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Chapter XI: The Vision of Non-Duality: Knowledge Yoga.

How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Relative Knowledge, Absolute Knowledge, Seeking Stops When the Knowledge Is Firm, Self-inquiry , The Real and the Apparently Real,Limitless Does Not Mean Big, It Is Ordinary Awareness, They Exist but They Are Not Real, Non-Duality Does Not Mean Sameness, The Key to Liberation: Understanding Awareness, Jiva and Isvara, Freedom from or Freedom for Jiva?, Limitless Bliss , The Five Sheaths, The Three StatesThe Waker, The Dreamer, The Sleeper, The Opposite Thought, The Three Gunas.

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How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:45 pm

Hi,
I hope everyone is well. I thought it might be interesting to start a topic on how self-assimilation is progressing.
I should say that I have absolutely no one to discuss Vedanta with in apparent reality and sometimes I just feel like a little camaraderie, so I come to this forum :). I also feel that writing things down seems to help with assimilation.

Things are going well with me.

A couple of weeks ago, some doubts came up and I spent a lot of time thinking through them logically and critically. My main hobby is running and I spent a ton of time on the trails just thinking through the doubts. It occurs to me that I know why we see the ancient sages either sitting in meditation or wandering. Both of those activities are conducive to contemplation. Given that I'm unable to do sitting meditation, running seems to be a good way to think through things. I'm also amazed at all the emphasis in spiritual circles on not thinking! How does one inquire without the intellect?!!

Anyway, the doubts are resolved and in a way, I'm glad that I did not write to Shining World teachers (whom I love so much)--because thinking through and resolving them on one's own really helps with confidence in self-knowledge.

I've also discovered the 'random satsang' option on the Shining World website. It's brilliant! I read the questions posed and then I answer them to myself. Finally, I check my answer with what the teachers have written to make sure that I'm on the same page. So far, there have been no conflicts ;).
But this process has also made me realize how difficult it is to actually teach Vedanta. For example, I could answer most of the questions to my own satisfaction---but the eloquence with which the SW teachers describe the answers to make them understandable to people at different stages of inquiry is simply amazing. Hats off to SW again! Anyway, I can highly recommend the sadhana of answering the random satsangs as a test of one's own knowledge and clarity.

The other sadhana that I have currently is to simply be the (non-dual) self at all times. There is no other option, is there ;).

I also find myself avoiding situations that are not conducive to self-assimilation. For example, social situations that are draining or situations that get a couple of the entrenched vasanas activated. I think that I have 2-3 vasanas that are still quite binding. I try my best with them, knowing that they belong to Ishvara. There is a lot of love towards the jiva that is trying her best to deal with them. The jiva is chipping away as best as possible. I love Ramji's advice of 'sinning intelligently, i.e, indulging them moderately if necessary, which allows you to see that ultimately they don't make you happy---and that you already are eternal, limitless, non-dual happiness.

In the Narada Bhakti Sutra, it says that after self-realization, the self-assimilation phase continues (in one form or another) for the rest of the jiva's life. A cautionary tale is described of Narada muni who after self-realization decides to test himself against maya--well, guess what, once he dispenses with vigilance, maya seduces him and very quickly he is back in samsara! It's pretty funny actually and an important caution as well.

Anyway, enough about me. I am so overcome with gratitude towards Vedanta and SW, that I was moved to tears writing this. I would love to hear of what is going on with your self-inquiry. I hope some of you will write (as I would enjoy the camaraderie). But if not, that is fine too. I find that Vedanta answers all questions and doubts and there is very little left to say (or do) for us Vedantins.

With much affection to fellow Vedantins on SW,
Mira
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby georgschiller » Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:15 am

Hi Mira,

great post! I really appreciated your sharing of your experiences! Especially thanks for giving the tip of answering satsang questions in order to compare them with the answers of the official teachers! I haven't thought about this option, I will try it out soon (Georg is a little bit afraid that he might create different answers than the teachers :lol: )

In general I understand why you would like to have more interaction with other people on this subject. However, there is also the danger of comparing your "achievements" with those of others... This can be really nasty and in the end what is there to compare or exchange with? Either things are clear and there is nothing to exhange with or things are unclear and we get envy about the achievements of others...

Ok, there's some arrogance in the above paragraph. I think it makes sense after all to exchange. I like to exchange on practices. Your example of answering satsangs is a great Sadhana. I personally like guided meditations. For example, I got one guided meditation on being in a hospital with terminal cancer. The guided meditation leads me through all kinds of stages of pain, fears and attachments. That really helps me to see where I am still attached to, where I still have fears, etc. This, for me, is a great Sadhana!!
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:22 pm

Hi Georg,
Thanks for your reply. Your caution is an important one. I was thinking more along the lines of friendship and support, rather than comparison or envy :).

