Friday, February 5, 2010

Spiritual progress is a load of rubbish

Hi Tom,

Thanks for highlighting this - some clarity is called for here, for sure. So here goes...

If the idea of separation is running then the concept will present that there is 'one' who is not enlightened, one who is enlightened and one who is liberated. From that perspective only, there can be an appearance of a spiritual hierarchal system. Really this, like all that can be said, is all a load of rubbish because there isn't 'one' in the first place! Enlightenment is simply the indisputable seeing that there is no 'one'; that what you thought you were was nothing more than concepts passing in consciousness. So that destroys all possibilities of one being a guru or satguru - it's just gobbledygook. Yet, everything has its place and the inward movement of the mind can continue (post enlightenment) and consciousness(presenting as separate mind) can label this as progress. That happens too.
But this is progress for whom? That's where it falls down again! There can only be a hierarchy when separation is running.
Yet, levels of consciousness present in this movie and they do not apply to any individual. There are no individuals. Consciousness throws up all concepts and somehow if the idea of separation is running then they are taken as real, right and wrong, etc. So as long as that movie is entertained consciousness will continue to imagine/present the idea of a seeker with something to achieve. This is just the play of an I and there never was any one ever really caught up in this anyway....truly there isn't any 'one' and can not be 'one'. So that leaves all of this material as just thoughts (don't make them anybody's) with no substance in any objective reality. Still consciousness presents all these concepts, and it will continue to be like this, it seems. Yes for sure - remaining as pure silence beats all of this any day in any dimension!!
A Dublin date for a satsang sitting has just been set up for March 6th and 7th.....let's see what happens!

Hey Dan - really there is nothing to understand. Being what you really are is happening; that can not be stopped or started. What you are is beyond all of this. Nothing to work out any more perhaps; let the fragrance of what you are arise and dissolve any tendency to imagine you are other than the essence of all that IS.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Self Realisation is not Liberation

Self realisation, awakening and enlightenment are terms used to label the direct experience of Reality. This is not a regular experience (spiritual or otherwise) that one can have as the ‘I’ can not experience it. Yet it is a happening within the phenomenal world. The space between two ‘I’ thoughts offers this direct experience many times a day but while attention is focused on thoughts and they are taken to be real, well…then the ‘I’ movie is still more potent than the pull towards Truth.

Seeing through the matrix; realising that your perception of reality entirely hinges upon the belief that you exist as a separate individual, is for some a eureka moment but for others it goes un-noticed. In the latter case, some time (usually years) pass until it is recognised that thoughts are no longer believed. For some, a deep understanding follows; the intricacies of how creation can be taken as real is revealed. It is then that sentences from advaita such as ‘nothing ever happened’ make most sense. There is clear knowing of what is illusion and a direct knowing of what is beyond mind.

Advaita texts state that the stabilisation of self realisation leads to the ‘state’ of liberation. While the seeing through of the ‘I’ thought is the first step towards liberation; it does not automatically follow that self realisation leads to liberation in every case. From what jac has seen while travelling in the west in 2009 it seems in western cultures self realisation is taken to be the end of the line; the show is over. To a certain point this is so, yet self realisation is not liberation…there is more. What can change will continue to change against the unmoving background. To this end, the sense of the ‘I’ can again arise and desires may influence action or in some cases the pull towards total annihilation of the wandering mind continues until liberation.

Useful terms to denote the difference can be found in Indian culture; the guru is self realised and the satguru is liberated.

Manifesting as the satguru, the Absolute Seer has nothing to see. No ideas come to mind at all. Action taken is never guided by a concept. There is no sense of needing anything - ever. Liberation is the changeless state with no will, no ideas, no imagination and no doubt.

All traces of ‘I am’ can disappear, leaving no trace of individuality. What remains is consciousness experiencing consciousness. The ‘I am’ can come and go spontaneously as long as the body functions, but it is given no importance. This level of functioning of ‘I am’ is no more than an aid to existence.

