Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ordinary Enlightenment

What do you get when you finally give up searching for enlightenment? What is, as is, now.

Rather ordinary, isn't it? But, there is one subtle difference, you're not resisting anymore. When you're not resisting, suffering lessens. When you're not resisting and suffering, your brain quiets down.

When your brain quiets down because it doesn't have to figure everything out, and it's not resisting anything, then the ordinary can seem pretty nice. At least it's mostly peaceful.

No, you won't be blissed out all the time. You might not even be able to say you're happy.

Allen Greenspan and Bernadette Roberts have something in common to say about this.

Greenspan, while considering macro economics and the level of happiness, has noted that once people get used to wealth, they no longer have a sense of happiness from it, although they may be more content than the poor. Soon enough, they want more.

Roberts, observing her internal states very carefully, stated that one had to write down current states, such as happiness, in a journal, because once one was in that state for awhile, it became the norm and was no longer experienced as ecstasy, or a change.

It must also then be noted that a highly evolved, or enlightened person, may feel their state is ordinary. However, outside observers might describe them as ecstatic, or blissfully peaceful. It is merely a matter of the position one is viewing from.

Homeostasis may occur at various levels. Once a high level becomes the norm, it is ordinary. But this ordinary may be vastly different from the ordinary of the average person.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Absolutism doesn't mean that we know what all the absolutes are. It means that we understand that the universe is based on laws, whether we are aware of them or not, whether we understand them or not.

Absolutism often has a negative connotation, such as expressed in "My country right or wrong." Fanatics also provide a negative connotation, willing to kill the bearer of opposing views, rather than confront the possibility of being wrong.

Being willing to kill another over bumper-sticker-wisdom is the travesty of the modern world. Fanaticism is a choice to die rather than confront one's own insecurity. It is the exact opposite of all universal spiritual teaching -- the opposite of "Know thyself" and the tradition of self inquiry.

Absolutism is the knowing that all that is, is God, by whatever name you give: God, Source, The One, Natural Law, The Force. All point to an acknowledgment of the absolute nature of reality.

Absolutism does not eliminate uncertainties about choices we make, but it may provide an ultimate security, a serenity, due to knowing that all is covered in a blanket of Oneness -- the security of Love.

Under the mantel of the security of absolutism, we may also hold on to humility, taking all knowledge as tentative and subject to change, providing us ground to stand on, while being willing to listen, being willing to amend. This is the opposite stance from fanaticism

Before the earth was flat, it was round. It was round when we knew it to be flat. It is still round now that we know it is round.

Before quantum physics, Newtonian physics was the only law we knew. Now quantum physics has expanded our understanding to embrace the non linear Absolute. Quantum physics has expanded our knowledge, bringing science into the realm of consciousness research.

The absolute does not change, but our understanding does. This ability to act on what we know, yet remaining tentative about what new understanding may come, keeps humility in place. We agree to be changed as understanding deepens.

The fanatic believes that his mental position must be defended at all costs. The fanatic would rather die than allow his position to be questioned. In the end, fanatics have to make all others like themselves. This is the opposite of freedom.

On the other hand, the spiritual person embraces the Absolute with humility, knowing that any position taken is only a step on the road home. With an open mind, there is less to defend, yet the position is stronger.

Humility is the strong suit in the game of life. The face of the Absolute is seen by few, but we are all on the way. Let us journey on, knowing that the Absolute is there with open arms. The end is sure, but the journey must be taken with freedom from the known.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Karma, Souls and Oneness

The "not two" of nonduality poses that although manifested bodies appear separate, they are all One. Countless sages have proclaimed this the fundamental reality.

However, sages are not in agreement on the issue of souls, reincarnation and Karma. Why not? It appears that some have had direct experience of past lives, and some have not.

For those that have, Karma and reincarnation make sense. For those that have not had such an experience, Karma and reincarnation are irrelevant. They point to the actual nondual nature of reality. What more could you want? Why get into those details?

It is already a big step from duality into nonduality. This step requires that one knows that all bodies are one, despite the evidence of the senses. This knowing is huge. Is it any bigger a step to postulate that souls travel through various bodies over time? If many bodies are part of the One, souls also are part of the One. Both are equally outrageous to the five senses.

A human being learns only so much in a lifetime. The level of human consciousness has remained rather stagnant over millennia. It would stand to reason that it would take the average person many lifetimes to really change, grow, and learn the truth.

If we are here to learn, to grow, to rise above ourselves, certainly more than one lifetime would be required. Isn't it clear that certain individuals have risen far above the heap. How is this best explained?

Reincarnation is certainly the best explanation. A soul that has traveled through more lifetimes would certainly be more experienced, would have had more opportunities to learn, and would likely be at a higher level of consciousness. More experience, more lessons learned.

