138. Isaac Shapiro

Isaac ShapiroIsaac Shapiro is an internationally known facilitator, fascinated with life lived in alignment with the world’s wisdom traditions. He enjoys exploring and assisting those who share this interest.

How do we live our lives moment by moment? This enquiry considers how we relate to ourselves and to others, how we parent, do business and interact with our environment.

His approach is to ask questions and make statements. He asks participants in his meetings to question and see if what he says is true in their own being. This approach points to what is already known, but obscured in the ways our nervous system and our thinking function.

Isaac draws on a broad spectrum of understanding, from neurophysiology to some of the latest discoveries in Quantum physics which he applies in a light hearted but direct way.

“All we have is the sensory experience of this moment, NOW. This moment is only an experience to us. That’s all we have. The world, time, space, our own bodies and each other are all an experience to us.”

“Through noticing how our cells respond in the experience of now, there is a noticing of the production of not only the sense of reality but also the sense of self that we believe we have.”

Through years of working with people, Isaac has cultivated and refined an ability to track what is happening in the nervous system of participants. Bringing this awareness to peoples attention, allows our natural, innate self-regulating mechanism to be re-established.

We all have unconscious habits of attention, that are uncomfortable to ourselves, and the ones closest to us, and indeed to all with whom we are associated. All reality is experienced through these unconscious habits, which function as cognitive filters, and make it almost impossible for us to recognize them. Therefore it can be of enormous value, to have someone who is perceptive at this level, to assist us.

The beauty of this invitation is that nothing needs to be changed, fixed, or eliminated. It is a non-dualistic, non-judgmental enquiry into our present being. Everything happens through the agency of awareness.

As we bring awareness to these unconscious habits, there is a shift that occurs. In the course of investigation, people spontaneously recognize the true nature of themselves, which many report as the experience of peace, unconditional love, compassion, or simply of being home.

Isaac’s books:

Isaac’s website

Interview recorded 9/16/2012

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

68 thoughts on “138. Isaac Shapiro

  1. Beautiful, clear, easygoing interview! Have been rereading “From Onions to Pearls” by Satyam Nadeen and he mentions a practically nonstop inner satsang that keeps revealing the Truth. In the midst of all types of activities there is that deep silent awareness that playfully reveals that I am not the doer. While driving under a heavy downpour, it reveals that I am not the one doing the action. When my nails grow when they feel like it and become short when they again feel like it. When my weight fluctuates through no clear activity of my own, etc. We all realize that the heart beats, the lungs breathe, blood circulates without our doing anything about it. If there were to be areas where we are the doer and others where we are not then wouldn’t we need some sort of operating manual to know where our responsibilities start and where they end?

    As for the idea that someone could go on crime sprees or any other outrageous behavior or simply sit back and refuse to do anything all day long, this is simply impossible when one realizes that we have never been the doers to begin with, only we are simply realizing that fact now so in a way no big change is going to occur in one’s life unless it was meant to be in the first place. After an initial panic at the thought that I was not the doer, I am now relaxing in the freedom of knowing this and having a ball with that constant inner satsang. Of course that joy might evaporate and give way to confusion once again but it seems to linger more and more and feels quite comfortable now.

    None of us are doers and yet each of us affects others in mysterious ways. We learn lessons from each other and bring peace to each other without knowing how. There is great peace in seeing that it is all impersonal and no one is in fact hurting anyone else. This makes love possible for all. I am so constantly grateful for all of that!

  2. Yes indeed – a big smile on my face at the end of that one!
    May I also ask where the snip of music that introduces the interviews is from?

  3. Re the music. A friend of mine composed it. It’s an Indianized version of Reveille, which is used in the US military to wake people up.

  4. Well, I haven’t listened to the entire interview…..but I have come to a place…. a place. If there is no free will, then I am out of here; out of listening to these interviews. But then, one could say I’m not deciding that. I have recently realized that all this advaita “talk” is making me more crazy. So, perhaps, my “no free will” is telling me to scat, and telling me to post this. Whatever. Blessings to all. I’m taking a vacay from all of this.

  5. Looks a relaxed conversation alright — perhaps a bit too relaxed ?!!!

    Nothing worthwhile really picked up until after about 40 odd minutes. Rick was trying his best to infuse interest into the dialog (which was ohterwise rather drawling and of not much interest for a serious student of Non-duality) through his quotes, anecdotes and stories. Isaac was talking as if he suddenly woke up – disoriented and lost. I sure for one do not listen to these talks just to pass time.
    I cannot put it any harder.
    Thanks Rick for trying to enliven the things. But I gave up at about 50th minute.

