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Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
*note*..I post this in the memory of J.Lewis,the creator of this song..
no matter ..I still love him..and his piano skills were like Motzart ...just watch him smiling while punching the exact notes on the piano..have YOU ever seen anybody that good?...I have added the Tiny Tim's funny attempt to sing it.
-added by Danny-
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
*note* interesting article from JOSE LE ROY,about From the individual to the Void...
-added by Danny-
REMARKS ON ENLIGHTENMENT
By JOSE LE ROY
We talk a lot these days about awakening and enlightenment. In the Western world, more and more men and women are curious about their true nature. So it is more important than ever to be clear about what we mean by enlightenment.
Enlightenment or awakening is the movement from total identification with an individual to a life centred in Emptiness. This movement is revealed through the discovery of a totally new way of seeing oneself and the world, a discovery that is called in the Eastern tradition 'the opening of the third eye'.
This awakening is often described as the egoless state. But what does the word 'ego' really mean? Words such as 'individual', 'person', 'ego' are concepts to which everyone gives their own meaning depending on their cultural and religious background. For Christians theses words have a meaning which they would not have for Buddhists. The only possibility of really clarifying the meaning of awakening is to return to the pure and simple description of the experience.
From the individual to the Void
After enlightenment, what is most remarkable is that the subject, the me is no longer visible. My first impression is to have completely disappeared from the world. When enlightenment happened, I was in my bedroom. I opened the window and what I saw threw me into a state of total astonishment. There was, as usual, the wall of the building in front, the roofs, the court, the patio-stones, but bathed in a light that was incomprehensible and sublime. This vision of the world I beheld as if for the first time. Most of all, I had vanished from the scene. No one was looking at the world ! Douglas Harding describes very precisely his own astonishment at this experience:
It was all, quite literally, breathtaking. I seemed to have stop breathing altogether, absorbed in the Given. Here it was, this superb scene, brightly shining in the clear air, alone and unsupported, mysteriously suspended in the void, and (and this was the real miracle, the wonder and delight) utterly free of "me", unstained by any observer. Its total presence was my total absence, body and soul, lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether released from myself, I was nowhere around.
The 'me', such I had known it before, had quite literally vanished and in its place was suddenly a seeing that came from nowhere, belonged to nobody and gazed upon the Unknown. From that time, a mystery is alive in the heart of our being: the Void. It becomes impossible to perceive the 'me', to see oneself. Enlightenment is the end of a journey, the end of a quest because the searcher no longer exists. It's exactly the same as waking up from a nightmare. Let us imagine that in a nightmare we are being pursued by a ferocious dog. The fear is so strong that we wake up suddenly in a sweat. All of a sudden, the dream is over: the dog, the chase and the dreamer, every thing has vanished without trace. We discover to our great relief that we are comfortably tucked up in the warmth of our bed. Such is enlightenment : the end of an hallucination.
This seeing, this enlightenment cannot possibly be imagined or conceived of. It can only be lived. This awareness is completely different from our everyday awareness. In the everyday awareness the individual takes as his reference point the body-mind. After awakening, this reference point has disappeared. This disappearance is totally extraordinary because, as from then, life is going to be lived on a new level and in an unknown dimension.
In reality, it is the old 'me' which disappears; the old way of living as a separate individual and located in time and space. A new 'me' , the real 'me' is unveiled. Enlightenment doesn't remove the personal sense, the feeling of existing, but this feeling of being, this 'I AM' is pure; it is no longer identified with an individual who is confronting other individuals. The 'I AM' is not relative, it is absolute; it is an unlimited presence and conscious of itself. This feeling of being alive becomes even more intense. When awakening happened, it was as if I had just been born into the world for the first time. Life before awakening is a dream, a deep coma, a death. The newly discovered 'I AM' has divine attributes. This 'I AM' is beyond time, beyond space, without limits, without size, conscious, empty, full, silent, still and bliss. God the most high is within me and I am in HIM.
So, there we have a paradox. On the one side, I see absolutely no 'me', no observer, nothing and, on the other side, I feel myself to be alive as I never felt before. So we have here a mystery. Whilst diving into the pure Void, I remain, nevertheless, myself; by grace of the pure Void, I am finally myself and this 'me' is nobody!
Free from thoughts and desires
So with enlightenment, life does not stop. What disappears is the mistake of taking oneself to be somebody, of taking oneself for ones' appearance in the mirror. My true nature (what I am) is the total opposite of what I appear to be. In this Emptiness, thoughts and desires do not cease to be. My mind continues to function and life goes on.
