Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From The Archives: For Do It Yourselfers

[First posted 7/12/2010]

Above Left: Artist rendering of calmodulin molecule depicting protein "dark energy."
Above Right: “Autumn Rhythm” by Jackson Pollock, 1950.

Sydney asks,
"Dear Tim and August,Does any particular practise and by this I mean the non-dual way of being confer any spiritual advantage when transforming to a 'Risen'?"

Dear Sydney ~
A trick question! Asking a question automatically begins the dualistic process of yes and no. If there was no question, there would be no need for an answer. There can't be yes without a no, or a no without a yes. Perhaps this is why a traditional zen response would be something that totally ignores the question, as if it doesn't exist, as if to say, "Do not leave the state of single mindedness in order to find out what it is; do not look into a mirror to see yet another you who is not you."

So perhaps much unlearning is necessary, not learning. Unlearning means letting go, giving up, surrendering — which all lead to rest. As Tim said after he awoke in a bed in his new geography, ". . . glorious, glorious peace . . ."

Seeking an advantage will also set up a false system of duality. This is the ego-mind seeking something better, best, more-than, which need not-so-good and less-than to exist.

After one has transitioned, one does not necessarily "rise" -- which is another way of saying, "become fully and consciously aware and awake." Upon a spirit's release from the body, if the ego-mind has "crystallized" so that it still brings echoes of its former terrestrial vibration, the newly-released spirit will take its manifestation instructions from those vibrations, which are usually to resist change, and even to try to return to some former state. This is neither rising nor rest. If we awaken now, while on the earth - by correcting the imbalance brought about by a dominating ego-mind - we will continue on in this awakened state — which we call "transmutation." If we are in this state when the body dies, this awakened transition is Rising.

How to correct the imbalance while embodied, to achieved Authentic Self realization? Serendipitously, friend Rob just sent us this quote of Ramesh from the archives of The Advaita Fellowship:

"The 'direct method': Destroy the ego by seeking its identity, does raise a valid question - who is asked to destroy the ego?

"Perhaps the explanation is that what is to be destroyed is not the ego itself but the malignant element in the ego... the sense of personal doership, volition. When the ego finally, totally realizes that it is not in charge of life, but merely represents the body as a separate entity, a separate, uniquely programmed instrument through which the Primal Energy functions and brings about whatever is to be brought about in the moment, according to a Cosmic Law - then the ego realizes its impotency and remains placid and inactive. The ego realizes its passive role as a mere witness of all that is happening in the moment.

That is self-realization.
If, any way, we are to learn, in The Risen it is suggested:

"It may seem strange that the ego-mind is one of physical life’s tools and not our enemy, but believing in an enemy creates and sustains an environment for it and strengthens the belief as well, which was spawned by the ego-mind in the first place. As Authentic Self, we have the legitimate authority and the real ability to impress beliefs upon our own ego-mind, not the other way around. Doing so will generate authentic feelings, and then consequential emotions of health or non-health, depending on the belief.

"In a way, the ego-mind is our child, originally designed to be useful, to learn to help, to be included, to be appreciated, to grow, and to be loved. To discipline it does not mean to punish it. A disciple is a learner who needs a gentle, loving teacher. When a student makes a mistake but insists that he hasn’t, a compassionate teacher would not accuse the student of being a liar. Instead she would simply and clearly ask for the student’s consciously aware attention and then suggest other perspectives and possibilities for consideration. The teacher might also gently remind the student, “We are individualized, conscious parts of the same Greater Whole, joined with all others as one, and we are also each and uniquely our own person.”

"In this way the learner is enabled to make personal decisions under guidance. Can the ego-mind be guided and transformed—to become the helping tool it seems to have been meant to be? Can it be cared for and nurtured to grow into a mature and useful citizen of Greater Mind, or will it be allowed to run our lives like a tyrant with willful and vindictive addictive urges? Can it come to see and accept that it is part of a Greater Design, and that its role will come to a natural conclusion in the way that a flowering bush comes to fruition, the fruit to be used as nourishment for a higher purpose?

"As consciously aware individuals we each must individually find the answers as Authentic Self. There is grace enough in our personal and shared universes to focus what Sri Nisargadatta describes as “affectionate awareness” (turiya) onto the ego-mind and transform it into a useful form of energy as part of our transformative Self-transition, or transmutation."

As can be seen, believing in an enemy, in an opposite or "other" begins the illusion of not-one, or dualism. The emphasis is on the individual; the answer is within each one, not in each other. This hearkens back to the previous post about race-consciousness beliefs, such as those that encourage an individual to believe that "humans are inherently social and therefore to be individual is less desirable than to be part of a community." It is the ego-mind that needs to be social in order to have "other" to compare itself to, and thus find and establish an "identity." An individual —Authentic Self — needs nothing to establish, for it simply and already is. Accepting this race belief will ensure that one will always be less-than-seeking-more-than. This is why the primary existential despair of our modern world is the prevailing feeling of meaninglessness; non-existence; hopelessness, or as Kierkegaard said it, "despair of spiritlessness; despair of encapsulation; despair of defiance." As Authentic Self, we are complete, and need add nothing more. Seeking to complete oneself by joining others sets up dualism and thus a feeling of longing for oneness again, in an endless cycle of insanity.

These existentialist ideas of the 19th and 20th centuries bring to mind another existentialist term, dasein, or being-in-the-world, and the process of daseinanalysis, or trying to see what is in one's experience and describe it as accurately as possible. Existentialism is a highly intellectualized lens through which to view the individual, and perhaps it can be seen that even trying to describe an experience is a removal from the experience, thus dualism.

From a Risen stance, I am the experience; and I am the lens. Vipassana is an ancient Middle Indo-Aryan word for a process of observation—observing “what is” from moment-to-moment—observing “what is” as it is, thus gaining a “panoramic view” of one’s life while immersed in all life. Dualism is of no consequence from within this total self-immersion.

We close for now with a quote used in The Risen — excerpts from the discourses of Shri S N Goenka and Sayagyi U BA Khin on Vipassana:

“As you experience it yourself you experience that the entire material world is nothing but vibration. We have to experience the ocean of infinite waves surging within, the river of inner sensations flowing within, the eternal dance of the countless vibrations within every atom of the body. We have to witness our continuously changing nature. All of this is happening at an extremely subtle level . . . As you experience the reality of matter to be vibration, you also start experiencing the reality of the mind: consciousness, perception, sensation and reaction. If you experience them properly with Vipassana, it will become clear how they work.”