Monday, March 3, 2014
A perfect summation of the stages on the path to Self-realization.
"The ‘mumukshu, is in kindergarten, spiritually inclined, but identifying with the body-mind. The ‘sadhaka’ is one who has dis-identified with the body-mind. A 'siddha’ is one who has stabilized in the knowledge ‘I am’, and in the process, has transcended it. In this journey you very well know where you are."
Consciousness and the Absolute - The final talks of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Edited by Jean Dunn.
Of course, this doesn't explain HOW to get there, but it is one of the best (simple, concise) explanations of the stages on the path.
Concerning the "how" to get there, apart from the much quotes aspect of "Grace" (or divine providence or ripening), the easiest 'way' that I can see (from here) would have to be in learning to objectify things or appearances and knowing that one is not that. There are various ways in which to do this. As a hopelessly identified personality, I found vipassana noting practices (e.g. Mahasi) to be very effective. Advaita teachers and even greats such as Nisargadatta usually make a quantum leap here in expecting that people are capable of clearly objectifying objects and oneself included (as an object) with generalised attention only. Direct pointers, such as moving one's perception from the eyes to behind the head, can also work for some.
Starting with the body and mind objects, one clearly understands that one is not the seen object(s), then moving on to objectifying the "I am" beingness, one ultimately sees that one is not the "I am" or beingness. This is Nisargadatta's "prior to consciousness" or "prior to beingness" or "what were you before you entered the womb?". This necessarily leads to simply Knowledge (or Being-Consciousness-Bliss) only.
Unfortunately, the process can't be speeded up or jumped. It is not conceptual (another trap most spiritual & nondual dilettantes fall into). Having a mental understanding that I am not 'my hand' if fine, but if I still feel connected and a part of my body, then I'm still identified as it. One seems to have to remain at a certain stage until that understanding that one is "not that" arises of its own accord. Making strenuous effort is definitely helpful in the beginning up until and including abiding in the "I am" only. In more advanced stages though, this effort itself becomes an obstacle, only helping to fortify one's idea of a self-willing and self-autonomous "me" as the doer. When this ("I am" or one's perceived totality) is ultimately seen and transcended, there's nothing more to do.