Non-Dualist Fundamentalism

 

Fundamentalists in Our Midst

You could be forgiven for expecting that in the world of Non-Dualism, Monism, Transcendentalism, Advaitism, Buddhism, and Jed McKenna supporters, you might encounter an absence of fundamentalism. Identified with the grandest of Truths, you might expect Non-Dualists to demonstrate a dramatically more graceful and nuanced relationship, not only to Truth and its expressions, but to their fellow man. Although you can be forgiven for such a presumption, you would be quite wrong.

Perhaps even more surprising, is that the temperament of these high-dharma fundamentalists is nearly identical to the more violent players in the broader culture, although admittedly without the bombs and bullets. Operating a blog has given me an opportunity to witness firsthand, many ‘comment’ submissions (that I usually ditch) that bear all the hallmarks of fundamentalism, yet are not tied to the doctrines of conventional religious beliefs. Instead, they presume to be tied to the high dharmas of non-dualism.

A Quick Definition of Non-Dualism for the Uninitiated

The essential realization, intuition or perspective of Non-Dualism is that the nature and substance of everything, both within and prior to Creation, is made from one thing and one being, however divergent and complex its manifestations become, or how convincing the illusion of separateness may appear. This differs from traditional Theistic systems of the West, for instance, that insist that there exists an ultimate separation between God and his creatures that can only be lessened, and that by a proper relationship to that God.

Furthermore, many  Non-Dualists contend that anything one does in attempting to return to an ‘experience’ of that unity is founded on separative consciousness and is doomed to failure for that reason. How does one then manage to ‘achieve that sublime Reunion? Grace or luck or divine bestowal, or gift from a guru, they would contend. Anyway, that is not the point of this essay so I will leave off of that discussion. For a more comprehensive discussion, you may wish to sample this entry on Wikipedia.org -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nondualism#Nondualism_versus_monism

My Intention

What I intend to do in this essay is to define, describe and analyze the malady of fundamentalism as it appears in Non-Dual Spiritual circles, and offer a few modest suggestions on how to handle it when it appears in your life.

And, as I said above, having to administer a Web Blog that manages to attract not a few fundamentalists, I have something I want to say to these good folk.

So rather than assume the unrewarding task of challenging them one at a time as they roll in, or else supporting their comments by publishing them, I’ve decided to organize my thoughts and observations into one simple piece and refer any suitable candidates to it whenever necessary. And if I can be of service to others needing to deal with this phenomenon, that would also be nice.

Also, I have been moved to articulate these ideas after spending several decades with a lovely group of good hearted people, most of whom were, like me, Fundamentalists, Idealists and Cultists. Although aware as they were of their vulnerability to this problem, and try as they may have to exceed its limitations, few could actually perceive the depth of the dynamic in their own selves, and actually had very few effective tools at their disposal to help them in this regard. For the rare few of these who are interested, the insights offered in this essay may prove somewhat useful.

What Exactly Is Fundamentalism

Merriam Webster defines fundamentalism “as a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles”. Samples include not only religious fundamentalism and political fundamentalism; you can also add economic fundamentalism such as capitalism and ‘communism’. You may also add scientism while you are at it.

That is fine in itself, but although it describes Fundamentalism, it doesn’t explain anything about the phenomenon, and it doesn’t speak to the (internal or external) dynamics that may distinguish it from garden variety belief systems. And it says nothing about the psychological dimensions that motivate its adherents.

My study of the subject, both in myself in others, leads me to conclude that Fundamentalism can be understood as one component of a dysfunctional, unholy, and probably indivisible trinity, along with Cultism, and Narcissistic Idealism, that are all symptoms of a spiritual disease that we might call “Spiritual Sclerosis,” (the hardening of the spirit).

Fundamentalism is the intellectual, Cultism is the social, and Idealism is the personal and internal aspect of this magnificent malady. (I don’t know if there is a physical dimension to this disease, although it would not surprise me, -> clenched teeth, powerful anuses, staring bug eyes?).

A Fundamentalist is a spiritual ideologue who holds rigidly onto a particular ‘truth’ in a bid for deliverance from that which haunts him, which is a fear of loss of self. Idealism upholds to a positive self-image and self-sense, for fear of being overwhelmed by his own psychological ‘shadow’, and Cultism, properly understood, pathologically binds its member exclusively to a group of like-minded people for affirmation and reassurance, regardless of any violence or depersonalization, and the inevitable isolation that the group routinely imposes on its members.

  • The Fundamentalist condition at its deepest level is based upon resort to an insecure disposition, and dependent upon an ideology to provide the user with a sense of certainty, free of unsettling ambiguities and unfathomable mysteries.

In my view, dedicated fundamentalists are people who usually fail to comprehend the complexity and subtleties of the very subject of which they champion, and who can’t consider, or maybe even tolerate, a perspective that appears to challenge, however innocently or gently, their chosen dogma.

The Fundamentalist is obsessed by the notion of right versus wrong, with himself situated in the right, of course. This simplistic dichotomy allows him to frame everyone else as ‘wrong,’ and consequently a direct threat to the good and the right and the holy. At its extreme, that polarization seems to offer him the moral authority to destroy those whom he opposes.

Fundamentalists are often abusive and sometimes violent towards others, wanting to dominate or destroy those with different ideas in order to secure a safe ideological place for their ego to hide in. Ironically, they unwittingly do this so they may remain invulnerable and unaccountable to a fuller and realer understanding of (even) their own preferred truth. Tragically, it is often the case that they will abandon important aspects of their own humanity in order to become wrathful talking godheads of truth.

In other words, a blinding belief and a commitment to a part of the whole truth or reality of a situation, regardless of glaring contradictions, contradictory evidence, or failed experiences.

  • Fundamentalism is also intimately entwined with (Narcissistic) Idealism (the amalgamation of a person’s self-image and identity with a lofty ideal or belief, to the degree that Idealists actually believe true about themselves, the virtues expressed in that dogma – i.e. “I believe in ‘love’, therefore I am a loving person”. Which may be true, but often isn’t. Through this emulation process, they also deny and suppress anything about themselves that appears to contradict that high ideal. Thus, they become lily-white and repress the darker/shadow side of their human nature, and are often regarded by others as ‘goodie-two-shoes’ or plastic, or fake, by virtue of their inauthentic interactions with their fellow man, as well as their own desires.
  • Cultism – Fundamentalism and Idealism are usually associated with Cultism. I define Cultism as an organization of people who are devoted to an ideal an ideology or a person– i.e. Catholicism, Voodoo, Chicago Bears, Elvis Presley etc, and who believe that they are (for that reason) superior or more advanced than others. They regard outsiders as infidels, and children of ‘lesser gods’. Spiritual Cultists are repulsed by the idea of associating with ‘the outside,’ or ‘worldly people’, fearing that they will become sullied by any contact with them.

Besides for root motivation of fear that spawns this illness, a key construct to understanding this complex malady of Fundamentalism, Idealism, and  Cultism can be found in the psychological concept of ‘differentiation’. Simply stated, differentiation refers to the core developmental task that all humans face, of movement from fusion with the mother and family, (the child state), through and beyond the breakaway independence movement of adolescence, and into a capacity for a mature adult interdependence.

These people are afraid to individuate from the herd, look at what is dark in themselves, and rationally examine the broad and wide truth of existence in a honest way.

Admittedly, one of the symptoms or possibilities of a soul’s descent, or, if you like ‘Fall’, into separateness and unenlightenment, is the option to live a life fused to our local ‘unit’, whether it be the mother or family or tribe, or nation, or religion. Indeed it is a logical response, insofar as it provides a person with a ‘union substitution’ for having (apparently) divorced ourselves from divine unity.

My Personal Involvement in Fundamentalism

So how do I know the Fundies so intimately? Well, I was one! I spent many years thumping the Fundamentalist screed at whoever would listen (mostly myself). Simultaneously, I was also an Idealist and a Cultist. I also belonged to a community, the charming members of which wanted very badly to be above such nonsense, but were, in the end, relatively powerless to resist its lures.

Having examined Fundamentalism in my own case, as well as in others, I have come to understand that it is a disposition that is animated when we resort to a weak and defensive child-space in one’s personality.

And so Fundamentalism is simply one symptom a person’s resort to an (immature) developmental state, and it uses a great ideology or a leader or a group as a parental substitute. Once so parented, safety may appear to be restored.

For one who is chronically locked into that regressive or wounded developmental state, it cannot be blithely bypassed or outgrown, even when attended to with ‘proper care or instruction’. My experience is that it takes years to fully exceed the limits involved in this condition.

That is why no amount of artful dialog with the sufferer is likely to shift him beyond his current state, and why he holds on to his dogma ‘like a squirrel grasping his last acorn in winter.’ You cannot shift him anymore than you can get a 8 year old boy to grasp the splendor of women. It’s just not time for him to come to that realization.

Like most of us I have been impacted by fundamentalists for my entire life, and it is only an effort of self-transcendence in some instances, or recognition of the futility of that reaction in other instances, that frees me from attempting to do to them, what they routinely do to everyone, worldwide.

Is this  Essay Another Example of Fundamentalism?

An interesting question put to me about this consideration was: could this essay be an example of (Counter) Fundamentalism itself? I would argue that it is, only to the degree that I have abandoned my own humanity and attempt to demonize and destroy the Fundies in the process.

On many occasions I have found myself unwittingly slipping back into a Fundamentalist mindset. Even whilst I write an article like this one, specifically focused on criticizing Fundamentalists for their Fundamentalism, I can catch myself reverting at times.

But I believe that my own reactions to fundamentalists would not amount to a new incident of fundamentalism simply by virtue of the content of the arguments I present throughout this piece, or even my own anger at the threat they often seem to pose to me/us, for anger is not fundamentalism. Anger is simply the force designed to make and keep appropriate boundaries.

As I see it, for this essay to be yet another example of fundamentalism, it would require me to not only be intent upon destroying fundamentalists for their contrary views, but it would depend upon me actually believing and being identified with, and clinging to some doctrine or belief, or Path or School that they had challenged and which I needed to defend.

But I believe that that is not the case for me. Elsewhere I speak comprehensively about a phase of life and a process that I and others have toppled into, that I call ‘Post-Spirituality.’ It is a phase where, although obviously unfinished and unenlightened, we have abandoned every type of spirituality and path, for what we have found to be a greater occupation. It is a phase characterized by exquisite ordeals, overwhelmingly focused in the extraordinary pleasures and pains of selfhood, and not caring about deities, and not working on ‘getting Enlightened’. And in general, not needing very much from the outside world.

This phase is not of self-as-mind, or self-as-emotion, or self-as-desires, or even self-as-god, but simple, un-projected and un-protected self itself. At its most pleasant, it is saturated with a lightheartedness and detachment that makes lesser satisfactions seem trite. At its worst it bequeaths an aloneness that makes me shudder and my heart call out in agony every time I experience it. Consequently, I really have little personal use these days for all the wonderful Dualist and Non-Dualist Schools, other than as cultural reference points that often are useful in conversation with others. For me these non-dualist schools are ancient and useful markers which are helpful at times in the midst of a conversations with a friend. They are not systems I identify with very deeply anymore, and I certainly don’t subscribe to their dogmas or methods or personages. Not that they are bad. On the contrary, I believe that they can be useful instruments to open people up to higher dimensions of existence. Nothing wrong with that! But as far as I can tell, I am done with them, and can’t get terribly excised about defending them or their adherents.

From an entirely different perspective, I can also foolishly pretend to myself that Fundamentalism and Dualism aren’t two of the grand featured toys of this Creation. Fundamentalism is, no doubt, a wonderful plaything of separation. I admit that I routinely live an unenlightened dualistic existence. Great adventures are granted those tempted by its luscious fruits! Who am I to decry its existence! Viva la difference!

It has also been suggested by someone that in writing this piece about unfriendly Non-Dualists, that I am engaging in a dualistic endeavor. That is entirely true. I don’t object to that critique, and I accept it in this light: any argument, any thought, or any philosophy or even any preference, is always and inherently dualistic. See below for why that is necessarily so — The Craft Involved in Talking ABOUT Reality

Two Types of Fundamentalists:

1-      Idealists (New Age Populists) – “Everyone and everything is already enlightened, – look at me as I mime the doctrine of great Sages… because I comprehend these concepts and maybe have had a taste of these gems, I know that I am already free, so please just KNOW that you too are already liberated. Now go… go everyone…go in peace!”

2-      Righteous Realists (Traditional Elitists)- “What kind of fool are you to be speaking about the great unspeakable Truths – don’t you know that that exercise is categorically dualistic! Doesn’t the Tao say he who speaks doesn’t know…? “

Samples of Jargon from Non-Dual Fundamentalists

  • “He who knows, doesn’t speak”… and since you have spoken, therefore you are a fool.
  • Everyone and everything is already enlightened, so relax and chill out, brother!
  • Our Way is the only true and complete way.
  • Only through the agency of an Enlightened Master can you be saved/enlightened.

The  Behaviors of Fundamentalists

Behaviorally, fundamentalists routinely attempt to:

  • Suppress anyone who dares to discuss or challenge anything considered sacred from one the great teachings/teachers, by accusing the speaker of heresy, or even, some kind of blasphemy.
  • Melodrama – This is the most common stance on my Blog. They act incredibly flustered and outraged, as if someone had just finished urinating on their sacred. They seem to enjoy inflating themselves by acting as if they have been cruelly subjected to the most stupid and outrageous violation of Truth yet conceived by the Mind of Man.
  • Address any opponents as hopeless egos without any capacity for divine connectedness, and therefore categorically incapable of discerning or discussing great Truth. They presume that their antagonists are too dense to understand that “the way that can be told…is not the eternal Way” and accuse them of substituting talk for Realization.
  • Overrun every mundane or spiritual discussion with a BIG TRANSCENDENTAL TRUTH in order to shut off discussion of nuances, differences or inconsistencies that feel threatening to their current worldview.
  • Fundies are often apparently wedded to the notion of Righteous Justice from biblical religion, with their own fears, frustrations, and anger. Having assumed the mantle of the ‘sword of justice’ in this world, they then seem quite blithe about wielding it to hurt and discredit others, but always in the name of ‘God’ and ‘Truth’.
  • Fundamentalists always fail to notice the sublime irony that they are willing to get hostile, pedantic, and abusive with their opponents, all in the name of upholding Non-Dualism, and never noticing how dualistic their own posturing is.

The Psychology of Fundamentalists

Emotional limitations of fundamentalists:

Fundamentalists are often characterized by a childish or slavish allegiance to a father figure “who really knew’ i.e. Lao Tzu, Ramana, Jed McKenna, Adi Da, Buddha, Jesus etc.,  or else aligned to a doctrine or Tradition in the same manner.

However mature or successful at life a Fundamentalist may otherwise appear to be, in relationship to spirituality there often remains an addiction to a childish emotional state that requires the Fundamentalist to avoid or abandon or neglect his sovereignty, and any sense of self-mastery, when confronted by a teaching or teacher who appears to him as the direct representative of the divine. The person is thereby reduced to a obsequious or sycophantic state as he abandons himself to his idol in the hopes that he will, in return, be granted direct access to the promises of the ‘higher life,’ either while living, or in the afterlife. This effect is relatively benign in most cases (witness the vast majority of religious and spiritual people around the world) but if linked to a malicious leader, or a wounded and angry ego-self, the results can be dreadful.

Energetic limitations of fundamentalists:

They attempt to dominate and suppress ‘opponents’ in order to make the World safe for their chosen idolatry. If you challenge their worldview you are, in essence, threatening their very lives. This is because if you dismantle their ideology they will be reduced to a state of existential confusion and despair that is quite overwhelming. They may anticipate or experience such an incident as a death event.

Social limitations of fundamentalists:

Fundamentalists have a strong need to flock together for support against a seemingly threatening world. They cling together and eschew the company and conversation of outsiders. They enforce their member’s allegiance by shunning deviants, and rewarding fellow travelers with acceptance. Or, others may seclude themselves from others, safe in their Tower of Solitude.

The Intellectual Limitations of Fundamentalists:

Non-Dual Fundamentalists often suffer from an odd confusion about anyone (except themselves) talking ABOUT Truth. What they do have right is to affirm that there is an essential difference between talking and realizing.

What they have wrong is the attempt to overwhelm any contrary assertions with salvos of simplistic fragments of truth drawn from their favorite faith or allegiance.

