Saturday, October 21, 2017

Qualifications, Knowledge, Means

There is no doubt that a qualified mind is required to realize the self. Since Vedanta is a complete means of knowledge, if you come to it as your first real foray into the spiritual world, you are lucky. The whole method is there. You can use the tools to quiet your mind and develop the subtlety required.

As James has said repeatedly, if you arrive with a qualified mind, your understanding may come quickly. In my case, I had been slopping around all over the place. The Christian mystics, new age thought, self improvement, Sufism, J. Krishnamurti, etc. You name it, I read it, studied it, did it. But there was one thing I had wrong. I thought it was some kind of experience that I needed. This was the greatest piece of ignorance I had. It was the biggest stumbling block.

As far as qualifications go, I did have one thing going for me. Having wandered in the swamps for so long, I had learned to separate the wheat from the chaff. Gestalt therapy, Primal therapy, and dream work, had cleaned up most of my projections. Taking back my projections and owning up to all the crap stored in my unconscious, got me fairly clean.

Progress was made, clear thinking and self confidence improved. But the one thing I didn't know was that I still had a knowledge problem. I kept trying to feel my way into the space the great teachers came from. J. Krishnamurti took my head apart, but there was no means of getting into the space he spoke from. I was still trying to get the right experience.

Experience is a tricky thing. No matter how unitary, ecstatic, blissful, or out of this world they may be, they don't last. What's worse, is that after a taste of bliss, the return to the mundane feels like hell. The only solution seems to be to try harder, to chase experience better.

All this to point out, that when I discovered Advaita Vedanta as taught by James Swartz, what he taught made complete sense. When he stated that I didn't need to chase experience, it was a relief. When he said it was knowledge that set one free, that was good news. Especially good because Vedanta has a "means of knowledge." 

Having a "means of knowledge" is the solution. Half baked experiential teachings didn't work for me. I was ready and open for correction. His book, "How to Obtain Enlightenment" was a complete view. It stated clearly what I needed to know, and it had a means. Since I was pretty cleaned up, the knowledge poured in. Then freedom was experienced.

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