Posts Tagged passion

Denying the Real: Advaita and Affirming the Real: The Navajo


It should be a surprise to no one that Advaita nonduality developed in India. Few countries in the world have experienced the scale of human suffering than has India. People in India have suffered from famine, despotism (often in the form of organized religion through the cruel caste system), disease, urban poverty, and many other physical and cultural ills. It is the perfect place to create and nurture a philosophy that negates everything in this world as “mere appearance”.

In a world of incredible suffering and hopeless, a spiritual philosophy that claims that it is all just a dream, just a projection could take hold among people powerless to change the nature and quality of their lives. Instead of horrendous suffering, we now have, voila, perfection. And, perhaps the cruelest injunction of all is that if you don’t experience this perfection of being, then you are unawakened.

Contrast this with the life philosophy of the Navajo, a group I know well because I have worked with traditional healers there for quite a few years. It is, essentially, the exact opposite of Advaita. In the Navajo world, the earth is sacred. Everything we take from it, we must make amends and return in kind. We thank the plants and animals that make our lives possible. We acknowledge the beauty of rain and sun. We celebrate our children as sacred beings; unique and beautiful in their own, distinct way. This world is the only reality and we are fully connected through the web of its being. I have never heard a healer talk about the ground of being that negates phenomenon as just passing, incidental appearance. It is just the opposite, the world of appearance is everything and we are responsible for our actions that effect it.

The denial of life, as a direct consequence of human suffering, is found throughout history. Religion has served the needs of the hopeless to offer people a way out of their misery. So it often speaks of the unreal as our salvation. We can abandon this life, because Heaven awaits us. We can claim victory over our enemies, since they will be going to hell. Thus religion serves the desperate and powerless. Advaita is little different.

Today, with all of our wealth and technology, we are living at a time of unprecedented numbers of clinical depression, a rapid decline in the earth’s capacity to sustain environmental diversity, and we are seeing the enormous disruption of the earth’s atmosphere through global warming. We can escape the challenge of living in such a world through recently esoteric teachings such as advaita. That is the easy choice. It makes logical sense and anyone can do it in the glow and privacy of their own home computers.

The much more difficult choice is to organize with others and demand changes from our political and corporate leader and to make sacrifices in our life styles to reduce pollution. This is a lot more difficult than just believing it all away through denying its existence.

This life is a puzzle. Frankly, the Navajos do not have it figured out. Many of them believe that this life phase is soon coming to an end. To me, that sounds like another hope built on desperation. The most courageous step is finding your own voice. Finding out what is real. Being less concerned with bliss than finding out what is true without depending on any belief system. The best definition of a neurotic is a person who places their well being on good feelings. That is the shakiest of foundations. Feelings, like everything else change and we have little to no control over them. But we can be free to find out what is real and what is true to the best of our abilities. That, I suggest, is the challenge of this life

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The Failure of “Spiritualism”


I am not an Advaitist. I am not a Buddhist. I am not anything, but myself, committed to what is true and freeing myself of what I can SEE as false. That is the challenge of our lives.

This is what you must know; people are addicted to feeling good. In comes in every form and flavor. That is the work of ego, working in service to our primal Wound. “If we fail to strive for safety – happiness – feeling good – then how will I ever be secure, happy, and feel good?” This is the perennial question of the ego. This is its obsession.

See that security – happiness – feeling good are all concepts. They are not real. They are projections of the mind. They are the false. As long as you insist on pursuing them, you will waste your life on goals that are unreal. You will live as Don Quixote, living a life that is filled with madness chasing after windmills.

The grave danger in Buddhist and nonduality teachings is how the mind bends them to achieve the goals of the deficient self. How does it do this? It does this by negating the authentic self! In this role, spiritualism is no different from any other authority in our lives that seek to mold us in ITS vision and kill our own.

Awareness shows us what is true and what is false. Usually, what is false are the beliefs we cling to that make us feel safe. But any belief that we cling to, that is not based in the truth of actual seeing can and often will undermine our well being. Beliefs are limits. They are ideas that we have absorbed from authorities in our lives. Coming alive to who we truly our asks us to question and explore our most deeply held beliefs.