Non-Dual Fundamentalists will attempt to dismiss any discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular expression or communication ABOUT the Truth, by their favorite Master or tradition or sacred text. They are quick to assert that it was OK for a Master to have done the undoable in talking about Truth (finger pointing at the Moon). However, in their mind, anyone else must not have understood that talking ABOUT the Truth is not the Truth itself. It’s a funny kind of tunnel vision they suffer from. Logical enough, but misguided.

All fundamentalists have a limited capacity for paradox, ambiguity, or irony. They can’t tolerate the fact that everything in existence is framed in paradox, muddied by ambiguities, and twisted by ironies. They can’t appreciate the reality that- everything – is & isn’t, yes & no, black & white, good & bad, yin & yang, Shiva & Shakti, the Manifest & Unmanifest. Consideration of such complexity threatens to devastate their worldview.

If intellectually engaged, fundamentalists will often defend their dogma with a form of circular logic that is impenetrable, and that appears patently absurd to the eyes of an outsider. I have tried to create a few abstract samples below to give a small taste of the thought process involved in this mindset: For instance, they might argue:

“X is enlightened.”
How do you know that he is enlightened?
“Because he says he is!” (the premise and the conclusion are the same)
“X says Y is the truth. Z must therefore be untrue because X says Y is true.”

“Y is the truth,”
How do you know that?
“Because X says Y is the truth.”
So what if X says Y is the truth?
“Y must be true, because X says he is enlightened and therefore he can’t be wrong about that”.

Non-Dualism Fundamentalists often dress and mask their comments in argumentation that appears to be founded in the greatest truths and teachings of the ages. Yet at their core, most of these Fundamentalists are people who are psychologically defensive because they are unconsciously afraid that their prized intuitions and experiences of non-duality appear threatened by statements that seem to undermine a relatively simplistic grasp of their chosen teaching or understanding. They fear that they will subsequently drown in an ego’s sea of terrifying ambiguity.

They are usually very big on grandiose rhetoric that is frequently drawn directly from a GREAT TRUTH. But there is often very little clear thinking or discernment going on with them. The truths that these Non-Dual Fundamentalists actually spout are, in actuality, High-Dogma. Additionally, their points are often married to nothing more noble or substantial than sarcasm, ridicule, guilt by association, red herrings and name dropping, and every kind of ad hominem attack.

Spiritual limitations of fundamentalists

The spiritual flaw is typically based on genuine appreciation but incomplete realization of a great Truth; and subsequently, a clinging to that attainment for fear of losing it to any apparently opposite truth still hidden from the person. The spiritual fundamentalist has had to expend an enormous amount of psychic capital in order to break free of the suffering of his previous worldview and associations, before ‘true religion’ or ‘the Truth’ came his way. But so far, he has a relatively superficial grasp of his new truth. He certainly does not want to hear a lot of crap that may destabilize his relationship with his new ‘savior’. That confrontation could be annihilating. That is why he is so fierce.

He is also characterized by a kind of spiritual exceptionalism or elitism wherein he believes that only his preferred truth, path, way, master, teaching, tradition, sect, technique or religion is capable of liberating an individual, all others are lesser or flawed or false.

Personal limitations of fundamentalists:

Finally, the Non-Dual Fundamentalist doesn’t really bring much of himself to a discussion, and rarely a whiff of humility. This is mainly because he has lost himself inside greatness of the chosen Idol he now champions, and which he derives his identity from. He doesn’t bring much substance or experience or humanity to the table to be sanely considered with others. He is too weak for such a showing.

Yet he is never in doubt! He knows! He has the truth in his hip pocket and the hell with you if you can’t see it his way.

The Craft Involved in Talking ABOUT Reality

The practical reality that our beloved Non-Dual Fundamentalist folk do not seem to grasp is that the Truth of existence may well indeed be Singular and Unitary, but discussions ABOUT that truth are based on language and the human mind, and as such, sadly, must be based upon building blocks that are logical and linear and conditional, or else metaphorical, poetic or allegorical. The best that can be achieved in communicating about Truth is an artful synthesis that builds a temporary edifice made from ideas, words and images that the listener may happen to find a little bit liberating, or at least amusing, insomuch as it neutralizes and dismantles previously held ideas of a lesser and more restricted variety.

Our fundamentalists apparently can’t understand the difference between someone’s talking about a formulation of the truth that some luminary has proffered, and presuming to supplant or supersede the truth with one’s own ramblings.

Our beloved Fundamentalists have very little appreciation for the unavoidable complexity or paradox involved in the act of human communication. When they contact me it is often in the form of paraphrasing the words of Lao Tzu – “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao”. Yet Lao Tzu goes on to talk about the Eternal Tao in ‘non-eternal’ ways for about 6500 words.

Or, “The name that can be named is not the eternal Name…The unnamable is the eternally real…This source is called darkness.” Lao Tzu says that the real Tao can’t be named, but then goes on to name the ‘not-so-real’ Tao as “Darkness within darkness”.

We all understand what Lao Tzu is trying to say, and we appreciate that he is not only doing the best that can be done under the circumstances, but that in spite of that limitation, he is doing a great service to us all, regardless.

Or Lao Tzu  could have utilized the affirmative rather than the negative. He might just as well have proclaimed “Before the Father was, I Am!” But that statement would have had as many logic and paradox issues as what he did say.

Lao Tzu tried to not only live The Way, but also to suggest the Way using language, to point at the Moon, in order to undo false ideas and limited doctrines that had accumulated in many human heads. So Non-Dual Fundamentalists seem to ignore the most obvious fact that Lao Tzu is indeed speaking about the truth himself! He may well be coming from a realization of Truth, but what you are getting from him is his formulation ABOUT the Truth.

To make a powerful impact on a listener, a teacher, aside from his/her personal presence or transmission abilities, has to use the imperfect logic and inadequate device of language in order to communicate anything with clout to the misinformed. In other words, he must often use the decrepit tools of logic and rhetoric, tossed into a blender made of paradox, seasoned with nuance, and served at right angles to the prevailing cultural paradigms of the listener, in order to have an impact on the student at all.

In other words, although Reality is singular or unitary, the attempt to socially / intellectually acknowledge or refer to that Singularity, must be expressed dualistically with partial half-truths, made of bits of logic and concept and image. Those building blocks are the scaffolding used to create, and then to stand on top of, and then exceed the seen or unseen paradoxes of the great mysteries.

That mastery expressed sometimes has the power to explode the frigid thinking, conceptual and perceptual minds we have become addicted to. All done in such a way as to penetrate the armor and conceits of the particular listener’s ego. But such language and artistry are quite imperfect devices, and that is indeed what is critique-able. Now I know that I am not a Master, but if a Master can ‘disgrace’ himself by discussing the ineffable, then why shan’t we?

And that is my point – Truth-Speaking about the Absolute is paradoxically a very arbitrary and relativistic endeavor – easily misunderstood, and eventually, even more easily misapplied. Therefore, it is well within the purview of ordinary men and women to critique a sacred scripture for its (‘artistic’) weaknesses, and certainly for how it is being misunderstood or even abused by current listeners. It is my observation that it doesn’t take ‘Enlightenment’ to notice the frailties in even the greatest spiritual literature.

Doubt it? Try communicating about “The Truth” and not sounding like a simpleton or a platitudinous Sunday School preacher. Whether you choose to talk about Reality using negatives such as ‘its not and this, and it’s not that etc”. Or using positive platitudes like ‘it’s all God,” “There is only God,” “It’s All One” “The One” etc. It usually doesn’t amount to very much! It’s a hard job to say something useful without sounding vacuous or absurd, and of course, impossible to communicate that Reality itself solely through language.

Alas, may I be accused of being involved in perpetuating another Right versus Wrong conflict here? But tell me – how ingenuine and self-devided do you become with yourself and others to ignore something so devisive as fundamentalism? So, technically speaking, that is a true criticism, but there is no way around it. No one is pure. No thought is whole. I have a life as an ego in duality and I assuredly do prefer certain experiences over others. Perhaps I could write a better essay if I came to it from a more enlightened space than I do, brimming with evermore good cheer and humorous anecdotes as emblems of my virtue, but I don’t feel a great need for perfection here today, and actually, it still would inevitably be a dualistic comment. They all are.

My Practical Experience with the Online Fundamentalists

My (delightful) Blog critics usually make two assertions- one is to assume that my writings on the blog have been my attempts to present the Truth (that can’t be told) when I have stated repeatedly and on the front page of the blog that my interest is merely to criticize the limitations I find in the writings or formulations of teachers such as Jed McKenna, not to replace or supplant them, and certainly not to attempt to ‘speak the Truth’ or offer the impression that talking about Truth has much of anything to do with practice, process, or realization of same.

Additionally my critics seem to love to dismiss me as a some type of heretic because I have the audacity to speak about these teachers and their individual representations of Truth. Furthermore they would brand me, as my ex-teacher loved to call us, a ‘dilettante’ and an ‘armchair practitioner,’ as if they know anything about me. What Non-Dual Fundamentalists can’t seem to imagine is that a person can be involved in a living and genuine spiritual process, but that their amusement- their intellectual amusement – their entertainment, is simply to talk about these matters of truth and philosophy. Perhaps the average fundamentalist hasn’t learned to walk and chew gum at the same time. Needless to say, I regard these two diverse areas of process and entertainment, as profoundly distinct elements of my life.

Responding to Fundamentalists
1. Become aware of the elements and behaviors that characterize Fundamentalism
2. Own the fundamentalistic tendency that exists in yourself
3. Name it when you see it
4. Consider how to discipline or transcend it in your situation
5. Appreciate the service that fundamentalists may provide to society, as in: in all good, there is some bad; in all bad, their some good. If nothing else, they may indeed help to rudely remind some of us backsliders of our weakness, and help to keep us honest.
6. Have compassion for those with this affliction/affectation. These people are often very good folk, but who have been overwhelmed by the brilliance of a particular doctrine or leader, and who often suffer from developmental infirmaries that require them to cling ferociously to a truth. They must defend their hold on their great truth, and with it, their very lives. How painful must that be?
Although fundamentalists usually have both human and spiritual issues yet to be resolved, treating them with the verbal abuse that they would treat you (if you gave them the chance) will not shift them. I know, I was there!

Conclusion

So that is my rant with the Fundies. I’m sure that the vast majority of Non-Dual Fundamentalists are a good lot, and have their hearts in the right place, but it does no one very much good to just roll over and accept a lot of crap from them. Not just unhealthy for the receiver, but also very unhealthy for the abuser. One way to look at these good folk is to see them as schoolyard bullies. The best thing you can do for a bully is to stop his game! Don’t allow the abuse to continue ad nauseum. Give him an opportunity to return to his humanity and stop trying to play god with other people’s lives.

That is why I spent the time to organize my thoughts in this essay. So that it will be easier in the future to communicate with some power and clarity exactly what is ‘off’ about this type of behavior, and to be able to do so in a measured way.

So, sorry for taking a crack at these my wayward brothers, but sometimes, these things just need to be said. At least once.

Responding to Fundamentalists

1. Become aware of the elements and behaviors that characterize Fundamentalism

2. Own the fundamentalistic tendency that exists in yourself

3. Name it when you see it

4. Consider how to discipline or transcend it in your situation

5. Appreciate the service that fundamentalists may provide to society, as in: in all good, there is some bad; in all bad, their some good. If nothing else, they may indeed help to rudely remind some of us backsliders of our weakness, and help to keep us honest.

6. Have compassion for those with this affliction/affectation. These people are often very good folk, but who have been overwhelmed by the brilliance of a particular doctrine or leader, and who often suffer from developmental infirmaries that require them to cling ferociously to a truth. They must defend their hold on their great truth, and with it, their very lives. How painful must that be?

Although fundamentalists usually have both human and spiritual issues yet to be resolved, treating them with the verbal abuse that they would treat you (if you gave them the chance) will not shift them. I know, I was there!

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149 thoughts on “Non-Dualist Fundamentalism

  1. I subscribed to this post years ago. At the very least, it seems to act as a filter to find people worth talking to. In the meantime, have been posting video of Jan Cox talks to youtube. If you go to youtube, search on jancoxmedia, and you will see about 200 talks ( so far.) Jan did not go for labels, other than ‘ post modern Mystic’, but the topic is consciousness. always consciousness. Some of us are building a website on squarespace, where we will post all of his writings, and all of the audio / video. at this writing the site is https://fred-cox.squarespace.com , but that will change to jancox.com when it is more presentable. there are 250 transcripts so far. See ya there.

    On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 9:09 PM, Jed McKenna Weblog wrote:

    > ** > eddie blatt commented: “to nondoer2013, Your post touched me. More > words would spoil everything, so I’ll leave it at that.” >

  2. Funddys are simply no fun.I have enjoyed many posts on here so far..Some seem to reiterate how dysfunctional fundamentalism really is…the lack of empathy, the inability to receive and respond from a non dual perspective , by spewing non dual concepts….Appreciation when one feels heard and understood is beautiful and so valued in my world..When I receive another reality my reality expands,ever deeper..Love.

  3. When it happens is when it happens. There is nothing you can do to stop it or make it happen.
    I happened for me while washing the floor and thinking how silly Non-Duality is.

  4. provisionally there is talk of energy in awareness and so it’s as though energy as all of what experience is or could be is reflected in awareness. but energy is not reflected in awareness and there’s no one aware that reflects energy. when energy is not a thing that can be controlled or known in any limited way awareness is not a reflex of being someone knowing or controlling.

  5. Would you prefer to live in a world in which those whom you consider to be separate entities would cater to your expectations?

  6. “toombaru says:

    January 25, 2012 at 4:04 am

    pixels……………..on a screen……………
    warming neurons……………………

    amazing”

    – Given the volume of your posts on this blog, that comes as no surprise to me.

  7. “toombaru says:

    January 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    ……that old oak……..releasing its stored sunlight…..
    ….warming this old body.

    …………..amazing!”

    – Now, that’s really something, an old oak…warming your body with stale sunlight…amazing!

  8. ……that old oak……..releasing its stored sunlight…..
    ….warming this old body.

    …………..amazing!

  9. “The Mystery leans back and laughs.”

    That’s amazing Toombaru, witnessing The Mystery leaning back whilst laughing.
    Quite a feat, I must admit.

  10. Good friends……..strong coffee………..warm cinnamon role…….soft rain.
    After a hundred million years of struggle……….just this.

    The Mystery leans back and laughs.

  11. The mind of man is suspended between its biologically hard wired mandate to survive and its own conceptual pseudo-reality.
    It has no choice but to soothe its ever present fear of impending doom by using the only tools at its disposal……..magical-mystical thought.
    It wraps its very realistic insecurities in a tightly wrapped cocoon of acquired beliefs.
    It lives and dies in a collage of it own imaginings.
    The seeker is no different than the religious pilgrim.
    They both hope to transcend their humiliating impotence and attain a position of dominance over the ever changing and unpredictable circumstances they imagine.
    It is simply not equipped to deal with the fact that “there is nothing between it and the naked howling face of the universe…………….nothing”.

    The fog is rolling up Strawberry Canyon and in the distance…….seal song.

  12. The sense of sadness exists only within the I am.
    Its very function is to sustain the survival both of its physical organism and its own sense of psychological autonomy.
    When it is apprehended that its own existence, like all things, is essentially empty, there is nowhere for it to hide.
    It becomes a shadow in the sun light.
    Awareness remains but is no longer solely identified with the sense of separation.
    It breaks free of its self-imposed constriction and wanders through the mystery……..alone.
    Manifestation springs up everywhere…….ever fresh.
    Once again it is seen through baby eyes and that mysterious interplay becomes who you are.
    The circle is complete.
    Sentience has come home.

  13. Dear Toombaru, since years I know that “we are machines that don’t know they are machines…that the ‘person’ emerges in the synaptic connections of the brain and disappears when it dies”.
    This machine has refused to accept the fact for years and in many ways; it has been very angry about…and now, it is deeply, deeply sad. It seams there is no consolation anymore. The fact that you say it, is like a balsam for this wound, it is a free gift. Yet, ‘I’ wish ‘I’ could die… What for all this nonsense?