But I no longer see thoughts arising from a solid thing that we call a head, but arising from the empty space. The wonderful sense of freedom as a result of enlightenment comes from the free Presence that appeared and which makes me independent from thoughts. Before enlightenment, what I took to be my 'me' was the continual stream of thoughts which produces stress and suffering. Now I see that thoughts arrive from the Void. I no longer identify myself with them, I have the possibility of being behind them. They no longer define me. If it happens that I identify with thoughts and consequently suffer, I now know how to extricate myself from them to find again the place of freedom which is without thoughts and silent. In the deepest centre of the 'me', there is complete and total silence. Of this silence, one can say nothing because it is not an experience; it is non-duality. But it is the background, unknown and transcendent which makes possible all the experiences and within which thoughts arrive. When thoughts are completely absent, silence reigns.
However, all this is not about destroying this marvelous tool; thought in the right place is very useful. Pure thought, that is to say without stress, is a reflection of the wisdom of the Source. This is why the mind is often symbolized by the moon and the wisdom of God by the sun. When it is spontaneous, thought is quite simply a correct response to the situation as it presents itself without the harmful intervention of the ego.
But it is important to leave thought in its right place. Thought is limited and the mind cannot comprehend everything. Thought is created and belongs to the world. The truth is beyond; it is the Source and can only be perceived by a direct intuition and not by the mind. The 'philosopher' who searches for truth through the use of reason is like a man who tries to reach the stars by pulling up his trousers to the sky. It is stupid and dangerous. Stupid because the 'philosophers' are lead to write, in general, vain things. And dangerous because they end up denying that it is possible to know the truth or even that truth exists at all.
On the other hand, it is useless to look to control thoughts. We have in fact a lot of difficulties in letting go (and I have my own difficulties); the ego, the little guy in the mirror has the tendency to come back again and block up the Void to take control of the show. But thoughts are spontaneous and arrive from the Void. Their ultimate Source is the supreme intelligence. So it's useless to get upset about it: the world takes care of itself. My life will run much smoother if nobody is thinking. In fact, where do thoughts come from ? From a mind-box? From a head-shaped thing ? Of course not: they come from the absence of mind.
Just as Emptiness welcomes thoughts, it also welcomes desires. These do not entirely disappear with Seeing, but what is removed is the dissatisfaction. Identification with the ego generates suffering and dissatisfaction. To fill up this gap, this lack of being, the ego rushes into an unbridled run to obtain possessions. Desires follow desires, frustrations follow frustrations in an endless chain. When we are aware of our true nature, a huge feeling of fullness fills us up and all kind of needs vanish. There is no more thirst. Enlightenment pacifies us beyond all limits. In the Gospel of John, Jesus met a woman near a well. She came to look for water and Jesus said to her:
The one who drinks these water will have thirst again, but who will drink the water that I give, never will be thirsty again; the water I give will become in him a fountain of eternal life.a
The awakening to our true nature generates an immense relaxation in our being and an openness to the present moment. Thus thirst has disappeared but desires remain. My humanity still exists. This life, however centred on the supernatural, is a natural life. Nevertheless, compared to my life before awakening (I should say my no-life !) what I know today could be called a desireless state. I can stay very long moments without any desire because the 'I AM' is filled with a perfect joy.
As regards the nature of desires that sometimes appear, they are very simple and ordinary and there is nothing specific to say about them. For example, I like to drink a glass of French white wine from the Loire in a small cafe in Montmartre, and I desire to make love to the young and pretty woman I live with. Seen from outside, I look like an ordinary person but lacking in social ambition. But seen from inside, it's different; you have to believe me, it is the Kingdom of Heaven.
A Way Into Non-duality
The enlightenment is like being born again, being born from above as Christ puts It. The entire life is now transformed in an infinite proportion. Before this passage, I had lived myself corruptible and physical; now I am incorruptible and the Light. Of course for this transformation to be achieved, I need not only to have some glimpses of the reality, but I have to settle in it. But anyone who perceives this reality even for one second sees it perfectly for it is always the Absolute that sees itself. Truth does not depend upon time. There is no possible improvement in the Seeing. Each moment is the moment of awakening, and each awakening is the awakening to the Absolute.
This birth is the death of the identification with the body-mind, with the appearance in the mirror. So we could say that it is an egoless life if we call 'ego' the total identification with our human appearance. It is then no longer possible to live as before. Everything has changed. An upsetting has taken place. The spiritual quest has stopped because the seeker has vanished and truth has been revealed.