  6. Brenda, with regard to non doership, I went through a period of feeling panicky and wondering what is the use but then it all settled and I began to see the beauty of it all. You get to let go and relax and go with the flow and things keep happening as they have always done and always will.

    I regularly still get those sensations of going out of my mind but I have noticed that they come up just before I am about to get deeper into truth and so I no longer fear them. In fact you could say that I even look forward to them.

    Do whatever you feel like doing.

  7. Well, here again we have a different strokes for different folks interview. I, for one, love Issac Shipiro. I especially appreciate his exploration of the nervous system and the physical experience of it in our bodies. His view that we’ve been impacted by it since conception is very intriquing. I also agree strongly when he says that the negative reactive experiences/feelings that we have as humans aren’t personal but shared by most…i.e., shame, fear, victimhood etc. These habits of mind have been learned and accepted by the masses and it’s time that we question them. He suggests that when we feel this underlying, subtle anxiety we question it’s necessity….a very valuable practice which leads to sanity!

  8. I’ve found the most resonance with facilitators like Isaac … (although I haven’t sat with him); sharers’ that can feel ‘the others’ energy as their own and somehow the awareness gets magnified which allows for more acceptance and movement.

    I agree with Pam that these patterns can range from extremely agitated to quite subtle. I’ve been surprised to find times when I thought I was relaxed, but there was a actually a subtle hum of discontent.
    I’m curious if the issue of teachers who can be with you energetically has been discussed here before.
    I know there are folks who are very empathic and can feel others energy that are not awake, just as there are probably teachers who could be with you in a more energetic fashion, but choose not to.
    And I suppose this feeling aspect is often a by-product of awakening.

    Jill referred to final teachers…although they haven’t been final for me yet. I just want to share that this energetic component is something to consider, if anyone seems to keep getting dragged back by a difficult nervous system. (It can work over the phone as well.) I suppose it helps to have done some meditation …(anyone here who hasn’t?) 😉 and to not be overly defended. I don’t believe I could have done this kind of work a lot earlier in my life.
    i would never assume what someone else might want or need, and yes of course it’s ALL the one anyway, but it’s an aspect of a teacher one might consider if they decide to engage.

    I liked Isaac’s line -“the perspective of the nervous system and the perspective of awareness, are completely different perspectives.” Seems more visceral than conceptualizing the contraction as ego.

  9. And just to clarify, I realize there’s always an energetic component. I’m sure Adya, for instance, feels the person, but it tends to be a more verbal interaction.
    And more traditionally there is shaktipot…but that has more of a flavor of transmission.
    Just two people sitting together and exploring, mostly non-verbally, whats arising. Amazing what that can do.
    Although many folks are plenty good doing that on their own.

  10. Love listening to Isaac as he is so down to earth and humble. His presence resonates strongly through this interview. Good questions too, Thanks 🙂

  11. ”the perspective of the nervous system and the perspective of awareness, are completely different perspectives.” – Mr. Shapiro

    Too bad we can’t ask interviewees for clarification of what they shared with Rick. Absent ’em, you’re only left to surmise.

    I would’ve liked to have known what he meant when he said “the perspective of awareness”. My experience, thus far, is a(A)wareness is perspective-free.

    All perspectives are aspects of differentiation. And a(A)wareness is undifferentiated.

    Curious what he meant when he said what he said.

  12. Probably just a question of semantics Peter. I think you state it more accurately, awareness is free of perspective.
    But in the flow of the conversation it made sense to say they see the world differently.
    Pretty sure Isaac would agree with you.

  13. My question was posed, spaceman, precisely because the phrase “the perspective of awareness” didn’t make sense to me.

    As doesn’t a(A)wareness seeing the world differently.

    But I’m cool with my befuddlements.

    Clarifications are just icing on that cake.

  14. Regarding Issac’s idea of seeing the world through the lens of Awareness or through the patterning of the nervous system – This is the difference between ‘ The View’, and a ‘point’ of view…

    If we know ourselves as THAT – Existence ItSelf – the way we are receiving and disseminating information has a different flavor to it…Existence contains the qualities of wisdom, love, compassion, selflessness inspiration, joy – all the qualities of the creative intelligence that we are…These qualities are lived, not just conceptualized…We are ‘grounded’ in that Awareness.

    Seeing through the lens of the ego, prior to the shift in identity – the world is seen from the perspective of mortal mind which is a house divided unto itself..where suffering reigns..All is seen through the lens of separation and suffering..fear and desire…under the spell of illusion..