  14. Eddie wrote”

    I have been following your posts over the months and have come to a place where I now want to respond. However, I find myself in somewhat of a quandary, a place not too unfamiliar these days when participating in communications over the Internet. There is an impersonal quality to such ‘conversations’ that cannot account for the full range of human emotions, facial expressions and verbal nuances that occur when interacting face-to-face. Thus, things that are said are often misconstrued. Nevertheless, that’s the nature of electronic communications and we have to deal with it as best we can.

    toombaru:

    Human emotions and facial expressions can add subtle insights to a conversation.
    In the matters at hand, the introduction of the personal element only further obfuscates the dilemma.

    Eddie wrote:
    As a consequence, I find the need for a particular level of civility, different in some ways to more direct communications. I often don’t know whether to restrict myself to pleasantries or to let loose and be more critical; in either case, I do want to maintain a dialog irrespective of the differences that may appear to arise.

    toombaru:

    Civil discourse has a place in normal human interaction.
    At a certain stage, in this most peculiar journey, conventional human niceties lose their relevance.
    The perfumed air wafting in the wake of Rumi and Hafiz begin the sicken the seeker.
    The desire for raw truth becomes the priority.
    The nice teachers begin to repel the seeker.
    One lady finally found U.G. Krishnamurti after many years of searching.
    When she returned home, her friend ask her what she thought of him.
    ‘Oh he’s an asshole” she said.
    She was not ready to face here own irrelevance.

    Eddie said:
    “The thing is, Toombaru, as much as I find your writings poetically enchanting and showing strong reflections of a universal truth that many have previously revealed,”

    toombaru:
    “Universal truth” is an attempt by the human mind find a unifying theory for its collection of concepts.
    It is no more able to deal with its labels like “truth” than it is with “infinity”, “light” or “magnetism”.
    What is “true” in nature?
    What is “untrue”?

    Eddie wrote:
    I also feel they are somewhat mechanical. It feels to me that the ‘real’ person has been subjugated by an overlay of dharma.

    toombaru:
    It is mecahincal.
    We are machines that don’t know they know they are machines.
    The “real person” is no more real than the people in your dream last night.
    The “person” emerges in the synaptic connections of the human brain and disappears when the brain dies.

    Eddie wrote:
    In my long and sometimes arduous travels, I have met many people who have made all sorts of claims about their realization, and who communicate in a style seemingly devoid of ego.

    toombaru:
    There are no people without egos.
    There is no such thing as realization.
    “Realization” is annihilation.
    When the essential emptiness of all things is apperceived, what remains looks like a human…….feels like a human……and passes for a human.
    But it is awareness……aware of itself.
    We are shadows…….searching for the sun.

    Eddie wrote:
    And although they have important parts to play in the drama (just as everyone else does),

    toombaru:
    You are no more important than the people in your dream last night.
    Nothing is important for one very good reason.

    Eddie wrote:
    I do find their communications tiresome. I feel there is a piece missing – an ordinary, human, person-to-person interaction without the overlay.

    toombaru:
    The person IS the overlay.
    It is searching for personal relevance when in truth there is no person.
    There is only an empty I…….surrounded by swirling mnemonic debris.
    You are practicing medicine in the morgue.

    Eddie wrote:
    “I suppose one of the reasons I was attracted to Jed McKenna’s books is that he comes across as being ‘free’ in the midst of being human with all its farcical qualities. I wonder, Toombaru, if you have any fear, for example, that Jed so humorously describes just before jumping out of a plane?”

    toombaru:
    The person is a highly evolved program that is essentially fear-based.
    It is designed to survive and reproduce.
    The sense of self is merely an addendum to that program.

    Eddie wrote:
    Or, indeed, are there any other characteristics, ‘negative’ or ‘positive’?

    toombaru:
    When it is understood that there is no “person” inside, the terms negative and positive lose their relevance.

    Eddie wrote”
    Now that would really interest me! Otherwise, I could just as well consult any of the myriad of books and texts describing the ‘Truth’ that fill the shelves of book shops and libraries.

    toombaru:
    The search is as mechanical as the rest of the show.
    Right now “you” ARE the search.
    What’s really happening is the neurons in the dark-damp frontal cortex that you call yours are wondering what in the hell is going on “out there”.
    Soon they may wonder what in the hell is going on “in here”.
    …….or not.

    Eddie wrote:
    If you do respond to this post, please don’t house it in some dharmic sound bite. I would rather you simply let me know how you’re doing.

    toombaru:
    There are only so many ways to say these things.
    I try the best I can but always come to a great unspeakable void.
    I really have no idea why these words emerge.
    Awareness seems like a precious gift.
    I have a new grand daughter.
    Her name is Gwendlyne Grace
    She is ten months old.
    I look at her…….she smiles…….I smile.

    Part of my machinery relates to the unquenchable thirst that drives those who seek the ultimate understanding.
    And like Jed, part of me wants to caution those who are driven to edge of their own emptiness.
    There is nothing it has to offer………except the end of the search.

    Part of me hopes this letter doesn’t sound harsh.
    Part of me hopes it delivers the coup de grace to the one who wonders.

  15. Toombaru,

    I have been following your posts over the months and have come to a place where I now want to respond. However, I find myself in somewhat of a quandary, a place not too unfamiliar these days when participating in communications over the Internet. There is an impersonal quality to such ‘conversations’ that cannot account for the full range of human emotions, facial expressions and verbal nuances that occur when interacting face-to-face. Thus, things that are said are often misconstrued. Nevertheless, that’s the nature of electronic communications and we have to deal with it as best we can.

    As a consequence, I find the need for a particular level of civility, different in some ways to more direct communications. I often don’t know whether to restrict myself to pleasantries or to let loose and be more critical; in either case, I do want to maintain a dialog irrespective of the differences that may appear to arise.

    The thing is, Toombaru, as much as I find your writings poetically enchanting and showing strong reflections of a universal truth that many have previously revealed, I also feel they are somewhat mechanical. It feels to me that the ‘real’ person has been subjugated by an overlay of dharma. In my long and sometimes arduous travels, I have met many people who have made all sorts of claims about their realization, and who communicate in a style seemingly devoid of ego. And although they have important parts to play in the drama (just as everyone else does), I do find their communications tiresome. I feel there is a piece missing – an ordinary, human, person-to-person interaction without the overlay.

    I suppose one of the reasons I was attracted to Jed McKenna’s books is that he comes across as being ‘free’ in the midst of being human with all its farcical qualities. I wonder, Toombaru, if you have any fear, for example, that Jed so humorously describes just before jumping out of a plane? Or, indeed, are there any other characteristics, ‘negative’ or ‘positive’? Now that would really interest me! Otherwise, I could just as well consult any of the myriad of books and texts describing the ‘Truth’ that fill the shelves of book shops and libraries.

    If you do respond to this post, please don’t house it in some dharmic sound bite. I would rather you simply let me know how you’re doing.

  16. There is a material reality……….well…….at least there appears to be a material reality.
    But then……the reality that we experience in our night time dreams appears real……and yet it exists only within the electro-chemical reactions of the brain.
    The objectifying mind creates a conceptual overlay, a portion of which corresponds and relates to the physical-manifested reality.
    For convenience, it names “things” like “rivers” and “mountains”.
    In truth, there are no such things as rivers or mountains.
    What happens to the “Missouri “river” when it flows into the Mississippi “river”?
    A “river” is merely flowing water confined between its banks.
    How big does a “stream” have to be to be called “river”?
    Does a “river” disappear when it flows into a “lake” and reappear at the other end?
    When the same water falls from the sky we call the river “rain”.
    When all the “rivers” come together we call that “ocean”?
    When a river flows into the ocean, should we call the confluence “oceaver” of “rivean”?

    The mind is once removed from its post-it world that applies to the physical manifestation.
    The objectifying mind also assigns labels to a world that exists only in its own consensus imagination.
    It invents a world of gods and demons…..love and law…….politics and philosophy.
    It is twice removed from this world.
    It combines labels for the material reality with its labels for the imagined reality and is confined to this strange collage in its search for personal meaning.
    It tries to escape its imagined condition…….seldom apprehending that it emerges and exists only within a strange objectified dream.

  17. There is a distinction between believing in secondary affairs of Man, like politics, and the bus that is about to hit you. There are rivers and grass. They exist without you thinking about them. If you don’t believe in busses, you die. If you don’t believe in politics the way Life wants you to – well, you get to smile during the time that was allotted for YOU to be upset. It does not mean however, that you get to flip a bird at the Colombian mafia boss ( politics)

  18. The conceptual mind seeks to understand its own imagined condition.
    It tries to separate itself from itself.
    It attempts to use logic and the scientific method to discover the nature of reality.
    All of its attempts in that effort will fail.
    All conceptual thought is based on the assumption that things in themselves have a separate reality.
    All conceptual thought is magical thought.

  19. Mathematics is an expression of spatial-temporal relationship between objects that the mind of man creates with his naming.
    In truth, there are no separate objects in nature.
    There are no “rivers”, no “oceans”, no “waves” but once they are labeled, differences in their respective sizes can be measured and agreed upon.
    Relative measurement can be applied to the mind’s objectified, consensus reality.
    Outside of that arena, measurement is useless.
    (There is no point two hundred miles South of earth.)

    Alexander wrote:
    “Well if belief and self are junk then what on earth remains?”

    toombaru:
    Your brain is searching for something that it imagines to be beyond its own conceptual-objectified reality.
    That is akin to searching one’s night time dreams for a unifying theory.
    Conceptual thought creates what amounts to be a dream of separation.
    Concurrently, in that arena, the sense of self emerges.
    It is essentially a highly evolved survival-reporductive program and a by-product of that interaction.
    It appears that the man’s modern mind has a lot of extra time on its hands.
    It searches through its own catacombs for meaning and purpose.
    The “spiritual search” helps the sense of self validate its own imagined reality.
    The search is itself a clever method used to keep the machinery of identification greased.
    If those who search persist in their inquiry, what they eventually experience is so alien to their expectations, they will usually recoil back into the familiar.
    One glimpse of their own essential emptiness is all most searchers can handle.
    Teachers like Jed and U.G. never have a lot of followers simply because they tell the truth.
    And the truth is that you and everybody you know exist only as chimeraic collages composed entirely of each other’s reflections.

    Alexander wrote:
    “Might it not be an indicator that math did not originate in the snares of the mind but rather in the “harmony of the spheres?” Cant we as Jed recommends use this precise language to discriminate and navigate the real and unreal?”

    toombaru:
    “Harmony of the spheres” is a wonderful thought.
    But alas …..it is merely another attempt by the mind to self-soothe its innate mandate to survive and the resulting fear and ever-present tension.

    The “real” and “unreal” exist only as labels.
    By its very nature, the objectified mind is removed from what it imagines to be “reality”.
    It searches for truths when its only currency is half-truths.
    It is condemned to search for shadows with a flashlight.
    We are Ramana’s salt doll searching for God at the bottom of the ocean.
    We are Nisargadatta……..washing blood with blood.
    We are a tar-baby herding bats.

    Alexander wrote”
    “My underlying fear is that what Jed advocates is too simplistic, a potentially misguiding encouragement to abandon useful efforts.”

    toombaru.
    The attempt to abandon useful effort is considered by the mind to be a useful effort.
    I’m afraid that there is nothing you can do to resolve this condition.
    Study the nature of self.
    See how transparent it really is.
    ………..and wait.
    Perhaps the conflagration will come…….perhaps not.
    In the meantime……..relax……….look around……let yourself become the mystery and eat some ice cream.

  20. Alexander,

    Something I rarely participate in these days are discussions that weigh heavily on the conceptual side of the mind, not because they are of no value, but because I find such discussions taxing. But, I’ll give it a shot. Who knows where it will lead?

    Where I feel the main issue lies wrt the import of mathematics (and indeed any other human construct), is the understanding of what ‘reality’ is. In this regard, I make a distinction between what is true as fact in the physical universe, and the Truth. Mathematics is a way of describing physical processes and predicting outcomes in the former case. It lies within the parameters of cause and effect, nothing more. Now, lots of people do consider the universe to be only a gigantic machine of cause and effect events in the manner of Newtonian physics, and as such can be well described by mathematics. On the other hand, at times the outcomes of a mathematical analysis of a particular event do seem counterintuitive – for example, in quantum mechanics (start with Young’s double-slit experiment and see if that doesn’t blow your mind!) – but one cannot necessarily ascribe ‘lack of comprehension’ as underlying the study. There are simply natural laws to the phenomenological universe, which can be described by the equations of quantum physics.

    The ‘Truth’, on the other hand, is that in which all appearances and all mind-forms inhere. Some people call that, ‘consciousness’, and those who realise that, ‘enlightened’. Now, I don’t feel any amount of debate or conjecturing can convince anyone of such matters. It’s a mystery, just as existence is. I often feel science, and mathematics as the descriptive mechanism, are ways to answer ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions; eg, How does the moon affect the tides on earth? But, why does the moon do that? No answer. It’s as if ‘why’ is the final ‘how’ to which there is no, and can never be, a definitive answer. Things are just as they are for no reason whatsoever.

    What is ‘real’? Perhaps we can use a mathematical tool I learnt more than 4 decades ago to help represent it. Picture a Venn diagram with a large outer circle titled ‘consciousness’ and a much smaller inner circle titled ‘mathematics’ (there are lots of other little circles as well that have some overlap). That’s as close as I can get to describe what I understand reality to be and where mathematics lies within that reality, although I also know that it is a useless description too!

    I suspect I have contributed nothing worthwhile to the issue at hand, so enough. Reality has a way of imposing its will whatever I come up with. ‘Enlightenment’ is a myth, as is Jed McKenna. There’s simply nothing I can do to become anything I’m not already, so if you will excuse me, I’m going to abandon all efforts to the contrary and stop making sense!

    There you have it.
    Cheers.

  21. Thank you Eddie and Toombaru. Eddie, can you continue to carify something for me? If mathematics can efficiently predict what the mind can in some cases not even begin to comprehend and do so unambiguosly and universally, doesnt that show that the math is in some way real, permanent, and separate from the mind that is getting caught in ties and snares? Toombaru, you say math is relevant to only “physically manifested reality.” Well if belief and self are junk then what on earth remains? Doesnt it show that mathematics is not a mere mental, subjective construct if it can predict and communicate otherwise unfathomable behavior just as well in China, Botswana, and America? Might it not be an indicator that math did not originate in the snares of the mind but rather in the “harmony of the spheres?” Cant we as Jed recommends use this precise language to discriminate and navigate the real and unreal? If not, why not? Autolysis sound great, Ill give it a shot maybe, but if the mind has not acquired a degree of sharpness or clarity whats to keep it from chasing its own tail indefinately?
    Eddie, you didnt like the use of “experience” with regard to enlightment. I meant the type of metaphor often encountered in Zen that says one might be reading or talking about swimming vs. jumping in the water and ”experiencing” it. I think both theory and practise are good depending on what is more appropriate in the particular stage of development in the swimming.
    My underlying fear is that what Jed advocates is too simplistic, a potentially misguiding encouragment to abandon usefull efforts.

  22. Mathematics is relevant to a physically manifested reality.
    All terminology that applies to the sense of self pertain to something that exists only as self-referential synaptic reflections.
    There is a real world…….but human conceptual thought can never touch it,
    The human brain invents labels like “truth”, “spirituality”,”love”, “God” and “peace”.
    It then tries to define them with its other labels.
    The self is a phantom that emerges within its own conceptual overlay.
    Anything it tries to loosen the knots only tightens them.
    It IS the knots that bind it.
    The spiritual search is akin to sewing shadows.
    Only imaginary keys can unlock imaginary doors.

  23. Alexander,

    Books could be written (and indeed have!) about each of the issues you raise. I want to respond briefly to the ones I’ve had experience with – mathematics and spirituality.

    Wrt the former, I was a research scientist for many years using mathematics to describe chemical and biological systems. Mathematics, like any other form of phenomenological investigation, is always removed from the thing it describes, and therefore, can never know the thing itself. Mathematics is a model in a person’s mind (just as ‘spirituality’ is!). In other words, it always appears as separate from the reality it is attempting to describe. No doubt, it does it very well in the world of objects and forces – as testified by its remarkably good predictive capabilities – but, as quantum physics has shown, the investigator is not separate from the thing he is investigating. Reality simply cannot be described, by mathematics or any other form of human endeavour.

    As to the notion that the ‘truth can only be experienced and not conveyed’, I have come to an understanding that the ‘truth’ is not equivalent to any sort of experience. Experiences come and go – good ones/bad ones, happy ones/sad ones, etc. To select one (or a number) as somehow representing the ‘truth’, while the others do not, seems absurd to me.

