Monday, August 27, 2018

Understanding Versus Belief

The Security of Understanding is much more profound than the security of belief. To make this starkly evident, understanding that 2 + 2 = 4 is inherently more secure than the belief that 2 + 2 = 3.

The belief that 2 +2 = 3 may give you a sense of security because you were brought up to think so, but you will have to defend it by rationalization, denial, and fanaticism because it doesn't have inherent support.

Understanding that 2 + 2 =4 leaves one open to changing one's mind if a deeper understanding occurs. Understanding this isn't a belief, but a knowing that is foundational in the realm of mathematical truth.

Understanding is a security based on thorough openness to what truth points to. This position is secure because it is based on the best investigation one can make. Belief on the other hand is held firm without question or openness. This is why beliefs are hard to change, but understanding deepens.

Awareness and Content

Awareness is the field of potential knowing. Consciousness is the knowing of what appears in the field. This distinction is similar to the metaphor of the movie screen and the images that are projected upon it. The screen is always there,  but the movies shown vary. The screen is the field upon which knowing happens.

An example would be a person in deep sleep. Awareness is there potentially, ready to respond if content arises. A dream perhaps. It is also there to respond if the lights are turned on, or a loud noise arises.

Awareness is always available to the mind and senses. There may be no sound, but the second a sound arises, we hear it. If in the dark, our eyes see nothing, but the second a light is turned on, seeing happens. Taste is always available. When food is taken into the mouth, we know it is an apple or a lemon.

If this distinction were made between the word awareness and the word consciousness, a slightly more subtle and accurate description of non dual awareness and the various forms of content might be made clearer. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Therapy vs Meditation

I came to non dual teachings after having done years of gestalt therapy and primal therapy. The non analytical nature of these therapies allowed for release of incredible amounts of pain, anxiety, and constriction. The amazing side effect was a stopping of projection and therefore an incredible reduction of thought.

In effect my mind became very quiet. The peace allowed for clarity of thinking, a pure uncluttered thinking. So, when I started on the non dual path, meditation had nothing to bring up for cleansing. The Jnana yoga path was what was left for me. Of course there were ecstatic mystical experiences, but these came from reading. Intuition with the Jnana path brought me the teachers required and realization.

I believe discussion of the possibility that experiential therapies such as dream work, gestalt, and primal therapy, may have a cleansing and quieting effect on the mind very similar to what some forms of meditation do. It appears to have worked for me.

Some very recognizable current non dual teachers speak of the cleansing effects of meditation. They speak directly to meditation bringing up painful repressed feelings and the release of bodily constrictions. There are constant reminders in the non dual texts that meditation is necessary to clear up the mind and emotions. This requirement is deemed to be a prerequisite because the subtleties of non dual inquiry cannot be grasped without a pure mind with the ability to concentrate. I could not agree more.

However, from my experience, a number of the experiential types of Western therapies do similar cleansing of the pain and constrictions in the mind and body. In effect, the end result of a clear, quiet, non projecting mind, is the same as brought about through meditation. If this is the case, someone who has gone through intense therapy and self examination, may not need mediation to quiet the mind. If one of the major goals of meditation is the quiet, clear, mind, I suggest that some Western therapies can produce a similar effect. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Poor Wording

At the point where one knows "I am That," one has the distinct feeling that every word one says about That is a lie. Words are separative and objectifying, and cannot contain or accurately describe the Absolute. Words can only point.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Love Yourself

How can one be selfless when there is nothing but the Self? Even Jesus said, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:20) As one Self everything you do is for the Self. Doing for another is no more valid than doing for yourself.

Another pointer Jesus gave us is "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:30-31) The unavoidable implication is that your neighbor is yourself, and he didn't say "Love your neighbor more than yourself. Love you provide goes to the self, whether you do it for another, or yourself.

When you do for others and it feels like a sacrifice, that attitude will taint you, and the receiver. A sacrificial attitude can become a major ego problem when you do for others and take pride in the self sacrifice. True giving feels good. It doesn't hurt, and there is no pride in it.

Remember, love your neighbor as yourself, not instead of yourself. 

One Reality

If there is only one reality what conclusions can we make.

1. Reality exists, always has and always will, whether a universe is manifested or not.

2. No matter what form appears, it is an emanation of That, is That, and could be nothing but That.

3. Everything is related as there is only one source.

4. From the viewpoint of that absolute reality, there can be no good or evil. Whatever happens is allowed.

5. Despite apparent separation, name and form are only constructs. Actual separation is non existent.

6. Discussions of what to eat can have human concerns, but whatever is eaten is That, be it meat, plant or mineral.

7. Human morals attempt to provide a framework for the good life. Without consideration of the oneness of all, every moral framework will fail to a lesser or greater degree.

8. Whatever happens is ultimately OK, whether we like it or not.

9 We therefore have no option but to trust That. It is our very Self.

Peace and Drama

Funny how people think that awakening releases all problems. It doesn't. It helps. It helps a lot, but much of that help involves only the individual. In other words, the personal baggage one carries lightens.  The personal circular thinking and projecting of pain and anger stops. Things become less personal, and one finds oneself more relaxed. Best of all, one knows that ultimately everything is OK.

However, dealing with other people who are projecting and think your contentment is laziness, doesn't stop. You may have dropped drama, but avoiding it in others is not so easy. When you have to deal with what is going on in others, especially spouses, it can difficult. When you stop responding to projections, the whole dynamic changes and others can get really angry. No wonder there are hermits when being alone is the most peaceful place. When drama serves no purpose, enjoying being alone really starts to stand out.

