130. Andrew Cohen

Andrew CohenAndrew Cohen is an internationally respected spiritual teacher, cultural visionary, and founder of the global nonprofit EnlightenNext and its award-winning publication EnlightenNext magazine. Since 1986, Cohen has been traveling the world giving public lectures and leading intensive retreats. Through his writings, teachings, and ongoing dialogues with leading philosophers, scientists, and mystics, he has become known as one of the defining voices of the new evolutionary spirituality.

Born in New York City in 1955 and raised in a secular Jewish family, Cohen had his passion for spirit unexpectedly ignited at the age of sixteen, when a spontaneous revelation of  “cosmic consciousness” opened his eyes to a new dimension of life. Some years later, as a result of that experience, he gave up aspirations to become a musician and dedicated himself wholeheartedly to its rediscovery. After several years of intensive spiritual pursuit in the United States, including the study of martial arts, Kriya Yoga, and Buddhist meditation, Cohen followed the footsteps of a generation of Western seekers to India. It was there, in the land of the sages, that he met his last teacher H.W.L. Poonja, a disciple of the revered Ramana Maharshi, in 1986. In just a few short weeks, Cohen experienced a life-changing awakening, the story of which was told in his first book, My Master Is My Self. Shortly afterwards, with his teacher’s blessing, Cohen began to teach.

Always an independent thinker, Cohen soon diverged from the traditional Eastern approach that had catalyzed his own awakening, with its emphasis on transcendence and the illusory nature of the phenomenal world. Grappling with questions and challenges that arose as he sought to bring the revelation of enlightenment to a contemporary Western audience, he gradually forged his own original spiritual teaching, Evolutionary Enlightenment. A modern-day equivalent of the ancient wisdom teachings, Cohen’s work is no footnote to tradition, but a distinct and innovative synthesis. He has brought the timeless depth of enlightened wisdom into the twenty-first century and significantly redirected its purpose and promise—calling not for transcendence of worldly attachment, or even for compassionate care and service, but for a deep and heroic responsibility for theevolution of the world. In this, he finds more in common with the great evolutionary visionaries of the last century, such as Sri Aurobindo and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, than he does with the ancient Eastern enlightenment tradition in which his own awakening occurred. To both these streams of thought he adds a further element: a rich and nuanced understanding of the practical dynamics of individual and cultural transformation at our particular moment in history.

Cohen’s interest in cultural evolution is much more than theoretical. For more than two decades he has been intensively engaged with committed individuals and groups from around the world who are striving to put his teachings into practice. This engagement has, in turn, informed his thinking, creating a dynamic and fertile interplay between vision and practice, ideal and reality. Among the many fruits of this work, perhaps the most significant has been a series of breakthroughs into collective or intersubjective higher states of consciousness, and the active translation of these insights into new values, perspectives, and principles that are enabling individuals to lay the foundations for a new cultural paradigm. The results of this living inquiry are embraced and shared by a growing global movement of “Evolutionaries.”

In addition to his work as a teacher, Cohen is also dedicated to changing the cultural conversation about the purpose and significance of spiritual enlightenment in our time. This is best seen in the magazine he founded in 1991, EnlightenNext (formerly What Is Enlightenment?), which has become the premier forum for serious discussion at the intersection of spirituality and culture. In its pages, and the live forums that have grown out of them, Cohen and his team of collaborators have engaged spiritual, religious, cultural, and scientific thought leaders in a dynamic inquiry about the nature of inner and outer evolution. Cohen’s unusual perspective and commitment to dialogue have led to invitations to speak at numerous forums over the years, including the Parliament of the World’s Religions (2004, 2009), LOHAS International Conference, International Transpersonal Conference, Integral Leadership in Action, and the International Conference on the Frontiers of Yoga and Consciousness Research, as well as universities, spiritual centers, and business settings around the world.

EnlightenNext has centers worldwide, and members in more than twenty countries. Cohen lives at the organization’s world headquarters in Lenox, Massachusetts, and spends several months of the year traveling, teaching, and leading retreats around the world.

Cohen’s new book Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path for Spiritual Awakening was released by Select Books Fall 2011. For more information about Andrew Cohen’s work and his upcoming teachings and retreats, visit www.andrewcohen.org.

Books by Andrew Cohen:

Interview conducted 7/14/2012

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

128 thoughts on “130. Andrew Cohen

  1. Yes, I too had to work past my “bias” to listen to Andrew Cohen but I very much enjoyed this interview. The sense of Shiva manifesting as Shakti is easily bridged with this interpretation of evolutionary movement in time and is “intellectually satisfying” re purpose & meaning. When form “falls away” there is no need of meaning, there is just that colorless field of Beingness, however, manifest as form, the sense of meaning and purpose and understanding has certainly been an issue for myself. I love the inevitable sense of responsibility & accountability towards the whole expression of “Shakti” that arises with this viewpoint. Thank you to Rick & Andrew for an inspiring piece of work.

  2. Thanks Rick. This was surprisingly quite a good interview for me. I originally thought he would opt on the side of evolution as fundamental reality, which would not sit right with me intuitively. But he articulated on behalf both positions of Being and Becoming in a manner that does justice to both sides. A big plus to his articulation is how both can be true at the same time. It’s an elaboration on the traditional formulation of Consciousness and Lila, with an elaboration on Lila, which is now not mere random play, but purposeful evolution.

    Following up on previous posts on Saints and Sages, I’m going to say something controversial. Watching our political process, I’d be happy if the collective was simply “less stupid”, or not “willfully stupid”, but pursue a rational self interest that takes into account the welfare of others, including the least fortunate. As a collective we step up our game to become the decent human beings we already aspire to be. It’s not about saintly heroism, but collective will and rational public policy that will allow us to move ahead together on the various problems such as employment, energy, climate, debt, food, water, education, health care, …

    As for the Sage, the View gives a powerful Place to stand apart from the existing entanglements of various problems, and as a result a potential creativity in finding new solutions. But by itself, it won’t solve any problems. As Andrew has stated, there may not even be any motivation to solve any problems. By itself, the Sage is unlikely to save the world, though certain historical figures have served a specific function in the world. But overall, problems of culture has to be solved by culture. The evolution of culture has to be done within culture. Probably something like the Brookings Institution would be more useful than either Saint or Sage. There is no magic here. Just the involvement of the nitty gritty of everyday life and dealing with what is in front of us.

  3. I’m not sure that this evolutionary impulse – which I call Universal Love, needs an entirely new teaching or a focused direction, to reveal itself..The mind is awfully busy these days in some spiritual circles..

    The natural unfoldment of Being includes Becoming..inseparable.. A truly embodied awakening results in a compassionate impulse toward contributing to the apparent world in whatever way the Divine sets forth…

    I’m always wary of anyone who says THEY are bringing forth something radically new in the field of spirituality..some new understanding or grand project undertaken..some important mission – and that THEY as special emissaries are called upon to DO something extraordinary to help it along….Humans keep trying to reinvent the spiritual wheel…and take credit for what is naturally unfolding..

    Evolution is always taking place through us and when we step aside and are washed of our egoic conditioning – we can be sure Love’s true purpose for us and for the apparent world, will be Self-evident.

  4. Same Truth expressed differently – that’s all. I have no problem with the languaging and expression of Truth, evolving and changing to address current times & conditions & cultures. . Seems to me it has always been that way. I know of no “traditional way of expressing” Truth – Thank Goodness. Lao-
    Tzu expressed it one way Jesus another way – Buddha another – Ramana another – same Truth.

  5. self-ag·gran·dize·ment (slf-grndz-mnt)
    n.
    The act or practice of enhancing or exaggerating one’s own importance, power, or reputation.

  6. I wonder if Papaji was hoping that Andrew would find another solution to the problem of unripe seekers. Perhaps there is a solution that involves not the busying of the seekers but a deepening of the radiator. In other words, if the eggs aren’t cooking fast enough in the pan, turn up the heat, don’t stir faster.

  7. http://www.integralworld.net/scofield1.html

    After browsing the web, I don’t think I would’ve survived as an AC disciple in actual practice despite the fine interview he just gave with Rick. (I do know of other Integral people like Terry Patten from the Beyond Awakening series, which I follow, and they seem like fine people with a lot of integrity.)

    While Integral Theory has a valuable contributions to offer esp. in the realm of developmental theory, in actual practice, a predominantly intellectual approach to Truth, with its idealized image of Compassion, and in it’s striving for some notion of Purity, can be a form of “fascism” for the psyche. It is a sledgehammer approach. E.g., to get rid of the ego, you bash it in some more, step on it, crush it on the ground. Some would call this approach “hypermasculine” (Saniel Bonder), but given the abuse in the stated article, this would be understating it. In his (former) practice as a guru, I get very little sense of allowing the spiritual process to take over, guide, lead on its own terms, in its own time, along with a natural and organic process of falling into the heart. There’s a lot about this process that should simply be listening, looking, feeling, sensing, and surrendering, not prescribing.

  8. I never understood spirituality, at least in a nondual advaitan sense, to be about becoming a great person or saving the world. It was my understanding and goal to discover my personal truth, true core essence or being of who or what am I. After so called “enlightenment”, in an advaitan sense, and after the complete falling away of the illusory separate self one is left with the functional body mind organism that may be a great compassionate human being or may be a horrible person or anything in between. Spiritual nondual enlightenment does not make you a great human and set one on a saintly path of beautiful doing. It leaves one with what is, whatever that may be. To then start removing or working through the conditioning, genetics and preferences of the functional organism borders into self help, psychotherapy or even religion and in my opinion is an entirely different realm from spirituality.

  9. Jonathan,

    It’s true that awakening doesn’t confer automatic sainthood…but ‘what is’ is much more vast than first conceived…

    One doesn’t ‘work’ on themselves in the psychotheraputic sense after we have pierced the illusion – as who is there to do that – but as the heart expands – there is an intention to do no harm..as all is seen as the Self – and we find through Grace that what is not real, quite naturally falls away..

    We can’t make this happen, but in a true and embodied awakening, it happens…That’s why I often recommend having a teacher – an object of devotion – to keep the heart centered on Love..

    It’s really quite selfish in a way – because once we come to know the bliss of being, we don’t want anything to get in the way of that Love – we wouldn’t want to ‘Self Sabotage’..

    Many teachers I know continue to bow down to the Divine in some form, although firmly established in the non dual Self – some even still do pujas …

    Otherwise, without the heart involvement, from my experience, the spiritual trip can result in a rather cold and empty, and sometimes even a broken Hallelujah..

  10. Papaji: there is no such thing as a personal ‘me’ who gets Enlightened (non dual advaita). Am I hearing of a personal ‘me’ who got enlightened? I was with Papaji four weeks in Lucknow (93) and I could say I am enlightened, but I know better. If I could have stayed on longer with Papaji, he probably would have wiped ‘me’ out. You see ‘my’ enlightenment happened instantly at Papaji’s feet too; but as Papaji recommended, one must stay on with the Master after awaking for some time to burn up any latent tendencies (vasanas) i.e. a ‘me’.
    Perhaps the evolution idea might be true in the sense it would take a little longer if one does not stay near the physical ‘Flame’, the Master long enough. However, with continuation of Self-enquiry (atma vichara, a ‘non-technique’, as recommended by Papaji & Ramana) in lieu of staying near the Master, the ‘me’ is eventually extinguished.

  11. I never recognized an awakened person by what they were doing.

    Rather, I recognized ’em by HOW they were doing what they were doing.

  12. It seems here that all the distinctions, create “the other” Guess that’s what is happening. .

  13. Please dont dominate the rap, jack, if youve got nothing new to say.
    If you please, dont back up the track this trains got to run today.
    I spent a little time on the mountain, I spent a little time on the hill
    I heard someone say better run away, others say better stand still.

    Now I dont know, but I been told its hard to run with the weight of gold,
    Other hand I have heard it said, its just as hard with the weight of lead.

