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Chapter XII: Value of Values

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Words as a Means of Knowledge, Values a Secondary Means for Self-knowledge, Universal Values – Samanya Dharma, Situational Ethics – Visesa Dharma, The Knower-Doer Split, A “Better Person”?, 1. Inquiry into Pride, Vanity, Conceit, Self-Glorification, 2. Pretension, Affectation, 3. Non-Injury, 4. Accommodation, Commodiousness, 5. Straightforwardness, Truthfulness, 6. Service to the Teacher, Steadiness, Constancy, Perseverance, Mastery of Mind, Dispassion Toward Sense Objects, Absence of Excessive Attachment to Loved Ones, Unswerving Non-Dual Devotion to God, Love of Solitude, Constant Practice of Self-knowledge, Restraint.

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Postby Rick » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:22 pm

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Re: Values

Postby Mira » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:03 am

Hi Rick,
There is a book by Swami Dayananda called the Value of Values (on which Ted's article is based). The book is available on amazon. Great to hear your Vedanta studies are going so well! Mira
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Re: Values

Postby Vinay » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:25 am

Hi Rick,

I'm glad you're finding ExploreVedanta an useful resource for studying Vedanta.

~

As Mira said, the book "Value of Values" is the best resource to understand the topic of Values.

Also, on this page you can find 3 talks on "Value of Values" by Swami Viditatmananda:
http://www.avgsatsang.org/hhsvs.html

Vinay
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Re: Values

Postby Stan » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:35 am

Hi Rick, and welcome to the forum !

My personal favourite recommendation for the topic of values would be that of our own James Swartz...otherwise known as Ramji.
I suspect you don`t have his book `The Essence of Enlightenment` as in it there is a whole and very comprehensive chapter ( Chapter xii ) on the value of values. It is largely based on swami Dayananda`s work of the same name, but further expounded on by James.

Our forum headings are based on the chapters of his book just mentioned and anyone with a copy of `E of E` can see what the chapter headings together with brief contents description are. The chapters thus point to specific teachings as laid out in the book.
In this case, as mentioned, it is Chapter xii. I mention all this as this is still a new change to the forum layout.

If you don`t have a copy of the book, you can go to the shiningworld main site and look for the one year course. in it, the book is fully laid out in chapters...as per the forum. it has questions and answers at the end of each chapter so you can see how well you have assimilated the contents. I`m providing the link for chapter xii below.
It`s called the value of values and contains the full chapter out of James` book.
It also has a button for an hour and a half audio webinar on the topic by James.
There is also a link to a written transcription of the same.

http://www.shiningworld.com/site/index.php/one-year-course?id=101

In addition,If you look at chapter ix in the forum headings, you will see it is titled `Dharma Yoga` and underneath, the description of the contents includes... Dharma yoga-aligning with Universal dharmas- Isvara first, Samanya dharma-The universal values and also
Visesha dharma-Interpreted values.

Again, you could go to the one year course and look up that chapter too. I would very much recommend you get a copy of the book too.
Here`s a video by James on Values and habits that you may enjoy and find very useful...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVInBLEdkqs

I think if you do all this and follow the advice of Mira and Vinay, you should get that topic of `Values` well and truly assimilated.
Please feel free to ask more questions...it`s good to have you with us. :-)
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Re: Values

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:28 am

Right on, Rick. Values are most determinant for anyone pursuing liberation. And to make it simple, it boils down to a life style conducive to contemplation, meditation and application of the scriptural teachings of Vedanta. Having a value for Moksha implies having a strong value for peace of mind, because without a peaceful and contemplative mind self-inquiry is not possible.

We also need a life style in harmony with other living beings, the environment, as well with our own apparent nature. Our actions need to be wise in order to produce favorable results which in turn are going to support a sattvic state of mind with the ability to discriminate satya from mithya.

The understanding and application of Karma-Dharma yoga will naturally align your values with your goal. One cannot have a value for contemplation and at same time a strong value for fame and power, therefore it is important that we make an inventory of our values to make sure that our common day-to day values are in harmony with our value for liberation. Conflicting values need to be avoided. Good to hear from you. :)
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Postby Rick » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:24 am

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Re: Values

Postby Anja » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:16 pm

Rick wrote:
.........

I already have a ton of info on Karma Yoga, which is a topic that I see has been attacked from many different angles by different minds sourcing the same teaching, but I am struggling at the moment to find other sources of info on Values.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Many, many thanks in advance...

