Monday, December 21, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Thursday, December 10, 2015
But is it true for you now? We don't accept things on heresay.
Perhaps there's plenty to do while we're still here identified as seperate individuals. The ego loves to distort these teachings into forms of self-comfort, in the form of "ultimately it's all ok, nothing to do", and thus it continues on its merry way.
The goal can seem far away, but ultimately exists right now. Yet, until we actually investigate things, as they really are (most importantly what we believe ourselves to be), then there is yet apparent work to be done, beliefs to be "fixed", and time set aside to listen to the Truth in silence.
We work together and become as One.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
Monday, September 21, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
This idea (that awareness/consciousness is just a construct and not real or the basis of all) has actually been around for a little longer, like 2500 years, in Theravada/classical Buddhism. Some teachers like to think that they're being all innovative etc., in challenging this notion, or getting their readers to challenge the idea that awareness-is-all. Their students then get all cocky and run around the Internet challenging others to 'find awareness' or 'find consciousness' etc.. like it was an item one finds in the pantry.
What I'd like to ask these teachers though is this--> Are you then substituting yet another speculation for the 'awareness-is-all' belief-- ie. that awareness is just an empty construct? Or that reality doesn't consist of just awareness?
Because it certainly seems so. Nowhere on these blogs, posts and rantings, can I find any hint that this idea should be actually investigated via direct, clear, practical means, other than reasoning things out (which gives a temporary ok-ness to one's intellect). These teachers are also entirely missing the point that the 'awareness' teachings that make use of the word 'awareness' ALWAYS imply that awareness is not an object, not findable, etc. etc., and that 'awareness' is a pointer for use with very specific practices that lead to the unshakeable experience of what 'awareness' or 'not-awareness' actually IS. The awareness teachings (with the exception of Neo-Advaita) are not attempting in any way to posit a theory of the universe whereby one goes around sheeping the idea that 'awareness is all' and behaving in certain ways that affirm that belief.
So perhaps teachers that are proudly attempting to blow away the notion of 'awareness' should instead focus their efforts on guiding students (and likely themselves) into using 'awareness' as a practical pointer for self-inquiry, or not using 'awareness' at all, but engaging in other deep contemplative practices (such as Insight, vipassana etc), and thus doing away permanently with their own egoic identifications that lead one to posit the above philosophical nonsense (and also make a profession / living out of 'teaching' others what 'reality' is, an how students can deal with their 'problems' etc. via paid-for seminars and workshops etc.)
This post might appear a little inflammatory, though the point needs emphasising that 1. awareness isn't an object 2. awareness teachings aren't attempting to define a new theory of how the universe operates and is put together 3. awareness teachings make use of very specific practices that lead to results beyond intellectual philosophising, beliefs and speculations.
What if awareness isn’t real? A recent scientific study found that awareness or consciousness is a construction of the mind like everything else – like the self, our world views, all of it.
This latest scientific discovery is not particularly groundbreaking. In fact, postmodern philosophical explorations in the last century have essentially obliterated inherent metaphysical notions like awareness or spirit. They have torn these notions to shreds in so many ways and from so many angles that it is embarrassing in those circles to posit such notions. Whatever we think is pregiven as a reality is exactly not that. It is a construction. This has been dealt with so directly that there are now things like non-metaphysical nonduality and post-metaphysics popping up. Yet, most of the spiritual community is ignorant of what science is currently saying and what these postmodern explorations have uncovered about how our minds conceive – essentially “make up” – everything, even our most profound metaphysical notions. Even though our spiritual circles are slow to see this, we have all already seen it, yet we often turn a blind eye to it. For example, those who follow certain regional traditions and teachings tend to see what those teachings and traditions teach and nothing more. For example, a Buddhist is not going to find Union with Christ. A Christian is not going to realize nirvana. True nature is realized only by those who follow teachings that say that there is a true nature and that this is what you are. I found this out long ago when I would meet with people who had experiences of the dropping away of everything. They didn’t follow any teachings. When I suggested they were seeing their true nature, they looked at me as if I had just said “You are a squirrel.” Even when they began to call their realization “true nature,” they did so by taking that on as a conception, a context for what had been seen. And that’s the mind, through and through.
