134. Howard Falco

Howard Falco is an international author, speaker and spiritual teacher specializing in self-awareness and the power of the mind as it relates to the creation of the experience of life. His book on human understanding and potential is titled, I AM: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are (Penguin Group).

On the surface Howard seems to be the everyday regular guy. However, in the middle of ordinary life, this married father of two went through a spontaneous and extraordinary expansion of mind. The dramatic depth and breadth of this shift in consciousness unveiled the answers to many of the largest and deepest questions that humanity seeks answers for on a regular basis, such as “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “Why do I suffer?”

Through his experience he came to a full understanding of the conditions that led to every moment of his life. As a result, the core essence underlying all of human creation, action, reaction, joys and suffering was revealed to him. Stunned and inspired by this powerful knowledge, Howard set out to honor what happened by sharing what he learned. I AM is the incredible result of this effort.

For Howard, the most thrilling revelation of his new insight is that everyone has the same opportunity to experience this information and the freedom, joy and creative power it brings. He states, “The issue is not whether the access or answers to any of your questions exist, but only a matter of if you are ready to embrace the new way of looking at and experiencing the world that these answers will bring.”

Known for his powerfully clear and relatable style, Howard presents the wisdom regarding how to understand and integrate more with the creative power of the mind to accomplish what is desired or to overcome any challenge you face in life, allowing you to achieve a greater sense of peace, understanding and fulfillment in the process. More about his book and work can be found at HowardFalco.com or ThebookIAM.com He is also on Facebook and Twitter (@Howard Falco).

Interview conducted 8/11/2012

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

109 thoughts on “134. Howard Falco

  1. Howard’s insights were very clearly stated and also very unique. I’m beginning to realize that our ego isn’t the monster that it’s made out to be but a necessary organizing feature that makes expression possible and maintains stability. Many nondual teachers seem to want us to annihilate this sense of a separate, individated self we call ego. Howard’s message that it is there to serve us and as a protector of our believes until we are ready to change them seems much closer to the truth. Being human includes having an ego and/or personality. That’s a part of what makes us who we are and is very creative and a focal point without which we’d find it hard, if not impossible, to experience stability. Howard’s point of view makes so much sense because it encourages self respect and self reliance. Many other nondual teachings seem to insinuate that until one can break out of our selfish, little me state we’re doomed. Howard’s road map gives us hope and encourages us to include and appreciate our own unique expression and stage of developement. There’s much more compassion in this understanding.

  2. @cybervigilante:
    I hear you, yet I am here….looking for spiritual entertainment….it is just another ride in this amusement park that we call the world – albeit one that has the shortest line.

  3. This was another enjoyable interview!

    Can someone clarify how there can be volition and non-doership at the same time?

  4. Yes Jill they seem incompatible to me as well but although life simply unfolds and our true nature is awareness and yet several teachers seem to offer ways to speed things up which would seem to indicate that our body mind organism would have a say in how life unfolds. This is very troubling to me.

  5. @touvino:
    Life simply unfolds (like you said) and that unfolding includes your meeting a teacher and trying to “speed things up”.
    The true “YOU” is just sitting on the passenger seat and watching all of this.

  6. Yes Vairagya but if a teacher talks about limiting beliefs, who has those limiting beliefs? It seems to me that the body mind organism cannot in any way get rid of these beliefs, they can only disappear on their own no?

  7. No trouble Touvino –
    As you said – post awakening life unfolds as it does..and we are lived.. ‘apparently’ making decisions and doing what we do, seeing teachers – not seeing teachers – but recognizing as well that we are not the author of any action…..It’s a paradox of course, and until that paradox is resolved by Grace, it can seem confusing…

    Underneath all confusion is fear…The mind wants desperately to land somewhere – as its very survival is at stake – It wants to know what to do – should I see a teacher – should I not – should I do this or do that – what about this – what about that – the voice in the head wants to know something – anything – but if we just remain in not knowing – in that space of I don’t know – the confusion lifts and there is reconciliation..This I can promise you…Once we face the fear of not-knowing what to do, surprisingly we know..

    When the best teachers come – they don’t offer an answer ..they don’t offer a better dream..and they know there are no answers…They offer you nothing but Silence and support while Grace does the rest…

    Hang in there – all is well – stay simple – you already know the truth of your being – don’t let the mind with all its spin, trick you into believing otherwise..

  8. Thank you Jill. I believe Ramesh Balsekar calls this flip flopping. There are periods of clear seeing and deep bliss followed by confusion and uncertainty. It often feels like a birth is about to take place which is both painful and yet so very exciting.

  9. Beautiful – that’s exactly it Touvino…The nervous system has to balance out..and it swings wildly for a time back and forth..until it doesn’t…Giving birth is a good analogy…After the opening, there is a tremendous push and pull between clarity and confusion..as the body/mind seeks it’s natural rest..

    As Wayne Liquorman wrote:
    “I recognize there is spiritual seeking..I recognize there is intellectual understanding and there is spiritual experience, both of which are progressive and cumulative..Then there is the final understanding which is sudden, irrevocable and after which there can be no further process, in the same way you cannot be more dead..You can only be dead; you can’t be dead plus…Once dead, there is no question of stabilizing into your deadness…And realization or the final understanding is exactly like that”..

    So yes very exciting – it’s a giving birth to all of creation, and at the same time, it’s a death to all we thought we were as well…

  10. Just been through 2 days of the mind posing questions with no good answers – kind of like what Tuovino describes.

    One thing is becoming apparrent – full clarity is not going to come through the mind or any kind of thinking or discussion process. That’s just more stuff. And the last thing I need is more stuff to figure out.

    Jill – I always notice that you do not get into mind trips about how it all works. As you have said here many times – it’s really simple. And to me that means – REALLY SIMPLE.

    Still like to think of what Brenda said – “Think I’ll go dancing…”

  11. Yes – Larry – good idea – when we dance we don’t think – when we laugh we don’t think – when we love we don’t think…we just let it all pass through us as Pamela says – and we celebrate the comings and goings….Thoughts only arise because we give them credence – leave them be…The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom..

  12. touvino on August 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm said: This was another enjoyable interview! … Can someone clarify how there can be volition and non-doership at the same time?

    Jill on August 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm said: They are incompatible Touvino – but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

    in theoretical physics… these type of incompatibilities come up all the time… usually they imply partial understanding… and are resolved via understanding of a more complete principle…

    in other words… the seemingly incompatible principles… are seen as “complementary” from the view of a higher principle…

    that is what the Unified Field theory is all about… resolving incompatibilities of lower principles… with higher principles… which are more embracing of all the parts…

    it’s not that the parts disappear… or become identical… then creation would dissolve…

    it’s that all the parts… each part is seen in its proper complementary role… in the overall scheme …

    that’s why Amma says… good to understand the proper functional role of each thing in creation… (paraphrased)

    it was Maharishi who encouraged… using the language of physics… to help describe… to the western mind… spiritual understanding of consciousness… in 1975 i had a chance to hang out with Physics Professor Larry Domash at MIU in Fairfield Iowa… for a very short time… it was fun…

    i haven’t watched interview yet … waiting for video… necessary so that wife & i can watch together… complementarily… would be nice if Howard commented his view on this…

    love light & kale… https://www.facebook.com/amarnath.zin.anatol

  13. Rick and Howard, thank you for this interview. I see no contradiction between volition and non-doership and , Anatol had a great point. Our reality is created by our thoughts and expectations and I see this in my daily life all the time..if one has eyes for that they will see..and here is Adya talking about this very same thing in this part 4 of his interview with Bob Cowart starting from about minute 6:30 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nkFtT47hjk

  14. here is Adya’s quote from that interview: Real authentic awakening is a total and very profound paradigm shift..From that paradigm what we start to see is that everything that’s happening is the product of thought. So even if there is a body in the first place or world or anything it is a product of thought. Not thought necessarily in the sense that most human beings would think of little thoughts in their brain, that’s creating their individual world, in total actually. But thought in the sense of Big Mind, the intelligence of the Source itself. And from that standpoint of view this is nothing but thought made manifest or like I like to say awareness experienced…we are literally living our concepts…because reality itself does not have a point of view, it is cooperating, it is basically saying, Bob, whatever you want it to be that’s what it is..