Rick :)


Regarding values, there is only one value in life that is the one and only value and that is AHIMSA, non-voilence.

If you play by that rule, not hurting anybody, then you can have your cake and eat it too. Because the cake never gets eaten completely. It's too big.

Regarding karma-yoga, there is no way around it anyway. If you can accept that you are forced to do what you can not not do, under the premise of AHIMSA, you will be fine. You choose to pick up some karmic dutys here, and now you play your role according to those dutys. And when you're done with them, you are free to engage in what ever it is you like to do. Under the law of AHIMSA.

"That's all."

Bill Hicks- It s Just A Ride :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYwV0fqEQrw
Anja
 

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Postby Rick » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:59 am

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Re: Values

Postby Andrew » Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:40 am

Hi Rick,

Just a quick reply now and I will try to revisit this thread later today as my wife and I have a bunch of errands to get to this morning.

Simply this: Don't give up just yet. If your karma has lead you to vedanta, then take it as a gift (prasad) and make the best of the opportunity. If you get into it, great, if you decide after reflection that his is not for you, that is ok too, no harm no foul. However, Iswara has put this at your feet right now.

Do not worry overly about qualifications. It is something that we all have to work on to varying degrees. You do not have to wait until you are super duper qualified and then start. Just be aware that there are things to work on. The teachings will help as will the teachers here. Of course, in Vedanta, one does need the qualifications but you cant wait until sainthood and then start learning.

The amount of material can be overwhelming so make sure not to overload oneself. The sure fire way is to begin at the beginning, do a little often and dont try to rush from one teaching to another until the logic is clear. If you get stuck, ask a teacher, it is why they are there. Best starting point is James's "Essence" book. I also found the Berlin Talks very helpful too.

When you are new to this subject, there is a tendency to want to absorb all of it right away and then apply it immediately to rid yourself of suffering. I tried to do this and it didnt work out. I was really excited about the teaching but undergoing horrible stress at work and at home. James told me that I was too 'green' to just jump in and karma yoga my way through huge amounts of challenges.I just need to keep plugging away at inquiry and getting my doubts cleared up. Had I been super qualified like Ramana I would have been "oh really? I am Atma? Cool!" and just gone about my day. But James told me that I wasnt a saint, that saints were very rare, that I wasnt likely to be one and it was ok and better to deal with Jiva me. Big relief.


In your post, you mentioned grief. If you are experiencing grief, I am sorry to hear that. If that is the case, please understand that if there is healing to be done, vedanta is not a psychological therapy. If there is grief to work through, then that is a better focus for now. James has said that vedanta is not therapy and people should not try to use it to treat drug addictions or things like that. I hope you can work through whatever difficulties you might be having.

Right, better go, the wife has asked why I am still sitting here...lol...

Best wishes,

Andrew
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Re: Values

Postby Andrew » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:32 pm

Rick,

Just a PS to my previous post now that I have some more time. I meant to add before that your concern about your own qualifications is honest and more of an asset than being the kind of person who thinks they "have got it" and dont subject themselves to unvarnished introspection. It is probably better to have a question mark against your qualification and to be aware of things that need work than be one of those deeply irritating 'know it all' types who think they are the next big thing in the spiritual world. We already have had too many of those and dont need any more.

As for non-harm, the expression popularized by Gandhi was "ahimsa paramo dharma" or "non harm is the highest dharma".
It is important here to realize that this statement describes an ideal that we can strive for but will never implement fully in the apparent mithya world. It is impossible for this world to be completely harmless. It is the sort of exaggerated, unrealistic expectation that causes seekers more troubles than not.

Although it is impossible, we should not just give up but simply strive in our own lives to cause as little harm as reasonably possible. The magic word here is 'reasonable'. Unfortunately people take this to extremes that become impractical for responsible daily living. Some extreme members of the Jain religion will even strain drinking water in fear of swallowing and harming bacteria. If obsessing over non harm disturbs one's mind or limits one's ability to effectively pursue their dharma, then it is time for a re-think.

