awareness looking out from other eyes, I think is separate. Is it?

Awareness is everywhere looking out through various limitations, bodies, forms. Awareness is like light passing through a prism, taking on the consciousness of particular forms, reflecting certain positions, experiences. Awareness, sensing the limitation of form, mistakenly thinks itself a separate body.

Awareness has hidden itself in form! So many forms, so many ways to look in the mirror. The mirror is Maya - the greatest game of hide-and-seek ever played. All the world's a stage, the play of God, Lila.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Neo-Advaita & Traditional Advaita

My 2 cents on "clarifing the differing teaching methods of traditional Advaita and so-called 'Neo-Advaita'.

As a seeker I have often expressed to my wife, "This guy is really interesting, but he's not helpful," or "This woman is really helpful." Of course I'm speaking from the point of view of a seeker, and this means that whatever position my my mind is stuck in, or resonating with, some authors open a path out, bring an "Aha," and some don't.

After years of searching, I became aware of a process my mind was undergoing. This was my process, and does not exclude knowing that "Truth is a pathless land." I became aware that as soon as I finished a book, I would go to the bookstore and search for another book. Each time though, I noticed I was looking for a book that was close to my current mental condition, but just enough of a stretch that I could take it on. In other words, something was aware of my mental position, and something knew that my mind could only be pushed so far. And that something that was driving the search, acknowledged my position, and was OK it. It knew what I could take as a stretch. There was a progression to deeper and deeper truth. There was process to the search. And the Advaita part? Who was searching, and who was aware of the search? There was an awareness that respected the search, but it was also pushing the search toward expansion, to depth, to clearer truth.

Who became aware of the process? My mind became aware of the process. Perhaps this is an unconscious aspect of many seekers. If there is a process, then there are also levels. This discussion seems to be about teachers who acknowledge levels, and teach with this in mind, and those that don't. From my seeker standpoint, those who acknowledge levels are more helpful. These are the ones who acknowledge me as a seeker. And the seeker, to be helped, needs someone who can acknowledge where they are, and THEN point beyond. If I am told I don't exist, and there is no point or meaning to any of it, why listen. That's where I turn to my wife and say, "helpful," or "not helpful."

I really enjoy listening to Tony Parsons, and Karl Renz and Jeff Foster. These three are examples of the "No Levels School." I sense the enlightenment, and I am not frustrated, but I don't find them helpful, even though I agree with them. Krishnamurti has been widely criticized for being one of the great teachers that never had results (no group of enlightened teachers from his entourage).

However, reading Krishnamurti took my mind entirely apart. And from that place, what Parsons says, and what Carse says is absolutely true. The knowing that came was with such authority that there was no questioning it. I knew that I knew, but I didn't know how I knew. I knew that I could not explain how I knew. But the knowing was absolutely certain, absolutely beyond logic, not provable, not deniable.

As Jeff Foster admits, the search helped him. Of course, it was a story seen from his present awareness. I can only comment that from a seekers point of view, Tony, Jeff, Carse, might do well to acknowledge the seeker. They may be speaking from the position of the absolute, but as long they teach from that position, without acknowledging the seeker's position, they may not be much help. Acknowledge the Absolute, but acknowledge the duality (it is where the seeker is). Only someone close to popping into the Absolute is going to get what Tony, Jeff, Renz, Carse are pointing to.

When I experienced the knowing state, one of the knowings I received was this:
"You are surrounded by Absolute beauty, you always have been, and you always will be, whether you are aware of it or not." This was such an Absolute knowing, with such authority that I could not deny it then, and I cannot deny it now. Further, I could not stay in that "state" as there was no me there. Also, there was such utter and complete satisfaction, that I could not see moving from the floor, eating, or even participating further in life. It wasn't fear that made me leave the place, but the knowledge that I had two kids to feed, and raise, and other responsibilities.

It was as if there was this all knowing, not me, and me. The me decided to let the state go, as the me felt responsible to being able to function in the world. So it was let go.

