Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Self-remembering as an entry into nondual awareness.

(From "Views from the Real World"):

"Question: What is a higher state of being?

(Gurdjieff:) Answer: There are several states of consciousness:
1) sleep, in which our machine still functions but at very low pressure.
2) waking state, as we are at this moment. These two are all that the average man knows.
3) what is called self-consciousness. It is the moment when a man is aware both of himself and of his machine. We have it in flashes, but only in flashes. There are moments when you become aware not only of what you are doing but also of yourself doing it.

You see both 'I' and the 'here' of 'I am here'— both the anger and the 'I' that is angry. Call this self-remembering, if you like.
Now when you are fully and always aware of the 'I' and what it is doing and which 'I' it is—you become conscious of yourself. Self-consciousness is the third state."


From the above we can see that what Gurdjieff is actually pointing to is a state of consciousness (or a state of mind) in which we are aware of both (simultaneously) the apparent individual self (the machine, the constructed personality) and also one's state of being as nothing other than pure inclusive awareness. This awareness, which is our own natural state, MUST be attributeless- since there is nothing here other than awareness (pure "I"), which is normally completely fixated on the individual self (the machine), and the known world.

A stepping stone is often given, of having the 'practitioner' become aware of themselves throughout the day, performing an action- ie. a dual observation of both the action, and the "I" performing the action. However, this isn't the end goal (the "third state") mentioned above. In this scenario there is still a doing and a doer (although at least complete object-identification, which is our usual but abnormal state of mind, has been reduced). 

The hope is that the realization will occur (naturally, and when it does), in which it is discovered that the action, the "I" performing the action, and everything observed is seen or known from another vantage point that is beyond the known (and the knower!), but which paradoxically, also includes both. This is none other than nondual awareness, or what Gurdjieff calls 'self-consciousness' above.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fourth Way schools- SWOT.

Fourth Way- A SWOT analysis.


- Information largely available in print form, transcripts of meetings, and direct writings from Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and students. 
- Promotes group workings, and possible new group start-ups independent of any "official" body.
- Promotes individual efforts in self-work and self-reliance. 'The system works if you work it.'
- Contains basic ethical principles for social harmony (e.g. External considering).
- Contains real, workable solutions to the problems of identification, false/imposter self, multiple "I", disparate centre functioning, wrong work of the centres, etc.
- Contains workable and documented practices (self-observation, self-remembering) that directly relate to practical Direct Path type teachings.
- The chief founders, such as Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and others such as de Salzemann seem to have achieved "Self-realization" or at least some level of attainment of Self-knowledge or Self-actualization.


- Due to the "teacher-student" emphasis in some writings, some groups are prone to cult mentality, and guru worship.
- Most of the writings have been translated from original languages, and thus are prone to translation error.
- Writings also contain a good deal of impractical theoretical (and possibly fabricated) information, theology and cosmology.
- The above causes some FW students to completely become lost.
- The system contains much technical jargon, allegories, and words with special meaning requiring some prior study in Fourth Way materials. Some concepts (such as assigning chemical symbols and names to entities that bear no resemblance to established labels) creates obvious confusion. (See talks on Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen).
- Most "official" Fourth Way/Gurdjieff groups existing today have become so crystallized in their methods and orientation that the original thrust of the teaching has become lost, with the groups serving no real purpose other than their own historical self-perpetuating purposes. (Much the same as any historical religious group).
-  Solo work can be performed, but takes enormous energy, will-power, and drive to continue to perform daily and over time. The sheer amount of material available also makes it difficult for an individual to sort the 'wheat from the chaff'.
- The founders (Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and others) left the work (or died) in unhelpful ways, or without clear cut instructions going forward, thus leaving half-baked students to work out what was going on. "I leave you all in a fine mess." (Gurdjieff).


- Any individual so motivated can take up Gurdjieff's writings (BTTHG, Meetings, Life is Real) along with other works (In Search, Herald etc.) and begin 'working'. The instructions are all available in print form.
- A Fourth Way group can be started by a group of motivated people and perform real "work" on themselves with the above.
- Results can be quick or slow depending on levels effort and motivation involved, regardless of external influences.
- The variety of material available offers something of appeal to almost anyone.


- As time goes on, the Fourth Way historical groups and founders become more dated, direct students die off and become less, and the whole movement risks becoming history or a legacy.
- "Official" Fourth Way groups stuck in the past become increasingly less relevant to the youth of the day. Their resources diminish to nothing. Some groups have been going for 40 years with little to show (materially and work-wise).
- The relatively large percentage of Fourth Way group failures, cult experiments, and implosions reflects badly on the whole movement and teaching, turning potential seekers off, and veiling the true potential in the system.
- Inter-fighting and egoism between the small number of "official" Fourth Way groups destroys the movement and teaching impetus as a whole.
- Existing groups become fossilized in their practices and routines, focusing on one particular area (e.g. dances, readings, cosmology etc.) and failing to ever aim at (or even consider) the (previous) primary goals of self-observation, self-remembering and becoming Man Number Four (finding a true centre of Being).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Self-observation as a practice.

The Keyword for the day is "Self-observation" or "self-observation".

Note- There is no difference in spelling 'Self' with a capital S or 'self' with a small 's'. Countless books seemed to have confused the point beyond repair, in order to stress the point that there is a 'true' self (Self) and a false self (self). However, practically speaking, there is only one findable self- the self that you are right now, which is aware of this sentence. Inquiry into your self, right now, always works (regardless of what you think that 'self' is).


As a verbal cue, we can use this word today to bring us back to our self (and ourselves apparently, for as Gurdjieff said, we appear as multiple "I"s all day long).

"Self-observation" can be done either by focusing on a part, or a function or a segment of ourselves, or by focusing on ourself as a 'whole'. Either way is OK. Focusing on a part or function (or "centre" in Fourth Way terms) is normally done first, since it is easier to gather attention or concentration on a specific external part, rather than the whole. However, if we find it easy to do, it is probably more efficacious to focus our observation on the whole, which includes all parts (that we think constitute 'us').

Self-observation brings me back to myself, breaks identification of the mind with objects, and strengthens the 'witnessing' power of the mind. Ultimately, it enables us to remember ourselves, or 'self-remember', which often takes enormous energy and can only be done a few seconds at a time. With repeated self-observation (and especially during quiet sitting sessions), self-remembering can happen more frequently, for longer periods of time, and automatically throughout the day.

Practice: Verbally repeat the phrase 'self-observation' today, and then rest in some quiet self-observation for a few moments. This can be done at any time or any place. Alternately, it can be done on the hour throughout the waking day.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"I am- I wish to be.

"I am- I wish to be."