Life is not designed to be easy. Only an ego loves the easy – the easy money, the easy sex, the easy this, the easy that. Life is designed to be active – alive. When we “rest in awareness” as the only goal of life, we have sacrificed our individuality. We have zoned out in the life of total “acceptance”. The only problem with that “belief” is the one thing we fail to accept becomes ourselves! Can you see that? Zoning out in belief is the same thing as zoning out with drugs – only more challenging and thus a bigger accomplishment of the ego. That’s why doctrine based spiritualism is thought to be better than drug abuse. Is it?

Zoning out is not a problem. Often the body/mind needs to zone out. We live in an exhausting time and zoning out is a pleasure we would be foolish to deny ourselves, but it is not our ultimate identity. When that happens, as it often does in meditative philosophies, we fail in the challenge of living.

Wake up to your aliveness. Wake up to your senses. Wake up to your mind – the mind that is embedded in what is real and is motivated to drop what it discovers is false. For example, I know that cars are contributing to the environmental deterioration of the planet, so I’ve decided to do all of my local errands by bike or foot. That’s what I do. If I think that makes me better than others, then I have converted what I have seen as true within awareness to be an action of ego. I see all of that and act accordingly. I see that income inequality breeds racism and classism, so I support political agendas that encourage people to live as sisters and brothers economically and socially. I know that my body depends on nature, so I can SEE that we are all connected and that when one part of our world suffers, we all suffer. I see that this as true. I see that when we pursue security through weapons, walled communities, unfair laws, racism, sexism, that we inspire division and this is life out of balance. So when I observe those tendencies in myself, I can see where I am contributing to the division and hardship of the world. Seeing it is the first and most decisive step we can make in our own liberation.

We Are All Related

We Are All Related

This is the challenge of living.

And before I conclude this post, let’s talk a minute about humor. Ultimately, this is the most liberating emotion of all. Grave seriousness is a very dependable red flag of the ego. Take yourself lightly in nearly all matters and you will truly see what is false in you. When you become overly serious (one of my “issues”) check out the status of your ego and get a good laugh out of your grandiosity. I can assure you probably look pretty funny to others – or even worse an authority for others to follow.

If you choose to follow, as many spiritual traditions urge us to do, then know yourself as a follower. If you choose to be yourself, that you become a light unto yourself.  That light can free others of their own darkness.

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The Failure of "Spiritualism"


I am not an Advaitist. I am not a Buddhist. I am not anything, but myself, committed to what is true and freeing myself of what I can SEE as false. That is the challenge of our lives.

This is what you must know; people are addicted to feeling good. In comes in every form and flavor. That is the work of ego, working in service to our primal Wound. “If we fail to strive for safety – happiness – feeling good – then how will I ever be secure, happy, and feel good?” This is the perennial question of the ego. This is its obsession.

See that security – happiness – feeling good are all concepts. They are not real. They are projections of the mind. They are the false. As long as you insist on pursuing them, you will waste your life on goals that are unreal. You will live as Don Quixote, living a life that is filled with madness chasing after windmills.

The grave danger in Buddhist and nonduality teachings is how the mind bends them to achieve the goals of the deficient self. How does it do this? It does this by negating the authentic self! In this role, spiritualism is no different from any other authority in our lives that seek to mold us in ITS vision and kill our own.

Awareness shows us what is true and what is false. Usually, what is false are the beliefs we cling to that make us feel safe. But any belief that we cling to, that is not based in the truth of actual seeing can and often will undermine our well being. Beliefs are limits. They are ideas that we have absorbed from authorities in our lives. Coming alive to who we truly our asks us to question and explore our most deeply held beliefs.