The self realised can say ‘I am That’ and the liberated have realised the unreality of ‘I am’.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In response to comments

Hi Ramesh,
There is nothing more significant than anything else and only appears to be so in the phenomenal world. When looking through the lens of separation, only then can such differences be perceived. So yes, it can be said that no happening is ever ‘special’. All is simply a happening in consciousness and nothing phenomenal is of any interest at all. How can it be of interest? To whom, to what? So whatever consciousness plays through this form called jac, it doesn’t get pulled in any way towards the academic or intellectual or even scientific references of what is deemed normal or not. All this is seen to be just a play, a bundle of concepts sometimes taken as true by consciousness itself. From time to time, a passing interest appears during conversation for jac, but a genuine interest in something phenomenal is never present. Ultimately, such pursuits serve only to expand the ego and draw attention away from Truth.

Hi Sighclone,
“Regardless of the consciousness of the form”…? – but consciousness isn’t in the form…the form doesn’t have it’s own consciousness. If it is taken that separation is real, then, well, there are separate human beings with their own autonomy and levels of consciousness. But this has no validity outside the realm of thought. It’s a theory, nothing more than an idea taken to be true. A form can not own anything.
Then again, if your phrase was referring to happenings within the phenomenal context (which is more likely), then what you say is so.

Hi Kaushik,
Causes of suffering; addiction, depression etc. can spontaneously present an awakening. (However this seeing through of the ‘I’ thought is not liberation…there is the world of a difference between awakening and liberation, but that’s another story.) Can suffering be turned in on itself and used as a tool? Yes, Kaushik. When managing thoughts is recognised to be a path out of suffering, then yes, every ‘experience’ is no more than a thought believed to be true. Use everything, every thought that ‘catches’ your attention. Every belief system is another thread in the veil of illusion. Mind continuously presents tools to help dissolve itself. Suffering is the most potent, as it generally comprises an intense and repeated thought coupled with a desire for change. Go for it Kaushik and use the experience of suffering as your tool kit to break out of the illusion of suffering. Draw attention away from every ‘I’ thought…gently.

Hi Dan,
Addiction to the ‘I’ story is not based on the belief ‘something outside of me can make me happy/whole’. It’s not so much directly connected to the subject-object thought mechanism. Addiction to I-stories is the habit of continuing the ‘all about me’ phenomenon. Generally there are a few desires that can be exposed as key thoughts giving rise to this habit. One central thought is the desire to feel special. So variations are; I want to be loved, I want to be noticed, to be seen, valued, recognised, respected. I want to make a difference. My life should have meaning. What about me, me, me, me?
Have a look for material like this and find out what is at the core of addiction to ‘I’ stories. Do have a good laugh at what is unearthed. These beliefs are the life force of the ‘I’ story.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A place for addictive substances in the scheme of things

For Kaushik

Anonymous deliveries of flower petals are making it difficult for a gal to resist lolling about on this fragrant carpet all day! But as all things change, it seems that the season for fresh flowers draws to a close and questions about addictive substances remain. The apparent contrast between roses and such substances are only in the realm of thought; it is simply the naming of difference that creates difference. All that can be thought has no substance in Reality whatsoever. Yet, mind can present a ‘but’ and surely an ‘I’ story to follow….so talking of addictive substances has a place in the appearance of all that is borne of concepts.

If it makes sense to you to place attention outside of the realm of thought; leading mind to the door of prior to thought, then do so and do not be concerned about such things as substance abuse. Cut to the chase (abide in/as Absolute) at every opportunity and subsequently it is revealed that no “personal I” or “impersonal I” story is running and suffering has no currency.

However, if the “personal I’ story is pulling your attention and it is felt that more experiences are to be had by a personal ‘I’, then read on.

It seems that a believed thought (most often unconscious) underpinning addictions goes like this: ‘something outside of me can make me feel complete/happy or whole’.

Experiencing external phenomena continues as one tries to find what will resolve this incomplete feeling. There may even be a conscious noticing of that natural pull towards internal rest, peace, harmony, yet mind can simultaneously run the idea that the outside world is the source of ‘solutions’. When the search for happiness continues in the outside world - substance abuse has its place.