Awareness gets thrown around as if it is the final realization, as if everything is just awareness. But look around – nothing in the universe is labeling itself awareness. Labeling happens through the mind. And to say that we have to be aware in order to even see a universe is still the mind, for it posits a division between what is aware and what one is aware of. All divisions are of the mind. They are constructions.
The perennial philosophy itself, which is the notion that there is one pregiven reality that we all come to see, regardless of our particular tradition or spiritual view, has been obliterated also. If there is one pregiven reality, why is everyone still arguing about it? Is reality arguing with itself? How would that happen anyway if there is one reality? Why do Buddhists, Advaitists, Scientists and Christians still assert that whatever they are realizing is what everyone else is realizing as one fundamental truth? Could it be that what they are realizing is only what their teachings and traditions make room for? Could it be that the notion of one fundamental truth is just another way the ego wants to be right? If so, that has nothing to do with a pregiven, nonconceptual reality. That is all about self.
Is this the end of metaphysical notions like awareness? I say “no.” It just means it is time for a change in how we view these things (or non-things). Setting up the notion of awareness can be helpful on one’s path to freedom. It provides a way to identify less with thoughts and other arisings that come and go. But inevitably, many land on that conception as a final realization, still dividing the universe in two, between awareness and all that other stuff that comes and goes.
We often hear that all there is, is Oneness. But did you know that many schools of Buddhism do not posit Oneness as a final insight. Instead, they say it is empty too, like everything else. It is a construction.
Wow, this sweeps the proverbial rug out from under us. It calls on us to look at our reality differently – to stop taking the words of spiritual teachings, science and religion on face value. It calls on us to look at our conceptions, no matter what they are and no matter how profound they appear to be.
But isn’t this what freedom is about anyway? Isn’t it about not getting cozy within mental prisons that create more divisions and, instead, letting the fire of freedom burn everything up?
If you are willing and ready to let that fire burn it all up, nothing that is said here will offend you. Instead, it will excite you at the possibility of going deeper then where you are currently landing in your conceptions of reality. If this offends you, and you wish to argue with me, be prepared. I’m not defending a view here. I’m merely inviting you to examine your own. You’d only be arguing with yourself. Apparently, that’s what reality does.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
- one object
- concentration practice
- shamatha, calming
- attention strengthening
- 'self-observation' in parts
- Access concentration
- open awareness
- Insight / vipassana
- Flow of impermanent phenomena
- Selfing / Witnessing the "I" construct
- Shikantaza / Just sitting
- Awareness teachings, Awareness watching awareness
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Experience Your Perfect Soul is a collection of carefully selected powerful quotes by the following seven authors: 1. Joel S. Goldsmith. 2. Eva Bell Werber. 3. William Samuel. 4. Ruby Nelson. 5. Elise Morgan. 6. W. Norman Cooper. 7. Katharine Pedrick.
Just finished reading this little compilation.
Enjoyed this compilation of quotes and readings from some lesser known American transcendentalists / contemporary mystics. Much of the work reads like A Course in Miracles, and points to nondual awareness and self-realization. However, the readings are more for inspiration, and not practical as such (other works by the publishing company are better for practical purposes). This would appeal to those who enjoy Christian mysticism, poetry, and the writings of early 20th Century spiritualists, new thought, etc.
As for practical advice, the writings mainly point to the need to spend time in silence, alone, and in a state of 'listening' to the soundless voice within. Along with this, there is the advice to stay centred and connected to one's Inner Presence, even when involved in activity (similar to the idea of maintaining mindfulness of one's self throughout the day). There are also some good points on fostering positive attitudes such as 'love', 'praise', and 'gratitude', which can help throughout the day, when not involved in meditative activities.
The parts of the book that I enjoyed the most were Eva Bell Werber, William Samuel, and Ruby Nelson.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Just finished reading "Mastering The Core Teachings of the Buddha" by Daniel Ingram.. man, was I impressed. I had head DI speak on various podcasts, but hadn't found the time to purchase and read his book.