    Who can deny, who can deny, its not just a change in style?
    One step down and another begun and I wonder how many miles.
    I spent a little time on the mountain, I spent a little time on the hill
    Things went down we dont understand, but I think in time we will.
    Now, I dont know but I was told in the heat of the sun a man died of cold.
    Keep on coming or stand and wait, with the sun so dark and the hour so late.
    You cant overlook the lack, jack, of any other highway to ride.
    Its got no signs or dividing lines and very few rule to guide.

    I saw things getting out of hand, I guess they always will.
    Now I dont know but I been told
    If the horse dont pull you got to carry the load.
    I dont know whose backs that strong, maybe find out before too long.

    One way or another, one way or another,
    One way or another, this darkness got to give.

  14. “One way or another, this darkness got to give”

    For some it is many years of peaceful meditation. For others it is an unbearable trauma. And for some they have to be abused by an Adi Da or the like. We can only pray that the humiliation found its intended target and liberated the spirit. I don’t personally see how those techniques could really do much but cause one to retract into fear and alienation.

    My observation has been that it is not until the student releases himself from the net of the guru society that the light can truly be seen. So the guru society prepared the ground, but the release is what did the true work.

    I had been blissfully unaware of these “crazy wise adept’s” exploits until I recently read Holy Madness by Georg Feuerstein. These gurus made the movements I had exposure to seem like a walk in the park. Where have I been all these years? Grateful to not have been through too much of that, I suppose.

    Prophetic lyrics, thanks Chuckee & Ising.

  15. Nothing pumps up an ego more than the belief that you have something to give to someone who wants what you have.

  16. There’s this feeling that keeps popping up, and it says-

    It’s simpler than all of that…

  17. Andrew seems to have mellowed since the last time I saw him. His megalomania and elitism seems a little more low key. Although many tantric kundalini yogis have taught “evolutionary enlightenment” in their own ways for thousands of years, it was Gopi Krishna who really presented it in terms most Westerners are comfortable with. In true zen, it is taught that realization, which may be instantaneous, is followed by actualization, which takes the rest of one’s life.

    I just started listening to BatGap recently and it seems that Rick has a better handle on most of this stuff than many of the people he interviews. I suspect Maharishi Mahesh Yogi covered most of this with his science of creative intelligence, etc. I do not see Andrew’s path as new,
    just up-dated through Ken Wilberism.

    “All Life Is Yoga” – Sri Aurobindo

  18. Great interview Rick and Andrew! I enjoy the variety and deliciousness of BatGap.

  19. “There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens”

    I don’t think we would have been given arms and legs if we were to just be still ALL the time. We have been given a beautiful gift with our bodies. And there is an aggressive urge to all creatvity as Cohen stated. Not just for procreation. We are a way for God to experience itself. We are, of course, also meant to be still and in touch with the inner consciousness, but I don’t think exclusively. It is always there but it must be directed outwardly, too. We are not an accident. A tree begins as a seed and it takes much energy and creative aggression to burst forth and become what it was meanst to become. Constant movement and change. We, and the universe, are a glorious symphony, a stunning painting in which we all are the creators and participants. We make mistakes, but then we try again. It is all about learning and creating….and sometimes being still. That’s my two cents!

  20. I agree with you Heat Seeker. I may have expressed it differently, but I agree.
    “whatever myriad ways Self can manifest in this world”.
    And that means everything and everyone and every doing. The Cohens, the Ramanas, the Christians. It’s all part of the play.

  21. Andrew’s rendition of meaning and purpose for What Is Happening is like any other rendition of meaning and purpose: they are all mind-created and mind-supporting.

    Forms don’t appear and dis-appear with meaning and purpose: they just appear and dis-appear. The mind creates and assigns meaning and purpose to forms because that is its nature: to interpret, distinguish, and separate.

    “We are… a glorious symphony… a stunning painting… (and) make mistakes”, for example, is an identification with the meanings that the mind creates.

    And identifications with meanings are very effective in veiling us from (ap)perceiving the What Is Happening sans meanings.

  22. One more thought. I don’t know if any of you have read the Seth Books but The Nature of Personal Reality has always struck me as more encompassing and enlightening of “All That Is” than any other explanation. It rings true for me.

  23. Peter…..we can get into some semantics and word play with our cerebral cortexes here, and that is what we are doing when we comment I suppose. But I was trying to describe an experience: not the end, purpose, or significance of something. Tomorrow I may feel differently. I could say you are identifying with a meaning that your mind created thinking I had a meaning. But that would me meaningless. Ad infinitum.

  24. this is all endless speculation by the mind from a “me” perspective. after true enlightenment there is no self left to work on a self. If self help/improvement is to occur its in the true nature of the organism and it plays out in totality without interference or analysis by some “me” or “self”. It just seems that many teachers are trying to put their own unique spin on things to build an effective business model. I hold most respect for the truly enlightened one that simply goes on with their life without screaming from the moutain top about all their wonderful insights and unique spin…but it all apparently plays out perfectly in totality, one would say

  25. cybervigilante..”Although the absolute is unchanging we are, paradoxically, part of it, although changing. We may be a dream, but the dream should also be honored as a creation of the absolute.”
    Yes to this, and everything else you said.

  26. in the end the absolute truth may very well be something that no human body mind has come close to experiencing or knowing and for eternity via speculation of mind humans have grasped at whatever makes sense within their body mind organism . even saying one has experientially gone beyond mind is essentially of the mind. even saying that one lives in some “state” that is unspeakable, which tends to be the common go to line for many, is a clever extrapolation and speculation of mind

  27. “They, (gurus), don’t prepare the ground – they reveal the groundless Truth”…HS

    I’m astounded by your increasing clarity and understanding my friend…Final Truth as we’ve often said is not for everyone, but those who are ripe will hear it, so keep speaking..and hey – soon we may need to put you on the interviewee list..

    Sending love…and am curious, are you still hanging with Neelam?

  28. Hi all.

    I hear you HS. Perhaps it’s having been through more years of belonging to a movement than you that leads me to that statement. For most of my life, spiritual practice was what we did in the context of a somewhat closed spiritual community. Then I loosened up the cords a bit and let some new ideas in…and a few old ones out. A spark from a true teacher ignited my soul and that’s it.

    So it was, for me, many years of preparation and then a very simple shift. For others it is more dramatic and for some much more direct. I just consider it the flow of the times in which I was embedded.

    Many wander, as if in a thick fog, for many years, not knowing truth from delusion. Many partial truths are investigated before the crystalline light is found. The influence of the right teacher is the Grace that lifts us out of the fog and into the clear light of day.

    This interview with Cohen somehow reminded me of those langsam days when people were searching anywhere and everywhere for relief from the pointlessness. My thoughts are influenced not only by this interview, which was very pleasant and full of truths, but by the accounts of some of Cohen and the Integral’s antics in the “tough love” style of teaching. I also read that book about wild gurus of the seventies and eighties.

    These guys certainly aren’t saints. Hopefully their sageliness has been growing into more sainltliness…but I wouldn’t send my daughter to study with them.

    The whole integral movement sounds nice, but fills my brain to overflowing an about thirty seconds. I feel that a bridge between the intersubjective reality we are plumbing and the material-based scientific thought structures that dominate global society now is sorely needed. Integral is a nice attempt.

    What makes relativity so popular is not just its relative truth but also its simplicity. e=mc2. Integral theory has so many layers and dimensions that it belies the simplicity of the Reality. So, in befuddling the mind, it lays a trap for the longing seeker and ensnares them in concepts that can take many years to disentangle…Though it might help to entangle some of the rationalists who would otherwise discount true spirituality as hogwash.

    I guess, I’m somewhat surprised that this teaching emerged from one of Papaji’s direct students. Most of the Ramana teachers have a more intuitive and simplified approach. My thought is that the real transformation takes place by direct influence – as it did for Andrew sitting with Papaji, so why should he come up with such a complicated, evidence-based system?

    Certainly all is as it should be, but if I were in his shoes, I’d entertain the act of settling into the Thoughtless as deeply as possible and let the radiance therein enhance my transformational ability.

    HS, consider yourself very blessed to be under such good guidance at an early stage in life.

    Peace. Love.

  29. HS – sincere hearts always find sincere teachers…I’m so happy for you..

    Erick -very true what you say here – the teachers from Papaji keep it simple…that was what he asked everyone to do if they awakened in his Presence – to go and carry Ramana’s Grace to the world…not to put their own spin on things..to keep the purity of the Self to Self transmission…Andrew apparently had different ideas…and Papaji turned his back on him….

    Andrew only spent a few weeks with Papaji before he went out to teach…not enough time…If we awaken and go our own way before the Silence has had chance to burn all the vasanas, before the ego is completely seen through and we realize that what comes through us is not of us – we can easily go off course…

    No matter what era we find ourselves in, the age old truth doesn’t need embellishment or complication….

  30. I agree 100% with Andrew that ‘awakening’ or in my words: becoming a simple human being (other than a CGA) that does not freak out in front of a tax return, should be measurable in terms of behaviour.

    One thing I like about Pema Chodron is that she is not afraid to disclose some stuff about herself. She did mention that after taking care or her grand kids for a full week, she realized that she still had some work to do. I like that honesty. To steal Jon Bernies’ phrase. When we are really triggered let’s say by the traffic or at work when our boss tells us we should leave with an empty voice-mail… when there are 55 at the end of day, some 2 weeks old, precisely because that same boss does not want to hire, and we get that victim story staring to pull our attention and our guts starts to contract, etc. How is our Houdini doing… can we come back on track within a couple of minutes just by looking outside or Googling a mountain top image or going for a short walk. Or do we come back home eaten by the situation before waking up in the middle of the night due to stress… I am not even getting into addiction territory here… If our Houdini works faster and we leave the garbage at work and can smell the flowers on the way home, then it’s a good sign to me. No idea at all where that puts someone on the ‘awakening scale’ but it’s really cool to see that we can make some massive progress in those area. The cat and the dog at home finds it pretty cool as well…

  31. Integral theory gives me a headache. From a purely theory construction point of view, it seems like a kludge that bolts lots of disparate parts together. It is *a theory* (not truth) of human evolution and development, a weaving together the many threads from academic knowledge. (Ken does try to be comprehensive.)

    If your main goal is to touch, taste, be the Truth, it is not the best way to go, maybe a misleading way to go in that one is pursuing an ideal based on an intellectual image. Here I resonate with the posts already made here.

    But before I join this echo chamber in so consistently dumping on Cohen and Integral theory, I’d like to take the position of the other side and look at its contributions.

    One very important point is that development along one line *does not guarantee* development along other lines. (And I include falling into the Heart in this caution.) Spiritual development does not guarantee a comparable development in say the intellectual, moral, and emotional/psychological lines. They are really distinct lines. Perhaps this has been already partially recognized in the Sage/Saint discussions. Perhaps this does not matter for most people here in their orientation is solely towards the Truth (Sage). But for others, it does matter (e.g., Mariana Caplan). There’s still this stuff of life (money, sex, work, family, relationships, politics, gurus, no guru’s, communities, projections …), i.e., “all this crap”. Yeah, it’s an illusion in the unassailable Context of the Reality of the Self, but the illusion persists, bites, and even hurts. Hence, the theory construction to try to make sense of it all, and provide some kind of academic road map to guide us through this *human* life. And we all sense that our human life probably has some intrinsic value, illusion or not. (And the “map is not the territory”, so take it with a grain of salt. Use it if it’s useful. Drop it if it’s not.)

