127. Deepakbhai Desai

DeepakbhaiDeepakbhai Desai is the current representative of Akram Vignan, a direct path to Self-realization.

Born in Gujarat, India, Deepakbhai met Dada Bhagwan (the originator of Akram Vignan) at the age of 17, and attained Self-realization from him in the Gnan Vidhi ceremony. He credits these two events as the great turning points of his life.

Previously burdened by a shy and introverted nature, Deepakbhai became able to successfully complete his engineering studies and, over the coming decades, to build three successful engineering businesses.

Simultaneously, Deepakbhai was nurtured in further spiritual development by Dada Bhagwan, and Niruma Amin (Dada’s closest disciple). With all available free time, Deepakbhai attended satsangs (spiritual discourse), performed seva (selfless service), and engaged in continuous Self-introspection – devotedly seeking to understand the full dimension of Dada’s spiritual science.

In 1987, before Dada Bhagwan’s passing, Niruma and Deepakbhai were given the spiritual abilities to conduct satsangs and Gnan Vidhi ceremonies on Dada’s behalf. Together, they carried on Dada’s mission with tremendous harmony and spirit of oneness until Niruma’s sudden passing in 2006. Since then, Deepakbhai has officiated over a burgeoning spiritual community (Simandhar City, Gujarat, India), celibate male and female groups, teen and children’s programs, and ongoing world-wide satsang and Gnan Vidhi programs for seekers of Self-realization.

Deepakbhai is beloved by all who meet him, and is renowned both for his extraordinary levels of awareness and extreme humility.

His remarkable spiritual achievements are demonstrated in every instance of his selfless life.

For further information, and for Deepakbhai’s tour schedule, please visit: http://www.dadabhagwan.org/

All satsang and Gnan Vidhi programs are offered entirely free of cost.

Interview recorded 6/16/2012

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

105 thoughts on “127. Deepakbhai Desai

  1. I agree, it would be very interesting to know something of your experience Rick. I think your questioning was excellent. I don’t feel as though there was ever an answer to the …. first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is …. I like Rupert Spira for this topic. I found this man’s voice really hypnotic and wanted to drift off! So thanks for keeping me there with your questions!

  2. To be honest, and I mean no disrespect to Deepakbhai or any of his followers who may be reading this, I didn’t really notice much from gnan vidhi. I noticed a lot more from just sitting and talking with Deepakbhai.

    Most of the Gnan Vidha process was in Gujarati. I felt that the English phrases he sometimes repeated described my existing experience to a great extent, but that if it weren’t already my experience, they probably would do little to make it so. But I’ve never been a flashy experience kind of guy. A friend who went through the process years ago said this: “For me it was an internal explosion of insight and Shakti and liberation; there is no denying that. I even had a vision of Dadashri just before the explosion.”

    And the friend with whom I drove up to Chicago is so impressed with it that she lives in his ashram in India. So I’m not in a position to encourage or discourage anyone. I don’t feel it’s my path, but I respect those who do.

  3. Hi,
    I am Nada from Germany and got Gnan in 2008. This Gnan is working at such a subtle level in the beginning, I know a lot of people, they didn´t experienced something directly after Gnan Vidhi. But when time goes by a little bit – you will experience the difference from within. The absolute unshakable real knowledge of “I am Pure Soul” will never leave you, as well as the 5 agnas – “who is the real doer” and “settle the files …” – this Gnan is working from within and the right understanding will show you, where “wrong” understanding still is in the relative self. This light of Gnan is amazing and pure grace and it grows from within day by day – you will experience it as well, dear Rick, I´m shure. I did a lot before, but nothing “worked” in such a way like this Gnan.
    May everyone find his true self and inner happiness, peace and bliss.
    Highest Namaskars and love to all

  4. This was interesting Rick, I thought this gentleman had a sincere and gentle energy. I liked him and he may be at some level of awakening but I felt like you had a better grasp of Advaita than him. It seems this idea of an eternal matter and the idea of a distinct soul in bliss forever are dualistic notions.

  5. If ALL notions
    are dualistic in nature,
    then it may be
    just a matter of
    which ones are more
    entertaining to us
    than others.

  6. Mmmm I was reminded often through this interview of Tony Parsons observation that the mind loves complexity ,what with its 27 levels of enlightenment and the number of births before full purity is reached oh and don’t forget the must try harder as if you haven’t yet reached enlightenment it must be that you are not doing it right like the Guru did .
    Truth is incredibly simple it is the mind that likes to make it complicated. It is it’s simplicity that keeps it hidden.
    I just noticed during this interview that it meant nothing to me it seemed all mind derived concepts and I’ve had enough of those…..
    Maybe others will find resonance

  7. This interview felt like watching and listening to Peter Sellers’ character “Chance” in Being There.
    Or better yet, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

  8. Touvino – thanks for sharing that. Very interesting, and yes, it sounds very familiar. We aren’t having enlightenment experiences – just experiencing mini-strokes 🙂 There was a poster on here some time back who claimed all these spiritual experiences were the result of brain damage. He was ultimately kicked off the site! Keep that “right” brain going.

  9. Hi Rick
    If Gnan Vidha is to give a taste of awakening or help it along and you’re already awake, why would there be any experience? There is nothing to be given.
    At the same time, sitting with others awake tends to amplify the awakeness so would be noticeable.

  10. Interesting interview and insightful. But I always find it disappointing to see someone awake, convinced they have the “correct” understanding and thus reject further unfoldment. Just as someone not yet awake may reject the idea of an observer independent of the body as impossible, here he rejects unity of experience as impossible. This in spite of long traditions expressing otherwise.

    Its also a curious human phenomena that we assume because I experienced it that way and my teacher did, then this must be the only way it unfolds. Although in his case it may simply be dogma – its what his teacher told him.

    This duality (dwaita) is a very real and important step in the journey. But to use his analogy, to think that once you’ve reached the airport that you’re at the destination is a loss. The richness of Self Realization is great but unity puts it in the kindergarten of awakening.

    I enjoyed his thoughts on the discharging of karma. I’ve noticed that some people have very comfortable lives post-waking while others seem to accelerate the karmic burn. (laughs) Its good to understand these points. Thanks Rick.

  11. All talk of levels is of the mind only…no mind..no levels..very simple and very freeing…So far these past 16 years, I’ve yet to notice a boundary in consciousness..

    As Jill Bolte Taylor so beautifully pointed out, it’s the thinking left brained mind that keeps us bound to conditioned existence.

    And sadly, because the mind has not yet been silenced in many spiritual enclaves and even among many who claim enlightenment, we tend to see things in terms of linear time – staying locked in our bodies…..We also tend to have the very experience that the mind expects to have..

    Often the heaviest spiritual illusion is that of climbing ladders -going from here to there – following what has been laid out by the guru..and then believed and lived…

    But there’s no person going anywhere – having experiences of this or that…That’s the joke.. This is the illusion that gets seen through when the mind dissolves into the heart..

    When we are willing to let go of all teachings – all dogma and turn within to see the Truth for ourselves, Grace comes, and we find Reality….

    Surrender does not ever mean surrender to a ‘person’ and his map of reality – but rather, surrender to the Self -the satguru within…

  12. First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is… There are no levels. There are levels. Both/And. There is no cup. It’s only molecules. There are no molecules, only atoms. There are no atoms, only electrons and subatomic particles. There are no particles, only strings. There are no strings, only the unified field. All true. Yet there are cups, molecules, atoms, electrons & subatomic particles, strings. So sure, there are no levels, no persons, etc. Yet there are. Both paradoxically and simultaneously true. Some truer than others maybe, but all have their places.

  13. Watching the Jill Bolte Taylor talk reminded me of an old conversation I had with someone who had DP/DR (Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder)..

    He would describe random experiences of deja vu, when his normally permanent/solid perception of reality would suddenly shatter, and how it totally freaked him out. He was attending an anxiety support group to try to cope with these unwanted symptoms.

    At that time I was still relatively new and naive with non-duality teachings. All I could recognize and feel was a sense of awe, as his symptoms mirrored almost exactly the same descriptions non-dual spiritual teachers talk of awakening and enlightenment.

    So my form of ‘compassion’ was to try to convince him how great his DP/DR symptoms really were. Never really getting down and dirty to fully listen and feel the real suffering and pain (to him) the experience and symptoms were causing him.

    Shinzen Young has a great youtube video describing DP/DR as enlightenment’s evil twin, in the comments section you can read through the wide variety of DP/DR experiences people have.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zIKQCwDXsA&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0%5D

  14. RIck – my friend -You’ve held on to that witnessing view through 127 interviews…sigh..I will say you are persistent…but truly – it’s this ‘idea’ that keeps you bound..

    If you could entertain for just a moment that the persona as you know it, might not be as real as you think, a huge knot can be untied..Only the highest Truth can set us free, but we have to be open to it..

    As long as the thinking mind is operative, we can’t know the full truth..We have to let go – and then Presence – and not the individual illusion – lives both absolute and relative realities seamlessly..without division…But first we have to go to the mountain and see clearly that there’s no one there…
    A TM teacher friend who attended Raja Raams recent talk in NYC wrote to say that Raja was asked a question about the movement from GC to UC and his comment was – ‘It’s hard, because in UC there’s no one left to enjoy it’…

    Even though he was talking levels, as that’s how the question was framed from the TM audience..I’m glad that at least someone in the movement is speaking something close to final Truth..if only for the moment…This tells me he’s gone beyond duality experiencially..Maharishi’s direct Grace there..and I hope it spreads..

  15. Hi Jill
    Thanks for sharing that quote. Believe it or not, I actually largely agree with your points. The idea of states or levels of consciousness was I think an attempt to integrate Vedic ideas with western science. However, its fundamentally flawed as it doesn’t really serve the experience.

