SELF & OTHER
If you start out by assuming that Life is the evolving relationship between beings (and, yes, I know that is quite a leap!), it can be seen as having a very simple and obvious structure. Yogeshwar Muni started teaching about this structure back in 1966. He called the principle elements of the structure the five categories of life. The path of completing relationship can be organized around these five realms. This article is a summary of this teaching.
First there is YOU, the irreducible self. Not the mind, body, or physical world, but you, the conscious being, that which understands.
You are. You are absolute, beyond everything and yet right here, now. You are the one you are, and you are not the others or other things. When you get self-enlightened you realize who you are and what you are.
The next realm is the MIND. It is the space for thought and the thoughts that are in that space -- memories, ideas, opinions -- and also the underlying structures that create our patterns of thought.
There is structure to the mind. There is something like "depth", where the surface is full of busy little mental pursuits that seem to be a mish-mash of resounding echoes of current and past perceptions. Deeper structures hold our values, archetypes, and basic sets of opposites. Then still deeper there are basic core truths. Below that some basic prime duality, like me/not me, exist/not exist or self/other (I don't really know which). And below that is unity where there are no distinctions. (The mind is like a donut -- it has a (w)hole in the middle.)
The mind holds incompletely experienced experiences -- things that are on hold, waiting to be understood or communicated. They are locked into place by choices we have made not to experience them, for whatever reason. You clear these things and their underlying "charge" by communicating them to another.
Then there is the BODY. It is a physical realm where your thought can act directly on matter (and vice versa). It happens as if by magic, like psychokinesis. Actually, we can rule out physical matter as the essence of the body. The atoms get replaced periodically, so that eventually your body has entirely new material. So your body is a pattern for that matter to be in. It seems to have its own intentions, "machinery" that acts to keep it going such as hunger, sexual drive, pleasure/pain, and much much more. The body acts as your rich and complex connection to the world.
Then there is the PHYSICAL WORLD. This includes all the physical stuff: mass, energy, space, time, material objects/fields; every physical thing, from the smallest quantum particle to the great clusters of galaxies, and their relationships. (Currently Western science's model of the physical world is going through a profound paradigm shift. I expect it they will eventually turn to something similar to YM's Lila Model. The Lila Model will be introduced in next quarter's newsletter.) Whatever it is, it is a vast stage upon which life's drama is enacted.
And finally there are OTHERS. An other is uniquely himself, one who is not you, and equivalent (the same nature) as you.
SUMMARY OF THE FIVE REALMS
4. PHYSICAL WORLD
In most cases you contact another individial indirectly, going through your mind, through your body, through the physical world, through the other's body, through the other's mind, to them.
The selves, you and the others, are the only true "things". The rest of the stuff acts to both connect us and to keep us apart. For instance, the concepts of the mind allow me to conceive of and communicate things I want you to know about what I'm up to. This connects us. On the other hand, a mind full of concepts can stand in the way of direct contact between us. The mind, body, and physical world can be powerful illusions, but we are the underlying absolute.
The five realms of life are not created by an individual alone. They are what we are all creating together (though one's choices, consciousness, and way of regarding it are unique). What gives reality its punch is that it is the Truth of our relationship. And deep and complex and rich and amazing it is.
Well, if your mind is full of a lot of fixed attitudes that shut you down, keep you from being fully who you are in this delicious mess, and keep you separate from others, then naturally your task is to clear them out. This is your "karma". This need is not thrust upon you by someone else. One wants to be in a better state.
There are specific things you can do to clear your mind of fixed attitudes, charged memories, confusion, lies, false solutions, etc. There are different things you can do to clear your body of impediments to relationship, including better diet, exercise, healing, and mastery of emotions, sensations, and instincts. And there is yet another set of things you can do to master your relationship to the physical world so you can create an environment that serves life, including creating order and beauty, and increasing your own capacity to "keep it together". This is why one bothers to think in terms of the Five Realms. Each has its appropriate methods for improvement.
All improvement techniques, however, have a common denominator: You clear the path between you and others through communication of the truth.
According to YM, it takes more ability to master the body than the mind and more ability to master the physical world than to master the body. This order guides you in choosing what to take on next. The skills you need to make progress in each realm take years to perfect, and the spiritual warriors who have taken up the challenge have the increase of ability to relate as their continuing preoccupation. In fact, that is all they do. Living life MEANS dismantling the things that stand in the way, step-by-step, and experiencing a growing union with all others. Then, every experience enriches. Like they all say, LOVE is the answer.