I could write so much, but will just paste a review I wrote on it.
This book has really fired me up to take another serious look at simple Insight meditation practices (such as Mahasi Sayadaw Noting), and also work on the Concentration Jhanas a little more.
It also confirms much of what I had already concluded related to the absolute uselessness of probably 80% of what is found on the nonduality and modern spirituality circuit- even hardcore would-be teaching schools actually aiming at 'self-realization' or 'enlightenment'.
I'm really looking forward to a Second Edition, and with hopefully a few more practical exercises detailed.
Anyhow, here's some review material:
One of the best contemporary dharma/meditation/spiritual practice books and commentary written in modern times. This book really gets at the core of what Buddhism _should_ be about and focus on with its practices- however, this book could easily apply to any of the major religions or practical spiritual paths aiming at self-transformation and 'enlightenment'. I like the direct advice given, and also the conceptual mappings throughout the book detailing possible stopping places along the spiritual developmental route. This book really strikes at some of the core problems inherent in a lot of spiritual paths, and explains exactly why these paths and people following them just aren't effective in attaining what they set out to achieve.
If I had any criticism with this book, it would probably be that it needs some more time spent on detailing the actual practices involved in both concentration and insight meditation. Yes, the instructions are given, but even these I find are a little too vague (i.e just focus intensely on sensations being perceived right now and see the three characteristics inherent in them etc. etc.; or find an object and focus on it intensely, and then extent the time period).
I know the author is working on a Second Edition, so I look forward to that! Overall, great work, and in my Top 5 books.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
I recently found a book "Beyond the Fourth Way" on the Internet while browsing, and which captured my interest from the description, since it spoke of both Fourth Way, going beyond it, and also some aspects of Swedenborg's teachings.
I was a little disappointed on reading through it twice though. My review of the book, which seems a bit harsh on first sight was:
This rather odd book or
compilation was made out of notes that the author amassed during his
decades of teaching philosophy and esoteric systems. Apparently it was
salvaged and compiled posthumously by some of his students, and relates
generally to ideas found in the Fourth Way and Gurdjieff schools, as
well as crossing into the author's interests with Swedenborg, theosophy,
symbology and other areas. This book is not at all practical, and
contains a couple of lines throughout which actually speak about the
practices of 'self-remembering'. Nothing is mentioned of
'self-observation', the centres, or other common Fourth Way topics. The
lines on 'self-remembering' are vague, and relate to the author's idea
that it involves both having an overarching awareness of both internal
and external states, but at other points in the book, seems to relate
only to having an awareness of the body's inner 'feeling'. Overall, this
book may appeal to those with a philosophical bent, or who are
interested in theosophical type information and ramblings (such as
correspondences between the human body and esoteric symbology, or on the
conceptual hierarchies of the 'spirit world' etc.). I would class it as
very supplementary for anyone interested in the Fourth Way, and it
would serve little purpose apart from informational material (or
interesting reading for a rainy day) for those without any actual
first-hand experience of 'self-remembering' or Fourth Way practices. I
had hoped for more with a title such as "Beyond the Fourth Way", which
should have been entitled something like "Discussions on The Fourth Way,
Swedenborg, and Ancient Symbology".|
The reason that the review was a little harsh was that:
- the ideas on 'self-remembering' were very vague at best, and incorrect at worst. In some instances, it likened self-remembering to 'enlarging the field of consciousness so both inside and outside worlds were grasped together', and then in other places, it was just relaxation and noticing 'a new quality of consciousness inside oneself' was present. Still elsewhere, it was feeling the inside of the body (sensations?).
- the author exhorted the reader again and again to apply self-remembering, resist negative states, the ego etc. etc., but gave no actual means to do this (unless of course this was given in his lectures, but which was not stated). As with most spiritual literature, the author assumes that the common reader even has the capacity 'to do' (as opposed to Gurdjieff's chief claim that "man cannot do" and was but a machine (unless this realization had already set in, and one had started to work on himself/herself in a specific directed way).