I have a friend who is vegetarian and is extremely, often overly concerned about animal welfare. It is admirable that she is trying to reduce harm but it upsets, frustrates her and causes more suffering. If I showed her Sundari's article about the downsides of vegetarianism, I think her head would explode into a million pieces. This world is zero sum, there are no gains without losses and vice versa. All we can do is pay attention to our lives and minimize opportunities for harmful action. Someone once asked Gandhi about ahimsa and asked what should happen if a man was attacked in the street and his son was nearby. Should the son step in or opt for non violence? Gandhi said the son had a duty to protect his father and intervene. Gandhi was for non-harm as much as was reasonable but he was not against legitimate self-defense. If he was 100% against conflict, why would he bother opposing the British Empire in the first place?

Another element of non harm that people dont typically appreciate is that the level of non harm you are responsible for depends upon one's role in life. A monk is held to a different standard than a householder. A soldier should be subject to Geneva Convention rules but a soldier committed to pacifism needs a career change.

A swami connected to the Yogananda lineage addressed this. He said that if you are a householder and find a spider in your fireplace, you should not let your family be cold or go without food because you are worried that you might hurt the spider. Remove the spider and provide for your family. If you are a swami, the rules are different and the spider's wellbeing has a different level of priority. I think that too many people in the West have unrealistic, dewy eyed notions about ahimsa and fail to understand the need to be situationally appropriate which leads to confusion, hand wringing and a lot of wasted time. I am not sugesting that you are like this of course! Only that it is a common trend. A friend of mine is good friends with a Tibetan Lama and he can be a pretty intense dude who is baffled when Westerners get pissed off that Tibetans eat meat. He is not all light, fluffy and smiley but a lot more blunt and pragmatic than the stereotype, romantic image we typically have when people think of Buddhist monks.

Ok, that was quite a diversion but I thought it was helpful to set the stage. As for experiencing "hurt feelings", you do not need to deny them. The exist but they are not real, meaning that they are not permanent nor have any intrinsic value. You can however, inquire into them.

And so my quiet typing time is at an end...lol...back later...


Andrew
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Re: Values

Postby Anja » Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:29 am

Rick wrote:Thanks for your reply.

Please don't take me literally, I do write in broad strokes because I basically don't see the point in articulating every last point so I can be understood.

However,

I don't quite understand many of the points about values.

Let's take this value of non-injury. I understand it means non injury in thought, word and deed? This is quite unrealistic, because if somebody harms you (and you feel it) then what are you supposed to do with the thoughts and feelings? Deny them? Pretend the situation is non existent? I dont know how to process grief properly, and have the assumption that we dont need it while studying vedanta. All Im sensing from the material Im reading (and books like Christians) is that we need to just engage in reconditioning the gunas and stop creating this loop of karma by not acting on hurt feelings and disagreements.

Are we supposed to literally drop them and recondition our dualistic thinking patterns into ones of compassion and understanding?

Does compassion and understanding mean compassion and understanding for the thoughts and person who feels hurt? And if so, how is that going to recondition the mind? Because if im all about self compassion then im just reinforcing duality and victim mentality.

I watched a video from Dayananda about anger, and he said dont deny the anger because it is Isvara. But also dont victimize the person either because they are also Isvara. How does this correlate to mind reconditioning, and managing the guna energies?

Im doubting my qualifications for even starting this work.


The Ahimsa principle is about the intention not to harm. It's about the intention to be beneficial for your fellow beings. It's not about being a passive/agressive softy who isn't able to express (righteous) anger dircetely if it is neccessary to express anger in a certain situation. For example: If someone tries to hit you, you defend yourself. That can involve violence. But the intention isn't to harm somebody but to be not harmed by the one who tries to hit you.

Ahimsa also means not to harm yourself or the community you are a part of. Harming yourself could be, for example, hanging out with people who don't live a dharmic-lifestyle. If you hang out with immoral people, that is harmfull for yourself. Therefore it is said that seeking the companie of Self/self-realized people, saintly sages, is beneficial for the jiva who isn't Self/self-realized yet. If you hang out with immoral people, you will have a hard time to maintain your attitude of non-violence.

If someone feels hurt by what you said or did, although that wasn't your intention to hurt someone, then that is not your fault that the person feels hurt. The whole political correctness debate is about that. Just because you said something and someone feels offended does not mean it actually was intended as an offense.

As an adult one is supposed to not feel hurt by mere words someone is saying. As an adult one is mature enough to know where it comes from when something is said that is perceived as offensive. It is impossible to offend the one who is truely and sincerely grounded in the right mind-set like (traditional) advaita-vedanta is teaching. That doesn't mean that one is immune to critzism. Critizism is appreciated if done by someone who is grounded in Ahimsa. And if it hurts to be critizised, then that is a sign of immaturity.