However with this birth, a new life begins. The new child, the child of light, the heavenly being can keep on growing up. In concrete terms, it means that I still see that egoistic reactions can appear in this space in relation to events. The perfection which is in the Centre, the perfection of my true nature illuminates all the imperfections I had not paid attention to before. The habits have to disappear and I do not forget that for more than 20 years I have been totally identified with a body-mind called Jos�. So there is at the same time consciousness of the Void and consciousness of some egoistic desires and thoughts. But when these egoistic reactions linked with the little Jos�, emerge, they are seen through the light of my true nature and they lose their power and vanish soon. This new light is very important because it transforms the whole of my being and embraces little by little each part of me in its clarity.
So after the illumination, a process of disidentification and of gradual unification is going to take place. But if the identification with the body easily disappears (indeed, it is actually ridiculous to identify with a piece of meat), the belief to be a thinker is more deeply rooted. It will take more time to stop living as a thinker. As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj puts it:
Thanks to this revelation (enlightenment), your identification with what is corporeal is going to know a vast spread and to extend to the dimensions of the manifested universe. Then you will discover that you contain and penetrate the whole cosmos and that you know it simply as your own body. This is named by the words 'pure superior knowledge' , Shud-Vijnan. Nevertheless, even in this state of sublime Shud-Vijnan, the intellect denies to be recognised as non-entity. However, in giving up yourself to the pure consciousness, the evidence of the fallibility and of the lack of consistence of the intellectual process is going gradually to become stronger and you will be able then to put the intellect to its true place, the second one.
Living in the timeless, the past and the future become unreal; thoughts relating to memory, regrets, remorse or anticipation about the future diminish in number and in power. The only thing that matters is the present moment. The mind is no longer the master of the house, it becomes the servant. Thoughts come and go; they belong to the world and are like clouds crossing the sky leaving no trace.<
This is why the incessant chatter of the mind becomes quiet. Thoughts and desires continue to arrive in the Vacuity, but a little bit like a fire that one no longer feeds with wood, or like a wheel that the engine no longer turns and yet nevertheless continues to turn. Disidentification with the body-mind, with my appearance in the mirror breaks the mind's own ability to create more and more thoughts and desires in an infernal circle generating stress.
Indeed, there is here a paradox because in fact nothing changes. The seeing of my true nature always remains. There is no progress in this seeing because there is no time. This process of disidentification and unification simply happens in a spontaneous way. Naturally, the awakening brings its fruits and the heart opens itself. As St. Paul said: 'our external man falls into pieces, our interior man is renewed every day.' This way of realisation and accomplishment is a way of total surrender to my true nature which is the all Being. Nothing can be taken or added to this Being. It is what it is and contains everything. The present moment is in itself an absolute perfection, each situation is full in itself and opens on the infinite. My true nature is perfect. It has no problems and no needs. From thereon thoughts and desires are no longer essential to life; they belong to the world and are one of the expressions of Life. The most important thing in life now is to live each moment consciously from the Void. What I have to do is to rest in the wholeness, in the peace of my original state. It doesn't require any effort. I have to be passive and let the uncreated light of Awakening achieve its great work. It is a way towards unity, bliss, peace and the Unknown.
The vacuity is independent of phenomena (thoughts, desires, as well as forms, colours, sounds...) that occur in itself. Fortunately, reality is always available. Reality is the only guide in our often peaceful but sometimes troubled journey. But peace at the centre is never affected. The secret lies in asymmetry. All the changing phenomena appear in the foreground of my non-changing nature. The Seeing of the Vacuity is like a sword which cuts off the illusion as soon as it shows its head. At every instant, the Infinite is here and now, and all the limitations due to experience collapse. The personal is plunged into the Impersonal (or suprapersonal). It could be compared to a carafe of water immersed in the sea: then there is no more interior or exterior.
from NOUMENON: A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NON-DUAL PERSPECTIVE. WINTER 1996 VOLUME TWO NUMBER TWO
Translated from French by Collin Fox
*note* nice article about the 17th Century English mystic, Thomas Traherne,from Richard Lang.
-added by danny-
The following quotations are all from the 17th Century English mystic, Thomas Traherne.
No brims nor borders in my self I see, My essence is Capacity.
The world was more in me than I in it.
Do not your inclinations tell you that the world is yours?
You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world.
The streets were mine, the temple was mine, the people were mine, their clothes and gold and silver were mine, as much as their sparkling eyes, fair skins and ruddy faces. The skies were mine, and so were the sun and moon and stars, and all the world was mine.
O the riches of thine infinite goodness in making my Soul an interminable Temple, out of which nothing can be, from which nothing is removed, to which nothing is afar off; but all things immediately near, in a real, true, and lively manner.