    Another valuable point from Integral Theory is the “pre-trans” fallacy. Certain proclamations about No-Mind, drop dissolves into the ocean, oceanic bliss, Oneness may sound superficially the same, but their realities may be quite different. For me, to really appreciate Non-Duality, both the realization and the philosophy actually requires a *tremendous* amount of discrimination and discernment. It requires a certain level of development and subtlety of the mind to see through it’s own tendency to divide, and see through the world of it’s own construction, and Beyond. To appreciate Non-Duality, one has to be in some sense already versed in Duality and is ready to move on. It is not the No-Mind of an idiot, but that of the Sage. I would argue at the spirit and heart of Non-Dualism actually is discernment, not a blank mind, not Unity, not Bliss, but an unrelenting drive to penetrate Reality and find a resting place in full awareness and appreciation of the things all going on in Duality. It does not negate it. It sees through it.

  32. *Brenda* about Seth..I have read some of his books and it is all true that we (our beliefs) create our reality (Adya, Rupert Spira, Eckhart Tolle talk about that too) but what enlightenment is all about is seeing through that virtual reality..that is the difference..I don’t think Seth talks about it at all. I will post a couple of videos from Adya a bit later where he talks about this beautifully..as he usually does 🙂

  33. Ernest – your thoughts are very interesting. I often think about the question of integrating Oneness into modern day to day life.

    Hypothetical scenarios present themselves: How would Ramana Maharshi function as a high school principle in Harlem if his karms has placed him there. What would it be like for Anandamayi Ma to be a waitress at a roadside diner in South Florida, if she had found herself there.

    This is pure speculation, but the sense I get is that they would have served the same high purpose, but in a different way. They would have been “hidden Saints.” Are there hidden Saints and sages among us? It is quite likely, since not every pure Being necessarily winds up sitting on a dais with flowers all around and incense burning, with eager students seated at their feet…

  34. Thanks Night lily………looking forward to the videos. Jane Roberts did have many trancedence experiences when not channeling Seth….and some with.
    We can transcend this reality but it is no accident that we are in this relative reality, at this time either.
    I think we go back and forth and as I stated before…..we are the unmanifest experienceing the manifest. As a child, I had spontaneous “awakenings”, and a few as a young adult. I don’t want to discuss with anyone here about whether it happened or not or whether it was a true awakening…….it definitely occured. And then I got totally immersed again in the relative reality with raising children, etc. and tried to inhibit those experiences. Now I miss them! And so…..I’m learning to be still again.

  35. Ernst, I second Brenda, nicely put. As Adya’s teacher said to him ,we come to nirvana trough ways of sansara..

  36. Here Adya also touches upon finger pointing in spirituality which applies to a lot of conversations here imho.

  37. Enlightenment is not an experience…experiences come and go..They can be lost and found..but rather it is Reality Itself..It is not transcendent of this reality, but includes it..it includes everything, or it wouldn’t be Reality..It is found in the child’s cry or the dirty laundry as well as in the ecstasy of a lovers kiss or when sitting at the feet of masters..no difference…It is who we really are sans all our concepts and conditioning – so it can never be lost…only our attention can wander..but once known..it doesn’t fluctuate or go anywhere..where would it go? It is always here now -omnipresent Love.. but clouded by our non acceptance of the perceived unacceptable… If we’re chasing something grand – trying to get to where the good spiritual stuff is, based on memory or expectation, we miss it..Most of all, it is entirely free of the mind’s interpretation of it..

  38. Night lily, when I go to your link 3 or 4 videos pop up with Adya. Which one are you talking about or is it all three? One is about the “secret”, another about shift of perception, and one about taking the step. I will watch all 3 but wondered which one you were referring to. And your second comment said he is talking about finger pointing but there is no link. Thanks again!

  39. From Adya’s video above: in spirituality there is so much finger pointing, so much who is right, who us wrong, who is this,who is that..let us just realise it is about waking up, it is about oneness, it’s about realization of the unity of existance and ourselves and each other and then the rest..you are a free being, you follow your own karmic way with all the rest, with the way you move through life, that’s when people like me we can’t tell anybody how to do that, we just tend to get in the way when we start to pretend to know how everyone should move.. It is just the oneness thing and then you are on your own” …be it Ramana expression , Pamela or Andrew expression…let it be, thanks, Rick for being so open to all expressions ))

  40. Night lily……found it! The one about the secret. I so agree with him. Have a lovely day!

  41. Being aware of being aware (or awareness of awareness)…

    while you (the subject) are aware of each and every form (the object) that appears and dis-appears before you…

    is integration of the ocean with its manifested waves.

    No new or different objects need to appear before you. Nor do you have to change or modify the subject who is aware of the objects.

    Just be aware of your awareness… as you become aware of the forms that appear and dis-appear.

    Just be aware of your awareness.

  42. Hi Chuckee – the energy coming through your posts is different now – much more settled….Have you been hanging out with Francis? He’s so wonderfully clear isn’t he? It would be nice if Rick could interview him…

  43. i liked Andrew’s interview a lot… he brought up interesting issues … that are important toward what & how… we do… in the manifested world…
    toward the end of interview… Rick requested that comments be restricted to the topics discussed in interview… seems this profound video touches on the topics discussed…

    The Collective Evolution FULL
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H70kaRvVeUs

  44. here’s more support for Andrew’s evolutionary spirituality & better behavior…

    matt kahn says that non-duality is only … roughly… only 1/10 of overall spiritual development… not sure he mentioned this during batgap interview… but he did mention this in our session with him…

    so there are several teachers… whose views are more holistic… but i can still appreciate teachers like…

    Mooji… who comes closest to role Papaji played… “aggressively (but lovingly) pushing people toward the edge” … and Mooji has a strong devotional side… in his presence one can feel the LOVE… now there is some chanting/bhajans at end of satsang… and he is getting involved in some charity projects… slowly… it’s very easy to fall in love with Mooji…

    Adya… who perhaps is clearest in explaining the widespread stuckness phenomenon… he is not aggressively pushing people to awaken… rather he seems to attract people who ARE awakening… in whatever fashion… and he just reassures them … that everything is fine… just recent satsang in Philly… he was simply reassuring a few who were experiencing things falling away… and had concerns about the void… doing nothing… paying the rent… he simply was reassuring… that the void etc was not the final resting place…

    Leonard Jacobson… has a very simple systematic effective process… great for beginners… and for people who are not “automatically” awakening… just by hanging out with Adya, Mooji etc … also his books provide very simple but thorough knowledge… about the nature of ego, mind, Self…

    and here’s a good article along these lines … from Gloria Byrom Agrelius’s FB ~ “I admire and respect Jeff Foster for his humble recognition of the arrogance that comes with awakening at the mental level. So many of us have awakened at this level and call ourselves done.”
    (rest of article) :
    Ignoring the world is where we deny ourselves the opportunity to vibrate at the higher frequency of self awareness. The world is reflecting our true inner state of the heart in every moment.

    If we are awakened, yet not able to embody self awareness at the level of our emotions, we’re a walking contradiction to that awakening. Christ said you can’t put new wine in old wineskins. The wine of our awakening will spoil in the wineskin of our unmet conditioning.

    Jeff Foster and other spiritual teachers are awakening back into life, and admit that awakening has no real destination point. They offer the wisdom of awakening and deepening into life – not away from it. We can live in this world and embody the grace of enlightenment fully.

    I admire and respect Jeff Foster for his humble recognition of the arrogance that comes with awakening at the mental level. So many of us have awakened at this level and call ourselves done.

    There are very few teachers offering post enlightenment advise for living awareness and embodying this frequency at every level; mental, emotional and physical.

    Adyashanti has been the voice for this for several years. Most gurus are still trying to get people to wake up. They can’t believe so many are truly awakened, because folks are not meeting their particular criteria for enlightenment.

    So many have moved beyond the mental realm of awakening and are no longer fascinated by it. This mental attitude of writing off the world does not resonate with those whose hearts have awakened back into life…deeply into life.

    The fresh voices for living our awakening call to us from a place that is beyond the denial of this world. The awakened heart is here to love. They’re in the market place, and they’ve found nirvana right here through giving of themselves to others.

    We know ourselves as love by giving love. It’s in the givingness of self that we experience the depths of all that we are. We are no longer hiding from life, nor are we trying to escape life through higher states of consciousness.There is nothing wrong with higher states of consciousness and the experiences they bring. It’s realised that they are part of awakening and the danger happens when we become mesmorized by them. It can become another form of hiding for the ego.

    Many have traversed these higher states and grace brought them back into life. They are not sitting in an enlightened superior state waiting for everyone else to wake up. Like Jeff Foster, they’ve seen the arrogance of it.

    The world is reflecting our state of consciousness back to us. What we experience through relationship shows us our unmet conditioning and where we are less than enlightened. Relating with others exactly where they are can reveal to us exactly where we are.

    If we are wise, we will not waste this precious time in form. We will raise our frequency to that of love. An awakened mind must be in harmony with an awakened heart. Our actions in this physical plane should reflect the transparency of our authenticity and integrity.

    This has nothing to do with fixing ourselves or anyone else. This is about living truth at every level of our existence. As we feel and know ourselves as pure love, no longer fragmented within our emotionsal state, we exude the purity of the love that we are. We are pumping our frequency of love back into the universe.

    True teachers are humbled by life. They are humbled by you. You reflect themselves back to themselves. Observe how loving and kind they are. Observe how they feel when they are less than loving and kind. A pure teaching will always point you toward the truth inherent to who you are. There is nothing to know. Trust yourself.

    by Gloria Agrelius…

  45. Thanks for your thoughts, Anatol. I haven’t watched the videos you posted yet…… but will.

  46. If we try to save the world, before we save ourselves, we don’t accomplish much of anything…movements come and movements go..A suffering man cannot truly help another man..

    It’s a natural outgrowth of the ’embodied’ awakened state to love and support the apparent ‘other’ in their suffering…and help lift them out of it…That’s true charity in my book..and the kind that has lasting effects..

    Happily, when we are no longer focused on our own wants and needs – fully dissolved in the ego area -we quite naturally live for the awakening of the planet..

    It’s been said that there can be no real Love unless there’s nobody there to love; no real Compassion unless there’s nobody there to be compassionate; and no real Humility, unless there’s nobody there to be humble…

    As we’ve seen, all previous attempts throughout time of trying to achieve the ‘Virtues’ or the ideal society, fall short, because they are coming from ego and not true self-less-ness.. First ye seek the kingdom of God…so there is some profound basis for the change we want to see..

    It makes sense here, to give all our attention and devotion to the Self – to waking up – and THEN see what the Divine Will has in store for us to do, instead of imposing our ‘idea’ of love and kumbaya on the neighbors..

  47. spiritual development before awakening…
    spiritual development during awakening…
    spiritual development after awakening…

    we do not wait for the waves of the ocean to subside before we take a dip…

  48. @Anatol “True teachers are humbled by life.”

    I feel torn between two forces. On one hand, is the Truth of Self, which Jill expresses, and I cannot deny. On the other hand, having “arms and legs” (Brenda), is an everyday in your face truth, which I also cannot deny. (Note, these are not necessarily in conflict.)

    We talk so eloquently about “enlightenment”, “no-mind”, “no-concepts”, “awareness of awareness”, … Yet behind these words, we are trying to convey *something*. Behind the words is a whole superstructure, a whole set of assumptions (“concepts”) whereby the conversation is possible. This includes the concept of “no-concept”. Stones do not wonder about “no-concept”, “awareness of awareness”, etc. This seems a uniquely human problematic, us brilliant human beings capable of symbolic manipulation, but also as a result, slightly lost and screwed up. From this, I also appreciate the point that Evolutionists make about the evolution of human consciousness, the evolution of “culture” (which is our collective consciousness), why the particulars of the assumptions are so important, because we cannot evolve without seeing through them first. That which we presume to be Universal or Final, may actually be a hidden cultural assumption, a Grand Illusion. (Neelam also draws from nueroscience in her work. I wonder if neuroscience were to someday show consciousness as an epiphenomenon of the brain, would we accept it? We’ve been fooled many times before, no matter how convincing the experience. We may be utterly convinced by the Truth of the Self in our experience, but if this conviction turns out to be an illusion, would we accept the verdict? Would we accept even the death of even This to something even more Unknowable? For various technical and philosophical reasons, I don’t think neuroscience is likely get there, but who knows.)