It's a big job. It takes more than a lifetime to clear up all your karma. It probably takes eternity. But a clear intelligent mind, full emotions, good health, beautiful surroundings, and wonderful loving relationships would be a good start.
This is an account of a dream I had about 2 years ago.
Last night in a dream, YM gave me a grail cup in a ceremony. It bestows on the one who gets it the enlightenment that makes ordinary life sacred. Not drippy sacred, but real.
At first I was the cup, inside it and being it, as I awoke from the dream. I remember feeling the shape as my own body. Then I emerged out of it and found it being offered by YM to me in a solemn ceremony.
It had within it a simple knowledge and lots of hope. It "spoke" a simple truth that anyone could have that makes life perfect without changing anything. With it came a vision of a simple practice of remembrance of the enlightenment that makes ordinary life sacred.
I suppose any cup would do. The grail is the knowledge, not the material cup. The life-is-sacred state is this knowledge. This state is not just mental idea, but an experience that emerges from a deep place inside. Life is lived as sacred bliss. It is available in any circumstance. It makes one glow.
As I woke up further, my mind made up a flurry of metaphors about life
with the grail. Finally it settled down and I came back to "normal".
by Shanti (Chantal Hartelius)
This morning I was reading the best-seller, Closer to the Light, an account of children's near-death experiences. I thought to myself, "How come I have never had any spiritual experience that left me with the same absolute certainty about the meaning of life as these children?
My "superego" always works hard at dismissing breakthroughs as mere hallucinations, no matter how real they might have felt during the process. Then my face lit up--for I remembered one vivid Enlightenment Intensive experience that has stayed with me without a shade of doubt--one that has become my ideal and motto in life ever since.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon at the St. Helena ashram. Yogeshwar had come to visit our two-week Intensive and was quietly making his rounds during a dyad. His compassionate eyes paused on me, leaving a deep solace in my heart--and I did need compassion those days.
Later, as the sun hit me on my way out of Anubhava, the Intensive room, I felt an "orgasm" in my heart. The next thing I knew, I was a bright sun of love--a pure, self-generated love!
A female participant came in my direction to return to the room, and I noticed how this love which rested on her was not at all a conditioned response to a pleasant or familiar stimulus. It had a "raison d'etre" of its own and shone on everything and everyone equally. What a surprise and delight!
I felt warm, bright, powerful, and yet peaceful and self-contained. No wonder seers and mystics could enjoy long periods of solitude and feel unconditional love for others, I later mused.
At that point, the certitude arose in me, "I am Love and Fulfillment." It still remains in some dusty corner of my consciousness, to reappear when I really need it (which I surely did after I took vows of renunciation!).
I don't know what this "heart orgasm" did to me, but when I am not drowned in my thoughts, I definitely feel a stronger energy center in my chest. Sometimes it has the melting sweetness of a mother holding her baby and the baby smiling back at her; at other times it feels more vigorous, like when I hug trees during EI's! All this led me to embrace massage work and family life, to my deep satisfaction.
While I have never relived the powerful experience of love I had in that Intensive twelve years ago, it has opened the door to more self-acceptance and love of others (between "superego" attacks). My center of gravity has noticeably moved down from the head to the heart, and I have come to accept that an important part of who I am, and who you are, dear reader, is simply Love.
by Edrid, 2/16/87
My wife, Anatta encouraged me to write about the experience I had while driving home from the 6th Annual Intensive.
I was continuing to work on my question while driving down Highway 280 near Burlingame when I was struck with an intense realization. I create EVERYTHING. The "everything" is capitalized because I really mean everything.
The impact of this realization was so intense my body got fiery hot and I jumped up and down in the driver's seat, kind of crying and shrieking and generally losing control. I couldn't see the road because a bright white rectangle of light blazed in front of me, seeming to hover over the road. (I don't know what that was about!) I had to pull off the highway to be safe.
This is what I got: I am at the root of everything. I create it all. It HAS to be that way. (Don't get me wrong. This experience was about me, so I'm not focused on the role of others. I'm not saying you don't create.) I could not be aware of anything if I did not have the innate capacity to create it. One cannot be conscious of anything if he cannot create it. One's awareness of anything is in itself the proof that he created it, for this kind of creating is the essence of being conscious.