    That said, most people (but not all) do experience stages of development that may at first appear like levels, just as the universe appears to have levels when we’re inside it. The stages model works better and was notably proposed and published by Dr. Skip Alexander while a prof at MIU. Such a model also aligns with other teachings, like Adyashantis “head, heart, gut” and so forth. Once unity is established, stages are left behind and it’s more a progressive deepening. The Brahma Sutras mark the realizations of that process.

    As to the quote, what Dr. Nadar mentions is kind of like a “dry CC”, where freedom has arisen but the bliss has not yet engaged. Similarly, in the Unity switch the core identity or sense of person falls away. Without that reference point, there is “no one left to enjoy”. However, when that deepens further into Brahman, we as-if become the universal enjoyer itself. This is a value of enjoyment that far surpasses anything a separate witness can enjoy. (hence my comment above)

    As the interviewee observed, such development takes time and the clearing of the past 360, in the total space (akasha) of experience.

  16. Deepakbhai seems genuine, but it is clear based on his discussion of the elements that he has not realized non-duality. He is locked into the half-way stage of discrimination between subject and object.

    If you are seeking the nondual “state” I’d recommend Rupert Spira.

  17. David –
    That was very engaging to read – I always enjoy your posts – we just have a different concept of time…I live outside of it – resting prior to it..

    In the View here, stages belong to the mind only..As long as the mind is operative, we think we go through stages..and are on a path to somewhere…

    The only awakening I know is an awakening directly into Brahman – into the non dual Self – no ego/mind left to undergo or notice a transformative process..as there’s no one there to experience that….Universal Love is this Reality..

    We all speak from our experience – and my role apparently, is to speak of this non-dual Reality..Others speak of stages- What’s true, is If we believe in stages, we will have to endure them..Outside of time there are none..and we can go directly there if only we’d allow it…A deep surrender is called for..

    The most profound awakenings I’ve witnessed were in those who had no previous concept of stages..they were innocent of such notions- just came out of great suffering – and letting go completely…they found freedom…

    It’s the fear of the unknown – of death – of losing complete control -that keeps us climbing that imaginary ladder….

    Love to you..

  18. “It’s the fear of the unknown – of death – of losing complete control -that keeps us climbing that imaginary ladder….” – Jill

    A rather poignant observation here.

    Progression is a kin notion of continuity/longevity. And the desire for continuity/longevity can, indeed, be very related to the fear of the unknown or death.

    Thanks for surfacing this observation.

  19. Hi Jill
    Thanks. I enjoy your comments also.
    I would agree that concepts of stages are of the mind and can influence how we experience them. Or be a barrier to them. But I disagree we experience them because of the concepts. I’ve experienced stages but they did not meet my ideas of them. In fact, they never do as they’re of the mind. And I’ve seen how someone in deep surrender, without a concept of stages, stepped quickly through them. I’ve also seen how understanding what is unfolding can help it along. Thus I speak of stages and help people having such experiences.

    I’ve also seen how some fall directly into Brahman without apparent stages. And I’ve seen how some fall into simple Self realization and, thinking they’re done, deny any further stages. This would be an example of how concepts can be a barrier. And this is why I talk stages. I’d have to say the Interviewee is a good example, committed to living a dual life and thinking this is it. A beautiful exponent of Dwaita but missing the greater potential of it.

    Interesting observation about time. I’d have to say it depends on where the attention is. I am that which contains time, indeed that which contains eternity. I experience life through a form that lives in time but a shift in attention and here is this embodiment through all time, concurrently. Another view sees all time of all beings. Another, of the interacting timelines of all beings. Another of all time, curving back within itself. Another, of beyond time and eternity. Depends on how you look at it. (laughs)

    Yes, fear but not necessarily fear of death. I lost the fear of death long before I woke. The sub-conscious fear that resulted from the experienced separation from the divine was much deeper. That was the seeing and release that dissolved the core identity mentioned in a prior comment.

    Life is certainly an adventure. And love absorbs all…

  20. Hi Valentino
    There are quite a few illness experiences that are similar to spiritual experiences. Synesthesia is another, the blending of senses. This is because of the underlying reality. The key difference is that spiritual experiences result from growth whereas illness is a breakdown and lacks integration. Unfortunately, psychological professionals lack a framework and don’t always understand this so there can be a tendency to pathologize spiritual experiences. The Collision and Perfect Madness books mentioned on the right talk about this.

    Its very useful to give someone having such experiences context to reduce anxiety. But we should not confuse disintegration with progress, though they can seem much the same. Spiritual development results in lasting change and growth. Illness is something to move past.

    Jill Bolte Taylor had a remarkable experience. But keep in mind, she brings her own interpretation to the experience. Hers was a breakdown, not an opening, an experience not being. Certainly it changed her perception of the world but it did not give her a foundation to build on. Spiritual development does result in the breakdown of some of our internal barriers, but these are energetic. Development requires a reasonably stable physiology to support it.

  21. That has been my experience as well. It does not take a belief in stages to experiences stages.

    But it does take something else: a mind that compares A to B and makes judgements of those comparisons.

    Absent a comparing mind, there is little likelihood of experiencing stages, levels, or assessments of progress.

    The experience of time, too, is intricately connected to mind that compares.

  22. What I most look forward to, about attaining nondual Realization, is that when I’m hungry for brownies, I won’t have to travel to the grocery store, buy flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, butter, milk and eggs, come back home, use a recipe to mix the ingredients in a specified order, and then put them in the oven to bake at a specific temperature for a particular amount of time. Because, well, they’ll already be Here, complete and wholly delicious, from the beginningless beginning.

    And — even better — when I get a flat tire, I won’t have to take off the flat one before putting on the new one — if I’d rather put the new one on before taking off the flat one. Because, well, such steps and stages are completely irrelevant, once you’ve realized the Truth, and are abiding continuously in the “dimension” prior to Newtonian space/time.

    How fun & convenient! 🙂

  23. Absence a comparing mind, there is little likelihood of experiencing stages, levels or assessments of progress…Peter

    Well put..sums it up nicely..

    Mila – you made me hungry for brownies.. Presence is going to conjure up some now.. 😀

  24. Thank you Mila. Way to simplify it. Ladders, steps and stages useful for those who still walk through doorways and communicate with “others”. Read one advaita book and you know its all one making distinctions & labels inaccurate at non dual level. Still there are quite a few respected teachers who used these approaches to communicate principles about being to “others”. Its fun and reassuring to do what some call the advaita rag, but why are the adherents of strict non dual speak defending something against something else?

  25. Peter
    Good point. No denying noticing stages is a mind thing. But how do you support someone elses waking if you haven’t been paying attention. 😉

  26. Its turning out more and more that the real value of these interviews is in the replies!
    Hope everyone continues on doing this in the spirit thus far.

  27. “But how do you support someone elses waking if you haven’t been paying attention.” – David

    A great question, David. Thanks for posing it.

    There is a quality of attention where you (ap)perceive everyone you cross paths with… as already awakened (or enlightened, if you prefer). And you treat them accordingly, even they prefer to see themselves as otherwise.

    Not speaking the truth here; just my truth.

  28. HS
    While it is true that the first discovery of Self is beyond mind, that experience is as described by the interviewee – separate. Separation is dwaita or duality. If there is Self and non-self there is duality. Very simple..

    Non-duality is one, no other, no separate maya. All is included in the one. Mind and time are discovered to be none other than that also. Any exclusion is something that has not yet been united and is thus dual.

    Doesn’t matter if you see these as steps or stages or not. The key for advaita is no other.

    PS – love is inclusive and draws one into oneness. 😉

  29. Right, Peter.
    But I refer to supporting people through the transitions they’re experiencing. Not everyone needs it but some can use some context and I’ve seen it help people surrender more deeply.
    I suppose this is my truth as I didn’t have the support back in the day. I can relate to the value.

  30. Great discussion people – and HS, I’m going to get you a job at the UN as an interpreter..thanks for that..

    Peter – loved your comment about (ap)perceiving everyone as awake and treating them accordingly..beautiful – yes- no one is in need of help in the greater sense…all are Buddhas and are just playing a game of hide and seek with themselves….If we just hold them that way as the divine creatures they are –transformation occurs with very little chit chat..

    David –
    I feel your heart and know exactly what you are doing in supporting people where they are or where they think they are…It’s called compassion..We meet people where they are…We certainly don’t tell a starving man that food is an illusion – we give him something to eat..

    So when we work with people privately, we note where they are stuck and proceed from there… We make the Truth as simple and as understandable as possible -but we don’t feed any fantasies either..

    We are speaking generally here – giving the non dual perspective on batgap – espousing the final Truth – which as HS said, always INCLUDES the relative truth of stages etc etc..not an either/or, or a defending of one or the other -It is all seen, and nothing is denied..The Absolute isn’t separate from the relative or it wouldn’t be non-dual..

    We know in our hearts though, that behind all the words – what does the real work- is coming from beyond us – and through us..It is the transmission of Silent Mind –

    We can support any way we wish, relatively speaking, and that’s valuable – but we must know in our hearts that the Silence is the only thing that can truly lift a soul out of suffering…all else we do or say are details..

  31. “Two monks, going to a neighbouring monastery, walked side by side in silence. They arrived at a river they had to cross. That season, waters were higher than usual. On the bank, a young woman was hesitating and asked the younger of the two monks for help. He exclaimed, ‘Don’t you see that I am a monk, that I took a vow of chastity?’

    ‘I require nothing from you that could impede your vow, but simply to help me to cross the river,’ replied the young woman with a little smile.

    ‘I…not…I can…do nothing for you,’ said the embarrassed young monk.

