Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Simply Words

Enlightenment...

Is simply a word
that points to...

Bondage...

Is simply a word
that points to...

Enlightment...

Is simply a word...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Speaking Truth

Well, the last blog, as well as the following satsang, precipitated quite a
diverse mixture of responses, and if nothing else, response (whether "good"
or "bad") shows that at least it is registering on some level.

Looking up something, I came across a quote that my teacher had written.
Throughout the Vedic scriptures, satyam, or truthfulness is touted as one
of the highest principles. Indeed, Kali yuga, or the present age, is
defined by the fact that the last leg of dharma IS truthfulness, and that
it steadily declines as we progress through this age, until it basically
disappears altogether. I have often quoted Orwell, and his "To speak the
truth in times of universal deceit is an act of rebellion," and those who
know me, know that I love to rant and rave regarding political, spiritual
or cultural 'correctness' which is generally little more than ignoring
Truth, in the name of how we would 'like' it to be. But what we want and
what is don't often match up, so we are left with a discrepancy, or one of
those wonderful cognitive dissonances.

Anyway, so this is what my guru said (more than 30 years ago):

"According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth
only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The
truth should be spoken in a straight and forward way, so that others will
understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people
are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth
is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness
demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others.
That is the definition of truth."

I suppose this does not necessarily mean that the truth, as unpalatable as
it may be, need be expressed in an unpalatable way(which some have accused
me of), or in an anguished way, but when one sees the extent of the
suffering which people put themselves and others through, the natural state
of compassion is overshadowed by anguish or severe pain. By nature, the
compassionate heart is pierced by seeing this suffering. It should be!

Yes, the state of Awakening is joyful, it is happy, it is free from
bondage, but the open heart of Awareness, can also be pierced by the pain
which is seen. It is, in fact, the part that makes us still human!

It is far too easy, especially in this day and age, to become indolent or
neglectful of spiritual Truth within ourselves, particularly when it is so
neglected, or worse, misrepresented, by mass media and the general
populace, (and our own minds). So, let us strive to always be open to the
truth, the highest truth, that we can open ourselves up to, letting go of
every previously held belief, that we may continue to shred and shed all
non-truths that we may cling to.

Always, with infinite love & gratitude,

Aja

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

POD, NAD & NDA

Okay, this one may piss a few people off, but that's okay. It's
'Perfect' right. And that, in fact, is what I'm going to talk about.
First, let me define a few terms: (I love acronyms)

NAD - Narcissistic Advaita Disorder
NDA - Non-Dual Apathy
POD - Philosophical One-ness Destructionism

First, POD. Philosophical One-ness Destructionism is essentially
where the 'individual' holds to the One-ness view as a philosophy, a
theory, an intellectual understanding. It basically states that "my
understanding from the teachers, scriptures, and everything, is that
all is One, all is Perfect, exactly as it is. 'I' don't need to do
anything to change it, because it is Perfect as it is." Now while, in
Reality, this is a truism, that ultimately, nothing can happen if it
isn't perfect for it to happen, doesn't mean that it is necessarily
perfect that it STAYS THAT WAY! So, let's give a very simple and
practical example. You are sitting at a table with one hand on the
table and the other hand repeatedly hitting the hand on the table
with a hammer. BAM! BAM! BAM! "Oh, I'm suffering so much; but
advaita philosophy tells me that everything is Perfect, so I can see
that this suffering is simply what is happening, and it's perfect as
it is! And I can surrender into that, and it's wonderful and joyous!"
BAM! BAM! BAM! This is Philosophical One-ness Destructionism, and
the adherents of this we refer to as POD-people. 'It's all perfect,
so nothing needs to change. So what if my pummelled, bone crushed,
blood splattered hand is lying limply on the table, no longer
useable. It's all perfect right!?" Now, if this was a total
recognition, in other words, if one truly didn't care that the hand
was crushed, we might call this enlightenment. However, it doesn't
make it NOT STUPID!!!! If you think you are your hand, and your hand
hurts, move your friggin hand! That doesn't mean you now have to
punish the hammer yielding hand (which is what most people would tend
to do.) You might take the hammer away, nicely; or instruct the hand
that hammering others isn't nice, or .... ??? You might say that it
is perfect that is arising, AND it is showing you something,
instructing you in some way. (Hands don't let hands use hammers ?!)

POD and POD-People suffer from NDA - Non Dual Apathy, which basically
says (and often people have questions regarding this) "If everything
is perfect in this unified non-dual field, why do anything? Won't I
just sit and do nothing?" Unfortunately, while the answer should be
no, the answer is quite often, "Yes, you will probably sit on your
ass and watch the world being taken over by power-crazed, inhuman,
mass-murdering psychotics, and ultimately watch as the world is
literally destroyed!"

Now, if you're like me, and really don't care either way if the world
is destroyed or not, that's fine. But my guess is that you probably
do care. You enjoy some aspects of your life, and want them to
continue. The difficulty is that this is where the other acronym fits
in - NAD - Narcissistic Advaita Disorder. Those suffering from NAD,
which is simply a philosophical expansion of the normal narcissistic
syndrome (I-ME-Mine) utilize the philosophy of Advaita to get what
THEY want, (or rather think they want), while simultaneously allowing
everything else to fall apart, not utilizing any God-given
intelligence to see that they are supporting, in one way or another,
those very mass-murdering psychotics they don't like. Okay, I'm being
over-dramatic...maybe. But how many of those people that we truly
admire, have said things like, "Live simply so that others may simply
live" (Gandhi) or "Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his
whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery
demands all of a person." (Einstein) or, "We can no longer afford to
confuse peaceability with passivity. Authentic peace is no more
passive than war. Like war, it calls for discipline and intelligence
and strength of character, though it calls also for higher principles
and aims. If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as
ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we now
prepare for war." (Wendell Berry) or "Stupidity and selfishness are
the only evil." (Nisargadatta Maharaj) Yes, he called selfishness 'evil'!

So, where does this leave us. Basically, it means that POD people
with NDA and NAD are going around not doing things (because
everything is perfect as it is) when it's for someone else or for a
higher cause or for their own awakening, but suddenly 'doing' like
crazy when it is for themselves, to make money, look better, get
more, etc. Suddenly, things aren't all that perfect are
they? Somehow things need to be bigger, better, more. I will say
that one problem is, people don't recognize the level to which they
are being subtly effected by the cultural standards. People
automatically consider that they are 'supposed' to live (often by
themselves) in a quarter or million dollar home, when a small cottage
would do fine, or to own a 30 or 40 thousand dollar car when a used
one would work just as well (or heaven forbid, no car at all). Don't
think about the ramifications of supporting a culture based on the
death and destruction of millions of innocent humans, animals,
forests, etc. Hey, it's all perfect, right!

Now, I know this is all a big departure from the normal 'It's all a
dream' speech, and nothing has changed. But, what is being seen is
using the philosophy of advaita to not do the needful; to continue in
the old way of being and seeing it as okay. You don't wake up without
a struggle, and the bulk of that struggle is the destruction of the
vasanas, that is the egoic tendencies to do and think those things
that are of a selfish (read evil) intent. This is why in traditional
Advaita, karma yoga - or working selflessly for the benefit of others
- is a pre-cursor. You don't need a 50 thousand dollar car. Buy a $15
thousand car and give the balance to feed people or to a homeless
shelter, or even to a political cause, or your favorite spiritual
cause. There's a famous proverb about 'talking the talk versus
walking the talk' or as Morpheus tells Neo, "Can you now see there's
a difference between talking about the path and walking the path?"
(or something like that.) Anyway, lots of people talk Advaita, but
can you walk it? Every moment!? This is not about the Church of
Non-Duality. This is about changing the very fabric of who you think
you are. You have a power within you that is tremendous. Don't settle
for a few trinkets (because everything is Perfect as it is). Use the
dream of this human life to WAKE UP! Or as Ashtavakra Gita says, "You
pervade this universe and the universe exists in you. You are really
Pure Consciousness by nature. DON'T BE SMALL MINDED."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dreaming Spiritual Words

Problems in language so often tend to take us astray, and I fall prey to it
as much as the next. Take the word 'glimpse'. We use it, suggesting that
the 'individual' which is in fact part of the dream, can experience the
Absolute. In reality, what occurs is that for a moment, the Self shines, or
reflects (all inadequate) through to the mind and says it has a glimpse of
the Reality.

So imagine it like this. You are dreaming, and for half a moment, you wake
up, and then fall back asleep. The dreaming self, which is entirely a dream
creation (the dream body, the dream mind, the dream world) and 'remembers'
a moment of being awake and 'thinks' that it had a 'glimpse' of being
awake. So from this 'awake' perspective, we can recognize that the dream
person had no experience or glimpse of being awake; they simply remember in
the dream state that there was a place of not being asleep. That dream
person will not ever wake up...they will disappear entirely upon waking up.
They will no longer exist. So, the idea of a glimpse is a misnomer.

Which brings us to the 'How to do it?' that several people inquired about.
How does the dreamer wake up? In one way, it is easy. Right now, even as
you are reading this, recognize, or suggest to yourself or imagine, or ???
that all this is a dream. Everything you see, feel, taste, hear, etc. is
simply part of this dream, including, and perhaps especially, you (your
body, your mind, your history) is the dreamed. You are NOT the dreamer, you
are the dreamed. Your family, your job, your partner, your children, are
all part of the dream. That doesn't mean you ignore them, because you are
part of the dream as well. Recognize that what you call you - the
'Fred-ness' or 'Susan-ness' or whatever, will continue to 'do' what it does
in the dream. That 'Fred-ness' or 'Susan-ness' can't 'become' enlightened,
because in order for them to be enlightened, their dream nature must
disappear - die, if you will.

So, what becomes enlightened? Nothing, at least from the dream perspective.
The dream continues, and 'behind' the dream, or that from which the dream
is arising, is the infinite space of Awareness.

So as I said before, right now, and from this moment on, see it all as a
dream. Like Nisargadatta says, you can love the dream or hate the dream...
it doesn't really matter; but just see it as a dream, (and don't forget
that your body, mind, life are included in that), and the Truth of
Awareness, God, Presence, Emptiness, will remain.

Oh, and if you don't like the dream analogy, another 'method' is from this
moment on, to see it ALL as God- all of it, everything that is seen, heard,
tasted, thought, (again, including you, your body, your thoughts, your
history)...all the play or expansion of God. Either 'approach' works just
fine.

And, by the way, the question, 'Who am I?' points at the same exact thing.
It shows us, not so much what we ARE as what we are NOT, and what is left
is the same Reality!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Self Realization & God Realization

What many people don't get, particularly here in the West, is that there is
a difference between recognition of the Self and Recognition of God.

Ultimately, God and the Self are one, but it is a oneness like the wave and
the ocean, the sunlight and the sun.

Recognition of the Self is relatively easy. It can be done in an instant.
After all, it is who you are. When you simply stop and be, letting go of
the stuff that is in awareness, what is left is always the Self, the light
of consciousness. However, at this point, the so-called litte self, or ego,
remains. However, the experience is so profound, compared to the normal
moment to moment infatuation with the mind, that many feel this is the
end. This is only the beginning. It is, as I have said, like landing in
India and thinking you have seen the entirety of the country. You have only
walked through the door. This is where the real work begins.

Now begins the work of staying there, of remaining situated in that Self,
in that "I Am", letting go of every false notion, every belief, every
habitual pattern of egoity, surrendering the sense of indviduality more and
more into that Infinite Presence, returning to Source, to God, until there
is no 'you', only THAT! This is where the death comes in; that willingness
to give EVERYTHING, to Die to self. But most would rather have a glimpse
AND an ego than to surrender the ego to the Absolute.

This is not a judgment, only an observation. Better, awake to the Self,
even partially, than totally asleep, like the mass of humanity. Just don't
confuse having gotten on the elevator with having arrived at the Penthouse.