Thomas Traherne (c.1636-74), an Anglican priest, was also a metaphysical poet. Born in Hereford in England, the son of a poor shoemaker, his finest work appeared in the 1670s but was lost until rediscovered and published as Poems (1903) and Centuries of Meditations (1908).
Traherne was alive to, and rapturous about the one 'thing' that every being in the universe has in common: the boundless space or 'Capacity' which is our innermost being. Nearer to each of us than our own breathing abides this Awareness. In appearance each of us is a limited 'thing' in the world, but in reality each of us is the Self - what Traherne in one of the above quotations calls his 'Soul'. In this Soul all of us live and move and have our being. We may of course choose other words for our innermost identity: Spirit, Godhead, True Nature, Buddha Nature, the Beloved. At this level of our being we can all truthfully say 'I am not in the world, the world is in me'.
When we awaken to Who we really are we find that nothing is distant from us. For Awareness is room for all things, includes all things. The furthest star is right here in one's being. Perceiving this inspires in Traherne profound wonder and joy.
Since all things are directly given in Awareness, all things belong to oneself - not the human self we see in the mirror which obviously does not possess the world, but our true self. Being 'Capacity' we contain - we are - all things. From a grain of sand or a flower in the hedgerow to the moon and stars - all these are one's own. Having no appearance at centre, we are clothed in the living universe.
Awakening to our full identity is not so hard as we might sometimes think. As the great Indian teacher Ramana Maharshi said, it is easier to see the Self than to see something you are holding in the palm of your hand. For any object is a complex thing, but the Subject is simplicity itself. Seeing the Self is seeing the No-thingness at the centre of one's being, the place we are looking out of right now, our Original Face, our no-face.
Until we awaken to the Self we 'do not enjoy the world aright'. We continue living the illusion of being separate from the world. No wonder we feel alienated. But when we are awake to our own 'no-thingness/everythingness', then, as Traherne puts it so beautifully, 'the sea itself floweth in your veins'. Awakening to our own infinite being, we stumble upon a profound and peaceful Aloneness - an Aloneness that is alone by including all things, not by excluding them. Not one atom of the whole cosmos is outside our being. And so, when we look up into the night sky we find - O wondrous thing - that we are crowned by the stars.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
*note* Interesting article about the mysterious ring from Carl G. Jung's finger...quote" When asked about the ring on his finger during an interview, he said...
" It (the ring) is Egyptian. Here the serpent is carved, which symbolizes Christ. Above it, the face of a woman; below the number 8, which is the symbol of the Infinite, of the Labyrinth, and the Road to the Unconscious. I have changed one or two things on the ring so that the symbol will be Christian. All these symbols are absolutely alive within me, and each one of them creates a reaction within my soul."..
-added by Danny-
World renowned Swiss born psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung (1875-1961), was one of the finest explorers of the ever mysterious human mind. He was a pioneer in the field of human psychology and an expert in interpreting the symbols that our subconscious brain uses when communicating with our higher, awakened consciousness. So remarkable was Jung’s insight into human psychology that his numerous books were translated in several languages and distributed around the world.
Carl Jung’s work introduced the world to the concepts of synchronicity and the three part psyche (ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious). Over the years, his books and articles have shared with us his deep understanding of aspects of human psychology and their relationships with spiritual nature.
According to Jung, the most fundamental symbols that our brain uses to communicate subconscious messages are known as Archetypes. Some of these primordial symbolic images are:
the Ego (me, myself and I)
the Anima-Animus (gender role playing)
the Persona, (the image a person "acts out" or outwardly projects)
the invitingly mysterious, yet inherently frightening, Shadow Self or veiled side of our Ego.
What this author finds most interesting about Carl Jung, the ’father of modern psychology,’ is that the serpent was one of the most important symbols that he ever discovered during his personal spiritual journey through life. To Jung, it was a reflection of the Omnipotent and Omnipresent power of "God" that lives within every human. In fact, the serpent was such an important image to him that, despite the social risks of bearing such a maligned and misunderstood symbol, he proudly displayed it on the ring that encircled his finger.
When asked about the ring on his finger during an interview, he said...
" It (the ring) is Egyptian. Here the serpent is carved, which symbolizes Christ. Above it, the face of a woman; below the number 8, which is the symbol of the Infinite, of the Labyrinth, and the Road to the Unconscious. I have changed one or two things on the ring so that the symbol will be Christian. All these symbols are absolutely alive within me, and each one of them creates a reaction within my soul."
from " Interviews and Encounters," W. McGuire and R. F. C. Hull p.468
Shamans around the world, by whatever cultural label they are called, have often spoken of how important the image of a serpent is in their worship of God and their visions of the "other side." Whether stirred from slumber by meditation or dreams, once this primordial living symbol within man is awakened, it can provoke extremely powerful emotional reactions of either paralytic fear or enduring fascination and love.