    In the intermediary state, between complete identification with ego and complete dis-identification with it – or between awakening and enlightenment – where we are the Witnessing Awareness to all that exists -there is still a dual perspective – but Awareness is predominant..so there is ‘apparent’ objectivity..and therefore less suffering – some semblance of peace in the valley..Our perspective has been expanded – like a camera’s wide angle lens – but we are still aware of separation between I and thou..just more consciously…this is the both/and perspective…
    The motto of the TM movement in the early days – was that “Knowledge is Different in Different States of Consciousness”, so that what we can know, changes, as we go deeper into Reality…I’m not happy with the term ‘states’ as it implies fixed boundaries, but as Adya says – ‘qualities’ of being reveal themselves as consciousness reveals itself to itself..

    So as Issac inferred, the very same situation can be seen in various ways and reacted to in different ways, depending on our perspective…or state of beingness ….Complete rest of the nervous system in the Silence of the heart, results in maximum Awareness and freedom..

  15. “Knowledge is Different in Different States of Consciousness”

    TM’s early day motto makes perfect sense to me.

    Perspectives are aspects of c(C)onsciousness. Consciousness contracts and expands. Perspectives vary according to the contracted or expanded state of c(C)onscousness.

    Awareness, on the other hand, is devoid of any characteristic or attribute (including perspectives and knowledge).

    A discussion of a comparison between two perspectives, therefor, may be more a discussion of c(C)onsciousness than (A)wareness.

  16. Isaac comes across as very sympathetic and engaging. His presence speaks even more clearly to me than his words.
    All of the things he has said in the parts of the interview which I have so far listened to sound very familiar and resonant. He speaks the Truth, and I would guess that all or most here recognise it from our own experience.

    The interesting thing for me is always the person themselves. After all, how many ways are there to say the same thing? The basic message, or “pointing to” is really the same, no matter who is articulating it. It appears to me that since Oneness really cannot be described or delineated it is most clearly conveyed by presence or “vibration.”

    Isaac says it in his own way, Neelam says it in her way, so do Pamela, Gangaji, Papaji, Maharishi and Ramana. But what is fascinating and wonderful to me is the variety of expression, of sheer presence.

    Also, It appears wonderful and re-assuring to see the humanity express itself. I am coming to believe that no matter how evolved or self -realized someone may be, they are still human, subject to the realities of living on this earth in a human body and with a human mind. Even the wisest have said that there are remnants of the personal human state always present, and that while we are guests here we always have our personalities, pecadillos, likes, dislikes and biases operative, even though they may fade more into the background.

    So, – Having heard the message spoken so many times in so many ways – further repetitions seem redundant. It is really very simple, and there are only a given number of ways to say the same thing. But those who speak it – they are beautiful and fascinating in their various and colorful expressions. Human beings in themselves are wonderfully exotic and magical – how did we get invented, how did we arise out of the stillness?

    What a wonderful mystery.

  17. Well said Peter..sometimes the two words are used interchangeably..but I’m assuming that Issac who has sat in this a long long time, is referring to Awareness as Existence Itself…the ‘View’ …and not just a point of view..or a perspective arising in consciousness..

  18. Beautifully expressed Laurence!! Bravo, High Fives!
    Issac has embodied the truth and his presence is all we need to ignite it in us. In my mind he’s a master and someone I feel deeply! When we experience these lovely humans and soak up their generousity of spriit it helps us to expand our own vast potential for truth. There are many of them out there now and Rick is a great facilitator himself!! I loved his resonance with Issac. They were cookin’!!!

  19. Gorgeous, Larry…yes the humanity is what comes through in the interview..the Love..the Presence…without that – there are nothing but words..and as Issac says, language often divides..but if we have tasted Truth, we can hear it spoken though the Silence between the words..

  20. “…but if we have tasted Truth….”

    Very often, though, what we are inclined to label as the “Truth” is really, in essence, a different point of view from an expanded c(C)onsciousness.

    If truth (capitalized or not) is essentially a perspective…. and if perspectives change according to the contraction and expansion of c(C)onsciousness… then truth is relative to the contacted/expanded state of c(C)onsciousness.

    Truths with a small “t” generally get associated with contracted states of c(C)onsciousness, and those with a capital “T” get aligned with more expanded states.

    The cool thing about this theater of c(C)onsciousness is… all expanded states of c(C)onsciousness are contracted precursors to further expanded states.

    Or all Truths are truths to more expanded Truths.

    Too cool, eh?

  21. @ Mike… my main takeaway was that talking about energy and actively exploring energies in a mutual, conscious way is quite a different experience. Some, like Isaac, actively engage that aspect with the participant, although no doubt that that’s happening at various levels with other teachers.
    I’ve sat with some where the energy was quite neutral…I’m pretty sensitive to energies…
    but as you say maybe there wasn’t a resonance, or they weren’t genuine teachers, or I was blocked in some way. They tended to be more of the “sword wielding” types.
    Suppose it’s just a personal preference.