We create reality. Totally. Entirely. Even the thought that I do not create everything or the feeling that I don't understand what I am saying are my creations. I cannot be outside the system. I am the universe. I am the source of all existing things. Not just me -- we all are.
The world is the way it is for me because that is the way I am. My universe is the expression of my nature. The entire universe, at all levels and all dimensions, all all all alllllllllll is just my nature.
When you are conscious of something, it is your own consciousness -- your nature brings the experience into the light of consciousness. You are the terminal-point. There is nothing behind you to create your experience. What could possibly be behind you to create YOUR experience? You, as a unique divine being, are the source.
This "creation" is not some volitional act of ego, like painting a picture or shaping pottery. It is the PERFECT and EFFORTLESS reflection of my nature. We do not create this universe in a premeditated way. We would know it if we did. This is not the sort of artistry we are to be proud of. It is just the way we are.
by Steve Cavin
All my life, I had wanted to see Mt. Everest. During a walk in the mountains one summer afternoon, my friend Bill told me of his trek in Nepal. Early in Autumn, I mentioned to my wife Ching that there was still one place left I'd like to see. She looked at me, and said "Go". A month and a half later, it was all arranged, and I found myself on a plane bound for Katmandu.
We flew over the Bay of Bengal, and the flat, brown plains of India. At the horizon, a jagged edge of white grew into a range of enormous snow-tipped mountains. We lifted over the first range, and dropped into the Katmandu valley. The owner of the trekking agency greeted me at the airport, and placed a "kata" (white handkerchief) around my neck. Two days later, a bus carrying me, my guide, two porters, and 28 days worth of gear and provisions left Katmandu for Jiri, the head of a 150 mile trail to the base of the highest mountain in the world.
We were eight: a guide, a cook, five porters and myself. They fixed me three meals a day: porridge, cereal, and milk for breakfast, potatoes, bread, and vegetables for lunch, and stews or curries for dinner. And always a pot of tea, with a small bowl of sugar. They spread out a big tarp and a pad, and brought me my meals on a large round tray wrapped in a colorful cloth and set it at my feet. Once I'd been served they huddled around the fire and ate large platefuls of boiled rice, lentil soup, and boiled cabbage.
Nepalese porters carry from 70 to 150 pounds in a basket supported by a tumpline across their forehead. They wear thin cotton clothes, and walk up and down ridiculously steep, rocky trails in rubber sandals, cheap sneakers, or barefoot. They sleep on the ground, in rough shacks or shelters along the trail, huddled together for warmth. They suffer cold, disease, and injury, walking 8 to 12 hours a day, everyday. And they always have a smile to offer.
It took 13 days walk to reach Thyangbouche, largest monastery of the Khumbu. We camped at the top of the hill, just beneath the stupa. The following morning I asked to visit the high Lama, and did Tea Ceremony for him. The monks laughed and ran like children, and when they looked at me, they were completely fearless. I joined them for evening prayers. They sat in rows, chanting, then suddenly seized horns, gongs, drums and bells, creating an incredible uproar that blew everyone right out of their mind.
On my way to Lobuche, the lower part of my face went numb and tingly, my first taste of altitude sickness. We turned back and slept in Thukla. There I met a joyous bunch of rowdy trekkers. We laughed and talked and stayed up playing cards, by oil lamps and flashlights. The next day at Lobuche the German and the Israeli saved me a place in the lodge. That night several of us went out to piss, in a cold, clear night full of mountains and moonlight and stars.
We reached Gorekshep, at 18,000 feet, the last village before Everest. My guide was sick, so the cook and I went. We got lost a few times until we learned to follow the yak shit. We walked for hours over loose rock and glacier, past 1000 ft. curtains of ice and snow, until we reached Everest Base Camp. On the way back, I was sick, weak, and dizzy. A couple of times, I started to fall, and the cook rushed up behind me and took my arm to steady me. I was so sick, and cold, and miserable, that I headed down the next morning. It wasn't until 5 days later, at Namche Bazaar, I realized how badly I wanted to see Everest.
You can't see the peak of Mt. Everest from the base camp. You must climb a little peak, called Kala Pattar, to see the great Sagarmatha. I hadn't. So I asked my guide and porter if we could go back! I had tried telling myself it didn't matter, that I'd come back another time. Five days later, thought, we stood at the top of Kala Pattar. Everest rose before me, dark and massive, with wisps of cloud clinging to the 29,000 ft. summit. I stayed there all afternoon, through sunset, and hiked back up again in the dark the next morning for the sunrise. This was a checkpoint. "Good to see you!" said God. I knew that things would be all right for me from now on.