I'm curious about your guided meditation with the terminal illness. It seems like an excellent way to inquire into fear of death of the body (one of our basic fears, I imagine). Can you give me some more details about it? Is this something that you have developed on your own or something that is more formally available?

I've done something similar on my own--where I've imagined the body dying--to help decrease attachment to the body. Oddly enough, it also has a strangely experiential effect of strengthening the notion that the self does not die. Anyway, I'd love to hear more about your guided meditation. Thanks! Mira
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby georgschiller » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:22 am

Well, this guided meditation on terminal illness, etc. are mostly buddhist stuff (especially Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra Buddhism).
https://archive.org/details/Tse_Chen_Li ... ath_200409 it is the first mp3 and it starts around minute 5.
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:22 pm

Thanks Georg.

Do you also find that when you really meditate on the demise of the body, that the (reflected) self becomes really obvious? I've often wondered why?
Perhaps it's that the notion of death is so serious that it really focuses the mind, and then the body can be seen very clearly as an object in awareness.

I think this may be how Eckhart Tolle might have realized the self. I recall reading that he was near suicidal that night. And Ramana Maharishi too had a death meditation experience when he realized the self. Of course, I could be dead wrong here (pun intended ;)).

Anyway, I am reading some SW random satsangs right now---some of them are simply brilliant.

As you said, when the teachings are so clear---there is really nothing to do. Just sit back and enjoy being the self :).
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:33 am

Mira wrote:the (reflected) self becomes really obvious? I've often wondered why?


I don't know. I am not a Vedanta teacher. I have no deep knowledge of the scripture to give adequate explanations.
I've got my own opinion/explanations but I am not sure scripture approves of it. It's better you ask an official teacher! I would be happy to hear what they say too!

p.s. death meditation is just the beginning and there are much more advanced (disgusting) meditations which really would freak 99,999% of the population out. :mrgreen: but I suppose everybody got a different taste...
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Stan » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:15 pm

Hi Mira,

I saw your original post a couple of days ago and was really touched by it . I have been keen to reply but circumstances conspired that have kept me from being near my computer. I would love to discuss a good few points you have raised now i`m back online.
I was for instance moved by what you said here....

I am so overcome with gratitude towards Vedanta and SW, that I was moved to tears writing this. I would love to hear of what is going on with your self-inquiry. I hope some of you will write (as I would enjoy the camaraderie). But if not, that is fine too. I find that Vedanta answers all questions and doubts and there is very little left to say (or do) for us Vedantins.

and here...
I hope everyone is well. I thought it might be interesting to start a topic on how self-assimilation is progressing.
I should say that I have absolutely no one to discuss Vedanta with in apparent reality and sometimes I just feel like a little camaraderie, so I come to this forum :). I also feel that writing things down seems to help with assimilation.


Things are also " going well for me ". you`ve raised many topics that are close to my heart and i`d love to share some vedanta cameraderie with you. How much can you handle ? Ha ha ... :-)
It`s turned midnight here for me so i`ll catch up with you soon.
ps. I loved your
The other sadhana that I have currently is to simply be the (non-dual) self at all times. There is no other option, is there ;).


Boy...did you ever say a truer word ! talk soon,

Stan.
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:56 pm

Hi Stan,
I look forward to your post when you get the time. Sometimes Ishvara delivers prarabdha in the form of a super hectic life here too. Thanks also for getting the thread back on track....Georg and I were having some morbid fun :).
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Stan » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:06 pm

Hi Mira,

Finally getting some free time at the computer...late though it is....
Ishvara indeed " Sometimes delivers prarabdha in the form of a super hectic life"
It`s unusual for me as i`m fairly recently retired and lead a happy and uneventful life enjoying self knowledge, for which I feel I can never fully repay the gratitude I feel.

However, we never know what Ishvara has in store for us. My wife had a serious accident 6 months ago and for the last two days or so, we have attended appointments for scans and other tests up and down the country. (uk). fortunatelly, my wife`s injuries could be a lot worse and are being taken care of and the daily schedule is returning to it`s normal steady self.
Going through what you wrote Mira.....
I should say that I have absolutely no one to discuss Vedanta with in apparent reality and sometimes I just feel like a little camaraderie, so I come to this forum :). I also feel that writing things down seems to help with assimilation.


