Friday, November 30, 2018

Experience Is A Pointer

Experience is often a pointer, but without the knowledge revealed and understood, moksha is not possible. I had many experiences that were unitary and blissful, but knowledge is what brought me true freedom. The revelation of the knowledge behind experience is essential. That the intellect is a necessary tool is often left out. Leaving the intellect out of the equation is a travesty. It causes many to miss moksha. It was a godsend to realize that moksha is present whatever experience I am having. That is true freedom.

We could argue all day long about the difference between experience and knowledge. It can be said that experience is a form of knowledge. Often experience comes and then it goes. What do you have when the experience goes? You don't have the experience any more, and that can be experienced as a loss. But if understanding and knowledge can be gleaned from the experience, you have something that is lasting. This extraction of knowledge is the key. This is why Vedanta is knowledge based. It removes ignorance, and the knowledge revealed is the freedom. Whatever experience I am having, I can know, "I am That."

Monday, November 19, 2018

When the Character Rests

Character is a set of attributes that distinguish an individual. It is a set of tendencies which we inhabit, like it or not. The situation tends to make us strive to be better, to somehow enhance the character or purge ourselves of it. As our character matures, we appreciate those who are honest, entertaining, or courageous.

Novels are about character. The author Rachel Cusk has said, "The idea that he, or that anyone, could find a different way of living, by a different way of inquiring and listening — that’s an idea that I have, of not necessarily what my book could do, but what any book could do."

She also said "The speakers suffer from feeling unseen, and in the absence of a reflection they are not real to themselves. The tyranny of conventional stories: the fates and the characters that we inherit."

If this is the case, one becomes dependent on others to be seen and validated. Others become a prison in which we see ourselves. Is there no alternative to this prison of neediness that compels us to depend on others for validation?

It seems to me that the "word mirror," and "means of knowledge" that is Advaita Vedanta answers the author's dilemma. The itch that makes us feel like the character we are is unreal, is based on solid ground. Non duality points this out very clearly. The essence of what we are is not a character, but Being itself.

Cusk asks if there is a different way of seeing and listening. Yes there is, and it has been around for thousands of years. Sadly, there are few takers. Real inquiry confirms the itch is indicating the right direction. We are not the characters we play, and the itch is the pointer. But what else do we know? Can we survive what psychologists like to label depersonalization?

Yes, a different way of inquiry and listening exists. Is it the fact that it is not well known, or is it that it is scary, and the risk implies diving into the unknown? Risking of oneself into the unknown is not without its casualties. We know this. Few take the leap.

“A journalist recently told me that she had been sent to find out who I was,” Cusk said. “There seems to be some problem about my identity. But no one can find it, because it’s not there—I have lost all interest in having a self. Being a person has always meant getting blamed for it.”

Non duality has an answer to not being blamed for one's personality. If one studies non duality, a process is provided. It is a means of knowledge, a means of inquiry into the Self. One does not need to complete the leap in one jump. There are steps, each with an uncovering of a sample of the truth. Take them one at a time. Chew on them and let them sink in. Transformation will happen.

This human ennui that makes our character seem unreal is the doorway. Admitting that ennui, and taking a look is the first step. It is said that a journey starts with a single step. It is that first step not taken that stops the journey. Yet once the first step is taken, the next one is a little easier. Soon the path appears before us. Sign posts appear and the confidence to follow deepens. The end is assured.

When an opening unveils Awareness as our being in itself, a shift occurs that reveals the character for what it is, an appearance only. It does not disappear, but takes its rightful place in the playground. It is now free to play without fear. Your real Self watches without judgment. How nice is that?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Knowing and Bliss

There seems to be a pattern here of first awakening to unity, oneness, bliss, and then that dropping away and experiencing meaninglessness. It’s happened to me over and over again. One thing that helped was that during a short experience of ecstasy years ago, I was given this non verbal knowing: “You are surrounded by absolute beauty, you always been, and you always will be, whether you know it, or not.”

As you know, in awakenings, non verbal communication comes like a download of knowing. It is direct and without words, yet the understanding is there. These downloads are so profound and come with so much authority that there is no questioning of it possible. I recall thinking after one of these downloads, "No scientist, no psychiatrist, no friend, could disabuse me of what I now know." Too much authority came with this for any worldly challenge.

The absolute knowingness of these downloads always surprised me. It was not the knowing that surprised me, but the absolute unquestioning authority with which they came. The authority of this type of download astounded my intellect. Put it  in its place. The sense of authority, the unquestionable absolute certainty of this type of knowing is surprising. Not the message that astounds, but the authority of giver.