With awakening one is very likely do change behaviors. There is a movement away from involvements that are dramatic and full of projections. For example, avoiding parties or gatherings full of gossip. Idle talk can be grating. Avoidance becomes a necessity. Others may feel that you have moved away from them. Support is now internal and the experience of contentment takes away the motivation to seek entertainment. One looses sympathy to what seems irrelevant, and others will feel slighted.

Like seeks like. Once the shift happens one finds oneself gravitating to reading mystics and enlightened spiritual masters. Though the seeking has stopped, the best reading is in these areas. This type of reading and contemplation becomes one's entertainment.

All problems don't go away. There is peace and happiness as a background, but relationships can suffer, and backlash from friends who no longer find you supporting their ego agendas will call you out. Friends will drop away. New friendships will develop, but with or without them you are never alone, presence is always here. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Trusting the Unseen Force

I have no sense that this is my life. My sense is only that life is. This bodymind belongs to that life. Any purpose for this bodymind, therefore, belongs to life, to that which created it.

This bodymind did not create itself. It is an object. It belongs to that which created it. In no way can I say this is my life, I am in charge. The more honest position points in the direction of surrender. It actually becomes easy to surrender when one realizes that one is not in charge of one's life. The purpose and path one must take requires openness, pliability, and honesty. One must remain in listening mode.

From the position of surrender, the ego looses its place as the central guiding force. There is first a resounding silence from the universe. But, in time, the still small voice begins to be heard. One begins to follow that silence that only speaks through intuition in wordless gentle nudges.

Personal doing is left behind to be directed by an unseen force that one must trust. There is no other option when the ego knows its only job is listen and follow the desire of spirit. One instinctively knows that one must follow that force which created the universe.

That impersonal force comes to be trusted. It is obvious that trusting this impersonal life force is the only honest path. The motivations and attachments of the ego self diminish. Memories of the past cease to be motivations. Personal will looses all power. More space opens in the mind for musings from the unseen.

There is no one here needing to save the world. If something is to be done, the universe will conspire to get it done. If this bodymind is needed in the endeaver, it will be brought face to face with the necesary means. The unseen force supplies the events that make it obvious what is to be done. One follows the obvious without resistance, and things get done. This is a simple life. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

No. Everyone is NOT already enlightened

The crap about everyone is already enlightened causes a lot of botched progress on the path. The jiva is the one who gets the knowledge, the knowing, the freedom. The Self is already free. Only the jiva needs knowledge and only the jiva needs freedom. So, although everyone and everything is the Self, to say everyone is already enlightened is a misuse of language and a lack of understanding.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Void

Any void experienced or conceived of can only exist in Awareness. Awareness is, nothingness does not exist.

My personal experience of the void was always painful. It felt wrong, and I could not embrace it. The void drove me on to discover the fullness which is. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

When the Search is Over

The search is over when you no longer wonder what you are.

The search is over when you know that despite appearing to be a bodymind, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are in fact Awareness itself.

You know the search is over when you know there is nothing more you have to know or do. You are already complete. All that's left to do is play.

This does not mean that you are no longer curious, or that you no longer read nondual books. In fact, once the search is over, it is a joy to read how others express this understanding. The variety of expressions is endless. It's pure joy to consider the clarity and subtleties of the various expositions.

Once the search is over, it's like having a diamond in your hand. You can look at it this way or that, looking at the sparkle from this angle or that angle. The shape and light will be different, but it's all the same diamond.

Once the search is over, there are subtleties to see and investigate. There is consideration of ways of embodying the understanding. All this is done with delight. Your manner is playful. You're not looking for another answer, only enjoying the levels of understanding,  and considering their application. It's now an effortless playing in the field.  

Some Paths May Be More Complete

We are ignorant of our true essence until our ignorance is removed. Because we are wired for survival, our ignorance does not easily come into question. It takes someone who's ignorance has been removed to show others the path. Advaita Vedanta is one of the more advanced paths and has a long teaching tradition.
Many people have had mystical experiences and not understood the implications. The significance, meaning, and import of these experiences needs to be deduced. Without a complete teaching, such as  Advaita Vedanta, it is very hard to reach the full flowering of what the experience points to.
People with a little spiritual knowledge think because they had an experience they are awake. Most likely not. The experience is a pointer, like the proverbial finger pointing at the moon. Typically a mystical experience or two will rouse curiosity. This is the beginning of the path. Not the end.
Experiences come and go. Awareness does not. Until it is pointed out by an astute teacher, the mystical experience becomes the be all and end all. This is a mistake and will likely subvert further progress on the path. Advaita Vedanta doesn't have this problem. It is a complete teaching. Someone who gets the complete teaching and understands, is free. Even then, further application or embodiment of the understanding needs to be taken on.
Neo Advaita teachers may know they are awareness, but an incomplete teaching leaves many seekers frustrated and without any direction. To say "You are awareness and there is nothing to do about it, just accept it," is more like a belief system. In contrast, Advaita Vedanta is a scientific explanation of consciousness that satisfies the intellect while it also opens the heart.


When it comes to enlightenment, there are many paths. Depending on the person, one path may be better than another. If someone is really ripe, a zen Koan, or a profound experience may cause them to become aware of their true nature as Awareness. If there is only one reality, any path that points to it is useful. This post started as a comment I made regarding Advaita Vedanta being helpful for understanding mystical experiences. My only point is that Advaita Vedanta was helpful to me. There are many paths and some are more helpful than others. Some are more complete than others. For me Advaita Vedanta as traditionally taught was very clarifying, removed doubts, and satisfied my intellect.