This enigmatic Fourth Way phrase (attributed to Gurdjieff and his groups) can be taken in many different ways- all with different results depending on the focus.

Much has been written by Gurdjieff on what he means by the words 'to be', though usually these words point to 'be-ing' in a way that involves conscious, self-aware, and non-automatic, living. 

One way the above phrase may be used, in order to enable (or rather) promote self-remembering, (ie self-awareness and direct self-knowledge aka nondual awareness and countless other phrases of similar meaning), may be as--

verbally saying and noting -

"I am" - which brings one back to one's self in this moment, including but not limited to sensations, perceptions, identifications, etc. The whole of one's self, especially including one's being-ness which is the background of awareness that includes all of the above external objects. In short, a sense of personal being-ness, am-ness etc.


"I wish to be." - which sets one simply in a state of relaxed, open, spacious, aware, be-ingness. It is really an affirmation and self-allowing permission just to relax and be in one's current state, while also being aware in/as the background awareness. It is the state aimed at within other nondual teachings such as Zen (shikantaza), Dzogchen (Rigpa), Advaita Vedanta (Turiya), Jnana Yoga (ParaBrahman), Sufism (Haqq), etc.

"I am- I wish to be."

Try it, you'll like it. You might even return to it again and again, once you get a "taste" for it.

Otherwise, as a more base practice, the phrase can also be used in a somewhat grounding way:

“To prevent reverie, you have to visualize or repeat something, such as ‘I am, I wish to be.’ ” (Richard Rose)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Points on Direct Path practice (self-inquiry)

  • When you ask "what sees/feels this," as in "who am I?" or "who is the author of this experience?" you are practicing the quintessential "direct path" exercise. That question points to the direct apprehension that the knowing and that which is known are "not two." This is advaita, which is a Sanskrit word meaning..."not two." This is not vipassana, but a complete practice unto itself. You can become fully enlightened, as did Ramana Maharshi, by continued inquiry into "who am I?" Ramana insisted that no other technique was required. Of all the practices I have done, including a great deal of vipassana, "Who am I?" self-inquiry, as taught by Ramana is my favorite practice. I recommend doing it in conjunction with your other practices, as it has the power to completely disabuse you of the notion of a separate self. With this kind of practice, "the path is the goal." In other words, you are able to see what it is like to be enlightened, long before your development catches up with your momentary insight. (KF)

  • The confusion arises when we try to evaluate one technology through the lens of another. Developmental technologies like vipassana begin with the assumption that you can strip away layers of delusion over a period of time, eventually arriving at the simplest thing. At that point you see clearly and are said to be enlightened. Interestingly, those who have mastered this approach point out that what they "found" was there all along but was obscured by delusion. The other major approach, the "realization" school, begins with that very understanding. If the simplest thing is already here, we can see it now. Their techniques are designed to cut through delusion in this moment, allowing even beginning yogis to see what is true. "What is true," or "the simplest thing" is prior to the arising of time. For that reason, development through time is either not emphasized in realization teachings or is explicitly refuted. It is thought that if you are obsessing about how enlightened you will be in the future you will be unable to see what is already true. (KF)

  • Chinul called the developmental approach the "gradual awakening, gradual cultivation school," and the realization approach the "sudden awakening, gradual cultivation school." In both cases, he pointed out, cultivation is necessary. I know of very few people who teach that you can wake up in one moment and remain forever awake. If you listen carefully, even realization teachers are telling you to cultivate your realization through time. Instructions like "dwell as the watcher," "remain stable in the awareness," etc., are all ways of saying that there is still something to be done even after realization. Ramana Maharshi spent years meditating silently after his awakening. Eckhard Tolle sat on a park bench. Adyashanti had already meditated for years before his realization and continued to meditate afterward. (KF)
  • Notice that both schools are present within Buddhism. The Tibetans, for example value and teach both systems side by side. There is no reason why any of us should feel attached to one school over the other. That would be just more dogmatic thinking. To understand the two schools, we must approach each through its own lens and stop trying to understand the timeless through the lens of time. (KF)

  • The direct approach is not a subset of Hinayana. It has exactly nothing to do with vipassana or the three characteristics. It is the direct apprehension of reality, prior to the arising of your identity. Stop trying to shoehorn it into a concept that is comfortable for you. And, by all means, don't make a boogie man out of it. Just try it. (KF)

Points on Noting / Vipassana.

  • As a general rule, note until things become very subtle. At that point I would let go of noting as it is unnecessary and can disturb subtle states of concentration. Think of it a gearshift. (I think I originally heard this idea from Shinzen Young.) When the going gets tough, and you are having trouble noticing clearly, downshift to 1st gear. This would mean lots of noting. Once you get some momentum, but still want a reminder to keep yourself on track, shift up to occasional noting, just to "frame the picture" (that one is from Joseph Goldstein). When you are really cruising, and objects are effortlessly appearing and being noticed clearly, abandon the noting; it's just a distraction at that point. (KF)

  • And if you are practicing the samatha technique, don't note. You can use a mantra to gain access concentration, but once you enter jhana stop all self-talk and take the jhana itself as object. That might mean physical sensations or mental phenomena depending on the jhana and how deeply you have dived into it. (KF)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A few notes from my Alexander Technique lesson today- awareness of the head.

Lesson 4 September

Key points:

  • Head is primary, remember the image of a baby and its head-prominence.
  • Observe young children and babies, and their body posture and movement.
  • Being with yourself is knowing where your head is, and then your whole 'self' spatially. Being with yourself isn't an observer mode, but sitting comfortably in your body and body experience. (This could also be termed 'self-remembering'. It fits the bill because one is self-aware at this time, and aware of what’s going on around.- me)
  • Flow- one activity flows on to the next, there is no stop/start or separation. Awareness and movement is constant, even sitting ‘still’, or taking ‘a break’ involves movement and flows from a previous action to a next action.
  • Don’t try to adjust things (back position, head etc.), the body will let you know what needs to be adjusted, provided you are self-aware and experiencing things from head-down. It is only when tuning-out or in autopilot (habit) mode that we lose connection with the body and issues arise.
  • Make time during the day to feel where your head is located, and then your body, and whole ‘self’, and just experience sitting and being without any intention or need to do anything.
  • Experiment with ‘noting’ if the idea arises, though perform the noting within the context of the whole ‘self’ rather than just fixating on one arising (such as ‘touch’); note and be aware of the whole context occurring.
  • Take note when moving that the head is leading, or at least be aware of where you are going and what you are doing (while experiencing the head-body connection).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Another change in direction- returning to Fourth Way ideas as a relational point of focus.

Another surprise, chiefly to myself, has been the return of my  focus onto Fourth Way ideas, material and approach to self Work. I first stumbled onto Fourth Way (and Gurdjieff) material probably a decade ago, when interested in related (Westernized) Sufi practices and traditions. 

