Saturday, August 20, 2016

The kingdom of God is within me.

Luke 17:20-21King James Version (KJV):

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Friday, August 19, 2016

ACIM- The flow of peace and blessings. What are the Great Rays? (Lesson 360).

(Lesson 360)

Peace be to me, the holy Son of God.
Peace to my brother, who is one with me.
Let all the world be blessed with peace through us.

Father, it is Your peace that I would give, receiving it of You. I am Your Son, forever just as You created me, for the Great Rays remain forever still and undisturbed within me. I would reach to them in silence and in certainty, for nowhere else can certainty be found. Peace be to me, and peace to all the world. In holiness were we created, and in holiness do we remain. Your Son is like to You in perfect sinlessness. And with this thought we gladly say "Amen."

  • Peace
  • Silence
  • Stillness
  • Great Rays
  • Sinlessness

This lesson is a form of prayer and forgiveness. It is also an invitation to self-inquiry suggesting that the Self can be found within, in silence and in certainty. This may be in the formal resting practice that one performs daily morning and night, or on the hourly pauses that one performs during the day.

The lesson uses the image of the "Great Rays" which have been spoken of in the Text. Some students have taken to visualising or imagining 'light' type rays, auras etc. While this may be helpful initially, it will be a hinderance later when direct experience is required.

The reference to "Great Rays" is actually symbolic of pure awareness, which has often been likened to light in spiritual literature. Like light, awareness itself, is the source of illumination of all phenomena, including one's apparent self. Having no form, it is still and undisturbed by seemingly separate phenomena.

In becoming more and more familiar with silence, certainty, stillness, and the 'Great Rays', we come to know our sinlessness. We come to know our true Identity. We also naturally feel the peace and blessings that flow from such experiential knowledge (or gnosis) out into the projected world.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

(ACIM) Lesson 338: I am affected only by my thoughts.

This lesson from the Workbook contains pointers on two different levels. This is not fostering "level confusion", but taking the approach of offering advice for differing levels of understanding in students. To offer what cannot be understood is a sign of poor teaching. Thus, the Workbook, being a self-study guide, often gives teachings on multiple levels, like a holographic instruction. Gurdjieff's idea of a legominism is of similar import.

"I am affected only by my thoughts." (Lesson 338)

On a surface level, we are familiar with the effects of thoughts on our state, behaviour and relative state of consciousness. The Course makes the point repeatedly that modifying behavious is secondary to modifying thought and belief, which in turn affect behaviour. The "I" referred to here, is that of the changeable, personal self- the ego. The self we made and have identified with up until finding out the truth.

"It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear. Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things. His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love. He crucified himself. Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed."

A preliminary step is offered here. The insight that the world is not cause, but rather an effect, brought about by habitual thought. In seeing the world as effect, it may be exchanged for the "happy dream" wherein guilt, victims, and separation may be released. Fear thoughts may be recognised and purposely exchanged with thoughts of love. This is the thinking behind much of the "New Thought" movement, and most positive thinking teachings. Many religions make use of substituting fear thoughts for loving thoughts. It certainly works as an aid in exchanging a fearful world for one that is happier to live in. Recall, "My thoughts are images that I have made".

However, this isn't the end, but rather just the first step. Many spiritual systems do end here, incomplete due to still being trapped in a happier dream, but a dream of separation nonetheless. The ego does not end. Duality still persists no matter how "happy" we attempt to make the world. The perceiver still sees the world.

"Your plan is sure, my Father,—only Yours. All other plans will fail. And I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere. But the Thought You gave me promises to lead me home, because it holds Your promise to Your Son." (Lesson 338)

There can only be one will ultimately in all creation- that of the Source. Setting up the ego as a separate 'will', thus results in having to deal with fearful thoughts UNTIL the separation is healed and no more. How? By finding one's true Identity, the Self, which is referred to here as the Thought (of God). This is not a thought in the usual sense of the word, but THE "Thought of God" (ie pure consciousness) that exists prior to, and part of, all seeming arising and passing thoughts.

This primal "Thought", when sought with earnestness, leads to salvation, and the undoing of the separation, which is not done of myself (as "I"), but by the Holy Spirit, as God's promise that His Son (the Self) may come to know Itself once again. The Lesson thus achieves its aim, starting in time, and ending back in eternity.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lesson 337: My sinlessness protects me from all harm. (ACIM). Recognising the Self.