The best that substances can do is shift your attention away from persistent thoughts into some level of oblivion for a while; promising a temporary a holiday from the habit of believing thoughts. Even having a cigarette can have the association and the resulting effect of shifting mental focus.
Mind works to seek its own resolution; energetically being pulled back to Source - whether desired or not. Thus mind is drawn to that break in believing the same thoughts again and again and the capacity for addiction is created.

What mind is doing is finding a way to break the electromagnetic circuit created by repetitive thought in the brain. Using a mantra proves much more effective but it’s not as interesting to the personal ‘I’. It is not social, it’s not a ‘story’ for the ‘I’ thought. Managing thoughts internally instead of through external means (substances) can break a self image and ….well, that’s not too attractive to the ‘I’ who still believes that the outside world is where solutions lie.

It is rare that a substance itself is addictive; generally the body does what mind instructs. Mind imagines that the body needs a cigarette but mind has told the body that this is the case. Mind uses the body for its own purposes and the body is no more than an exquisitely functioning bag of flesh and bones. Body does not get addicted but mind does. Almost all substances are not addictive in and of themselves. It is the alignment of a substance with the pain of identified thoughts coupled with the promise of a mini distraction for mind that are the ingredients of substance addiction.

All sources of pleasure have the capacity to be sources of pain and sooner or later it is seen that there is a very thin line between pleasure and pain. Both are no more than concepts believed to be true, believed into your experience. Let it be seen that the effort of running a concept reveals itself as exhausting and somewhat unnatural. At this point the attraction to pleasure and the avoidance of pain are two sides of the same coin and exercising either is seen as a futile endeavor.

Believing you are a separate individual will give rise to the belief that you have habits, tendencies and a personality. This can cause great suffering. Building upon this illusion, mind can shift from one intense connection to another; from cigarettes to food, alcohol to AA meetings. Let the personality be addictive – you are not your personality. What you are can not own anything, so there is no you that can have a personality either. So who is it that could have an addiction?

What’s the problem with an addictive personality? You are not your personality, you are not addicted to anything. You are not involved in any of this, but as long as you run the thought that you are your personality then the ‘I’ has something to fix and something else to do. This will keep the ‘I’ story going. Analysis around addiction can be explored…only to be rejected when seen as more intellectual garbage about an ‘I’ who never existed outside of imagination anyway.

So, what to do? Go back to the second paragraph and know that whatever ‘I’ story is running can never bring you anywhere, you are not an ‘I’ story. You are nothing that can be named. There is no ‘I can’ or ‘I can not’; there is no ‘I’. You drink alcohol, you don’t drink alcohol – this is lifestyle and nothing to do with what you really are. Observe the thoughts that erroneously present as your experience. There is nothing to fix - just observe them and stop placing so much effort into the thoughts that are ‘all about me’. Rest in the knowing that you are beyond all of this. Let it all soften. Substances are needed to simply change an idea in mind; this is an apparent happening in consciousness. Do not be concerned with any of this; it takes an ‘I’ to participate in such a grand illusion and you are not an ‘I’.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Responding to a comment

Good question Henk: Everything is a play of consciousness so what's the meaning of it all?

One answer goes like this .... if you are looking at the particulars in life; the things that make up the phenomenal world, then everything has a purpose and its place. When a bigger picture is perceived; when all that appears to exist is seen to be the play of consciousness, then, at that point it is also understood that there is no ultimate purpose, no meaning and somehow that's ok. With the fading out of the personal perspective the perceived need of purpose and meaning to it all dissolves also.