So, if you feel hurt by something someone has said, then examine why that is. And if you have examined it and you came to the conclusion that it was intended to hurt you, would you still feel hurt? Or would you just think, "nice try"?

It all boils down to the rule: Don't hang out with childrish, immature and immoral people if you can avoid it. That is easier said than done, because we live in a society that values competition and (artificial) hierachies. Therefore it is better to not be a part of such society by disengaging from their values. And under the umbrella of advaita-vedanta you can not be touched by the toxic rain the currant western society is pouring down on you. And Ahimsa is the stick that holds this umbrella together.
Anja
 

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Postby Rick » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:33 pm

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Re: Values

Postby Andrew » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:28 pm

Hi Rick,

Glad to hear that this thread is proving to be beneficial to you. I apologize for getting cut off before. I was getting in 'full flight' with my typing only to be told "we have to go" right in the middle of a thought.

Anyway, I was going add something on inquiry but I see that Anja has contributed on the Ahimsa topic as well. Tag team vedanta? ; )

The mirror of Vedanta is of course the impersonal wisdom of the scripture and the guru is there to instruct you in how to correctly wield it so that you may be self sufficient.

The therapist is not an impersonal knowledge of consciousness but a person trained to have certain opinions. If it is Gestalt, the you get the Gestalt opinion. If you see the Jungians they tell you where your individuation has gone wrong but the Freudians tell you about some sex stuff you are supposed to be harboring towards your parents!

When someone is trained within a particular therapeutic mode, it can be very hard for them to listen to the patient outside of that frame of reference. If they cant listen outside of Gestalt or Humanist or whatever, then you are basically sick and broken until you agree with them.


Of course, I am not decrying the use of therapy because it can be helpful for many people. However, these therapeutic concepts are based in the notion that there is something "wrong" or undeveloped in your personality that can be 'worked on' or 'grown' or 'developed'. Vedanta says "you are just fine. Your jiva personality is just a kluge of conditioning in the body/mind complex. It is limited, not real and not perfect so you may as well love it anyway."

I think in Vedanta, the idea that we are going to perfect our personalities is like rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on the sinking ship. As I said, some people need therapy and it is a tricky matter of finding the right kind of resonance between patient, therapist amd modality. Bit of a crap shoot to be honest.

From what you say, it doesnt sound to me like you found the goldilocks "just right" combination for Gestalt therapy to be helpful to you. If you feel worse after 5 years, then something is amiss. It has beem said that Jungian analysis, like herpes is forever.

Vedanta is intended for a stable, mature ego that has sought liberation and has come to the conclusion "there has got to be something better than this?!" Which is why it is not therapy as it presupposes that the seeker has some reasonable psychological maturity. That is not to say that following vedanta wont be healing but understand that it is in the moksha game and not the "make me a better person because my awful mother didnt appreciate my music choices when I was in high school game".

I would suggest keep sticking with the teachings, especially James' recommendations on forming a more satvic life. Hunker down to karma yoga attitude in the knowledge that it will help prep the mind for understanding. Know that you are in good company. In the Gita, Arjuna is perplexed and his buddy, Krishna basically tells him in a jokey manner to suck it up and get on with it. When Arjuna cant do that he asks for help. Krishna understands that his friend needs serious help so he tells him about the Self to which Arjuna says "Huh?". Krishna then moves the discussion along to karma yoga knowing that Arjuna is too rajasic to get into meditation let alone into grasping subtle teaching.

Incidentally, this is why I have a question mark about corporate meditation programs...lol...because they teach a meditation technique as a stand alone be all/end all but they never get into values or about changing ones life to make a stable platform from which they can meditate and study.

Vedanta says that meditation is useful but get your life in order. The yoga sutras say the same as does the Buddha's eightfold path. Examine your life, identify tamasic traits because they have to go. The rajasic ones need editing and develop satvic habits. Meditate and study in that framework and see how you do :)

Right, gotta get dinner and do my canine dharmas ie: take the dog out for a pee!

Best wishes,

Andrew
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Postby Rick » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:58 am

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Re: Values

Postby Anja » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:16 am

Rick wrote:....