It`s funny, I never really thought about it but, I never had the opportunity to discuss vedanta with in daily life either. I never really expected to be able to do so really...never thought about it.
When by grace I came across Ramji`s first book I knew straight away that I had found the teacher and the teaching that would at last set me free. I quickly bought one of his video sets and started in earnest to follow the immaculate logic of the teaching. The book did it for me really although I watched the videos as well. I thought I would not write in to ask any questions as I knew Ramji was so busy and would try my very best to understand the teaching before I felt compelled to write in. Ramji seemed to me to be close to exhaustion in the vids and yet was so inspired, selfless and utterly generous of his time in giving the teaching. It inflamed my inspiration and desire for freedom even more...I was totally obsessed for three months going through the book. many times getting up in the night to follow a thread of the teaching. I could sometimes spend an hour on a single phrase but would not give up and go to the next step before assimilating the part of the teaching I was engaged with.

Like you, even now a couple of years later,..
I am so overcome with gratitude towards Vedanta and SW, that I was moved to tears writing this.

I know so well what you mean. :-) It`s funny, those `tears` never go away. they are always there just under the surface and appear when some appreciation of truth or beauty arises.
As for your "writing things down seems to help with assimilation", I can`t agree more. I must have written the equivalent of a couple of small books worth of notes as the dots were joining together into the full picture of self knowledge.
There were so many times that I thought it must be a coincidence in the way that I would seemingly arbitrarily or by chance come to the next topic...which just happened to be the perfectly complimentary teaching that followed on from the last. what a good job I happened `by chance` on it or I would have not been able to complete a certain understanding and move on ! strange how all these chance coincidences lined up so perfectly Ha ha ....

I still write out my notes for clarification to this day but of course have long ago given up in believing that the teachings clarify or line up in a chance random way. I now write for the love of it as it purifies the mind so much.
There was a phase when once I knew who I was, I corresponded with Sundari for a while and I was overjoyed to be able to speak to her as the self speaking to the self. It was such a new and wondrous experience for me...and still is. During that time, Ramji wrote me once . maybe he thought I was going overboard on experiential bliss but, I mistakenly thought that Sundari would be replying again and he corrected me saying that it was he and he was the equal of Sundari as love. He said in fact " I am the bill gates of love" ! I was somewhat stunned to hear from him so unexpectedly and my mind hit a brick wall. there was something pressing to be understood.

In the middle of the night it all clarified...there is no Ramji, Sundari or any other Ji...it is all love. I had been taking Ramji to be Ishvara and he had freed me of that notion. The love I had been experiencing was me all along. It was so clear now.
When I wrote back to him, he said that he thought that the teaching had been assimilated because knowledge experientialy works out as love. there is no difference between knowledge and love. or `cameraderie` :-)

He said that when the teaching has done it`s work, it goes away and the mind will now purify on it`s own...come what may. If one wants to speed it up and help out the jiva, then continued inquiry should be undertaken. but either way..my words..once a pond full of crocodiles has had the plug pulled, it`s basically all over. it`s just a question of time...the crocodiles don`t have to be engaged and wrestled into submission. the knowledge does all the work.
As you said...
I find that Vedanta answers all questions and doubts and there is very little left to say (or do) for us Vedantins.


Very true. I can add one thing though after a couple of years since mind purification or the working out of prarabdha karma, the difference feels like that between night and day. The `can`t get any better` just keeps getting better !

If it`s ok with you Mira, i`d like to carry on replying to you tomorrow. One thing I find curious by the way...you`re unable to do "sitting meditation" ? would you mind saying something about that ? mind you, I certainly couldn`t do "running meditation" that`s for sure Ha ha ....
Talk tomorrow,

Stan.
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:44 pm

Hi Stan,
That was such a great post. I found myself relating to so much of it. Thanks and I look forward to hearing more when you have time. All the best to your wife. I hope she heals soon. I'll write more later as well. Best, Mira
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Stan » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:37 pm

Hi Mira,

Thanks for your kind words and best wishes for my wife. it`s going to be slow but, she`s healing.
I`m kind of tired tonight so i`ll conclude my reply to your post tomorrow. it`s been a pleasure reading what you had to say and thanks for not replying yet.... we`d have a bit of a job catching up with each other, otherwise. :-)
Talk soon,

Stan.
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Stan » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:19 pm

Hi Mira...back again.

Hi Stan,
That was such a great post. I found myself relating to so much of it. Thanks and I look forward to hearing more when you have time. All the best to your wife. I hope she heals soon. I'll write more later as well. Best, Mira


Thanks for the kind words Mira...I appreciate them. :-)
Going on from where I left off....

I'm also amazed at all the emphasis in spiritual circles on not thinking! How does one inquire without the intellect?!!


I was reading an article a few days ago and came across this quote... " The emotions are the new logic and thinking is the new blasphemy ". Under the circumstances, I thought that was pretty good ! Let`s face it, most people are not interested in inquiry. not much that can be done about it...if anything.