I have to agree with Dennis that there are levels, and that those teachers who acknowledge that, are usually more helpful. Obviously Hawkins believes in levels. It seems to me that there are levels to all human endeavor. Although there is a knowing that we are all one, and equal, I prefer Advaita groups over spending time with Buba's at the local bar. Could be simple prejudice, but people, groups and organizations appear to me at least, to be at different levels.

I really enjoyed Carse's book, but I have to say he describes a process "in the jungle" that is very similar to many stories of awakening. If you read the literature, process seems to be a very definitive part of the stories. I agree that after awakening, the story seems unnecessary, but the authors certainly had theirs, and their stories do seem to follow a process, although each path may be very different. So, we can say that "Truth is a pathless land," but we can't say that there is no process, when looking at the operational facts.

Carl Renz talks from the nothing to do perspective, but if you read his interviews, he certainly describes his seeking, his trials and errors, and the process of "seeking" was certainly there. And if you read the histories of other teachers, they were processed through the seeking. Though there is no prescription because we are all unique, there is a process.

From this seeker's perspective, there are levels, and teachers who address a student from where the student is, pointing to where he could be, are more helpful than those who say, "Forget it, there is nothing to do, nowhere to go." The Absolute's knowing does not translate. Knowing that it doesn't translate, as they admit, shouldn't the teacher step down and lead up? Let's acknowledge that the teachers were once seekers, and even though they are no longer seekers, the rest of us are somewhere on the mountain and you have to meet us where we are.

If the finders are at the top of the mountain, telling us on the way up to just leap to the top, that isn't a lot of help. But if the teacher walks down the mountain, and meets us half-way, perhaps we can grab a hand and be shown a way.

In conclusion, I would like to suggest that there is a process, however pathless it may be. Denying the seeker, while he appears to be that to himself, does not offer much help. And it can certainly do damage by making the seeker feel that the teacher is way up there, and he is way down here, and there is no hope, and no help. I say this, but also acknowledge that at some point, more advanced in the process, the right thing to say, is "Stop seeking, give up all hope." But this if for the few. And is not helpful to the many, especially those just starting on the path.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. If you don't lead the horse to the water there is no chance he CAN drink.

Belief is Position

Belief is a position, a perspective. Truth simply is. Our beliefs about it are simply limitations. If one listed all one's beliefs and then tossed them out, would you still exist? Where would you be standing? What would you be standing on? Wouldn't you simply be awareness, open, willing, waiting to see what came next? Wouldn't you simply react without choice? Wouldn't that be pure action?

Without belief, what is there not to love? Without belief, wouldn't there be less conflict, less violence?

Pure awareness is when all mental positions and beliefs are set aside. Then there is more space, more openness, more peace. In that space, love becomes easy.

Without beliefs, without the need for positions, the background in which all of these play is seen, perhaps for the first time. That awareness then may experience itself. That recognition is non duality, or oneness. The non dual recognition is unshakable. It does not need to be maintained. Truth is when all else is left behind.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Nondual Breadmaking

That which causes the bread to rise, and that which sees the bread rising, are one movement. They are both in the field of consciousness, one field, within awareness.

A very simple analogy is this: When I am in the kitchen, everything in the kitchen, including myself, is in the field. I know I am there only because I can feel the tension of my muscles holding me upright, the warmth on my skin, my thoughts, and the view appearing to my eyes.

I see the loaf of bread rising in the pan. But, before I know it as an object called "bread," I know it only as color, smell, roundness, and texture. Essentially, the whole field of the kitchen, is one field, one continuous whole.

Without the labels I place on them, creating objects, the field is one. I know myself and the bread, only by sensing. If I look directly, subjectively, without labels, the whole is single, known only by my senses. I am the awareness of the field only.

Long ago, for efficiency, I labeled myself "I," and labeled what is in the pan, "bread." But, before there was this "I", and before there was this "bread," there was only this field of awareness, conscious of these sensations. I created duality when I labeled myself "I", and the brown, round, loaf, "bread."