I want to quote a sentence from The Essence Of Enlightenment:

"But to know what you are, and to know what it means to be who
you are, you need a mirror. My experience of myself is not a mirror for
you."


What this says to me is that the therapists don't have much ground to stand on during the course of a therapy if their main method is understanding themselves through empathy and then reflecting their own experience back to you for you to assimilate. Many times I struggled with the therapist arguing that he did not accurately assess what was going on in my mind, and then on the next session would tell me that I knew more about myself than he did. Bizarre, and left me frustrated because of the anti-intellectual attitude of these kinds of therapies to actually tell you what is going on and help you interpret experience properly.

I came out of the experience a little bit more philosophical for sure. But my mind is much less sharp, I'm more emotional, more prone to injury, and my mind is dull. I find it difficult to sit still or read a book, I daydream a lot and I'm just generally a mess in terms of not being able to identify what is going on inside and resolve it. My thinking is actually still very black and white despite the therapist attmepts at "educating" me with hyper politically correct ideas that left me ruminating more than actually experiencing. I soon discarded this kind of thinking, but am still very much identified with this person, the story, the ideas.

If anybody has any advice about this I'd be really greatful, because I am not sure what else to do, and I don't think seeing another therapist is an option, based on my last experience I would be happy to never see one again, I have no inclination to tread that path again. But I was looking at the Vedanta psychological programme and it does seem like a therapeutic path, it has similarities to therapy in that it has the values, and real step by step methods to just get the mind quiet, so I'm assuming that with a quiet enough mind then the clouds of distraction will just begin to evaporate?
.....



To find the right scripture to work with is key in (traditional) advaita-vedanta, as I understand it. I was into the Bhagavad-Gita for many years and it worked for me. I read a few different translations over the years. Now I can say I have a pretty good idea what is said in it and I can also find some flaws in its teachings. But basically I used it as a means for advice when I was confused by what happend to me. When I needed an answer I used to flip through the pages of the Gita and when some verse caught my eye I read it as the answer to my question.

I also did therapie for some years. Neo-freudian analysis. It did not remotely solved my existential problems and questions. Just the opposite. I had lots of arguments with my therapist, who mostely tried to blame my mother for something which I refused to accept. Because my mother was the "victim" of her mother and she was the victim of her mother and so on, back to where it all began. I ended my therapeutic relationship with my therapeut by telling him that I consider him as a charlatan and that I think that being well adjusted to a sick society isn't a sign of mental health. Then he called me a total denier and then I called him a charlatan again. To seperate from him in such terms feels good because I finally confronted him and his "method".

Anyway...

If you feel your mind is dull and you can't concentrate on reading, maybe just do what you enjoy doing most. What ever that may be. And if you think your mind is spinning and your thoughts aren't helpfull or enjoyable, then you may try mantra-yappa for a while to clean the mind from spinning, when reading scripture isn't the right thing for you now. I did that as I was in a somehow paranoid state of mind some years ago. I picked a mantra and repeated it silently when ever a thought came up. I did that for month in a row. Because I knew that the thoughts I was thinking are not benefical or encouraging for me. It was just some fear-based drivel.

Another method might be to write about it what ever it is you think is bothering you. I did that too. I wrote for about two years every day what ever came to my mind. Unsensored. Now my mind is what I would call free from Self/self doubt. And I can shut my mind off by using a mantra or by just not taking it seriously what comes up as thoughts.
The mind, the thinking-faculty, needs training. The mind is an instrument for Self/self-inquiry and isn't meant to just chat away with all kinds of meaningless drivel. That's what avaita-vedanta is good for. It trains the mind to be focused, to not meandering around without direction.

So, when you perceived your therapie-experience as non-benefical for you, like I did too, just write it off as that: just another experience that confirmed you of what you (subconsciously) already knew all along anyway. Write it off as another stepping stone in your journey. Who knows what it will be good for in the future. In my case, I know now that navel-gasing and parent-blaming isn't beneficial for me. What I was suffering from was existential angst, although being reasonably educated in western-societys skill-sets.
Anja
 

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Postby Rick » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:23 am

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Re: Values

Postby Andrew » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:09 am

Hi Rick,

Phew! Glad you are getting some relief :)

The big relief for me was finding James and his way of articulating Vedanta. I had come across Swami Dayananda and others connected to his lineage that made me think "Ok, now this guy is really into something I want to know about!" but it was James which brought the big 'exhale' moment. His 'How to Attain Enlightenment' book, followed up by some email discussions caused to me to delve into Vedanta like nothing else. It was very simple really, it was just him explaining that enlightenment wasn't an experience. No samadhis, no kundalini, no chakra explosions, no visions, no angels, no Om vibrations thundering through the house. Of course if any of those things happened, all well and good but they were not mandatory. Also, while qualifications are required, being a saint was not.