    ‘It doesn’t matter,’ said the elderly monk. ‘Climb on my back and we will cross together.’

    Having reached the other bank, the old monk put down the young woman who, in return, thanked him with a broad smile. She left her side and both monks continued their route in silence. Close to the monastery, the young monk could not stand it anymore and said, ‘You shouldn’t have carried that person on your back. It’s against our rules.’

    ‘This young woman needed help and I put her down on the other bank. You didn’t carry her at all, but she is still on your back,’ replied the older monk.”


    A more effective invitation than the invitation to more deeply surrender, David… might be the invitation to drop the woman that you are still carrying on your back.

    Don’t ya think?

  32. “The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named is not the eternal name
    The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
    The named is the mother of myriad things”

    Truth once put into words or concepts, is no longer the truth. It is simply an opinion, interpretation, speculation. The enlightened point of view is still a point of view.

    It feels like there is a battle between ‘Rationality’ vs. ‘Fundamentalism’.

    Most mature teachers and seekers seem to use reason to connect and relate to the masses of people where they are.

    Fundamentalists, neo-advaitians,or recently realized new teachers and seekers tend to constantly stay and talk from an absolute view. Almost like spiritually egotistical, overconfident, conceited, arrogant. Stating as a matter of fact, that their ‘truth’ is absolutely correct. Spending very little effort actually listening to others, trying to relate to them, or trying to actually communicate in their language. Instead attempting to try to convert all others to talk and think in their ‘absolute’ ‘fundamentalist non-dual’ language, view, and perspective.

    It feels very similar to newly converted fundamentalist evangelical Christians that I know. The bible is the word of God, it is the truth, and the only truth. Jesus said “I am the the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So that empowers Fundamentalist Christians to totally dismiss, demean, condescend, all other views. They even do it to other Christians!

    Maybe non-dual fundamentalists see Ramana or Papaji as their version of fundamentalist Christian’s Jesus?

  33. I have a question today – I am wondering … when I have the thought ‘I am fed up with MY repetitive negative thoughts’ … this is just another thought …. but where does it come from? does this particular thought come from the same place as the mundane? Does it perhaps come from the part of my mind that is more connected with ‘awareness’ … for want of a better phrase … ? Does it come from ‘awareness’ ? I recall Rupert Spira saying we dip in and out of awareness anyway without realising (perhaps a bit like the science of things (?) popping up from the ‘all-nourishing abyss’ – (Brian Swimme). Probably a ridiculous question??

  34. Jill, Maybe all is awareness – negative thoughts, positive ones, inclinations to pursue spiritual practices or carefully dwelling in dualistic free language. And perhaps none of it need be labeled. I like Pamela Wilson’s, “Invite it in for satsang”. Embrace fully whatever it is, another word might be surrender. Another of hers, “Why is thought so compelling?”

  35. Jane, I meant to address my last comment to you. I’m mixing up my J’s. Also thanks to all who comment on these topics. If any of my comments have been perceived as derogatory, I apologize.

  36. Not a ridiculous question at all, Jane. In fact, it’s a rather significant one, IMHO. Thanks for asking it.

    Here’s my 17 cents (inflation-adjusted) response to it… shaped only from from personal experience and not from conjecture.

    When I practice the meditation of placing awareness on all forms that appear and dis-appear before me, thought-forms are included in the mix. In fact, they happen to be the most prevailing type of form that appear and dis-appear.

    Here’s what can (my preference to using will) happen when you place awareness on many thought-forms:

    They initially appear with some degree of felt solidity and denseness. The placement of awareness on them, however, often results is their felt lessened solidity and denseness.

    This sometimes occurs in layers of dis-integration too.

    For example, take the thought-form that you suggested: “‘I am fed up with MY repetitive negative thoughts”.

    Awareness on this particular thought-form may reveal that it is essentially composed of several layers:

    “I am fed up” being the outermost layer… or the layer that reveals how you feel about your repetitive negative thoughts…

    “my” being the next layer… or the layer that reveals your willingness to adopt the negative thoughts as belonging to you…

    “negative thoughts” being the next layer… or the layer that reveals how you have characterized (i.e. negative) certain thoughts…

    and then the specific thoughts, that you have characterized as negative, appear for you to place awareness on.

    Very often there are core thought-forms that can only appear, after all their layers have dis-integrated via placing awareness on them.

    Layers that have been either consciously or unconsciously added over a period of time, and which keep the core thought-forms trapped in time and space for you to continuously experience.

    All forms naturally appear and dis-appear; including thought-forms. What keeps many thought-forms from naturally dis-appearing, however, is often: 1) their layered form, and; 2) the absence of awareness of their layers and core.

    Awareness of a thought-form… is the playground for that form… to freely appear and dis-appear.. without the encumbrance of added layers.

    And perchance you may be wondering what remains when the core thought-forms dis-appear…

    you may find… that it’s… emptiness.

    Now place your awareness on your response to that possibility. You may be layering that thought-form with its first layer.


  37. Jane –
    It is an important question..Awareness is who we are – It is the Source of everything…We are the One who notices the thoughts…Eckhart Tolle woke up when he realized in a moment of clarity, during intense suffering – that he was the One observing his thoughts..

    From the Power of Now..
    “‘I cannot live with myself any longer’. This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind..Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought that it was..Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with..Maybe I thought, only one of them is real. He goes on to say he was so stunned by this strange realization that his mind stopped. He was fully conscious but there were no more thoughts. He was then drawn into a vortex of energy…He was gripped by an intense fear and felt sucked into a Void..He heard the words don’t resist..Suddenly there was no more fear and he let himself fall into the void..For the next 5 months he walked around in a state of bliss, everything fresh and pristine.

    It took years for him to understand what happened to him – years spent reading spiritual texts and visiting with spiritual teachers…He realized that everyone was looking for what he’d experienced..He saw that the intense pressure of suffering must have forced his consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self..This withdrawal was so complete that the false suffering self just collapsed like a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy..and what was left was his true nature.”..

    So this profound awakening all began with the thought – I’m tired of living this way…I see your thought of. I’m sick of my repetitive thoughts as being similar..but perhaps not as yet as intensely felt.

    Such thoughts are from the Source that is always guiding us – and are a gift and an opportunity to expand our Self-Awareness..

  38. Peter
    Or doncha 😉
    My point was because I’d had the experience, I understand the value. By your story, I support people crossing the river. But it is not me who carries them.

  39. Jane
    To add a little more to the thoughts question. it’s useful to understand that thoughts are not “mine” except in how we relate to them. Some arise from bodily activity, some from mind interacting with itself or trying to grasp something, some from prior impression/habit responses, and some from environmental influences. Most of it is largely noise, fed by attention. As we disengage the drama, the mind can settle and we can more easily hear the quieter impulses of intuition and so forth.

    Curiously, we tend to give more weight to emotionally charged thoughts even though these often indicate attachment. In your example, mind is trying to control mind and expresses frustration at it’s self-battle. It’s a meaningless exercise as others here touch on. This where allowing it to be as it is helps, and disengaging the drama. Inquiry, meditation and so forth can help the clarity.

  40. I stumbled upon this website and I am intrigued with the interviews and comments made about them. Although I realize the subject matter here is fundamentally “nondual” I would like to posit some questions that I haven’t up to now seen addressed in the interviews or on this forum (I could definitely be wrong as I have not seen all the interviews nor have I read all of the discussions, so if this is not the case, please forgive me :)) With all being this * (fill in any word for presence, awareness, silence etc), and if all is of this *, and * is the doer of everything that is perceivable, then what of the horrifying ways in which humans treat each other, animals, the planet? If everything is unfolding out of * in perfection, then how does one reconcile this realization with a member of one’s family being taken suddenly, violently, for no apparent reason? How does one reconcile their “awakening” with the atrocities that befall humanity by its own hand, on a daily basis. Do we simply relegate it to being just “objects in consciousness”, or the “divine play of appearances?” When someone you love is taken from you, do you simply accept that this person was merely an appearance in consciousness, yet “I” have not gone anywhere? What I’m asking is, after an experience of supposed “truth” where you clearly see that everything is life itself and made of life itself, what is your understanding of the aforementioned scenarios? I understand this is going off in a bit of different direction, however I would appreciate any sincere responses 🙂

  41. Hi HS
    I do understand your point. Any concept of awakening must fall to the actual realization. My point is to address the student on the level of their experience. And then take it much further. Advaita has a profound place in the apparent journey. But it is widely misapplied and used as a concept.

    Certainly there are those who do name calling. But the origin of “neo-advaita” is the proliferation of those who confuse advaita and dwaita. The interviewee here is in complete integrity in his teaching of dwaita. But other interviewees on this site are teaching the same but claiming it as non-dual. “the world is illusion, ergo doesn’t exist. Only the Self within is real. This is non-duality.” This is not only hogwash but profoundly misleading. When I questioned one interviewee on this site, they claimed unity was a barrier to Self!

    Why do I harp on stages? Sure it’s a concept. But it helps not just to support the unfolding experience but because, if there is no understanding of true non-duality when the seeker ends, they can be satisfied with simple being in the Self and not have the attention on moving forward. The renowned sage Vasishtha (Rama’s teacher) emphasized this same point.

    Much as you might criticize concepts, the unity shift into true non-duality is the shift of the intellect, turning from facing and dividing the world, to turning within and uniting world and Self. The Brahma Sutras list the various discoveries of this process.

    Just imagine – if I am That is worthwhile, how much more is All This is That? While embodied, we have an opportunity for fast growth that is exceptional. We can waste it because we’re stuck on some concept of no-concepts or that Self realization is it. Concepts can be a barrier at every stage.

    Sure, there are famous teachers who speak otherwise, who had profound and deep awakenings. But there are many more who have stood the test of time who speak of more. I look to these as they serve the part of the journey I’m on now.