I have no idea how long this renewed focus will last for, but it seems powerful enough to have prompted a change in this blog :), its focus, and also my own focus and thinking in regards to personal transformational Work and Self (re) discovery.

This no doubt this was also prompted by some powerful and inescapable physical changes (injury etc.) that were brought to bear on my body, and the clear demonstration that "mind only" schools simply can't cut it when the physical mechanism (or emotional apparatus) is disabled, and cannot function normally.

The realization (re) occurred that a balanced approach, making use of the body, emotions and mind all together, seems to have been clearly pointed out- although this idea isn't new, and is stressed often in a number of traditional schools. Newer schools, such as Neo-Advaita groups, or "mind-only" groups such as ACIM, New Thought, Neo-Gnosticism, Christian Science, etc. generally disregard the body and giving physicality any basis at all. 

It's easy for a natural "mind" person (or in Fourth Way terms- Man Number Three), such as myself, to focus exclusively on mind-only spiritual paths, such as pure self-inquiry, mind-yoga, contemplative practices, meditation etc., at the expense of the body or emotional centre. Of course, a certain amount of success is inevitable when doing what one is naturally good at doing. This doesn't mean, however, that such success is the 'end of the road' so to speak.

It strikes me that at this point in time, more than any other in human history, the body/physical mechanism seems disproportionately disregarded and distorted. The use of technology, electronic information, modes of communications, etc. have all turned human functioning upside down in terms of having any semblance of balance between body/heart/mind usage, or even balance in terms of what parts of the body are used and how.

All of this has left a powerful impression on my own thinking-being, and seems to have performed the function of a 'shock' of which I've become conscious of, and has thus changed the course of my awareness work and focus.

It's my hope that what I blog about here is of some help to some 'one' out there, and this is one of the inner driving forces that continues to motivate me to post things here at different points in time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Brain focused Qi Gong and technology impacts.

Took a lesson in Brain focused Qi Gong. Mainly uses finger and hand exercises (since the idea is that over 50% of nerve paths in the brain relate to hands alone).. extremely impressed. Shows up how detrimental technology use has become in conditioning a very limited use of our hands, coordination, and thus even limiting our neural pathways and brain function unfortunately. If there was ever a time that more body awareness and kinesthesis was needing to be taught at school and in the workplace, it is probably now.

Philosophies, will-power, mind power, planning, decisions, and all thought-related processes are pretty much pointless or limited, when the brain itself has been limited in function due to poor kinaesthetics, coordination, habituated body-misuse, etc.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A change in events.. and focus - physical injury and Body Awareness.

Things took a very unexpected turn recently (in the last 7 weeks), chiefly due to acute pain coming from a 'pinched nerve' (herniated disc) in the neck. It's the sort of thing one wouldn't wish on one's worst enemy. My left arm was virtually useless, and there's no position (sitting, standing, sleeping, etc.) that feels comfortable at all. Most people that have the misfortune to experience this (in the neck or lower back) usually take pain killers like candies, in order to stop going completely insane. One normally just has to "wait it out", especially without resorting to harmful NSAIDs etc., or surgical intervention.

Anyhow, it seemed to be an ideal time to explore (or re-explore) BODY AWARENESS. An area, which on reflection, I had seriously 'left behind' a while ago, in favour of pretty much always hanging out in open awareness or witness mode. I can certainly predict that my days of hanging out in 'no body' mode are over for the next while.

As it happened, with acute pain, and the total non-functioning of my body (in terms of movement), I found myself drawn to exploring:

  • The Alexander Technique
  • Feldenkrais
  • Mindfulness of sensations
  • EFT
  • Gurdjieff Work (around body awareness, and the Moving Centre + Emotional Centre)
  • Self-inquiry (around pain, and "I" identity with pain)

These were also supplemented by medical attention (doctors, Chiropractic (which caused more issues), Osteopathy (very helpful), etc.), and a good regime of natural supplements.

After 7 weeks, things started returning to 'normal' in terms of body functionality. My Osteopath was rather surprised at the rate of recovery, and commented that most people with this injury took between 6 weeks and 6 months.

Of the above, I found Alexander Technique (through lessons with a teacher) to be highly beneficial, insightful and completely outside any prior ideas I had related to what it was. It also fits in perfectly with any number of 'spiritual systems', even though the focus is purely physical (or educational). The ideas of 'inhibiting automatic habits', 'pausing', adjusting, bringing parts into awareness and unity, etc. all fit perfectly with Gurdjieff Work as well.

Seven weeks of intense pain and disability was a humbling, but truly fresh experience. "Life" never ceases to surprise, instruct, and lead.. often to places unexpected.

Over the next while, I'll be re-exploring some basic "Self-Observation" and Body Awareness ideas through the blog and on my other accounts.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meditating with eyes fully shut or half shut?

I've recently been experimenting with meditating and performing internal exercises with eyes half-shut, instead of eyes fully shut.

Some meditation teachers emphasize that eyes should be fully shut while meditating to reduce all distraction and retain full attention internally. Others emphasise half-shut eyes, in order to maintain added alertness, and also to avoid going into a 'void' state.

IME, after practicing for years with eyes fully shut, I have come to appreciate the half-shut position more, and now only use this while meditating or performing internal looking.

The reason for this is that IME I found that it not only helped with the above (added alertness, stopping 'void' drifting etc.), but also that it helped with posture and alignment of the head/neck.

It seems that the movement of the eyes definitely affects the position of the head/neck, even slightly or very subtly.

This has been noted in various therapies/systems, such as the Alexander Technique- 'the head follows the eyes, and the spine follows the head' etc. (paraphrasing here).

What seems to be a small point, and is usually brushed off as trivial by most meditation teachers, is actually quite a large point and can have a definite impact on a practice.

Experiment with both, and note the differences.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Non-doership as an idea only.

David Carse (Perfect Brilliant Stillness) comments on the idea of nondoership, and notes that in some cases, such as Balsekar's pointing, this idea is given an overly central role- but that this isn't the whole story!

It is easy to walk around believing that there is no self, and no doer. However, DC nails it, in that this is just one facet of the liberation experience, and can't be the main course.

True awakening, when it occurs effortlessly, does away with ALL beliefs and notions, including nondoership. More has to occur besides the intellectual understanding that there is no doer or volitional self. Usually much abiding as the "I Am" takes place, in some cases for years (as with Nis himself) before stabilising happens and the permanent shift into just what-is takes place.