This killed off the vast percentage of my 'spiritual anxiety' at a stroke. The knowledge that I was ok and that self-knowledge was something distinctly possible and not a vague, ill-defined, mystical experience that only happened to super cool 'spiritual' types. Phew! (times a thousand)

As for therapists, the first one I ever saw in my early 20s was a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. With him I had the 'goldilocks' experience and after literally one session I went away feeling fantastic. His schtick was: "Hey man, you seem anxious, but you are not the worst case I've seen. In fact, I can see you are a smart guy and you will employ the techniques to keep this in check. You really aren't as sick as you think you are and you'll be just fine".

I walked out of there feeling great because he put the control in my hands. You can do it!

A few years later I went through a deeply stressful period and the anxiety came roaring back. The guy I saw before was long gone and I saw a Humanist therapist who was terrible. She was clearly 'phoning it in', had already decided what the problem was and she was utterly resistant to my personal research into things like diet, exercise & meditation for example. (I changed my eating habits after I read 'Potatoes Not Prozac'.) So I built my own treatment protocol in defiance of her and felt great. I stopped going to sessions and never looked back, this was in 1999. I became disciplined about what I ate & when, I practiced meditation & martial arts and I made sure I was well hydrated. I trained myself to observe what thought patterns were arising and notice the pre-cursor signs that signaled the run up to an anxiety episode. One day as I was at work I felt an anxiety event building and said (in my mind) "I see what you're trying to do." Then I chuckled quietly, the feeling dispersed and I knew then that I had made a significant step in dismantling the conditioning. (My rationale was that if I had never been anxious prior to my late teens/early 20s, then it must have a cause and not arisen randomly. Therefore, I believed it could be 'undone'. Probably an influence from reading Buddhist books.)

Years later I also figured out that I had, at times, had 'non-dual' experiences but in not understanding what they were, got scared and thought something horrible was happening. Something like being out in a crowded place and feeling my sense of being an 'individual person' getting overwhelmed and blurred out. It was just that little ego voice saying "Shit!! We're going to disappear arghghghghh!" Non-dual experience + wonky blood sugar = The Horror...lol..

As for the parent thing, I was blessed with amazing parents so that was never an issue. In one of James' lectures he has said, very emphatically that to proceed in Vedanta one has to 'stop blaming your parents' because 'it's not them, it's just that you're not getting what you want'. Given how much the West is obsessed with 'self-esteem' and 'inner children' and 'feeling validated' etc, this is a radical poke in the (3rd) eye.

I had a funny discussion with my wife about this because she had mentioned something about self-esteem and I said "Hmm..sounds all well and good but self-esteem isn't real". She looked at me like I said that the moon was made of green cheese or something. I said "Right now in the 21st century, everyone is convinced that people do or not do certain things in their lives because of too much or too little self esteem. But to what did they attribute their behaviors 200 or 300 years ago? They had alcoholics 300 years ago, but not single person would have thought 'Bill drinks because his mother was a prostitute and he has low self esteem'. What did we all do & think before someone coined the phrase? How did people in 1716 explain addicts?"

As a more serious side note, there was an interesting news story about Middle Eastern refugees coming to the US from war-torn circumstances. They arrive here and, at first, feel pretty relieved because they are not living on a knife-edge for daily survival. Then it's common after the relief ends to feel awful - anxiety, depression, phobic etc. All the terrible things they have witnessed or experienced catch up to them when they are no longer in a threatening environment. The healthcare services step in to help but the problem they have is that, not only are they often having to talk across language barriers, but also talk across cultures that do not have psychological or linguistic equivalents to Western ideas. So while we're all going: "Well Susan, it's important we must address your self-esteem issues around food because you were raised by an Uncle you didn't particularly like who criticized your weight", people from Syria are saying "Self esteem? What is that? PTSD? What is that?" We are struggling to help some of these people because we have assumed, arrogantly that our Western psychological discourse is cross-cultural and applicable.