    I would not try to convince anyone of what I have written here – that would show a type of fundamentalism I hope I have outgrown – but I enjoy the folly of trying to do so. I wonder what Jed would say?!

  24. Hi Alexander, discernment take us to look at our linguistic representations… it require frome us to look at the survival mechanisms of the “I” we pretend to be, to look at “his” conceptualizations and identifications. Example: What do “I” mean by “objective understanding” ?
    Is there anything as “objective understanding”? How is it defined?
    Is there ‘someone’ who needs this kind of understand? If yes, whom?
    What does this “I” needing “objective understanding” is doing to itself? How does he try to control situations, things, others and itself? Our brain crates an experience-er and an observer…
    What the frog ‘s eyes is telling the brain? What do they experience-observe?
    Does the experience-er can be separated from the experience itself?
    Does the observer is different from what it seeks to see? What do “I” mean by truth?
    Any kind of understanding goes and comes and then it goes back again for a new understanding to come. That what we Are doesn’t come neither goes. Is…
    Prabhã

  25. The human mind converts its perceptual input into words and creates an objectified pseudo-reality.
    It is confined to its own labels in its search for what it imagines to be an ultimate “truth”.
    The conceptual mind, and the sense of self, is privy only to its own conceptual world.
    It cannot “experience” anything unless it is formulated in an objectified context.
    The sense of self is a phantom that emerges as the psychological center of the brain’s conceptual overlay.
    It searches within its own concepts for questions about its own concepts.
    The self imagines that one day it will, through its own efforts, transcend its imaginary confinement when in truth its only reality exists within the objectified synaptic-interface.
    It searches for its own ultimate meaning……..when it doesn’t even have one.
    It’s a hell of a problem…..for which there is no resolution.
    The conundrum simply evaporates like a shadow in the sun once the charade is seen through.
    When that apperception dawns, everything continues unscathed; but no longer is there a Little Captain at the helm.
    Life flows along unimpeded and the ever emerging mystery dances in its own spot light.

  26. Reading The Damndest at the moment and the section on solipsism and I have a question for you. The assertion I hear again and again in many spiritual books is that the truth can only be experienced and not conveyed. My father is a philosopher, (eastern and western thought), also a math and physics guy. He hates it when truth is reduced to experience only. He sees it as great folly. Ill try to summarize what he has been saying to me lately regarding truth and mathematics. Mathematics can be used to predict behaviours in physics even when no scientist understands the behaviors or patterns as in quantum mechanics. As the physicist Landau said, “a person can understand things that he is too feeble (literally translated ‘not strong enough’) to imagine.” Isnt mathematics then a language of objective understanding rather then subjective experience? Isnt it lazy and corrupting to offer introspection to people who dont know how to do it and wont ever do it properly when a language of truth already exists? Jed says we must discern between what is real and what is not. Musnt we sharpen and equip the feeble mind before it can discern?

  27. Derek here, sorry it appeared as ‘Anonymous’.
    To Brian – Loved the description, right on.
    To Eddie – you Nailed it. While systems arise to sell you ‘preferable’ thoughts, those systems come from the land of Nod, and produce more sleep. when I mentioned that you had a choice to think of something else, anything else, – the purpose is in strengthening the ability to look….
    Where ‘ look’ has the special meaning of ‘ controlled consciousness’. So it becomes not about preferred thoughts – but the ability to Do as you Will, instead of what you think.
    To Prabha – Yep, It’s all one big conspiracy, one big thought, and it is binary. And since we here love metaphors, if all that ‘thought’ is on a flat plane, Would it not be beneficial to have the strength or control to move out of that plane? If that two dimensional plane is like/dislike; then the effort could be described, verbally, as ” not caring”.
    The truth-of-the-moment is that this sort of conversation focuses the attention, and is therefore “fun”.

  28. To Anonimus: I agree with Eddy and I’d like to add that thoughts are collective and binary. Their ‘mean’-meaning, confirme each other.
    A bad thought can’t be there without its contrary, the ‘good one’.
    Binary thoughts form complex configurations of language like False Evidence Appearing Real,(FEAR). They are more ‘beautiful’ or more ‘ugly’, all mirrages on the desert of our Ontological Insecurity. Prabha

  29. To Anonymous: yes, there is something attractive about the notion of changing habitual thoughts from unwanted ones to preferable ones. A humongous industry has developed around achieving just that. With respect to the big picture however (e.g., the nature of reality, truth, etc), I don’t consider any thought to be ‘superior’ to another. I’m more interested in the nature of thinking itself! I find thoughts pass through me like clouds rolling by in the sky – the sky is always there no matter how dark and threatening, or light and fluffy, the clouds are. (Don’t you just love analogies?) Given my disinclination to do anything about my thoughts, I guess I am stuck with them… until maybe I’m not.

  30. To Eddie, there is something you can do. Amongst the choices that a man may think he has, it may possibly be that the only choice available, the only choice a man ever gets – is the he can change what it is he is thinking about.
    And that you can do.
    So if you are bothered by habitual thoughts, you Can choose to think about something else, whenever you remember to do so. Eggs, Picaso, taxis, whatever.
    Perhaps the only means to movement – is to push against habit.
    It also may help to realize that a rocket rises by pushing against it’s own fuel, which it gleefully leaves behind.

  31. Hi Eddie,

    I can relate to your last message and in times of some of that ‘unwanted’ turmoil, the following quote of Ramesh Balsekar is giving me some comfort and solace; “Whatever you think you should do at any moment is precisely what “God” wants you to think and do.”

    Next problem of course, is to put it in effect and ‘go with the flow without no one to know’

    Oh well…

  32. For me it all comes down to this. I feel a certain way; sometimes shitty, sometimes blissful, and everything in-between. I’ve tried a hell of a lot of ways to be free of the shitty and the not-so shitty. Such as bowing before gurus, living with devotees, reading, discoursing, arguing philosophy, taking sides, ad-nausea. All to no avail – I still sometimes feel shitty, sometimes blissful, and everything in-between.

    Now, 2 questions arise that highlight the crux of this predicament: (1) Is there anything ‘I’ can do about it; and (2) Is there someone else I can go to who claims certainty about their realization and who can show me (by whatever means) the way out of this apparent conundrum? Perhaps a few poignant Advaitic quotes, or maybe a return to the standard disciplines of meditation, chanting and guru devotion. Or maybe just heading to the hills or a cave?

    The thing is, I have come to a place where I reckon there is nothing ‘I’ can do about it, and there is nothing anyone else can do about it. Enter Jed McKenna who so brilliantly, and with such eloquent humour points to the reality that no-one in their right mind would even want ‘enlightenment’ (even if they could do something to get it). If there is such a thing, it’s got to happen all by itself. There is no way ‘I’ am going to bring it about. End of debate, end of presuming others have the thing I don’t, and end of the search for ‘it’. Everything is as it should be.

    So, what’s left? Well, just ‘presence’, and open relationship, an immediacy in life. No dharma, no referring to someone else’s take on what is THE reality, no debating, no presuming I can help anyone who wants to be somewhere where they’re not.

    And so we get to Toombaru who claims he is enlightened (or something akin to that sentiment) and is moved to assist others in their quest, even when others, like Brian, do not want to engage him in that manner. As a result, Brian is disappointed, because he feels he has been clear about his boundaries and Toombaru is not respecting them. The strange thing is, I feel legitimacy in the positions of both – each has a perspective (necessarily limited, as I have) and each responds in a manner befitting that perspective. I find the musings of Toombaru rather poetic and sage-like. Is he really a sage, an enlightened being who has transcended all separation, and has realised the Divinity in every thing, including all human relationships? Who knows? On the basis of this blog and the goings-one between participants, my limited perspective says ‘no’. (Incidentally, I don’t ‘believe’ anything I think or say!) And is Brian avoiding his own Divine unfolding by continuing to insist that he is ‘unenlightened’? I don’t know the answer to that one either.

    I feel like I am the fool on the hill (and a hopeless pontificator to boot). While most others live in their certainty, their perspective, their tribe or community, their ‘spirituality’, I find no teaching, no person, or no anything to hang my hat on.

    Fundamentalism to me is being unshakeable on any and every perspective whatsoever. And the only ‘problem’ with any of it, is wanting to feel something else or be somewhere else.

  33. Dear Brian1, I wish to say, that I am really grateful for this forum.
    Your pointer about fundamentalism are really clear and also, I like the way you set your boundaries…I like the way you confess directly your doubts about someone who could be claiming having not more ‘sense of self’ and that maybe is trying to present himself as a spiritual authority for his own egotistic reasons.
    I hope you find in me just the person who feels the need to share our observations in the attempt to better look at this dark side you are taking about and that is trying to look at its own lies or confusions… Actually my life is dedicated to this investigation and in that sense I consider you to be my very friend. I may say that I wish we could have a talk about ontological insecurity, since fundamentalism is just based on that.
    About Toombaru, I never felt or thought that he was trying to save me or instruct me, or tell me where I am at. I did not find that he is defending ‘his spiritual ego authority’ or anything like that. I find him friendly. I felt that he, as you do, points out to some important aspects.
    To me he has a clear way to address these mechanisms of survival and I can’t take that personal. Prabhã

  34. (The iPad changed “Prabha” to “Leanna” all by itself.)
    As you can plainly see, even sages get pissed off.
    :-0

  35. Leanna and Brian,
    I am still unable to cut and paste on my iPad in spite of Joh’s help and I can’t give your posts the attention they deserve.
    I will respond when I return to California on Tuesday.

    And as you see I have a general inability to communicate in this darned machine.

  36. Yes, it’s true! Brian has not made the great leap into Nothingness! Big News!

    Except that I acknowledge that fact all over this Blog.

    No one has to remind me or try to indict me for living in separation and not making the total leap into divine oblivion. I suffer the consequences of “my” actions every minute of every day. But unlike some people, my truth is that, at the level of spirituality and enlightenment, I have noticed that I have no free will at all, that I am simply the object and the vehicle for God to experience separation in this particular form. What is happening in me is a process that I don’t initiate, control or direct, but which is busily dismantling what I know to be me. I trust it implicitly and find all the traditional or modern strategies and devices to be obsolete (for me) and therefore useless and quite irrelevant.

    Yes I have free will at the level of vanilla or chocolate, Chevy or Ford, but not whether the ‘Brian machine’ will leap off the cliff into oblivion. Therefore recommendations that I do this or that, or respond to this or that rave, or wake NOW! into Wakefullness, or acknowledge yet another detail of my personal self-contraction, strikes me as absurd, as well as deeply misguided.

    The problem with fundamentalists is that they don’t know when to stop.

    The reason that fundamentalists (at any level of refinement) don’t know when to stop is because they are as yet secretly self divided from their humanity. Self-divided in that, somewhere along the way, they disowned challenging aspects of their humanity in order to more strongly affirm our divinity. As a result they are often humorless, aggressive and fail to acknowledge the sublime perfection wherein the divine enjoys its time in separation and subsequent return trip, as much as its own self, as well as I’ve said above, constrain their zealotry with common human respect and courtesy.

    They abide in solitude within their ‘divine’ hideout and they feel superior to and disrespectful of simple human laws of mutual respect and courtesy. They can no more be convinced to rejoin humanity than a hopeless degenerate can be convinced to embrace his divinity.

    They are unaccountable for and ignorant about their own dark side and therefore it remains a covert force within them that occasionally overpowers their fixation on their divine purity, and lashes out in order to damage to other human beings in the name of God’s work. This issue of an un-mastered and violent dark side is not only true of criminal fundamentalists who blow people up with bombs, but with people who presume a spiritual authority. Their darkness comes out in passive-aggressive and arrogant attempts to “help” or “save” other people. This is profoundly different from the ownership of one’s own dark side, as depicted in the Jed books, where the focus is on acknowledging one’s own pain and discomfort or alienation. Contrast this kind of ownership with that of a Fundamentalist, who is at war with everyone else’s dark side or behaviors and tries to destroy it because it so reminds him of his hidden darkness.

  37. Now the question is for you dear Toombaru, is it possible that when the sens of self commes to an end or resolution, the contraction in the guts and the so called ‘bad emotions’…goes away for ever? It seams to me that my idea of the sens of self coming to an end, is like a fary tale. “No more anger, no more doubts, evrything is quite and there is just that presence”. I t looks that more I come to the ‘edge’ more anger my body can take, and I can tell things to people, that I never adventured to tell before. Prabhã

  38. Dear Toombaru… In fact after the years of practice (don’t ask me what practice…; mantra repetition, medit-cation, sitting in the company of great sages and even sitting in the company of the master of the world, (whom I could not trust), studding in depth OUR HYPNOTIC TRANCES, our spiritualization, practicing self-enquiry, working with myself and people’s believes and concepts and stories…), “I” discovered along, that circle composed by at list 9 or 10 mane mechanisms. But that clarity did not make -the sense of self-, disappear.
    As Bryan put it, I still have this contraction in the guts and “I”, the experience-er, is still experiencing often boredom, disgust, anger, guilt, sadness and self-doubt. “I still fill the gaps”. There is great turmoil going on here. The ‘highest ideals’ mechanism, is subsiding a little… ‘but not all the way’, and…by saying so, I am proving it. Prabhã

  39. There is no resolution, other than a tricky joke of conciousness, so there’s nothing left to be exposed…etc.

  40. Thanks for the information Joh but I think that Prabha’s answer was wonderful.
    As the ego gets closer to its own edge resistance to it’s own essential emptiness increases.
    Brian is reshuffling his cards hoping for a more pleasant outcome.
    Almost everyone to the so called journey that.
    The resolution occurs whe

  41. There Brian,
    I see some interesting assumptions on the lines you where writing to Toombaru…
    During my years of investigation, working with people in the ways proposed by Stephen Wolinsky, I made the discovery of this amazing circle of mechanisms.

    You could make a design of few circles starting from down page to the left hand side: There you write ONTOLOGICAL INSECURITY. Fear of not being, self-doubt, lacking something fundamental… Which confirm the ILLUSION of SEPARATION.
    All of that you write down. That is the conviction, that there is not self. Jed McKenna talks about it. The main fear is the fear of not being.

    With the consequences to the circle on right hand side dawn page: DEFINED “ME”
    I am incomplete, imperfect, incorrect, unworthy, powerless, inferior, inadequate, unloving or unloved, non existing…

    From there, you drop an arrow to the next circle up to the right: HIGHEST IDEAL.
    Over the arrow you put THE SEEKER or DOER trying to arrange that.

    The highest ideal has to do with 3 conditions: 1. Achieving a situation 2. Being a specific type person 3. Occupying a specific location or place.
    All these conditions are there to prove existence… to prove that I am…really there.

    From that point of view indeed there is an interesting idea: THAT “I” COULD ACHIEVE A MORE EXALTATED OR HIGHEST STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS TROUGH ‘MY’ EFFORTS.
    All kind of assumptions of evolution related to spirituality belong to that very mechanism of highest ideals, which in general has to do with the opposite of the primal definitions.
    It seams to me, that Adi Da never founded out that fact. He talked of 7 levels? I met him… His story about levels was another story for the separate I.

    Now to the right up, you design another circle: THE EVALUATING OBSERVER. This one is deciding whether you are already high up on your ideal YOU, or not. Usually you are not. There are many, many level of “evolution” for the “highest ideal…” You will never achieve the highest and you will drop back to ontological insecurity.

    The fact is that YOU CAN’T NOT, NOT BE. What you are does not need valuable conditions in order to BE. Prabhã

  42. “Keep struggling and get back to me when you reach the seventh level………..well that is if you are still there.”

    There is no struggle.
    There is only an idea of a seventh level.

    That’s great communication, isn’t it?

  43. There is a fundamental error that is innate within conceptual thought that is not easily exposed by using conceptual thought.
    It was never my intention to agree to disagree.
    Your assumption that the self has an existential reality and can attain a more exalted state through it’s own efforts is wrong.
    There are only so many ways to say that.
    Keep struggling and get back to me when you reach the seventh level………..well that is if you are still there.
    :.)

  44. Gee Toombaru, I am disappointed!

    I thought you would have understood that my last message was one of “let’s agree to disagree”. My point was that I didn’t find your high dharma conceptual configurations useful, (for what its worth, I found that other teaching presentations were more resonant/lovable to me).