    Ask anyone who’s only had one waking a few questions. What is your experience of how the world comes to be? What is the nature of God? When you touch an object, do you feel both the object and as the object feel being touched? Is the universe out there, are you the universe, or do you contain the universe? What is beyond existence?

    I could go on and on. Sure – some don’t care about all that. But if they don’t care why we’re here, why are they teaching? (my rant for the day) 😉

  42. My last comment, btw, was not meant to judge anyone here. Only to evaluate someone calling themselves a teacher.

  43. The only prescription that I have ever offered… to someone who was experiencing emotional suffering that did not emanate from physical pain… was a rather simple one:

    “To everything and everyone that you cross paths with… bless them (inwardly).”

    Practice this, and the nature and quality of your blessing will change.

    So will your perspective of what is happening here-now.

    When you bless what is here-now, you may lose your interest in something other.

    Including whatever story, of you, that you may have been attached to.

    Forgets the concepts; bless everything and everyone who appears before you here-now.

  44. David,
    I enjoyed the rant, and love your passion, but forgive me, you are over complicating things..The awakening into non-duality by Grace is simple yet profound…although usually surprising, especially if we’ve had a different set of expectations…

    In the View here, if it is a true awakening- and we have seen through the ego/mind upon the encounter with the Infinite – then all unfolds naturally from there..as what is no longer needed, falls away…

    We find ourselves with greater clarity – greater love – and in the final surrender of the will to the Greater Will in the depths of being, we find our wholeness…..Embodiment is also natural – as the body must be included in this wholeness…

    This unfoldment may be rough or easy – from awakening to freedom – and usually one reaches out for support during this time..It helps to have a guide who has traversed the entire path – until all becomes clear from within and we come to true rest in Reality…

    In a true awakening, we proceed without confusion from I AM THAT to ALL THIS IS THAT…without the mind’s intervention..

    That’s the non-dual trip in a nutshell..not mysterious or requiring great insight or scriptural dexterity if only we step aside and allow it to unfold…We’re not here to save anyone from themselves…

    Caring deeply of course and giving of our Presence freely, but always knowing that no one is ever out of the arms of the Divine Intelligence..

    Sure there are people who rush out and put up the website at first bloom.. they may get a glimpse and mistake the part for the whole..or due to faulty conditioning – see teaching as a way to make a quick buck – but even they will come to their senses and recognize their mistake, as the energy takes them wider..

    If one trusts in the Creative Intelligence that we are, we are not led astray…and most I’ve encountered are led to what they need – they usually don’t need anything post awakening except some pointers in the direction of Reality and the Transmission of Silence to keep the Truth from being misunderstood..

  45. Hi Jill
    Well, I guess my unfolding is more complicated then. (laughs) But I’m also having a frickin’ awesome adventure on the Lila safari.

    There are teachers who talk about ways we can get side-tracked post waking. And there are those who have a lot of unfolding pre-waking. So yeah, its a natural process but I’ve seen how my “complications” have helped people.

    I suppose it comes down to the simple truth that what people need, they will find. So there has to be all sorts of guides to point. I just get grumpy about those giving out “Do Not Pass GO” cards. 😉

  46. “I’m tired of living this way”

    “Such thoughts are from the Source that is always guiding us- and are a gift and opportunity to expand our self-awareness…” Jill

    For me that is profound. And really simple, even obvious, now that you said it.

    So thoughts are really not the enemy – they just are, they float on by, we can be friends. What a relief.

    Thanks Jill.

  47. Meeting people at where they are is a common refrain, I see.

    But where they are is not often the same as where they believe/think/feel they are.

    Which would be of more service to them?

    Meeting them at where they are?

    Or at where they believe/think/feel they are?

    Can you help them to see their own drama as drama by participating in it?

    Or can they more easily learn to cease participating in their drama by your example of not doing so?

    My experience has revealed the latter to be more the case.

  48. Clarification please, Jill.

    “If I’m tired of living this way” comes from a guiding Source, then where would the thought “I really love the spoils of my labor to accumulate as much wealth as I can” come from?

    Do only some thoughts come from a guiding Source and not others?


  49. @Peter
    Great questions on practical application!

    I’m going to answer from my history, experience, and understanding of communication, relationship, and friendship skills. It might be vastly different from others who may focus more on personal spiritual development.

    Peter said: “Which would be of more service to them?
    Meeting them at where they are?
    Or at where they believe/think/feel they are?”
    You have to do both. First you meet them where they think they are, then you try to meet them where you think they are. If you skip meeting them where they think they are, they typically put up defense mechanisms, and stop listening. Or they mis-interpret what you say, because they have selective listening, or only listen to what they want to hear.

    There needs to be a level of trust developed first before someone opens up more. So unfortunately it may take a lot of time meeting people where they think they are, before you can share anything substantial about where you think they are.

    Peter: “Can you help them to see their own drama as drama by participating in it?
    Or can they more easily learn to cease participating in their drama by your example of not doing so?
    My experience has revealed the latter to be more the case.”

    In my experience I have found that drama can be useful but it can also be harmful. It depends on how you deal with it. Simply being an example of drama free, does not typically free others from their drama.

    Actually, from an empathic perspective, getting into someone else’s drama, feeling their emotional pain, gives me a more accurate read of what they really are communicating and where they really are.

    Also, in order to help a person unwind the stories behind the drama, I’ve found that the drama needs to come up to light, be acknowledged, underlying pain needs to be felt, and once aspects of that story are seen to be false or exaggerated, them realizing the truth is what sets them free.

    and I have found that communicating and connecting with spiritual people to be the most difficult challenge, as they have some of the most complex defense mechanisms out there. Along with some of the biggest blind spots and shadows, that are totally obvious to the rest of the world, but it’s near impossible to share it in a way that they get it.

    Unfortunately for many of those, it will be up to grace and a whole lot of pain and suffering to force them to acknowledge and deal with those blind spots and shadows.

    … strictly my opinion..
    There may be some pain in my words because there is a history of frustration.. But the few that I do get through to, I’ve helped them from beating their heads up against the wall, trying strategies that aren’t fully working for them.

  50. Peter –
    To clarify – Yes – all thoughts are from Source – and no thought is right or wrong – just that some are more useful than others…Some arise with greater clarity just as some dreams are more significant at pointing to the Truth than others if we’re being discriminating…

    David –
    Many of our complications arise because of our conditioned mind..TMers like us have a lot of spiritual conditioning that takes time to unravel..

    Dramas of every persuasion arise pre and post awakening as you say…Happily, once the mind’s conditioning starts to unwind there is far less drama – less complication.. We become simpler – but not simplistic..

    In the settling down of the fluctuations of consciousness, as the system comes to complete rest -no new karma is made and the life is carried forth with inner harmony..which the world reflects back to us….

    Valentino –
    I love much of what you said here – really felt your heart..You remind me of my Uncle Val – a very passionate Italian..and a great BS detector..

    What you said about trust is very important..It’s primary..To know someone is for us helps them to open..and to be willing to listen is key…always of course seeing them as the divine beings they are..

    I wouldn’t agree though that getting involved in their drama helps -Paradoxically, through Grace we can be there for them – feel for their hurt and frustration – and yet not jump into it with them….

    My old guru Maharishi used to say that we need to trust in ourselves, the teacher, and God….In the end we see they are one and the same, but we start with trust in ourselves..and find that leads us down the proper channels..

  51. A related question:

    It’s not difficult to see many people’s addiction to attention. They act out various roles, often victim-based ones, to elicit as much attention from you as they can. And self-indulgent storytelling is often a vehicle for their attention sucking efforts.

    It is not unusual for a drug addict to think that you are uncaring, unempathetic, and unloving by choosing not to give them the drug that they are addicted to.

    It is also not unusual for an attention addict to feel the same way about you, for choosing not to give them what they are addicted to.

    Is what’s good for the addicted goose also good for the addicted gander?

  52. Re: “stages”
    To use an old metaphor, “to get to the other shore” one crosses the river in a boat. After one gets there, the boat is no longer needed. But this process is even stranger. There was never any “river”, “boat”, or “crossing”.

    The mind has need for “construction of meaning”. This does not have to be a problem if one can take it lightly, see through it, play with it, enjoy it.

  53. Hi David, Jill, Peter – many thanks for your replies to my question … will enjoy reading and digesting your wisdom. Read Tolle not long after the book came out, and absolutely loved it; also resonated strongly with Pamela Wilson’s message, but have been unable to find much on her other than her interviews; her website doesn’t seem to facilitate ordering any videos. Thanks again.

  54. Paul V –
    Welcome to batgap…Your question is one that most of us in the spiritual world have wrestled with at one time or another…How do we reconcile the atrocities in the world with our awakenings?

    From the View here, we don’t try to reconcile the disturbing goings on in the world on the level of the mind, nor do we dismiss them outright as just some appearance in consciousness …One can’t be done, and the other isn’t wise..

    But if the awakening is profound enough and we are resting in the heart, there is a deep ‘knowing’ that everything is happening as it should…that the Greater Will prevails…and that no one dies one minute before schedule…Some time ago I stopped asking WHY questions and just surrendered..

    We also know that the heart can bear it all – it’s strong enough to take it all in and still be at peace..so we can stay open despite the heartbreak…

    As I’ve said here before, I lost my beloved husband, only brother and my father post 9/11, as well as half the neighborhood here in downtown Manhattan..So I had the blessed opportunity to see first hand whether the awakening was true or not…It was..I felt everything deeply, avoiding nothing, and yet nothing moved within..

