Sunday, May 10, 2020

Dorothy Hunt talk recorded tomorrow for SAND

I just noticed that Dorothy Hunt, one of my teachers for several years, will be giving a recorded talk tomorrow for the on-line SAND conference.

Many years ago, a most remarkable thing happened at a retreat Dorothy was co-leading. I've told the story in the "Journey" page of this blog but I'll summarize here:

At the end of the retreat, we were eating lunch. I was telling another participant about something wise Dorothy had said and that I wanted to have said myself. (My ego wanted credit for being wise.)

Dorothy was sitting at the far end of the communal table but somehow she heard me. She said, "You DID say it."

I looked at her, puzzled, and she repeated, "You DID say it."

This time, something in me heard it. It hit my gut so hard that I felt like I was doubling over, although I think that was the just sense of it -- the way the subtle energy hit me. I went over to her and knelt down in gratitude. I couldn't believe it but I knew it was true. It came out of her mouth but I said it -- the real I, not the one limited by the body.



Sunday, April 12, 2020

"I" versus "me"

I've been feeling things sinking down lately. I mean by that that I seem to be seeing from a deeper level, not from the mind.

One way this has manifest is in my response to something I wrote maybe a year ago and came across last night. I can't find it in my computer, so I'll just summarize:

The objective self and the subjective self are two different things. I've often noticed that, for me, the resonance with the universal is in the "me," i.e., the table is "me"; you are "me," etc. But when I say "I," I don't feel this resonance even though in Hindu thought, the "I" is what is talked about as the universal one.

I've pondered this off and on. I don't know if those in cultures where there is no difference in the word for the objective and subjective self, such as Japanese, there is any difference in experiencing the limitless and the limited self or not.

In any case, being reminded of this difference, which I keep knowing and forgetting, brought a clarity to my sometimes muddled thoughts. Moving into that timeless, empty dimension, there is a true self that knows no boundaries and is made of love. The limited self, at least after awakening, can sink into that limitless dimension, too, where it disappears into the universal, but then it reemerges and often forgets what it has learned, at least in my experience. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

How Do We Embody Non-dual Reality?

Last Saturday, I came across an article – “Nondual Realization and the Personal Self,” by Judith Blackstone (2010) – that I had bookmarked some time ago. At the time, I was deeply impressed with the short, two-page description of the experience of embodied nonduality. It described the realization in language that reflected my own experiences. She writes,

“Fundamental consciousness is experienced as luminous stillness, or emptiness. For example, if we have realized this dimension and we look at a table, we will see the table with all of its weight, color and texture, and at the same time, we will be aware that the table is 'transparent.' It appears to be pervaded by-or made of–luminous space.”

I still remember my first experience of this many years ago, and taking it to Adya for confirmation. Then, when I complained that I don't experience people I have issues with this way, he responded, “That's why it starts with a table. Tables are easy.”

I don't remember the exact year of that experience, but I'd guess around 2006. And all the teachers, including Adya and Blackstone, say something to the effect that “Eventually the patterns of personality that are in the way fall away.”

In the fourteen ensuing years, there has been a gradual deepening of the realization, but still, that sense of unease when confronting certain people has not dissipated. What is in the way? Sometimes I think about this rationally; sometimes I just try to feel into it. When I do the latter, I suspect that the “personal self” that seems to get in the way is just, as Adya used to say, this luminous emptiness “in drag.” No, I know that. But in the midst of an argument, or fear that something I need will be taken from me, I never remember.

So this is what I thought Blackstone might help me with. I searched for her website – and found she was giving an on-line workshop the very next day. I signed up.

There were only 16 of us in the workshop, so she had time to observe everyone. I noticed that she was very perceptive – that she could sense people's subtle energies even through the internet connection.

She exercises she led us through were about exploring our experience of nondual reality in our bodies. When it came time to ask questions, I asked how this experience and the “personal self” fit together. She said she didn't use the term “personal self.” But, I objected, you wrote a paper about this! She didn't argue but she also didn't remember, which made explaining where my question was coming from pretty much impossible. I tried asking the question in different ways two other times and the final time, she asked what I meant by the “personal self.” I was caught up short – I realized I didn't know.

It goes without saying that it's pretty much impossible to solve a problem when you don't define it accurately. When I awoke the next morning, I pondered my confusion about just what the “personal self” is. According to Adya's teaching, as I understand it, it is the illusory self constructed out of thought. But “personal self” in Blackstone's article seemed to be something different. I re-read the article and my attention focused on this paragraph:

At the very center of one’s body there is a subtle vertical channel, running from the base of the torso to the top of the head. This channel (called the central channel in Tibetan Buddhism and sushumna in Hinduism) is our entranceway into fundamental consciousness. This means that we can realize nonduality through deep inward contact with our own individual form.”

So this seems to be the key. It is, I think, also what Tolle meant when he said spoke of the “inner-body” as the “doorway into the unmanifested.” It's probably also the energy channel that I contacted when I was doing neo-Reichian work back in the 1970s and awoke to nondual reality for the first time.

So, given that we all must have this subtle vertical channel, what gets in the way of living as nondual reality 24/7? I think it is that that channel gets blocked, or bound up maybe is more accurate, in order to protect our form when we are children. So doing Reichian energy work would to liberate this channel.