Monday, August 20, 2007


I spent the night in the emergency room awhile back with an apparent heart attack. But after all the tests, nothing. They could not tell me what it was. They did say it wasn't a physical heart attach.

I did some research online and the only thing I could come up with (same symptoms, experience) was a heart chakra opening. Since then I've had a lot of Kundalini  experiences. They are strange, and are not related to any outside cause. Something internal is going on.

My right arm has been itching like crazy. It wakes me up every night and I have to put on Calamine lotion. The itching is not just on the surface, but all the way into the muscle. Along with this is a sensation like a string, thin as a spider's web, crawling up my arm very fast.

For the last week I've had very tense shoulders and a stiff neck. There is a pressure, very strong at the base of my neck, and my head feels like it is going to explode. Not a headache that is acute, but the sensation of pressure. Intense, pressure, like my head is more full than the skull can contain. There is a fogginess, a spaciness that accompanies this.

If it is Kundalini, I don't know, but here are the sensations I had:

Kundalini sensations I have had.

1. Cramping of my big toes. Severe cramping where my toe pulls in or out. This happens in the night and it does wake me up.

2. Dreams have been very different. Not related to day to day activities.

3. Severe burning in my right arm. The burning seems to be in the muscle itself, but then expresses on the skin in small bumps, randomly spread over my upper arm. This wakes me up at night, but does not bother me much during the day.

The scratching I've done has broken the skin and looks like sores, but not severe. The itching is so intense that I have kept a bottle of Caladryl by my bed. I put it on when I wake up, and it soothes the itch enough to let me go back to sleep. However, the itch seems to be in the arm muscle, inside the muscle, not just on the skin.

4. I feel energy in my legs. Enough to keep me awake or wake me up. I purposely tense my legs and release, tense and release. This seems to dissipate the energy and I can return to sleep. One morning I felt very sore in the calves which indicates that the cramping and releasing I had been doing was quite strong.

5. I have felt tremendous pressure in my head. Like my head was over full of something, but I can't tell what. It's a pressure, like the brain is filling up with something beyond its capacity to hold it.

6. The back of my neck, at the base of my skull, near the spine, and my upper shoulders are very stiff when I wake up. Gets better during the day, but then returns after a night sleep.

7. My eyes seem not to work right. They don't seem to want to focus.

8. I've had some itching on the top of my scalp, but not severe like in my right arm.

9. Wake up in the morning not feeling rested. Head very spacey. Feel like I've come from a different world. Like my body didn't want to work.

10. Had a lot of cold sensation, like I just can't get warm. With all the various sensations, I've wondered if I should go back to the doctor. But since they found nothing after the heart chakra opening, don't think they would know anything about what was going on with me.

11. Had sensations of my stomach being bloated. The tiredness made me want to eat and I put on some weight - stomach protruding.

12. Sometimes hear a ringing, buzzing sort of sound in my ears. Not often.

13. Boated stomach, like there is something there filling it up and pushing it out. It is not from overeating.

The Bread of Life

The other night I had this dream. I find myself alone in a strange town. I am walking down what seems to be a lane of shops in the center. I don't know the town, or anyone in it. I have no money. I am hungry. I see a bread shop and I go in. I don't know if I will get any food, but I have no choice but to ask.

There is a man behind the counter. I ask him what kind of bread he has. He says, "We only serve one kind of bread here, "The Bread of Life." I ask him how much a loaf costs.
"Five dollars."

I tell him I have no money. I turn to walk away, but when I get close to the door, the man says, "I'll give you a loaf. I go back to the counter and he gives me the loaf. It is close to round, but slightly oval. It is a yellow golden color. It has a glaze coating. It is a heavy loaf.
I break into it, eating it with my fingers. It is sweat, yellow, and somewhat like Pound Cake. I eat the whole loaf. I am satisfied.

Now, this is symbolic dream. I've been having them a lot lately. I haven't read the Bible in a number of years, and certainly haven't read or heard the term in recent days. So, what does this mean?

I Googled the phrase and found this: The Sermon of the Bread of Life, or the Bread of Heaven.