    One can choose the “lens” of the Self through which everything else is seen. One can also choose the lens of Evolution through which to explain everything else. I don’t know which is primary, and can prove neither. The impulse towards Self feels more restful, simpler (in fact, radically simple), obvious, spacious, calm, freeing, inward receding, all encompassing, and finally the Home we’ve all been searching for, the place where all tension is dissolved and one can finally come to rest. On the other hand, the impulse of Evolution feels exciting, engaging, growth oriented, complex, fascinating, fun, challenging, playful (Lila), outwardly oriented.

    I don’t know which is true, which is primary. They may be both true and there is no “primary”. Our brains just cannot grasp the larger reality. In some ways, on the issue of “Ultimate”, I’m am agnostic. All I know is what is in front of me, right now. So it’s one step at a time. As a corollary to my “agnostism” (translate “mind does not know”), the door is always open to “surrendering to the Mystery” and “devotion to God” 🙂

  49. Anatol my friend..
    What are we developing but an illusion that will have to be seen through… Most of us have spent lifetimes developing ourselves and many are running out of time…don’t put off – One awake Light in the world is worth more than a thousand do-gooders…Focus incessantly on the Self and see what happens..

    The teachers that I know like Pamela and Adya and Neelam and Gangaji and Mooji are not out doing charity work – They ARE the charity…they are devoting their lives to lift people out of suffering..The only ones who don’t awaken with them are those who have some other agenda..We have to be naked when we go before a final teacher…resting in the unknown – can’t bring anything with us..that’s the surrender…

    We can’t earn our way into Heaven with one more day of practice or one more good deed – Heaven is here now if only we could look past our conception of it..
    Go and claim your birthright..you’ve done the work..

  50. Ernest –
    I understand your dilemma but if you listen to the teachers carefully you’ll note that there is no conflict between being and becoming…they are not separate..
    It seems they are at odds after awakening cause the paradox has not been resolved…
    Once it is – we no longer are a house divided…all questions are answered in wholeness – and soon there are no questions – just Life Itself being lived through us…seamlessly..spontaneously – the burden of having to figure out what to do and how to be -what is our role – is lifted…God’s Will prevails not ours…that’s the deeper surrender..

  51. “I don’t know which is true, which is primary. They may be both true and there is no “primary”.” I say yes to this, Ernest. They are both true. Sometimes I am in one or the other and sometimes they blend perfectly. When I try to pursue one or the other intentionally and exclusively, I get mucked up. ha!

  52. One other comment before I go out dancing…I appreciate what all of you have to say. It is so wonderful, for me, to read and “hear” what everyone has to say and share. I am grateful that Rick has created this space for us.

  53. Hi Everyone,

    I am enjoying the discussions on BatGap. There is a lot of gentleness towards each other and a movement towards a need for clarity

    It seems to me that there is only One, ( How could there be two ? )

    There is often an amusement as why there are discussions about being and becoming as there is only One.
    And in this and as this everything plays out.
    Meaning everything, meaning everything we might call being and becoming, after all they are just words.

    Do we first have to demarcate a difference between being and becoming and come up with all kinds of ideas and concepts about them
    and then say that This includes both?

    Is that not obvious?
    Since there is only One?

    Nothing is ever excluded.
    How could it be?

    But then of course debates about being and becoming, or come
    to that, about personal and impersonal are also playing out in This and as This.

    Awareness mirroring itself in a billion ways. 😉

  54. Such beautiful posts – what could be better to awake to on this gorgeous summer day than truth straight from the heart..

    Chuckee – I just put in a vote to Rick for Francis for an interview..

    Brenda – could there be anything better than dancing? I don’t think so…nothing more freeing than to let the body go where it wants to go..pure joy -thanks to you and Chuckee for the reminder..

    HS – perfect – I’ll expect your book on non-duality any day now.. 😀

    Ernest – You know the truth – you hear it, you recognize it, you state it beautifully, and then you doubt it…don’t do that..It’s as if one side of the brain is arguing with the other side…and this often happens until the two are made One..
    This being pulled in two different directions can get intense I know – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing…it means that we are getting closer to resolving the paradox – to allowing the mental apparatus to collapse in frustration at its inability to figure it all out
    I would only suggest that you don’t try to hold on to anything too tightly and stay in not-knowing..It’s really a heavenly place to be..this nowhere or now/here, whichever one prefers..

    Anatol – Speaking from experience, I know how difficult it can be to sustain the ambiguity that comes from being neither a saint nor a sinner..to be nothing and nobody without attributes is to truly suffer the dark night…but take heart – once we are willing to meet everything that arises with equanimity, without the spiritual spin, we are home free..

  55. Milia – Thanks for Mooji’s “Duality is not a problem”. Beautiful.

    Jill – You are part of a new breed of online line teachers, and even in this medium, it has proven to be surprisingly effective. I’ve taken your directions and nudgings to heart. They are invaluable clues. But I’ve known from the beginning, this path, I finally have to do on my own. (But I do listen very carefully what everyone has to say.)

  56. Mooji’s Charities… http://www.mooji.org/charities.html

    also someone told me that Adyashanti is doing charities… privately…

    Robert Adams… was a strong proponent of advaita… also did charitable work… to some degree… adapted several children… etc

  57. Dear Chuckee,

    thanks for you honest post.
    I can relate to what you say.
    Three years ago or so the perspective of being the watching became clear, and the unfolding of release of held concepts and believes proceeded without too much of hiccups.

    But now a dear friend is hospitalized with brain damage and i am one of his closest to take care of him, and i see the anxieties which before i could see happening in what i am, taking over the whole of the field, and it seems that that is all that is there.
    Where is the one who is watching?, Where is the space around it?. Which makes it ‘feel’ ok..

    On top of that there is the discomfort of wanting something else then what is here. Something else then the anxieties, and there is where the struggle is, in the resistance of feeling what is here right now. Suddenly it becomes big.

    So seeing this, seeing that there is a movement away from the anxieties, ( i do not want those to be there ).
    A not wanting to experience, there is suddenly a stop, where eveything which is here right now, is felt and experienced as it is, without the labels. The feelings and sensations in the body, the sadness, the hopes and fears, the resistance to wanting to feel this and sitting with this, it slowly becomes something else.
    Just holding this with almost the feeling of how Mother would take in her hurt child.

    Although there is no telling how long this will take.
    And to do this, the sitting with all that is felt as undesirable or uncomfortable, with an aim that it should go away is shooting yourself in the leg. It won’t work.

    So Chuckee to sit with all those doubts, thoughts and confusion with a feeling of eternity, with no end to it?

    Yes it can be at times overwhelming, but why not?
    Even in the darkests of nights there can be a delight even in the experience of this…

    Being brave and honest are your guides…
    You’r doing good…..

  58. Dear Chuckee and Potshots.

    I would recommend checking out and consulting with Neelam. Even for me, ultimately it’s not mind stuff that motivates me, but “life stuff”. She has a lot to say about these, in practical technical detail. And it’s done in such a way that Presence first and foremost, while honoring the process this precious human body needs to go through. It doesn’t have to be this painful with no apparent end.

    Best of wishes, as a fellow traveller in this thing called “life”.

  59. Dear Ernest,

    12 years ago i went on a whim to a meeting with Francis Lucille in Amsterdam. I had never read anything from him, nor did i know much about him. Advaita was still very abstract for me.

    Sitting in this hall with a handful of people, and this small unassuming man talking with a gentleness.
    I did not understand much of what was said, but the resonance was unmistakingly there.
    At the end a woman who had just lost her husband asked Francis how to deal with grief and loss.
    And what he said was something like: to sit with the feelings of grief and loss, unmoving.
    Not to judge, not to resist.
    To sit with it, and not with the idea to get rid of the unpleasant feeling, as then there would be again an agenda.
    A someone who wants to get rid of something.
    But to sit with this as if for eternity.

    This is now of course in my words. But this was the message, which struck home, and has been invaluable as this is how it works when something hits so deep that all the ‘normal’ band aids do not work.

    Now because of my friend in hospital with brain damage there is a deep feeling of sadness,
    an exquisite sadness,
    all the sadness of the world,
    breaking open the heart.
    Its real and authentic.
    Life, raw and deep.

    I

  60. This dew-drop world
    is just a dew-drop world
    and yet …

    This haiku (translated from Japanese into English by Gary Snyder, I believe) was written by Issa, shortly after losing a child …. the third of his children to die in infancy, along with his wife also, following her third pregnancy.

    Along with being a poet, Issa was a lay Buddhist priest, deeply steeping in the wisdom of impermanence — how all phenomena, including human bodyminds, are illusory, and fleeting — which he refers to in the poem as “this dew-drop world.” And yet, he’s also experiencing profound sadness, in the wake of so much loss (the death of not just one child, but three, along with his wife) …. and in the poem acknowledges the paradoxical perfection of that …. welcoming those feelings …. into the embrace of Pure Awareness / Buddha-Nature …. as a mother or father would welcome a child, onto their lap, for a while … until the child was ready to leave, for whatever reasons …..

  61. Dear Mila,

    So beautiful,
    Being touched and gratitude are flowing.

    Thank you

  62. Chuckee –
    Potshots and Ernest shared some beautiful pointers in the direction of non-suffering…They are basically relating what satsang is all about…sitting with the unacceptable – facing everything with Awareness…which is what Francis and Neelam all the true teachers teach…

    We find that each time we meet that which we find most objectionable, within or without, that the deeper good reveals itself to itself…until the acceptance becomes automatic and we are lifted out of separation..

    It seems from your post that you are caught in that place between knowing the Absolute Truth of the matter – that we don’t ‘ultimately have choice about acceptance or resistance or anything we do for that matter, and yet feeling that there’s a person there having a choice…This is where many get stuck..The understanding is ahead of the experience..

    Ramesh’s pointer out of this dilemma, is that as long as we feel to be a person with choices living in the world, we make the ‘apparent’ choices based on our best instincts and information and we try to choose wisely..we try to always choose in our own best interests..

    Choosing wisely in this instance, means to spend quality time – as much as is needed – in the Presence of Silent Mind – consistently – to get up close and personal with a teacher of your choice – not just on the internet – in order to let Grace burn all the vasanas – to bring the story to the forefront so it can be laid to rest – This is the most efficient way to bring the body to peace..

    I suffered for 20 years with the ups and downs of life – trying to transcend the angst instead of meeting it..There was an inner resistance to reaching out for help although I sure looked like I was asking for it….I wanted to do this myself – or through the programs I was attached to – not knowing that the mind will never willingly commit suicide on it’s own..so round and round we went…

    What’s true, is many of us resist bliss although we say we’re working toward it..Suffering is familiar – duality is familiar – bliss is not…and often we’d rather have a suffering identity than none at all…This was hard for me to face until Pamela pointed it out..

    That being said, it’s true that some nervous systems are more difficult to bring to rest – the soul is willing but but the body won’t cooperate physiologically.. However, that Silence – which is the Supreme Yoga – the only power that is greater than the mind – brings every soul to peace…

    Much love and blessings to you…

  63. My dear Chuckee –
    I love your honesty and it’s all true – we can’t make it happen – but sometimes we get too into a head trip – which can be as much an avoidance as a clarification –

    We can become paralyzed by thinking that we can’t do anything toward our salvation..but we can…we make decisions every day – what to eat – where to go – who to see..and going to sit with a teacher is just one of those..

    Indeed, the Absolute is not separate from the relative – they are seamless as you say – but that has to be known and lived on a deep level for it to be workable..and not cause confusion or suffering..

    If there is truly no one there and we are fully conscious, there would be no need of teachers..and no confusion..I don’t believe we can be fully conscious and create suffering for ourselves or anyone else..

