Friday, July 15, 2016

Sweet Presence

I feel a very sweet presence. It's calm and feels like home. Funny that I found this presence through a "means of knowledge" called Advaita Vedanta. The ancients sages say that "Vedanta is knowledge that ends the search for knowledge." It's very clear what they mean. The knowledge we seek, knowingly or unknowingly, is to know who we are. When that knowing also informs you, without a doubt, that you are an eternal being, what more are you going to look for?

I always wanted something worthwhile to write about. Well, Vedanta is worth writing about. It's writing about myself. In the case of Vedanta, if you understand it, you are only writing about yourself. How sweet.

Besides writing, I also had a devastating, unrelenting curse, to know the truth. How else would I have found Advaita Vedanta. It took a long time for me to get there. As you know, it is the end of the path. The path was entirely made up of all the things that weren't true: all the concepts, all the beliefs I had picked up, or made up, along the way.

I was one of those who lost all my faith, all my beliefs, in a sudden free fall from everything I thought I was. I was brought up in a deeply Christian home. I lived my childhood among Christian missionaries. And my parents took me to foreign countries. The cultural differences between stone age natives and moder day Christians was a split world. I was always seeing two worlds, both of which had cultures of their perceived truth.

While dependent and living at home, wherever that happened to be, I could not express my doubts. It was a Christianity of forced belief, and shunning, although not a part of the creed, it was a fact. Think wrong, express doubt, and you knew you were in hell.

That changed when I went to college in California in the late sixties. From a missionary home to Southern California in the middle of the sixties drug culture was more than my mind could handle. My poor mind collapsed like a popped balloon. I was thrust into existential angst. Hell couldn't be better described than the one I was.

Of course I was now on the path to find the God, or the truth that would put me back together. I slogged through thousands of self help books. Got a Masters in Psychology, and did therapy. It all helped, but not enough. When nothing is enough, the only thing left was the spiritual path. And I read about all of them. I didn't know where it was, but I could feel what it wasn't. Neti to this and neti to that.

The first thing my incredible and genius Gestalt therapist said to me was, "There is nothing wrong with you that killing 30 people wouldn't cure." He got my anger, and believe me it was that bad! I worked with the therapist about ten years. I believe he saved my life. But that was not the end of the road. I was still looking for the final truth.

I am nothing but absolutely stubborn when it comes to wanting the truth. I really was thinking I would die without getting it. I knew I was about 90% of the way, but I wasn't a fully cooked goose. I kept looking. Finally I had the good sense to go looking for the root of enlightenment. The ancient knowledge out of India, from thousands of years ago. Strangely, it was exactly what I was looking for. That knowledge was fully cooked, and served on a silver platter. Strange that the spiritual search for truth ends with knowledge.

I guess because I had already absorbed so much, when I read Vedanta, all the pieces just started falling in place. The missing pieces fell right into puzzle. I knew the absolute was beyond my conceptual ability, but knowledge of who I am, proved beyond my ability to deny. I could no longer doubt I was That. With the intellect out of the way, the knowledge went deep and pierced my heart.

True knowledge removes doubts. Denying the intellect never worked for me. Vedanta doesn't ask you to do that. It satisfies the intellect. Finding knowledge that satisfied my intellect did it. The ancient Indian sages respected the intellect. They understood that knowledge could provide freedom, and they wrote to prove it. They even coined the phrase, "A means of knowledge."

I don't deny the enlightenment of others who somehow get it almost accidentally. But when there is a proven method that's worked for thousands of years, it's worth a try. Their means worked for me. It's not done with hugs and kisses. But it works. It is reasoned, impeccable knowledge, that when applied, left me dumb with understanding. 

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