Chapter 6 of The Gospel of John, the Sermon of the Bread of Life, where Jesus promises us our daily bread, to live on earth this beautiful life in Christ as a wedding feast, to have eternal life, and to help others to do so.

"Jesus said t them: I am the bread of of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" (6:35). Then the Jews murmured about him because he said I am the bread of life", and they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph?... and then the Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (6:35-2)...

And when the Jews were disputing this, Jesus did not take a word out of it, rather, he repeats 6 times to them: "Very truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them...." In 6:52-58, repeats it 6 times in different ways!.

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

48 I am that bread of life.

49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

For me, Jesus was a non dual teacher. He spoke in metaphors and allegories. When he speaks of the "bread of life," he is speaking of the ultimate truth. To know what he knows, and to experience the truth, one has to go thru what he went thru, risk what he risked. He is speaking of the search for truth, to the bitter dregs, to the dissolution of the ego, the only true death one can experience.

Do we take the eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood as literal? No. He is speaking in terms of "walking in his shoes." You can know this for sure by the statements he made immediately following, "abide in me, and I in them." This is non dual reality. Non dual experience. We know from other statements that "I and the Father are one." And "I am in you, you are in me, and we are all in the Father."

I would like to think that the dream I had is telling me that I am about to go thru the dissolution of my ego. Scary as that is. Years ago I went thru a considerable amount of ego dissolution, but I have more to go. Perhaps the dream is telling me, get ready, GET READY.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Awareness and Consciousness are not the same

As a technical writer using words correctly is very important. It avoids sloppiness and misunderstanding. In the world of the spiritual seeker, two words are used interchangeably that shows a sloppiness that really does create misunderstanding. The two words are "awareness" and "consciousness."

These two words are different, and even though this is abstract territory to begin with, a distinction, I believe, might bring some clarity to spiritual seekers.

Awareness -
This term to me, is a field of potential. In the absolute sense, one could say that it is the root potential for any apparent object in the universe to appear. It is like a blank canvass on which anything may appear, and depending on the point of view, positionality, as Dr. David R. Hawkins, would call it, any content becomes conscious. The field is never disturbed by what appears on it. It is always the unchanged field of potential for objects to appear in consciousness.

Consciousness -
This term refers to what is in the field of awareness at any given time. IE, the content. Objects in consciousness may be anything that appears, music, thought, feelings, the moon, a cow chewing its cud. Consciousness is for the most part limited. For example, each person has consciousness, but the content is different. The point of view is different, which affects the content of consciousness.

Discussion points: Consciousness is dependent on awareness, but awareness is not dependent on consciousness. This is because the field of potential, awareness, has to be there first. Because it is there, content can appear. It is the content that manifests. In fact, the whole world is a manifestation in awareness.

What a person is aware of, of course, depends on the content of his or her consciousness. In a sense, consciousness is the sum total of the content of an individual. The content of consciousness in a bushman in Africa would be quite different from the content of a Wall Street banker, but both consciousnesses would be in the field of awareness.

Now comes an interesting angle for thought. Can awareness be conscious of itself? If we posture that awareness without content exists as the an a priori field, can it be aware of itself as a blank field of potential without content? I suspect yes. But this could be a fun discussion.

What caused me to get into the discussion above is the fact that I tend to be a person with a very strong thinking mind. In other words, my thinking function is dominant. Most of my enlightening experiences have come through thinking, from challenging my thinking, from expanding my thinking. Where someone else might be prone to lead from the heart, or relationship, the differentiation between words may not be important, or even significant. But, if your approach to freedom is through your mind, a book that is feeding you, feeds best if it done with well defined words and concepts. I don't want alphabet soup; I want words spelled out and arranged logically.

Of course, enlightenment is beyond words, and not in the linear realm of logic. But, if we are using the intellect as the starting point, and the vehicle, it is important that words are used well, and defined well enough so that subtleties are seen and felt.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I will be 58 in a few days. I heard of enlightenment when I was about 27. As soon as I heard the word and description of it, I knew that was for me. I felt somehow that is was the truth. Ever since then, I have been a seeker. I jokingly say that being a seeker is a curse. It's as if everything that satisfies others, doesn't interest me. I am not a ball of fun, although I am gentle, usually kind, and do care.