    So yes – we all surrender when we surrender…not a minute before – but I will still maintain that not words but the transmission of Silence did me and scores of others that I know, in..wiped out the suffering..

    It can happen anywhere but Grace comes through powerfully in the Presence of one who is empty…it’s the true meaning of alchemy – it does the work of burning up the vasanas….

    Pamela’s pointing out that I was holding on – pointing out my deeper resistance – was a part of it – but it was her Presence – the Grace coming through her – that helped me to ‘allow’ that Love to penetrate..

    Unconditional Love melts resistance and fear..The ‘allowing’ of myself to be with her – the ‘willingness’ to just go for it – was my only contribution to the cosmic event..but it was a necessary one…we do play a part in this…

    The Vedas say that ‘all it takes for freedom is a true teacher and a willing disciple’..If either component is missing – nothing gets resolved…Papaji used to say – ‘I can’t give you anything you’re not willing to receive..or take anything from you you’re not willing to give’…The Universe won’t impose anything on you..

    So although there’s nobody here as you noted, to wrestle with any decisions – paradoxically – it’s still up to us..

  64. Well good – Chuckee – if the nervous system insight resonates – then go with that and throw out all the rest of my blather…All those who care, just want you, and all beings to be at peace..

  65. Re- The dialogue with Chuckee – This is truly the nitty gritty, and there is much to be learned here.

    Most of my suffering takes place in the mind, in the form of old stuff which keeps returning. It is just as real and difficult for me as what what you describe as happening with you Chuckee. There is a certain helpless feeling at knowing that at any time I could just give up, surrender, stop the struggle, let it go and just be with what is. And yet, I have not done that . Is there something wrong with me? Am I really that obstinate, bull-headed, dumb that I can’t just LET IT GO???

    Well there are days when that happens. The Light floods in, all is Love and beauty and acceptance. But then this thinking mind kicks back in again, trying to figure everything out, control what’s going on around me, wanting to finally get it right. It just seems endless.

    Having Jill and Pamela as guides gives strength to be OK with this stuff, and accept it. All of it. And soon I hope to let go of it. All of it… It’s really just one small step…

  66. P.S. Actually, no – I don’t want to let go of all of it SOON. I want to let it all go RIGHT NOW. This instant.

    Really sick of it…

  67. Laurence, Appreciate your honesty… I can really feel the frustration and empathize with you…. You are sitting on a potential pot of gold..

    here’s my 2 cents.. simply an opinion..

    Re: “There is a certain helpless feeling at knowing that at any time I could just give up, surrender, stop the struggle, let it go and just be with what is. And yet, I have not done that . Is there something wrong with me?”
    ——— Be patient and sit with that question… ‘Is there something wrong with me?’… Focus on your body and emotions, your breath.. How does your heart respond to that question? Do any other past emotions, memories, stories come up?

    Also don’t let go of that ‘helpless feeling’…. there’s lots of wisdom and insight if you go deeper into it…

    Re: “Am I really that obstinate, bull-headed, dumb that I can’t just LET IT GO???”
    ———There’s a lot of implied assumptions in here… How do you know it is only about ‘Letting it go’?? What are the reasons that you seem to be in such a hurry and rush to change things? Why do you feel & think the present moment is not OK? If your assumption is that you’re not letting go, therefore you assume you’re HOLDING ON… Why and what do you think you are holding onto?

    ….. Adyashanti’s recent book Falling Into Grace has a chapter titled “Experiencing the Raw Energy of Emotion”… there may be helpful pointers in that for you… I’ll quote some parts:

    Allow your suffering to speak:
    Our suffering consists of two components: a mental component and an emotional component. We usually think of these 2 aspects as separate, but in fact, when we’re in deep states of suffering, we’re usually so overwhelmed by the experience of emotion that we forget and become unconscious of the story in our minds that is creating and maintaining it. So one of the most vital steps in addressing our suffering and moving beyond it is first to summon the courage and willingness to truly experience what we’re feeling and to no longer try to edit what we feel.
    …… Once you touch a particular emotion, allow yourself to begin to hear the voice of suffering. To do this, you cannot stand outside the suffering, trying to explain or solve it; you must really sink into the pain, even relax into the suffering so that you can allow the suffering to speak.
    ….. It’s important that we open all the emotions and all of the thoughts in order to fully experience what is there.
    ….. What you’re looking for is how your suffering, how the particular emotion you are experiencing, actually views your life, views what happened, and views what’s happening now. To do this, you need to get in touch with the story of your suffering. It is through these stories that we maintain our suffering, so we need to speak or write these stories down — even if the stories sound outrageously judgmental or blaming or condemning.

    — Having a complete experience
    In the face of a difficult emotion, we often turn away from the experience by either repressing it or impulsively acting it out; we do not in fact experience what is there all the way through. We have learned to do this over many years as a way to cope with unpleasant emotions and thoughts as they flow through our lives.
    …. As soon as we go unconscious, whatever emotion that happened at that time will be locked in our system. It will stay there and regenerate itself over and over again until we find the capacity to experience that emotion without going unconscious in any way.

    … Even though our stories about what happened may seem very justified, the important thing to remember is that they actually cause us to go unconscious and lock suffering into our bodies. Instead, what we need to do is to find the capacity to feel what we feel without creating more thoughts about it. When you start to experience a difficult feeling, you see that it’s often associated with a memory. As you replay that memory in your mind, if you allow it to be there without a story or conclusion, you start to feel the emotion releasing itself from your system. It may not do this immediately; in fact for a time the experience of suffering may even intensify. But this is only because you’re now experiencing it in a conscious way, not a numbed or a disassociated way. You are becoming very intimate with the moment-to-moment experience of your suffering.

  68. @ Chuckee and Laurence..

    Not sure if anything which will be written will make any difference as you both seem pretty well versed in all the texts, versions and quotes on the subject.
    Grinding at it for long it seems.
    Of course as i have been there i recognize where you are.
    I know when it was just around the corner so to speak, i was often in the conundrum of what Chuckee is speaking. The sense of a person, and the sense of identity being blurred and confused. Is all sense of identity ego?, is it always the person?
    Until it dawned, that all sense of I, is always awareness.
    It is the Ultimate Subject.
    So whenever, which is always, you feel I.
    Say YES I.
    This I is awareness.
    Then in a split second you might see habitually thoughts coming, claiming, thinking, but always on this, your basic true Nature, I.

    The simplicity is staggering.
    Not in some mind stuff figuring out.
    But just your sense of I.
    This is IT.

    As there is only One
    how could it be otherwise.
    You are That already
    I
    Always present in all your experience
    I

  69. Ramana – “If the longing is there, realisation will be forced on you even if you do not want it”

  70. Thanks Valentino, Potshots, Ising. There is so much wisdom born of experience on this board.

    The Ramana quote really cuts to the heart of it at this moment. Ramana – OMG, what a force of nature…

  71. I don’t know if any of you have read the book WILD – which is now at the top of the NY Times best seller list..good read..

    It’s about a woman who at 22, after suffering the loss of her beloved mother to cancer – and being fatherless as well as penniless – decides to set out to hike the arduous Pacific Crest Trail, which starts in Mexico and goes up through California and through Oregon..to try and find reconciliation..The 1100 mile treacherous journey and her trials and tribulations, both physical and emotional, are a metaphor for the spiritual journey..

    When she was interviewed recently, the author was asked, what was the most important thing you learned from doing this?..and her answer was, Acceptance…acceptance of all things but most of all self-acceptance…

    It finally dawned on my tired old brain some years ago – that acceptance is both the means and the end of the spiritual path..Acceptance calls forth Love..it opens us to Love…and Love melts resistance..

    Acceptance of all that arises, but particularly of that which is most unacceptable to us, is the greatest source of Grace in this world..The ability to bear what we think we cannot bear shows us our true mettle..and eventually shows us the face of God..

    We can long for this thing called enlightenment and that’s a good thing..but we only find it when we are willing to see it in the here and now – in the everyday – in the horror within us and without – not over there – not someday – but right here right now..and see that everything is OK just as it is..

    The face of Unconditional Love is our face and it is always readily available..because it is who we really are.. In the most wounded part of ourselves it can reveal itself…the part that we don’t want to look at or acknowledge or accept… our anger – our fear – our sadness – our despair – our helplessness and our hopelessness..

    If we can acknowledge our greatest weaknesses and flaws and accept all of it as part of being human – part of the wholeness – and let it all just be there without judgment – without the story of it…somehow we are lifted up..

    As I’ve related here before when so many of our close family members died post 9/11 and I was concerned about my son’s ability to bear it..he, being much wiser than I, looked at me one day and said, ‘Don’t worry Mom – it’s just sadness – it doesn’t define me’..

    Howard Wills the healer, once told me that ‘a large part of illness is not about diet or life style- but rather, self-loathing’..the opposite of self-acceptance…We can feed ourselves perfect food he said, and live in a perfect environment but if we don’t have self love it’s all for naught…

    When we begin the spiritual path it seems that generally speaking, humans are about 80% against themselves and 20% for – more or less..which means we don’t usually decide in our own best interests…and often self-sabotage..We feel we must effort to deserve God’s love..and yet never feel worthy of that love..

    As we move along the highway, the ratio changes and we may be at 60/40…a little more relaxed – less resistant -causing less suffering for ourselves and others..and it’s clear that when the energy ratio somehow shifts to 51% for, and 49% against ourselves….it’s enough to turn the tide for a life stream…

    All practices and teachings aside – we don’t truly open to the Divine and step forward to take our place at the table, unless a certain amount of self-love and acceptance has been born in us..It happens when we finally come to feel we ‘deserve’ the recognition and the confirmation that we are the Love that we’ve been seeking for so very very long….

  72. If you think you’re balancing between 80/20% against/for self…. or up to 60/40.. or successfully attained 49/51% against/for…. but even at full attainment of 1% against with 99% for…

    You are still stuck in duality… Acceptance, self-acceptance, self-loathing are simply stories. Acceptance can be a great and useful pointer, but in reality and truth. There is only acceptance.

    When realized from direct personal experience, then all the practices (focusing attention, resting, relaxing, transmissions) naturally drop, because then they’re realized as pointless, waste of effort, and make absolutely no sense.

  73. Jill,
    Interesting angle, refreshing, really.

    You know, you helped me through some confusion not too long ago that seems like it was similar to chuckee’s and Laurence’s dilemmas. The conditioned mind would cook up a story and then run with it for a while. When the mental chatter arose, I kept telling myself that I should be doing something to get somewhere. In essence, some part of my being was still believing the stories about the imaginary self. You helped in guiding me back deeper into abidance…simply dwelling in the Mystery as deeply as my conditioning would allow.

    After some time…a few day, weeks…I don’t recall exactly…an amazing thing happened, the silly questions and mental pressures just dissolved. There don’t seem to be any stories that can grab any more. They may come up and try…but there are no longer any loops for the velcro to grab onto. Abidance will do that.

    So even though it does not seem to be an ostensible solution, falling into Self really does the magic. That, and opening to the light that comes through the awakened ones.

    Chuckee, I wish I could be there with you dancing at the festivals…Just remember that all these seemingly real things in the world are just energy at the quantum level, and beyond that they are just expressions of the Void. So, enjoy them as that and know that when the stories get so slippery as to just slide off, then the questions will go with them and the world will be seen for what it really is…or isn’t.

    peace.

  74. “You are still stuck in duality… Acceptance, self-acceptance, self-loathing are simply stories. Acceptance can be a great and useful pointer, but in reality and truth. There is only acceptance.” – Valentino

    Which may infer that being stuck in duality is equally acceptable as being unstuck in it.

  75. “The tipping point does come, however, and the tide does turn. What was once called effort can then be called gravity. And that’s when “my will” starts to become “thy will”.” ~That’s beautiful, Steve. Thanks for expressing this so perfectly.

    I usually go to the Grey Fox festival in New York…It’s a lovely family of joyful souls.