The 'disclaimer' in all of this, however, is that the above will either happen or not. If, ultimately, there really is nobody at the wheel, then shifts, understandings, practices, abidings, and apparent liberation will either occur, if and when, or not. The fact that YOU are reading this now, has occurred simply because it has occurred.. there is zero evidence to show that any agent forced 'you' here, or it was done through your own volitional effort (regardless of the after-thought ".. but I found this page" that may pop-up after the event took place).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sufism Notes - 1

(Having spent about a decade (1998-2011) in a traditional Sufi Order under the guidance of a Sufi Master, I often enjoy recollecting Sufi poetry and maps related to the process of Awakening (from a general Nondual Path perspective). I'll compile a few blog posts (in no particular order) from random web sites, with some commentary or editing if needed, related to useful Sufi quotes, and accurate Sufi 'maps' of awakening common to most Sufi traditions).


A short summary:


Sufism's aim is to re-gain awareness of our direct connection to "God" and "higher knowledge". The intention is to go towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion. This is called the Tariqat, the Spiritual Path or way towards "God".This is gained often through communal ceremonies, and a variety of practices under the guidance of a teacher. The core of Sufism is to leave identification with ordinary life, in order to know God directly. And by reducing the apparent distance between man and God, man also gets closer to truth and direct knowledge. The soul is seen as an element that can stretch out from the carnal body, and pass through the divine spheres.

The Sufis believe that only by the light of the Spiritual Path and the mystic way can the Truth really be actualized. In order for one to truly witness the Perfection of the Absolute, one must see with one's inner being, which perceives the whole of Reality. This witnessing happens when one becomes perfect (or regains a knowledge of one's innate perfection), losing one's (partial) apparent existence in the Whole.

If the Whole is likened to the Ocean, and the part to a drop, the Sufi says that witnessing the Ocean with the eye of a drop is impossible. However, when the drop becomes one with the Ocean, it sees the Ocean with the eye of the Ocean.

Sufis believe that each person is a unique representative (and indeed a part of ) the Divine. The Sufis say, "If human beings knew their own inner secrets, never would they look elsewhere for seeking happiness, peace and inner light." Therefore, the essence of the Path is to find oneself. "Know thyself, know thy Lord!" is an imperative of the Sufi Way.


Techniques vary, but they have three things in common: rhythm, repetition and endurance. The actual technique can be utterance of words or phrases, singing and dancing, or just inner silence. It can in some cases involve physical pain, or acting out irregular acts. There are no hard and fast rules that the student may receive.

Purification and its Stages

Some typical stages of purification are:

1. self becoming emptied

2. self becoming illuminated

3. self becoming adorned

4. self-having-passed-away (fanaa)

These stages occur in the course of the selfless remembrance of God (zekr). The techniques and use of 'remembrance' are central to the entire Sufi path of transformation.

The first stage, becoming emptied, entails letting go of negative qualities, the desires which originate from the (egoic) self. Obstacles on the path include procrastination, idleness, and a lack of effort. Basic skills in concentration and attention are developed here.

The second stage of becoming illuminated involves polishing the heart and soul of the tarnish of belief in and attachment to the self. The student sees him/herself in full. The capacity for complete vision (of one's self), along with acceptance, are developed here.

In the third stage, one's inner being becomes adorned by Divine Attributes. Ultimately, the being of the disciple becomes completely filled by the Attributes of the Truth-Reality, to the extent that there is no sign of his own limited existence. The question of self-volition, 'practices', and 'how to live' become meaningless at this stage. The unicity of life, of which the apparent individual is just another appearance, becomes clear.

This fourth stage is called "self-having passed-away" (fanaa). The apparent individual, along with personal suffering, drops away completely.

The disciple, through these stages of purification, travels the inner way, the Spiritual Path (Tariqat). But he or she can do so only under the guidance of one who has gone before, and provided the student has the capacity and inborn will to traverse the Path. Having travelled this path, the disciple becomes a perfect being (in the sense of being attuned to the Whole), and arrives at the threshold of the Truth (Haqiqat).

One could liken the journey within the Haqiqat (Truth), to training in a divine university, the "Tavern of Ruin" (kharabat). In this true centre for higher education there are no professors, one's only guide being Absolute Love ultimately, which is a given and not developed in any way by the apparent individual. Here one's only teacher is Love (not emotional or affective, but rather as pure Being and Knowing), one's books are Love, and one's being is Love.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Conditioned consciousness.

A few notes on 'conditioned consciousness' or "I am".

"Your existence is like a light when a matchstick is struck. There is nothing before and nothing after." - Nisargadatta

Knowing oneself as the 'conditioned consciousness' or ʺI amʺ (which is our waking consciousness, and which will pass on death, or which is dormant in deep sleep) is the first step.

From there, it can be seen that the whole knowingness of anything (sights, smells, taste, touch, sound, thought) is actually just the conditioned consciousness or beingness. Just the sense of beingness or consciousness which seems to wake up in the morning.

The focus is thus removed from apparent objects to the knowingness (albeit conditioned knowingness) of the objects. This is sometimes called 'the witness'. The first step of dis-identification has taken place.

From that point of abidance and familiarity (if done repeatedly), which is all the 'individual' can ever do, understanding is complete. Capacity is complete. From there, all talk of future states, enlightenment, change, progression, becoming etc. are seen are pure thought stuff or fantasy.

Eventually, this conditioned consciousness itself collapses (or is seen for what it is), and the unconditioned consciousness is apperceived or intuited as one's actual identity.

This unconditioned consciousness (or Absolute-Nothing) is unaware of itself (or anything for that matter), and of course, cannot be conceived or perceived in any way, shape or form. Yet its existence is certain, since without it, nothing else (including conditioned consciousness or ʺI am-nessʺ) has any 'space' or capacity to exist (just as for a table to exist, there needs to be some space available first).

Things are really very simple, when taken in the appropriate order. Maya is seen through right away, when a step is taken outside of the whole show (which includes the individual). Once this habituated seeing takes place, unquestionable conviction arises. Doubt, seeking further validation from teachings, teachers, scriptures, and questioning itself, all become meaningless. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A little bit of "spiritual autolysis".

It’s all about self negation isn’t it? It’s all about nailing down and focusing on the untrue and the false, until it’s seen in its totality, and ultimately dropped like a piece of shit. Or just let stand, like a sand castle, until the waves come up and overtake it.. food for the ocean, sand on the beach once more.

There’s nothing to grasp actually. Nothing to nail down in regards to the Truth or the Absolute, or any form of perfection. Just a seeing of the false, and a dropping of the illusion. Then the “truth”, if there is such a thing, is clearly seen for what it is. Just this, what is here, minus the illusion investment, the biggest being the ‘false self’ or the idea of a subject being here. Of course, there is no actual ‘false self’. Nothing observable in direct experience. In this instant, just thoughts, sensations, experience, happenings. Continuity and time give the impression (in memory only) of there being something that is a ‘false self’ or even a ‘me’, or an illusion. In actuality, now, there’s nothing that can even remotely be labelled as any of those things. Just this here now. That’s all. When this is seen, it’s the truth. Simple isn’t it? Where’s the need then for teachings, systems, religions or ideas?

