Volume 1/Number 4 Fourth Quarter 1993
Out in the ocean the mild winds and the tug of the moon creates a surge in the water. The surge, along with many others, moves across the face of the planet. As it nears the shore, it builds a little and begins to curl. It breaks on the shore, transforming itself into turbulence, sparkling foam, the boom, and then rushing sound. The sand swirls and bits of seaweed rush up. The wave expends its energy, pauses, and flows out again, its cycle complete.
In our lives, impressions come at us, building from a source often far too complex for us to fully understand. The flow of these impressions break upon us like these waves. But unlike the passive shore, we can influence just how the wave breaks. We can choose how we take the energies that come our way.
If we refuse the experience, the wave will not complete its cycle. Held off by our resistance, these impressions try to flow through us but can't. They remain as a residue, suspended as if frozen in time. They exist as memories, feelings, attitudes, resistances, and beliefs. These things are the MIND.
We may not make a conscious choice to hold off the fullness of an experience. That choice might have been made a long time ago, as a more or less universal denial and avoidance of the harsh or terrible form that life can take. Whenever or whatever, there is this separation between what we want to experience and what we do not.
Some of the impressions held in limbo in our minds and bodies exist like a sea wall and subsequent waves hit with a fierce impact. The energy from our interactions can be overwhelming, and we often choose to resist even more. We may build a mind so thick with unresolved experiences that we forget our original state. We seem to become this mass of incomplete impressions.
The mind is made of these incomplete experiences. They are stored in the brain, as neuron connections or chemicals, and in our hearts, in our muscles, glands, juices, in our attitudes, feelings, views, and prejudices, in our lifestyles, in the condition of our homes, cars, and other possessions. New perceptions, thoughts, and feelings that flow through the nerve system and these other arenas are influenced by these patterns and become a part of them. It is as if we are stuck in a time warp, acting out our past impressions as if they were now. In a sense, they are now, for they exist as the qualities of our relationship to all that is other. Experiences held back aren't really avoided -- they become our very lives.
It seems obvious that living out these old impressions as if they were happening now is aberration. There is a value to getting rid of this old material so that we can live in this actual moment, in the now.
If the model is true, it implies an approach to dissolving these stored impressions. When a wave runs up on the shore, its energy is dissipated. It turns around and flows back out to sea. There is a sense of completeness about this. The cycle is complete. If this is the nature of mind stuff, we need to let the wave crash
and run its course. Our resistance to having this cycle complete itself in our conscious experience is what held it up, and our willingness to experience the cycle completing is the key to its resolution. The cycle must be allowed to complete.
A life lived with openness to experience is a life fully lived. Be open or you become isolated and alienated. Being isolated and alienated is at the opposite end of the spectrum from enlightened.
It is evident that the strongest impressions in the mind are about relationships. Do you love me? Why did I hurt them? Will you reject me? Will you betray me? Even fear of death is about losing contact with others.
When these things come up for us, and they really do, the reaction of feelings and thoughts can be too intense to bear and we resist the experience. We block it, or we withdraw, or we deny it, or we handle it with an attitude (e.g. I don't really care, people are no damn good, etc.). They leave traces in the mind, and thereafter we live a life altered by those traces. If we can fully receive an event, let it break upon us like storm surf, it will complete and we will not carry the residue with us. This is the strategy for clearing the mind.
Some people have been deeply injured. They have been given impressions so horrible or gross that practically no one would be expected to endure them without their leaving a mark. The depth of human experience should not be underestimated. This is no lightweight endeavor. Clearing the mind is a tough undertaking. There is depth to this process.
Look at the choice you have: you have to feel what you don't usually want to feel. You have to experience those very things you have avoided. This is not to suggest you go looking for trouble, but life will bring up things that are hard to confront, and you have a choice to experience them or shut them out. To become "mind clear" you must opt for fully experiencing what is happening in the moment. And, I suppose, there has to be some sort of "background process" going on where things previously resisted and stored as mind are allowed to surface so that they can be completed. It's a hard, tough, mean path sometimes. Pray that your karma is good.
One of the big problems with all of this is that the stuff already in your mind may keep you from conceiving of progress. For some, the stuff gets so thick they can't help but react, causing further bad experiences and loading the mind with more incomplete cycles. They can't help hurting others. They make bad choices and mistakes. They don't know what to do. Or even worse, they're just bored with life because they are completely trapped by who they've become. They can end up not wanting any of it. At the end of the week they are worse off than when they started.
To get out of this, you have to:
This last one is the one that really does the job. Just like you can learn to play the guitar or learn how to operate a computer, you can learn about how to manage your mind. There are skills involved and they are learnable.
The Other Side of the Coin
That is half the picture. The other half isn't about receiving, it's about sending. The mind is also filled up with stuck outflows, things that you originated that didn't get completed and they too hang around, stuck in mid-cycle. The most intense and significant mass of incomplete communications are about how it is to be you. One's intent to get oneself across keeps these messages hanging around, and like those inflow remnants, they affect every moment of one's life.