Anyway, the doubts are resolved and in a way, I'm glad that I did not write to Shining World teachers (whom I love so much)--because thinking through and resolving them on one's own really helps with confidence in self-knowledge.


Yes, I pretty much agree. it was the same for me and I was more than happy to do the work. let`s face it, you can`t beat the satvic mind that results from manana and standing in the knowledge that ensues. Having said that, I was reading and watching the vids daily and would have written in if I got really stuck. I still watch about an hour or more of vids and do half an hour or more of reading every day. sometimes a lot more but nowadays it`s all as smooth as silk and SO...enjoyable !

But this process has also made me realize how difficult it is to actually teach Vedanta. For example, I could answer most of the questions to my own satisfaction---but the eloquence with which the SW teachers describe the answers to make them understandable to people at different stages of inquiry is simply amazing. Hats off to SW again! Anyway, I can highly recommend the sadhana of answering the random satsangs as a test of one's own knowledge and clarity.


As you say Mira, knowing who you are doesn`t make you a competent teacher of vedanta. I never had the desire to be a "teacher" but I always thought that if you wanted to be really clear about something, you can`t beat being able to teach it.
To that end, I started looking at the teaching in two ways. the first being for the benefit of removing my own ignorance. the second being for the benefit of a possible `other` person wanting to be taught. It made for a fair bit more work involved but showed up the vaguer parts of my understanding and pointed to where more inquiry was needed.
Like you, I enjoyed working with the random satsangs but then again, I was constantly working with all of them in the satsang section of the website anyway. I have at least one variation of the video teachings and constantly rotate working through them all continually apart from constant working throught the satsangs and books.

AS you said, " the eloquence with which the SW teachers describe the answers to make them understandable to people at different stages of inquiry is simply amazing."

This makes me think that you were thinking on similar lines to me due to you describing the methodology of vedanta and the particular way the teaching needs to be taught.
I found myself caught in a bit of a loop at one point as I was subtly getting confused with `teaching` the inquirers who wrote in with their doubts and taking them on as if they were my own doubts when in fact I didn`t have a doubt. I was putting myself into the doubter`s position and thinking I should be left with a mass of knowledge geared to answer every possible doubt in a specific `approved` vedanta way.

I had almost forgotten that with self knowledge, the knowledge goes away into the background as we actually are the knowledge. It rises up whenever it is needed and doesn`t burden us as a mass of knowledge to be refreshed and maintained all the time. that would be a burden. Once we know who we trully are, then in a way, it`s `to heck with vedanta`...who needs it.

With constant assimilation of the knowledge, bit by bit, over time with repetition, it seems to me that the `answers` just come up as needed. I once mentioned to Sundari that I felt it odd that I could stumble on some notes and having read through them, finding them to be inspiring and subtle teachings. On checking out as to who wrote them, I was amazed to find that it was me ! She said `Yes, the teaching doesn`t actually come from `us`. meaning the self. I still find i`m not totally confident of what I write as I lose myself in the writing and have to double check what I wrote in case it`s misleading. She mentioned an occasion where Ramji once gave an inspiring talk and when she referred to it, Ramji had no recollection of it at all. I guess we live in hope that it will all work out. As Ramji once said, `If Ishvara wants you to be a teacher, you`re going to be a teacher` Ha ha .... may as well be relaxed about the whole thing. :-)

Oh, I nearly forgot... I think it`s worth mentioning about the 12 month vedanta course based upon Ramji`s `Essence of enlightenment book`. I expect you`re aware that it basically acts as the framework or template for the teaching. It has those questions and answers at the end of each chapter which I think can act as an excellent framework for getting the stages of teaching under one`s belt. I think it was an inspired idea ! It seems to be an excellent way of inspiring future possible teachers as it shows the true methodology of the sampradaya.

I`m thinking of asking one or two teachers if they would come on the forum and give their views on how they arrived at their competence in teaching, what should one be clear about and what the requirments are. What do you think ?

The other sadhana that I have currently is to simply be the (non-dual) self at all times. There is no other option, is there ;).


Yes, this is great and can be viewed in two ways. As a sadhana..."fake it until you make it" or from the point of view of a jnani, one who knows who he/she is...at which point it isn`t a sadhana but knowledge. I stand to be corrected.

I think that I have 2-3 vasanas that are still quite binding. I try my best with them, knowing that they belong to Ishvara. There is a lot of love towards the jiva that is trying her best to deal with them. The jiva is chipping away as best as possible.