Haven't you known young people who seem to be wise souls? Aren't there many who seem wise beyond their years? Is it not the youth who often rise up and require change? Is it really far out to believe that they may have the advantage of having been here more times?

If there is a soul that travels though various bodies over time, then the concept of Karma comes in very well. Just as a person's current reputation precedes him, just so, a soul brings with it the weight of the good and bad from previous lives. This certainly explains why a particular life may seem lucky or tragic. The trajectory is in effect.

Karma helps relieve a lot of tension around the question, “Why me? That lives are the way they are may not be accidental, but the effect of previous lives. Just as the sins of the father are afflicted upon the son, just so, the sins of your past lives may be affecting you now.

I have tried to make three points.

One, that it is no bigger leap to believe that souls travel through various bodies over time than to believe that many bodies are actually appearances in the One.

Two, that souls are appearances in the One, just as bodies are appearances in the One. Non duality is actually a bigger leap than believing in reincarnation.

Three, Karma is the result of each soul's travel. The soul is the real traveler, changing bodies for a different view, and gathering good or bad energy along the way.

In the end, whether you are a soul or a body, you can be nothing other than the One. You are both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Non Attachment

Non attachment is not, not caring. Non attachment is letting go. In The Little Prince, the story says that if you want to know if someone is really yours, let them go. If they return, they are yours, if they don't, then they never were.

At a certain level non attachment comes fairly easy. It comes with the recognition that nothing is really yours, not even your own body, or the thoughts that randomly come and go. If you don't own your own body, how much can you own another?

We are all on loan to each other. Our bodies are the vehicles loaned to us. We are not the lender. Well, if you are enlightened, perhaps you would say that we are both the lender and the receiver. But from the body/mind's normal perception, we are on loan. We will die!

If you have a child, you will get to practice non attachment. At some point you must release the hand, or suffering will surely come home to roost. When you let go, it doesn't mean you don't care. It means you've grown up.

As long as you hold a leash, they will suffer and you will suffer. To be available is different from holding on. A leash creates enemies, being available creates friends.

Non attachment also comes with trust. If you know there is a greater source than your personal self, or a random universe, if you know that nothing happens by accident, then non attachment is easier.

Consider that wherever you have attachment, you lack trust. A daily meditation could easily be noticing attachment and looking for what it is that you are not trusting.

At the peak of consciousness, one might be able to say, "I trust in that which is." What else is there?

When you really look deeply, you don't know where you are, who you are, or what you are. Science can't explain it, but as it ponders more and more the abstract, things such as intention, synchronicity, and consciousness, it's getting closer. One can certainly love science, but not be attached to it.

Everything must be taken as provisional, except the One -- the unnameable, mystery, the no thing that supports what is. Krishnamurti said it so well in his book, "Freedom From the Known."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Consciousness and Scientific Reductionism

It's rather entertaining how many studies there are trying to prove that out-of-body experiences and near death experiences are just biological, physical brain experiences.

These efforts claim to be based on science, on rationality, with the aim to uphold scientific inquiry. Once thus explained, how dare one question the conclusion?

To question the integrity of these efforts is to be irrational, unscientific, unsophisticated. But really, what are these so-called experts up to? Don't they have an unconscious agenda? Don't they want to deny that which requires them to look more deeply into what is going on?

There is a term for this, it is called "Scientific Reductionism."


Anthropology --> Psychology --> neurology --> biochemistry --> chemistry --> physics --> math?

Each theory absorbed by and explainable by the other.

Descartes' Rules of Method and principle of analysis. Tree of Knowledge.

culture is NOTHING BUT psychological laws
red is NOTHING BUT vibrations
heat is NOTHING BUT movement
anger is NOTHING BUT high adrenalin
Knowledge is NOTHING BUT neurology

... but in each case ask what is "NOTHING BUT? "

All science is an attempt to explain one thing in terms of another, to give the causes of the phenomena.

from: http://www.mun.ca/phil/phil3920/scientific.shtml

As you can see, if one is not careful, one is easily convinced that somehow, by saying something, such as an "an out-of-body experience" is simply a biological, neurological event, that somehow the experience has been explained -- that it was an illusion and can now be dismissed.

The mind separates and labels. This is satisfactory to the mind. It allows it to feel secure, and to dismiss that which is not easily labeled.

The spiritual can be denied, but it cannot be dismissed. The mystics throughout generations have been talking about, and pondering this "No Thing." In fact, they have said, from every culture, that this 'nothing' is the essence of all that is.

It is just that, the formless "no thing" that gives rise to all manifestation. The mysterious "nothing" is the spirit that pervades all form. Just having a body is an experience in what? Consciousness. That's all there is.