    Even all of this is besides the point that, as I’ve elaborated on other pages here, that NO deity, spiritual teacher, teaching, practice, ritual or even intention is, or has been useful or used by me for many years.

    Spinning a few more lines of Advaita at me starts to look boorish and is getting a bit tedious.
    No hard feelings but please turn your ministrations to someone else .
    Brian.

  45. Brian,
    I am away on a business trip and only have access to an iPad.
    It doesn’t have a cut and paste feature so I am unable to give your post the response it deserves.
    Just a bit in response:
    Here enlightenment and even awareness is seen as a misconception.
    Since there is no such thing as a self any quality of gradiation of quality assigned to is essentially meaningless.
    There can be no sixth story in a building that doesn’t exist.

  46. @ Toombaru

    Forgot to include some content in my last message in regards of your last message to me, in where you invite me “to respond to the idea rather than the man.”

    I find that somewhat confusing, to say the least, since I have no idea where an idea is coming from, other than from man.

    smiles…

  47. Thank you Toombaru for your full and enthusiastic response to my response. I barely have it in me to have another round of this but I woke up this morning with an internal download which seemed destined for this blog.
    Not only have I grown fond of you, this phantom called Toombaru, but I do regard you as a high and holy dude who has a lot to say. And I am sure you are the perfect voice for some ears to hear. But my atunement to Truth has different criteria than the splendid qualities which you represent.
    The form of truth which I “worship” goes something like this: depth (of self- or no-self)+ humanity (light and dark side) + humor= enlightenment. It’s these qualities which I find abundant in Jed McKenna, and present in Adi Da, and absent in just about every other spiritual teacher I’ve ever seen or heard about.
    The Toombaru vehicle exhibits depth of self, a bit of humor, the light side of his humanity, but nothing from the dark side of his humanity. It is for that reason that when I hear the words of Toombaru I am largely unmoved spiritually, and therefore ‘suspicious’. The peak moments in the Jed McKenna character, as I’ve said before, when he is groaning with exhaustion and boredom during the recitation of the Gita, and when he is lambasting the cruisy New Age folks in California, or when he is making sport of the police in a deserted tourist village. Or when Da is telling dirty jokes, or screaming commands like a drunken New York street punk, that I finally become confidence that I’m dealing with the real thing or at least, a trustable representation of such. I’m deeply suspicious when all I hear and see are light and lovely and truisms! If there is no ownership of one’s dark side, either that which is felt internally or express externally, I will not trust that source (fully).
    I am painfully aware that that might simply be my ego’s projection of a desired proper parental presence, or else my thirst for adventure and entertainment. But there it is: my criteria for sooth-saying!
    Now I can appreciate that maybe your vehicle just has a gentler expression in this world, designed to speak effectively to a different personality set than my own. I just don’t know!
    On the other hand you could be an beautiful representation of what Adi Da called a Sage- a fine embodiment of what he called a Sixth Stage Realization (http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/sixth_stage_foreshadowings.html). That is to say someone partially or even completely rested in the self, but someone who is subtly dissociated from life and creation, and therefore still rooted in (very subtle) ego.
    I wouldn’t even take the time to belabor this point but it seems critical for many of us in order to avoid either: a somewhat blind acceptance of someone who perhaps has realized more than others, or else a dismissive rejection of your intervention here simply because something feels just a little bit off.
    So in summary I have no idea Toombaru who you are, or what you have realized, but at the truth level I respond to a different frequency, or set of frequencies.
    I am sure you don’t need any of good tidings from me, but I just want to reiterate my gratitude for your showing up here and developing these fine considerations.
    Sincerely,
    Brian

  48. @Toombaru

    “What are your personal beliefs concerning enlightenment?”

    – I think I share a common interest on the topic of awakening of man, but I have no beliefs or whatsoever concerning enlightenment.

    ”Do you believe that humans can be enlightened?”

    – If you’re foolish enough to believe that you can get enlightened, be my guest.

    ”Have you ever sat with an enlightened being?”

    – All my friends are enlightened; they are all (beautiful) fools.

    “Ramama was proselytizing, Nisargadatta was proselytizing, the Buddha was proselytizing, Jesus was proselytizing, Jed Mckenna is proselytizing, I am proselytizing and you are proselytizing.”

    Do you really think that, Ramana, Niz, Buddha, Jesus or Jed could be bothered by interfering in petty conversations whether enlightenment exists or not?

    In communication there’s a vast difference between individuals exchanging and accepting information on a basis of mutual interest, or induce others by one’s own doctrine, spreading his or hers gospel, in the binary temples of the internet.
    Toombaru, with all due respect, your proclamations are distributed on dozens non-dual, advaita, awakenings and other swami-guru-inquiry forums of the internet, with the same quotes and sermons repeated over and over again. Now, that’s proselytizing.

    Btw, that’s an observation, no preaching involved here.

  49. Joh,

    Everything ever spoken is proselytizing.
    The persona is the gravitational center of its acquired beliefs.
    It IS its beliefs.
    It believes that its beliefs represent reality.
    Ramama was proselytizing, Nisargadatta was proselytizing, the Buddha was proselytizing, Jesus was proselytizing, Jed Mckenna is proselytizing, I am proselytizing and you are proselytizing.
    Each individual tends to agree with those proselytizers whose delusion coincides with their own.
    The conceptual entity has to constantly reaffirm its own pseudo reality.
    It does that partly by espousing its unique perspective.
    Some can see that……..some cannot.
    Other than a pleasant depersonalization, there is no advantage to that apprehension.

    It is difficult to reply to ad hominem dismissals.
    If you would care to respond to the ideas instead to man, perhaps we could find some common ground……..perhaps not.

    What are your personal beliefs concerning enlightenment?
    Do you believe that humans can be enlightened?
    Have you ever sat with an enlightened being?

    I am sincerely interested in your answers.

  50. To Joh
    I completely understand your nauseation. I feel the same way. And by the way I wasn’t implying that you are a rejecter of people, but as you point our a ‘rejecter’ of proselytizing.
    Brian

  51. @ Brian

    In your message from 12-07 you wrote: “For instance, perhaps Joh saw that disposition in you and wanted to reject you for that reason.”

    Be assured Brian, that it is not in my nature to reject people. Just can’t stand endless preaching, which, in most cases, seems nothing more than proudly displaying some learned wisdom. I sometimes wonder how many of those monsoon frogs live the life they preach.
    Posting unasked advice is annoying, almost next to nauseating.

    Jed McK. calls it makyo behaviour (well, sort of), I call it proselytizing.

    My two cents.

  52. The first thing I have to say, Toombaru, is that I’ve grown rather fond of you, and I find you are also a very entertaining chap. And frankly that’s the most important thing that comes to me from this blog — is meeting and get getting to know- good and intelligent people like yourself.

    toombaru:
    The conventional mind is not willing or able to deal with its own essential emptiness.
    Only those with a most peculiar wiring will find themselves obsessed by obscure authors who tell them that their entire perspective is no more substantial than a dream.
    When those who have peeked over the edge stumble across each other a most delightful simpatico perfumes the air.

    On the other hand you present yourself here as an authority and so are judged by a different criterion. For instance, perhaps Joh saw that disposition in you and wanted to reject you for that reason. Perhaps Prabha saw you the same way and was inclined to accept you or your teachings.

    toombaru:
    I only claim to mysteriously lost the sense of being a separate self: and that it is no longer the gravitational center of the world.
    It is simply no longer there.
    The persona is seen to be like that funny little homunculus that clings to the back of the brain like a baby monkey.
    LOL
    It is believed that all so called enlightened teachers….great and small……have had the same experience and within it there are no gradations.
    Only a few of them are artful enough to articulate its delicate nuances.
    One either believes that they are a separate self……or they don’t.

    I don’t know why I am taking so much trouble critiquing someone’s offering who hasn’t asked me to do so.

    toombaru;
    Your words tease threads from this synaptic-interface.
    A conceptual tapestry waves in wind and something whispers:
    “Yes”.

    Maybe I’m just still ‘wound up’ from spending 30 years under the thumb of a big tough dominating guru. But if a person is going to make really big claims about their realization of truth, as you have on your web site and implicitly here, then I think it’s fair and even necessary that they be challenged.

    toombaru:
    At my last satsangs, I wanted to stand up and shout:
    “Hey……….That’s Bullshit!”.
    I now know that it’s all bullshit.
    I know that in all matters spiritual, nobody knows anything.
    That’s because its all made up.

    The young man
    held the bars tightly.
    He gazed at the frozen
    horizon.
    “What do you think is out there
    beyond those mountains?”
    he asked.
    There was a long pause.
    Without even looking,
    the old timer whispered:
    “It’s all prison kid”.

    That’s one of the things that made my former spiritual community a (benign) cult. No one was allowed, at least after awhile, to challenge the grand claims of the guru.

    toombaru:
    Something funny happens to the human psyche when a bunch humans gaze at you with googly-eyes and want to touch your feet.

    So that is the basis of what I have to say about your remarkable contribution to the blog’s discussion: that your disposition is as a teacher, and that invites a different response than if you were just another guy struggling in the soup of Maya.

    toombaru:
    One of the benefits of this apperception is the profound knowing that one has absolutely no idea what motivates their actions.
    Along with that comes a certain lightness of being that sometimes shows up as a silly grin and unfocused gaze of a so called sage.
    Or better…….it is known that actions happen but there no one actioning.
    Or even better……there is no such thing as separate actions.
    All “actions” or “events” are attempts by the conceptual mind to freeze-frame the perceived moment for future reference.

    So…Your words, frequently enough, communicate the Truth in ways which are remarkable and resonant with that of Truth, and those of many great teachers, in my humble opinion. That conceded, I would also remark that your heavy emphasis on intellectual diagnosis of the self-contraction feels painfully akin to the ramblings of a million other Advaitic aspirants.

    toombaru:
    Yeah…….I agree.
    There are only so many ways to combine words that point to this…….whatever-it-is.
    Its a hell of a problem that is trying to talk about something that exists only as an idea.
    It really is stacking shadows to reach the moon.

    I’m sure some people do find your surgical dissections of the self-contracted state as useful. And as I’ve said, I have found your lyrical stylings inspiring on several occasions. But with all due respect for your immense analytical capacity, Toombaru, to me it is overwrought to the point of being a disturbance to my entertainment! For example, stuff like this diminishes your effectiveness in my view:
    toombaru: The objectified mind addresses its accumulated stress by imagining its own liberation or transcendence. It is a brain-soothing technique.

    toombaru:
    One thing you might consider:
    When the sense of I am approaches its own edge it most often recoils back into the familiar.
    There occurs a peculiar discomfort when it is pulled out into the unknown-unknowable.
    I call it “whered-he-go”.
    The self is a survival program and the thought of its own essential emptiness is alien to its entire existence.

    All of which is quite true, but if you are speaking to someone like me, then you haven’t read me very well. When I start reading chunks of stuff like that my eyes glaze over or I even feel insulted that someone would serve me such a plate full of ancient Advaitic rhetorical palaver! Of course that is pretty rich coming from me, who must have uploaded about 15,000 words of my own witless nonsense onto this very web site. But I of course, am not claiming to be enlightened or a teacher, whereas it seems clear to me, you are doing both.

    toombaru:
    There comes a weariness of word combinations.
    There is a spiritual purgatory…….a no man’s land.
    To the self……it appears devoid of life and sterile.
    And to the self it is.
    Most people turn back into the familiar when it is encountered.
    And that’s alright.
    But……for those few who enter the Great Unknown-Unknowable……..
    well…………well……….

    golly………I just can’t find the words………….

    On the other hand when you speak to me like in this chunk, you connect and I can feel you as a person rather than a god from Mount Olympus:
    toombaru: As long as I can remember I have wondered what the heck was going on. I would lay on the wind-swept hills of Wyoming…….staring at clouds……and think; “Who am I?”

    Why? Because it is human and for my money, without humanness, there can be no enlightenment.

    toombaru:
    Indeed.
    This is the best that life has to offer.
    It doesn’t get any better than this.

    For example, to use Jed Mckenna again, the scene where he is agonizing in the basement of that church in Queens, listening to endless pabulum from the Gita – the honesty, the humanity, the transparency of that scene is spectacular! That combined with his more didactic sooth-saying convinces me that I am dealing with real thing, rather than a horde of ‘sacred doctrines’.

    toombaru”
    When one of my teachers had an affair with a beautiful follower, many wanted to crucify him.
    I wrote him a letter and told him that I loved him more than ever.
    He wrote back and said that in spite of the tempest…..the quite was ever present.
    Now I know what he meant.

    And not that it means a damn thing to either you or me, but I have no idea, and probably never will, whether or not you are fully enlightened,

    toombaru;
    Oh……I can tell you for sure…….I’m not.
    No one is.
    It would truly be like a shadow being enlightened.
    Light and shadows are antithetical.
    There is only this amazing awareness writing….reading……..

    I just looked up and saw the light streaming through my wife’s hair.

    For some strange reason tears have softened the edges and the quiescence has returned.

    however one might see that. But you have assumed the function of a teacher, and whether you are perfect or not is secondary, because you have served the Truth, and that is to be acknowledged, at least by me.

    toombaru:

    I thank you for this time together.
    It gets lonely out there when your nobody.

    LOL

    I’ll shut up now and give you the green light to post as much of your magnificent musings as you wish to this blog, without fear of being further harassed by me. You have definitely contributed something unique and special here, and I thank you very much for that.

    Cheers,
    Brian
    12 07 2011
    Marie (09:08:34) :

    Off topic for sure but just wanted to say Brian that I”m in awe of your ability to express yourself through written word. As a writer myself, there’s just nothing quite like reading the words another has written and ‘knowing’ exactly where they’re coming from. You have a real talent. 🙂

    toombaru”
    If you ever pass through the Central Coast of California, I will give you a piece of my yellow cake.

    I copied this one just in case.
    I only wish you could have read the one lost now in cyber-space.
    I like to think that it just might have been the perfect combination of words that would have catapulted you into oblivion.

    :-0

  53. Thank you kindly, Marie. Especially welcome in the context of a life gone horrible wrong over the past 4 years of so!
    At least I may doing something well!
    Cheers,
    Brian

  54. Off topic for sure but just wanted to say Brian that I”m in awe of your ability to express yourself through written word. As a writer myself, there’s just nothing quite like reading the words another has written and ‘knowing’ exactly where they’re coming from. You have a real talent. 🙂

  55. The first thing I have to say, Toombaru, is that I’ve grown rather fond of you, and I find you are also a very entertaining chap. And frankly that’s the most important thing that comes to me from this blog — is meeting and get getting to know- good and intelligent people like yourself.

    On the other hand you present yourself here as an authority and so are judged by a different criterion. For instance, perhaps Joh saw that disposition in you and wanted to reject you for that reason. Perhaps Prabha saw you the same way and was inclined to accept you or your teachings.

    I don’t know why I am taking so much trouble critiquing someone’s offering who hasn’t asked me to do so. Maybe I’m just still ‘wound up’ from spending 30 years under the thumb of a big tough dominating guru. But if a person is going to make really big claims about their realization of truth, as you have on your web site and implicitly here, then I think it’s fair and even necessary that they be challenged. That’s one of the things that made my former spiritual community a (benign) cult. No one was allowed, at least after awhile, to challenge the grand claims of the guru.
    So that is the basis of what I have to say about your remarkable contribution to the blog’s discussion: that your disposition is as a teacher, and that invites a different response than if you were just another guy struggling in the soup of Maya.

    So…Your words, frequently enough, communicate the Truth in ways which are remarkable and resonant with that of Truth, and those of many great teachers, in my humble opinion. That conceded, I would also remark that your heavy emphasis on intellectual diagnosis of the self-contraction feels painfully akin to the ramblings of a million other Advaitic aspirants.

    I’m sure some people do find your surgical dissections of the self-contracted state as useful. And as I’ve said, I have found your lyrical stylings inspiring on several occasions. But with all due respect for your immense analytical capacity, Toombaru, to me it is overwrought to the point of being a disturbance to my entertainment! For example, stuff like this diminishes your effectiveness in my view:
    toombaru: The objectified mind addresses its accumulated stress by imagining its own liberation or transcendence. It is a brain-soothing technique.

    All of which is quite true, but if you are speaking to someone like me, then you haven’t read me very well. When I start reading chunks of stuff like that my eyes glaze over or I even feel insulted that someone would serve me such a plate full of ancient Advaitic rhetorical palaver! Of course that is pretty rich coming from me, who must have uploaded about 15,000 words of my own witless nonsense onto this very web site. But I of course, am not claiming to be enlightened or a teacher, whereas it seems clear to me, you are doing both.