Coming down, my heart sang, and I danced.
A relationship with another, no matter how rich and complex, is made up of three key elements. These elements are interconnected; a problem with one element tends to make the other two suffer. Improvement in one improves the others. Identifying which element is at issue in a particular interpersonal problem helps a lot in quickly resolving the problem.
There is an actual one you are, and an actual other. If you relate only from your body or mind, or if you relate only to the other's body or mind, no real contact takes place. Love is realizing the other is a conscious being. Reaching out to contact the actual other is the act of loving. Presenting who you really are helps another to love you.
Communication is what you do to get another to see, if only for the moment, from your point of view. In the process you are revealed and can experience a moment of direct contact with them. Communication is what we do to make this happen. It goes both ways. Communication is also what another does to get you to see from his point of view.
When you and another see life from the same point of view you have an understanding with them. You share the same reality. (You don't have to agree with it, you just have to get it.) All attempts to communicate cease at the instant an understanding takes place. Then, a desire for more understanding arises and you are back into it. When you ponder something until you understand it, you are separating your point of view from others'.
These are the core elements in a relationship between individuals If you are having trouble with a relationship, you might meditate on which of these elements are in trouble. This brings needed clarity to the situation.
Are you recognizing them as a conscious being or just a body or mind? Are you, to them, a conscious being or just a body or mind? Do you have this one confused with others or have they confused you with others? Do you recognize the other's independent choice and do they recognize yours? Is there any way to have direct contact in the relationship?
Is there a problem in communication? Is your point of view clear? Do you present it clearly? Are they open to receiving it? Is there a mental or physical barrier in the way? Do you need to communicate something else first? Do you need to listen to them first?
Do you share enough of the same reality or do you see things too differently? Does it seem that your points of view are in conflict? What do you already agree about?
Imagine that your body is like a connector between you and the world. It is a rich connector, with millions of channels, what with the five senses and all the internal apparatus for casting those experiences into all sorts of meanings and feelings. Imagine being on one side of an interface, with the world, in all its richness and glory, on the other, with the body standing between. We see and feel the world through the body.
But we deny some of these feelings and experiences. We don't want to be unhappy. We don't want to feel pain. We don't like confusion. We don't like loneliness. There are whole realms of feelings that we choose to refuse. This is done innocently, instinctively.
Recently I had tendonitis in my shoulder and it hurt like hell. It hurt month after month, sometimes so severe I would hardly sleep at night. On numerous occasions, when I accidentally stressed the joint, the pain would be so severe I practically swooned into a faint.
I avoided these sensations. I took pain pills for relief and I tried to ignore the problem. Then, with the help of a healer friend, I made a breakthrough. Facing the pain, I began trying to self-heal it through gentle exercise and working with Chi.
Then, while at the beach climbing on tide pool rocks, I slipped and caught myself with that arm and went into a mind-blowing pain experience. In the very midst of it I had an important experience. In extreme pain, I was also filled with love of Life. I found myself weeping with joy. I felt blessed with a form of direct contact with Reality through the pain, and love for Life burst through. I actually felt fortunate to be given this intense experience (one that I would never choose on my own).
I'm not the morbid type. Sack cloth and ashes are not my path. Yet the experience of Life through this illness was precious to me. I believe that we err in accepting only certain kinds of experience through the body channel. God (or Truth or the Absolute) is available in every experience. But God is available in the painful experiences in a way that is in some respects more intimate than other experiences.
Every channel through the body can offer us something. If we are too tight about what we choose to experience, something vital is missed . If we refuse some kind of experiences, these refusals lead to imbalances in our lives. When an avoided experience comes up we are beset with a problem. Our refusal to confront the experience IS the problem. If we just take it all in, whatever confronts us, we can be in union with the Divine all the time. Willingness to experience is the key.
This does not mean that we should go around seeking out pain and unhappiness, nor does this mean that we must act like idiots, doing stupid things that cause ourselves and others to experience pain and upsets unnecessarily. But, when something does come up, going through it consciously without denial or suppression provides us with a precious opportunity to live life fully.
First, we want to publish accounts of your enlightenment experiences. Put them on a cassette tape, scribble them on the back of an envelope, call Edrid and he'll take dictation -- whatever. However you got your experience, in an Enlightenment Intensive or otherwise, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you report as clearly and accurately as you can.