2-3 `quite binding` vasanas eh, as many as that ! Ha ha .... lucky old you. What does it matter if a few binding vasanas are still kicking about ? same old story, if you know your conditioning, are you conditioned ? No, which is of course why you can say that they`re not your vasanas but Ishvara`s.
The parabdha karmas take as long as they take to play out. sometimes they are deep rooted and can take years to play out but if they`re known for what they are, they may just as well be non existing as regards whether they disturb your mind or not. If they`re seen as not real then one may as well relax and watch the show as their seeming influence fades with time.

I found that just dispassionately watching them time after time without any involvement or attempt at control just made me bored to tears with them in the end. I still have a few and I watch them arise..knowing already that they are futile before they seemingly take hold. They then work out their futility..with me already knowing the end result. They then dissolve back into awareness with me knowing that the whole thing has been a futile attempt to make me whole whilst knowing I am whole anyway. The sheer repetitive boredom of watching the futile show eventually convinces me that they just arn`t real. That`s the point at which they really lose momentum. The fan is switched off now. who cares if it still spins for a while ? it`s just confidence really.

You say that " the jiva is chipping away as best as possible ". What for ? Apparent jiva apparently chipping away at apparent what ? It`s all mithya. Is it really the jiva that needs to be `chipping away` ? The jiva`s never going to be perfect and what is the "chipping away" anyway considering you said " you already are eternal, limitless, non-dual happiness. " Do you mean that the "chipping away" is discrimination between satya and mithya ? Standing in awareness AS awareness ?
You said....
In the Narada Bhakti Sutra, it says that after self-realization, the self-assimilation phase continues (in one form or another) for the rest of the jiva's life.


I guess that if "self-assimilation continues for the rest of the jiva`s life" , the vasanas will be playing out until the end of the jiva`s life. looks like there`s a "self -assimilation" vasana ! whoopiee doo...no more effort ! I can just imagine Ramji saying...has anybody ever seen a vasana ? Ha ha ...

I`ve not read the Narada Bhakti Sutra yet but i`ve got my popcorn and comfy chair ready for the show. I know i`m going to love it ! going to get round to it after I check out Vinu`s post.
I`m really glad you wrote in Mira. I was touched by and enjoyed reading all that you had to say. Thank you.

I find that Vedanta answers all questions and doubts and there is very little left to say (or do) for us Vedantins.


Except enjoy the " cameraderie " ? :-)
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:29 pm

Hi Stan,
Another great post. I am loving the camaraderie :D. Thanks.
This is what I was hoping for from the forum. Conversation about life as a Vedantin! I am traveling this week---and so will write later.

Enjoy your week! Mira
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Stan » Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:51 pm

Hi Mira,

Great to hear back from you. :-)
It`s heartening to hear that you`re finding the forum coming up to your hopes and expectations. I must admit it`s something that`s close to my heart. There is plenty of scope for it to develop further and i`m sure it will. more on that on another occasion !

Please don`t feel you have to respond in any kind of a hurry...let alone answer all the topics raised in one big reply. No real rush, is there ?

I hope you enjoy your week as well ! Stan.
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Andrew » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:23 pm

Hello to everyone dwelling in this thread :)

There's been so much going on here in the SW forum and I've not had the opportunity to jump in. There's a lot of great discussion going on here, so thank you to Mira and Stan for bringing up some great topics and issues.

Hopefully this will be relevant to the nidhidhyasana theme. I considered starting a new thread. Oh well, if it's wrongly placed, it can be moved elsewhere!

Act I

So yesterday brought me the opportunity for a lot of enquiry and test of how much 'absorption' there has been since discovering Vedanta. The scene was this: My wife and I were at a Holistic/New Age type fair as vendors, selling jewelry.

Anyways, as you can imagine, these sorts of events attract the "spiritual people" that James references in his talks. Most of the time, they are harmless enough but naturally, you are always going to find some people who inspire a 'WTF?' moment.

So, there I was minding my own business (literally) from my jewelry table while my wife (Sandy) was talking to some friends who had swung by to visit and see how we were doing. I was approached by a tall, red haired dude, probably in the 50s-60s age range. He had a bright blue leather jacket on and a psychedelic looking tie. Clearly someone who wanted to be noticed.

He asks me about the products we had, usual stuff - did you make it?, what's it made of?, how much is that one? etc. I answer with my 'usual' answers which are pretty well polished now as this is like the 5th 'new age' show I've done in the last year. He appears to be listening to me but he seems very serious, doesn't emote much and I find myself answering his terse questions and then having to tough my way through the awkward pauses.

When he's done poking around the merchandise, he straightens up and then stares me straight in the eye. Without blinking...AT ALL. EVER.

Dude: Do you have one, deep, most sacred question that you've always wanted answered?
Me: Yes.

Oh, I see. Bait and switch. Pretend to want jewelry as a pretext to quiz me. Gotcha.

