Friday, December 17, 2010

Knowledge Becomes Understanding

What I know as Awareness seems to be taking hold, but it feels more like letting go -- letting go of everything. Everything seems to be at a distance. Even people saying things just doesn't have the meaning it used to have. Sort of frivolous most of the time. So it's like I hear through a fog.

Awareness is here just watching everything. This space I'm in is empty in a sense, but full. The fullness is from a distance, and yet close. Best I can describe it.

No bliss. Just waiting for adjustment to settle in. No rush. I'm not going anywhere, and certainly not doing anything, though things get done. The lack of involvement personally in things is a little odd, but this dispassionate feeling has been coming to the fore for a long time.

Reading Vedanta texts is like fresh clean water that wipes the last bit of dregs from my understanding. Appreciating the tradition of Vedanta is rather different for me, as in most cases, religion for example, tradition is a killer.

But in the case of Vedanta, it is a science. It is not a religion. It is not a set of beliefs. It is more like a path to understanding. The tradition is valid because it works.

It is a science because we are all required to prove it to ourselves. We become the proof. As a science, knowledge is essential. It is a requirement. Trying to permanently capture an experience doesn't work.

For one such as myself who was always attracted to the Jnana aspect, experience alone just didn't cut it. The final knot was undone for me as knowledge became understanding. Not that experience wasn't a part of that knowledge.

Experience becomes knowledge, and knowledge becomes understanding. The heart and the head become knowledge. And understanding is all.

Dead Baby Dream

Among a number of dreams I had last night, I recall only this episode.

A baby died and was buried. Apparently others who knew the baby, people I knew, heard about the death and wanted to make a big deal out of it. They found out where the baby was buried and began digging it up.

It seemed that I was there because those digging were related to me. But it wasn't clear to me who these people were, or how we were related.

The grave was dug up, and the little wooden coffin exposed. The women were all being dramatic about how small the coffin was, and how sad it was for such a young child to die.

Meanwhile, I stood in the background, not really participating. I couldn't feel any sadness. I could see no point in digging up the grave.

I felt no need to work at dredging up feelings about it. I couldn't appreciate the drama of it. It was what is was, and I knew that no one had died. I knew that everything was O.K.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


What is it that maintains "ignorance of the self" more firmly than anything else? It is doubt, and doubt comes from the intellect, the thinking, discerning mind.

The mind wants understanding on its own terms. It easily confirms and acknowledges experience, but it needs its own form of proof to relax and let go. It may even dislike its own doubt, but if it is honest, it wants satisfaction on its own terms.

As a spiritual seeker, you may have had a number of epiphanies, intense, unitive, and ecstatic experiences. They may have come with immense authority beyond measure. And yet they ended. They disappeared and went away.

Where does that leave you? Satisfied? No! Now you have a huge mote between experience and intellect - a gulf that seems insurmountable. The intellect remains, but the ecstasy is gone.

Without the feeling intensity of the experience, the intellect doubts the validity of what was experienced. Without the authority of the experience in full bloom, the intellect feels bereft.

The intellect acknowledges the experience, but it cannot understand it. It does not have the feeling capacity of the experience. It is left, as in a wasteland, looking for the meaning and significance of the experience.

As you know, experience is often outside the realm of reason, and does not easily succumb to investigation. Doubt sets in and disturbs the mind greatly, with no end to the pain. Somehow the gulf opened up needs to be crossed.

To dispel doubt, the mind needs help. It needs a method to see, on its own terms, what was experienced. So how does the mind examine doubt? It needs to satisfy itself in its own field, with discernment, logic, and reason.
It needs to examine doubt in its own light.

If the cause of doubt resides in the intellect, then the answer has to be satisfactory to the intellect. It needs a means, a science, a method of investigation.

That means is self inquiry. And self inquiry requires brutal honesty, brutal logic, and brutal persistence. This inquiry has to be pursued with the intensity that was revealed in the experiences. Yet this inquiry must be done with the mind, the full participation of the intellect, so the end result is conclusive, without doubt, satisfying the mind.

The intellect needs to have the same degree of satisfaction from inquiry, that the feeling experiential side, of you, received from epiphanies and ecstasies. Where the epiphanies may have come uncalled for, self inquiry is work.

Knowledge via self inquiry takes effort. You have to show up, and you have to do the work. But, like any science, there is a history, and there are methods, and they can make the path straight and narrow. A good scientific method can save years of time.

The science of self inquiry, Advaita Vedanta, has been around for a long time. How many thousands of years is not really known, but it has proven its worth over these years, and it works today. It is not a belief system, nor a religion, but a systematic means with various techniques that can lead to the end of doubt and the end of seeking.

The term "enlightenment" came out of the ancient East where is was defined and refined. They honed the terms, the methods, the questions, and the pointers. They have left it to us in the Vedas. But it is up to each one of us to take up the inquiry and find the answer for him or herself. 

The end of seeking may not be bliss, but it is peaceful, and it is satisfying. The force is with you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Perfect World

Ah, this perfect world! Awareness loves all of it, and just the way it is! The perfection is that it couldn't be any other way. There is no measure by which to claim anything less than perfection.

What meaning there is, is in the mystery. The body-mind thing need not concern itself. It is but a localized view anyway, one of many. Nothing is really happening, even though it appears to be. 

These localized views can be ignorant and mistaken, but it matters not. There is nothing wrong with the ignorance, for it is only apparent. Each and every being is innocent. There is never a guilty verdict.

When one knows that he is the knower, what more is there to know? The quest is over. No seeking has ground. It doesn't matter what happens next. No plan has any effect. All is still.

The end of time is the end of seeking. Death has lost it's sting. The knower and the known are one. The gestalt has shifted. The one is the One. All ones are One. No two exist.

When one steps out of time there is no going back. Each step goes nowhere. Every step that is taken is always here. Only this moment, always now.