For many years, anthropologists have been puzzled as to why the serpent image was the most common symbol used by ancient man to represent the image of God. How is it that this wondrous creature came to play such a powerful role in human psychology and spirituality? Why did Carl Jung, Moses, the Freemasons, the Baptists and so many other groups of people throughout history looked upon the image of a serpent and, through handling the image without fear, represented it as a symbol of our our unquestioned love for God and our divine spirituality. Why are dreams of snakes, dragons, lizards or other reptilian animals seem so real and provocative at times?
The answer to these questions may be found in the fact that, according to evolutionary science, reptiles were at the root of a genetic matrix from which all land vertebrate life evolved. Millions of years of biological divergence from the trunk of the vertebrate "Tree of Life" resulted in a world full of back boned animals that, despite their dissimilar outward appearance, share the same parental lineage---an encoded past locked in their DNA. A code which we humans share with other land vertebrate life forms.
Considering the entire history of our human emergence into the animal world is forever recorded (repressed) deep within our genetic code, certain aspects of our ancient animal nature may lay dormant, just under the surface of our expression, ready to be drawn upon by accident or intentional focus.
By embracing the Gnostic (serpent symbolized) Christian faith, Carl Jung himself may have been intuitively drawing upon the very best of his own pre-human inheritance while searching for the source of the human soul. By spending untold thousands of hours studying tradition religions and symbolism, Jung just might have discovered why the Serpent / Dragon image was humanity’s most powerful psychological motivator; the spark that had the potential to illuminate the face of one’s own inner ID-Entity.
The ancient tenet of "Know Thyself," to "Seek the Kingdom of God within" and even the modern word "Insight" all point those on the spiritual path in the same direction: inwards. By recognizing or re-imagining ourselves as descendants of the ancient reptiles, we might be able to rekindle a relationship between who we are today and the animal we used to be, but have been conditioned to fear, namely the reptiles of the ancient past.
Could Carl Jung have realized through his studies that the ancient Hebrew, Egyptian, Aztec, Hopi and Far Eastern priest-kings (amongst others) either knowingly or unknowingly evolved snake symbolism so as to promote psychological and possibly psychical stimulation? Although we may never know for sure, the symbol of a serpent on Jung’s ring and his own comments as to their meaning in his life quite obviously touched something deep within him and spiritually propelled him along his journey though life.
Carl Jung rejected the traditional (old fashioned) interpretation of the serpent’s role in Christian religion and embraced it as a symbol of the power of Jesus within his soul. Could a man so educated in human psychology and religious symbolism, so respected throughout the world by millions of people, have been secretly entertaining evil in his heart? No, it’s much more than that. Jung found a secret that religious leaders and secret societies have withheld from the ’common man’ for far too long. His peaceful, patient nature, along with his courage to search beyond the borders of entrained perception, provided him a window through which he leaned the benefit and powerful side of our mysterious and provocative reptilian subconscious.
It is interesting to note that, according to the ancient Tibetan Book of the Dead, the darker side of one’s own nature (their "Shadow") sometimes reveals itself in the serpentine form in the afterlife. It becomes a form of mirror through which a person can encounter the feelings or thoughts they repressed when alive. In other words, the frightening serpentine forms we see in the afterlife, are not symbols of evil, as western tradition has conditioned us to believe, but they are symbol of all that we fear to see in ourselves.
Tibetan priests teach people who are about to die that, unless they act neutral or passive towards these reptilian forms in the afterlife, they will become engaged in conflict with something that can never be ignored or destroyed and they will forever be trapped in that particular stage of the afterlife.
"You will hate them! You will panic! You will faint! Your own visions having become devils, you will wander in the life cycle."
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Translation: Robert Thurman, Bantam 1994. p162
If this psychological mirroring is true after death, then it might also apply to our "Dream life." So, if you or someone you know constantly dreams of dragons, snakes, lizards, or even Reptoids, it might be wise to follow this ancient Tibetan advice. Don’t fear these reptilian images, but rather recognize them, not as foreign or independent life forms, but as reflections of your own Self ID-Entity which must be embraced to reach total spiritual balance.