To follow the philosophy "to hell with it and let whatever happens happen" will bring suffering because it (the 'to hell with it' part) is rooted in a rejection of what is. What non-duality points towards is a clear seeing of what is. Clear seeing means observing without comment, without running the thought of "I like .... and I dislike" what is seen. Playing your part in it all is going to happen anyway Henk, whether you jump right in or opt out. Both are options and both are paths still within the game of life. So in a way you can't get out! So ... so why not be wise and participate in life - keep your job and just be normal. Most of this non-duality material is about seeing how believing your own thoughts causes all suffering. Yet life seems to generally operate under the laws of cause and effect. For example leaving your job will bring financial instability - that's common sense. Yet on quitting your job you may win the lottery that same day! So cause and effect operates most of the time, yet there is also something else that seems to cause events to happen at random. There is no controlling life but do apply common sense and in that way you can work with cause and effect. But something within, at some unknowable depth within you is actually in the driving seat all the while. Attention can be "there" (prior to the rising of all) or attention can be a slave to your thoughts. The latter causes all suffering.
Spiritiual material points towards that which is prior and while the mind will search for it - the crazy thing is that once thoughts are not claimed to be "mine", once "my" opinions, preferences and desires are not exercised that which contains all, is all and beyond, is just there, all the time, sending up a perfume of peace, rest, completeness and happiness. But the very second mind looks for it or even notices it ...well then attention is back believing thoughts again. The movie presents as real and thoughts and emotions of course are always more interesting than peace and continued peace. Mind likes distraction/contrast but it can't quality control your thoughts, the nice will come with the unpleasant. Dropping your interest in your thoughts, not investing in your preferences/desires will lead to a shrinking and dissolving of the idea of who you think you are. This much you can do if you are drawn to action.
Henk - jump in! Why not ? The only thing you can lose is the false idea of who you think you are. Thus find out for yourself if what comes from non-duality speakers is Truth or not. Nobody can hand you to you - this is your exploration, your experience, your path. Walk it and know that it is being walked, and has been walked by many ... and all of us might be just as normal as you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The awakening story goes like this...

There once was a hard working, independent, Guinness drinking Irish woman. She went by the name Jackie O’ Keeffe and fully believed she had a personal life directed by her own free will. In her twenties she was running in the fast lane; working and playing hard, driven by ideals and ambition. For many years she attended therapy, usually psychotherapeutic in method, where she unraveled the stories of her childhood.

One Sunday afternoon, at the age of thirty, she was having lunch with friends. In an instant there was the appearance of ghosts all around the dining room. Her first response was that someone had slipped her a recreational tab – but that was not the case. This ability to see the non physical didn’t go away and developed intensively over the following week. While it was totally unnerving and stimulated a fear-filled response, something within wanted to rise to the challenge to see what this was all about. Imagine standing at the service counter in your bank and when speaking with the teller an older lady appears behind her and directly asks jac to tell her daughter (the bank clerk) to split with her boyfriend! Highly amusing and a total distraction from what was, up until then, the ‘real world’. What was unfolding - the workings of the non physical reality - was more interesting than anything else life was offering at that time.

Exactly one week from the first sighted spook, a man appeared at the end of her bed in the dead of night and said he would tell all that she wanted to know about what was happening. A long conversation followed and in the end jac believed she made a decision to let ‘spirit’ guide her way on. Within six months jac had wrapped up her contracts as a free lance arts consultant and began to work as a ghost buster. According to divine economy, her ego was given a great bashing through this career move. For jac, it was the flakiest of all occupations, cutting through her self image and destroying any attachment to a career path. One year later ability to see chakras, auras and past lives kicked in and so her clients became the living. Her perspective of the world was changing quickly. The database of what can appear as real and seems to exist with authenticity was ever expanding and somehow unending, limitless. It was clear that beliefs were subjective mental limitations and entirely dependent on the conditioning active in any moment.

The concept of surrendering personal will to divine will made sense and her work became service.

Chanting and meditation as a daily practice was as essential as breathing. An intensity prevailed and it was sensed that something was pushing her on and on and on. But to what? That was never clear to jac; there never seemed to be the rising of that question - just the appearance of much work to be done in raising consciousness in herself and others. The approach was to practice and show people how to observe their thoughts and emotions and no longer be a slave of the mind.