Life is not designed to be easy. Only an ego loves the easy – the easy money, the easy sex, the easy this, the easy that. Life is designed to be active – alive. When we “rest in awareness” as the only goal of life, we have sacrificed our individuality. We have zoned out in the life of total “acceptance”. The only problem with that “belief” is the one thing we fail to accept becomes ourselves! Can you see that? Zoning out in belief is the same thing as zoning out with drugs – only more challenging and thus a bigger accomplishment of the ego. That’s why doctrine based spiritualism is thought to be better than drug abuse. Is it?

Zoning out is not a problem. Often the body/mind needs to zone out. We live in an exhausting time and zoning out is a pleasure we would be foolish to deny ourselves, but it is not our ultimate identity. When that happens, as it often does in meditative philosophies, we fail in the challenge of living.

Wake up to your aliveness. Wake up to your senses. Wake up to your mind – the mind that is embedded in what is real and is motivated to drop what it discovers is false. For example, I know that cars are contributing to the environmental deterioration of the planet, so I’ve decided to do all of my local errands by bike or foot. That’s what I do. If I think that makes me better than others, then I have converted what I have seen as true within awareness to be an action of ego. I see all of that and act accordingly. I see that income inequality breeds racism and classism, so I support political agendas that encourage people to live as sisters and brothers economically and socially. I know that my body depends on nature, so I can SEE that we are all connected and that when one part of our world suffers, we all suffer. I see that this as true. I see that when we pursue security through weapons, walled communities, unfair laws, racism, sexism, that we inspire division and this is life out of balance. So when I observe those tendencies in myself, I can see where I am contributing to the division and hardship of the world. Seeing it is the first and most decisive step we can make in our own liberation.

We Are All Related

We Are All Related

This is the challenge of living.

And before I conclude this post, let’s talk a minute about humor. Ultimately, this is the most liberating emotion of all. Grave seriousness is a very dependable red flag of the ego. Take yourself lightly in nearly all matters and you will truly see what is false in you. When you become overly serious (one of my “issues”) check out the status of your ego and get a good laugh out of your grandiosity. I can assure you probably look pretty funny to others – or even worse an authority for others to follow.

If you choose to follow, as many spiritual traditions urge us to do, then know yourself as a follower. If you choose to be yourself, that you become a light unto yourself.  That light can free others of their own darkness.

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8 Comments

Love – Trust – Creation


The challenge of waking up is seeing who we are not. That is why the Buddha called this the negative path. When we find out who we are not, who we are can finally emerge the crystal clear light of its own.
We cannot find out who we are by adding on, but by seeing what is not true in our beliefs. That is the challenge.
It is like taking a bath. The process is one of removing the great weight of false beliefs and identities we carry with us. Carrying this weight is not only personally exhausting, but it the very source of insecurity that we so desperately seek to end. Thus, the insecurity we desire to be free of, we make possible by our having faith in identities that just are not true.
Awakening is to wake up to this radical truth.
Where do you distrust? Do you distrust yourself? Do you distrust where you currently are? Is there any uncertainty about your place in life?
Why do you distrust? What is the root of this uncertainty?
What could you trust?
Start exactly where you are. Start with whatever fear or confusion you might be experiencing right now.
Now look inwards. See what is there.
Can you find the Presence that has always been there and is there right now? This presence is the aliveness that underlies Everything.
Find this presence in yourself. It is there. It is what is seeing THIS.
Can you NOT trust this presence? It is there. If nothing else, you can be absolutely certain of that. How could NOT trust this presence?
That is truth. It is the fundamental truth of your existence. Everything that you see, hear, touch, feel, and think is linked to this presence.
Now REALLY get a sense of that presence that underlies everything. It is deep within you. It is always there for you.
Once you are centered there – expand outwards. Expand NOT in your head, but in your actual sensed reality. See how that underlying presence makes everything you see, hear, feel, and think possible. Everything you see, hear, feel, and think is made possible through this presence.
Now, notice how the presence never changes. It is always just there – unchanging and always available.
It is life itself.
Now, notice how everything it sees, hears, feels, and thinks is in ceaseless change.
That is the dynamic nature of the awakened state. Everything changes on the field that is unchanging and ever-available.
Now dig deeper. Who are you?
Notice that how you Want yourself to be is attached to what you fear. This is key. Your identity is the opposite side of your fear identity.
What do you fear? Isn’t it true that you fear aloneness? Isn’t it true that you fear pain? Isn’t it true that you fear failure? Isn’t it true that you fear the death of your loved ones? Isn’t it true that you fear your own death?
Really absorb your fears. Be brave and see them in their full, awesome array. Feel their power – feel their vitality in your life.
Now, see how stable they are. Unlike the sights and sounds of your immediate life, they are very much like the Presence we talked about. They seem changeless. They appear to be stable and dark.
They are the visible manifestation of the Great Wound. They are the incarnation of everything we feared in our earliest times.
But see that despite their seeming power, they are just an echo of a much earlier time that continues to play out in our present life. They are like the universal Big Bang, the background noise of the universe.
Within what do they play out? Ask yourself this question deeply. Stop reading, for a moment – in what do these fears play out?