When our conscious mind shuts down during sleep, our subconscious reptilian ’R-Complex’ brain (which regulates respiration and heart rate) rules the darkness of our dreams. It could be that in some dreams we have, the most powerful, healing and loving archetypal symbol that Jung discovered occasionally stirs to life, emerges from the cave of our subconscious and acts as a stimulant to psychological and spiritual transformation.
There is no greater form of personal transformation than from a physical reality to a non-physical afterlife. In considering this remarkable journey in which we all will embark one day, two things come to this author’s mind:
First, the scientific fact that free energy in a vacuum never travels in a straight line. It always moves forward while oscillating as a waveform. This forward, oscillating motion results in an elongated spiral or vortex of energy. The ancients somehow intuited this knowledge and symbolized it as a serpent moving along the deep waters of space.
Secondly, numerous ancient cultures picture the "Tree of Life" as having serpents entwined around its trunk or at its roots. While the leaves reach out to receive the energy of the sun, the roots receive the nutrition of the soil and water. One cannot exist without the other. In life we often acknowledge the leaves, but ignore the roots of our existence.
So, as Carl Gustav Jung exhaled his final breath, his life energy was released from his physical form and he embarked on an even more fascinating journey than life. He ventured forth, at peace knowing that...
The image of the serpent has been corrupted by the will of man,
yet beyond the scope of his vision, it readies itself at his root,
preparing to return him to the Godhead upon his death.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
*note*...beautiful spiritual T-shirts!....hahaha
-added by Danny-
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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
*note* funny encounter ...Steven Sashen visits Ramesh Balsekar,the guru who gives you nothing(as he explains) but people visit him to get it.To get the ,,nothing,, I mean..lol
quote"Ramesh is a former president of the Bank of India who, for the last 20+ (maybe 30+) years has camped out in a chair in a corner of a room in his million-dollar flat and, at 9:00 am sharp (the only thing that started on time in India) taught/lectured to the mostly-Western seekers who squeeze into the tiny room."
-added by Danny-
In January of ‘06, my wife and and were in Mumbai, India (as if there’s another Mumbai you would confuse it with. “Does he mean Mumbai, Kentucky?”) for a friend’s wedding. And, btw, if you ever have a chance to go to India I can’t recommend enough going for a wedding put on by a well-to-do Indian family. But that’s another story.
Knowing that we’d be in Mumbai, a couple of big-time spiritual seeker friends (that is, they’re searching big-time and they’re well-known for doing it) said, “Oh, you must meet Ramesh Balsekar when you’re there… here’s his phone number.”
Ramesh is a former president of the Bank of India who, for the last 20+ (maybe 30+) years has camped out in a chair in a corner of a room in his million-dollar flat and, at 9:00 am sharp (the only thing that started on time in India) taught/lectured to the mostly-Western seekers who squeeze into the tiny room.
What does he teach? Well, he’s in the lineage of the Advaita (”not-two”) Vedanta teachers, Ramana Maharshi and Nisagardatta Maharaj, if that means anything to you. If not, perhaps what happened at the very end of the 3-hour meeting will ’splain it.
But before I get to that part, I want to tell you how weird it was to be crammed into a tiny room in downtown Mumbai with 30 people — some 1st timers and some who’ve been in the same room every day for months or years — who really wanted something that, they thought would make them happy finally. The weird part wasn’t all the wanting, it was that I’ve been in the exact same room in Boulder, in Santa Fe, in Marin in Boston, in… EVERYWHERE.
I don’t know why I imagined that with a bona-fide “Indian spiritual teacher” in India would be different than what I’ve seen (and grown weary of) everywhere else I’ve travelled but, oh well, here it was again.
So check this out. Ramesh starts out by saying, “If you believe that by becoming ‘enlightened’ you will become free of unpleasant experiences or emotions, you’re mistaken. You will not get special powers, your personality will not change to that of a saint, you will not become well-liked or loved, you will not live in some imagined state of bliss. You will get nothing. Nothing.”
I laughed, thinking of all the times I nodded my head at the idea that spiritual growth or it’s goal, awakening, would give me ALL of what he just described (and how, after no longer nodding at that idea, I was happier than I ever was when I was on “the path” to get, well, happy). But nobody else was laughing. They were all deadly serious, as if they were waiting for Ramesh to become a California teenager and reveal that he was kidding with a big, “NOT!”
But Ramesh wasn’t kidding.
Why didn’t everyone stand up and leave, I wondered. The only reason I stayed was I was curious to see how he followed this great take-away… and that I had come with someone who I saw was now ready for the teaching about how to get everything Ramesh said you wouldn’t get!
Okay, so at the one hour mark, someone asked, “How did you come to this realization you have?” Ramesh replied, “Oh, I was born with the understanding of determinism in my blood.”
