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Neo-Advaita Left Too Many Questions
Anna: Hi, Tan.
I’m actually German but as fluent in English as I am in German.
I “found” your contact info via the ShiningWorld website.
I recently have noticed the limitations about the Neo-Advaita message and have started looking on the internet where I could find the “real” answers I am looking for.
I am dedicated to become all I can be and am not looking for the easy way out or remain in ignorance while pretending to have understood. So I am ready to go all the way.
I live in Berlin. I am trying to find out where I can find a “real” teacher or help in pursuing the path of the real teachings.
I have no idea where to find it. So far I have gone my way completely alone. I’ve never had advice, a teacher or anything else, just me and books, videos sometimes and practising and searching.
It got me to this point, but now I do not know where to find help. But I know I am ready to go further.
I’ve been studying Gangaji’s teachings, and the sense that too many questions remained unanswered became so strong that it is really bothering me now, to put it mildly. The same with the very valuable, but limited, Eckhart Tolle teachings. They all served as pointers but left me frustrated.
I wanted to write to you to ask if you can point me in the right direction. I would be so happy to find out where to turn.
Many thanks for your time and for reading this.
~ Best wishes, Anna
Tan: Dear Anna, your dedication to freedom, and grace, has led you to Vedanta.
I understand completely what you are going through because it is the eternal story of the person who wants freedom. And this is a universal reoccurring story.
Your story in particular is very similar to mine, which we can elaborate at some later stage.
I will attach an essay which I wrote many years ago on Neo-Advaita.
Now, if you want to stay with Vedanta, you will have to learn a completely new vocabulary because it is the words and the misidentifications supported through improper use of words that hypnotize the mind into believing that you are not free. If words are used in a vague or inconsistent manner, they do not help to resolve doubts and confusion in the mind but just continue to create even more confusion. This is the case with most modern teachings, especially Neo-Advaita.
The fact is:
You are nondual, actionless, full, complete, unconcerned, limitless, ordinary, ever-present awareness.
(In Vedanta we use awareness and consciousness as synonyms.)
You actually know that you are non-dual complete awareness, but – there are doubts and questions in your mind if this is really true.
So the job of any good teaching is to support you so that you can resolve the doubts about your true identity on your own.
You are not going to become what you are. You are what you are: limitless awareness. That is the truth. But the doubts prevent you from appreciating the truth and the freedom resulting from that truth.
There are some doubts/questions that you know and could immediately write down and there are others that are still hidden and will come to the surface when you start investigating by using the teachings/contemplations (prakriyas). The teachings will even provoke doubts, which will be resolved.
Vedanta has a highly structured methodology that will resolve all your doubts.
Only your mind will be able to appreciate your freedom. You – are already free.
In the line of teachings and teachers (sampradaya) of which I am just a mouthpiece all the words such as mind, intellect, God, consciousness, ego, etc. have precise definitions and are consistent in all texts, going back to the Upanishads which are more than 3,000 years old.
The Sanskrit terms are very precise in defining the phenomena, and once in a while I might throw in a Sanskrit word, just to show that this teaching is an impersonal one. It is not mine. It is independent of the teacher and of the person. It is not that one “enlightened person” has cobbled together or invented this stuff. Over thousands of years this methodology has been refined and is being used successfully to set people free. It has worked for thousands of years. It continues to work as we speak.
Now, here is my recommendation on how to proceed:
1. Be ready to park all your spiritual knowledge for a while. You do not have to give it up. But park it for a while. Have an open mind. If you do not do that, there will be a voice in your mind trying to fit Vedanta into your spiritual understanding/world view. But your current understanding is part of the problem because there is a mixture of truth and ignorance. This mixture will not work, because you will not really have listened and understood the words without a biased mind.
Vedanta is revealed truth. First, you listen with an open and clear mind so that the words can have an effect on the mind. Then you take your questions/frictions that will be there based on your “old” spiritual view and contemplate any two opposing ideas. Then your unexamined logic and misunderstandings will fall away.
2. Start reading How to Attain Enlightenment or The Essence of Enlightenment by my teacher James Swartz (Ramji). If you do not have the money to buy these books download Meditation - Inquiry into the Self from the ShiningWorld website.
In these books the essence of all the Upanishadic texts is distilled and is in itself sufficient to set you free if your mind is qualified. You will learn about the qualifications in the book.
3. Read slowly. Do not skip chapters. Only move to the next chapter once you understand and have agreement with the content.
4. If you have questions or doubts, write those down and you can contact me so that we can resolve them one by one via email or Skype.
So I hope this is enough as a starter. If you wish, we can continue in German or English, depending on your preference.
If you trust Vedanta, and your mind is qualified, there is only one destination: self-knowledge, freedom.
~ Love, Tan
PS: There is also a highly qualified self-realized student of James living in Berlin. I can point you towards him if you wish.