  15. now, most the time our beliefs are not conscious and that is when we scratch our heads wondering where the heck did that come from in my life..and that is where what Cowart calls “witnessing” comes is—that is the road to conscious creating

  16. this whole “everything happens for no reason at all” and if you think otherwise it is all your mind is a bunch of nonsense if you ask me…at least that is how it works in the reality where it hurts if a rock falls on one’s foot…:)

  17. Thank you Steve – Yes – Life is ONE seamless expression when the paradox is resolved…

    Touvino was being troubled by the ‘apparent’ incompatibility of volition vs free will but of course there is none when we are aligned with the Greater Will.. We just want to be clear that the volition is not ‘individual’ volition at the point of reconciliation…

    Loved that tape Ernest -It’s a clear confimation that Consciousness is running the show..the One Mind….The shock and disbelief on the part of the individual taking part in the experiment was great…It is quite shocking when the ego realizes that it’s not separate and it’s very definitely not in control..

  18. What I read here is erudition….and concepts…and more concepts…..the urge to figure it all out and find a solid anchor to live our lives.

    Rumi says – Slide out the side and die. Silence is the surest sign that you have died.


  19. When I dream lucidly at night with my eyes shut, I am aware that free will and volition and choice and cause-effect are all aspects of the dream.

    And when I dream lucidly during the day with my eyes open, I am Aware that free will and volition and choice and cause-effect are all aspects of The Dream.

    I’m sure that Tim (Freke) will offer some additional, interesting color commentary, regarding what he calls “lucid living, on September 1st.

  20. To All,
    What’s true is, The Mystery is in charge – and the Mystery reveals a far more interesting creation than an individual mind could ever manifest…

    If we wake up to that Mystery each day, and are aligned with it, there is no thought of interfering with THAT – no thought of efforting to make it better, or have it go our way, or of putting our own spin on it..

    In true awakening, there’s no effort at controlling or manipulating Reality as it presents itself …no no – we see that it is perfect as it is..and it unfolds as it does..There is a feeling of rightness to our lives when we live this way – surrendered and accepting of what is –

    What it all comes down to, is letting go of the deep- seated fear that our life will fall apart if we aren’t there controlling it…It’s having a deep trust and faith that it’s all working out for our highest good..When we start to step into the unknown, the tendency is to grab onto something -some piece of the whole – to make the ride more comfortable.. and that can lead us far afield..

    You know that old joke of the guy who slips on the slope and as he falls, ends up hanging off the cliff..He grabs a branch on the way down and looks up to the sky…He pleads – If there’s anyone up there please help me…God answers and says – Let go, my son…There’s a long pause and the guy says – Is there anyone else up there?

    There will always be teachers who want to help us transform the ME character and promise to give us a better life – who ‘up’ the illusory control factor – who feed our fantasies – and there’s nothing wrong with following that path – most of us have for lifetimes – can be fun – until in some lifetime we finally see that it leads no-where instead of to now-here…

    Sometimes you just have to live it all out – pursue everything – to realize the emptiness of pseudo psychological power inherent in the chasing of the dream factory..

    I speak to many seekers who are at a crossroads these days- They say they desperately want to shift and be out of suffering but it’s obvious that they also desperately want to hang on to the illusion of me…Well guess what – we can’t have it both ways….

    As Adya says, and in my experience, in a profound awakening, only the ‘perfume’ of an individual remains – the flavor or essence – but that we of ourselves know nothing and control nothing..as the greater Will prevails..

    The universe is benevolent in a certain way- it reads hearts, and it gives us exactly what we ask for…If we want to pursue knowledge or wealth or a perfect body or have the desire to be a spiritual or material somebody – we can manifest any or all of that if we focus attention there…and if we want Truth, we can manifest that…so it’s always good to know exactly what we want down deep when we set out on the journey – cause that’s what we’ll be manifesting…

    This surrender to what is, doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy…quite the contrary..The ultimate enjoyment and fulfillment of Life is knowing we are doing exactly what we came here to do…which is stepping out of the way of ego into the Spacious Tenderness that we are – bowing to God’s Will – and doing what HE meant us to do in each moment..

  21. Yes Jill – that is quite clear and simple. That is my favorite way of seeing it all.
    One thing which seems more and more obvious – there is no reason to fear the letting go of trying to control. The mind likes to say that if we let go things will fall apart. But when the actual experience of letting go begins to become more clear and more frequent, the great revelation is – things actually are so beautifully easy and sublime in that letting go. So it is the experience itself that seals the deal.

  22. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda ~ “The Lord God does not create in men the consciousness of being doers of actions, nor does He cause actions by them, nor does He entangle them with the fruits of actions… Delusive Cosmic Nature is the originator of all these…. God is the creator of all, even of cosmic delusion… but it is man’s response to maya… through the misuse of the divine gift of free choice… that creates in him the sense of egoism and the desire to act according to its dictates and to enjoy the fruits of actions…. When man exercises discrimination and does not respond to cosmic delusion… he uses his free will rightly to choose only the influence of the inner divine wisdom… Thus he escapes the punishment that results from the false conviction of being an independent doer of actions…” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

    To say something meaningful get in the
    circle of silent ones and be silent. ~ Rumi♥

  23. Thanks for hearing this Larry and Sno – you both know of this simplicity of Self…as do many friends on the site – so there is resonance…My heart is with you all..and may all beings be at peace..sending Love..

  24. Steve on August 14, 2012 at 4:40 am said: “On the volition vs. non-doership question … if the Truth of Self is omnipresent, then by definition it is present in both expressions … no?” ~ snowleopard

    If Self is omnipresent, there is truly only one expression, no?

    NO… Self is ONE… expressions are infinite…
    only one mistake … one minute “relative” expression is taken to be the Absolute… due to lack of discrimination of what is temporary( all expressions )… and what is changeless…

  25. Hi Jill,

    This is the part that confuses me:
    When you say:
    “The universe is benevolent in a certain way- it reads hearts, and it gives us exactly what we ask for…”

    from my experience, what I ask for is in effect the mind asking. The Universe gives whatever it feels like giving without the least interest as to what the mind desires. If I get what I desire then I (the mind) is in some way controlling the situation.

    You then add: “If we want to pursue knowledge or wealth or a perfect body or have the desire to be a spiritual or material somebody – we can manifest any or all of that if we focus attention there…and if we want Truth, we can manifest that…”

    As far as I see, my desire to follow a spiritual path was not “my” choice. It simply happened.

    I do not know exactly how to make my question any clearer. Do you see what I am getting at? As far as I am able to see, life just happens and I am simply a witness to it all and it can go whichever it feels like going. So there is no volition at all as far as I can see.

    I am getting that you are then saying that volition arises post awakening and post flip flopping when the ego has totally surrendered to the I.

  26. I would second SL on Jill’s eloquence and writing soaring off the page.

    Ernesto, thank you for the video. (I feel a little bit like I’m talking to myself 🙂 ) The video is suggestive, and shows the common notion of “free will” is an illusion (since the decision was already made by the brain prior to conscious awareness many seconds ahead of time). This is a cause an effect framework. From the perspective of “systems theory”, “free will” can be recast as an “emergent property”. It would be more along the lines of “many choices leads, to habits, habits lead to character, and character to a probable destiny”. We are conscious of our overall patterns (if not the immediate actions), and have some subjective notion of “intention” and how we want our lives to go (including giving it all up to God).

    We don’t know what free will is. It may be a philosophically confused concept, and scientifically, an invalid concept. Yet in actual practice, we teach our children self discipline. Our legal and ethical system assumes the notion of “agency”, that people are responsible for their actions. Neelam says that there may not be much we are in control of, but we can “choose” to “here”, to “choose” to be what is happening right now. Language to serve a didactic “approximation”? “Free will” as useful “social fiction” even if it has no solid foundation in actual reality?

    Of course, if you probe too deeply, there is nothing, just like watching a movie (with the story) on your big screen TV. You drill down to the pixels, and bits flashing light, and it’s all “smoke and mirrors” (to switch to another metaphor).

  27. Night Lily,

    I have come to realize that everytime I experience something as being a nonsense, a short while later it is shown to me to be otherwise and that is why my inner guide is constantly reminding me not to judge. There is no cause and effect in Truth as far as I have realized. It is the mind which is so convinced that it is in control that it looks for reasons why such and such happened. If we are late in waking up, we tell ourselves that its because we went to bed too late. If we lose a competition we look for all kinds of excuses to justify why we did etc. But in effect loss happened whether the mind wants to accept it or not.

  28. Touvino –
    I say that the Divine reads hearts cause the heart of the Self – not the illusory mind – is where all true desire and manifestation takes place – as it is the seat of our true nature…It’s where consciousness resides..where we reside…

    The true governing force is divine destiny or choiceless awareness – which is lived quite lucidly in the enlightened state – Call it a momentum or a drive that compels the organism -and is always moving our lives in a certain direction..despite the mind’s attempts at volition – and whether we are aware of this movement or not..

    When the Absolute/relative paradox has been resolved, these questions as to volition and free will and the other apparent polarities, get laid down..and the internal dialogue stops..This can’t ever be resolved on the level of mind….Thank goodness – cause if it is, then the realization would be purely intellectual….

    So my friendly advice is to stay simple – If it’s confusing and frustrating, it’s meant to be, so that the witnessing mind gives up and surrenders all questions to the Silence….

  29. Hi Jill, as I was posting my comment to you, what you have been saying all along became quite clear. If there were such things as coincidences, I would have thought it was one! 🙂

    I will definitely take your advice to keep it simple. The beauty of Truth is indeed in its simplicity.

    Your patience and clear guidance is much appreciated. Thanks!

  30. Night Lily

    “There is nothing better than your own Heart at discriminating how true something is for you right now”

  31. Howard has a very good message… very similar to Wayne Dyer’s … “spiritual” intentions, I Am, Love, Awareness… in his latest work… “Wishes Fulfilled” …

    also Howard’s approach of befriending ego… is what Leonard Jacobson teaches… Leonard says the ego cannot be defeated… but when Love takes it’s rightful place as the Master… then the ego will gladly surrender… perhaps in Howard’s case that already has happened without his noticing… because seems his karma was/is very smooth… after that a functional ego serves Love… which is what Einstein said… that the intellect is a terrible master… but can be a very useful servant…

    so… anyone interested in these similar approaches… here’s a condensed version of Wayne Dyer’s … “Wishes Fulfilled” … which includes Wayne overcoming cancer.. with positive attitude / i-am-affirmations / diet / tuning into saint’s energy field etc… enjoy… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yJP9cuKNqI

  32. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMRfLfwvnKI&feature=relmfu

    The sacred is often imaged as an “ocean” while the individual is a “drop” whose destiny is to return to or merge with the ocean. A drop, though, can do things that an ocean cannot. An ocean, for example, cannot become a teardrop shape. If one says that the individual seek the Unity the way drops seek the ocean, it could equally be said that through evaporation, the ocean seeks to become drops and the Unity seeks to become individual. Which is the true destination or destiny? One could imagine a Monthy Python type rendition of this, a la “Life of Brian”, in which one faction seeks to follow the drop while the other seeks to follow the ocean! In my own experience, neither “drop” nor “ocean” fully capture the Mystery of the Sacred, nor for that matter the Mystery of Self. Mystery is accessible from both the “drop” state and the “ocean” state… One is not choosing between the drop or the ocean, the self or the no-self, the particle or the wave, the personal or the transpersonal. Each needs to be honored and seen in paradoxical partnership in order to attune to what is neither drop nor ocean, but rather the Mystery behind both…
    David Spangler, “Incarnational Spirituality”

  33. It’s also standard wisdom in transpersonal psychology graduate programs to say “you must have an ego before you can lose it”. Of course, this is complicated by the fact that the notion of the “ego” in psychology (analytic psychology) is different from the typical spiritual usage, as the contracted suffering separative self. (But there is also some overlaps including the suffering/separative aspect.) In analytic psychology, it is also the integrative function that mediates “inner” and “outer”, the “reality principle” that allows one to function in the world (as opposed to psychotic), to have discrimination or discernment, to be properly individuated to mediate amongst different body-minds in a healthy way with “flexible and healthy boundaries”.

    Part of growing, from childhood, adolescence, young adulthood includes a “separation-individuation” process, e.g. as in “finding one’s identity”, “one’s role an individuality in the world”. In adulthood and towards old age these structures can begin to relax and towards a greater principle than one’s individual self (such as God, service to the world, next generation, etc.). This is the broad brushstroke of separation-individuation, at least in the western world. The Divine can break through at any stage so there are no hard and fast rules. But some of the more “normal” human development issues can also be there and one follows the age appropriate themes such as separation from parents, relationships, work, love, service, At each step of the way, one can “surrender to God” in a manner that would be meaningful and appropriate for that stage. At death, we give it all up. “Losing the ego” means that the individual identity may be lost, or rendered secondary given that one’s center of gravity is in the Divine, but all the functional aspects are still there.

    This is the standard paradigm on the confusing and complicated subject of the ego if you were to go through a graduate transpersonal psychology program.

    (Yours technically, which seems to be my role.)

  34. Ernest – I get the sense that you have read or are familiar with Carl Jung’s work. I have often wondered about this mysterious and fascinating sage.

    In my younger years I spent some time with a great Jungian analyst, Edward Edinger. The way he described the Self was not the way we think of it here, as you point out.

    Carl Jung himself speaks so much in intellectual terms involving symbology, mythology etc. that for me it is hard to know whether he found liberation through his interior explorations or not. I tend to think he may have, in his own very individualized way…

  35. Yes, I was familiar with Jung when I was in seminary as a young man. He was a bridge between psychology and religion. In that conceptual framework, the ego was one aspect of integration, and only for a period of time. Jung also had a notion of “Self” (slightly different from the Advaitic sense of Self) which is the “archetype of wholeness”, the integrative function of the psyche that goes beyond the conscious ego. My closest understanding of Jung was not that he found “liberation”, but that he found “wholeness”.

  36. When I go sleep each night, everything drops away. So do notions or theories of the “ego”. (So who am I? Don’t answer this. Rhetorical question 🙂 )

    One change in the mechanism of identification and belief that I’m beginning to see, and is starting the be popular in Integral theory, is the notion of “we”, our common sense of humanity in the evolution of consciousness. This is something in between the individual and the universal. This is brought on by the fact that we are the most connected generation ever in terms of information and communication. It is also brought on by the fact that some crises, such as climate change, resource depletion, ecological damage, requires a collective response. We can no longer afford to think in terms of our tribal nation states.

    Apart from the belief system, behind the belief system, behind the emerging “new identity”, I sense a new life asserting itself, a vision for a better world, more sustainable, more equitable, one that values every human being. If I were to apply HF’s insights into intention, it would not be for myself, it would be for the collective, a vision of a better tomorrow. One secular vision can be found here.


    My prayers and wishes goes out to the next generation. I have no problems with “I”, “we”, “ego”, “self”, when it is done with love.

  37. Re Jung – Yes, in Jungian circles the term “wholeness” is used a great deal. The reason that I used the term “liberation” is because it always seemed to me that Jung created an unbelievably complex universe for himself, one filled with archtypes, imagery, demons, gods and goddesses, and all manner of other forms to symbolize the inner workings of the mind.

    Quite frankly, I have never felt that I arrived at a real understanding of what he meant by wholeness, but suspect that it is some sort of function of the intellect.

    Although my own intellect could never reach the heights of someone like Jung, to me, “liberation” means no longer being bound by anything in the relative field, which includes the intellect. Jung’s explorations and discoveries were so potent that I have asked myself the question of whether he was able to finally extricate himself from the brilliant intellect with which he was so gifted, and know the field of the absolute, and whether the divine broke through for him on an experiential level.

  38. “That religious experiences exist no longer needs proof. But it will always remain doubtful whether what metaphysics and theology call God and the gods is the real ground of these experiences. The question is idle, actually, and answers itself by reason of the subjectively overwhelming numinosity of the experience. Anyone who has had it is seized by it and therefore not in a position to indulge in fruitless metaphysical or epistemological speculations. Absolute certainty brings its own evidence and has no need of anthropomorphic proofs.”
    from Carl Jung “The Undiscovered Self” chapter 6.

  39. (applies the KISS principle)

    “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Gustav Jung

  40. Laurence, I totally agree with out that Jung’s system is overly complex (probably his trying to make sense of the world’s diversity in symbols, myth, persistent themes in literature across the world’s cultures). It is not totally intellectual, since there is an emotional “charge” or “resonance” in some of the themes that seem to re-occur.

    Probably in the 21st century his system, and most psychoanalytic systems will seem archaic, giving way to neuroscience.


    The scientific approach leans on “objective” and indirect knowledge, inferences, reproducibility of results, agreement with other body-minds. It assumes there is some level of reality “out there”, even though much is also *represented* through internal representation in the mind which may have more or less correspondence to external reality. (How well they correspond depends on whether one is “delusional” or “reality based” and successful in navigating through the world, the physical world, as well as including the world of “other” body minds who *seem* to have their own internal subjective states.) From the point of view of Advaita Vedanta, this is “ignorance”, it is not true, direct, immediate, “ultimate” knowledge. It is knowledge “about” something, which is different from a kind of knowing the Merrill-Wolf call “knowledge through Identity”, knowledge through being. Knowledge of Self is very different than what we normally call “knowledge”. Objective knowledge seems a form of separation, maybe alienation, and certainly is not as satisfying as knowledge of Self, which resolves all tensions at its root. It is Simplicity at its root.

    Nevertheless, there is something in my body mind that won’t simply “give it a rest”. I tend to explore an issue from all sides. When I go to sleep “and the world falls away”. It seems a completely self validated and convincing personal subjective experience. But my intellectual mind would say, “it is not the world that falls away, but my internal representation of it”. (Otherwise, one falls into the philosophy 101 trap of solipsism.) However, there is something about the Self which sui generis, even in both scenarios.

    We have two great traditions on what is deemed to be “knowing”. One is subjective, immediate, self validating. The other is indirect, through the illusion of forms, is not self evident, but inferred, best represented through the scientific method. But if the latter begins to show the former may be an illusion, such as a 2nd party showing the illusion of “conscious choice” in an MRI experiment, even though the 1st party is totally convinced otherwise, I begin to wonder whether the first mode of knowledge is enough if one were to avoid falling into some kind of solipsistic position. So far nueroscience is no where near being able to explain the Self. It is still very much at the level of doing brain activity correlations with “consciousness about something or some object.”

    Ultimately, I don’t have any anxiety about either, since I’ve given my life (survival) up to “God”. It may be that reality is not only stranger and more wonderful than we imagine, but beyond what we can imagine, subjective experience of simplicity not withstanding.

  41. Ernest – I very much like what you said -“There is something in my body mind that won’t simply “give it a rest.” I suffer from the same malady.

    Recently, however, I am beginning to see the kind of investigations which you describe as not so much an affliction but an integral part of the adventure. The scientific research you refer to I do not feel qualified to debate with you. But it did occur to me that any form of scientific investigation into the nature of reality has a certain limitation – whatever conclusions are arrived at are going to be thought based.

    You made the distinction between objective reality vs. knowledge of and through the Self. Agreed. However, to me subjective and inferred knowing seem to be the same thing in that they are both mind based, and involve thoughts.

    Here is what I’m beginning to accept now, and for me it’s pretty new. That is – It’s all good, it’s all part of the mystery, and the relative field is filled with numinosity as much as the absolute. I no longer see the relative as delusion – it is delusion only if we see and believe nothing other than that. But in being able to step in and out of the relative, we are then free to do, think and enjoy all of it – and that is very freeing .

    I heard of a conversation Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had with somebody who informed him that many meditators were asserting that the relative is not real anyway and therefore not significant. He replied “It is more real than they think…”

    So let’s just enjoy all the rides, all the games, all the mind trips! There are infinite fascinations just waiting for us, and we have all the time in the world to enjoy them.

    Maybe we will meet some time at one of Pamela’s satsangs and chew some more fat in person. Cheers.

  42. I don’t actually feel any conflict, dilemma, or “problem” with all this “thought” stuff. It appears in the field as “bits of pieces” of stuff, not the actual immediate truth, but as something else, but still fascinating, esp. when conceptual simplification and clarity is there in making sense of the “facts”. There’s a certain economy, a pleasurable “ah-hah” lifting of burden that comes with understanding, even conceptual understanding.

    Throughout my life, I LOVED understanding things. I appreciated the teachers and professors who can explain things, and explain things well. So denying that part of myself actually is a form of alienation. Maybe not for others. But for me, this is who I am in the body-mind. And my current mode is to accept, even embrace, love, things just as it is, including allowing this body-mind to be what it needs to be.

    Laurence, maybe we can meet. No debates. Just friendly conversation and exchanging notes 🙂

  43. Laurence, just a clarification. I was referring to the Pamela events in the bay area in reply to your message about meeting.

  44. @Laurence “However, to me subjective and inferred knowing seem to be the same thing in that they are both mind based, and involve thoughts.”

    I can agree with this too. It is very possible that what we know as the Self, is also knowledge “about” with some “representation” in something which we label as the “Self”. It is still “something” at some level. “Consciousness” is still “something”. It is “knowing”.

    Rick asked a very interesting question of those who have awakened. Whether some level of “awareness” is always there or whether one is “goes out like the light”. If the truth is that which does not come and go, simple logic would have it that it is neither, though I tend to think “out like a light” reveals a more fundamental (and less tiring) truth.

    My growing edge is that there may be a place where all terms like “Self”, “Being”, “Consciousness” does not seem to apply. Perhaps “Void”, “Nothing”, “Space” comes closest to it, but not quite. It’s like one is struck dumb and speechless. But the ground may be that Place where *all* things come and go. It is *completely* devoid of all attributes.

  45. Love you Chuckee – and loved your riff to Anatol on non-duality…thanks for that…

    and thank you Ising as well for always cutting to the chase..

    Ernest – no need to apologize for your love of intellectual pursuit..It’s all good as Laurence said…The only problem is when we ‘cling’ to anything as our central identity…and define ourselves too narrowly..I used to model in my younger days – and thought that’s all I was…To give up the definition of self that we’ve grown accustomed to is our gift back to god..
    What’s true is, we never lose anything on this path except that which is not real..so we always remain willing to let things come and go…
    What does remain when all is said and done, is just this Love..

  46. Ernest – You raise an interesting point regarding the Self. Is it just emptiness or is there “something?”
    I was originally taught that the Self (Being, pure consciousness pure awareness) is simply neutral -it just is. But lately I have begun to feel that there is “something.”

    Jill’s post sheds light on this I think. The Self is really God, and God is Love.

    With regard to the “out like a light” issue – that’s also ticklish. Could it be that if we want to we can access that but since it would be just another phenomenon it would not last? I could use some clarity on this too.

  47. Hi, All.

    This interview reminded me of the discussion on a recent thread about “The Secret”. A nice chat with Adyashanti was linked in which he says he cannot find a silver lining of a spiritual value in learning to manifest through intent. He doesn’t deny its reality or function, but just doesn’t see how it leads to liberation. This interview touches on the same topic.

    Here’s my take on this. Much of the mental chatter that binds us to identification with a relative self relates to a world view that assumes a disconnected random universe through which we drift. Like billiard balls, we bounce form experience to experience, speaking of luck and trying to manipulate the observed factors into our perceived favor. Much anxiety is created when we view the world as a bunch of independent entities operating either for, against, or oblivious to our personal well being. And science spends a lot of time and effort justifying this world view. It’s a very captivating argument, really.

    Along comes “The Secret”, or the insight that all events that you experience are tied to the fluctuations of your subjective internal state. When I deeply realized this intellectually, my entire material world-view collapsed. I was studying Abraham-Hicks at the time and it hit me like a freight train when it really sunk in. Suddenly nothing was foreign to what I saw myself to be. Every event was somehow intimately connected to my thoughts and feelings. The universe was not a collection of objects, but an intimate flow of pure, intersubjective intelligence. Bear in mind that this was an intellectual realization, but it was deep enough to totally collapse my world view.

    It is very liberating to see that the universe in entirely orderly and functioning by laws that science has not even begun to comprehend. One can relax knowing that no asteroid can crash into our reality unless we all are in total agreement with that occurring. There is a beauty and intimacy that comes with this understanding.

    It was not long after this realization that a fundamental shift of identity occurred. My mind, in reviewing the factors that led to that experience placed much value on the mental relaxation that came with this understanding of the interconnectedness of subjective and objective realities. It was like the clutch was pushed in and the gears unmeshed allowing the engine to spin freely and ultimately shift into an entirely different way of operating.

    So, I see how Howard’s perspective can have some spiritual value. We see that the universe we experience is intimate, not threatening. We don’t have to worry about changing things because they are all happening with complete inner agreement. There is no other way possible.

    On the other hand…..

    It is not our thoughts that create the world, but the world is a consolidated thought-manifestation experience. If we assume ownership of the thoughts that give rise to the manifestation, then we are identifying with a personal self. We are assuming a division between ‘me’ and ‘the universe’ insofar as we feel we can or must change the outcomes of our experiences.

    Howard’s expressions are beautiful and true on a level, but there is a deeper truth in which the manifestation is simply happening within and of the Self-substance and even the thoughts and apparent volitions are part of that spontaneous arising. So perhaps we can call this interviewee’s perspective and interesting and enlivening stepping stone for some. And certainly is is a great joy to participate in the generation of one’s relative experiences. As Howard says, we are all doing it all the time whether we know it or not, and whether we consciously participate or not. I’d just emphasize the point of, “Who is having the volitional thought?”

    Peace, love and infinity to all.

  48. Just finished Anita Moorjani’s book “Dying to me”. She would say “we create our reality” (heaven or hell) in the present. This is different from the statement of creating our reality “in the future”.

  49. Beautifully said Erick..and yes if we assume authorship of the thoughts that give rise to the manifestation, we are a house divided once again..

  50. Heatseeker,

    The way I see it is that nothing happens that should not. Therefore if a being has awakened and feels the need to teach then this is what he was meant to do. His teaching will then prove valuable to a certain type of being and may not be suitable to another. Furthermore, I have realized that some teachings are directed to the mind whereas others are directed to the heart. It could even be that the same teaching will reach beings at many levels. An example is the Bible which can be understood different ways by different people.

    This is truly enjoyable stuff and post awakening discussions are simply fascinating. I too would love to read other people’s input on the matter. Adyashanti wrote a book entitled “The end of your world” on the subject .

  51. HS,
    I think I already weighed in on this if you pick up the thread with Touvino on Aug 14..where we discussed free will vs volition…
    Suffice to say, when we meet the Divine as Co-Creator, we are still limited in our View of Reality…still separate…not yet residing in wholeness..I consider it still being involved in the dream…
    In a profound awakening, aligned with the Greater Will, we are not consciously trying to manifest anything…..We see with clarity, that the manifestation is taking place in choiceless awareness and are content with whatever arises..


  52. Now there’s a term, choiceless awareness, that is replete with differing meanings. With J. Krishnamurti, I believe, being the first to raise those two words as descriptive dance partners.

    I was never fond of it, though. Instead, I always thought that nonreactive awareness more aptly described being aware of being aware.

    Or so has my experienced given cause for me to feel this way.

  53. Francis Benett had a nice quote from St. Paul. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Palpable feeling of being of carried along …(?)

  54. Great summation Snow!
    ‘Feeling of being carried along’, Ernest – yes yes..
    Awareness is neither reacting or deciding..it just is…thank you Steve..
    Just a difference in wording Peter..same idea..

    Just to be clear – Until the will is surrendered at the gut level, there is still some sense of separation and therefore, the idea of apparent choice remains..Final realization – and the sense that we are being LIVED – which is not merely conceptual, but visceral..puts an end to that notion.

    When we are witnessing, or first awakening, we are still under the impression that there is a separate ME in the background making decisions or having control over the manifestation…

    Ultimately though, as the witness dissolves into the Absolute, the burden of ‘managing’ conditioned existence, which the mind once wrongfully assumed, is laid down…This is true bliss..

  55. It just struck me like a ton of bricks that there is still structure in the language “aligned with the Greater will”. It is not “co-creating”. But it invokes the sense of “co-operation”. There is still something “separate” to “cooperate” albeit the separation is far more receded. A true unity would be unconscious, silent, absorbed, still, “nothing happening”.

    So there is value in some version of “separateness”, in forms, in individuality even in the “allowing”, “enjoyment”, “play”. Otherwise it would not manifest.

  56. Yes Ernest – some separation remains when one takes on the role of co-creator….Deepak Chopra’s earlier book, ‘How to Know God’, speaks to this as a ‘stage’ along the path..calling it ‘conscious creating’..It is the realm of invention and discovery either in art or science..but not the ultimate state of wholeness…

    As I’ve said here 1000 times – Final Truth or Vedantic teaching is not for everyone…It depends on what one wants in the deepest sense..what the heart truly desires..as to where, and how far, we take this..and how much we are willing to surrender of the known..

    But just to reassure you, final rest in the Self – is not a vegetative state where nothing arises.. .Life goes on…and our role in the leela becomes Self evident..Because this is freedom from the human condition of avoidance and grasping – which keeps the wheel of karma spinning – it’s very enjoyable and peaceful in and of itself..Whatever it comes into contact with, it enjoys..

    It’s not the mind of a simpleton either, but childlike in many ways because it is innocent – open – fresh -and clear…with love for all in equal measure..

    God is Love Ernest and that’s who we are at our core..The apprehension we feel as we move toward full surrender into the depths of Love is really uncalled for…The body/mind foolishly has been protecting itself from this ‘bondage’ of Love in the name of independence for eons, but ironically, surrender to it, is what freedom is all about..

  57. Oops, that was not intended. The image of silent, hysterical, laughter disappeared into empty space.:)

  58. Thanks Jill. I can’t do the “co-creating” stuff either (though that wasn’t quite the point I was making). It’s too much work. I’ve been more in a receptive and listening mode. Feeling what my heart what it really wants. Feeling into what gives life, what gives passion, what gives joy. Feeling into what seems right and true. These are always good “trend” indicators. Also, more focus on the richness of the senses, less on the mind …

    HS, I agree there is a dualistic structure to language such as “X aligned with Y”. But I think there’s something more here, more than just language, more than a dualism to “tolerate”. It appears in religious language “the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” (John 10:38), “the Father abiding in Me does His work” (John 14:11) which seems like poetry to my ears. There is a Jill, an Ernest, a HeatSeeker, an Ising, … and countless others (not to offend if I don’t mention your name). This “separateness”, each individuality, each life path, each nature, has no value? When I hold a kitten on my lap, I’m glad it’s a bit of sentient fur ball of “separateness” there.
    (There is, of course, also Oneness.) There is of course, also no conflict, just emphasis.

    This is what I’ve noticed in learning to “love things as they already are, or as they manifest”, including and starting with myself. (I can’t tell you how much energy is released not to have to go against my own body-mind nature.) I guess I’m also in the process of “clarifying the relationships” on reality as it already is.

  59. Thank you for this inspiring, genuine, and personal sharing. I am very moved by this.

  60. DrLaurieMoore, I am also moved by you and also by your brining up the animals. You’ve taught me a lot about love, even though my temperament tends to be on the Spock or Obama side. But still, I appreciate the diversity.

  61. Gorgeous, Ernest – true satsang…As Pamela always says, ‘The deeper we rest in the Self, the more we call forth Love’..

  62. HS – so clear…I can retire now with all you guys on board…giggle…Yes yes – as you said, everything has value – everything is included in this…If wouldn’t be wholeness if it left anything out..
    Appreciation comes with the blossoming of Self Love…In order to appreciate anything we must first see its intrinsic value..If we can recognize and appreciate the Divine within first, then quite naturally the world reflects that…

  63. Touvino – what’s going on? I don’t like to discuss suicide in the abstract..Is someone you know contemplating such a thing?

  64. Not to worry Jill, I was in the shower this morning and as it often occurs the question popped into my mind. Since I had never seen it addressed here, I thought I would ask it. That is all! all is well with the world! 🙂

  65. Well – that’s a relief Touvino- gotta watch those pop up shower questions.. 😀

    Regarding suicide – a strange thing to be discussing on such a beautiful day – but since it arose – I agree with Sno, anything is possible…and a lot can occur between awakening and the unfoldment toward freedom…

    Post awakening much karma returns and life can get quite dramatic..The karma isn’t all ours – is generational and collective, but still, when we are opened, it is our body who experiences it..It can be mental emotional or physical..and if we’ve been using techniques to keep it at bay – we’re in for a surprise..

    Also, if one awakens into emptiness without proper knowledge of what lies ahead, the result can be devastating depression…I’ve seen that – but usually in a true awakening, there is a ‘knowing’ that there is more to the flat earth experience of Self..and that soon the heart will blossom..

    Mother Teresa was one who endured years of emptiness and depression without full understanding..Her expectations of what union with God was due to her strongly held religious concepts, kept her from a true meeting..Instead of seeing the emptiness as a necessary milestone before the ‘fullness’ of being, registered, she bemoaned it..

    The surest way to stay stuck in emptiness is to misunderstand its gift and therefore not be grateful for its teaching…The Truth is, we can’t know the fullness of Divine Love until we have emptied out of our version of reality…

    Of course in full freedom or enlightenment – whatever term we use – there is no question of taking one’s life…the illusion of self has been completely seen through..we live in Love – and the momentum is always toward preserving Life..

    But yes – I’ve heard of a few suicides along the spiritual highway…sadly…which is why I maintain that a personal guide is always a good idea, pre, as well as post awakening…stuff arises, until it doesn’t…and everyone has different coping skills…The clarity and love of one who has traversed the path can eliminate a lot of unnecessary suffering..but all in all, as Gangaji always says – the true spiritual path is not for the fainthearted…

  66. Thank you Jill and snowleopard for your responses. I also, intuitively know that post awakening, suicide is not likely. I have known deep moments of depression and have gone through several dark nights but since my direct experience painful human moments seem counteracted with deep peaceful knowingness.

    There is such a need for post awakening knowledge! It would be so helpful if we could address here all those subjects that I have yet to see dealt with clarity in books or other sites such as “now that I am enlightened, will the bills get paid and how do I not care whether they are or not”. Life is indeed a movie but realizing that it is must then allow us to make changes in the scenario no?

  67. I suspect that a lot depends on the intention of thhe suicidal act.

    Euthanasia, for instance, is often described as assisted suicide. Or a remedy to experiencing unbearable physical pain and suffering.

    I never experienced unbearable (key word here) physical pain, so I’m inclined not to judge what I or someone might choose to do in such a situation.

    And in another instance, I know full well that I would not hesitate to jump in front of a hail of bullets to protect my daughter from being stricken by them. Some would call that a suicidal act as well.

  68. Touvino
    While there is a place for post awakening discussion, Eli Jaxon Bear once said there are only two true questions on the spiritual path -Before awakening, it’s, How do I get this?, and post awakening, it’s, What do I do now? Neither are under our control..Grace does the awakening and it also takes care of the ‘doing’ afterward….We follow our instincts and we are led…

    No true teacher would tell anyone how to live their life…to care or not care about this or that… Presence rules, and if we come into alignment with that, we find that Presence is extremely practical…If bills need to be paid, we get a job..or…put up a spiritual website…giggle..

    I love that story about the guy who came to satsang and complained over and over to Papaji that there was constant noise from a construction crew outside his window – and after all he couldn’t sleep or meditate or work or do anything – it was ruining his life – and why was that happening – what did it mean – was it bad karma -should he report it to the localities – on and on…..What to do Papaji – what to do???
    Papaji’s answer: Move..

    Life is simpler than the mind would tell us it is..The thing I loved about Pamela was that she had great respect for the ‘sage’ within us all…gave me no advice post awakening…She loved, she clarified, she soothed, but she knew full well, that the answer to life, was just living it..and that Grace was the Teacher..

  69. Good point Peter…Nisargadatta said much the same thing – that even in cases of enlightened ones who have terminal illness, the body/mind sometimes is led to end physical life -to not perpetuate the suffering of loved ones etc.. It’s true – there are no absolutes in such matters.. and certainly no judgment..

  70. Ironic, isn;t it?

    For someone who is riddled with pathological cancer and chooses to forgo all medicinal intervention, we label his death as death by natural causes (although some would say that it qualifies for the definition of a suicidal act).

    But for someone who is riddled with emotional cancer (i.e. acute depression) and puts a bullet to his head, we view his death as an unnatural one.

    I guess it speaks to the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what we define as natural.

  71. Thank you Jill, Snowleopard, Peter, Chuckee for your valuable input.

    Chuckee, do you at least feel more peaceful now. I know how exhausting it is to be eternally on an emotional whirlwind. I wish you peace! And I have also discovered how valuable it is to find like minded beings to help you along the way. I truly appreciate everyone’s patience and loving guidance here at batgap.

    I am probably the queen of resistance and this is why letting go is so unbelievably difficult although at the same time so attractive. However, something quite enjoyable happens every once in awhile: all my questions somehow get answered to my satisfaction and joy within minutes through you guys, specific paragraphs of a book I am drawn to, some youtube video I magically happen to find. The universe is indeed a treasure hunt.

  72. Baby steps before more adult ones, touvino.

    Consider embracing your resistance to letting go, if that is your experience.

    You may find your resistance be-coming less potent… just from the intention and practice of embracing the resistance.

    It is worth your embrace, just as every experience of yours is worthy of your embrace.

    Particularly embrace-hungry resistance. 🙂

  73. Speaking of Karmic returns, what happened here recently was a sudden intensity of selfish behaviour being perceived everywhere I looked and went. Everyone was seen to be acting from selfishness..including me. It became so intense I silently called out to Ramana that I could not bear another minute of that seeing. The next night a telephone conversation triggered a huge fire inside. Have no recall of what was said during that conversation, but the whole body internally was on fire. So things certainly do come up and get burned away with an intensity sometimes that is unimaginable. That intensity is sometimes necessary – almost like Self says you really need to be hit hard to get this. Will this do it? 🙂 What’s left is more space, more openess, in this case, where selfishness too is seen as empty and I laugh some more. .

  74. Off to the island for 10 days – nature & kayaking are calling. Snow, I saw a dear deer last trip so excited to get back over there. Blessing to each and everyone of you – speaking your truth with such honesty will surely bring each and everyone home. Till next time, Love you all. Love Ising.

  75. @ ising
    On the Karmic returns:

    something happened here last week similarly.
    An intensity for being more truthful, more real was triggered by the interview with FrancisBennett, by reading something from Adyashanti and Francis Lucille. And the awakening deepened a few notches
    left me disoriented, a little dizzy, staring in space for hours. Hardly knowing how to go through the day.
    And while it was at times a bit weird, like morphing into
    colours and sounds, Life went even more smoothly.
    All this also just happened, the interview, the ensuing desire to be more real: and as much as i can agree with Jill on sitting with the sages ( btw i love your writings 🙂 ) it seem to me that the biggest sage at this point in time is the internet, where as Touvino wrote everything that one needs to hear or see or come in contact with drops on you lap, appears on your screen. And then to make sense of it all one meets this delicious scope of voices on a batgap afternoon.
    Where exactly that is asked and written what one needs to hear.

  76. @ snow

    . “Grateful though that it more or less returns in working order ;-)”



  77. Just chiming in a little late here…

    Death and spirituality are so closely related. Death is a great motivator…It quietly persists, “Get off your ass and figure out what is going on here before it’s too late.”

    Regarding your original question, touvino, with true awakening comes the vision that death cannot touch you – that What-You-Are was never born and could never die. From that perspective escaping to physical death doesn’t make much sense – where are you really going? There is nowhere to go – just more here-now. But anything is possible, depending on circumstances and previous conditioning.

    Peter’s comments on the line between suicide and euthanasia certainly address the decisions that the soul makes as the body’s time is coming to its end.

    Sorry to shift the mood after ising’s island interlude….Let’s all go back there now.


  78. @ Jill

    “Final realization – and the sense that we are being LIVED – which is not merely conceptual, but visceral..puts an end to that notion.”

    Dear Jill,

    Would you care to elaborate on this a bit?
    What does it mean ( visceral )? How does It experience Itself.

    It seems that with the latest deepening the felt sense of a formless something floating in awareness has been dissolved. Hence the morphing and disorientation.

    Gratitude to you all 🙂 🙂

  79. Suicide, Depression, Death, and Fear are all great powerful swords that can cut through stories and get to the raw truth.

    some quotes & references that might be useful:
    Quotes from Willoughby Britton, a neuroscience researcher & founder of Cheetah House (Contemplative Think Tank), describing ‘The Dark Night Project’ in a buddhist geeks interview:
    “one of the most common symptoms is fear. And the lost of the sense of self I think is very tied in with this fear. And people can have really phenomenal levels of fear. I mean really just existential primal fear. And what’s interesting about this fear and what I think seems to differentiate it from a lot of other kinds of fears is that it doesn’t seem to have any reference point. It just comes out of nowhere. It can be very debilitating. And then along with fear spectrum you also anxiety and agitation and panic and paranoia. Those are pretty common.”
    “So far in our sample the average amount of time that somebody is impaired so this is not just how long this experiences last but how long they are to the point of interfering with daily functioning. The average amount of time was 3.4 years. It’s actually quite a long time and there’s a huge range in that duration. ”
    Quotes from Reggie Ray interview talking about depression with Raphael Cushnir at:

    14min in – Trungpa said: “Depression is the most dignified and realistic of all the samsaric states. Depression is still happening within an ego framework, but it’s the closest thing to actual enlightenment (that we can experience) without crossing over.”
    What he meant by that is: “In real, deep depression you see that the usual way in which you spend your time and the usual kind of pursuits that everybody engages in are fundamentally meaningless. They don’t deliver what we are hoping they will deliver. And you’re left feeling, that there’s no point in even being alive.”
    “…Depression is an incredibility beautiful walkway… it’s a journey, that needs to be respected and honored.. we need to be as fully with it as we can.”
    “You develop a level of mindfulness through being sick that ordinary people don’t have and it becomes incredibly refined.”
    Quotes from Adyashanti – at a Garrison retreat
    “The whole notion of death is a beautiful and very potent spiritual awakening.”
    “Death takes everything away except what’s essential.”

    Adyashanti on Suicide – 02:45 – “Q: Can you give me a perspective on suicide?”

  80. We’ll miss you Ising – see ya in the Fall…and thank you for the honesty in your post about ‘seeing’ selfishness..true satsang when we reveal our personal journey…It’s of great benefit to all..

  81. Hi Potshots,

    And by the way I enjoy your posts too – you sound delightful..very light bodied and self-aware..

    Regarding your question about the death of the ego being felt ‘viscerally’ – I meant that the experience here had a strong ‘energetic’ component to it…not so for everyone though..at least not as extreme as it was felt here..

    That was mainly due to two things – One was because I have a very sensitive nervous system and two, because the Kundalini was fully ignited during the 19 years of TM siddhi practice..

    When the energy took it’s final run BEFORE I came to satsang – it culminated in an explosion in the head – sort of like a bomb going off..and the mind was no more..very sudden and traumatic death..

    I came to satsang years later not to wake up – but because the body was not at full rest – I felt extremely disoriented and needed to come to some understanding of what happened and to integrate — books just did not suffice..

    But the direct path which I assume you’re on – as experienced through the satsangs of Ramana’s teachers and Adya’s and Ramesh’s and Francis’ lineages, do not have as strong an energetic component…which is why I usually recommend going in that direction instead of the yogic one – a lot easier on the system –

    But even on the direct path, what I’ve observed in working with others, – is that throughout the process, there is still a FEELING of energy and heat moving in the system and finally, an etheric knot being undone in the gut area – which generates a palpable fear of death- and ultimately, a corresponding expansion of awareness..as if something major has fallen away but can’t be named…

    So yes there is disorientation with all death experiences..some lasting longer than others depending on their depth and breath….After the K experience here I wandered around for 5 years feeling out of it till I met Pamela…but as I said, that was a different trip and extreme in it’s manifestation..

    On the progressive path, there are many ‘falling aways’ and each time pieces of self, seen ‘in retrospect’, appear to dissolve..One is fortunate to not have it happen all at once..so the body has time to adjust before it surrenders all..

    It becomes Self-evident to most when this final dissolution has occurred…An easy way to gauge it, is how much of the life is still lived for the personal self afterward- and how much is given over to ‘apparent’ others..As Nisargadatta said, ‘ALL THAT IS, works only for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness..This is ITS sole meaning and purpose’…

    I tell friends who wonder if they ‘died’ or not, to take an honest appraisal – and see.. If we are still consumed with MY journey and MY diet and MY relationships and MY issues and MY life, reflecting upon it and being absorbed in it, and lots of drama to boot — it’s usually a clue that there is still a process going on..and death has not yet been met..

    All we can do is to allow ourselves to surrender deeper and deeper until all questions of finality fall away…..
    Hope that helps..love to you..

  82. Yes Peter, babysteps, I know you are right! Thanks Erick for the insight and Valentino, great stuff!
    I thank the whole batgap membership for having held my hand these past two days. It is unbelievable how your input helped me gain clarity. Great that I have somewhere to come to when it is needed! 🙂

  83. This is not a comment on the interview or on the above posts. Just a general observation.

    As a guy from the east – I feel like westerners use the word “awakening” too liberally….as if it is some clear cut milestone…a well-defined event from which point onwards you are considered “awakened” and eligible for a BATGAP inteview.

    By the way – I “awakened” 4 years ago, but after reading some more material on non-duality, found that I needed to “awaken some more”. 😉

    Just use the word “shift” guys.

  84. Thanks Jill, you’re a gem.
    Merci is the word that carries the gratitude which at this moment is entering your space..

  85. Thank you Jill. I’m going through something like this, but milder. There is a definite energetic component for me, but more like radiating through my heart. It feels almost like it’s another force carrying me forward, if I relax into it, if I let it. It has a strong sense of “Self” (or feeling of “self nature” in all that manifests at least in my experiential field) as well as “lovingness”, but “love without an object”.

    I cannot say it’s “choiceless awareness” or “non-doership” because I can interfere with it (which was why I asked my question). (I am “non-doing” in the weak sense of the term since I’m letting it do the “doing”. But this is different from the strong claim that the Divine Will is always manifesting, no matter what.) And it does come and go, more or less evident dependent on body-mind conditions, such as health, ability to relax, to fall into it.

  86. Great to hear that the fire is burning within – Ernest – Neelam doesn’t fool around…giggle..I can never understand when people describe awakenings without the energy being aroused…puzzling..

    Just know that you are being carried my friend – the energy is alive in you and will go where it needs to go..you can notice it but you can’t control it at all..

    I used to follow the energy with my consciousness – drove myself nuts for awhile – it’s here – it’s there – it’s in the head – it’s in the heart – 19 years of this – until one day – it dawned on me that this energy – this life force that runs the show – wasn’t separate from me…and all fell into place…

  87. @chuckee –

    I want to ask you a question –

    Let’s say I have been a chain smoker for 30 years. Then after 30 years I find out that smoking is injurious to my health and what I had been doing all this time was wrong. I understand this, I believe it and I am 100% convinced of it. BUT I do not give up smoking – as I am addicted to the darned thing. Will I still be considered CIGARETTE FREE because I have the knowledge that smoking is wrong.

    Similarly – After having been programmed for 30 years to identify with my body-mind, I come to the firm understanding that I am actually not my body or mind. I am pure awareness etc. I believe it and I am 100% convinced of it. But my programming/conditioning of 30 years cannot disappear just from a moment of intellectual understanding and therefore I am the same miserable guy that I was before. I write a book however on my new understanding, I write a blog and appear for an interview with Rick on batgap. I hold satsangs to share my new found understanding with others. But am I really AWAKENED?

  88. Howard, your story is my story, except I stood in my garage and asked the question. It led to (of course) where I am today…I actually did the same thing…went to the library and loaded my arms with books, sat down and glimpsed through them- I read and understood ‘Up from Eden’ by Ken Wilber but could not get anyone else to…related most to Evelyn Underhill’s writings. I did so much counseling and learning and intergrating and ‘work’ chop wood carry water- become enlightened; chop wood carry water The list of reading/bodywork/ mystery schools all added something to my understanding and of course the teachers appeared because the student was ready…my main stay is Caroline Myss- I do consider myself a ‘modern day mystic without a monestary’ I love and relate to all her teachings and ‘do the work’ Great job- I shall buy it for my step-son and it will save me much re-hashing…Thank You- you have a wonderful manner. The Dalai Lama has written that the thing called consciousness belongs to “that catefory of phenomena without form, substance, or color. It is not susceptible to investigation by external means.” This is my understanding as well-it sure doesn’t stop us though- lol~ Namaste.

  89. Glad to hear at least one recent comment about the speaker. For me I hear a very incomplete journey toward wisdom here. Lots of partial dismantling of the ego but no real stopping and abiding in non dual being. Too much personal will power still involved. Funny how I can hear this in the voice before knowing what is being said. I did enjoy some of the points however especially the one about when you are ready to really ask the question about reallity that the answers can not help but present themselves. Reminds me of the 1st Sarojoni interview in this respect. I just think Howard could use a teacher to move forward but I am sure he is “right where he is supposed to be”

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