  22. “…is that a light a the end of the tunnel?”

    Since you ask this in Mr. Shapiro’s thread, I believe that he is quite clear about what the destination is for his train’s efforts:


    “The invitation is to become aware of automatic unconscious mechanisms. Through becoming aware, habits that have caused trouble for generations come to peace.”

    “As we bring awareness to these unconscious habits, there is a shift that occurs. In the course of investigation, people spontaneously recognize the true nature of themselves, which many report as the experience of peace, unconditional love, compassion, or simply of being home.”

    I suspect that this is also the destination for his facilitation of the various meetings and silent retreats that he schedules.

    P.S. I might add that some forms of meditation are very successful at arriving at this particular destination as well.

  23. Peter, –
    I would only add that while we are self-inquiring, the added element of Grace cannot be excluded – which some say is the all important element..

    A final teacher works in two ways – through the transmission of Silence which is Grace which is Love which is Clarity which is Compassion etc etc, but also through the inquiry process…It’s not purely a mechanistic deliverance..

    Many teachers can act as facilitators of awareness and many beautiful methods can be taught – yet the student’s metamorphosis remains illusive…

    I would argue that the critical difference here is the Grace – the Presence – the Love – that comes through Divine Mind..when mortal mind or ego has vacated the premises..This is the true facilitator..

  24. I keep missing more differentiation… and finding that there are Spiritualities, not “THE final solution/realization, period.”…. ; )
    “The distinction between the Transcendental, the Cosmic, the Individual Divine is not my invention, nor is it native to India or to Asia — it is on the contrary a recognised European teaching current in the esoteric tradition of the Catholic Church where it is the authorised explanation of the Trinity, — Father, Son and
    Holy Ghost, — and it is very well-known to European mystic experience. In essence it exists in all spiritual disciplines that recognise the omnipresence of the Divine — in Indian Vedantic experience and in Mahomedan Yoga (not only the Sufi, but other
    schools also) — the Mahomedans even speak of not two or three but many levels of the Divine until one reaches the Supreme. As for the idea in itself, surely there is a difference between the
    individual, the cosmos in space and time, and something that exceeds this cosmic formula or any cosmic formula. There is a cosmic consciousness experienced by many which is quite different in its scope and action from the individual consciousness,
    and if there is a consciousness beyond the cosmic, infinite and essentially eternal, not merely extended in Time, that also must be different from these two. And if the Divine is or manifests Himself in these three, is it not conceivable that in aspect, in His working, He may differentiate Himself so much that we are driven, if we are not to confound all truth of experience, if we are
    not to limit ourselves to a mere static experience of something indefinable, to speak of a triple aspect of the Divine?
    In the practice of Yoga there is a great dynamic difference in one’s way of dealing with these three possible realisations.
    If I realise only the Divine as that, not my personal self, which yet moves secretly all my personal being and which I can bring forward out of the veil, or if I build up the image of that Godhead in my members, it is a realisation but a limited one. If it is the Cosmic Godhead that I realise, losing in it all personal self, that
    is a very wide realisation, but I become a mere channel of the universal Power and there is no personal or divinely individual consummation for me. If I shoot up to the transcendental realisation only, I lose both myself and the world in the transcendental Absolute. If on the other hand my aim is none of these things by itself, but to realise and also to manifest the Divine in the world,
    bringing down for the purpose a yet unmanifested Power, — such as the Supermind, — a harmonisation of all three becomes imperative. I have to bring it down, and from where shall I bring it down — since it is not yet manifested in the cosmic formula — if not from the unmanifest Transcendence, which I must reach
    and realise? I have to bring it into the cosmic formula and, if so, I must realise the cosmic Divine and become conscious of the cosmic self and the cosmic forces. But I have to embody it here, — otherwise it is left as an influence only and not a thing fixed in the physical world — and it is through the Divine in the individual alone that this can be done.”
    – Sri Aurobindo, “Letters on Yoga”

  25. “A final teacher works in two ways – through the transmission of Silence which is Grace which is Love which is Clarity which is Compassion etc etc, but also through the inquiry process.”

    Do you then feel resonance or dissonance with Mr.Shapiro’s observation below, Jill?


    “When you’re around someone whose mind is quiet, he can point you very quickly to This. You experience Yourself and this is the greatest luck.”