Dude: And what was that?
Me: I wanted to know what is meant by 'enlightenment'.
Dude: And do you still have that question?
Me: No. I have a guru who teaches traditional Adwaita Vedanta.

I am whole & complete, actionless non-dual awareness. Question answered, searching over -thanks James!

Because I genuinely, totally & 100% believe that Vedanta's answer to the 'what is enlightenment?' question is the only complete, sane, non-experiential answer, I also didn't feel the need to offer any more. But he persists because it's clear he's got an agenda. He tries to tell me what 'enlightenment' is. He speaks very slowly and quietly, plus it's a hotel function roomed filled with hundreds of people so it's hard to hear. I can't decide if he's just making up his definition from the top of his head or if he is [ahem] 'channeling'. I can't remember it exactly, some woolly nonsense about 'sacred treasures in the hearts of men' or whatever. Meh

Dude: Do you have another question?
Me: No.
Dude: Why are you here?

Keeping sarcasm under wraps I don't say 'to sell jewelry to new agers'

Me: Don't know. Well, actually, I do. Liberation. Here for liberation.
Dude: And what does that mean to you?
Me: Freedom from karma and cyclic existence.
Dude: A jivanmukta?
Me: Yes.
Dude: How 'open' are you?
Me: Uh. Can't answer that. I'd have to know first and then figure out if I'm 'open' or not.
Dude: Would you be open if I told you that there was something BEYOND LIBERATION?

If there was something beyond liberation, then it wouldn't be f****** liberation, now would it?

Me: [Looking very doubtful] It would have to be REALLY WELL EXPLAINED.
Dude: Aha!! But that is of the Mind.
Me: The mind is an instrument of knowledge.
Dude: What about beyond the mind?
Me: Knowledge worked pretty well for all the thousands of Vedantin swamis (Ha!)
So, this is an experience?
Dude: Yes.
Me: Then, no thank you.

Finally, finally(!), he nods his head, thanks me and slinks off. But by now, I notice that my adrenal glands have opened, my muscles are twitching and my wife becomes suddenly aware that something is 'awry'. I had this guy staring at me hard in the eye for five minutes with only the table between us. It was very intrusive and weird. My fight/flight circuit was 'on' and I could do nothing but just stand there and stew in my own cortisol for a moment or two.

Sandy: Who was that?
Me: SOME F****** A**H***!!!

Fortunately, some new potential customers rolled up and I switched immediately into "Good afternoon! If you have any questions, feel free to ask." I probably need to amend that in future to "if you have any questions about the MERCHANDISE"...Gotta be more specific in future.


Act II

Later that evening over dinner, I begin reflecting on the event.

Me: I wish I handled that better.
Sandy: Why? I thought you handled it well.
Me:I'll be honest. There's part of me that wished I was more like James and was excited - Dharma Combat? BRING IT!!" But I'm not like that.
Sandy: So?
Me: Of course, another part of me that wishes that I was kind of person who would just say "Hey buddy, go f*** yourself". But I'm not like that either. I try to remind myself that not being reflexively cruel and impolite is not actually a bad trait.

Enquiry mode:

1. I handled the situation fine. Wanting to have a different personality trait reveals dissatisfaction. Having a different personality would not make me any happier or complete. I would merely be a person with a different personality.

2. At first I felt angry. Then I shifted that to 'being aware of anger'. It's ok, the fight/flight response is natural, Ishawara given and appropriate to someone violating your personal space. My body only did what it was programmed to do a la purusharthas.

3. Yesterday I was irritated by what I viewed as a creepy intrusion. While out walking this morning, I examined further. That my body experienced a hostile response to being glared at, making me uncomfortable might not have been this person's intention. In fact it doesn't matter even if it was! If there's no joy in objects, there's no sorrow either. Regardless of his intentions, good or bad, he had no way of knowing how I would feel or respond. I could have just as easily punched him in the neck as answered his questions, he didn't know that. He didn't cause me to be angry, if he could do that, then he'd have direct, linear control of cause & effect. We had an interaction and anger arose in 'apparent Andrew'. But if there's no doers, he couldn't have done anything, I couldn't have done anything and nothing really happened.

4. I'm oddly grateful of this event because I got to dig in to the non-duality tool box and go to work.


Ok, will shut up now. Apologies for length, needed to vent!

Many thanks,

Andrew
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:35 pm

Hi Andrew,
Such a great post! Are you a writer by profession? It conveyed the drama of the moment perfectly.

I've heard Ramji say that 'Enlightenment is the next best thing to good manners' and I thought your manners were impeccable. I would probably have laughed out loud (but after I had heard of what experiential delight the Dude had in store).