But then the energy gets blocked again by habitual patterns of holding fear or other emotions. Clearing this channel, allowing feeling to flow through and not get stuck, seems to be the key to fully and consciously living the nondual reality that has been realized.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Notes on Rupert Spira's Satsang -- March 4, 2020

Note that this is not a summary of the evening's talk but rather jottings of what resonated with me. Also, these are not exact quotations: I tried to capture the essence.

Our pure Being doesn't share the qualities or limitations of our particular being.

When it is clear that no image can veil the screen, then nothing is any longer a distraction.

You shine in the midst of experience, no matter what the experience is.

Even when you say, “I am depressed,” the screen [awareness] is shining there. So there is no need to control experience.

Awareness + thoughts and experiences = the separate self.

You have given experience the power to veil who you really are.

Awareness is not an attribute of a “person.”

Overlooking our Being results in anxiety, agitation, etc.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Universal Truth of God's Immanence

I went caroling this evening with a few people in my neighborhood. We sang the second verse of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," which I didn't remember singing before. And there it was: 

"Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th'incarnate Deity"


I teared up in surprise. This revelation, so central to Eastern religion -- the realization that we all are manifestations of spirit -- here it is in Christianity as well.

Of course, most Christians would probably say that it was only true of Jesus: that's what made him special. And I would disagree on that -- because once you see it, you know it's true of everyone and everything. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Is Hasidism nondual?

Those like myself who don't have any contact with Hasidic Judaism have only a superficial idea of what it is. We may have seen movies which take place in that community, but the movies seem to emphasize the idiosyncratic aspects of the sect: the insular culture, the quaint dress, etc. We don't often get an in-depth view of the teachings.

So, I was rather surprised to read in THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS the following summary of the theology:

", , , God's essence dwells in the here and now, and the encounter with God consists of the conscious realization of his veiled immediate pressence. . . .[E]very  particular entity draws its vitality and existence from the essence of God that dwells at its core."
         --- from "The Dance Goes On,"May 24, 2018, p. 32,  by Moshe Halbertal, summarizing from HASIDISM: A NEW HISTORY, by David Biale, et all.

I expect some experts may define Hasidism differently and I also expect that some might say that nonduality comes from a certain Indian tradition and those who are not in that lineage can't be said to be nondual. It's all about labels, isn't it, though? I consider a line of thinking nondual if it leads to the understanding that nothing is separate, that that which animates all things is also their essence and not separate from them. The implication of that, of course, is also that no manifestation is ultimately separate from any other since all are of the same essence. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Rupert Spira: Notes on his teachings

I spent a day at a Rupert Spira event last weekend. He is not a teacher to whom I would have initially been attracted because, although I didn't know it then, I was looking for spiritual "experiences" -- more and more deeper, better, satisfying experiences. I don't think this is a bad thing -- it's just the way the separate self looks at the falling into emptiness that is our truest nature. But when that emptiness becomes known, it is seen as a lack of "experience" in the sense of "something happening to me" since the "me" is absent. That said, a teacher who aims straight for that, who continually undercuts the ego, would have seemed abstract and inaccessible to me in the beginning.

But what I'm looking for now is more of an explanation of what is realized. Often I lack ways of explaining what is known that make complete sense intellectually. Rupert has a very precise way of using language, and so, as I listen to him, things fall into place.

What I thought I would do, then, is transcribe the notes I took at his day-long satsang. I want to stress that these notes are not any kind of objective account of what transpired at the meeting, nor are they an objective account of Rupert's teachings in general. To get that, you should go to the source. What I'm offering here are just notes on what resonated for me. Perhaps some of them will resonate for the reader as well.

(These statements are approximate -- sometimes he spoke too fast for me to get the words exactly, but when I couldn't, I tried to paraphrase accurately.)

1. Space pervades the body and that's why I feel the body is myself.

2. The name that Knowing gives itself is “I.”

3. Self (capital S) is prior to experience. Small “s” self is the mixture of Self and limited self (personality, qualities, etc). So we need to separate out “Self” from the rest to see it clearly. Then experience loses the capacity to veil or muddy our Being.

4. Ask yourself “On whose behalf am I feeling fear [or whatever the feeling]?

5. We fear our own annihilation but also long for it [and this is basis of fear].

6. The drama of life doesn't cease; it just loses its capacity to veil our True Nature.

7. Maya remains. Ignorance goes.

8. Awareness assumes the form of each of our minds for the sake of manifesting experience.

9. We are the activity of consciousness through which consciousness knows itself in the world.

10. I'm not experiencing 10,000 things; it's always just an indivisible whole.

11. Each of us is a localization of infinite consciousness.

12. Some minds are transparent to their source.

13. Responses to the world are informed by reference to Awareness. If not aware, Awareness is distorted and opaque and doesn't come out with clarity but is influenced by belief in separation.

14. The investigation of the body is not a prerequisite to knowing the Self.

15. After recognition of the true nature of Self is the time to wash the body clean of residue of belief in the separate self.

16. Soul is the deepest aspect of the separate self.

17. Love is the recognition of our shared Being (infinite consciousness).

18. The only thing the separate self really wants is to be divested of its sense of separation.

19. Grace is the movement back to the naturally expanded state. Individually, this is experienced as the desire for happiness.

20. Suffering is the price consciousness pays for manifestation.

21. If you know there is no otherness, this will express as qualities of Love, e.g., peace, justice, compassion.