RM was right. Use the mind to get rid of the mind. Use the thorn to get rid of the thorn. Then discard the thorn. No longer needed. Nail down the false. See it fully. See how it is energised and maintained moment by moment. Then it’s no longer being energised. No longer a living ‘thing’. Just another appearance now. No more power than the pen on this desk, or the empty tuna can in the bin. What else then, could there be? What else, except the peace of this, as it is, left to be, just this, as it is.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Awareness and objects

For most of our lives, we live totally identified and fixated on objects. But in order to know these objects there needs to be awareness or consciousness present. We have even gone so far as to dream that we are a body and mind, which are themselves objects known in consciousness.

Awakening happens merely when it is known and seen that all we really are is consciousness + objects (one whole, not two parts). We ARE objectless awareness knowing itself as just this consciousness + objects showing up here now. This, knowing itself. Nothing much can be said about just this, knowing itself. Awareness in apparent form and activity.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gurdjieff's system simplified in a page.

Having been a student of Gurdjieff's system (or Gurdjieff-Ouspensky) at some point, I felt compelled to write this little piece in the hopes that it could save some people a few decades of work.

Gurdjieff's system (as outlayed by Ouspensky probably most concisely, and as taken up by various other Fourth Way groups somewhat mistakenly) can be summarised as follows, with the main points as:

1. Self-observation
- which as the name implies, is simply the development of attention and concentration using the body, mind, and emotions as immediately available objects for focus.
- people spend years observing (and trying to observe) their thoughts, feelings, and sensations, though the practice in essence is simply to develop some basic degree of concentration and focus which is to be used on the next point.
- this basically serves the same purpose as any "meditation" or "awareness" practice, such as vipassana, noting, mindfulness etc.
- there is an obvious me-as-subject and it-as-object focus. Nothing esoteric here.

2. Self-remembering
- this practice trips up most people, and some spend YEARS attempting to get it, or work out what the hell Gurdjieff / Ouspensky even mean by the practice. Still others interpret it (wrongly) as "self-observation", which it is not (see above).
- the practice merely flows on from having developed the objectives in (1).
- the practice, in essence, is nothing more or less than directing the mind (or focus) onto the subjective feeling of "I"- which is the "I-thought" or "me"-as-a-separate-self feeling/thought. It is simply the focused observation and awareness of oneself that we all automatically take on from childhood, and which forms a seemingly concrete (but mistaken) identity as "I".
- generally, it is done as much as possible, throughout the day, and one needs to get a very clear and definite feel for one's own identity as "I"-as-a-separate-self or doer of actions or instigator of all other thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
- going back again and again to this feeling of "me" or "I" (as a separate individual) IS the practice of Self-remembering.
- "Self" here refers to the ego, or concept of "me" as an individual and autonomous being. (Which in Gurdjieff's system is the 'man is a machine but doesn't know it' idea).
- This serves the same function as all direct path enquiries, such as self-enquiry (vichara).
- Self willed effort and "practice" ends at this point.

3. Beyond (Seeing through the false self)
- Hopefully, at some point, the seeing happens (without any self-willed effort- and hence Gurdjieff's insistence that one cannot perform true Self-remembering), that the "I" feeling/identity is a completely assumed concept or entity in itself.
- The dropping of this assumption is the beginning (and end of assumed volitional) Liberation.

By employing (1) and later (2), in all manner of situations, and especially in times of turmoil (often intentionally introduced by Gurdjieff onto his students), it was hoped that the false self identity would eventually be seen through and done with. "Man is a machine", thus becomes completely true from the "Man Number 4" perspective.

Unfortunately, from what I've observed in Gurdjieff groups, most groups get hung up on (1), especially veering off into learning 'dances', exercises, tricks etc., and never even get to (2). For those that get to (2), the need for groups often falls away. For those in which (3) occurs, the whole game is up, and appreciation arises for this unique little system.


(PS- I've intentionally left out the huge body of Gurdjieff/Ouspensky's cosmology and related theology, as detailed somewhat in "In Search of the Miraculous", "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson", and other books. Although this highly complex body of theory (mostly swiped from Theosophy, Sufism, Buddhism, Kashmiri Shavism, and Gurdjieff's own imagination) is interesting, it is doubtful as to any immediate practical value which could not be explained much more simply. Certainly, the foundation of any of its usefulness would have to lie again with (1) and (2) above, without which, it would be yet another interesting informational philosophy only. It is likely that the early students of Gurdjieff's system in Russia & Europe, who were enamoured with Theosophy and occultism, needed some form of intellectual meat (or carrot), in order to even get started with the more direct practices of (1) and (2), and in this, the whole philosophy side probably has some value. However, the temptation in getting completely lost in Fourth Way concepts and philosophy seems to have been one of the chief elements in the Fourth Way's own demise, and on a more darker side, the higher than average rate (in spiritual groups anyway) for personality cults to emerge from the use or misuse of that very philosophy-- hence my insistence on side-stepping this area completely).

Many paths, one understanding.

(Just another meaningless flash in the pan)

Many paths, one understanding.

When Liberation happens, and the seemingly different paths to Godhead / Absolute are seen effortlessly to be the same.

The wheat is easily sorted from the chaff.

The Master of one path becomes the master of all paths, by his/her own nonexistence, thereby residing as the All. 

From the mountain top, the entire vista is easily seen.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Does a dog have Buddha-nature? Does it matter?

A monk asked Master Chao-chou, "Has a dog the Buddha Nature or not?"
Chao-chou said, "Mu!"

Buddhism can be a veritable mine-field of intellectualism and concepts. Koans (or problems or enquiries) were an attempt at one point to directly undercut the need for discourses and rather directly point at the truth of things via directing the mind.

This particular koan stumped me for years. It has that effect if one effectively cuts off all conclusions coming from intellectualising and analysis in attempting to 'work things out'. There is nothing wrong with using the mind, however, the mind coming to a contrived conclusion and sitting self-satisfied in a concept IS the problem.

After "seeing" happened, this koan re-appeared in my consciousness one day while sitting in the park having a smoke.
Its resolution or rather pointing was then so obvious.

How can there be any difference whatsoever in the body-mind mechanism of a human (which reputedly 'has Buddha Nature'), and a dog body-mind mechanism (which reputedly did not)?

Does Buddha Nature lie within an object, without, everywhere or nowhere?