  26. for example:
    There is always the personal and the impersonal side of the Divine and the Truth and it is a mistake to think the impersonal alone true or important — for that leads to a void incompleteness in part of the being while only one side is given satisfaction.
    Impersonality belongs to the intellectual mind and the static self, personality to the soul and heart and dynamic being. Those who disregard the personal Divine ignore something which is profound and essential.
    Sri Aurobindo

  27. Here we go again – Yes Uli – no one here is arguing against embodiment..the natural unfoldment which takes place as Love comes down from the mountain and lives the Life..in whichever way the Divine Will deems appropriate..
    It would be so beautiful if you could join the satsang in your own words sometime when you feel comfortable in doing so – so we might get to know you better..Many of us have already read Sri Aurobindo..

  28. “Impersonality belongs to the intellectual mind and the static self, personality to the soul and heart and dynamic being.”

    My experience in meditation, presently, does not resonate with this.

    Thought-forms are thought-forms. They, like all forms, appear and dis-appear.

    Personalization is simply the claiming of certain thought-forms to be ours or us. The non-personalization of thought-forms is the absence of that claiming or adoption response.

    When though-forms appear and dis-appear with ease.. absent any claiming or adoption response… that is not a product of the intellectual mind.

    Rather, it is the fruit of a(A)wareness.

    It’s the personalization of thought-forms that often belongs to the intellectual mind. Not their depersonalization.

  29. Peter –
    What Issac means by ‘quiet mind’ -what a satsang teacher means by that statement – is being around someone who has what Papaji called – Silent Mind…..

    This Silence is what occurs in realization when the mind is stopped in its tracts – stopped from it’s endless spinning – where it dissolves into the heart of the Self..It is literally Silent even though speaking and writing and acting happen..Out of this Silent Mind Universal Love is born..

    Thoughts, if they arise at all float on the surface of the mind and are not called upon for action to take place..The thinking mind is no longer necessary…It is replaced by spontaneous action.which emerges directly from one’s being..

    That is the mind of a satsang teacher…It is this Silence that gets transmitted alchemically and which transforms all it touches in it’s focus…I found it to be quite different than the mere stillness born of practice..
    Ya know – one picture is worth a thousand words – My suggestion is that you visit a final teacher at some point – just to experiment – and see if you experience anything different than what you are now experiencing…Maybe you won’t..but please don’t believe me – see for yourself..

  30. “What Issac means by ‘quiet mind’ -what a satsang teacher means by that statement – is being around someone who has what Papaji called – Silent Mind….”

    I’ll count that as a resonance of yours, then, with that particular observation of Mr. Shapiro.

    Thank you.

  31. “Ya know – one picture is worth a thousand words – My suggestion is that you visit a final teacher at some point – just to experiment – and see if you experience anything different than what you are now experiencing…Maybe you won’t..but please don’t believe me – see for yourself..”

    I once placed my attention in that direction, Jill. Teachers who either called themselves teacher or preferred not to but acted like one. It was an interesting ride, at the time.

    I now place my attention on any and every person with whom I cross paths. With the intention of seeing her reflection in me and mine in her.

    That singular intention often opens the door to the taste of the absence of separation between us.

    And I haven’t found a more delectable taste that That.

    But I thank you for your invitation nonetheless. It is typically thoughtful of you.

  32. And I’m happy to reflect that love back to you, Jill.

    Which must abide in you for you to recognize its reflection in me.

  33. “Because a real teacher is a clean mirror.”

    Can’t think of a more portent and accurate description than that, Mike. Kudos to you for bringing it to our attention.

  34. Here’s Peter Russell who came in the science door studying theoretical physics and mathematics but was drawn to spirituality. Definitely not an “it’s all the brain” person.
    He seems like someone Rick would enjoy interviewing, as he was also a TM teacher. He has a couple of videos on you tube from burning man. Hope to make it there one day.
    Sounds like you had a good time Chuckee, we were staring to get worried you weren’t coming back. 😉


  35. thanks for sharing that…burning man would be a challenge for sure… yet so encouraging to see adult humanoids playing in such creative ways…

  36. @spaceman “If consciousness is only a function of the brain, I’m outta here”.

    I’ve thought about this. We are still part of a greater Mystery that is both vast and beautiful. Nothing to hang on to. Not even consciousness. Also, good case for devotion.

  37. @ Ernest

    Buddhism tends to use the term “consciousness” to refer to an aspect of dualist mental/cognitive functioning.

    So far as I’ve been able to tell, Buddhist equivalents to what Advaita Vedanta calls “Consciousness” include:

    (1) Rang Rigpa (a Tibetan term whose Sanskrit equivalent is Vidya)
    (2) Nature of Mind
    (3) Pure Awareness


  38. @Ernest “also, good case for devotion.”
    My heart just expanded even more … it’s a really good day here…though I’m on the run…I’ll check out dependent origination c. later… nothing to hang on to… so true…thanks!