Like a darts player, he throws towards the bulls-eye but the darts don't stick. Time and time again he throws the dart and it doesn't go where he wanted. He gets madder and madder or sadder and sadder. He goes home with the darts on his mind. He can't see anything but the darts. He stabs his food at dinner time with a short quick flick of the fork. When he misses the noodle he feels a big upset. All the misses at the dart game are felt, but he thinks it is about noodles. Noodles make him angry. He vows never to eat noodles again. They make him too upset.
The essence of the problem is that you don't always get your way. You aren't in control. There is something outside of your realm that has a say in what happens. There is the other, and the other has choice too. Your will to communicate is only part of the picture. The other's will is involved. The other may not listen, no matter how sweetly you talk. They may not agree no matter how convincing your argument. They may not love you, even if you have become just what you think they want.
If you can't tolerate or accept this otherness, you are alienated. The uncompleted communications persist and reside in the mind as incomplete cycles. Like the experience resisted, the incomplete outflow also contorts your being, contributing to the baggage you carry around.
You might not even know you are trying to get something across to another. You might not even have your attention on others. Just knowing that you want to get these messages across is an enormous help to getting them across. Once those messages are delivered, the mind is cleared.
A lifestyle of completing communications contributes to having a clear mind. Having the intention of communicating what is within your mind, whatever it may be, opens you up over time, until eventually you can say whatever is there for you to say. This outward flow feels wonderful and makes you an alive and vital person, where all of your ability is available for life. That, plus being willing to experience and deal with those things that come up that are hard to experience keeps the mind clear.
When I was 21, I lived and worked at Yogeshwar Muni's (Charles Berner) ashram in St. Helena for about a year. One of my jobs was to lock up the various common buildings and make sure that all the lights were off after curfew which was 10:00PM. It was very dark and quiet in those hills at night, and I was the only one around.
When I was about four, my father and a friend of his played a "joke" on me after a monster movie which severely traumatized me, leaving me with an irrational yet intense fear of monsters that continued into my adulthood. This fear would plague me as I walked in the quiet dark of the ashram. I tried letting the fear be there, not allowing myself to turn around suddenly (usually) or freak out and run or anything like that. I reasoned that if I just allowed the fear and faced it that I would eventually get over it. Also, I was not going to let something I knew was irrational run me.
Gradually the fear grew in intensity until it became simply intolerable, washing over me in waves as I did my rounds. During the day, the dread of having to go out was almost as bad as the fear I had to face at night.
One night, I had finally had enough. At the darkest, scariest place on my way back to my room I just stopped and hollered, "God damn it, that's enough! If you're going to get me, just do it and get it over with! Nothing could be as bad as this!" And, it did. The unknown "got" me. The world dissolved and the Infinite got me, or I got the Infinite. Behind all that scary unknown was the Absolute. All that was waiting to get me was Divine Love which is always loving me. The illusion of life dissolved leaving nothing but God. There is no life, it is all Divine Otherness, and it is there for me, surrounding me, loving me all the time. The physical has no real substance to it for me anymore. The illusionary walls of life came tumbling down, never again to hide that which is True for me. It is all God taking the form of matter. Life is just what I move around in, a medium through which I relate to others. And, it is always giving me what I need in order to perfect my relationship with all other conscious entities. That night, all irrational fear left me, never to return.
by Anatta Blackmarr
The teachers I've had my attention on these days offer one simple practice. That is: remember God. That's all. Without talk of rules, techniques, or philosophy. Such a welcome simplicity.
As for daily activities:
Rama to devotee:
"Friend, why do you worry? Surrender by my power all thoughts to me, and all your priorities will determine themselves."
As for life's difficulties:
"O Kabir, why be afraid of anyone when the Lord Himself protects you? What does it matter if a thousand dogs bark fiercely when you are seated on an elephant?"
How wonderful it must be to buy into this protection without the slightest doubt. And how wonderful it must be to remember God continually rather than now and then, and to have the experience of God replace the idea of God.
by Forest Dalton
If I had only a moment of your time
as in likelihood I do
I would fill each word
with many meanings
I would tell of the love that creates us
of the light that I see shining in you
I would ask whether
you can taste the nectar
that is on your tongue
at this moment
And whether you can still taste it
when you look away.
I've been doing an experiment and this is a report of my findings: The experiment came out of my thinking about the Lila Theory and an experience with a friend.
When I put my attention on another, one of the things I see is the personality. The other seems to be very complex, not simple and pure. I surmised recently that the personality I am aware of is my experience of additional others, reflected as the other's personality. For clarity, let's say that I am relating to person A. When I think I am experiencing person A, what I really am aware of is the personality. Furthermore, this personality is person B (and person C, person D, ...) reflected through person A. The personality of person A is really the relationships person A has with others.
For instance, I was with a friend at a coffee shop and he decided to order tea instead of coffee. I asked him, "Who did you relate to that caused you to change your choice from coffee to tea?" He replied that he'd have to think that over, and I also thought it over, and I concluded from the nuances of the choice that it was his mother. About ten minutes later he interrupted our ongoing conversation to say, "Oh, you know that question you asked, about who was involved in my choice to drink tea instead of coffee? It was my mother."