- 95% of the book was informational / conceptual material, and had to be taken on a pure faith basis- relating to ideas such as spiritual realms, spiritual functionings of the physical body, the real meanings behind ancient art and architecture, etc. etc.-- which is all well and good, except that it didn't really relate at all with The Fourth Way, or go beyond it. Ouspensky was shot down in a few places throughout, but is actually much more practical and easier to understand in relation to what 'self-remembering' entails. (The author probably latched onto Gurdjieff's worst teachings (in terms of impractical nonsense that probably was aimed at entertaining would-be seekers and those interested in theosophy type discussions), such as the idea of genetic information passing from one generation to another, the enneagram, the Hydrogen-Oxygen-Carbon theory, extracting 'secrets' from ancient art works etc.-- all of which are just distractions away from practicing self-observation and self-remembering)
However, there were a few positive points, and a couple of interesting notes, (for those with the experience to discern:)
* Relaxation and breath awareness is useful, and can lead to a becoming aware of a different state of internal consciousness-- which we would normally experience as 'calm', 'peace' etc. Noting the presence of this 'new' state at different times can help to develop it more often, and also compare it to our normal state of mechanical existence.
* What we are aiming at is to experience ourself as the 'ABSOLUTE' (or rather I would term 'pure awareness' or nondual awareness), which is the goal of SELF-remembering (author's spelling).
* There is a description on p35 of the use of Sufi meditation / mantra use, and this is an excellent description (for those with experience in using mantras), of using a mantra and directing it at different body parts, or over the whole body, and using parts as a 'sounding board' in order to experience a more global awareness, and also in order to lessen the hold of the 'ego' or 'nafs'.
* It is of great help (towards self-remembering) to practice 'sensing' or 'feeling' oneself from the inside of the physical body- which really means sensations, and return to this practice as often as possible throughout the day. This can initially be done as a formal sitting practice (meditation), and later extended to other times.
* It is a useful practice to be simultaneously aware of one's internal state and the external objects that are appearing in one's awareness. The author states that this 'knife's edge" is key to the gaining of a 'third state' that surpasses both. (Again details on this are minimal).
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Mindfulness of Death (One of the 10 Recollections)
Forty meditation subjects
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
I've been doing some extensive reading on the topic of Self-Observation- with respect to the teachings of Nicoll, R.Nottingham, Ouspensky, Colin etc.
These teachings on self-observation place it at the 'top' of the 'to do' list in terms of Work (Fourth Way) practices and activities. In fact, these teachings teach that it is pretty much all that should be done for a number of years, at least until the 'Observing-I' has been strengthened to some degree, and a large number of observations or 'photographs' have been stored, which describe the 'machine' at work. To aid in this, reminders may be set up (such as new habits), which can help us remember to perform this primary aim. No attempt should be made to change or judge what is observed, or to modify the machine's behaviour in any way.
As a result of the above, the idea is that our mechanical habits and nature would slowly be fully made conscious and of itself transform into a more intentional nature, a "Real-I" having been formed in us. Our real Self becoming more apparent, as opposed to what it is buried under.
These schools, in particular Nicoll, and R.Nottingham, assert that Self-Remembering shouldn't be attempted at all, and that it is rather an exalted and rare state, which may occur here and there, as a result of repeated Self-observation.
This is all well and good, and I tend to agree with the above. Self-observation is of importance at the start of any practice in 'knowing-oneself', and as a foundation for Self-Remembering. A certain degree of concentration or attention power is needed. And Self-observation can be safely carried out for a good length of time, starting with external observations on the physical body, and tending to internal (psychological) observations of our emotional states etc.
However, there is a slight danger here, and an omission that these above teachings tend to leave out- and which history seems to attest- to their own detriment.
And that is that an over-emphasis on 'self-observation' can easily lead to 'self-absorption' related to one's internal states, external habits, and external reactions. This is especially so, if one omits completely the practice of Self-Remembering.