And finally, if Joshu or Chao-chou's response was merely a pointer, rather than an answer? (And that pointer was pointing to the experience of emptiness ('Mu'), and thus the experiential understanding / knowing of the former part of the koan).

Though, that's jumping the gun, and the intention of designer of the koan (like any other koan), was probably that the practitioner would hopefully catch their "self" working very hard on this problem, and in the natural, open seeing of "their self" or lack of inherent existence thereof, the impersonal experience emptiness would ensue.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Awareness Watching Awareness practice and some misconceptions cleared.

I've felt the need to write a few words about the Awareness Watching Awareness practice. This can be found in Michael Langford's book "The Most Direct Means To Eternal Bliss".

It has been one of my favourite pointers/practices, along with self-inquiry, for a number of years, and I still often enjoy this whenever the desire arises.

However, there are not many around who actually "get" the point of this practice, or who understand what it is actually aimed at. This is also partly due to the author's own unusual way of explaining things in his book, and partly due to the highly confusing nature of the words "awareness", "consciousness", and "attention".

I've seen so many posts online regarding this practice, and so many times the 'baby is thrown out with the bath water'.

Criticisms seem to be:
- 'The practice is dualistic, not non-dual' ie., since it asks one in various places to 'focus on your awareness', or 'notice your awareness', or 'watch your awareness', or 'awareness aware of awareness', it seems to imply:
1. multiple awarenesses
2. a doer who is performing the task
3. an owner of some private form of awareness
4. a pointless practice which attempts to find what cannot be found or perceived or conceived in any way (ie. awareness).

Of course, all of these points are correct.

BUT, and here is where 95% of those raising these points fail, the practice is not attempting to define nondual concepts or align with the accepted nondual understanding of how things 'work', but is a TEACHING DEVICE or POINTER, aimed at directing the identified (dualistic) mind back onto itself or its conception of what it thinks of as 'itself'. If one was already established in nondual awareness or pure seeing, then they would not even be bothering to perform the exercise. Anyone actually trying the practice, instead of thinking about the practice, would surely come to this understanding.

Now, having understood this, what exactly is the practice aiming for?

In my experience, the practice aims for the exact same result as:
- self-inquiry (Who am I?)
- Ramana Maharshi's pointers on turning the mind back to its source and the extinguishing of the "I"
- Nisargadatta's abiding in "I-am-ness"
- Gurdjieff and Ouspensky's self-remembering
- "Look at yourself" practice as promoted by people like John Sherman

One starts exactly where one is, right now, which is most likely a conceptual feeling/thought/energy of one's "me" or "I am-ness" or personal presence. Then, on remaining there for some amount of time, days, weeks, years, one's identified "I" entity then collapses or is seen through (as the illusion it is), and one drops back into the simple empty awareness that one inherently is (or is-not). Eventually even this comes to nought. (Nisargadatta's "prior to consciousness" idea).

For years, I was trying to grasp at some form or object to be grasped at called "awareness", which is a) impossible to conceive/perceive, and b) utilizing the mind/'I'-entity that is causing all of the trouble. Eventually, it was realized that the practice is, in fact, to aim precisely at the 'I'-entity, which ML means as "awareness", and which when focused on, by itself, becomes totally impotent, and eventually collapses. (Albeit after repeated use).

This can be done both in sitting, and in activity (despite ML's exhortations that it cannot be done in activity and it may interfere with one's tasks- which is at odds with my own experience, and many others who have taken to self-inquiry 24x7, and of course most of the teachers listed above).

So, in summary, there is nothing esoteric or special about the AWA practice, or which differs from the other common practices above, however, when understood correctly, it can be an excellent way for some to further abide in the "I-am" and thus hasten its ending.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A dual approach or non-approach to Non-duality.

In a tradition which defines itself as 'wholeness' or non-duality (not two), one often finds a vast array of teachings, concepts, methods, no-methods and ideas.

On the one side of the line there are the traditional progressive paths which lay emphasis on practice, traditional teachings, having a 'teacher', and 'time'. On the other side, one finds absolutist nondual teachings which emphasise no-effort, no-method, no-teacher, absence, and an approach based purely on "pointers" or infusion via knowledge and innate insight. In the middle lie 'Direct experience' type teachings.

The fact that 'people' have 'awoken' via all manner of means along this line shows that there is no 'one right way' or 'one correct' method that can ever be applied for everyone and in every situation. The key that fits my conditioned lock probably doesn't fit his or her conditioned lock.

One balanced way of approaching Non-duality may be to take a two-pronged approach by incorporating the use of both apparent progressive practices and 'pointers'.

I won't go into actual practices here, though some of the more efficacious ones may be found in the traditions of self-inquiry, attention to bare awareness, shikantaza, jnana yoga, and direct-investigation-analysis-contemplations as found in some Buddhist and Non-dual traditions. Whatever works initially and immediately is probably a good indication.

As for 'pointers', again, certain Non-dual pointers will either hit the mark immediately and with a noticeable shift, or not at all. Though contemplating a pointer until one's brain explodes is an efficient practice in itself.

There's no logical reason to dismiss either progressive paths, or intellectually-heavy pointer paths, though one certainly finds a tendency for individuals (read "teachers") who have invested a large amount of 'no self' in either of these paths to dismiss the other side.

Don't fall for this trap.

But then again, if "we" are meant to fall for this trap, we probably will anyway.

Now, back to what we were doing.. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moving the eyes from the front of the face to behind the head.

"Moving the eyes
 from the front of the face
 to behind the head
 allows for the clear perception
 that one is not separate

 from the manifestation,
 but rather a part of it.
The space that fills the small pot
 is the same
 as the space that fills the large pot."

 - Lost Writings of Wu Hsin

(Thanks to the headless people for finding this pointer.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Seeker and sought. Seeking and finding.

It doesn't get much more direct or simple than this:

"If the sought is the seeker, then the seeker must be the sought, and the seeking must be the finding, and the finding the seeking."

(Wei Wu Wei, "Bewildering Bits and Painful Pieces. III")

If this pointer is really taken on-board, understood and followed to completion, then there seems not much more to be done.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


One if the most useful exercises in Crowley's works may be in Liber III- the simple advice to censure or shock oneself, via some means, on each and every use of the first person pronoun ie "I".

Friday, March 21, 2014

The 'Actual Freedom' pointer- HAIETMOBA.

Several years ago, I stumbled upon the Actual Freedom website, though due to the difficulty in navigating it, gave up and went on my way.

Then by chance, someone pointed me to the site, and having more time, I thoroughly digested its contents and started making use of its key pointer and practice: "How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?"

Actually, the folk at AF consider this pointer not to be the Actual Freedom method itself, but instead a tool to be used to attain a state of 'happiness and harmlessness'.