Notice that they play out in the complex web of the identity you believe yourself to be. They play out in your deepest insecurities. They are expressed by the person you believe yourself to be! They play out in the difference your presumed self believes it needs to be in this life.
Now listen carefully!
They are the DREAM of YOU. The self you believe yourself to be and all of those swarming fears are a Brand. You and I were branded even before we could speak – as we left our mother’s womb – as we ventured uncertainly out into this life. They are the Dream of LIfe. They are the shadow.
But know that we can’t wish them away, we can’t will them away. That is in fact what the Dream of self-help urges us to do. That is all part of the dream.
Instead we see the fears just as they are; as energy. We stop labeling them. They are a part of our environment, just like this computer is part of my immediate environment. They just are. The more we see them as energy, the less power they hold over us.
When their power weakens, our false identity with them begins to weaken. The dream loses its reality. We no longer define ourselves as the somebody we believe we need to be to give our life meaning and purpose.
But, to whom does this dream lose its reality? Ask yourself that question before reading on. To whom does it lose its reality?

It loses its reality to the dream character we have believed ourselves to be.

When we wake up to the dream of fear, we too easily move back into the dream character. We have grown used to its feel. We have grown overly comfortable with our fears and insecurities.
So, if we are not this person we have believed ourselves to be, then who are we? When we are not our memories, nor the future they project, then who are we?
Our journey takes us back to where we started. We are that presence we discovered deep inside, we are that presence as it manifests in this here and now. We cease to be the false person looking out of their fear-based shell onto an ever potentially threatening life.
But here is the decisive point. Here is where this dialogue takes us to new places.
Life call on us to join the dance. When we rest exclusively in the paradox of unchanging and ever-changing awareness, our own song withers. We are called upon to manifest the love that emerges when we realize that we ARE one with everything. The spirit of oneness is LOVE and the purest TRUST in that which IS. We take that universe changing NEXT STEP. We act from limitless connection and the love that binds all of together. How YOU express that love is your song. Most of the time this song will just be a quiet appreciation for what it, but life will call on us to raise our voice – that time will come.
Only you can take that step wedded in love and trust. It is the voice of presence in life. It is the co-creator of life. It IS.

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The Danger of Some Eastern Philosophy


The danger in much of Eastern philosophy is its emphasis on the placid, where are passions are buried in the demand for silence. Rather, we need to love our passions. Take a stand at what seems wrong to you in the world. If you are concerned about global warming, racism, sexism, or whatever, by all means act on your beliefs. Have passion. Claim your voice.

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Are You a Follower or Are You You?


Have you ever considered this question?

What do you take on faith?

Faith - Why Do You Have Faith in Anything?

Faith - Why Do You Have Faith in Anything?

Do you believe in a God (god)?

Better Watch Out - He's Watching YOU!

Better Watch Out - He's Watching YOU!

Do you follow people like Eckhart Tolle?

Or, are you you?

When You Find Your Authentic Voice - Your Will Have Little or No Need for Mindless Faith

When You Find Your Authentic Voice - Your Will Have Little or No Need for Mindless Faith

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