This is such a pivotal lesson found towards the end of the Workbook, that it merits some discussion. It can be seen as a brief summary of the whole Course in one Lesson. This lesson also shows how the Course fits in with other nondual teachings in terms of structure and aim.

"My sinlessness protects me from all harm." (L337)

The sinlessness spoken of here is none other than the Self. The Course has been using the term "sinlessness" (noun) over the last few lessons. Here it is shown to be the Self, which is as God created It (unchanging, eternal, whole, at one with all creation etc.)

"My sinlessness ensures me perfect peace, eternal safety, everlasting love, freedom forever from all thought of loss; complete deliverance from suffering. And only happiness can be my state, for only happiness is given me. What must I do to know all this is mine?"

The Lesson then brings in a central idea running through the Course- that of the process of the Atonement.

"I must accept Atonement for myself, and nothing more. God has already done all things that need be done. And I must learn I need do nothing of myself, for I need but accept my Self, my sinlessness, created for me, now already mine, to feel God's Love protecting me from harm, to understand my Father loves His Son; to know I am the Son my Father loves."

The acceptance of something that already exists is not a 'doing' initiated 'of myself', but rather an allowing, opening up, and stopping to see what is actually present now.

"5 When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself." (from the Text)

The Course mentions that the Atonement is a process, which seems to take place in time. However, it is merely the recognition of what already Is. Accepting Atonement for one's self is thus nothing more than the recognition of What one truly is, the Self, ever present and without sin. Through the recognition of one's Self (sinlessness, purity, suchness), harm is impossible in whatever form, simply because What one truly is (which is prior to the body, mind, thought, feelings, etc.) cannot be harmed. Protection happens by the recognition that there is nothing threatened. Harm could only take place in the dream of death and guilt made by the ego, in which the Son equates himself with a body-mind bound burdened by debt, in time and space.

Now, what exactly is the Self? The Course leaves this answer in the hands of the Holy Spirit, God's Answer. Through practicing the Workbook, receptive listening, contemplation, and silence, the Self must reveal Itself, and the dream of the ego be seen through in its unreality (or as a mere concept). This becomes the "happy dream", where although the ego may still be in place and operative, it is known as just an habitual concept present in the mind of the Son of God, until it is no longer required.

Borrowing from other nondual teachings however, one can aid this process, in knowing the Self as one's own present, alive, conscious, beingness here and now. Self-attentiveness. That which is aware of the body, mind, thoughts, ego, and illusory identity within the dream. Becoming aquainted with this is the end and object of the whole Course, and will in time, and with 'a little willingness' and 'silence', be known through the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is none other than the Self.

"T-28.II.12. This world is full of miracles. 2 They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. 3 They are the dream's alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream. 4 They are the glad effects of taking back the consequence of sickness to its cause. 5 The body is released because the mind acknowledges "this is not done to me, but I am doing this." 6 And thus the mind is free to make another choice instead. 7 Beginning here, salvation will proceed to change the course of every step in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

ACIM and Forgiveness - Some notes on letting it happen.

 ACIM and Forgiveness - Some notes on letting it happen.

 Some related lessons:

121: Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
122: Forgiveness offers everything I want.
134: Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
247: Without forgiveness I will still be blind.
249: Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.
297: Forgiveness is the only gift I give.
321: All things I think I see reflect ideas.
332: Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.
333: Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here.
334: Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.
336: Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.
342: I let forgiveness rest upon all things, For thus forgiveness will be given me.
361-365: This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.

  • The various ways in which ‘forgiveness’ can be achieved may give the impression that it is a process done by the student and under his/her control. Some 'teachers' of ACIM also give this impression in books and seminars by offering their own thought-processes whereby a student can supposedly perform forgiveness in a given situation. One such 'teacher' advises to see all as per a dream or illusion, and to keep reminding oneself of this fact. Unfortunately, such self-initiated approaches simply end up as exercises in imagination and stay limited to the intellectual/mind plane, and are usually dumped after a while by the ego out of either boredom or ineffectual results. Similar can be said for Neo-Advaita type intellectual perspectives.
  • In fact, true ‘forgiveness’ isn’t a process under the student’s control or direction. How could the student have the power to remove what he himself has made and believes is true? It is completely the task of the Holy Spirit to provide the means, place, and conditions necessary for forgiveness to take place naturally. The job of the student is that of having a 'little willingness'. The student merely places him/herself in a receptive mode. This mode would be second nature, after having performed it many times during the Workbook lessons, especially from Lesson 200 onwards. The student tunes in, listens, and opens their awareness to the still, silent, ever-present background wherein the Holy Spirit can communicate and enable what needs to be done through our little willingness and surrender. Through the Power beyond our selves, the Holy Instant takes place. Perceptions are transformed, beliefs dropped, and the universe, including what we thought we were, is allowed to be exactly as it is.