Having test-driven this pointer for several weeks as a constant inquiry throughout my waking hours, I'm happy to report it is a wonderful and efficacious pointer. On the other hand, the AFT website, and folk involved in turning this pointer into some sort of 'cult', make for a dog's breakfast, and thus the AF practice remains unappealing for some.

Here's my take on the AF practice, and above pointer.

The Good

+ This pointer works. Results guaranteed. Run it constantly and repeatedly throughout your waking hours. It will have either of two effects: 1) Bringing you back to I-am-ness, aliveness, beingness, and aware of consciousness only; 2) Bringing you back to the present moment, and primarily acute sensory mindfulness.
+ A natural side effect of the above is present moment awareness
+ Another side effect is that of immediate disidentification with discursive thought and the thinking mind
+ The pointer (or inquiry) can be done anywhere, anytime, and actually suits activity based practice
+ It can be run as a sole focus for a sitting session. It is highly adaptable.

The Bad

? A major part of the official AF method is attaining the state of 'happiness and harmlessness'. While this is certainly laudable, IMO, aiming at a goal to achieve such as this, detracts from the work of the pointer in accepting whatever experience appears at this moment. My experience right now may be anything other than happy or harmless. It also sets up a 'something' for the ego to wish for and a reason to continue its self-imposed existence. "consistently enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive is what the actualism method is.." (AFT)
IMO the above is a natural by-product of the pointer being done correctly, rather than a method to perform or goal to attain. Just perform the pointer, all else should follow.

? Another major part of the AF method, apart from the pointer, is in examining one's feelings right now, and if one is not 'happy and harmless', then one is advised to dig down and search out the source of one's unhappiness in the moment, where it arose in the past, rationalise it's "silliness", and move back into being.

"If ‘I’ am not feeling good then ‘I’ have something to look at to find out why. What has happened, between the last time ‘I’ felt
good and now? When did ‘I’ feel good last? Five minutes ago? .. " (AFT)

Although this may be helpful for one's initial practice, and for analytically minded folk, IMO, this ultimately becomes an obstacle to the initial pointer 'HAIETMOBA'. The whole point of moving into present moment beingness is negated by once more taking up analytical thought, stories, thinking, past etc. I disregarded this secondary practice in my own test-drive, with better results.

? A massive amount is written on the site about PCEs (Pure Consciousness Experience) vs (Altered State of Consciousness) experiences. Some followers have written flowery descriptions of their PCE, while others who have attained 'AF' get to certify whether or not followers have really 'had one' yet.

"The more one enjoys and appreciates being just here right now – to the point of excellence being the norm – the greater the likelihood of a PCE happening ... a grim and/or glum person has no chance whatsoever of allowing the magical event,.. " (AFT)

This overemphasis on having a PCE on every second page of the site, again proves to be yet another goal trap which is irresistible for the ego to strive for (and/or dream up), and hence why most bona-fide spiritual paths suggest totally disregarding all and every experience along the way.

The Ugly

- The AFT (Actual Freedom) site is a little 'enter at your own risk'. A simple pointer device ballooned into an "-ism", theology, personality cult, 'who's attained freedom and who hasn't' website, and source of some of the most ridiculous claims and writings on Eastern mysticism, Buddhism, and spirituality in general.

- The website is generally hard to navigate. It seems to have an 80's design of links, pages of transcript text, essentials mixed with non essentials, and not much of a clear explanation of the practice up front.

- The founder(s) are under the delusion that they are the first to have attained a state of 'freedom' or 'beyond enlightenment' in the history of humankind. Previous sages, masters, etc. never got there, got half way only, or are snake oil.
" In other words I traversed territory which no enlightened being has ever navigated.." (AFT)

- The website contains some of the most bizarre misunderstandings related to 'enlightenment', Buddhism, and Eastern teachings available online. "Enlightenment" is deemed as a sort of dissociated state, and one which should be transcended. Buddhism (based on a couple of obscure Theravada sutras) is (incorrectly) deemed as an ascetic practice aimed at dissociation with life.
e.g. "Those multitudinous scriptures consistently point to a total withdrawal from this sensate physical world. Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s advice is for a total disassociation of self from the world of people, things and events." (AFT)

(Buddhism doesn't even posit a "self", let alone advise on one's total dissociation with the sensate world. In fact, Mindfulness 101 involved direct contact with the sensate experience.)


In summary, HAIETMOBA is an excellent pointer/device and delivers the goods. The pointer, in fact, becomes the teacher (in exactly the same was as self-inquiry does), and can be relied on solely. The 'discoverers' of this pointer should be applauded and thanked for bringing it into the world in a large way.

However, take the remaining 80% of AF with a grain of salt, and discard as necessary.

Having been around for several years now, there is much written online about this method and pointer which is certainly helpful.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Who am I?"

Self-inquiry: it is like not being at all identified with the body/mind, but being an all pervasive witness to it. 

It's not being identified with the "I am" either (which is a first step only), just being a neutral witness to the body/mind.

Not the "me inside as a person" feeling, but just a witness to all the body/mind, after the "me" gets knocked out quickly and sharply via "Who am I?"

The whole simple point of the practice is just to quickly and easily stun the "me" phantom identification into silence, so that the true witness of it all is made clearly manifest.

Obviously, this needs to be tested and done silently with eyes closed in a quiet place, repeatedly over time. Later, it can be done anywhere anytime, as the need arises. The need being that of getting lost in 'me' identification and separate identity mode once more (our default state from age three).


Monday, March 3, 2014

A perfect summation of the stages on the path to Self-realization.

"The ‘mumukshu, is in kindergarten, spiritually inclined, but identifying with the body-mind. The ‘sadhaka’ is one who has dis-identified with the body-mind. A 'siddha’ is one who has stabilized in the knowledge ‘I am’, and in the process, has transcended it. In this journey you very well know where you are."

Consciousness and the Absolute - The final talks of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Edited by Jean Dunn.

Of course, this doesn't explain HOW to get there, but it is one of the best (simple, concise) explanations of the stages on the path.

Concerning the "how" to get there, apart from the much quotes aspect of "Grace" (or divine providence or ripening), the easiest 'way' that I can see (from here) would have to be in learning to objectify things or appearances and knowing that one is not that. There are various ways in which to do this. As a hopelessly identified personality, I found vipassana noting practices (e.g. Mahasi) to be very effective. Advaita teachers and even greats such as Nisargadatta usually make a quantum leap here in expecting that people are capable of clearly objectifying objects and oneself included (as an object) with generalised attention only. Direct pointers, such as moving one's perception from the eyes to behind the head, can also work for some.