    I’m reminded here of the sage Ramesh Balsekar’s words to his dear friend who lost his wife of 50 years..His friend said to him, I guess I’m not very enlightened after all these years on the path -as I’m so distraught over her death…and Ramesh said, my friend, the only thing unenlightened about your grieving, is your idea that you shouldn’t be..

    If we meet everything that arises with acceptance knowing it couldn’t be otherwise, suffering is greatly diminished…It is only in resistance that we suffer…

    Which doesn’t mean we aren’t moved to help alleviate suffering where we can in the apparent world, just that while doing it, there isn’t either the inner turmoil or the attachment to outcome …

    It’s also valuable to note that the outer world can only reflect the inner, and the best way to help in its transformation is to transform ourselves…It won’t change much until the awakenings reach critical mass..so we help most by looking within and shedding our own conditioning…then we don’t have to see it reflected on the 6 o’clock news..

  55. A rumi poem:
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.”
    From Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks

    @PaulV said:
    “… and if all is of this *, and * is the doer of everything that is perceivable, then what of the horrifying ways in which humans treat each other, animals, the planet?
    How does one reconcile their “awakening” with the atrocities that befall humanity by its own hand, on a daily basis?
    What I’m asking is, after an experience of supposed “truth” where you clearly see that everything is life itself and made of life itself, what is your understanding of the aforementioned scenarios? ”

    What you are asking is actually quite complex, many gloss it over or dismiss it one way or another. I will try to address some of the issues from my own experience and observation.

    A few years back, I had similar questions of life. After multiple experiences of trauma, all the common cliche’s about suffering, were totally inadequate, didn’t make sense, and actually were blaming and attacking the victim (masked with helpful sounding language)… Christians in particular enjoy quoting bible verses, and many unknowingly quote Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…”

    On the surface that verse sounds encouraging, but to someone who’s lost in suffering, unable to find meaning or purpose from it. It offers very little, and it’s just a simple way for other people to gloss over other’s pain. And that verse along with interpretations of God’s sovereignty can be quite different depending on each particular denomination’s doctrine.

    One of the main problems is that people want an easy answer to a very complex question and issue. Good vs Evil, Suffering vs Joy, Purpose vs No Meaning, Duality vs. NonDuality, Absolute vs. Relative, etc., we want simple easy black and white answers. But there is a lot of gray area, and it’s way more complicated than doing polar opposites.

    …… so to address your questions from a more non-dual or eastern perspective…

    From the awakened view, a lot of your questions simply do not make sense. The questions all have the assumption of separation. With non-dual realization, sense of separation is much less or possibly even totally dropped.

    But… that doesn’t mean that relative life (body, mind, job, roles, family, pain, cruelty) suddenly disappears.

    Most people firmly hold onto a false belief that we are somewhat in control of things. There is also the belief that holding strong positions and judgments on what is right and wrong actually matters. And the mind likes simplicity, so if it can label certain behaviors as totally evil and other behaviors as loving and good, it makes life easier to understand and seem more predictable and safer. It’s a feel good thing.

    But….. if you consider multiple perspectives, multiple time frames, different levels of generations, etc. Deciding what is truly good or bad is very hard to do. One person may grow up with a history of the most horrible abuse, rape, trauma, cruelty… But that experience allowed him/her to create a movement that helps tons of people in the world. Yet maybe he/she will suffer with after effects for the rest of her life. Or maybe he/she learns/grows/heals from it and becomes stronger and can educate others from that experience.

    But there’s also tons of people who never recover from past traumas and are tormented for the rest of their life.

    That’s individual examples, but when you include collective examples that makes it even more complicated. Sometimes it takes a long history of collective suffering until there is a tipping point when one person can become a martyr and start a full on revolution. While each of their sufferings did not mean much at the individual or family level, collectively along with other conditions, it did contribute to the greater good.

    The Tunisia revolution has been attributed to one 26 yr old fruit seller who set himself on fire out of frustration from history of abusive police officers experiences. And some attribute the Tunisia revolution to have helped with Egypt’s following revolution.

    So… unfortunately reality is much more complicated than setting up rules and maps to describe and regulate good and bad. It’s way beyond that.

    But, spirituality and awakenings should not be an excuse to allow bad behavior and abuse of others.

    Humans are still humans, realized or not. As humans it is still all about survival, and in that process, it’s not always going to be loving and peaceful.

    ….. and in closing… from a more awakened view, one is able to be more fully compassionate and motivated from pure love, while most who are part of political or social justice movements are acting out of shadows, or projections of their past pain. (the greater cause is an easier and more acceptable way to deal with their pain, but they don’t have inner peace, and pain will always be there)

  56. Jane,
    Yes – Pamela doesn’t do much in the way of advertising herself..she just quietly and mysteriously goes about awakening people..giggle..

    Aside from the few interviews she’s done, she is featured in 3 books, ‘Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wisdom, Dialogues with Emerging Spiritual Teachers, and The Teachers of One..She gives retreats in the States and Canada and Europe..

    Recently, she mentioned to me in an e-mail that she was going to cut down on the traveling and finally set about writing a book…

  57. Hi Paul
    Big questions indeed. Others have given valuable answers but I’ll add my perspective. First thing is to note the perspective we’re looking from. That determines how we experience the world.

    The world itself, the play, operates in the field of action, energy. The rules of the play and some key inception points are divine, but the play itself plays within itself. Humans are given sufficient awareness to choose but at the same time we’re rising from a darker period where we were largely identified with the field of action – our bodies, mind, thoughts, emotions, and so forth. Being identified, we get caught up and reactive in the play and create trouble for ourselves. Wrongdoing creates suffering for ourselves which we’re then prone to share with others. Suffering dominates experience, more profoundly than most even realize. We’ve been in it long enough to see it as normal.

    Underlying this drama is the divine. It is ever present in it’s perfection and fully infuses the drama. At any point we can stop and turn our attention to this by whatever means we most resonate – to the peace, the happiness, the spirit, life, aliveness, nature, animals, sunsets, etc.

    From a wider perspective of creation, the world moves in cycles of rising and falling consciousness. When consciousness is higher, which is the majority of the time, we can enjoy an enlightened-like state of being. But that doesn’t much encourage us to to become what we take for granted. In a darker time, such as the one we’ve recently risen out of, the contrast is greater and we can more clearly see the consequences of our choices and the value of being That. Thus, we’re more likely to turn within and seek the divine. And thus does true enlightenment dawn.

    Because we’re coming out of a dark period, there are still many shadows of the past on many of us. And reactive habits of pain. But more and more people are awakening, bringing the vibe up and obliging people to deal with their stuff. There is a lot of work to be done but the lights on now so its making it easier. Gradually the dimmer goes up.

    If we understand what Krisna and others have said correctly, these horrors will soon part of history rather than being the common experience. What replaces it is beyond our imagination.

  58. Paul V, I love your question and the answers. From a dualistic framework I think reincarnation helps to explain the seeming arbitrariness or even horror of life. From being it seems that even this concept is no longer necessary as divinity is recognized in all people, events, etc…. Ironically it appears that those who have settled into oneness, if you will, are able to feel to great depths. In other words their hearts are wide open and they’re more able to relate in what might superficially be called a personal way while they are yet deeply connected to that which is source of all. Perhaps that’s why the deep empathy is possible as one in a state of oneness cannot but help being connected with everyone else.

  59. I oftentimes get the impression that a lot of this “Advaita” stuff, while true at one level, can also be superficial. (1) Mountains are mountains. (2) Mountains are not mountains. (3) Mountains are mountains. It’s easy to get stuck in #2. We lose the richness (and lessons) of the “relative world”. With the focus on consciousness and the mind, it’s easy to forget Love and the Heart. (I count myself guilty here, maybe doubly guilty since I’m naturally predisposed towards the mind in almost everything I do.) I have no idea why Heart and Love would necessarily follow from the Void and Self, but some people (though not all) report that it does. (Some people report a “High Indifference” after their Awakening, e.g. Merrell-Wolf, or at best a remote distant universal kind of compassion.)

    At a practical level, I would not talk about any of this “spiritual stuff” with people, esp. those in suffering. There are no easy answers, and to suggest otherwise seems kind of facile. But I would provide “presence”, a “being with”, a “shared space” where pain can be expressed, experienced, held, and understood in whatever terms that helps unwinds the process. I would allow the telling of the story because oftentimes words are a way to grope for the intangible at its depths. Done in the wrong way, the story can be superficial and mechanical. Done in the right way, the story can be a pointer to depths and a window into the mystery of being human. Done in the right way, the story can move. Done in the right way, the story can give life. (This is the basis great literature and great art.) Done in the right, the story heals through our shared humanity. And there are a lot of people who do this well and have not even heard of the words “Advaita Vedanta”.

  60. “At a practical level, I would not talk about any of this “spiritual stuff” with people, esp. those in suffering” – Ernest

    Agreed, but kinda.

    A bouquet of “spiritual” words may be too much, when a simple yet elegant daisy may do.

    For instance, I know someone who had to stay in a hospital for a while. He wasn’t in any real pain, but his room mate was.

    One day, his room mate asked him why he came over to wipe his brow during his intense moments of pain.

    His response was: “I’m you, and you’re me. That’s all.”

    A daisy of a response, which got the following reply from the grinning patient in pain:

    “I’m very thankful that you are me.”

  61. I can assume a number of guises and positions 🙂 My elderly mom is an evangelical Christian, and in a certain sense, I even celebrate this, because there is beauty and truth in every religion. I have no trouble saying “God loves you” since this is familiar language to her. (And I would mean it, both in the sense she intends, and in a manner that would be true for me.)