Right, I need to shut up....but in closing, another useful comment from James is the advice to not beat yourself up emotionally because 'you are not responsible for the contents of your mind'. Our minds are comprised of conditioning, the vast majority of which we acquired without choosing. The Causal Body is full of 'seeds' that bloom in our minds as 'what we think about' and we have no real idea how any of it got there. We only need to handle that which is inimical to self-knowledge - the rest can get a pass.

Andrew
Andrew
 
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Re: Values

Postby Anja » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:10 am

Andrew wrote:Hi Rick,

....

The big relief for me was finding James and his way of articulating Vedanta. I had come across Swami Dayananda and others connected to his lineage that made me think "Ok, now this guy is really into something I want to know about!" but it was James which brought the big 'exhale' moment. His 'How to Attain Enlightenment' book, followed up by some email discussions caused to me to delve into Vedanta like nothing else. It was very simple really, it was just him explaining that enlightenment wasn't an experience. No samadhis, no kundalini, no chakra explosions, no visions, no angels, no Om vibrations thundering through the house. Of course if any of those things happened, all well and good but they were not mandatory. Also, while qualifications are required, being a saint was not.

This killed off the vast percentage of my 'spiritual anxiety' at a stroke. The knowledge that I was ok and that self-knowledge was something distinctly possible and not a vague, ill-defined, mystical experience that only happened to super cool 'spiritual' types. Phew! (times a thousand)

...

Andrew


In my understanding in (traditional) advaita-vedanta there is no such thing/experience called enlightenment. That's more a buddhist concept. Self/self-knowledge is the advaita-vedanta concept. But nowerdays people tend to find the enlightenment concept more fancy and more appealing. Therefore, I assume, James choose the title of his book, How to Attain Enlightenment, to pick up the ones who run after "enlightenment" but are actually after Self/self-knowledge.

"If you know that there is no such thing/experience as enlightenment, you're enlightened." (Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj)

Self/self-knowledge is about examining and enquiring into to the nature of Self/self. And your whole life counts in that regard. Every detail, every experience, every event, every tiny little thing is what can be examined under the light of advaita-vedanta's concept. And then, if that is done properly for a while, it can come as a flash of insight what it really is you are. Or it can come in pieces, bit by bit. It's not an experience of some sort, because all experiences are equally valid in regard of Self/self-inquiry.

It is a knowing, not a particular experience/epiphanie what makes you Self/self-realized. Therefore all testemonys and accunts of people who claim to having had certain experiences/epiphanies are not IT.

And yes, James' way of delivering the teachings can really be a gold-mine for seekers.

:D
Anja
 

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Postby Rick » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:13 am

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Last edited by Rick on Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rick
 
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Re: Values

Postby Anja » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:30 am

Rick wrote:Question for anyone interested in answering:

When you started reading James books, did you get annoyed at all the B.S being spoken of out there? It looks like almost everyone (99.9999%) of the people in the spiritual community are just lying outright, claiming they know things and clearly misleading people.

I don't understand how they can do this. Well, I do, because it's a form of attention seeking. But how many people are also listening to these idiots too? Millions of people are all deluded and just regurgitating nonsense to get noticed but rationalize it as hleping people.

I'm not just speaking of therapists, but every tom dick and harry who has ever picked up a spiritual book, I can see in the ways they talk nonsense and don't even bat an eyelid. Maybe they see what they are doing in time and eventually drop off and stop their deceiving? I don't know what happens to them when the dissappear off the scene, if they get better or not and just start behaving like a normal person, but it is starting to get on my nerves a bit. I mostly laugh at it because it's obvious it's complete nonsense in light of common sense, but there is also a part of me that is saddened by it.

How does Vedanta approach this? Is this just the eternal bullshit of Isvara and we're supposed to just laugh at it and accept it as a gift?

Any thoughts?


In my understanding it's like watching TV. You have a lot of channels, but you also have a remote-control. You can pick by the remote-control what channel interests you.

I don't think that all so called spiritual people are lying and missleading. Some genuinely think they have something of some value to deliver. I think very few are consciously and deliberately deceiving. And those are the ones we, as (traditional) advaita-vedanta devotee's/lovers/fans, like to expose. The other ones are just some flowers in the garden growing under the tree of advaita-vedanta. There are only a few major BS'ers who actively misslead seekers. And I know who they are. The rest is just still green behind the ears. No need to worry about them.
Anja
 

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