After the bliss, unity, and oneness passes, what do you do with the meaningless that follows? I suggest that it is relative. In other words, when the bliss is so full, so overwhelmingly beautiful and lovely, when it passes, what’s left in comparison, seems like nothing. Prior to the ecstasy there was nothing to compare it with.

When an ecstatic experience passes, the return to the previous norm is a shock. It feels like a loss. The mundane feels like a meaningless void. But this is relative. The meaning and bliss experienced in ecstasy, flatlines when it falls away. The deflation is relative, but it can feel like depression. The comparison didn't exist before.

It seems that enlightenment is a process that continues, even if the initial realization was sudden. The best advice I can give is that one must take it in stride. Time lessens the relative comparison. I am 69 years old and this has been going on for years. There is little personal self identity, but a body is still here, hanging around. It wants to eat and have shelter, so I still do what I need to do.

Perhaps it is wise to see that realization may not be permanent bliss, but a knowing of unity, of peace, of oneness. There is peace in just being, without the demand that it be blissful and ecstatic 24/7. Although there is an experiential side to realization, there is also a knowing, and that knowing remains whatever experience one is having.


There is this myth that seeking is the problem. But, where does the seeking come from? None other than That. The inefable is all there is, any seeking is That seeking itself. My seeking was never to avoid anything. During my many years of seeking, I may have not been able to see or accept the deep impersonal implications of the Absolute, but my seeking was not in the way. Whatever detours I took were necessary or they would not have happened. Could not have been otherwise. Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find." It works. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Joy of Emptiness

Many people and traditions speak of experiencing nothingness, emptiness, or void.
It is not an appealing prospect to the average person. It is also true that something experiences that nothingness, emptiness, or void. So, although the nothingness may not sound appealing, it is the closest one can get to pure being, often called pure consciousness, or awareness.

I think we could say then, that people who express gratitude and joy at experiencing emptiness, are actually experiencing a sense of fullness which comes from being close to the ground of being. This is consciousness at its core, prior to any expression of form, other than emptiness.

As we know, form creates limitation, and it is the escape from limitation that we are all wanting. In feeling that emptiness, we are also experiencing the lack of limitation, the bliss of letting go of form. This is the boundlessness, the freedom prior to form. This is the joy, the bliss of emptiness.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thought Experiments

One of the greatest scientific minds was Albert Einstein. He did not have a laboratory, a physical place in which to conduct experiments. However, he did have the greatest laboratory of all, his mind. His method was creating "Thought Experiments." He would set up the thought experiment and then contemplate on it until he could come to a precises logical conclusion. The results of his thought experiments have proven to be true in many cases. We need not go into all the real world applications his thought experiments made possible. The point here is how valid thought experiments are.

Since Einstein didn't have a lab, he read scientific papers, contemplated the various implications, and created thought experiments to explain and reveal the results. Without a physical lab, he used thought experiments to develop theories and conclusions far beyond what physical science could prove at that time.

A thought experiment considers some question or hypothesis, and then through contemplation using the mind alone, proceeds to arrive at the most probable conclusion, proving or disproving the hypothesis. It is a an intentional, structured process designed to reach potential conclusions.

So, what is the point of this in a blog about non dual reality? I would like to point out that thousands of years ago, the rishis of India conducted thought experiments just as Einstein did. The difference was that their thought experiments were not directed outward toward the physical world, but inward, towards the subjective world. The method is exactly the same. Advaita Vedanta calls their method a "word mirror" that reflects the true Self.

It's been in vogue for Western science to negate the subjective discoveries of the East as non-objective and unscientific. However, if we consider the contribution to Western science provided by Einstein's thought experiments, perhaps Western science might see that some humility is in order. The subjective science of the rishis is on just as solid ground as so called "objective science."

The greatest piece of laboratory equipment in any lab is the human mind. Whereas the physical lab has a variety of equipment to measure and quantify, thought experiments typically do not. However, in recent times, the ability to measure thought waves is bringing some measuring capability to the effects of meditation on the brain and body of meditators.

It seems to me that the hard problem of consciousness will be resolved as further developments in quantum physics begin to concur with the ancient rishis who discovered that consciousness is primary. It will only be a matter of time. There is only one reality and it is a coherence. I suggest that in the end that coherence will be that consciousness is fundamental, that the physical world is nothing but an appearance in it.