  76. Steve –
    That was beautiful – full agreement – I would just say that turning one’s face to the Divine – to the Self – is already a form of inner acceptance…When there is a major decision to pursue the Real..that is Grace itself who came to call….

    But my earlier post was for those who are consciously or unconsciously resisting the call…who turn away from their true nature time and again – distract themselves in some way- who don’t step up to the plate due to their conditioning..
    who feel they somehow either don’t deserve to be lifted out of suffering..or who think there’s something wrong with them if they are feeling normal human fear or anger or confusion..and thus, get stuck in the non acceptance of what is arising….

    Satsang is all about bringing Awareness to what arises – sitting with the Truth of oneself – as you are doing.. so that, as you say – everything is allowed to come and go and dissolve back into the Self quite naturally…..

    But first things first – for that author I was speaking of, and for many seekers I’ve known- in order to allow this all to unfold – to be able to pursue Truth in earnest – they need to find some measure of self love and acceptance either within, or without, (in the form of an unconditionally loving teacher) to move them forward, or in some cases, to even begin, the journey home..

    Erick – speaking of saying Yes to everything – you could be the poster boy for that…You were so open and self accepting and ‘willing’ to hear what was being said – that nothing much was needed
    from my side – just some Silence – some pointers – but you were already in the zone…Maharishi was our connection, so naturally there was much resonance..
    love to you..

  77. Chuckee –
    I love what Papaji said when asked in a satsang – What if I let go and go crazy? and Papaji said – You’re crazy now..
    Duality is a form of insanity..so there’s nothing to fear in dying into wholeness…that death which is the only death there is – takes away all fear..

  78. The thing about these dilemmas is – they don’t last for that long. And what a good thing that is! What I’m looking at now is – if there is a dilemma which the mind creates – enjoy the show while it lasts. Something else will be along before long.

    Already in looking back on my “dilemma” post yesterday the thought pops up – “Was that really me?”

    So why not just accept it – I like good stuff and don’t like bad stuff. O.K., so I’m human…

    “There was the Door to which I found no key:
    There was the veil through which I could not see
    Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
    There was – and then no more of Thee and Me.”

  79. “…crazy now…”
    Yes, the real reason that I don’t post too often is that the nice men in the white coats only let me out once a week. 😉

  80. ‘Friend, if you’re still crying, “help!”
    You haven’t finished drowning’.

    This was today in the Nonduality Highlights, with some other good quotes from Fred la Motte.

    Cry cry, to the utmost. Until there is only crying. Dance, dance, dance your life away and disappear into oblivion. Do everything with all you’ve got.

    Write and argue and dance the dance of life and know
    that nothing will ever ever capture what this is All about. ( Fortunately, what else would we be doing ? so much fun to still try to write and share. )

    ‘Even the best writing is like taking potshots at the moon.’ Wei Wu Wei

    Love to you all

  81. Right back at you Steve, and I’m really glad you are back on batgap..I missed your sense of humor..and your wisdom…It’s so true that we all unfold as we do..uniquely…

  82. One thing that I’ve noticed about my process in that Recognition is no longer an issue is that “awareness” and “Consciousness” now seems like too much work for me. It is as if it’s almost “too Awake” if there’s such a thing 🙂

    “Self” when meant in the sense of one’s “self-nature” recognized in all things , “resting”, “falling into the heart” is the place of Divine Ignorance and acceptance. It seems to be the place of union with the body/mind and the beginnings of a felt bodily sense of acceptance the phenomenal world. This process seems to have a mind of its own … But nurturance and “habits of attention” do matter.

    This is just an observation. I’m still at the beginnings of this…

  83. Ernest,
    I was raised in the TM tradition and in that context, awareness was everything. All the talk, all the theories, were about consciousness and awareness. Though there was lip service given to sat-chit-ananda, the emphasis was on chit. But chit is only part of the thing. Sat, absolute existence, has nothing to do with awareness. Ananda is the coming to rest of the chit into sat. All together form a mystery that cannot be described.

    Now, when I hear talk of expanded awareness, it sounds alot like self-improvement to me. But falling into Self, because it is inclusive not only of awareness but of the existence of all things as well, cannot be a turning away from nurturance or habits of attention because it includes those things.

    So, I’m with you on seeing awareness as having an activated state. Falling into Self is allowing the awareness to absorb the sat and bliss natures also. Naturally attention will fall on the places that need it most. And the restful value of awareness will dominate.

    Dunno if this helps…I’m *really* just a beginner, too.

    Chuckee,
    Thanks for that classic.

    OK, back into my cave now.

  84. Definitely there is also an energetic component to it. Attention seems now naturally come from the heart area as well from the head (eyes). As an old Chi-gung master also says, where goes the attention, so also goes the”Chi”. (I used to do Chi-gung with a teacher.)

    Reminds of the discussions on the Igor K’s posts, except here the energetic stuff is a “side effect” whereas in the other it is a “method”. But it is an appreciation that the energetic stuff is a “factor”.

    I don’t want to over-extrapolate from this. If I were to meet a mugger on the street, my fight-flight mechanisms will still probably kick in and I’d do what most everyone else would do.

  85. Larry –
    What you said here, and in our private correspondence, about thoughts and emotions and dilemmas coming and going quickly now – like passing weather – is very important..and such good news..

    This is a result of falling into the Self..where nothing sticks anymore..as the tie to conditioned existence has been undone..

    Memories thoughts emotions -are just the rising and falling of Universes in each moment…The ego/self was the connecting link between moments and gave us a sense of continuity over time..but as that unwinds, there is just this timeless moment..

    We are the bliss of the Self – that is our true nature.. The Self includes everything that arises but we are not identified with any of the passing phenomena..We stand unbounded by space and time..Although in a sense we are always moving toward Infinity, when we come to rest in the Self we live in the infinite moment and nothing is held on to..

    I have a number of people who have written to me thinking that Alzheimers has set in cause nothing sticks anymore – thoughts rise and fall so quickly – but I tell them not to worry – it’s just a part of laying the burden of the egoic identity down..Presence runs the show and always has – just for a time the intellect made the mistake of thinking it did..and now we know the Truth..

    Looks like Pamela has worked her magic on you already in ‘undoing’ the knot that keeps us bound – so that the unraveling of the mind and the falling into the heart can truly begin..
    This is Grace..

  86. Ernest – so glad you noted the energetic component – the shakti is of course involved in all realizations – we don’t have to be on the yogic path for it to rise..if it isn’t part and parcel of the realization we are deluding ourselves as far as our awakening..it would be reduced to just a mental idea…so thank you for bringing that to the table..Of course some of us are more sensitive and notice it more – now it’s here in the head – now it’s here in the heart etc – but make no mistake it’s at work if we are in the process of awakening…
    I’m so happy you’re with Neelam…love to you..

  87. Thanks Jill for clarifying what are the “essentials” and what are the “side effects”.

  88. Jill, Yes! – Funny thing – that suspicion of Alzheimers crossed my mind also, and it took a bit of looking at it to realise that this forgetting is a very good thing. No more endlessly carrying around useless stories, information and obsessions.

    With you and Pamela on the scene this stuff doesn’t have a chance of survival, and I am most thankful for that. The mind’s days are numbered – I know it, it knows it, you know it, everybody knows it and that’s what’s happening.

    Recently when some sort of delusional thinking appears I look at my watch and think “O.K., let’s see how long this one can run.” I’ve noticed this happening with others here on the board too. As you say, it’s just weather patterns.

    BTW, my response to your funny story about Papaji was not meant to be flippant – there was just this little joyful moment on reading it and the thought was – Hey, being crazy with Papaji – what a trip…

  89. I have a close elderly relative who has “vascular dementia”. I see her once a week. Memory does not last more than a day. Slowly watching her personality change. I was frightened at one point by a kind of blank empty stare, like nobody was home, like a touch of death, but the body is still alive I’ve never seen her like this before.

    This is different from the “empty mind” of a teacher in sat sang where the emptiness if full of life, radiance, and intelligence.

    We use the same words regarding empty mind, but the “clinical” reality may be different if one takes into the full context. (The clinician would probably say a little more “differential diagnosis” would be needed here.)

    I have no way of really knowing what the subjective experience of another person is. And I need to be careful about my own projections. But the “first hit” (before thinking) usually has something to say. Followed from this is observation of a long term persistent pattern of behaviors to really understand what it means.

  90. “I was frightened at one point by a kind of blank empty stare”

    Thank you for that candid admission, Ernest.

    When I worked as a volunteer for hospice many moons ago, I discovered that alzheimer’s patients rarely felt distressed about their condition. Relatives and close friends of the patients were the distressed ones.

    And the chief source of their distress? That the patient no longer recognized their identities as family members and close friends.

    Whose problem that that make it, then?

    “the emptiness is full of life, radiance, and intelligence”

    Is this your (underlined) experience of emptiness, Ernest?

  91. @Peter
    “Ignorance is bliss”, so yes, loss of memory with Alzheimer’s definitely does help them cope with the mental decline.

    But that so over simplifies the dementia experience for both the patient and family.

    I was a primary full time care-giver of my dad for 2.5 years who suffered from vascular dementia and later on PSP which is slightly similar to Parkinsons. Definitely, his lack of memory did help him emotionally cope. BUT the memory issues are not consistent AND there’s common issues of delusions, night mares, dreams, confusion between reality & imagination. Let alone the emotional challenges of facing your own decline in mental health, sanity, will power, and normal function and control of your body.

    As for the family member’s distress, sure one aspect is their loved one forgetting prized memories. But there’s a huge list of other issues, managing the care, dealing with insurance, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, doctors. Financial challenges.. But also often in a physically and emotionally exhausted state.

    Within hospice I’ve met many people who don’t have a clue about the grieving process or how to be around or handle suffering. One of our hospice nurses would come in and blow off on us her emotional baggage from other patients. Grief counselors who are educated and trained in the process also were still very uncomfortable getting into the nitty gritty visceral aspects of death, often hiding behind cliche’s and happy thoughts. I have a friend who is a psychiatrist and teaches meditation, he tried volunteering with hospice for a short period of time, but stopped after visiting with 2 patients, he became friends with them, and got too close, so being that close to their deaths was too much for him to handle.

    We live in a society that avoids and sanitizes both the dying process and birth. Most never ever really get a chance to get a real taste of the true fragile aspects of our mortality. Other than rare occurances from a life threatening accident or a loved one dying. But most stubbornly fight until the bitter last moments in their own death. Alzheimer’s and other dementia can offer both a blessing and a curse, the mental decline helps the patient cope with death, but doesn’t help with preparation, it can cloud the intensity of the experience, and it also tends to transfer the suffering load to the survivors.

  92. Thanks for sharing that, Valentino. Your dad was very fortunate to have a son like you.

    As you no doubt are familiar with, vascular dementia is often a by-product of a stroke. And vascular dementia patients generally have more ability to recall than Alzheimer’s patients do.

    I’ve been quite fortunate, too, to have met and worked with very professional hospice social workers (one of whom I married) and nurses.

    Thanks again.

  93. Jill:

    That post intended for seekers on the fence, was so well written and full of Love.
    You really must write a book.

  94. HS –
    Thanks – but no thanks – Maybe someday the Self will get a book together – but quite honestly there are enough people out there thinking what they have to say is vitally important..To me, it’s all been said by the great masters…I like this site for simple expression of Being because it’s more intimate..and the Silence can be shared in some cases – one on one..

    Val –
    Thank you for sharing your heart – and bringing up the whole issue of death and dying…You’re right – it’s the last taboo…the thing society most avoids thinking about – until we are lucky enough to come face to face with it on the spiritual path..

    Gangaji used to say that the true spiritual journey is really about loss – learning to let go..little by little..of all that we are not…If we meet ego death head on – which happens in the final surrender of will – then death loses it’s fierce hold on us…We see in a moment of clarity that nobody dies – that that which was never born can never die…and all fear leaves us..