Starting with the body and mind objects, one clearly understands that one is not the seen object(s), then moving on to objectifying the "I am" beingness, one ultimately sees that one is not the "I am" or beingness. This is Nisargadatta's "prior to consciousness" or "prior to beingness" or "what were you before you entered the womb?". This necessarily leads to simply Knowledge (or Being-Consciousness-Bliss) only.

Unfortunately, the process can't be speeded up or jumped. It is not conceptual (another trap most spiritual & nondual dilettantes fall into). Having a mental understanding that I am not 'my hand' if fine, but if I still feel connected and a part of my body, then I'm still identified as it. One seems to have to remain at a certain stage until that understanding that one is "not that" arises of its own accord. Making strenuous effort is definitely helpful in the beginning up until and including abiding in the "I am" only. In more advanced stages though, this effort itself becomes an obstacle, only helping to fortify one's idea of a self-willing and self-autonomous "me" as the doer. When this ("I am" or one's perceived totality) is ultimately seen and transcended, there's nothing more to do.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Summit Of Mount Freedom: By Michael Langford

(I feel compelled to post this hidden gem: ->)
Summit Of Mount Freedom: By Michael Langford

Once upon a time in the land of fictional characters created to illustrate certain valuable lessons, there lived a woman named Liberated Sage.

Liberated Sage was one of the few people in the world who had successfully climbed to the summit of the thirty thousand foot mountain called Mount Freedom.  She liked the summit so much she decided to stay there and live on the summit permanently.

Liberated Sage had read all of the books that had been written about how to climb Mount Freedom and she had read almost all of the books written about mountain climbing in general.

Because she had successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Freedom and because she lived there on the summit permanently she knew which books were accurate and which books would be most helpful to those few who actually wanted to climb Mount Freedom and not just read about it.

Liberated Sage knew that the most accurate and helpful book about how to climb Mount Freedom was a book titled:

“You Actually Have To Climb To Reach The Summit Of Mount Freedom.”

Some people sent emails to Liberated Sage to give her advice on many topics.  Those who had never climbed to the summit of Mount Freedom sent her advice about how to climb to the summit of Mount Freedom.  Those who did not know how to live permanently on the summit of Mount Freedom sent her advice about how to live permanently on the summit of Mount Freedom.

There were three people who sent Liberated Sage emails to inform her that she was wrong about which book was the best, most helpful and most accurate book about how to climb Mount Freedom.

The first person was Mr. Scholar.  The second person was Mr. Translator.  The third person was Mr. Arrogant Advisor.

All three of these people, Mr. Scholar, Mr. Translator and Mr. Arrogant Advisor agreed that the best book on the subject of how to climb Mount Freedom was the book titled:

“How To Climb Mount Freedom While Sitting On Your Couch Watching Television”

The subtitle of that book was:

“The Couch Potato’s Guide To Climbing Mount Freedom”

Mr. Scholar, Mr. Translator, and Mr. Arrogant Advisor had never climbed higher than one thousand feet on Mount Freedom.  Because of their experiences climbing those one thousand feet, all three of them thought they had enough experience to be qualified to correct Ms Liberated Sage.

One of the many things that Liberated Sage knew that Mr. Scholar, Mr. Translator, and Mr. Arrogant Advisor did not know was that the obstacles and challenges that one faces after one thousand feet on thirty thousand foot Mount Freedom are not the same as the obstacles that one faces in the first thousand feet.  And more importantly Liberated Sage knew what the route was all the way up to the summit, not just the route of the first thousand feet.  After one thousand feet the route took many twists and turns and had hundreds of different obstacles.

Some of the mountain climbing books had been translated from Japanese into English.  Liberated Sage was not fluent in Japanese.  Mr. Translator was fluent in Japanese and therefore Mr. Translator thought that he was far more qualified to determine which books were more accurate and helpful for would-be mountain climbers.  Mr. Translator was not correct in that assumption.  Suppose that a map of your neighborhood is translated from Japanese into English.  You do not need to know even one word of Japanese to know if the English translation is an accurate description of your neighborhood because you are familiar with your neighborhood.

There were thousands of well worn paths that led part of the way up Mount Freedom.  The reason they were well worn paths is because people were afraid to actually go all the way to the summit of Mount Freedom, so they chose paths that did not lead to the summit of Mount Freedom. The paths that led only part of the way to the summit of Mount Freedom had a reputation for leading all the way to the top of Mount Freedom. Although the people who were using the well worn paths on the surface of their mind believed they were on a path that led all the way to the summit of Mount Freedom, deep down at another level of consciousness they knew that they were on a path that did not lead to the summit of Mount Freedom.

Being one of only a few people who had ever successfully made the climb all the way to the Summit of Mount Freedom, Liberated Sage knew the path that leads all the way to the summit from direct experience.  Thus when a book had errors that described the path inaccurately, Liberated Sage could see those errors.  Liberated Sage never stated that the translators had translated incorrectly from a technical translation standpoint. She only stated that the English translation contained information that did not accurately describe the path up the mountain and that would not be helpful to those very few who were planning to actually climb to the summit of Mount Freedom.

Because Mr. Translator, Mr. Scholar and Mr. Arrogant Advisor had never climbed above one thousand feet, they had no real basis for determining what the path is like up to the summit.  What they had was a lot of concepts and theories that they had read about.  Mount Freedom is thirty thousand feet tall and Mr. Translator, Mr. Scholar, and Mr. Arrogant Advisor were missing twenty nine thousand feet of vital first hand information about the path that leads to the summit of Mount Freedom.  However, Mr. Translator, Mr. Scholar and Mr. Arrogant Advisor believed that they had all the correct information for three reasons:

1.  Because they were equating what they had read and thought about with actual experience, when in fact reading and thinking about climbing is not at all the same as climbing.

2.  They were terrified to go above one thousand feet so they substituted talking, reading, writing and thinking about climbing for actually climbing.  They had no real intention of ever going above one thousand feet.

3.  Like most people they had very little self-honesty.  Self-honesty begins by actually discovering how one has not been honest with oneself.

On the other hand, since Liberated Sage had successfully climbed all the way to the summit of Mount Freedom, Liberated Sage did have a real basis for knowing that path, including the many obstacles.

Liberated Sage saw that sometimes the books would say turn right at a certain point when what was really needed was to turn left.  In fact turning right would have put the climber into a deep hole that few climbers ever come back out of.  Sometimes the books would say that a certain area was hard stable rock when Liberated Sage knew that it was thin flaky rock (almost as flaky as some of the climbers).  So in order to help those few who intended to actually climb Mount Freedom, Liberated Sage wrote her own book titled:

“Reading, Thinking, Or Talking About Climbing To The Summit Of Mount Freedom Is Very Different From Actually Climbing To The Summit Of Mount Freedom.”