I looked around the room again, to see if anyone really heard what he just said. The guy — the “teacher” — just said that he didn’t do anything to become whatever or whoever he is, that he was just born this way. It was his natural tendency, his innate something-or-other. Something that was completely out of his control. Again, I couldn’t for the life of my figure out why half the room didn’t stand up and leave — after all, if he did NOTHING to get what you think you want, why do you think you can do something to get it?
Well, Ramesh is a pretty funny guy (though I seemed to be the only one laughing at the jokes), so I stuck with it.
Finally, as things are about to wrap up, I said, “Can I try to sum up what you’ve been saying for the last few hours?” “Certainly,” Ramesh replied staring me down.”
“Okay, there’s a thing you’re calling ‘enlightenment’ which you describe as the 100% complete conviction and understanding that there is no inherent ‘do-er’ in our life. That we are not the instigators of our thoughts and actions but, instead, we and everything about us is merely an expression of some un-name-able something which is all of existence.”
He nods. I continue.
“So, if there is no ‘person’ who is doing any thing, if we are not the causes but, instead, the effects… then there’s nothing we can do to make this understanding/awakening thing happen. No amount of meditating, no amount of spiritual practice, no amount of sitting here with Ramesh Balsekar will guarantee it happening, or accelerate when it happens. And no amount of not practicing or acting ‘non-spiritually’ will keep it away. If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen and if not, then not. And there’s nothing to do be done about it either way.”
“YES! That’s it,” he laughed… and I laughed with him… but I looked around the room and nobody else was laughing. In fact, they all looked like they were thinking “If I could really understand that point, then that would lead to my enlightenment!”
“If you want something to do while you’re waiting to see if it happens or not, I have something for you,” Ramesh offered to the group. “At the end of the day, sit down and relax — if you need a beer or two to relax, do that. Then think of something you did that day, something you know that you did, something where you know you had control over it… and then examine that carefully.”
This is very similar to something I teach people to do (something I picked up from my friend Byron Katie). Take a look at all the things you do without any awareness at all? Did you consciously decide to put your arms or legs in that position? And if so, take a look at the thought that preceded your action? Did you make that thought happen? Were you sitting around doing nothing, and think, “Okay, I’ll have the thought about going to get some ice cream in … 5… 4… 3… 2… and NOW!” or did you just notice that you had the thought? Or notice that you must have had the thought because you now find yourself on the way to get some Chunky Monkey?
If you force yourself to think about an elephant, did you consciously make it exactly that size, that color? Did you plan to put those rough hairs on the elephant’s feet (or had you not even thought about it until I said it, at which point it showed up, fully formed without any effort)?
“Do this for about 30 minutes each night,” Ramesh suggested. And one day, you’ll be blinded by the total, complete understanding… and it’ll all be done.
Oh, crap. When push comes to shove, even the guy who spent 3 hours (and 30+ years) saying there’s nothing to do that will get you where you think you want to go, gives something to do to get you there! Hmmm…
As I was leaving, some of the “regulars” stopped me to say hello. “It was so nice to have you here. To hear someone laughing and bringing your energy; we’re glad you made it.” “Thanks,” I said, “it was fun.”
“Are you coming back?” they asked.
I was a bit shocked by the question.
“Why? Didn’t you hear what he said? It’s all taken care of. No reason to come back or not come back. He’s a nice, smart, funny old guy, but I’m here for a wedding. I’ve got shopping and eating to do.”
They looked like they kinda got what I was saying but couldn’t quite believe I’d pass up the oppurtunity to hang out with a guy who admits there’s no reason or benefit for hanging out with him.
In fact, I noticed that while all the seekers where hanging out in the foyer, Ramesh was just wandering around the flat. So, I walked back to say hello and thank him for an entertaining morning. He gave me a big hug, showed me around the place, and we had a picture taken of the two of us. Cute old guy.
BTW, did you notice the little bombshell Ramesh dropped (and I mentioned) about determinism? That’s his big thing. Not only is there nobody doing anything, but it’s all pre-determined. If you were supposed to become enlightened (or a good golfer, or the one who should be fighting with his spouse over money), then it will happen to you. It’s pre-determined so there’s nothing you can do about it. Once you understand that, he says, there’s on need for guilt or blame or shame because you’re all merely doing what God set you up to do.
I won’t get into all the problems with this line of thinking, but I will point out 2 simple ones:
First, if you’re not the one running your life, you don’t need some mega-being who is. Life can unfold with probabilities and chance and randomness just fine. It doesn’t need a universal map that accounts for the position of every particle over all time.