The student can so easily get lost in 'self-observation' precisely because it is not-Self, and in fact, all of these observations are completely external to WHAT one really IS.
As a result, one could spend years observing the machine and its parts, and still not be any closer to a direct encounter with one's Self (ie. Self-remembering) or the 'big picture' (ie nondual awareness), apart from some vague feeling or random encounter. One could at best remain self-absorbed in an endless practice focusing on phenomenal objects- a practice which has reached its full potential- or at worst go completely insane (which actually happened to more than a few Fourth Way students and teachers tragically).
This is why the 'Direct Pointing' teachings such as those on Self-inquiry (Ramana Maharshi), or the Direct Path (Sri Atmananda) or other direct pointing methods such as Zen, or Mahamudra etc., are so valuable at a certain stage in the path (and yet are often given after a certain time spent in fruitful practice). These direct pointing applications offer the possibility of an encounter with what is beyond or at the origin of the merely external (phenomenal), and onto That which is actually doing the observing. Since the 'Observer' is already present, it does not need to be built (contrary to most Fourth Way teachings). Further, the original Fourth Way teachings, and Gurdjieff in particular, often mentioned explicitly that Self-remembering needed to be done in conjunction with Self-observation- otherwise, self-observation would largely be useless (this fact is often ignored in the above stream).
Therefore it is of big importance to actually learn to practice, and fit in, some work on direct self-attentiveness (Self-Remembering, or Self-inquiry etc.), along with one's practice of the observation of one's 'not-self' characteristics (ie. done during self-observation, vipassana, noting, mindfulness, etc.).
Friday, May 1, 2015
Your repeated efforts at self-observation will build a Work memory that will in turn remind you to do the Work.
All anyone can do for a very long time is practice self-observation. Observing negativity is one of the most informative ways to gain understanding about oneself and about the nature of sleep. You can use the feeling of negativity to remind yourself to observe: How are you negative? What is the source of your negativity? Anger, pain, fear? Make a practice of observing your negativity and separating some observing I's from it. Don't identify with it, become passive to it. If it continues to take place, let it but try not to give it your attention."
Thursday, April 30, 2015
|A, B and C Influences|
B influences are vectors that are thrown into the field of A influences but these have a conscious source and a consistent direction. B influences do not cancel each other out and systematically recognizing and following these may lead man to the beginning of esoteric work.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
- "Self-remembering is an attempt to be aware of yourself. Self-observation is always directed at some definite function: either you observe your thoughts, or movements, or emotions, or sensations. It must have a definite object which you observe in yourself. Self-remembering does not divide you, you must remember the whole, it is simply the feeling of ‘I,’ of your own person." (1957, p. 107)
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
A clarifying point for those engaged in self-inquiry:
"There is no investigation into the Atman. Investigation can only be into the non-self." (Sri Ramana Maharshi) Talk 78.
Q.: How to find the Atman?
M.: There is no investigation into the Atman. The investigation can only be into the non-self.
Elimination of the non-self is alone possible. The Self being always self evident will shine forth of itself.
The Self is called by different names - Atman, God, Kundalini, mantra, etc. Hold any one of them and the Self becomes manifest. God is no other than the Self.. (Talk 78; September 1935)
Monday, April 13, 2015
Friday, April 10, 2015
This was a question from someone online, actually they went on to justify why the idea 'Man cannot do' (Gurdjieff, Ouspensky) was just an excuse to do nothing etc. and that we should all involve ourselves in 'self effort'.
Q: 'Isn't the idea "Man cannot do" an excuse to do nothing? Aren't we told to struggle for self-effort, and to involve ourselves in 'conscious labour and intentional suffering'?'
A: "Man cannot do" is a necessary starting point, IMV. Equally dangerous is the illusion that we can all 'fix ourselves' and the 'world', we just need the right conditions or right time or motivation. We think we already have all the answers and know 'what to do'. Governments work on this principle. And as a result, nothing is done or fixed, but just happens reactively. Direct and clear observation of things as-they-are actually confirms this, and interestingly opens the way for new approaches to be possible, which otherwise would have never appeared.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015