    What remains, is what has always been here – who we really are, which is Love..

    As Peter said – your father was lucky to have a son like you who cared so much…and you were lucky to have the privilege of looking after him, difficult as it was…It’s a great teaching..

  95. Alzheimers is a very serious affliction, and in no way to be trivialised. It is unfortunately common enough so that a great many, myself included, have seen it and dealt with it close up in a friend or family member.

  96. Funny – I was describing the changes in the character of my memory since awakening to an old friend who is an estate lawyer and he suggested that I be checked for Alzeimers. 🙂

    @ Jill,
    “We see in a moment of clarity that nobody dies – that that which was never born can never die…and all fear leaves us..”

    Perfect.

  97. Cliche’s = a trite phrase or overused expression or idea.

    “(so and so) was lucky to have you…” —> This overused cliche may sound well meaning, but when a care-giver hears this, it is actually a totally meaningless comment. WHAT DOES that mean? WHY are you saying that? DO you think that’s supposed to make me or anyone else feel better? It might be better to say it to my loved one, instead of the care-giver. WHY are you instantly CHANGING the subject, instead of taking some time to LISTEN TO MY STORY, and try to feel and understand my pain?

    “Thank you For Sharing” –> For some reason I don’t feel any appreciation behind those words, looking up online definitions tells me why..
    from urbandictionary: “A non-committal (on the surface) response to a statement the phrase user finds, unconventional, unacceptable, heretical or bizarre. The undercurrent or true meaning is often F**K YOU, and the purpose is always to denigrate or dismiss what was said.”
    from idioms.thefreedictionary.com: “a sarcastic remark made when someone tells something that is unpleasant, overly personal, disgusting, or otherwise annoying.”

    ……. At first glance Peter’s comment seems sincere, but something felt off… I discussed it at length with a good friend who also was a care-giver and heard the ‘She’s so lucky to have you as a care-giver’ from multiple people in the past, and felt how insincere and meaningless it was…. and she also noted the underlying tone and emotions behind the rest of his comment as off….

    @Peter
    If you wish to use all these subtle defense mechanisms to defend yourself and attack my comments, I’d much more prefer direct language and confrontation, this is the internet, no need to be overly polite.

    I’ll address your two issues:

    Earlier stages of Alzheimer’s may match your description of simply memory loss issues.. but middle to late stages include a whole mess of symptoms that make it just as difficult for the patient to cope with… Advanced stages there’s physical disabilities, forgetting how to eat, go to the bathroom, walk, digest, swallow, talk, etc. Check out the common symptoms described at http://www.alz.org for Alzheimer’s Association webpage.

    My dad was actually initially medically diagnosed as Alzheimer’s from a stroke… so he showed plenty of symptoms and memory loss issues that matched Alzheimer’s… he also was diagnosed with several other dementias, but I chose to simplify the description as vascular dementia, as I think that’s the most accurate guess.

    Just because you are married to a hospice social worker, that does not automatically give you expertise on the subject…. Association does not convey knowledge or authority.. Also, her working in hospice can offer some knowledge and expertise, but it’s still different from full time care-giving for a loved one… For a hospice worker or volunteer it’s just a job, they get to go home and rest, they have an escape.. A care-giver doesn’t get that escape. Also many hospice workers become experts at distancing and protecting themselves from patient’s suffering… So they might be quite skilled at their job description, but as to really understanding suffering of patients or family members, not necessarily. In my experience, only the medical director of hospice and the senior nurses at the inpatient hospice facility had any real compassion or understanding with suffering (because they were the only ones with repeated exposure to the actual dying process).

    I’ll quote Susan Akers Wright a senior hospice nurse who recently gave a talk titled “Compassionate Caregiving” at http://www.imcw.org: “It totally blew my cover. I had been so familiar with being able to protect myself from other people’s suffering, with cliche’s, with pat answers, You know, I was certainly caring, BUT I really was avoiding suffering. Because I was not looking at my OWN suffering. I was avoiding it, with these pat answers or cliche’s, trying to make other people feel better. ”

    @Jill
    I don’t think or feel that you have genuinely faced physical death or ego death or any real visceral experience of mortality yet…

    That’s just my opinion… just something to balance out all the praise & compliments you’ve received from others in this comments section..

  98. out of interest in Andrew Cohen’s changing public image I read “From Rude Boy to Nice Guy?” http://www.whatenlightenment.net/
    And here’s what the guru really thinks of his former students:
    “…the simple truth is that my most virulent critics are almost all former students who failed miserably. I know that this may sound like a “judgment” (God forbid!) and that New Age sensibilities may find it unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. As far as I’m concerned, the spiritual life is just like any other endeavor—you can succeed or fail. And when the goal is actual evolution beyond ego in an intersubjective context, success or failure is plain for all to see.” from his Declaration of Integrity
    (http://americanguru.net/news-and-reviews/a-declaration-of-integrity/)

  99. Val – thank you for the ‘balancing’..and I sincerely hope your heart is healed from all you’ve gone through….When I was caretaking many sick family members at once it seemed after the 9/11 debacle..I was physically and emotionally drained..I realized that I could break open or I could break down from the experience..get better or get bitter…It’s a choice…Support is always available – Grace is always here – and there’s a way out of suffering – but you have to open to it and let it in..

  100. Some more on Andrew, a personal story.

    In the year 2000 i had brief affair with the Andrew Cohen movement. His books actually pulled me out of a stalemate. Living in a spiritual community for 20 years where the hope of any kind of salvation or conclusion was never now.
    Another lifetime at best.

    So it was a revelation when i read his books proclaiming: enlightenment NOW, and moreover he was a western fellow of my age, who made it feel very close. So for a while i was absorbing his teachings. .
    I met with his students a few times, and went to two of his talks, and this was enticing enough to join one of his retreats in the South France. There the love affair came quickly to an end, as it was obvious that something was off.
    Women were generalized as being hard as a crystal,
    all of them. Soft on the outside to entice, but actually hard as rock.
    And to observe his circle of close students cringing in fear around him.
    So it quickly faded. I was not surprised by the later stories which came up in connection with him.
    ‘Enlightenment Blues’ the book written by one of his
    ex students: Andre van den Braak as one example.

    But still he has a role to play.
    Every one and everything can be a help or a hindrance.

    As for his evolutionary enlightenment theory;
    nothing new i would say,
    just an excuse to appear special.

    And to Val..
    I hear you…
    Yes it seems when you are touched by the fire, turning everything inside out, all words can seem glib and empty.

  101. “Grace is always here – and there’s a way out of suffering…” Jill

    To me this rings true. It has to do with the heart. Love trumps anger every time imo.

  102. Blame the Victim = wikipedia definition: “Victim blaming occurs when the victim(s) of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment are held entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them (regardless of whether the victim actually had any responsibility for the incident).”

    Spiritual variation of blame the victim = the regular act of IN-VALIDATING someone else’s story, pain and/or suffering, under the guise of an unintentional act of trying to make someone else feel better, often times saying trite statements that distract, trying to create a short term positive feeling(but underlying motive is to avoid unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling or situation). It also translates into personal self victim blaming, which can re-inforce an inner duality(split/separation) between relative and absolute/awareness.

    What did my multiple experiences of facing mortality, death and the fragile nature of existence like?? total utter vulnerability, helplessness, hopelessness, isolated aloneness, all defense mechanisms utterly and totally fail.. full on total lack of control.. will power fully exhausted and failure.

    Other synonyms of vulnerability from thesaurus.com: accessible, assailable, defenseless, exposed, liable, naked, on the line, on the spot, out on a limb, ready, sensitive, sitting duck, sucker, susceptible, tender, thin-skinned, unguarded, unprotected, unsafe, weak, wide open

    Proximity of suffering does NOT equal suffering or pain expertise. Care taking of sick ones, or being in the midst of extreme tragedy, only offers most people a surface taste of truly facing death or mortality.. My mom was also full time care-giver for my dad, and emotionally closer, but she got emotionally over-run, shut down, and numbed out from the experience… I was unusual because I was able to stay open and endure the intense emotions, most likely due to prior post traumatic damage to my defense mechanisms, and side effect of being more sensitive and open from a regular spiritual practice..

    Broken hearts do not heal…. any healing that happens is actually the heart CLOSING back up. The closing is the healing/repair of multiple layers of defense mechanisms which are actually the underlying structure of ego..

    Ego starts out as filtering process of the mind to help manage the heart from getting over-run by both positive or negative emotions. (example, notice how a baby who has not yet developed a strong ego or identity will totally over-react to both extremes… intense crazy happiness… but also extreme loud petty temper tantrums) Without an ego, our hearts would consistently get totally over-run by emotions in our current over-stimulus society, and we would not be able to function properly… Ego can be described as a protective shell around the heart.

    My experience of facing mortality was multiple levels of heart breaking… BROKEN OPEN.. then broken open even more… I now see that the heart has an infinite ability and capacity to fill up with pain and suffering, but somehow mysteriously when it seems full, it still has space hold more….. Real compassion comes from one’s capacity to be vulnerable, which may only come from one’s heart getting broken open… Genuine humility is also a common byproduct.

    …… and to share some of my emotions..

    I am putting a lot of time, energy and thought into all of this, attempting only to try to connect and simply share my opinion & story… I really don’t care about trying to prove someone else wrong or changing someone else’s mind… Just trying to give voice to my pain, your pain, and share from some of my unique life experience and knowledge.

    It really pains me to the core, the difficulty I am having to try to be simply heard and connect with some in this community.

    I do have some bitterness from not only not being heard but also being attacked, dismissed, condescended, spiritually judged by others…

    I don’t feel that I have any resentment from that, it is more so confusion and inquiry into trying to understand how there can be such a huge DISCONNECT within a ‘spiritual’ community..

    I do feel quite vulnerable and a bit exhausted, putting my story and myself out there, open for attack, ridicule, and judgement. I tried to share from the heart without any filters, maybe over emphasizing the painful aspects to allow others to get a real tangible taste of my experience and story. But from that, I did leave myself quite open for attack, even if the attacks are well meaning, or simply unconscious defense mechanisms of others trying to avoid unpleasant emotions or feelings which my story may have brought up.

    I am actually very at peace in my deepest inner core, I regularly have ‘happy for no reason’ moments, I feel totally free to jump into the midsts of both intense pleasant or unpleasant emotions, and it’s a wild and amazing roller coaster ride.. My mind is naturally quiet and settled and peaceful… sometimes thoughts come and go, but I don’t have to use any energy, effort or focus to police internal dialogue, emotions or maintain states..

    And…. from a results oriented point of view…. I’ve tested my progress in the face of some very extreme life experiences and both my total open-ness to life and deep inner peace has stuck… I actually look forward to difficult situations (when the opportunity for them to come into my life) so that I can actually TEST to see just how realized I may or may not be… Also often times, those most difficult experiences offer the most insights and knowledge.

    I have gotten some amazing insights from this recent interaction. I am totally amazed at the many subtle defense mechanisms going on, and how our unconsciously accepted forms of polite conversation is full of built in avoidance and distancing intentions.

    So I’ll close with Luke 23:34 ‘Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.’

    We are all really way more unconscious (and not in control) than we think we are.

  103. I hear you Val. I’ve been silent mainly because you are much more eloquent in making the points than my somewhat academic way.

  104. No crosses to carry. Just a truth to b expressed, heard, and acknowledged.

    Spent a day with Pamela today. She would probably say “can you acknowledge that, honor that, thank it for the service that it is giving you.” Things will not revert to their natural balance, relax, without first being heard and acknowledged.

  105. At a certain point the conversation becomes non-productive. I apologize to anyone if I misunderstood something. Moving on …

  106. Excerpts from Chapter 7 of A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, in a section titled “Allowing the Diminishment of the Ego”
    ———————————
    The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. AUTOMATIC ego repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of “me.” When someone blames or criticizes me, that to the ego is a diminishment of self, and it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through SELF JUSTIFICATION, DEFENSE, or BLAMING. Whether the other person is right or wrong is irrelevant to the ego. It is much more interested in self preservation than in the truth. This is the preservation of the psychological form of “me.” One of the most common ego repair mechanisms is ANGER, which causes a temporary but huge ego inflation.