At a Santo Dime Ceremony a great inner black vacuum stripped all from jac. It seemed to annihilate her totally. During this spiritual ceremony it became clear that existence itself was a thought. All she thought existed was simply all she thought. Existence itself was no more than thought and so she too was not real in any authentic way. All thoughts that jac existed were stripped. Fighting for her life, for any reality that was intellectually sound proved pointless. It was a violent and traumatic experience that lasted many hours. Over the following days, it was clear that all that manifests is no more than a thought, that the perceived reality attached to creation is also a thought. But she had no more than this intellectual understanding. No books, no teachers came to her and it was some five or six years later when in India that jac came upon books discussing and explaining non duality.
Yet life seemed to continue, seeming unperturbed by the fact that all was just a dream rolling itself out, playing just for the sake of it. It was clear that all that could happen was without purpose and meaning, yet it appeared to be happening….in some dimension that was not after all at the core of all that is.

Somehow plant medicine seemed to help and ayawaska was pursued. It became clear that the healing process of the spiritual path was unending; mind would forever present new scenarios as issues to be dealt with. All it was offering in fact was more opportunities to engage in an ‘all about me’ thought process. The path of emotional and spiritual healing was cyclical and it spat jac out.

In a vision she had understood that at some point she would have to choose between her ‘normal’ life of marriage and service, and the total surrender to whatever was urging on the remnants of a personal jac. There was a belief running that she would get sick if she remained as a householder. What to do but follow light – and at that point the physical sun seemed to offer more light than any other source, physical or non physical. She moved alone to a campsite in the south of Spain for three months. After a brief wrapping up visit to Ireland she moved to El Hierro, the silence and writing, nature and meditation dictated her lifestyle. A Spanish friend asked her to come to India and in Amma’s ashram “Amritapuri” in Kerala jac has no recollection of a six day period during her stay there. She was physically taken care of by her friend and as that period of time ended and some capacity to engage consciously with the world returned it also was directly known that there are no individuals. Both personal and divine will both have no basis in Reality. There is simply the appearance of energy moving through form and part of that energy is thought. All that is in creation moves as one mass constantly in flux, never adding or losing from the sum total of all that is. Energy is simply changing from one form to another. Somehow all of this gets named and labeled as if it comprises separate parts and then somehow, thought is believed to be the truth. Yet, there is prior to all that changes and attention can remain there. For jac there was one remaining desire, still running, that gave the idea that she existed. It was intermittent and not ultimately believed, but when it was running there certainly seemed to be a woman owning a desire. The nature of desire was yet to unfold.

From Kerala to Tamil Nadu and the mountain of Arunachala. Attending satsang and finding words that would point to That which is beyond allowed the jigsaw of an intellectual understanding to draw itself together. It was clear how Born to be Free would now become a book….there was, after all, a way to point towards Truth. Speaking from truth produced silence and with great relief words again had some role to play in all of this.
Staying in Tiruvannamalai, there were periods of intense spiritual practice, and extended periods of a natural silence. One day, it felt as though mind was breaking; splintering into fragments. Memory was revealed to be no more than a thought. There was no way to connect any past story with this physical body without a believed thought together with the quality of memory attached. Memories are simply believed to be true and there is no way of knowing if they ever actually happened. Maybe they never did, time itself is the great fooler…..connecting dots that are not connected at all except through concepts believed to be true. The sense of needing psychiatric care passed through mind and yet somehow, suddenly there were no more personal thoughts.

Thoughts are no longer believed to be true, that capacity, that neurological wiring appears to not function any more. Is that permanent or not? Who knows, but one thing is sure, there is no one here who is bothered if the movie is believed or not. All is just passing through consciousness, benignly and gently moving through. All is manifesting as it is, it can not be any other way than how it is, but a personal ‘I’ will believe otherwise. That is the nature of the personal ‘I’.

One year later, jac was asked to give satsang and well……….somehow the show goes on without ownership of any thought, any action. No ownership does not mean no responsibility, for it is clear that there is only God, all is God or all is Nothing - as you like. Without the personal ‘I’ there can be no ownership of anything, not even one thought is ‘yours’. All is passing through and even the seeing of all - the labeling of what is passing though fades also.

What’s to be said – except that cliché – that at the end of it all, nothing ever happened!