    The question of Love doesn’t seem to be as prominent in Advaita Vedanta as say Christianity where the central theological themes such as God so love the world he descended into the sufferings of humanity, that he sent and sacrificed his only Son, … the injunction to love each other, and then much later development in dealing with society and institutions such as the various charities, the civil rights movement, Catholic social teaching on social justice. I can see how Love as a prominent theme follows from its central theology. It is not as self evident to me for the former which is transcendental in its fundamental orientation. Also, I’m not even sure if they are exactly the same with one emphasizing Oneness and maybe transmission of the Heart, whereas the other the human condition and practical action. (I’m not saying they need to be exclusive. But the historical developments are interesting.)

    Maybe this is a good segway to the Bill Bauman interview. (I have not heard it yet.)

  62. A sincere thanks to all of you who took the time to craft your responses.

    Hi Jill – thank you for welcoming me. First off, I’m sorry for your losses.
    I really felt a deep sweetness when reading what you wrote of the heart’s capacity.

    With regard to “the greater will prevailing”, I interpret that as meaning that all things ultimately work for the good, despite appearances. Would that be an accurate interpretation?

    Hi Valentino – I appreciate the time you took to craft your response, thank you.

    “the questions all have the assumption of separation” What is your experience of the world?

    and “with non dual realization, the sense of separation is much less or totally dropped”

    How do you know for sure that “non-dual realization” results in this?

    Hi David – thank you for your thoughtful perspective

    “humans are given sufficient awareness to choose” How do you know this to be true for you? Do you feel as though you have free will?

    Hi Paul K – thank you for your brief, yet impactful response. What you said about deep empathy was right on.

    “From a dualistic framework I think reincarnation helps to explain the seeming arbitrariness or even horror of life.” Where, if any place, does this framework fit in with your experience of * (again, substitute any word you like – awareness, oneness, etc.)

    Hi Ernest – Thank you for your heartfelt response

    “But I would provide “presence”, a “being with”, a “shared space” where pain can be expressed, experienced, held, and understood” This really hits home regarding heart and love which you previously pointed to.

    Hi Peter – Thank you for your poignant response

    “One day, his roommate asked him why he came over to wipe his brow during his intense moments of pain. His response was: “I’m you, and you’re me. That’s all.” Beautiful

  63. Hi Ernest
    Theres a couple of ways of looking at why heart would follow Self. First is mechanical. With awakening, the kundalini has risen to the crown. (that may or may not be apparent yet) It then descends again, through the apparent “stages” post waking. As Adyashanti put it “head, heart, and gut”. It continues to the root and embodiment. (Shakti rises to join Shiva and they descend together, into the world)

    The heart is also the root of feeling, touch and the air element, what we might call lively space and experience as sattva or golden light. This is experiencing life itself directly, the first manifestation. People describe the space and/or light in the heart. That grows to fill the chest. The refinement of perception that accelerates post-waking enlivens all this – fine perception and the heart.

    That said, western culture tends to favour the mind so a lot of westerners are slower on this part. I’ve seen some make the unity switch with surprisingly little of the heart. Enough to open but not the flowering of divine perception. This will delay God Realization, what is essentially the culmination of that phase, much as sat chit ananda is the culmination of Self Realization.

    Love is not prominent in Vedanta (though it is more in the Upanishads) because Vedanta deals with Unity development, the gut+. It is about the intellect (not mind) recognizing what is That and stitching together what was separate into wholeness. But yes, some people are better at this phase than the heart. And some people over-emphasize this to the exclusion of the divine.

    And there is of course a wide range in what people bring to it and the experiences they have. Most of us come in with lots of baggage so a fully balanced and developed embodiment is still mighty rare. I’d venture it will take a few generations to clear up the crud.

    btw – Advaita Vedanta is not really a valid term. They’re essentially synonyms, so its like saying non-dual non-duality. Vedanta does literally mean “end of the Veda” but beyond Veda is non-dual. It is beyond creation.

    PS – others may suggest this is all concepts but it isn’t for everyone. For a growing number, this is a lived reality.

  64. Hi PaulV
    (laughs) Free will and determinism do an interesting dance as we follow the spiritual journey. Doership comes and goes. At a certain point, we become that which determines and are thus equally the choosers. Free will and determinism become the same thing. Inseparable even. For example, an intention may create an entire creation but its form and laws will be determined by Smriti, absolute memory. It’s all been done before but is fresh in every moment.

    For myself, this is the underlying reality. But I notice in practice that sometimes choice seems more prominent, sometimes determinism. Depends on what is being emphasized in the experience.

  65. Paul V, For me Judeo-Christian characterizations of the afterlife were not complete. For me the Hindu explanations of what one might call the dualistic cosmos are more complete. At the level of individual soul, reincarnation & karma explain why bad things happen to good people and vice versa and everything in between. This helped me with a nephew that committed suicide. We weren’t very close but it was hard for my sister and many in my family. Where possible, without discounting the need for grief, I shared some of these principles and I think it helped. It also inspired my looking at societie’s labels about such events. If we’ve all had thousands of lifetimes, we’ve all committed suicide at one time or another. The tendency for society to isolate and castigate individuals who take this path is too simplistic. There is a lot of fear around this issue and it manifests in many ways. Having said that non-duality has revealed that at the level of oneness there is no individual soul and nowhere for it to transmigrate to. There is simply being. Perhaps young children best exemplify this quality in the way they simply experience whatever is happening without having yet developed the habit of mentally labeling everything.

  66. Paul V said – ‘With regard to the greater Will prevailing, I interpret that as meaning that all things ultimately work for the good, despite appearances..Would that be an accurate interpretation’?…

    Yes, Paul that would be a more than accurate interpretation of what I meant..beautifully intuited and stated..I’m very glad you’ve joined the discussion and thank you for your kind words of compassion regarding the losses….

    Ernest said – “I would provide a Presence – a being – with a shared space where pain can be experienced held and understood in whatever terms that helps to unwind the process”..

    If that isn’t Love, Ernest I don’t know what is…and that’s what the satsang giver or any enlightened one provides..Most dedicate their life to doing just that..

    True Love is not an emotion – It is way beyond that..It’s not the love of the third chakra which is basically a bargaining chip -but emerges from the 4th..from the true heart..It is selfless..It involves a stepping aside of the ego/mind so that the Universal can come through and provide a space for the apparent ‘other’ to heal..

    Forgetting about labels like Advaita or non duality or Christianity for a moment, if one is providing that Love for us in the guise of a spiritual guide – transmitting that Grace – as a Neelam for example does -no matter what the religion or philosophy, I’d say we are most fortunate…wouldn’t you?

    And yes you’re right – the Bill Bauman interview is a great lead in to the discussion of Universal Love…His description and embodiment of it is palpable..

    One need pay close attention to his telling of years spent divesting himself of concepts…As I’ve said here before, these accumulated concepts – whether spiritual or material are what blocks this Love from emerging…As Peter has said – it is the ‘comparing’ mind that gets in the way..

    Every great Master has experienced the emptying out of self before the Divine could show us his true face…and sometimes we are felt to be nowhere – up the creek without a paddle when we first awaken into the vast emptiness..Where is the Love we ask ourselves..where is God..Have I been forsaken?..

    It is an uncomfortable place for many..and the tendency is to want to grasp onto something so we don’t feel so lost..so we take out our bag of tricks one of which is to go back into the safety of knowing something…not a great idea..

    The willingness to let go of all our assumptions and theories and predilections and stay in the heart of things, in Presence, is the key to this explosion of Love…..

    From my experience, and as Bill demonstrated, after all is said and done, the mind returns but as a servant to Truth. not as the master…and the life is lived in Divine Love.. We are used in any way that seems fit to the Divine Intelligence to serve..It’s choiceless living on our part…

    Bill’s personal description at the end of the interview of how the life is lived outside of linear time joyfully and completely surrendered..undivided -is beautifiully articulated.

    I think you’ll enjoy listening to this interview from start to finish..It has your name on it..Being that Bill is a Phd with a strong intellectual background, it might ease your mind – giggle – that we don’t become human vegetables if we are willing to let go of our mental constructs and our tendency to try to figure it all out…True understanding and clarity and most of all Divine Love comes out of that willingness to just BE….

    Love to all today – and belated happy birthday to me – time to get off the comp and celebrate..

  67. “Perhaps young children best exemplify this quality in the way they simply experience whatever is happening without having yet developed the habit of mentally labeling everything.” – paulk


    Don’t mean to resurface the nature vs. nurture argument here, but I don’t think that they develop the habit of labeling things of their own accord.

    The significant adults in their lives (i.e. parents, teachers, pastors, etc.) are likely to be label-dependent and condition their children to carry on that habitual perceptional habit.

    We prompts me to conclude that you won’t see evidence of a more enlightened civilization until our parenting methodologies significantly change.

  68. Thanks Sam – right back at ya..enjoy! Every day is a celebration, but on our birthdays we get to thank God for his precious gift of Life..

  69. both Pauls
    It’s useful to recognize that “lives” take place in the field of karma/action/energy. They are time-bound, functioning in an energetic mesh. The “soul” experiences a sequence of lives but remains independent of them.

    As for suicide, understanding our spiritual nature would probably prevent some of it. It’s not an escape nor a remotely good choice. But seeing it like failing a grade is certainly more healthy than seeing it as going to hell or a total fail.

    From a non-dual perspective, there is no individual soul but the key word there is individual. There remains a function of “soul” but it is non-separate, like a wave on an ocean.

    To understand this more deeply, we can say awareness becomes aware of itself both globally and at every point within itself. One of those points is you.

  70. Thanks David. From perspective of soul I’d say those who undertake “negative” action will be back for more karma. From the perspective of non separation source, if you will, is the initiator of all action and like a gigantic field of dominos all thoughts and actions are interconnected going back to the initial yin/yang separation making action at and individual soul level impossible. In essence there is only one doer.

    Earnest, loved your reference to the boat, crossing and occupant disappearing.