Quotes from A Course in Miracles (Text) related to the process of forgiveness as a function of the Holy Spirit through out 'little willingness':


Ch.16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

 “No needs will long be left unmet if you leave them all to Him Whose function is to meet them. That is His function and not yours. He will not meet them secretly, for
He would share everything you give through Him. And that is why He gives it.
9 What you give through Him is for the whole Sonship, not for part of it.
Leave Him His function, for He will fulfill it if you but ask Him to enter your
relationships and bless them for you.”

 Ch.18 The Dream and the Reality: IV.

 “Never approach the holy instant after you have tried to remove all fear and hatred from your mind. That is its function. Never attempt to overlook your guilt before you ask the Holy Spirit’s help. That is His function. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred and to be forgiven. On your little faith, joined with His understanding, He will build your part in the Atonement and make sure that you fulfill it easily.”

 44 Happy dreams come true, not because they are dreams, but only because they are happy. And so they must be loving. Their message is, “Thy Will be done,” and not, “I want it otherwise.” The alignment of means and purpose is an undertaking impossible for you to understand. You do not even realize you have accepted the Holy Spirit’s purpose as your own, and you would merely bring unholy means to its accomplishment. The little faith it needed to change the purpose is all that is required to receive the means and use them.”

v. The Little Willingness
“32 The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precedes its coming. You prepare your minds for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego unto Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

ACIM LESSON 321. Father, my freedom is in You alone.

"LESSON 321. Father, my freedom is in You alone."

This is clearly the personal, identified self, just as we are, that is adressing the "I am". Prior to the "I am", notions of bondage and freedom were absent. Suddenly, we found ourselves as a needy dependent self. In addressing our "I am", we look towards the only possible exit from our personal hell. We discover what we thought we were was incorrect and limited. The "I am" rests here and now as our most obvious escape to freedom. Externals offer nothing now.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Let me perceive no differences today. (ACIM)

Some texts pointing to unity and the problem of perceiving apparent differences:

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 261: Let me perceive no differences today.

"Father, You have one Son. And it is he that I would look upon today. He is Your one creation. Why should I perceive a thousand forms in what remains as one? Why should I give this one a thousand names, when only one suffices? For Your Son must bear Your Name, for You created him. Let me not see him as a stranger to his Father, nor as stranger to myself. For he is part of me and I of him, and we are part of You Who are our Source, eternally united in Your Love; eternally the holy Son of God.

We who are one would recognize this day the truth about ourselves. We would come home, and rest in unity. For there is peace, and nowhere else can peace be sought and found."

Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX

22. Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.

Katha Upanishad, II, 4

10. 'What is here (visible in the world), the same is there (invisible in Brahman); and what is there, the same is here. He who sees any difference here (between Brahman and the world), goes from death to death.'

11. 'Even by the mind this (Brahman) is to be obtained, and then there is no difference whatsoever. He goes from death to death who sees any difference here.'

Bhagavad Gita, 6:29-30

A true yogī observes Me in all beings, and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere.

For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Inquiry- See what the mind is. What is 'the mind'?

Simple message. Simple pointer that works.

Investigate, see what 'the mind' is.

"What is the mind?" "What is my mind"? Stop, close your eyes, take a look, try to find exactly what 'the mind' feels like and where it is located and what it is.

Rest in the above inquiry for as long as feels comfortable.

Monday, July 11, 2016

'Me' and 'mine'.

Q: I am very much attached to my family and possessions. How can I conquer this attachment? 

M: This attachment is born along with the sense of 'me' and 'mine'. Find the true meaning of these words and you will be free of all bondage.


Friday, July 8, 2016

"My true Identity abides in You." (ACIM Lesson 283)

"My True Identity abides in You."

Today's lesson from A Course in Miracles is a direct call to the truth of our situation, as we really are.

According to Eastern nondual systems, such as Vedanta, and Kashmiri Shaivism, our very being "I" (or that which is aware of these words) is in fact, no different from divinity. The "Son of God" referred to in ACIM makes use of this concept. A "Son of God" is purely an extention of God Itself, and one and the same in identity.