His mother hadn't said anything about whether to drink tea or not, but the interaction he had had in fact caused him to decide to drink tea. He was clear about this. What was unusual was that I was conscious of his mother as an aspect of his personality.
It is kind of like person A is a lens through which one can see a whole bunch of others. For a moment, I had a relationship, somewhat indirect, with my friend's mother. I could see her and knew her better than before. She was more real to me and I was comfortable including her in my reality. I've never met her in the flesh, but she is there for me because I saw her in my friend.
I contact many others, indirectly, through the personalities of others that I meet. Until recently, I was largely unconscious of this. My awareness of others "stopped" at the person in front of me, like hitting a wall. With this new awareness, the one I'm with is also a channel to many others.
This puts a funny twist on things. I have a kind of "magic vision" that permits me to see the history of relationships another has had. Identifying these as leftovers from previous contacts keeps me from falling into the error of believing that the personality that I am experiencing IS the other. My whole sense of who is responsible for what is undergoing a shift since I see the source of actions one or more levels deeper than I had before.
Our immediate relationships are actually a lot simpler than we think. Most of the upset that springs up between us has more to do with the residue of previous relationships than with the current one. This includes one's own past relationships as well as the other's. It's a shame that this old material somehow gets pulled into and mixed up with current relationships. It can make simple misunderstandings or differences mushroom into complex and seemingly unresolvable problems. Our actual relationship with others is almost always much simpler than we imagine.
Would it not be better to develop this sense of holistic relationship so that we would not get sucked into the complications generated by these past histories? The value of this "magic vision" is that it helps to keep a relationship clear. Knowing about the holism of relationships puts them into a different framework, one that seems to put us in touch (albeit somewhat indirectly) with the others who have affected the relationship. It allows us to see another behind the personality. It just seems to make the whole thing more understandable, as if it has additional truth in it. If something makes life more understandable, you almost have to believe it.
by Vijaya Muni
The function of Lila groups is to dissolve the illusion of life, right in front of your eyes. I have been involved in an ongoing Lila group for several years. It started when Karuna, who was in Australia, sent me a transcript of several morning darshans in which Yogeshwar Muni (YM) was trying to get across the metaphysical nature of this world to some of his students.
You could tell that there was a great deal of non-understanding and frustration going on. Yet there was this deep excitement surrounding the sense that this was the first time this knowledge had ever been expressed in such a complete, accurate, and scientific way.
In the group that I started there were just two people, me and Julie Green. We would read some of the material and try to understand and then explain it to each other. Mostly we were guessing. Some of my guesses were pretty good since I have been studying life for twenty four years. However, I also got to be wrong a lot.
Each thing that we read brought up ten questions. It was clear to both of us that we were in over our heads in the physics and needed to be in contact with someone that could explain what YM had said. We were extremely grateful when various people from Australia would come through and give a workshop on Lila.
We found that we desperately needed to ground this abstract theory in some way. YM started recommending that we contemplate these basic paradigms with the intent of directly experiencing the truth of them in the group with each other. This was a real breakthrough. It got us out of our heads and into contact with each other. We started understanding our enlightenment experiences in relationship to the theory. We started having lots of insights. We found that by honoring each other's choice we knew each time exactly what we needed to do in order to keep balanced and stay interested. Making sure we completed and acknowledged each other in every communication raised the satisfaction level even more.
We were very lucky that there were other enlightenment community people that wanted to join us. Kalidasa, Elena, Raliey, and Menika have all been regular members in our group. There seems to be a natural dedication that develops and we found ourselves able to be in contact after just a few minutes in the same way we would be in contact after several days of an Enlightenment Intensive. We regularly remark to each other how significant these meetings are to our whole week.
Most of the regular members of our Lila group attended the presentation YM recently made to physicists at the Buddhist Studies Center here in Berkeley. We were all quite proud of ourselves because we were all able to understand or at least track everything that YM presented. We also had great questions.
I am not going to try to justify the value of studying YM's teachings or of understanding the absolute truth. It is just something that some people are interested in and some are not. If you are interested, I understand it very well. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of sharing what I know of Lila theory and out of being in contact with others in this situation.
I will say just one more thing to promote Lila groups. The pattern presented in Lila theory is not just a physics subject. We study mythology, psychology, therapy, other religions, etc. I find that I see this pattern in the nature of everything I look at.
I would like to get together with at least one new group over the next two or three months and bring everyone up to speed on what has been presented so far.
These groups will be free. The first will start up on the 9th of October, the first Saturday night after the Annual Intensive. It will be in Berkeley. Call me, Vijaya at 644-2932 for information. Call me even if you just want to invite me over for dinner, to discuss it, and see if you are interested.
A poem by Bill Bruneau
My good and brilliant wife
As if she ran into the wall.
As the shock wears off
she exclaims with emphasis
Do you mean (!) after 49 years (!)
That I have been
tying my shoelaces WRONG? !!!
The enormity of the revelation
is like sun on a stormy day:
Do you REALIZE
how many times
I re-tie my shoelaces
Every Day? !!!
There are stages in integrating
the enlightenment experience:
First, you always wonder why it took so long:
"How come NOBODY ever told me?
I dropped subtle hints like,
'my shoelaces never stay tied,'
But NOOOO, nobody ever told me!"
We are all eager for enlightenment
and potential enlightenment is all about us
just waiting to be activated...
"Oh, you are my sweet husband
who does such nice things for me -
WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO SOONER?"
When the Enlightenment Experience
is triggered by a Master
There is often deep gratitude and affection
But focus should be kept
on the personal gestalt of the Experience.
"Now, WAIT, how does that go?
Oh, I loop it the other way?"
(and she does it wrong again)
An Enlightenment Experience will always be memorable
but it is difficult to make it
a permanent part of your self:
do you think you will EVER remember
which side the loop is on?")
"Dear, I retie my shoes 7 times
every morning on my walk.
I'd better get it right!"
There is a natural desire to share
the Enlightenment Experience with others
bringing awareness to others, and other generations...
We laughingly were telling my son and his friend about the shoelace enlightenment
When my son's bright, able, and accomplished friend said,
"Wait a minute, which way does it go?"
Discussing enlightenment helps lower barriers
as friends discover they had inadvertently
raised barriers against a personal experience:
"It doesn't go this way? Oh, well,
I just knotted them until they wouldn't come undone - Now I can just tie them once!"
Whole religions have been based
on one Great Enlightenment
that was linked with the religious:
"Well, we'll have to see which of our friends
knows how to tie his shoe laces!"
After having gone through my usual preliminary pranayama, asana, and prayer, I hear keys rattle at the front door of my condo. I continue listening, not letting it interfere with my meditation. I have experienced many times in the past of being thrown out of a deep meditation by a rattle of my dresser drawer handles or a rubbing of the rug next to my ear and even someone standing over me. But this time I surrendered more. I heard whoever it was coming down the hallway to my bedroom. It was then that I realized I was off the floor by about two feet, my hands together and straight up above my head in a beautiful thoughtless blissful space. But then I thought, "It must be my landlord and how am I going to ever explain this?!"
Of course, I opened my eyes with some difficulty getting back into and stirring my physical body, only to find that it was those guys again, whoever they are, RAKSAS and YAKSAS. They seem to find some satisfaction in disturbing my meditation, often.
I bow to my altar, but through God's Grace.
by Edrid (Gleaned from a publication by the Sanatana Dharma Foundation. I reworded some of them.)
The Yamas and Niyamas are the foundation of successful spiritual practice. If you can't or won't follow them, your efforts to grow spiritually will slow down. By following the Yamas (moral restraints) and Niyamas (virtues), they say certain Siddhis (powers) result. (You don't do them for the siddhis, they are a side-effect.)
|Ahimsa (Non-injury)||Siddhi: No upsets around you|
|Brahmacarya (Not-wasting one's life energy)||Siddhi: Strong and healthy body|
|Satya (Telling the truth)||Siddhi: Your word is cause|
|Asteya (Non-theft)||Siddhi: You have plenty|
|Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness)||Siddhi: Openness to truth|
|Sauca (Purity)||Siddhi: Respect from others|
|Samtosa (Contentment)||Siddhi: Happiness|
|Tapas (Austerities)||Siddhi: Perfection of the body|
|Svadhyaya (Self-study)||Siddhi: Communion|
|Isvara-pranidhana (Surrender to God)||Siddhi: Samadhi|
I might describe my direct experience as a mere whiff of the truth. Unlike our President, I did inhale. The Truth stole into my body, coating every particle of every cell with the sweetest love. It was beyond ecstasy, which, comparatively speaking, is pain. Witnessing the dance of Life - energy pulsations in the billions - there was only objectless desire in an ocean of Love. This is where we live ... all of the time.
Being open is loving God, surrendering all, witholding nothing. It's easy to do: the first two commandments - Love God with one's whole heart, mind and strength and love thy neighbor as thyself. Love is the one thing God cannot resist. He-She wants our love more than anything. This is a fact.
The idea of loss is a lie. What is there to lose by fulfilling your greatest desire?!
I was confused before the experience. I couldn't have acted any differently given the ignorance that led me. A transformation has occurred. I'm not happy or sad, yet gone or greatly reduced is the pain, the fear, and the attachment. Life is simple: music - effortless, free, beautiful - God's beauty in infinite flow.
More significant than the direct experience itself is the fact that I now know the purpose for my life. I'm a free man. OM, Shanti
Abbreviated Arguments of the Great Philosophers by Philip Blackmarr (c) 1993
In 339 BC, the Greek philosopher Socrates was charged with impiety (refusing to recognize the gods of the state) and subversion (corrupting the young). Plato's account of how he defended himself still has the power to move us. And though Socrates didn't believe some of the stories about the Greek gods, he believed in a supreme Deity -- a God who had created the universe, as well as lesser gods to run it.
Socrates: My accusers say, "Don't let Socrates mislead you. He's a smooth talker." But I'm seventy years old, and this is the first time I've ever come before a court of law. So I can't make a fancy speech like theirs. All I can do is tell you the truth.
My accusers think I ask too many questions. They say I turn people's answers against them, or that I'm one of those atheist intellectuals who invents theories about the universe. Like that show where I'm supposed to be floating around, spouting nonsense about things that are completely over my head. I don't mean to criticize such theories if there's any truth to them, but I've never had anything to do with them.
The kind of wisdom I understand is simple, and you probably won't think much of it. But maybe you remember my old friend, Chaerephon. One time he actually went so far as to ask the oracle at Delphi if there was anyone wiser than Socrates. The priestess told him there wasn't.
When I heard about it, I didn't know what to think, for I'm certainly not wise. Yet how could the oracle be wrong" The gods don't lie.
Finally I decided to go see a man who was supposed to be wise. But when I asked him things, it was obvious that he didn't know what he was talking about. And yet if I questioned anything he said, it only made him angry and outraged his followers.
Then I went to see another man who was supposed to be even wiser, and the same thing happened.
This was very distressing to me, but I had to find out what the oracle meant, so I kept looking for someone who was wiser than I am. Yet those with the greatest reputations always seemed to be the ones who had the least wisdom. Instead of blaming themselves, they blamed me. And when young people started to follow me around and ask questions of their own, I was accused of corrupting our youth and of teaching godless atheism.
Now, I may not be wise, but at least I don't go around thinking I know more than I do. I've never cared about making money or owning a house or being famous. What I care about is the truth, and that's what God has ordered me to pursue -- not only through the oracle, but in signs and dreams as well. If I were to disobey Him in these, then I would be guilty of impiety.
Ever since I was little, I've had a kind of guardian spirit, or holiness, that stops me whenever I start to do something wrong or to say anything untrue. But it hasn't stopped me at all today. So whether you acquit me or convict me, I have to follow God's command, even if it costs me my life.
I won't be the first person who's been convicted by lies that sway the public, nor will I be the last. But dying doesn't frighten me. What I fear is doing wrong, for death is easier to escape than sin. And what I know now is that wisdom belongs to God. When the oracle said that no one was wiser than Socrates, it didn't mean I was wise. It meant that all of our so-called "wisdom" is meaningless. The most we can ever know is how little we know.
I believe in God -- more truly than any of my accusers do. And just as I shall stand before God to be judged, so I stand before you. May your verdict be the right one. For me and for you.
By a vote of 280 to 220, Socrates was convicted. He was then sentenced to die.
By Dawn Riddle, 11 years old
by Dahlia Shiloh (This was written 2 years ago, looking back at my first EI 10 years after.)
I was born in 1956, but I consider November 30th, 1981 to be my birthday. It was on that day that I became actually present, here, with you.
It all began when one day a thought made itself present in my mind: "Until I know who and what I am, a lot of things won't be in place in my life." Just that. I did not know where it came from, but it was clear.
In those days, I had just returned from another archaeological excavation - I was an archaeological illustrator and I loved going to field work. It was after being a few weeks out in the desert living in a tent - another world; it takes a few days to adapt back.
In one of those 'adapting' days, I was in the city centre of Jerusalem where I lived, trying to do a few urgent things, paying bills, and finding a new apartment. Nothing worked out that day, so I decided to stop and go home. I was waiting for a bus in a stop I did not usually use as my regular one was a long walk away. I noticed a young man standing there too. Two (same) buses came together. I went to the first one and sat down. I noticed that the young man came too, sitting a few seats in front of me.
I don't know why, but from the beginning of this ride I just kept staring at his back until, after a long time, he turned back, looked at my staring eyes and signaled me with his hand to come and sit next to him. Now, usually I won't do such things, but somehow I did that day.
I went and sat next to him. 'Bori', he introduced himself. 'Dahlia', I said. Silence. He looked at me and said, "And who is Dahlia?" I thought, "What a hard question" and feeling obligated to give an answer I said, "Well, I am an ex-student." In a short time, he was telling me about something which is called 'Enlightenment Intensive' where you can know who you are! I thought to myself, "Just a week ago I knew that this is what I need and here it is!" "I am coming", I told him. I surprised him and myself, I have never been involved in any personal growth activity before.
I did not know anything about 'Enlightenment Intensives', I did not know how long it is, who gives it, what is going on there nor what enlightenment, or the way Bori called it 'a direct experience' is. But I knew it is where I can know who I am. For me, that was enough.
A few days later, I met the Enlightenment Master. Philippe Bonneau had just returned from England where he had taken a long Enlightenment Intensive and a Master's Course and he invited the people who took his Intensives to come and spend an evening together while he shared his experiences. I came too. I was there. I listened, looking around at the many people that were present and thought, "Where have all of you been all these years?" I felt at home, with my kind of people. At the end of the meeting I told Philippe I would do the next intensive.
An Intensive was scheduled for a few weeks later. I waited impatiently. I went to a preview talk and heard more. I heard more from Bori and other people. It seemed as if when I knew more about it, I felt more and more like I knew less about what it was.
I paid and received a confirmation letter with instructions on what to bring with me and where it was. My parents gave me the money when I asked them even when I was unclear what it was; I wanted to do something which seemed to be important to me and they truly wanted to help me and make me happy. I secretly told two friends at the prehistory Department what I was going to do. Everything was ready and I was nervous in the face of the unknown.
On the evening of the 26th of November, we were there, 12 participants, a Master, 2 monitors, and a cook. We heard all we needed to know about the next 3 days of the Intensive, made the last technical arrangements and went to sleep, ready to begin next morning at 6:00AM.
Now, you have to know that an Enlightenment Intensive is designed to give each participant the maximum possible chance to have a direct experience - enlightenment of either himself, life or others. A direct experience means experience through no vias (thinking, learning, feeling, sensing, etc.) at all. There is no 'through' at all. And you experience the absolute reality, not the relative one which is an indirect experience of what it is.
There is a technique called the 'Enlightenment Technique"
that the participants do during the three days, in 40-minute timed periods throughout the day, with breaks, meals, walks, and rest in between. You do it with a partner, different one you choose every time.
The technique is very simple. You have to want to know who you are; to intend to know it directly. Then, you should be open to yourself and to a direct experience, whatever it is. This combination of wanting or intending and the openness is called contemplation. doing it will result in something coming up to your consciousness - thoughts, memories, feelings- anything might come up. This you communicate as fully as you can to the other participant you are sitting with. He/she at that time has only to listen and understand you, without interrupting or giving feedback at all - giving you a free and safe space to just be yourself. And you switch roles every 5 minutes within the 40 minute periods.
Very simple. How hard to do!
I remember the first half of this first Intensive was hell for me. After years of holding everything inside sharing it with no-one, the pains and the tears were flowing out. For a day and a half, I was just crying it all out. (After the Intensive, I was told I made the staff buy more tissues because of that!) I had a bad headache during all that time. Then it all went away and I was nowhere.
During the morning contemplation walk of the third day, I was startled by a thought, "If I am not my labels, my feelings, my thoughts, then who am I?" I did not know. The old me I knew before was not it, still I had nothing instead. At that moment, I got a horrible pain in my stomach. It was so bad, I could not even walk straight and only with the support of the Master did I continue to do the technique. This support is what carries you through when you hit the barriers on the way, when you just want to give up.
It was a few hours before the end of the Intensive that the Master talked with me. I remember one of his questions, "What will you do if you won't have a direct experience?" "I will come to the next Intensive", I said. He responded, "I want you to have it in this one." and added, "I will be with you." This gave me what I needed in order to go on, after a day and a half of crying, with a bad stomach pain and no direct experience.
The last 40 minutes came. For a partner I chose Llana. I was fascinated through all the Intensive by her openness and willingness to communicate. "If it will happen with someone, it will happen with her." I said to myself and sat down with her. In my communication then, I was telling her the last thing about myself that I was still holding back, how worthless I always think of myself. It left me feeling like now I had put myself naked in front of everyone.
Time passed, the Intensive was nearing its end. No direct experience. In the last five minutes, Philippe is talking to me, helping me, as he promised. "Tell me who you are", with his deep, warm, and touching voice.
"I don't know", I said.
"Who is it that doesn't know?"
"Who is it this me?"
Silence and then the sound of a bell that means the end of the 40 minutes and the end of the Intensive. I thought, "Well, the end. Stop now". But not Philippe.
"Dahlia, who is it this 'me'?"
I felt cornered, with my back to the wall. I have said it all, there was nowhere to go. I also felt like I was in a different world and talking from there.
I said, "Me is me."
Philippe: "Are you willing to tell it to everyone?"
I looked up. The room was silent, the Intensive has just ended. There were 11 other participants, Philippe and other staff members. They would all hear it. I have never done anything like that in my life.
Then there was a decision inside, "Once in my life - YES!"
The following was unexpected, unplanned and uncontrolled. I opened my arms to my sides and big and loud came my voice, "ME IS ME!!!!"
The next moment I was on the floor just laughing and laughing and what happened I don't remember but I was totally happy and free and ME. All the misery had gone in an instant. I finally knew who I was and I was ME.
Now, you might ask, what happened, what was it? Explain! I cannot really explain, but I will try to describe it. I cannot describe the experience because the situation was not me having some kind of experience. There was only me. No 'me' 'having' an 'experience'. It was a direct experience, no 'having' took place and therefore no separation between me and the experience.
It was me. Me presenting me. Sounds like an empty saying, yet, it was totally full. I was there and I was me. I had been born more than 25 years earlier, but it was the first time, from myself and out of my own choice that I presented myself to the world. I was born.
Ten years have passed. Looking back, that voice that said "until I know who and what I am, a lot of things won't be in place in my life" was right. Things started to change after that night, especially my ability to relate and communicate with others. In fact, I have started a completely new life within that life. My life is being more and more about living the Truth, study more and share it with others. It is the basis and purpose of everything. I regard this experience which I had as a miracle and feel more and more grateful to Philippe, the Master. Life has meaning.
A Personal View, Part Two (continued from last quarter's newsletter)
by Bill Savoie
Just what is the Physical Universe? Have you ever wondered what objects are? For myself I can tell you first what objects are not.
Others are not Objects: If people have free choice, they have infinite complexity. Since they are not controllable they are therefore not part of scientific knowledge. (Science is limited to the knowledge that can be gained from controlled experiments.) Any stereotype you create will not contain them.
Relationships are not additive: Each person is unique, and what you gain or lose with one does not transfer to another. Unfortunately most people are operating as if relationships with other people were interchangeable.
The only thing people have in common is 'you': No two people are alike. They don't even 'share' a common universe! The real situation is that you have many physical universes, one between you and each person in existence. You are in each of these universes and because you confuse one person for another you have 'glued' all these separate universes into 'one' physical reality. The observation that relationships are not additive has a great many repercussions, only one of which is that there is not 'one' physical universe but many, many physical universes. The main 'reason' people find this so hard to comprehend, is that they rely on consciousness.
Consciousness is a process of referencing one relationship's thoughts with another relationship: In other words, I may be listening to you but I am thinking of how my father, brother, and sister would hear you. This implies that consciousness assumes people are additive. Consciousness is kind of an amplification process, to make me become more 'aware'. It is a bit of fuzzy thinking that when I listen from another's perspective I get my view and a reflection of all those views I understand from my family and friends. The confusion caused by running this simulation with family is so great that it is hard to talk about 'many physical universes'. (No prior data points = rejection.)
For me, my childhood 'awareness' occurred as a solution to my parents control over my life, and to think clearly I had to give it up. I did not give up meaning or understanding, I just gave up awareness, and after more work, I gave up consciousness. (Actually it is so hard to operate my body, that I pop in and out and carry ideas back by will power alone.) The best way to communicate about the physical universe is to create a unique language with each person and to only use that unique language with that unique person. This creates a reality that is grounded in shared truth. If you follow me this far you now see objects as having a poly-existence. Since you are the only connection between each of these universes, you provide the objects with inertia.
If you follow me this far, you know I see an object as having a poly-existence, glued together and made to look like one object. Now you also have a rough idea of where I find all the copies of any 'one' object. Next, I need to tell you where my 'body' is!
When I move, I move the entire known universe: I am a non-physical entity. Most people think that when you move your body only a small portion of the universe seems to move and this is called your body. Since all motion is relative, moving your body is just the same as moving the universe! No difference! The problem is one of inverted perspective.
So how and why did we become bodies? If you move the universe, who cares about a little object that stands still? Actually the part that opposes you is very interesting, since it represents another power! There is only a very small part of your universe which is unknown by you, and you therefore cannot move it. So the real 'life' takes place 'inside' your body! What is actually happening with bodies is the following: You do not have a body, you are the universe (if you choose to become physical). Other people oppose you (in your opinion) and this 'makes' a small part of the universe stand still, or not act under your total control. You find this very interesting, and you attach yourself to the study of these forces. The attachment grows to such a point that an inversion takes place and you start to think of yourself as a body.
In truth, you are not a body and life does not take place 'inside' the physical universe: There is only one 'place' in the physical universe which is unknown, and that is inside the body at the place called 'here'. 'Here' is the only place you are allowed to communicate and reach others from. You cannot move 'here' you can only re-arrange the objects around 'here'. The concept of 'here' can be thought of as a hole in the physical universe, allowing activity with others, and not being under your direct control. Since you are 'here' you are standing at an abyss, a non-physical interface to me and to others. You are surrounded by all your warm known universes that stretch out to infinity in all directions. 'Here' is the only 'place' which does not have a place. Since we have 'connected' 'here' to all our physical universes, we can fall into the illusion that our 'one' physical universe has no edge, and it is all 'inside' our physical universe. If we give up our universe and become bodies, we can forget about the abyss, plug up the pain, and reduce the world to comfortable logic and future plans.
I hope the concepts here help you to wake up to the real experience of life, and therefore help you to communicate as a non-physical being. Since relationships are not additive, you will still have to discover your truth, but knowing that I was brave enough to show you mine may give you strength to start down that road. If you understand that relationships are not additive you can use that information to undo all the cross-connected levers, like awareness and consciousness. Freedom will be yours. You can now concentrate on meaning and understanding. Don't waste your time on a monolithic reality.
This is an exerpt from the book, Tatagata Tea Ceremony:
One of the keys to Tatagata Tea Ceremony is called "suchness". The term "tatagata" refers to someone who lives this suchness. It's a simple concept, but some people find it is very elusive. Then again, others find it completely natural.
"Tatagata" was one of Buddha's names, like a title. It means "The thus come one".
The "thus" means "just like THAT". It is so much just the way it is. It is experienced directly, in this moment.
The "come" in this context is the "come" that doesn't come from anywhere, like something emerging out of nothing. The soul is like that, the front end in the world and the back end coupling with infinity.
The "one" is the individual -- you or me or the Buddha.
So altogether it means something like, "He comes and goes -- just like THAT".
In the Tea Ceremony, you become a tatagata. You evoke suchness in each action: When you pick something up, you just purely pick it up. When you set it down, you just purely set it down. You JUST DO IT. You do all of it. But you don't add anything to it and you don't take anything away. You just make tea.
In that moment of activity you remain WITH what you are doing. You pay attention, investing all of your awareness in what you are doing. And this being WITH what you do is continuous as each motion of making tea unfolds. For instance, when you get a dipper of hot water, your attention seamlessly follows each motion, as you dip the dipper in the water, as you pause a moment to let it drip a little, as you glide it, steaming, across to the bowl, as you tip it to let the water cascade out, and as you return the dipper to its resting place on the mat. There are no parts or pieces to the act; it is all one conscious motion, and you are with every moment of it.
When drinking: you pick up the bowl. You drink. Your direct contact with the act is like the purest consuming fire. Like they say in Zen stories: burning completely -- leaving no ash. Nothing else happens in one's awareness. Nothing else needs to happen. You just do it.
The Tea Ceremony can be done with this suchness. You invest your awareness in what you are doing in the moment you are doing it. There is a kind of union there.
Many people instantly get what suchness is when they see a tea master demonstrating it. It's like a transmission of this special state of consciousness. Then they set out to develop this peaceful focus in their own ceremony. When they finally get it going, they begin to discover that they can get great satisfaction doing whatever they are doing, tea or any other activity, from this highly attentive state.
By Bill Savoie
Thinking, like gardening, can be beautiful at times, with seasonal changes, and if cultivated, it can bear the fruit needed to keep you healthy. But you must constantly pull out the weeds to leave enough nutrients for those items you really wish to grow. Further you must change corps, to keep the soil rich, and therefore you must be a seed saver, and eat in moderation.. These riches are not easy to accomplish, and there is no full proof solution. Thoughts have a tendency to build into a mind, and mechanize, and remove you from life's joy.
I suggest that we can help each other in gaining and keeping the skill of weed removal, crop rotation, and irrigation, by helping each other to build some thought tools. A garden hoe has a long handle, allowing you to stand up, use two arms, and really hack away. The long handled hoe puts you standing, with good visual perspective, above the problem. Once you see this tool in action, and can understand how it functions, you can put one into your toolbox. To be a proper tool, it must work at many levels and have a handle you or anyone else can easily find.
There are no doubt hundreds of tools. I hope you will share your tools with me. I will give you only one just to start you thinking.
There is a tendency for people to become what they hate.
Have you ever noticed how child abusers raise child abusers? Or why in Israel, lots of people carry guns? The mechanism operates as a solution used in place of real understanding. The key operative word here is 'hate'. This is not a conception made from enlightenment. When you 'hate' something, you put off understanding until some future date. You create a ridge in your free flow of ideas. At first you remain clearly on one side of the ridge, but as time goes by, on some internal level, you still need to understand. If all else fails, you can take up the point of view, the one you don't understand, as an effort to understand by the very act of becoming. It can be more important to understand, than it is to hold your previous course. Becoming what you hate can be the first step on the road to tolerance.
Having thus described the tool, I think it might be important to give you the secret that makes it work. For me the underlying mechanism for why this tool works is unrequited love. I cannot help myself, I love everyone, and everything they do. I know this seems impossible. Of course, this admission of love, blows the mind, and releases me from the power of hate. At this level of admission, I don't need a toolbox, but weeds can return if I don't pay attention. So this tool can become quite handy. As with all good tools, it can be used on many levels. If you wish, you can think, and meditate on this tool until it is yours. Then take the time to look for any ridges in the free flow of ideas, and remember, keeping your garden up, puts you more in the present, and therefore better able to live life fully!
Japhy Riddle, age
I love this thing. This quarter's newsletter is just full of the incredible diversity from our reader's spiritual journeys. My sincere thanks to all of you who have submitted your stories, poems, letters, and accounts of spiritual experiences and philosophical ponderings. I appreciate all of them. I see in each story the unique path each of us takes to their own truth. Our group will take advice from some of them and leave the rest, using our own instincts, and perhaps prejudices, to sort out the wheat from the chaff. There is validity in everyone's journey and every person is a jewel. God never made a mistake.
If you have something to share, don't hold back. This is your forum. Please take advantage of it. Some of you may think this invitation doesn't apply to you, but it does.
Bonus Booklet: Forest Dalton has written a charming booklet, Tatagata's Children's Alphabet Book. He has graciously donated copies to include in this quarter's S&O. Thanks Forest!
Back issues: They are available. If you want a back issue, just call or write. Cost is $2 per, including postage. There have been a total of 4 issues so far, including this one. Ask for Volume 1, Number 1, 2, 3, or 4.
The next issue is coming out the first week in January, 1994. If you want to submit something, please get it to us no later than December 10th. If you can send it on disk it will save us typing it in manually.