  39. True that, Ernest.

    Buddhism, like Christianity, contains many different traditions and schools/

    Their definitions for consciousness are as varied as the Christians definitions for salvation.

  40. Ernest — yes indeed. Though perhaps its most general formulation (shared by all the schools/lineages that I know of) is that consciousness is one of the Five Skandhas — the phenomenal “threads,” if you will, that make up a human being’s experience of self and world. And yes, as you mentioned, all of the Skandhas (consciousness as well as the other four: form, feeling, perception, mental formations) are dependently-arisen, i.e. come about as the result of various relative-world causes and conditions.

    But my larger point was that this use of the world “consciousness” within Buddhism shouldn’t be confused with how Advaita Vedanta uses the same word — because they’re distinctly different uses. That’s all.

    But just because Buddhism doesn’t use the word “consciousness” to point to that (no)thing which Advaita Vedanta uses it to refer to — doesn’t mean that there isn’t an equivalent recognition. In many Mahayana (not no sure about Theravadin) lineages, what Advaita Vedanta calls “Consciousness” or “Awareness” is pointed to using the terms I listed in my previous post (Rang Rigpa, Nature of Mind, Pure Awareness).

    So was just trying to add a little clarity, at the level of terminology …..

  41. “But just because Buddhism doesn’t use the word “consciousness” to point to that (no)thing which Advaita Vedanta uses it to refer to….”

    Not being a full-time student (I only audited the class) of Advaita Vedanta (AV), this is where some elucidation by a full-time student of AV would be helpful to me.

    It was my impression, until now, that consciousness in Advaita Vedanta does not refer to “(no)thing” . Instead, it refers to nonduality (AKA oneness) appearing as duality (AKA separation).

    My re-reading of this terse article (below) recalls the impression, that I earlier received, of consciousness’ meaning in Advaita Vedanta:


    Am I re-reading it inaccurately?

  42. lol 🙂

    language is impossible, isn’t it? Yet here we are, in that playground ….

    & since I seem now to have been assigned the role of the “dense & obviously-unawakened intellectual,” perhaps I’ll just continue in that vein, by saying:

    “no-thing” was simply shorthand for a timeless, boundlessly spacious, nondual wakefulness (Buddhist lingo there) — or, if you prefer, Sat-Chit-Ananda

    i.e. for the truth of who we are, most deeply, which can never be “found” as an object, yet clearly is not “nothing” [hence the no-thing thing, which obviously didn’t come across in the way I had intended] — which transcends both existence & non-existence

    and now, off to my next audited class, don’t want to be late …..

  43. Thanks, Mila, for your additional commentary. The soup will, no doubt, be tastier for it.

    One of the habits that I developed when I was a young lad… thanks to my high school English teacher’s frequent admonishments.. is to not assume that the same word means that same thing to the person you are communicating with.

    Which kinda explains my frequent requests for clarifications. 🙂

    Thanks again.

  44. .@Mila. Thanks for the clarification of a very complex topic, even just dealing with the terminology.

    The guy I spoke to said that he used to believe in Awareness/consciousness, I guess big “A”wareness as some kind of “underlying” fundmental reality whereby all conditions appear, equivalent to big “C”onsciousness. But no. This is just the mind *positing* that there is something “underlying”, “behind”, “persisting”, or “foundational”. There is nothing like this in actual moment to moment awareness. Consciousness (big or small “c”) is dependent on conditions (including the brain). It is not separate from them. It is all One. And it’s “just This”, and “just This now”. It puts an end to all “spiritual adventures” for something to independent to survive apart from this One Reality which includes all phenomenal existence. There is no big Atman underlying it all, or an Atman identical to Brahman. There is no Atman or Brahman distinction.

    Buddhists also make the same mistake with their own terminology, “Emptiness”, “No-thing”, as if there were some kind of “substrate” underlying all phenomena from which all things “arise”. This contradicts the foundation of their teaching, “anicca”, “anatta” which says there is no self independent substance in anything and that “emptiness” is just simply emptiness in the sense that it has no independent existence, not some mysterious metaphysical substrate.

    Check out the following in your own experience. The case is deep dreamless sleep, when you are “unaware”, or to use Rick Archer’s phrase “out like a light”. After you are awake, recognized that you were “unaware”, is it because (1) there was something that was subtly aware *during* deep dreamless sleep, or (2) in the awake state you either *posit* or *remembered* the “unawareness” during deep dreamless sleep, but this is only an “image” in moment to moment awareness? If you take a substantive view, that something is “underlying” it all, you will choose #1 (typical Advaita argument). If reality is only reality in the present, and all you know is moment to moment awareness now, then you will choose #2.

    Why does this all matter? Because there does not need to be a war against neuroscience, the brain, the brain and awareness just as it is.