Second, we want to publish those special experiences that you have had that may not be enlightenment experiences, but have contributed to your spiritual life. Such stories can be an inspiration to others. The newsletter will be better if there are many contributors.
By Anatta Blackmarr
Yesterday, at school, a 6th-grader asked me where the elephant image is located when I imagine seeing a pink elephant. He said he saw the image out in front of his face. It reminded me of the time I spent one evening with a friend trying to think a thought and "catch it in the act" or notice how it originated. Having the student ask that question was like a wake-up call about observing my mind.
I often watch my emotions changing, but I rarely watch this other kind of mental activity which is so astonishingly fundamental -- the operation of my own thought processes. Even considering seeing that secret aspect of existence in action leaves me awestruck. It's amazing to see a thought come into existence. It's like stripping away the surface of life and seeing the underlying mechanics of the mind.
Jack Wexler, Ph.D. (Bramarishi) visited Northern California in February and introduced his plan to produce high-quality videos on a variety of topics involving Yogeshwar, his teachings, and the Enlightenment Intensive. A lot of people would like to see YM to get an idea of who everyone is talking about, and people who do know him enjoy seeing him again. It was a happy evening and Jack's pilot tape was a hit. If you want to contribute money (and funds ARE needed) or ideas to the video project, or just want to know more about it, you can contact Jack in Australia: Jack Wexler, c/o Flaxley PO, Flaxley, SA 5153 Australia.
Jack Wexler and Edrid hosted a Lila Group on Saturday, February 20th. The three hour group focused on directly experiencing the others in their group as Divine non-physical individuals with choice. This is a Truth described by the Lila Theory which has been the focus of YM's inner work for the past several years. Each participant communicated whatever came up in their contemplation to the others in their group, similar to how it is done in an Enlightenment Intensive dyad, but aimed at all the others in the group. The Lila Group technique can be very powerful. We know of two Lila Groups in the Bay Area. Edrid's Wednesday Night Dyad Group often does it, and Vijaya has an ongoing group that meets once a week. Contact Edrid at 415 328-4941 or Vijaya at 510 644-2932.
A booklet about doing
Tea Ceremony as a contemplative art.
Available from Self & Other
$4.00 plus $1.00 postage
Vegetarian Cooking for Health and Pleasure, by Osha Reader.
220 great recipes from all over the world. Ideal for workshops, but really for anyone who loves delicious, healthful food. Osha is known for the superb food she provides at intensives and other workshops held at Origin. The book: $9.95 plus $1.00 postage.
Tatagata Style Tea Ceremony, by Edrid.
This style of Tea Ceremony teaches meditation in action. It leads to a wonderfully alive state and presence in the here and now. The book: $4.00 plus $1.00 for postage.
Natural Yoga, by Bramarishi and John Lucas.
This book explains the practice of Sahaj Yog, natural yoga, which is the current practice of Yogeshwar Muni. It describes the path of surrender. There is a wealth of practical advice on how to proceed. The book will be available soon from Self & Other. Cost is expected to be around $10 plus $1.50 for wrapper and postage.
Compassionate Touch, by Dawn Nelson.
A book about the use of touch and massage to help the elderly, the ill, and the dying. Dawn has pioneered this work and leads training workshops and seminars in the applications of therapeutic massage for health care professionals. The book: $15.95. It will be available May, 1993. Contact Dawn at Compassionate Touch, 20 Swan Court, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 or phone, 510 935-3906.
This issue's lead article is a presentation of one of the first models taught by Charles Berner when he began teaching. It was meant as a long-term guide for choosing what to work on. One starts with studying and mastering his mind. He then begins working on his body, and so on. Charles' Institute's training courses followed this model, as did his clearing methods. I hope you find it helpful.
The newsletter got off to a flying start. The response has been gratifying. Lots of people called or wrote me to express their appreciation. Thank you all for your enthusiastic support. I will work hard to make the newsletter serve you well.
Over 50 people subscribed, and many have given donations too. In fact, the amount of $$ for donations is running a little ahead of the subscriptions! Thank you all so much.
There are a lot of others who want to subscribe but just did not get around to writing the check and getting the thing in the mail. Don't delay! This is the last issue I can send for free to those who haven't subscribed.
People have been asking about editorial policies. Here are some policies about submissions: