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."