    (I will defer the subjects of Near Death Experiences, Prana/Chi/Spirit, etc. Current science with a simple materialistic view may not be the last word on this subject.)

  45. I don’t know much about Advaita – never studied it to any great degree – and if I did, I probably forgot its tenets – but experientially speaking – when we reside in the lotus of the heart – in the city of Brahman – we are said to be resting ‘prior to consciousness’..as undifferentiated pure awareness..Mila said it well- ‘beyond existence and non-existence’..
    Dwelling there, we are untouched by any deed, ageless, deathless, free from grief, free from hunger and thirst…
    and when we say that Brahman alone is real, we do not mean that everything else is an illusion, but rather that Brahman alone is fundamental and omnipresent..

  46. I have to confess, Buddhist insight (prajna), analysis, and application of “right action”, etc. can leave me a little dry. (This is not to say they are wrong.) But I wonder where is the richness of Shakti and Love (beyond just insight, involving the whole being). Also, my heart, experience, and sympathies lie with the Mahayanna tradition, which looks beyond individual englightenment to compassion for all.

  47. Jill,

    I’ve noticed in my experience, to use more Hindu terminology, that I seem to “get” the “Atman” part, but not “Brahman” (at least in the same obvious natural way). The Self-Heart-Shakti would manifest on and off for me. It seems to be correlated to conditions such as how relaxed I am, where my attention is located, such as whether it’s the feeling of self/Self, of Love, relaxing into the gestalt of Being/Manifestation. It is very freeing, energizing, has a life of it’s own when it’s manifesting.

    But simple logic would say “this is not It”. First, it comes and goes. Second, it doesn’t resolve the duality of Atman and Brahman. It’s the feeling of Self radiating out to the world, but not exactly as being One/Identical with the world even though I don’t *feel* to be a “problem”. (It’s only “One” with the world only in the narrower sense of the feeling like it’s all the same “self-nature”.)

    More recently, I’ve been trying to learn to relax into the world *exactly as it it is* in the “outer world”. (Maybe this is partly due to the inquiry process taught by Neelam.) Intellectual integrity demands that I be exact and honest with whatever comes up, exactly as it is, not try to make it into something else.

    I have heard that the “final” realization is actually very “ordinary”, like letting all the air out of the tire, that everything equalizes and there’s a tacit understanding that there no difference between one’s ordinary consciousness and the ALL of Being, Spirit, Life, the World. Things are still ordinary. The chair is still the chair. And the grey building outside is what it is. (No bright flashing lights. The end of all “spiritual adventures”.)

    Any advice on the “Brahman part”?

  48. Ernest,
    Love and only Love can resolve the apparent paradox…not something we can resolve through mind..only through Grace..and my definition of Grace is Divine Love’s influence on the heart..

    For fun, here’s a Vedantic explanation of Atman and Brahman..
    “The basic Reality, considered as the innermost Self of any particular creature or object, is called the Atman..When the Reality is spoken of in it’s universal aspect, it is called Brahman..Christian terminology employs two phrases to describe the same thing – God immanent and God transcendent..Again and again in Hindu and Christian literature, we find this great paradox restated – that God is both within and without, instantly present and infinitely elsewhere, the dweller in the atom and the abode of all things…But this is the same Reality, the same Godhead seen in its two relations to the cosmos..These relations are described by two different words simply in order to help us think about them…but they imply no kind of duality, Atman and Brahman are one..Just as heat cannot exist apart from the fire that causes it, Prakriti or the elemental stuff of mind and matter cannot exist apart from Brahman..The two are eternally inseparable..The latter puts forth and causes the former..”

    So only the mind makes the distinction between this and that.. and you heard correctly, in final realization, everything equalizes…no bells and whistles when all dualities are reconciled…no separation anywhere…just like putting a heavy backpack down..and Love remains..A chair is still a chair but fundamentally all is one..end of search..

    Nothing one can do for reconciliation to take place.. deliverance happens when it happens..My best advice is to stay with your experience – be in the Presence of a teacher’s Grace – not try to grok anything with the mind – and let nature’s Silence take it’s course…
    I love your self-honesty and natural curiosity…that’s beautiful…so we just allow everything to unfold as it does..knowing it’s all out of our hands..

  49. I wish to thank the person who recommended the book “Awake in the Heartland – The Ecstasy of What Is” by Joan Tollifson. Beautiful book! One chapter is entitled “who is pulling the strings” and all is explained very clearly.
    Happy Sunday to all! 🙂

  50. Yes it’s one of my favorites Touvino – often recommend it – a pivotal book in my opinion in terms of reconciling daily life with spiritual….as Joan seamlessly closes the gap between the two by sharing her experience of both..and showing how even in the biting of the nails or the fight with the mother – something essential is not lost….