I have experienced intense bliss, unity, non duality etc., but it didn't last. Making love one time, I was no longer my personal self, but all men who had ever made love to a woman, and all men who ever would. The experience was the sum total of man making love to woman, from the beginning of time till the end of time. Now that was intense! I could not put this experience into words that would convince anyone else that I had that experience, but I knew that I had. I didn't need to convince anyone else.

It is this type of experience of the Universal that we call mystical. It is a oneness, a loss of self, and typically blissful.

Another experience came while I was rubbing my six year old daughter's back. I was doing that while listening to a J. Krishnamurti tape. Suddenly, I was in a state of mystical unity. It was an ecstatic oneness. It felt like eternity, and I could just stay there and be completely satisfied. The only problem was, there was no "me" there. I began to think, "I can't stay here. I have two kids to raise. How could I need to do anything if I stay in this state? Nothing mattered! Everything was already OK. So, as the me came back, the ecstasy started to wain. But as it left, I had the knowing come to me, "You have always been surrounded by absolute beauty, you are now, and you always will be, even though you may not be aware of it." One of the reasons it didn't last was that there was no "me" there Also, the ecstasy was too great--there was no way I could survive in that state.

After that there were some weeks of intense bliss. Easting a can of smoked oysters was orgasmic. Riding my bike was a trip in oneness. I saw my neighbor across the street. I wanted to just go hug her because of the love I felt. It was nothing sexual, but just such love coming from the experience of oneness. I didn't do it because I knew she wouldn't understand.

I would watch TV shows, and just the face of a jazz singer, performing, would make me cry.
Or a movie, even some TV advertisements would make me cry. Over time the bliss went away. Was the experience the experience described as mystical union? Yes, it was. Was it enlightenment. Probably not. Did it change me? Yes. The residue of the experience was that I knew there was a kind of knowing that was not questionable. I know that no matter what anybody said, no matter how much time passed, there was nothing that could ever dissuade me from knowing that what I experienced was absolute truth, at least a sample of it, a glimpse.

So, what does it mean that it goes away? Was a taste necessary to keep me on the spiritual path? Is enlightenment bliss, or is it something else? One of the issues that arises after such a taste is that everything else, after that, feels less than, not the truth. It's almost as if one feels condemned. It's like seeing the promised land, but having to die before you can return.

I had been observing myself for some time. I was aware of this search, and how it worked. It went something like this. Whatever mental position I was attached to was where I was. But I was not allowed to stay there. I would go to the book stores and search for a book that was close enough to where I was that I would read it, but just enough further out from where I was, that I would be stretched in the reading of it. Seeing this, a part of me said, well, it you look at this with a big picture view, why not just drop all attachments? Alas, I could not stop. I do enjoy reading, especially anything on spirituality, consciousness, or enlightenment.

Well, a taste is a taste. The question still remains, is this just an experience that was top of the chart, and nothing more? Was it a glimpse so I would keep looking for a deeper truth? Or did I now have to live the truth to experience the ecstasy again? Did it mean I had a lot of work to do to get passed this experience and into something greater, more permanent, such as enlightenment? Wish I knew.

So, what are my questions after many years of this pursuit of enlightenment?

1. If I am awareness, and not this limited body-mind, why is 99% of my consciousness limited to this body?
- If I stick myself with a pin, this body feels it, not anyone else.
- If someone else sticks themselves with a pin, I may have sympathy, but I don't feel it.
- I realize that I can only have these experiences and observations in awareness. But why is my experience limited to this body? If I am awareness, why not feel everything, everywhere? One answer would be that as a body-mind, I couldn't handle that much information and experience.

2. So, when I let go of the bliss, was I just weak? Was I being responsible, or was I being a coward. If I had stayed there, could I have somehow managed to still go to work? Care for my kids? I don't think so.