I'm glad that you were able to apply the teachings to ease mental agitation. I enjoyed your insights--especially the part about 'sorrow (like joy) not being in objects either'.

I can totally relate about the complete wackiness of the new-age movement and what often passes for spirituality. One reason that I love Vedanta is that it is so clear and logical. It bypasses all the wackiness completely. And one understands the nature of reality simply because it's so obvious and logical. The understanding is not dependent on any altered experiential state. Personally, I've never experienced any surreal spiritual states. It made all the difference to my understanding when I discovered on SW that experiential states were not necessary for self-knowledge.

And all this business about disregarding the intellect is just plain goofy. How else does one understand anything! I loved Stan's quote about 'thinking being the new blasphemy!'

And another thing that drives me crazy is when people say there is just THIS. THIS is the truth. I get what they mean, but I wish they had the precise language of Vedanta to distinguish between satya/mithya or self/ishvara/jiva.

Thanks for letting me join you in my mini rant :).

Finally, I wanted to add my own insight of the day: There is nothing sweeter than enjoying moments of moksha everyday. Vasanas that used to bind so tightly, now loosen their grip in the flame of self-realization. They are like burnt ropes, crumbling when touched by self-knowledge. Every day is an opportunity to live dharma.

I hope others will join in the conversation, if they have the time. I am loving this camaraderie :D.
Mira
 
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Andrew » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:12 am

Hi Mira,

I actually wrote a response to your post recently and then my connection to the forum timed out and the whole thing went ‘poof’ and disappeared! Oh well. I’m afraid this is the short version.

Firstly – no, I am not a writer by profession though, I do enjoy writing and perhaps at some point, I will put my tinkering to use. I had contemplated freelance writing when I was in my 20s, got a couple of articles published here and there, got scared and moved on to other things….lol..

I often think of Ramji’s quote about Enlightenment & manners. If I remember rightly, I think he said it came from zen master Dogen. It’s a great statement and one that I think of frequently. Because I told experiential dude that I was not going to rent what he was offering, let alone buy it, I didn’t get to find out what ‘delight’ he had in store for me. It couldn’t have been any more stupid than the ‘tantric cuddle therapists’ who had a spot a few tables down our row in the conference room.

Yes, there is much wackiness in the new age movement and I am likewise grateful for the laser like precision of Vedanta to cut through all that. Learning that Self-knowledge was not dependant on experience came as such a huge relief. I have had some so called ‘spiritual experiences’ but, the problem I had was that someone kept telling me that I had not had ‘the BIG one’ and so you end up in an endless regression of ‘are we there yet? No? What about now?’ To which all they can do is say ‘it will happen SOON!’ for ever and ever amen. Subsequently, I started to have doubts about whether he knew what the hell he was talking about.

After my connection with that person ended, I found SW and let out a huge sigh of relief. Any worries about visions, kundalini, Samadhi etc went straight into the trash without a second thought. That was the bit of news that I really needed to hear! But if you’ve not had any ‘surreal spiritual states’ you no doubt appreciate that you’ve not missed anything and can merrily go about your day.

The anti intellectualism in the ‘spiritual world’ has been another thorn in my side for years. People seem to really love all this ‘feeling spiritual’ and rambling on about the heart while providing no useful teaching (One of the few Western teachers I ever encountered who thought a developed, discriminating intellect was essential for freedom was Rudolf Steiner.)

I haven’t encountered the ‘just THIS’ phenomena among ‘spiritual people’. Though, I do see it a lot in online discussions and it’s a great way to kill a conversation. Someone may post something provocative or interesting and people will reply ‘THIS’ and the thread dies. It’s a way of agreeing to something but not contributing. It’s basically the same as clicking the interminable ‘like’ button on Facebook.

Yay camaraderie!

Andrew
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Stan » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:33 am

Hi Andrew,

I read your post last night and my heart sank when I saw this...

I actually wrote a response to your post recently and then my connection to the forum timed out and the whole thing went ‘poof’ and disappeared! Oh well. I’m afraid this is the short version.


I tend to write fairly long posts and so have come across problem myself. I`ve written to Dan our web guy this morning and this is a portion of what I said to him.....

I`m writing about a problem I mentioned early on to you. I`ll quote what

one of the posters just said by way of illustration...


" I actually wrote a response to your post recently and then my connection to the forum timed out and the whole thing went ‘poof’ and disappeared! Oh well. I’m afraid this is the short version. "


I asked at the time if you could suggest an alternative program such as writing

via email and then copying to the forum to save the posts getting dropped.

You said that there is a save facility so I figured all is good to go but later on

hit the timeout problem myself. It happened after I crossed the midnight hour

so I figured the timeout applies on each new day....wrong.