  51. I enjoy the idea of loving it to death!

    I wonder if I will ever not react to the suffering of children or anyone for that matter and cruelty to animals. No matter who the doer is, it still deeply affects me. I also wonder if one day my buttons will cease being so easily pushed by my dear mother-in-law! :). Although I must admit that there is improvement, slow improvement.

  52. Tuovino – On one of Mooji’s videos he is asked if there are any people he runs into who he does not get along with so well. He replied “Well, there are always one or two..” followed by one of his big laughs.

    Re suffering of the helpless -I can’t bear it either.

  53. Jill, lol! You just confirmed what I intuited all along! :). Maybe mothers-in-laws were meant to be the ultimate test. I shouldn’t talk, I am one myself and trying my best not to push buttons as well!

    Laurence, I love Mooji, there is such peace around him so if he can still experience such things I guess I will have to put up with it as well.

  54. Good for you Snow! My mother was the best mother-in-law as well, my husband will attest to that.

  55. Chuckee,
    Just happened to see this – haven’t been on the comp too much lately…nice Fall weather and all..

    It sounds as though something major has fallen away – not that you weren’t always shining, but when we get this honest, we know something is up..

    Someone once said – all anxiety and suffering is due to the discrepancy between who we really are and the self image we project…So now that that has been seen through, it’s pretty much clear sailing..

    If you are in fact an Enneagram 5 and the mind is the go-to position, I’d definitely recommend choosing a teacher who simplifies everything and lives in the heart…Not that types like Francis or Rupert don’t live there, but a woman’s approach that just focuses on the heart – might be what is needed now..

    We tend to choose from the menu of teachers toward what we feel comfortable with but that doesn’t always help…I knew I needed a heart to heart connection after years of Zen with Watts and then 25 years of TM and the whole knowledge business…not that it all wasn’t beneficial but something was missing..like the juice..

    You have all the info Chuckee – and great understanding – so for what it’s worth, I think having the steady transmission of Silence and Love that is offered with someone like Neelam could be your ticket to ride..and a balm for your nervous system to finally settle..

    For one thing, she doesn’t care a thing about what went on before with anyone- how we awakened this way or that way – or what we know coming in- she only deals with the present moment and what the issues are.. exactly what is covering the full disclosure of the Love we inherently are -and that she assesses quite quickly…

    In her 6th month course which is kept small and quite personal, you meet once a week with her and a small group over the phone and it includes two silent weekends with her as well-

    Being in the group is also beneficial as you are continually with like-minded serious seekers…No one goes to Neelam if they don’t want to get this done….We used to call her the last stop on the train in the NY satsang..simply no BS- …It’s all about digging deep and wide with her – no escape into the mind….

    As I remember, you met her in FF and hung out a bit when she came there in 05..so she’d remember you..On Oct 15 she’s having a free informational meeting that you can call into – to answer questions about the 6 month course coming up in Nov..check it out on her website..neelam.org..

    ‘Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have’ Chuckee- but sometimes we have to really really be ready to own it..

    Love to you always..

  56. Jill,

    Driving on the freeway I finally got the Brahman part. I was meditating on the disconnect between “Advaita speak” and the pedestrian world of “everyday reality” (like going to the grocery store). Yes I realize the latter is “a story”, etc. etc. (Having some heated discussion with some LU people.) But the disconnect bothered me. It seemed the former focussed on the global sense of Self, Being, This…. The other focussed on the particulars so as the daily items ranging from errands, the concrete in the freeway, the sky, the sun, etc.

    Suddenly, the particular/total dichotomy released when I realized this was a division in the mind and not real. The “particular” and “total” were the same, the same Divine Reality. The ordinary world is the same Divine Reality. Strangely enough, I also loss all sense of self or Self, like the force of relaxation released into a unity, or more precisely, lack of differentiation with the environment. Hard to say what this is except felt seamless. There are “parts” but it is seamless. There are individuals, yet it’s the same Divine Reality manifesting *as individuality*.

    I thank you for being a beacon along the way. No doubt this is an introduction into another mode of being. I still intend to take Neelam’s 6 month course. The longer I stay in this stuff, the less I want to talk about it. Nothing coming from words is exactly right. Also, too much spiritual politics. I’d rather live my life in peace while quietly enjoying my treasure and be of some functional service for the people around me.

  57. Beautiful, Ernest – another soul coming Home…does my heart good..This is Reality…a deep bow to Neelam and Pamela and your own willingness to know Truth..
    Whatever arises from here is met with equanimity and love..very glad you are still taking Neelam’s course…there’s always a deeper well to fall into..

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