    Pete, I’m with you on the blank slate and parental influence. I do think at karmic level souls come in with something which accounts for many aspects of personality but there appears to be some limbo period in childhood where there is a blank slate and then some mixture of karmic tendencies is entwined with external experience and influence.

  71. Hi Paulk
    Well – they say the field of action is unfathomable. I’d not say it’s as simple as you suggest. For one, it is simply action. We may experience it as “good” or “bad” but it is simply forever seeking balance.

    Some actions make small ripples and are felt a short distance. Others are felt throughout creation. It’s not always obvious which are which, even by our own experience. Big dramas for us can be very minor in the scheme of things while others that may seem minor have impacts we never would have expected or never know. Many of histories famous events started with something trivial.

    The idea of one doer is rather a simplification. Action takes place in a field of action by interacting with itself. Even on the soul level there is no “action” per se. Thus there is no doer. It all really depends on perspective as to how this is seen. There is no one event or one being that started the whole thing rolling. Origins are more subtle than that, almost what we could call unintended consequences. It’s also vastly bigger than most have any idea. Our universe, for example, with its billions of galaxies, is but a pearl in a much larger space. Even scientists are now saying they’ve detected radiation from before the big bang, suggesting its an event in a cycle rather than a beginning.

    very big subject fraught with easy confusion.

  72. David, Even though scientists can go on infinitely finding more at the micro and macro level many posit a single origin. The big bang theory sounds an awful lot like the Hindu creation myth. Brahma exhales and the universe is created. Brahma inhales and it collapses. In terms of action I was just pointing to the fact that all of what we experience is out of our control as distinct individuals. There are so many factors that precede every action or thought that we’re not even aware of. Considering this leads to a non dual recognition and renders assigning blame or guilt to isolated individuals nonsensical. Still I like the admonition of a teacher who’s name I can’t remember: “You’re not the doer but act as if you are.”

  73. Thanks, HS, for your comments.

    “I disagree in this commonly held view in spiritual circles.
    None of these things have anything to do with Awakening.”

    I don’t know what commonly held views may be embraced by which spiritual circles, so I’ll trust that there are some.

    “And as to the notion of child purity and closeness to Being, I don’t think it is the case.”

    I look to no attribute like cuteness, innocence, purity, etc. to raise them in my eyes. I do, however, look to one particular state of theirs that is particularly noteworthy:

    a baby isn’t born with a conditioned mind (both words underscored). Their minds become conditioned via their interactions with adults who possess conditioned minds.

    Our conditioned minds block us from seeing things clearly. And there would be no need for an awakening absent a conditioned mind.

    “Interesting that in older Tibetan times, children were actually seen as impure in the sense of being a long ways (most likely) from Awakening.”

    I’m gathering that that belief probably flowered in the garden of karma. I don’t subscribe to the notion/idea of karma, so I don’t resonate with that particular, Tibetan view of children.

  74. Now one with it… Wow, this has been an entertaining couple of days reading the various posts and watching various interviews with people claiming to be “teachers” of one kind or another. After a few days reading this or that on here, I would like to make a few observations if I may. The first of which is, why bother talking about one’s “awakening” or any alleged knowledge that one “attains” as a result of such an experience? Wouldn’t an authentic “realization” ultimately make you realize your separate and shared humanity more deeply? Is so, wouldn’t that naturally inform your behavior in a way that would probably make you a more empathetic and compassionate person without the need for trying to convince others that your concepts are better than their concepts? Wouldn’t presence, love, and acceptance be enough? Look, it just appears to me that a whole lot of people on this forum are some real good bullshitters, playing a game of comparing “realizations” or “understanding” in an effort to be more advaitically correct than everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, everyone needs to hear some good bullshit every now again. It keeps you honest, ha! But sincerely, why bother? Why so much espousing of second-hand information in an attempt to make it appear to be authentically your own, or trying to “out-Advaita” others? I hear a whole of treatises from people on here that feel really hollow and inauthentic, and delivering it as if it’s indisputable fact. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being human guys, just being an ordinary person living a beautifully ordinary life!

  75. Happy belated birthday Jill! As a native New Yorker, I hope you enjoyed a walk through Central Park or simply quietly enjoyed the amazing energy NYC provides.

  76. Thank you Paul – I had a sweet birthday with the kids..always a treat to spend time with them…We were planning on seeing the new Woody Allen movie but got lost in conversation and the Silence over a long lunch…Yes New York is all that and more…it’s Home..

  77. When I grew up in NYC, The Cloisters was my favorite spot to decompress and re-center myself.

    Not as big as Central Park, to be sure. But certainly quieter.

  78. Gosh Peter – didn’t realize there were so many New Yorkers on the site..or former ones…Loved loved loved The Cloisters growing up- almost reverential…a great place to appreciate the quiet..
    The Silence is everywhere here though, even in the noisiest part of town – underlying everything – it whispers to us, but it’s true, some places just embody it more than others..

  79. *has no qualms delving into tangents today*

    Three things I miss about NYC:

    1) the ability to go from Point A to Point B – Z… without a car;

    2) the ability to attend a variety of public lectures at Columbia, NYU, Fordham, and CCNY; and,

    3) Rockefeller Center during Christmas, with the scent of roasted chestnuts in the air.

  80. A big YES to all three – Part of the embodiment is evoking and remembering our childhood memories – ‘feeling’ them fully – even the not so nice ones – so they can be integrated into the whole….I can feel that NY is a part of you..

  81. It is a pleasure to be unaligned with your perspective on this particular issue, HS.

    BTW, did you form this perspective of yours partly from your experience as a parent?

    My parenting experience played a huge role in forming mine.

  82. Paul V, I’ll plead guilty to residing in my mind a bit much but is that less human than anything else? And I do think discussing the nature of reality helps to clarify or point to it. So I think its very worthwhile time spent. There’s about a million other things that can be characterized as human that I have no interest in. I think too, that there’s a time for reading books, digesting & discussing. Its part of the process. Granted some get “stuck” there for a while. But they’ll only be there as long as necessary.

  83. Well, I have kids and my own life experience and what I saw was that at certain points, experiences would enliven “prior” conditioning. We can certainly note that brain development gets to a certain point and the mind becomes more prominent. But 2 children with the same upbringing can respond quite differently to the same circumstance. And they can react way outside likely conditioning in some circumstances.

    From what I’ve seen, many of us carry shadows of our deep past, particularly the period during a rather precipitous drop in group consciousness awhile back. That has the effect of a prominent backstory or tone.

    Conditioning certainly plays a role, but its more an accessory role to a broader unfolding. Many of us here are in the last act (of this play) so the many threads are coming to resolution. As they say, we live in interesting times.

    And no, this isn’t something I’ve read.

  84. “I’m saying from the perspective of Consciousness, Grace decides when things begin to blossom and mature into Knowing. It doesn’t care if you had an extremely troubled youth, or hail from a long line of ascetic yogis. How can this be? Because Grace alone knows the readiness of a being.” – HS

    I gotta admit, HS, that my anthropomorphic meter comes alive when I read something like the above.

    Are you saying that Grace “decides” about certain things? And that it doesn’t “care” about some things while it “cares” about others? And that It “knows” when someone is ready?

    Those are all human attributes to me, and it appears that you may be assigning human attributes to Grace.

    Is that because you believe that Grace does indeed possess human attributes like deciding, caring, and knowing?


  85. Thanks HS for the well wishes.. love to you – I think you’re my long lost 3rd son…kindred spirits..BTW, I love dogs too..always felt unconditional love from them..

    As far as the human nature vs nurture debate as it relates to awakening, I think the Enneagram makes a huge contribution to that..It speaks to the idea that we come in to the world with certain blocks to awakening – usually one main one – such as anger or lust or sloth or envy or doubt etc etc which colors our field of perception..

    According to the ancient Sufis, the circumstances we are born into are perfect for evoking that block – ie., those that serve to arouse our anger or doubt etc..For instance – one who has the anger fixation will be born into a family where anger is the predominant issue…

    The game of life is to ultimately recognize, meet fully, and get beyond our principle fixation and it’s conditioned responses, in order to awaken..to see through the identification with who we are not to find the true Self that is lying in wait..That process is the spiritual journey..

    Grace, which is my term for unconditional Love, is the remedy for healing all of our misunderstandings and mis-perceptions born of our conditioning..

  86. “I think the Enneagram makes a huge contribution to that..It speaks to the idea that we come in to the world with certain blocks to awakening – usually one main one – such as anger or lust or sloth or envy or doubt etc etc which colors our field of perception.” – Jill

    Can you enlighten me, Jill, as to which potential block to awakening might give rise to a child being born under circumstances like this one:



  87. I hear you, HS. But my Q to Jill was a specific one.

    Jill posited that babies come into the world with certain blocks to awakening, and that they are born into circumstances where those blocks are given an opportunity to be handled.

    What possible block to awakening would give rise to a child being born in a living hell?

    If karma is the proposed answer, then I see very little difference between the belief system of karma and that of a Biblical god who assigns certain people to an eternal hell. In both cases, allegedly because of choices that were made in the past.

  88. It’s heartbreaking Peter – to think of a child in such dire circumstances – no getting around that..What’s true is that Grace or Love is not always easy on us..far from it… Often it rakes us over the coals..to bring us to our knees…It gives us what we need to evolve….No one would even be interested in awakening if it weren’t for having experienced suffering at some time in the past…

    Eckhart always says that ‘suffering is our greatest teacher’…I think we know this deep down – that all is happening as it should – even though I know, it’s so difficult to accept when we see a child or anyone for that matter, suffering, but particularly a child…That suffering child is us…

    I’ve never taken to the idea of karma even though on a certain level it’s true…but I never took to the concept because it had some idea of punishment contained within it…at least as it was presented..
    It seems that all our religions do – If we’re not good we’ll go to hell one way or the other..and if we’re suffering we’ve been bad….but the heart knows there is no sin except ignorance of Self..Once the Self is known and lived, which is the end game of human life, suffering and sin are no more..

    If we try to reconcile the suffering of the world on the level of mind, you’re wise enough to know we can’t – nothing ever gets resolved there – but if we go to the core of the heart – to that stillness -we can take some comfort in knowing that no one is damned to ‘eternal’ hell – no such thing – and that always contained in the darkest hour of our suffering is the seed of Divine Love…

  89. Thanks for the Mooji link. I was very moved by it. Both what we call “darkness” and “light” come from Consciousness. Why, I don’t know. But the depths is beneficent in weaving both into a much richer and new tapestry. (This was something Jung understood very well.)

    “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”
    Carl Jung
    (The last part on “equanimity” is not applicable to us. There are no prescriptions or strategies. Things just are, and we just feel the joy of Being.)

  90. Why isn’t equanimity applicable to us, Ernest?

    I tend to welcome equanimous responses to most things.

  91. Earnest. Love the reference to Jung. Marie Louise von Franz has written some amazing stuff. I love her Interpretation of Fairy Tales and Puer Aeturnus.

    Thanks HS for the detached objectivity.

  92. Peter, it was not a statement “against” equanimity. It’s just for me, these days, anything that smacks as a prescription or strategy feels wrong to me. It feels like a division in myself, a little bit like lying to myself, “there’s a problem X, and best to do Y to smooth over it or flatten it out”. It’s a bit of contortion, a dulling, a conflict, a contraction. Another way of “being with problem X” is to simply “be with it”, in it’s full blown painful truth, just as it is. The Self is not at all injured by pain or the truth. There is beauty in the sadness (and even horror), “not because”, but “just is”. Maybe the Heart just radiates in it all. (Now that I think about this, maybe this what Neelam means by the “OK’ness, just because it arises”.) But this is just me, and my interpretation of Jung’s quote.

    (This doesn’t mean I’m just passive. In watching Bill Moyers & Company on the stranglehold that moneyed interests on our (US) political system, I wish Jesus would come to Wall Street and clean house, just as he threw out the money changers at the temple in his time. There’s a place for outrage in spirituality 🙂

  93. Beautifully said Ernest..and yes that’s exactly what Neelam means…When we are undivided within -living in the heart – we invite everything in and the OKness becomes a way of life, even though paradoxically, as you said, we still discriminate as we move into the relative world and then act according to our nature….

  94. I wonder if – and when – we’ll pass this phase of monomaniacal “stuckness in the no-self” a la Tim Freke’s Swami Blandananda…really, I’ve never found such dogmatic frozeness (now I undersand the comments of Sri Aurobindo about this syndrome, product of overwhelming openings)…

    “I came to realize he was working working with me at both ends, so to speak: training me to attune to the higher frequencies of my soul but also training me to appreciate and attune to the resources of spirit and sensitivity within my body. In fact, he was asking me to go beyond such designations as ‘body’ and ‘soul’. “You are an spectrum of consciousness,” he said once. “You are not a soul in a body like a driver in a car. You, like everyone, are more like a string that has been tied into a series of knots. Each knot is a mode of consciousness. You look at the knots and say, ‘I am this body’ or ‘I am this soul’, but in truth, you are the string.”

    From John’s perspective, it was ultimately the string that perceived, the string that discerned, the string that had consciousness.
    “The point is that the world, like you and I, exists in different states of beingness and relationship with its environment. Some of these states emphasize distinction and difference and others emphasize unity and oneness. None is better than the other. All are necessary. The partnership of the world with the cosmos occurs along all these avenues of relationship, and that is true for you and me in our partnership as well. There is the universal and the individual, the vast and the particular, and both are needed, both are real.”
    “When you say that you behaved badly because of your personality or your ego, who is the “you” who is saying that? When you say that your ego or personality is the negative side of you, who is the positive side? Who is the self that has a negative and a positive side like good and bad sets of luggage, and what will that self become if you keep one side but eliminate the other?

    You are drawing an artificial line, creating a new inside and a new outside, saying in effect the personality appears to be you but is not the ‘real you’ or the spiritual you. You think that the real you is the inner self but that the personality is outside who you are, a false self. But once you have purged this false self, what is to stop you from drawing that line again and again, always dividing yourself into the part you like and the part you don’t, the part that behaves and the part that doesn’t, a new inner part and a new outer part, a new ‘true self’ and a new ‘false self’? Where does that process end?

    From our perspective, the personality is created in relationship to the world; it is the expression of a relationship. It is you as soul in a certain mode or function of relationship. If it is dysfunctional and negative, as it may become, the blame does not lie either in the personality or the world but in the way the relationship is being constructed. That is a pattern you have the power to change through understanding, through love, and through practice. But you begin the change by honoring the function and the relationship. Honoring the personality and its purposes is a step toward the integration and wholeness you seek.”
    “Our advice is to be careful of those perspectives that divide you, especially if in that division one part is turned against the other. Both you and we are diminished by the idea that the spiritual and the personal are in conflict and that for one to triumph, the other must be overcome. When you assign all the blame and responsibility for your problems to a particular part of yourself, you are creating a scapegoat. You spend energy and time trying to kill the scapegoat, which in the end does little to solve the problem.

    If you behave badly, instead of saying, ‘This is the fault of my personality or my ego’, say simply, ‘This is my fault. I have behaved badly’. Let your whole self take the responsibility rather than lying the blame on just a part of you. Herein lies the possibility of learning, healing, and wholeness. Your personality does not make the choices that become negative actions. You do. You are soul and personality, a single thread on which is tied two knots. Honor that wholeness. If you can make a mistake, you can correct it and you can learn from it. Taking responsability opens the door to wisdom. Otherwise you are always a distraught master trying to control and discipline an unruly horse.”
    “The personality is not your ‘lower self’. You have no ‘lower self’ as such. What you have is a part of your soul adapted to function in engagement and connection with the particulate nature of the incarnate realm. Nor do you have a ‘higher self’. These are constructs you form in your mind, and by the power of your belief, you can bring them into being and divide yourself. What you have is a single self with different functions and attributes that you are seeking to express in wholeness. What you have are differences within you, not separate entities or selves. In some ways, these differences are highly creative, but because they are different, they can come into conflict and they can interfere with each other’s function. Your incarnate energies can interfere with and in turn be interfered with by the energies of your soul, but the solution is not to eliminate one or the other but to develop the skills of integration and synthesis. You, in your incarnate experience of yourself, are not one or the other, personality or soul, but that which emerges from the interaction and blending of a wide spectrum of energies, physical and non-physical. I don’t care what you call yourself or this emergence as long as you see yourself as a wholeness.
    Wholeness is not the same as unity or oneness. Wholeness comes from differentiation and maintains that differentiation to generate a flow of energy that supports interconectedness and organization. Its purpose is to enhance and promote emergence. Wholeness is created and maintained by the power to hold oneself in being and simultaneously to give oneself away. Wholeness emerges from a creative tension and engagement between the part and the whole. The universe unfolds from such tension. Oneness, on the other hand, the unity of all that is, is the mystery on which all things rest. It is the rest state that complements the drive to create wholes.
    David Spangler, “Apprenticed to Spirit”

    “There is what you might call the domain of pure consciousness, what a mystic might call the state of oneness or of no-thing – consciousness without an object. Then there are the manifest worlds that unfold from this state, of which the physical world is one. Some of the other worlds, though, may seem by comparison to this physical one to be places of pure consciousness because we cannot recognize the kind of forms and conditions they manifest.

    The manifest worlds can lead to the domain of pure consciousness itself and vice versa. That is, by contemplating the nature of the physical world, I might find myself entering a state of pure consciousness, and from that state, I could find myself re-entering the physical world with a new perspective. This is generally what spiritual paths are all about, taking us from conditioned consciousness to pure consciousness and back again. Or, I might become aware of an “inner” world, one of the places other than the physical that also emerge from the primal domain of consciousness; such an experience could take me further into an awareness of that primal domain and also help me see that consciousness is not simply, as you say, an attribute of the physical.

    Robert: Which of those worlds are of most interest to you, and what has come out of your exploration of them?

    David: The mystical part of me still focuses upon the primal domain of consciousness itself, which I call the Beloved, for I experience it as a presence of love; likewise, the esoteric part of me looks to and works with some of the other worlds and beings that represent that domain in non-physical ways – the Otherworlds of Celtic lore, for example, or the different dimensions written of in occult cosmologies. Meanwhile, the physical, earthly part of me tries to synthesize the other two and bring them both down to earth!

    At different times in my life, I’ve concentrated on one or another of these. I have gone through my mystical phases, my occult or shamanic phases, and I am always going through an everyday, earthly phase since, after all, this is where I live! However, the primary area of exploration for me has always been the conjunction and blending of these three. What are the boundaries where they meet and how do they interact co-creatively with each other? That is the question that most often drives my interest and my work.

    As for what has come out of my explorations, one insight that stands out is the need to move away from a pyramidal or hierarchical view of creation and spirituality. That view usually puts our physical existence at the bottom and spiritual existence at the top. As a consequence, we are either overtly or implicitly encouraged to leave the Earth in some manner because it is less real and less important than the realms of consciousness and being that are found towards the top of the pyramid (with God, of course, being at the very top).

    Instead, I take a systemic view. There is pure consciousness on the one hand and the various manifestations of consciousness on the other, and they all interact with each other in co-creative ways. They are a lattice, a network, a pattern of creation, in which each entity or world has something unique and valuable to contribute.”

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