After an unspecified time, the timeout comes into operation and one has to log

in again. On doing so, the post gets dropped although...it can be retrieved by

using the back button. just can`t load the post though !


Can you suggest some kind of workaround for this problem...or do you know how

long we have before we need to save a post.

I went back to using my email program for writing posts and then copy/pasting to

forum as the email prog never times out. This issue is a bit of a pain in the whatsit

and i`m eager to hear of what you may think the solution is. All suggestions gratefully

received !


As soon as I hear back from Dan, i`ll come back here to the forum with Dan`s suggestions and hopefully solutions. please note...I found that by using the back button on the forum, it does lead to the post that looks like it has been dropped. I think that if you log in and try this..even now, you will come back to your original `longer` post to Mira. If you try this, could you let me know if that worked ? thanks.

On another subject, I too would like to say how much I enjoyed your original post and much admire how well written it was. If you ever end up as a teacher, I reckon your written and probably verbal communications will be fantastic ! Your story had me on the edge of my seat wondering what will come next and i`m wondering if you`ll write a follow up when you assimilate your experience a bit more ?
It`s such a joy to be taken out of one`s comfort zone by Isvara.
By that I mean of course, it`s a joy for me to see YOU being taken out of YOUR comfort zone ! :lol:

I`ll be back as soon as I can with Dan`s suggestions for the timeout problem.
Oh, and Yay to " Yay cameraderie ! "

Stan.
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Mira » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:52 pm

Hi Andrew and Stan,
Thanks for your emails. I always enjoy reading them. And yes--YAY Camaraderie!

Sorry I did not write earlier--it's been very busy with work and travel. It has also been a week when my self-inquiry was applied to the hilt. The 'career ambition' vasana can be a tough one for me. While I have made tremendous progress chipping away at this vasana, this week it reared its ugly head yet again. Rajas was in full form at an important but contentious work meeting. It's quite amazing to see how rajas can take complete control of the jiva :lol:. No dharma was violated on my part---but my peace of mind was disturbed due to the 'lively' interaction among all the folks present. Luckily we are a nice bunch of people and since none of us slept very well, the next day we all apologized for possibly offending one another and things are generally fine now.

In retrospect, I am amazed as to how rajasic I can still become sometimes. Anyway, I was able to apply the teachings and thank goodness to Karma yoga there was no real suffering. There was no real anger or self recrimination--but just embarrassment at letting rajas run the show :oops:. How silly we jivas act sometimes! But of course, we know that it's all Ishvara's doing.

Now I'm focusing on returning to, and preserving, the sattvic mindset. But I thought I would share how Vedantic understanding helps inform and navigate my life now. Crazy stuff still happens in life---but at least there is a clear understanding of what is going on and a karma yoga way to cope.

It's interesting to note that at the height of the mental agitation, even though there was still the clear knowledge that I am the self, unaffected by all the drama, the mental agitation remained for a while. Karma yoga was more effective in this instance for calming the mind than jnana yoga.

Some day this vasana will become non-binding (perhaps when I retire :lol:) but until then Yay camaraderie indeed! I am so happy that I have a place where I can talk with like-minded people.

Mira
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Re: How is Nidhidhyasana going for you?

Postby Andrew » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:53 pm

Stan - I am glad my discomfort was entertaining for you...lol...Thank you for your support of my scribbling, though. If I do publish a book, at least I know I could shift a couple of copies at SW ;)

As for a continuation of the story, I talked to a friend of mine who is well acquainted with crazy new agers. He said "Good for you...sounds like your 'immune system' is working!" Meaning that I am not likely to be swept up by a death cult anytime soon. More seriously, he said that the dude was "testing for vulnerabilities". He thought the staring was either some attempt at clairvoyance or hypnotism.

What occurred to me after was how the entire episode was an object lesson in "how to fail the guru selection" test. He was:

a) Ostentatously dressed
b) Believes in experiential enlightenment
c) Acting like he had some special "secret".
d) Spiritual anti-intellectualism

Furthermore, I didnt ask him to teach me anything. He volunteered his wooly nonsense after using browsing as a pretext.

I think what bugged me was how he devalued my autonomy by ignoring my statement about having a trad.Vedanta guru. He could have asked about that. Instead he glossed right over that like it was not important to the discussion. Like saying "you are observing a kosher diet? Well, here try the bacon anyway."

Then I had the realization that women have to put up with that sort of BS every day of the week. Douchey guys running roughshod over polite yet obvious refusals.

And as a side point. I am a total spaz for losing my post. I should and do know better and have used forums for years.

Anyways, that is substance of the lost post!

Andrew
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