    A powerful spiritual practice is consciously to ALLOW the DIMINISHMENT of ego when it happens without attempting to restore it. I recommend that you experiment with this from time to time. For example, when someone criticizes you, blames you, or calls you names, instead of immediately retaliating or defending yourself – do nothing. Allow the self-image to remain diminished and become alert to WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE deep inside you. For a few seconds, it may feel uncomfortable, as if you had shrunk in size. Then you may sense an inner spaciousness that feels intensely alive. You haven’t been diminished at all. In fact, you have expanded. … Through becoming less (in the ego’s perception), you in fact undergo an expansion and make room for Being to come forward.

    This DOES NOT mean, that you INVITE ABUSE or turn yourself into a VICTIM of unconscious people. Sometimes a situation may demand that you tell someone to “back off” in no uncertain terms. Without egoic defensiveness, there will be power behind your words, yet no reactive force. If necessary, you can also say no to someone firmly and clearly, and it will be what I call a “high-quality no” that is free of all negativity.
    _______________
    @chuckee

    ‘There is only acceptance’ doesn’t mean that you don’t get hurt or have negative emotions. If you are sensitive, open and vulnerable to life and others, when someone says something hurtful to you or to others… It hurts..

    Being open & vulnerable to your own & others’ pain is acceptance…. Sharing about it, is also within the realm of acceptance.. Accepting the hurt, would be feeling it, not trying to deny, avoid, distract or suppress it.. Acceptance also means NOT projecting the hurt pain into ANGER, and unconsciously attacking others (or even yourself), or defending yourself from what you end up blaming & projecting towards.

    Acceptance shouldn’t be a controlled behavior where you’re ACTING like it… I heard a story of a yoga student who while TRYING TO be spiritual and accepting, would allow physical sexual advances because she thought defending herself or getting angry wouldn’t be ‘spiritual’…

    ….. There’s tons of dissing going on in the comments section and within spiritual community… Many use spiritual teachings to attack others (but also themselves).. A lot of it is unconscious, some even well meaning…

    I have a long history of being on the receiving end of disses by both teachers and peers in spiritual communities… So I am more ‘sensitive’ to it, but I also recognize a pattern of similar attacks on here with many others… So, my intent was to point out the abusive behavior, not necessarily attack particular people (but sometimes you need specific examples for people to understand)..

    ……. as for hearts not healing… that was simply my opinion and observation… I think that Hearts don’t break… what really happens when they break or get hurt, is the heart gets opened up….. what breaks is part of the ego… and what heals is the ego.. The ego protects the heart from getting over-run by both pain and joy..
    (that’s just a relatively new insight and interpretation of mine, still in testing phase.. so if it doesn’t match your experience, trust your experience over mine)..

    @Earnest
    Thanks for your sticking your neck out there to share….

    Trust your personal experience and insights you had with Pamela… Don’t let Steve’s dismissive comments get you down..
    ——————————–

    post script..

    My comments are simply my opinions and my observations.. I’m trying to simply be honest and tell the truth, and my interpretation of what I currently see as real or true… if your version of the truth varies, trust your own experience & feelings over anything I or anyone else may say….

    I also reserve the right to take contrary positions.. I may be emphasizing a certain position to make a point, but I might easy go 180% in the future to make a different point…. or I might end up realizing I was totally deluded and change my mind…. because ultimately I don’t really know anything.. and just trying to do the best I can with that limited information..

  107. The conversation here has been both raw and insightful. So much heartfelt wisdom. Thank you! YOU are my gurus. You have shared your process, your experience, your suffering and struggles …. all of which seem to be the human experience.

    But Rick interviewed a man named Andrew Cohen. He is an individual who “took Papaji’s words to heart” … that he (Cohen) should not rely/depend on him. So Cohen created his own spiritual crowd, even setting up an ashram of sorts, … a spiritual community even while Papaji expressed his dismay at what Andrew was doing. Andrew didn’t listen. Instead, he self-appointed as a spiritual “authority” as if he knew how to enlighten others. While Cohen even refers to Krishnamurti who said “Truth is a pathless land”, (there can be no path, because one person’s path is not the others. We are unique and must forge our own paths), Cohen not only dismayed Papaji but also set himself up as a spiritual authority … telling people what they should do … shave their heads, give up their creative pursuits, donate their life savings, subject themselves to face-slapping, or having paint poured on them, etc., etc. …. because he was their new guru authorityy and knew what they must do in order to gain enlightenment!

    While neither Papaji nor Krishnamurti instructed people this way, Andrew did. How and why did he decide that he knew how others should reach enlightenment? We are all unique …. the universe serves up nothing but infinity which also means that there can never be a particular way of getting there. Truth really is a pathless land. It’s not there until you break the path yourself. The “path” is as unique as you are. Nobody can tread it except you and nobody could or should ever follow it. Which also means that Andrew cannot ever lead anyone. He may have found some truth under Papaji’s feet, but the truth he found can’t be repeated anyways. Does he not, in his so called enlightened state, know this? Must he set himself up as a guru and demand that people obey him?
    You know what is even more distressing than this individual named Andrew Cohen’s prescription for enlightenment? It is that people are so lost that they would actually follow him rather than following their own light. Krishnamurti described ashrams and spiritual communities as prisons. I wish Andrew would get off the guru-train and go back to jazz!

    There is a fine line between cult and teacher.

  108. @Heat Seeker
    I don’t think ‘diss’ is the best or most accurate term… it’s more like not-validating, invalidating, dismissing, condescending, name calling, avoiding, minimizing, demeaning, attacking, defensiveness, intentionally causing confusion, changing topics, etc.

    To generalize ‘Blaming the Victim’ is a very common practice that is extremely abusive, yet most don’t even know the damage done. Only those who have been on the receiving end really ‘get’ how damaging & hurtful it can be.

    In the past, I was more doubtful and unsure about my own experience and internal conclusions about ‘disses’ from others… Or my observations of other people getting dissed with non-dual teachings.. Sometimes I would mentally try to justify it by some variation of ‘The Ends justify the means’, kill the ego = freedom, so techniques that might be deemed mean or abusive are okay if intent or goal is freedom. BUT what I observed with my own experience and observation of hundreds of other non-dual type seekers, is that the primary regular practice of constant negation has a very POOR success rate (and there’s many unusual side effects). Adyashanti came to the similar conclusion in his early days about the failure rate of Zen, and he credits that insight as pivotal for him…

    Re: “people recognize the story and the hurt, and there is both compassion for that but also an invitation to sit with it and go beyond the story. Is that dissing?”

    I would generally say that most of the time, YES it is dissing… on rare occasions with someone who can really listen and connect, this technique can be truly compassionate and useful to break through barriers.

    But.. most of the time it’s premature recognition and it is avoidance masked by spiritual techniques. The focus of “go beyond the story” will automatically tend to lead people towards SEEKING escape, completion, freedom, and other positive emotions.

    Another downside for how this teaching is generally practiced by seekers, is that they do not spend enough time SITTING with the DISCOMFORT & hurt…. My greatest insights and lessons only came after sitting and enduring extreme discomfort.. I attained realizations and knowledge AFTER sitting with discomfort to the point of exhausting it, then I finally ‘GOT IT’, I finally understood and knew what the teachings really meant.. they made sense in my head, body, and spirit.. There was no more need to believe it, reinforce it. Actually thinking or trying anything different than that teaching would now make no sense at all….

    Re: “After all, what do you expect from a non-dual forum?”
    This is highly subjection question… But… if there is any expectation or desire… it would be to have a community that is more like a peer group inquiry forum.. Allowing participants to gain the benefit of other’s experience and and history.. The 2nd half of Sat-SANG stands for Sangha which refers to monastery communities in the earlier days of Buddhism, a monastery was an environment which allowed practitioners a safe and protected place to grow, learn and practice. I have seen actual modern western sangha quite lacking within non-dual and other spiritual communities, people end up isolating within themselves or forming cliques with others who are too liked minded.. The end result is a constant re-enforcing of teachings and beliefs, instead of a constant sincere honest search for the truth..

    Re: “I wonder if you really looked back on several posts, and try to see what it might be that people are reacting/responding/reaching out to.”
    I apologize if it seems like I may have commented prematurely or on limited information. That is my fault for failing to be able to communicate well. Unfortunately, communication and language is lacking. An additional challenge is the format of this comment section, there can be multiple topics addressed by several people all at the same time. So in order to get a point across, I try to be brief, but also am a bit loud and strong to emphasize and get enough attention to make certain points.

    What may get lost in the shuffle… Is that I have spent a lot of contemplation, time, energy, and thought before speaking. Often I will investigate and inquire with multiple contrary positions before I even get close to making a comment or stating a position. Also I really try to observe and understand the underlying assumptions, beliefs, motives, and emotions of others.. Then I have to manage my time schedule, how much time do I have to devote to this, are there other responsibilities, do I reply earlier and possibly miss things, or if I reply too late the topic has changed and the initial emotions and insights may have faded…

    …..

    btw… I recently revisited Timothy Conway’s webpage article/entry on ‘Neo-Advaita’, it is a wealth of information and research. And some very challenging opinions. My most recent visit, a lot of the observations, I really ‘GOT IT’, while in the past, I maybe mostly agreed. His post covers some of the same points I am trying to make, but with a slightly different view…. worth a visit, at a minimum just to challenge some of our assumptions…

    http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/neo-advaita.html

  109. Some very insightful comments on this thread. A lot of strange, irrelevant stuff (and even song clips?) as well (which turned it into a 177 comment thread).
    I thought the interview in itself was great.. flowed well and covered all the points anyone could wish to know/hear about Andrew Cohen.
    On the actual AC teachings itself, things started looking a bit shakey after the description of the circle drawing with “traditional nondual enlightenment” in the bottom half 😉 Can’t say I’m a bit fan in philosophising about the origins and purpose of the universe or Big Bang either, but maybe it’s someone’s cup of tea.
    Great balanced interview though.

  110. Yes there is a lot to be wondered about in AC’s
    ” philosophy”. This interview covered his story somewhat but no so much his current teachings. I don’t know much more except from reading his mag some years back where he seemed to be in love with the word “postmodern”. If memory serves I think he used it 14 times in one article talking with Ken Wilber . I also question someones attainment that talks about “making it all the way” so much. Isn’t that ego identification ? If Papaji was dismayed by him it makes me doubly doubtful. I do think there is something good about exploring the relationship of the purpose of the little self in this world with the great transcendent Self.

  111. I echo your last sediment terryterrific and listened to the youtube.
    There is a very sincere and thoughtful website of people trying to deal with the excesses of Andrew’s control at.
    http://enlightennixt.com/

    I came across Andrew mostly because of one of his disciples, Craig Hamilton so I found it interesting that Rick (whose option I respect) liked the guy.

    If you go to the above website you can read Craig viciously attacking members who have left the Cohen inner circle. NOW it turns out Craig also has left Cohen. He is very busy marketing Andrew’s knowledge online without giving him any credit.

    I see a profound lack of integrity in so many teachers and gurus. They are willing to accept the money and power and adoration without accepting the possible negative responsibilities. When Rich brings up the problems with the group, Andrew in this interview does not make a single apology or even a clear admission of mistakes. At the time of this interview the mistakes are becoming quite apparent but since then even more so. His only response to this situation is that he is able to teach differently now and it all worked out the best.

    If you accept Andrew’s theory of the creative impulse in all of us you could see the possibility that yes, many of his student got benefits during their time with him, but that they would have received the same benefits whatever they were doing as part of the evolving universe. They could have saved themselves a lot of suffering, time and money.

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