Related to that is #2: If your life is merely the play of some pre-determined plan, then so are the lives of your parents, and their’s and so on and so on… follow that back long enough and you will either never find an initial cause, a moment that set everything else in motion… or you will conclude that there was one moment, BILLIONS of years ago, when the great Planner in the Sky decided what time this morning you would go to the toilet.
While I find determinism a bit more close to my actual experience (especially when I notice that I did nothing to have the thought “Time to write about Ramesh now”), it’s also yet another belief I can nod my head at as a way to add some “meaning” to a life that is much more rich, fun, and full of possibilities without this theory.
*note*..Interesting Mystical Experiences of Noted Persons(some of them I never heard about,but they are interesting..the experiences,not the persons..lol)
This one is from Berenson ..click on the link above for more of them.
-added by Danny-
American art critic and connoisseur of Italian art, Bernard Berenson, writes in his autobiography, Sketch for a Self-Portrait, about his mystical experience:
- "It was a morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over the lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. I remember---I need not recall---that I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in Itness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need for words. It and I were one."
Saturday, July 05, 2008
*note..nice explanation of ,,Thirty years ago, before I began the study of Zen, I said, 'Mountains are mountains, waters are waters.' After I got insight into the truth of Zen through the instructions of a good master, I said, 'Mountains are not mountains, waters are not waters.' But now, having attained the abode of final rest, (that is, Enlightenment) I say, 'Mountains are really mountains, waters are really waters.'
-added by danny-
Thirty years ago, before I began the study of Zen, I said, 'Mountains are mountains, waters are waters.' After I got insight into the truth of Zen through the instructions of a good master, I said, 'Mountains are not mountains, waters are not waters.' But now, having attained the abode of final rest, (that is, Enlightenment) I say, 'Mountains are really mountains, waters are really waters.'
He then asks:
'Are the three understandings the same or different?'
Over and over in Zen and Buddhism something like 'All is illusion' or 'The world is delusion' is presented. The problem with such understandings if presented as being true or otherwise representitive of reality, absolute or otherwise in the final sense, is that any and all persons presenting the statement and any and all persons recieving the statement would be themselves immersed products in that self-same illusion or delusion. Offering or making decisions on anything at all from that illusional or delusional position would be questionable, inturn totally undermining any credibility on such a statement, understanding, or belief.
Saying 'All is delusion' or 'The world is delusion' is by implication saying illusion/delusion IS, that is, that it exists, that it has it's own independent existence, existing independently without need. Dependent Origination on the other hand, implies there can be absolutely nothing whatsoever that is real or eternal behind this actual world and beyond the interdependence of everything. Because of that interdependence all that exists is inherently empty. It can be argued on the conventional level there is causation that could or would back up illusion/delusion, but because causation has no inherent existence either, neither then could or would illusion/delusion. To perceive that causation DOES have inherent existence is what is called ignorance. Perceiving that LACK of causation in inherent existence is wisdom.
Almost everybody that reads a little about Zen starts thinking that NOTHING exists because everything is inherently empty, so what we perceive as reality must be delusion. But emptiness is the absence of independent existence. What that means is SOMETHING must exist and one of the qualifications of that existence is emptiness...the absence of independent existence is only possible because there is SOMETHING that exists...otherwise there would be no 'need' for the absence of independent existence, and if there was no absence of independent existence, then everything would not be empty. (source)
Wei-hsin's the mountains are mountains, waters are waters discourse, to the uninitiated and many others perhaps, seems to outline a definitive lineral progression, step-by-step process or series of stages approach toward the enlightenment/awakening experience. However it is more of a presentation of language problem than a Zen problem. The discourse is simply layed out in such a fashion that it is comprehensible in the written or spoken word. The 'steps' or 'stages' are presented in such a fashion that linguistically through the way words are used, that steps seem to be indicated, when in reality the steps do not exist as steps per se'. The 'third step' may transpire simutananeously with the 'second step' and the third and final step includes the first and second step, for example. It is extremely rare in Zen that such a step-by-step discourse is layed out so clearly for both the Zen adept and the novice to experience. That said, for our purposes here the term 'steps' will be used......
The 'first step' then, is before Wei-hsin studied or practiced Zen. The 'second step' after he studied and came to a certain insight. The 'third step' equals Satori.
In the first 'mountains are mountains, waters are waters' step Wei-hsin and the mountains are two, he is separtating himself from the mountains, the mountains are over there, he is over here. He is differentiating between himself and the mountains, setting up the classical subject (him) / object (the mountains) split, typical dualism of the everyday, conventional Samsara world.