    On the other hand when you speak to me like in this chunk, you connect and I can feel you as a person rather than a god from Mount Olympus:
    toombaru: As long as I can remember I have wondered what the heck was going on. I would lay on the wind-swept hills of Wyoming…….staring at clouds……and think; “Who am I?”

    Why? Because it is human and for my money, without humanness, there can be no enlightenment. For example, to use Jed Mckenna again, the scene where he is agonizing in the basement of that church in Queens, listening to endless pabulum from the Gita – the honesty, the humanity, the transparency of that scene is spectacular! That combined with his more didactic sooth-saying convinces me that I am dealing with real thing, rather than a horde of ‘sacred doctrines’.

    And not that it means a damn thing to either you or me, but I have no idea, and probably never will, whether or not you are fully enlightened, however one might see that. But you have assumed the function of a teacher, and whether you are perfect or not is secondary, because you have served the Truth, and that is to be acknowledged, at least by me.

    I’ll shut up now and give you the green light to post as much of your magnificent musings as you wish to this blog, without fear of being further harassed by me. You have definitely contributed something unique and special here, and I thank you very much for that.

    Cheers,
    Brian

  56. Version 2

    Brian:

    Thank you Toombaru for your descriptions and critique of what some teachers call “the search”, the machinations that spiritual egos go through in attempting to claim the un-claimable. You have certainly demonstrated a freedom with mental expressions and a wonderful poetic capacity with words.

    I am curious about what you would have to say about your own process or status with regards to the gut and the heart. I’m referring to Adyashanti’s mapping which suggests that for liberation to be real and full, not only will the self demonstrate freedom from identification with the mental aspects, but also with the feeling-emotional, and the body-gut dimension.

    toombaru:

    The objectified mind addresses its accumulated stress by imagining its own liberation or transcendence.
    It is a brain-soothing technique.
    The self’s entire reality is composed of labels that are mistaken for reality……or better the conceptual overlay IS its only reality.
    The self cannot experience freedom from identification.
    It arises within and is the result of identification.
    When the self loses its opacity a strangely familiar perspective blends the edges.
    The gravitational center of the swirling mnemonic debris breaks free and becomes everywhere.
    This world-view does not demean the identified perspective but includes and embraces it as a unique phenomenon.
    It is merely the way the human brain evolved to perceive its perceptual input.
    It is wondrous machinery.
    It is who you are……..and yet is it isn’t.

    Brian:

    You may understand or sympathize that some of the uncertainty that goes out to someone who speaks as eloquently as yourself about truth (and who claims to “be enlightened”) involves this matter of distinguishing between people who do have an “open” mind and self-idea and verbal capacity, but who may or may not have, or be able to demonstrate, an open-heart, and gut.

    toombaru:

    As long as I can remember I have wondered what the heck was going on.
    I would lay on the wind-swept hills of Wyoming…….staring at clouds……and think; “Who am I?”
    I read every new age book I could find and when I came across Nisargadatta, I was hooked.
    My garage was full of books on anything related to advaita.
    I traveled to sit with many teachers……..talked on web lists.
    I read everything I could find about the newest research on the brain and consciousness.
    I always felt that there was one tiny piece missing.
    Then one night……………(earlier I mentioned the night in Las Vegas when the curtain ripped.)
    Now all questions on spiritual matters simply don’t arise.
    The beauty and mystery of the physical word enthralls me.
    My days and nights are perfumed with a quiescent unknowingness and there is no desire to stack or re-arrange my post-its to explain other post-its.
    It is known that all those years, I was trying to define something that never existed.

    Brian:

    That is exactly why many of us trust the Jed McKenna character: a person who is not only free and open as the mental philosophical level but who appears happily and comfortably integrated with his old ego — preference tendencies or character. The honesty and the realness of such a character is more compelling than all the philosophy I’ve ever heard.

    toombaru:

    I too fell for Jed Mckenna.
    I bought and underlined all four books.
    Joan Tollifson ( Awake In The Heartland) said that she tried to find him for a long time until it dawned that he was also a mnemonic phantom.
    After Las Vegas I haven’t read anything about things spiritual.
    I picked up some writings of Nisargadatta and had to put them down.
    I can honestly say that if any spiritual teacher…….living or dead….were to invite me for an audience………I would decline.
    I would much rather coax a giggle out of Gwenaline Grace.
    She’s four months old and so beautiful.

    Brian:

    I should also note and what that is why many of us also distrust the Jed McKenna character -because of his apparently rather shallow and constricted demonstration of a feeling-heart dimension (at least at the time the books were written, who knows where he “he” may be at at this point in time)!

    toombaru:

    You should never trust anyone who uses a pseudonym.

    LOL

    Brian:

    And yes I do understand that all of that is just more framing of the unframable, and I realize that it has no liberating force in my own case, and indeed it is just one more contraption my ego has accumulated. But I said before, this blog is a place for me of amusements and entertainment. I enjoy it with the same depth of significance as I do a good episode of Seinfeld or The Wire, or sharpening my serve in Volleyball!

    toombaru:

    Yes………Indeed……..that’s it.
    There is a great misconception that once the self is transcended life will be free from stress.
    And all the time…….life flows along its mysterious course………….unknown………….unknowable.

    Five baby wild turkeys……disappear in the shadows.
    A mother watches me……..nervously.
    She is mostly white…..and I wonder…………………

    Brian:
    And so I cordially invite you, Toombaru, to entertain us with a response to this question I raise above. What about the gut and the heart?

    Sincerely
    Brian

    toombaru:

    Whatever this is……..it refuses to be confined with words.
    It seems so pristine and so clear.
    If I reach for it and it blends into scenery.

    (I liked the first one better…….but its gone)

    🙂

    I liked the

  57. Ouch, Toombaru. You have all my sympathy on that one!

    As a practical matter I learned long ago to never post anything to any web site without ‘selecting, and copying’ to the system clipboard first. So if the transmission fails I can simply reload the page, ‘paste’ my text in again and re-submit. (Also, sometimes if you press the Browser’s ‘Back’ button, the form field will be still available and filled out with your text). Indeed you might try that now…

    Sorry for your grief!
    Cheers,
    Brian

  58. I’m sorry Brian.

    I just finished a most elaborate and detailed response…….it took me all day.

    I pushed the wrong button and it disappeared.

    For me this is a very laborious effort.

    It is like following a small vane of gold down through a granite mountain.

    My eyesight is bad and I lack the education necessary to fully color in the nuances of this undertaking.

    Perhaps tomorrow I will have the heart to start again.

    toombaru

  59. Thank you Toombaru for your descriptions and critique of what some teachers call “the search”, the machinations that spiritual egos go through in attempting to claim the un-claimable. You have certainly demonstrated a freedom with mental expressions and a wonderful poetic capacity with words.

    I am curious about what you would have to say about your own process or status with regards to the gut and the heart. I’m referring to Adyashanti’s mapping which suggests that for liberation to be real and full, not only will the self demonstrate freedom from identification with the mental aspects, but also with the feeling-emotional, and the body-gut dimension.

    You may understand or sympathize that some of the uncertainty that goes out to someone who speaks as eloquently as yourself about truth (and who claims to “be enlightened”) involves this matter of distinguishing between people who do have an “open” mind and self-idea and verbal capacity, but who may or may not have, or be able to demonstrate, an open-heart, and gut.

    That is exactly why many of us trust the Jed McKenna character: a person who is not only free and open as the mental philosophical level but who appears happily and comfortably integrated with his old ego — preference tendencies or character. The honesty and the realness of such a character is more compelling than all the philosophy I’ve ever heard. I should also note and what that is why many of us also distrust the Jed McKenna character -because of his apparently rather shallow and constricted demonstration of a feeling-heart dimension (at least at the time the books were written, who knows where he “he” may be at at this point in time)!

    And yes I do understand that all of that is just more framing of the unframable, and I realize that it has no liberating force in my own case, and indeed it is just one more contraption my ego has accumulated. But I said before, this blog is a place for me of amusements and entertainment. I enjoy it with the same depth of significance as I do a good episode of Seinfeld or The Wire, or sharpening my serve in Volleyball!

    And so I cordially invite you, Toombaru, to entertain us with a response to this question I raise above. What about the gut and the heart?

    Sincerely
    Brian

  60. Joh (20:36:46) :

    ““Ramama, like all sages, contradicts himself many times…”

    Everybody seems to be needing corrections and talking nonsense but you.

    How is that possible. Do you have people around you washing your feet?”

    When a pebble is tossed into to a pond……. ripples arise.
    When a question is posed to a sage………words emerge.
    In the manifestation, each arising is a unique blend of subtle nuances flowing and blending within the moment.
    When the ripples….or the words….are captured….their relevance evaporates.

    That which you seek will not be found by scratching around in the bone-yards of your ancestors.

    It is ever present in this scintillating moment that just dematerialized.

    And that alive-presence is who I am.

  61. “Ramama, like all sages, contradicts himself many times…”

    Everybody seems to be needing corrections and talking nonsense but you.

    How is that possible. Do you have people around you washing your feet?

  62. Joh wrote:
    “Been said eons ago and heard it all before, a thousand and more times, nothing new there…in fact, it’s boring to the bone.”

    It’s beginning to dawn that at the edge of the known world is a sharp drop off.
    At this point, you can either turn around and travel back into the familiar or perhaps you will take the great leap.

    Who knows?

    🙂

  63. Joh wrote :(01:35:02) :

    ” “Pre-occupation with theory, doctrine and philosophy can actually be harmful,
    insofar as it distracts a man from the really important work of spiritual
    effort, by offering an easier alternative which is merely mental, and which
    therefore cannot change his nature.”

    Arthur Osborne in: The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words,
    Chap.1″

    Everything ever said, including the words of a sage, is spoken to the moment.
    Ramana was speaking to a unique set of circumstances and were meant to apply only to that.
    Arthur Osborne translated Ramana’s Tamil and put what he thought Ramama had said in a book.
    Following generations try to apply the words to the circumstances arising in their own conceptual overlay.
    Ramama, like all sages, contradicts himself many times simply because each seeker is at a different place in their journey to personal oblivion and are able to ingest doses of insight appropriate to their ability in assimilating the stark truth concerning their own essential emptiness.
    In the above statement, Ramana was speaking to a person relatively new in the search and attempting to deflect the obsessive intent to transcend their personal prison and become enlightened.
    The words arose easily and even Ramana could not hold them.
    As a seeker trudges through the emptiness of their own conceptual dream they obsess over a vague shimmering on the ever receding horizon.
    It is not real.
    It only exists as an idea.
    Ramana was merely pointing to another mirage in an attempt to deflect their obsession.

    In truth man cannot, through his own volition change his nature.
    He IS his nature.
    Most often the self ripens only after innumerable dead ends.
    Repeated exhaustion and failure strip the persona of all hope……and sometimes………sometimes…….the self falls into its own emptiness.

    Joh,
    Your words have a familiar resonance.
    Have we crossed paths?

    toombaru

  64. “Pre-occupation with theory, doctrine and philosophy can actually be harmful,
    insofar as it distracts a man from the really important work of spiritual
    effort, by offering an easier alternative which is merely mental, and which
    therefore cannot change his nature.”

    Arthur Osborne in: The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words,
    Chap.1

  65. Joh (16:17:58) :

    @Toombaru

    “I’m very sorry my friend, but it appears that you are constrained by your very own thoughts,’

    I am my very own thought…..as are you.
    There is no “me” outside of the synaptic web.

    ‘……..which implies that you like to understand. But, what is there to understand?”

    The mind is a program that evolved to make connections.
    It’s function is to “understand”.
    The I am is a product of the mind.
    When the sense of self falls into its own vacuity……..an entirely different view of the world appears.
    This perspective is not entirely focused on the conceptual overlay and centered on the appearance of personal autonomy.

    “Even your hummingbird is one of your illusions.”

    It is an illusion as a “hummingbird”.
    It is completely covered by a label.
    But as an unnamed-unknowable hovering bit of emerald fluff……..it is a jaw dropping mystery.

    Been said eons ago and heard it all before, a thousand and more times, nothing new there…in fact, it’s boring to the bone,

  66. Prabhã wrote:

    “Dear Toombaru, I just want to say that it feels as if ‘my heart is jumping with joy ‘ when I read you. Prabhã.”

    Oh……..that’s just dopamine flooding the brain.
    🙂

    Seriously, it is as easy for the mechanism to get hooked on the jargon of non-duality as any other theology.
    The only difference with non-duality is that one is left only with a carrot shaped emptiness.

  67. Joh (16:17:58) :

    @Toombaru

    “I’m very sorry my friend, but it appears that you are constrained by your very own thoughts,’

    I am my very own thought…..as are you.
    There is no “me” outside of the synaptic web.

    ‘……..which implies that you like to understand. But, what is there to understand?”

    The mind is a program that evolved to make connections.
    It’s function is to “understand”.
    The I am is a product of the mind.
    When the sense of self falls into its own vacuity……..an entirely different view of the world appears.
    This perspective is not entirely focused on the conceptual overlay and centered on the appearance of personal autonomy.

    “Even your hummingbird is one of your illusions.”

    It is an illusion as a “hummingbird”.
    It is completely covered by a label.
    But as an unnamed-unknowable hovering bit of emerald fluff……..it is a jaw dropping mystery.

  68. Dear Brian, I hope your health is better now.
    I agree with you. Phrases like “it appears that you are constrained by your very own thoughts, which implies that you like to understand” are full of bulshit. Nothing to do with sharing. Not need to post this.Prabha

  69. Hello Eddie Joh, Toombaru and Prabha. Thanks to you all for your recent dialog.

    As Moderator I have the uncertain task of keeping things benign and respectful and maybe even focused. I am not sure I have done such a great job of it to date, but- that is my job as I see it.

    The question that has lurked in my mind for the past week or so is- have our discussions drifted away from content, and have disagreements become personalized where people start taking apart each other’s words and building a case against them for being less aware or awake than themselves.

    I have been sick for three weeks so I haven’t followed the flow of the discussion very well, so I may well be missing something here, or maybe I am acting too protective of grown adults who can take care of themselves. But my feeling that I need to communicate is: have we drifted into the realm of ad hominem argumentation, or not?

    Up until a week ago I thought that perhaps the friction I perceived on the blog was simply our egos in getting irritated with the style and the emphasis of other egos i.e. some folks are bored shitless with all the philosophizing and restating of the great truths. Other folks find it useful and helpful. Some people just want to connect at the human level and leave all the Dharma discussions behind. Other people perhaps feel that that is simply indulging in one’s ego story.

    You know, back in the 90s when Rodney King, after getting beaten senseless by the police, came out and asked “can’t we all just get along?” He was pilloried and attacked mercilessly in the media. But those simplistic words are the ones that I feel like speaking to this fine group of folks I’ve met on this blog.

    Sincerely,
    Brian

  70. @Toombaru

    I’m very sorry my friend, but it appears that you are constrained by your very own thoughts, which implies that you like to understand. But, what is there to understand?
    Even your hummingbird is one of your illusions.

  71. Joh wrote:

    @Toombaru:

    With all due respect, but what is a “scintillating-electo-chemical-reactive-survival-based-closed-self referential-loop?

    It is the one writing and reading these words right now.
    It is the self………I am……the ego……the persona……the sense of personal identity…the sense of being a separate self.
    It is a conceptual program ( dream) that evolved in the brain of man as soon as he objectified and conceptualized his perceptual input.
    It can never see itself simply because it has no existential reality.
    It is the geocentric center of the resulting conceptual overlay that is mistaken for reality.
    It IS the conceptual overlay itself.
    It is a highly evolved addendum that improves the organism’s chances of survival and reproduction.
    I does, however have a down side.
    It is this self imposed, imaginary confinement from which it seeks to escape, seldom apprehending that it IS the prison itself.
    The only tools it has at its disposal in its attempts to transcend its own condition are the very cause of its dilemma.
    Some. it appears break the spell and for them reality is no longer covered by post-ts…..or at least the post-its lose their opacity.
    But a world not defined by labels cannot be described by using labels.

    Oh look…….there’s a hummingbird!

  72. There is no teaching, or teacher that can deliver this understanding (unless there is), because in non-dual Reality, there is no separation.

    “Non-duality exists only in conceptual separation.

  73. Hello Jho,
    I am truly sorry for the reaction I had on your criticism, at list, it was sincere.
    It was difficult not to be reactive about what sounds as a displaced comment.
    Factually, something really fundamental has being told here lately.

    Without knowing anyone here, several confusing ideas of my “loop”, had been confronted in this interchange. Toombaru for instance has written about facts, which read with attention point to different aspects of our self centered activity.
    Maybe for you that is ‘really embarrassing’ and ‘unexplainable’.
    To me it is really important to consider those pointers ; pointers that are said with elegance and clarity. I agree with Toombaru: “The self is a mnemonic phantom and there is nothing within it that can evolve in what is ultimately a scintillating-electro-chemical-reactive-survival-based-closed-self referential-loop”. That is clarity.
    But I am looking forward to his answer if he does. Prabhã

  74. @Eddie

    That’s a lovely illustration of your feelings and findings.

    “someone who is simply present and attractively communicable about what they feel and what they are thinking; give me such a person and I will melt into the heart of their bosom.”

    -Is it possible that that could be found in the presence of “true” silence, with any given person?

  75. Hello Prabhã,

    Critics,? I my own way, I guess
    A fundamentalist,? I my own way, I guess, but not as blind not to read what I have written.
    A lie,? please explain, if explainable

    You write; “and on top there is not something explainable or unnexplainable”,
    -why bother at all.

  76. @ Toombaru

    The frase; There is no such thing as…, is arguably the biggest cop out among nondualists.

  77. Over the years, countless people have conveyed what enlightenment is, either through the written word or by direct verbal communication. Some of them have been ordinary folk (not claiming anything profound but nevertheless wanting to express something they consider valuable); others, self-proclaimed gurus or teachers. If all these utterances were written down in one place, they would probably form more words than that contained in all the books of the Library of Congress in Washington DC! Moreover, of all the thousands, or tens-of-thousands, or even millions of expressed opinions and ideas, I daresay not two of them would completely agree with each other! What is one to make from all of this?

    Give me someone who claims to not ‘know’ what enlightenment is (if that person did ‘know’ what it was, they would surely have to profess being enlightened, otherwise, how would they know what it was?); someone who no longer pits one notion of enlightenment against another; someone who is extraordinarily ordinary without a skerrick of beliefs about anything; someone who is simply present and attractively communicable about what they feel and what they are thinking; give me such a person and I will melt into the heart of their bosom.

    Yes, Joh, I guess reading ‘the article above’ is just not sufficient for its message to fully penetrate. A greater force must be required. I suspect that force is hidden until one is utterly done with the knowing of anything for sure. Maybe that’s what the sages meant by the word ‘esoteric’ – it’s there but its secret is only revealed by Grace, by the release of all knowing by a knower who doesn’t even exist. And maybe that’s what one such guru was communicating when he linked the notion of enlightenment with the phrase ‘Divine Ignorance’. Just maybe…

  78. Hello Joh,
    Your comment seams a lie to me… You are not amazed, you have not really read the interchanges here, there isn’t any urge, there is nothing embarrassing, and on top there is not something explainable or unnexplainable. You are giving a criticism lightly, perhaps without having read your own fundamentalistic tendecies.
    Prabhã

  79. @Toombaru:

    With all due respect, but what is a “scintillating-electo-chemical-reactive-survival-based-closed-self referential-loop”

  80. It never ceases to amaze me to see people’s urge trying to explain the unexplainable to each other. Kind of embarrassing, really.

    It’s almost as if some/most? of those posters here, simply ignore or haven’t read the article above.

  81. “Jan said that Man is evolving. That he first has to fall asleep to be a part of the mechanical world we live in, and then grow from there. So, in light of the above, you are born with ‘ I am’, lose it when you ask ” Am I ? and get it back when you have the guts to step up and claim it.
    It is also the basis of all novels where, Boy gets girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy gets girl back……..(;^))”

    Here, the concept of the personal identity evolving or transforming itself into a more refined entity is merely another pie in the sky grasping at shadows in its attempt to secure an actual existential reality.

    When the apperception of the self’s essential vacuity dawns. there is simply nothing left to claim the higher state.

    The self is a mnemonic phantom.

    There is nothing within it that can evolve in what is ultimately a scintillating-electo-chemical-reactive-survival-based-closed-self referential-loop.

    Enlightenment is not the ultimate self-awareness.
    It is the absence of the sense of self.

    It is not something to be attained or reached through an evolutionary process.

    Awareness finds itself experiencing an edgeless mystery and knows that that is its own ultimate reality.

  82. To Prabha:
    The ” I am” happens by itself.
    The ” Am I ?” is a tar baby.

    To Toombaru:
    The name of Jan’s first book in the ’70’s was ” Magnus Machina “. The Great Machine”. Compare just the title to ‘ conceptual overlay ‘, and you can nod your head and say, ” It fits.”
    The only question remaining to be answered is, ” Have I the energy to be here right now, or am I gonna sink into the waiting arms of my Lover, Habit, the automata, the Great Machine?

    Now back to Prabha:
    Jan said that Man is evolving. That he first has to fall asleep to be a part of the mechanical world we live in, and then grow from there. So, in light of the above, you are born with ‘ I am’, lose it when you ask ” Am I ? and get it back when you have the guts to step up and claim it.
    It is also the basis of all novels where, Boy gets girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy gets girl back……..(;^))

  83. Toombaru you said: “Any question that the ‘I’ can come up with, concerns and reinforces its personal pseudo existence.”

    Prabha:
    “During the process of autolysis………”

    Autolysis:
    In biology, autolysis, more commonly known as self-digestion, refers to the destruction of a cell through the action of its own enzymes.

    T:
    Sincere and prolonged inquiry into the nature of “I am” can lead only to self destruction.
    The sense being a separate, autonomous personality loses its opacity and the objectified pseudo-reality is seen for what it is and isn’t.
    It appears that this can happen gradually or under the influence of a psychological catharsis.

    P:
    “the question “Am I?” arises by itself…”

    T:
    To the sense of self, it appears that it arises naturally and in truth, it does.
    Ultimately the I am is composed of nothing but swirling mnemonic debris.
    It is an electro-chemical phantom that scintillates only within the synaptic interface.
    In fact it the neurons them selves……..simmering in the damp-dark of the frontal cortex…..that “look out” and wonder what in the hell is going on.

    P:
    ” It is not the ‘I’ who can up with that question.”

    T:
    There are no questions in nature.
    Only the I comes up with questions.
    And all of it questions are about the conceptualized pseudo-reality which is its own ultimate totality.

    p:
    “During the rehearsals of the story ‘I’ told itself…, during the annunciation of facts that where before denied…, during the recognition of the ontological insecurity and the guilt that the ‘I’ was holding to…, when all the binary definitions of the ‘I’ are truly seen…, when the mechanism of seeking of the ‘I’ and its highest ideals are seen…, when the evaluator observer is seen…”

    T:
    No.
    There is no resolution to a problem that never even exited…..or existed only as a conceptualized-conceptual-structure.
    There is no way out of a prison that exists only as a group of ideas.

    The “way” is achieved through understanding the nature of the beast.

    P:
    “when all of the core identities and compensator identities are seen…”

    T:
    They can’t be seen.
    They have no existential reality.

    P:
    Then the question arises now and then: Am I? Am I this circle of automatisms? Am I the observer of images? Am I the seeker? Am I he sufferer?… That question happens by itself. Prabhã

    T:
    Stay with it.
    Tack into the wind.
    It cannot tolerate and survive a sincere effort.
    One day it will collapse.

    The only problem then is that there is no one to claim the understanding.

    LOL

  84. Toobaru you said: “Any question that the ‘I’ can come up with, concerns and reinforces its personal pseudo existence.”
    During the process of autolysis the question “Am I?” arises by itself… It is not the ‘I’ who can up with that question. During the rehearsals of the story ‘I’ told itself…, during the annunciation of facts that where before denied…, during the recognition of the ontological insecurity and the guilt that the ‘I’ was holding to…, when all the binary definitions of the ‘I’ are truly seen…, when the mechanism of seeking of the ‘I’ and its highest ideals are seen…, when the evaluator observer is seen… when all of the core identities and compensator identities are seen…Then the question arises now and then: Am I? Am I this circle of automatisms? Am I the observer of images? Am I the seeker? Am I he sufferer?… That question happens by itself. Prabhã

  85. Any question that the I can come up with concerns and reinforces its personal pseudo existence.
    It can never see its own ultimate reality simply because it doesn’t have one.
    It invents the words “ultimate” and ” reality” and then tries to uncover their meaning by using more words.
    It and its objectified reality emerge and evaporate together.
    They are the same phenomenon.
    It is trying to touch the moon……by stacking shadows.

  86. Dear Toombaru… (Your nickname is funny)
    This paragraph is so complete that I would say that everything is resumed there. Everyone should read what you wrote:
    “The mind of man cannot ‘see’ something unless it is conceptually separated from within the perceptual input and in that process reality is lost and an artificial overlay emerges.
    The name becomes a thing and is mistaken for an actual entity.
    The entire world becomes covered with post-its and a sense of self emerges at its gravitational center.
    They are actually the same phenomenon.
    The self flounders in its own concepts searching for its own ultimate meaning.
    It is really searching for something that exists only as one of its own ideas.
    It cannot see the problem directly because it IS the problem.
    Something outside of its frame of reference is needed”.
    The question Raman Maharshi suggested was: Am I?
    I would say: Am I de holder? Am I the dropper? Am I the seeker of the ultimate meaning? Am I all these mechanisms? Prabhã

  87. Prabha wrote:

    “However, could you tell more about the overlay? “When it dawns that it IS the overlay itself, a paradigm shift occurs”. Somehow you talk about a subtle ‘condition’. Now a question…since the program seeks for answers…”

    The overlay is the conceptualized pseudo-reality….the “dream” of separation.
    I give talks at a local college and ask the students to think of something that doesn’t have a name.
    They will look around the room for a while and someone will usually come up with something like “nothing”.
    “Oh”, I say, “we call that “nothing”.
    And then say something like:
    “You know that there is no such thing as nothing don’t you?”

    The mind of man cannot “see” something unless it is conceptually separated from within the perceptual input and in that process reality is lost and an artificial overlay emerges.
    The name becomes a thing and is mistaken for an actual entity.
    The entire world becomes covered with post-its and a sense of self emerges at its gravitational center.
    They are actually the same phenomenon.
    The self flounders in its own concepts searching for its own ultimate meaning.
    It is really searching for something that exists only as one of its own ideas.
    It cannot see the problem directly because it IS the problem.
    Something outside of its frame of reference is needed.
    And that can’t be articulated.
    Ramana and Nisargadatta recommend asking “Who am I?”
    I would suggest reading about the nature of self.
    There is a lot of research that proves that it and its gods simply have no existential reality.
    It appears that once the self and its support systems are undermined….it simply collapses of its own weight.
    The conceptual overlay or “world view” remains but no longer feels like one’s personal identity.
    This state is what is commonly called “enlightenment”.
    It is the like a shadow dancing in the sunlight.

  88. Feeling happy to read your answer, the way it is articulated. I agree with you: “It seems that something dramatic is necessary for the sense of self to get a peek up its own skirts”. “Something else is needed to break the spell”. From experience I can tell that one of the most dramatic things that can happen, is to –face facts and fears–. Running the tape of ‘my story’ backwards… Recognizing that all what I took for granted, was false… That the highest spiritual ideals were used to compensate for the lower ideas I had about ‘me’… Seeing trough the questions and the confrontations made by U.G. and Karl Renz and S.Wolinsky, that all definitions and answers that ‘I’ already had, were crap and shit.
    I also agree that modifying the usual biochemical processes of the brain, with Mexican mushrooms or with Peyote, for instance, is a fantastic thing to do, ONLY when you had seen that the whole construction of language is running the show. Only when you had seen that every story you tell about ‘I’ is supported by another story as a huge configuration of concepts and images sustaining each other, in reaction to “ontological insecurity”. Then ‘the spirit’ of mushrooms or ‘mescalito’ makes you see that there is an incredible fractal of observers and that prior to all of that, there is no I. Prabhã

  89. LOL
    The sense of I am will even roll itself in its own imagined emptiness to appear real.
    It cannot deceive itself……It is the deception.
    It is not a bad thing.
    It is merely a highly evolved program that emerged when the sentient-awareness of man objectified its perceptual input.
    It is the phantom that appears at the gravitational center of each individual’s accumulation of labels.
    It is highly successful survival-reproductive addendum that has helped homo-satiens dominate the world.
    It does, however, have a down side.
    It evolved because it protects the physical organism.
    Essentially it is a fear based breeder-reactor.
    The “problem” occurs when awareness becomes identified with the sense of separation and its program.
    In some, there is another program that stimulates the identified entity to attempt an escape from a prison that exists only in its own conceptual realm.
    Here that attempt is seen as merely another layer that protects the self and it imaginary overlay.

    Something else is needed to break the spell.

    A lot of those who have lost the sense of I am speak of a catharsis.
    Ramama facing his own death………..Wayne Liquorman losing one of his lovers……David Carse and the hallucinogenic leafs he ingested in South America……U G Krisnamurti speaks in detail of the wrenching away of the I am……Jed McKenna mentions the benefits of LSD in his last book.

    It seems that something dramatic is necessary for the sense of self to get a peek up its own skirts.

    It also appears that there is nothing that can be done to intentionally induce the shift other than pondering the dilemma.

    Once the ground is prepared a great wind can come to sweep in and destroy the edges that separate things.

    The sense of I am remains but is no longer the center of the world.

    The self and all other selfs are seen as merely elaborate characters in the most amazing show on earth.

  90. That is right Toombaru… “The dream and the dreamer are the same phenomenon”.
    Till now it is clear that ‘the observer and the dream’ are the same… that there is not gravitational center, no location… That there is the functioning of the body; still ‘I’ can’t deny that ‘my’ sense of ‘I’ is holding to ‘itself’. This ‘holder’ is the ‘False-Evidence-Appearing-Real’. There is a contraction on the body-mind… Nevertheless the feeling-perception is both: I-am-ness… essentially empty… and also I am the contracted chickenshit… ‘Am I ‘deceiving ‘myself’? Could you say something about it? Appreciating your answer, Prabhã

  91. “Isn’t it that this shift happens or not, in it’s own accord?”
    Prabhã

    I don’t know.
    Here it happened after forty years of fevered searching……. a thousand books……and a hundred gurus.
    One night in Las Vegas, I accidently took some of my wife’s medication.
    I had gone to bed……..as usual…….thinking about how things didn’t actually have their own reality.
    There is no such thing as a wave……a river…….or a mountain.
    There is no such thing as things.
    The medication altered my normal self-protective machinery and the question arose:
    “If things have no reality………what does that say about the holder of things?”
    I became extremely anxious and nauseous and tried to back out of the dilemma.
    Somehow in the mental storm……the thought came:
    “You little chickenshit………your whole life you have sought this moment……and you run away………..”
    There was a decision to enter the turmoil……..
    I slipped into a whirlpool………

    And I can’t describe what happened.

    The next morning……my wife wondered why I cried so easily.

    She thought it was the medication.

    I could find no words to tell her that I was no longer there.

    I never came back.

    I would not encourage anyone to enter this journey to nowhere.

    There are no advantages to being no one.

    I like having no questions about things that don’t exist.

    I like gazing out into the world……..knowing that the labels are only for convenience.

    I don’t even know why I am writing this.

    Perhaps it is you who strums these strings.

  92. The attempt to remain silent is merely another involuntary reaction.
    The sense of self is a highly evolved survival program that seeks answers to questions about its own conceptual overlay.
    It evolved to relieve the stress of sentience by filling in the gaps.
    It labors under the illusion of personal autonomy and develops methods to cope with its ever present fear of impending doom.
    When it dawns that it IS the overlay itself a paradigm shift occurs.
    Life is experienced as an artesian upwelling of a vast unknown-unknowable.
    The center breaks free and becomes everywhere.
    The edges blur and blend….a new grandbaby smiles…….and awareness slips softly into the space between things.

    Prabha wrote:
    “According to ‘me’, this illusion of personal autonomy has no end.”

    For the sense of self there is no escape.
    It would be like trying to have a dream without a dreamer.
    It would be like one of your dream characters trying to get a peek at your face.
    The dream and the dreamer are the same phenomenon.
    The I am is a mechanism through which awareness has evolved that allows it to get a peek at its own machinery.
    The “problem” occurs when consciousness becomes identified with its own swirling mnemonic debris.
    It searches through its conceptual overlay for answers to questions about its objectified pseudo-reality.
    Of course it can only find itself within its own dream.
    In seeking a way through its own maze, it can come to edge of the known world.
    The self loses its opacity and……..and……..
    …… this is the shift that cannot be expressed by using the very tools that create the dream itself.
    The ego remains but is no longer the gravitational center which now seems to have broken free.
    The self now feels essentially empty and a strangely familiar compassion perfumes the perceptual flow.
    Some selves, it appears, are programmed to seek their own oblivion.
    Those the reach the edgelessness find no advantage in their own vacuity.
    There is simply no one there to hold the wheel.
    For sentient-awareness there is a sublime sweetness in living in the Great-Unknown-Unknowable.
    The labels drop off.
    All those nagging questions evaporate.

    Someone brought me a stick bug yesterday.
    I held it in my hand.
    It was very still.
    Slowly it moved……..and I watched………amazed.

  93. I agree and I love the way you state it Toombaro,
    “The sense of self is a highly evolved program that seeks answers to questions about its own conceptual overlay”. According to ‘me’, this illusion of personal autonomy has no end. The brain does it… The involuntary reactions of the sense of self are there: ‘silent or not silent’, liked or not. The sense of self remains…
    NO WAY OUT!
    However, could you tell more about the overlay? “When it dawns that it IS the overlay itself, a paradigm shift occurs”. Somehow you talk about a subtle ‘condition’. Now a question…since the program seeks for answers…
    Isn’t it that this shift happens or not, in it’s own accord?
    Prabhã

  94. The attempt to remain silent is merely another involuntary reaction.
    The sense of self is a highly evolved survival program that seeks answers to questions about its own conceptual overlay.
    It evolved to relieve the stress of sentience by filling in the gaps.
    It labors under the illusion of personal autonomy and develops methods to cope with its ever present fear of impending doom.
    When it dawns that it IS the overlay itself a paradigm shift occurs.
    Life is experienced as an artesian upwelling of a vast unknown-unknowable.
    The center breaks free an becomes everywhere.
    The edges blur and blend….a new grandbaby smiles…….and awareness slips softly into the space between things.

  95. Ontological Insecurity…
    What about if everything we say or not say is in reaction to our ontological insecurity? From the Greek Ontos = Being. O
    If we consider that our nervous system is there to survey the security and survival of the “I” we pretend to be (our brains)… Then we can see:
    Spiritual ego addiction for instance, is just a compensating tendency, another reflex mechanism; the tendency ‘to prove well, that I am really there’. (As if we needed to prove it!)

    What about if fundamentalism, idealism, cultism, dogmas, talking about ‘the truth’, tactic’s, “named tactic’s” or “anonymous tactic’s” and tic-tac’s and anti tic-tac’s
    and everything else, are waves and waves of reactions based on our ontological
    insecurity?

    How this illusion… this insecurity of being got there in the first place? How it expresses itself in ‘my case’? From that point of view we could talk for hours…
    That would perhaps be a good way to start autolysis. See ‘my’ ‘circle of captivity’… Acknowledge the series of images implanted as “I” and ‘the observer’ of it.

    ~Nether the mirror, nether the reflection, nether the observer, is what I am…~
    However “I” ‘believe to be’ ‘the observer’ and ‘the image’ and ‘the screen’ and “I” believe to be many, many images… No wonder ‘I feel confused’… I am completely hypnotized by images of all kinds coming and going in all directions: Science, philosophy, industry, religion, art, commerce, spirituality and ‘the bordel of spiritual seeking or political seeking’ and so forth…

    The image is this: the little girl identity or the little boy identity terrorized about believing to be part of the dream of his or her schizophrenic father and a masochistic mother… for example…
    She (the identity), believes to be born… from a person. And she is indebted to that one who makes a hell out of her guts! She believes she was born and she believes she is going to dye. She uses the concept of time, she believes that love is located in a person; she uses location and distance to prove that she is there in the hell of hell’s… separation.

    Her definitions are: I am alone, I am unworthy, I am incomplete, I’m without love, I am without recognition, I am imperfect, incorrect, impure, incapable to achieve, powerless…
    She becomes a beggar, a never satisfied identity… Since she is the multi-headed dragon: ‘the bottomless pit identity’, together with the ‘judgmental identity’, together with the ‘claiming authorship identity’, together with ‘the comparing identity’, ‘the between heaven and hell identities’, ‘the doer’, ‘the experience-er’ and ‘the perceiver’ of the rest, she/it is confuse… She doesn’t know who she is. Who am I? Who am I?

    Then she/it seeks for her ideal image management; she accumulates knowledge to prove her specialness… otherwise she feels empty of ‘itself’.
    She mange her new image: I am impeccable; I am generous, worthy of price, successful, complete, superior in knowledge and superior in great conscious strategies, powerful, chosen and the rest… ‘I’ am the great image ‘me’ falling in love with myself!.

    What about discarding this and that? Why not to talk fully about us as the simple person we are even if we aren’t? Why not to address our ontological insecurity?
    Then enquiry…AM I….? Am I all these mechanisms?
    Prabhã

  96. The “eternal tao” is just another writing on water.
    The conceptual mind likes to think that somewhere within its objectified reality is a unified theory that will answer all its questions and give its phantom persona some sort of ultimate meaning.
    It imagines that by recombining its acquired labels it will happen upon just the right combination and then……..then………well…….it doesn’t really know what will happen but it thinks that some sort of transcendence will occur.
    This travail is akin to a character trying to find the ultimate meaning of its life while adrift in a night-time dream.
    It simply isn’t going to happen.
    There is no ultimate truth for the sense of self for one very good reason:
    It has no exiistential reality.
    And that realization is what is commonly called
    “enlightenment”.

  97. What an awesome article! Thank you! I’m currently engaged in several discussions with those who would definitely qualify as non-dualism fundamentalists….If I had a nickle for every time the term, ‘ultimate truth’ surfaces.

  98. One feels the fundamentalism in non dual believers when they believe they understand and experience the concept. It is so inherent when you like to believe in something without ever experiencing it.

    And it is surely a big problem to explain the unexplainable without using the platitudes we pick up during our study of theory. We use the language of non dualism either to impress others or ourselves without ever caring if anyone understands it.

  99. You wanna see sumthin really scary?

    How about living in a world where everyone realized that the sense of I am wasn’t real?

    :-0

  100. To tell what this sharing produces, I appreciate your mention of Jan Cox, who I did not know about. How not to feel overwhelmed by helplessness…? And by the messager; all these human beings… Gurdjieff, Bhawan Nityananda, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Muktanada, Prakashanada Swami, Osho, Adi Da in early days, Jan Klein, U.G., Stephen Wolinsky, Karl Renz, Jed…? Feeling nearnessness…

  101. To Jed [SIC- Brian’s edit] – not yet. While,The Jancox.com site is a repository for the ” Daily news ” , Jan’s pithy sayings that tend to rip your head apart in a fun way… It is not equipped to handle the thousands of hours of audio and video we are now archiving. Someday I will build a site that serves as an entrance ramp to Jan’s stuff — not interpretive, just set things up so that people can approach it with some context. And just today I heard that YouTube is dropping the 15 minute limit on video — so, rather than having me describe the ” look through here ” — you can get it straight from him. ( there are thousands of such)

  102. “Look through here” was one of the countless verbal ways and means Jan had of dragging us kicking and screaming up to the brink and dumping us off to look at the view. It was and is always up to us though to shut up and See.

    Go take a look at JanCox.com. It’ll hit you between the eyes…or not.

  103. Derek here, ( this is what I posted to the yahoo group – Jancox

    touring around, actually went to the jedmckenna site; not jed, but , interestingly, he can’t turn off the name…… (;^))

    Found the attitude and patience in the author in dealing with rigid factions within what people think is achieving ‘enlightenment’ – to be refreshing. And I had to copy this one sentence and put it here:

    “The best that can be achieved in communicating about Truth is an artful synthesis that builds a temporary edifice made from ideas, words and images that the listener may happen to find a little bit liberating, or at least amusing, insomuch as it neutralizes and dismantles previously held ideas of a lesser and more restricted variety.”

    The link is https://jedmckenna.wordpress.com/non-dualist-fundamentalism/

    and back to derek typing:
    People will seek out information they agree with.
    Now ain’t that the truth.
    The quoted sentence sets out a particularly difficult thing to express – in that – How do you get people to part with what they agree with? The narrow view will always obscure the larger view, with one exception:
    Jan’s ” look through here ” method required the student to achieve a certain vantage point in order to see what he was pointing to.
    The metaphor would be to ask the student to set down their luggage and climb a short ladder so as to look through a knot-hole in a construction fence in order to see what all the machinery is up to back there…… and by limiting the view to a crack in the fence, the student is faced with a much larger view than that available on the sidewalk.
    The view is obvious to anyone who can see it, you just can’t see it from the sidewalk.

    Which brings me back to this wonderful article wherein the author is attempting to deal with all the fundamentalists on the sidewalk who insist that the ‘ path ‘ is concrete, and ‘ Hey, it got me this far – so that is all there is! ” and post such ad infinitum on his web page.

    I wish the guy luck with the posts — but the skill with which he dealt this hand is something to be enjoyed.

  104. Thanks Kathy.
    U.G. refers to U.G. Krishnamurti. Information can be found on him with a Google, Wikipedia or Youtube search.
    I took a look at your site and it is rather beautiful. Well done!
    Brian

  105. I am delighted by and feel less alone because of this essay and its comments. I especially related to the comment of the person who names herself as “a follower w/o a leader.” I do feel led, but it is hard to name by whom or by what. Thank you, Brian for this space to be.

  106. Oh dear. I was reading the latest post on this blog, then I went off to watch Hawthorn play the Western Bulldogs on TV. Then came back and without refreshing my computer, wrote the challenge in my previous post, not realizing that in the meantime, Eddie had written another post, now referring to me! And now my previous post’s challenge appears to refer to Eddie! How delightfully confusing! As usual, I am lost and can only point the reader back to Jack Handy, whose words I trust will clarify this whole unfortunate situation [snip]

  107. Yes, brilliant, brilliant wisdom. I challenge anyone to find a single hole in his arguments!

  108. I wish to add something to this consideration of fundamentalism. Like any ‘ism’, when it’s extreme, such as for examples in the cases of particular western and middle-eastern religions, it is easy to spot, especially when violent. However, most of us show some sort of fundamentalist behaviour without being fully aware that we have fallen into its grip. And just like it doesn’t matter if you kill a dozen mosquitoes in your room at bedtime, all it takes is one surviving mozzie to keep you awake all night; likewise, any fundamentalist activity keeps you from living a life of ‘freedom’.

    So, when The Latvian says he is still overwhelmed by the brilliance of his Teacher, then asks the question, “Can one remain thus overwhelmed and simultaneously grow beyond fundamentalism?” I reckon it depends on what motives are in play and how it manifests.

    I am overwhelmed by life (and death whatever that may turn out to be), but no longer adhere to or seek any teaching or teacher that might offer any ‘solution’ whatsoever for it. Thus, if the overwhelming feeling The Latvian talks about for a teaching or teacher results in a requiring adherence to any principle, idea, practice, or belief about anything that lies outside of what currently informs him, then fundamentalism is in play, even if it manifests as the seemingly innocuous notion, ‘this is It, not that’. The problem with being overwhelmed is that it almost always results in the loss of one’s natural and perfectly informed integrity, and thus one’s true freedom.

    Paradoxically, everything is exactly as it should be! Be overwhelmed by the brilliance of a teacher, or, for that matter, the beauty of a woman. I am every day. From the writings of Jed and U.G., or the videos of Adi Da in the early days, or the discourses of Osho, to the myriad of gorgeous females in this part of the world I live in, or just to my own ineptitude, I am often overwhelmed. It’s the requirement that the object of that overwhelming experience become the source of salvation that results in fundamentalism; e.g., this particular teacher is the only one that knows what the truth is and can impart that realization, or this beautiful woman is the only person who can save me from loneliness. ‘This, not that,’ is the antithesis of non-duality and the source of all fundamentalism.

    I don’t know who first said it, but ‘Let’s not let a little thing like God come between us.’

  109. I can’t argue with that truth! Jack Handy’s wisdom will never be surpassed!
    For example:
    “To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.”
    Or, if you prefer,
    “Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.”

  110. Well I must say, Mr B, you do make a good argument. Its always a bit shocking when I recall what an avid fundamentalist I used to be. I’m glad you are not too angry at all of us. I think I’m a little milder nowadays, although I’m still can’t help being overwhelmed by the brilliance of my Teacher. Can one remain thus overwhelmed and simultaneously grow beyond fundamentalism? I think the answer to this is best summed up in the words of another one of my favorite sources of wisdom, a man of whom I am an unashamedly and VIOLENTLY fundamentalist supporter:

    “When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmm, boy!”
    – Jack Handy.

  111. You make me laugh Brian…
    U.G. often said that UG meant ‘Useless Guy’!
    Mecanisms of survival are always at jump isn’t it?
    To be meaninful, at the service of highest ideals…
    It is all, just a funny game of words and noise.
    Prabhã

  112. To Prabha
    Gosh, I’m humbled by your response. One dreams (the ego’s dream) of being of some ‘service’ to humanity, yet it is rare that a person such as me feels that they may have succeeded. I suppose I will have to find a way to deflate my over-bloated head now, before I get myself into real trouble! On second thought, our Fundies are probably organizing a ‘hit’ as we speak, so that may not be necessary.
    Sincerely,
    Brian

  113. This is a most beautiful complete essay… difficult at first to grasp in its totality.
    It demands to be read, to be considered and studied all over again; it requires from this, to see and to acknowledge the whole activity. It takes my feelings back to U.G., to his voice and screams, to his kindness and beauty, to his honesty, to the laughter’s triggered by his jokes: “Religion have promised roses, but you end up with only the thorns”. With appreciation to you, Prabhã.

  114. Thank you, Brian.

    I recognized myself and it was not flattering. Sometimes in the non-dual online community it seems as if there is nowhere left to go and I am the only one who is not there.

    This is from one who has always prided herself on being open-minded and in hot pursuit of Truth…currently a follower without a leader.

  115. This essay has tackled the inherently difficult task of communicating the essence of spiritual fundamentalism with aplomb. It should be on the essential reading list of every spiritual seeker or practitioner…. along with Jed McKenna’s trilogy! I found it to be a profound conveyance not only on the topic of Non-Dualist Fundamentalism, but also with regard to the nature of Truth itself.

    Brian points out (as many have before him) that it is not possible to communicate non-duality in the midst of existential duality. But it’s fun to try, so I will give it a go and add to the inordinate and futile number of attempts that have preceded this one. As I see it (please note that every communication of the Truth comes from an individualistic and therefore finite perspective) the only so-called problem with existence is requiring it to be different than what it is. One who experiences every thing and every viewpoint without dilemma, including seemingly conflicting points of view, is living what could be called a non-dualistic existence. There is simply no right or wrong relative to the Truth, only right AND wrong at the same time, or just plain nothing. Fundamentalism and idealism require one side winning over the other (usually the good over the bad, or the truth over falsehood, or god over the devil, or the guru over the devotee, etc.).

    I personally have no problem with people espousing any perspective on these matters because that’s just what they are, perspectives, neither solely right nor solely wrong. There is no teaching, or teacher that can deliver this understanding (unless there is), because in non-dual Reality, there is no separation. This is what I essentially learnt from my ‘guru’. Others claim to have learnt other things – including the conviction that I’m a fool and a bullshitter, or just plain deluded – and that is OK too. How would I know what I am, anyway?

    Look, let’s forget all this nonsense about what the Truth is and what it isn’t, and what non-dualism is and isn’t. Everything is exactly as it is. No errors whatsoever, including those who might be labelled as fundamentalists. They remind me of how grateful I am for what has been given me to understand and go beyond.

    Oh, and Brian, you state you are not enlightened. I always find such statements amusing. If you can explain to me what enlightenment is, I would be most grateful. My friend told me today that enlightenment is what happens when one is no longer concerned with getting bitten by mosquitoes. I guess I have a long way to go.

    Cheers, and thanks for a marvellous piece of writing!

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