"The Son of God is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity Itself is One. 5 There is no confusion within Its Levels, because They are of one Mind and one Will. 6 This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God. 7 Yet this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent." (ACIM T-3.II.5)

One simple and direct way of approaching this lesson (283) is to address the "You" of divinity as simply that which is aware of the 'doer' of the lesson. The Self or "I" which is always present as our true self. After repeating today's idea, and simply resting in the presence of our own beingness (in which the body-mind appear), we can directly know our true Identity, which encompasses all the other little identities and forms we mistakenly assigned as ourselves.

Here's to our one, united Identity. May we come to know this today.

Friday, July 1, 2016

To practice or not to practice - nonduality notes - 1

I was reading a post on a Tony Parsons group, whereby someone questioned why TP seemed to be promoting  'his' message, and that it almost seemed evangelical. There was a response given by one of the members, detailing how 'this message' wasn't anyone's in particular, and that it differed from other nondual teachings. 

The difference given was that most nondual paths involve 'doing and performing action in order to become more aware, more nondual, whole etc.', while with TP's message, the idea is that things are already as they are, and that you are just THIS. That's it. Nothing to do, and nobody to do it. Nothing can be attained that trumps this already existing perfection that is nondual unity. No practices are necessary, or effective.

My response to the above is both agreement, and disagreement, and a note that this (above) view of nondual paths that use practices, is almost always misconstrued by the neo-Advaita type do-nothing-nowhere-to-go crowd.

Let's set the record straight- practices in regards to nonduality and nondual teachings do not aim at attaining anything new. Nothing new CAN be attained apart from what already is. They are not aimed at developing the individual (as opposed to self-development trainings), although some training in basic attention or concentration may often be involved. This is because even to read this sentence, some training is needed by the apparent individual, and an amount of attentiveness and focus is required to contemplate. The same can be said for attending a Tony Parsons meeting, reading a book on nonduality, or sitting in a satsang with a nonduality teacher that advises individuals present to do nothing and cease seeking.

What nondual practices aim at doing is this: creating space for the apparent invidivual to awaken from the dream that he/she finds themselves in, and seeing that all of it was nothing more than a dream, an illusion, and case of mistaken identity. Nothing changes, and nothing new is attained. An error in perception, and belief (thought), is seen through. That's it. The rope laying on the ground that was mistaken for a snake, is seen as just being a rope. The snake never existed except as a thought/belief, and thus the idea/belief/perception that there was a snake, is dropped. Things are allowed to be as they always have been and always will be. The story that there was a practice to complete becomes just another part of the dream story that has ceased to take place along with the individual.

There is a big fat proviso however, in assuming that one need do nothing-- and it is this-- does the individual see the snake or the rope right now on the ground?? This cannot be reasoned away or thought about or intellectualised away. If someone sees a snake, and is in a state of fear, then yes, there's apparently some work that needs to take place!! Advising such a person that there's nothing to do sounds idiotic, even though it may ultimately be true. It shows clearly that such an adviser is working in a state of level confusion, and speaking a language that the receiver cannot understand.

Hence practice!

Not doing anything in such a situation, or trying to intellectualise things in a nondual way is a huge ego trap that leads nowhere.. as many a burned-out nonduality student/teacher/former seeker can show. Being thus disillusioned with the teachings, who knows when such an individual will then approach the teachings again, or have another opportunity to awaken. Hence the admonition in traditional nondual paths to find a valid teacher, path, etc.

So yes, practice is important. It matters. Not for gaining anything, but for undoing the illusion of separation and individuality that seems to have taken place.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ACIM Lesson 183 "I call upon God's Name and on my own." (mantra yoga)

"I call upon God's Name and on my own".

For those that have followed the Course Workbook up until this lesson, today's lesson will be a change in approach.

It can be done as both a form of mantra yoga (meditation on sound phrases), or also as a form of repeated contemplation on a pointer phrase.

The lesson isn't specific on which "Name of God" to use, and it has been assumed by most Course students that this choice is left up to the reader.

However, a few tips are given in the workbook text, such as:

"God's Name can not be heard without response, nor said without an echo in the mind that calls you to remember."

"Repeat His Name, and all the tiny, nameless things on earth slip into right perspective."

"Today you can achieve a state in which you will experience the gift of grace."

The above indicates that this lessons shouldn't become an exercise in self-pacification or sleep. Although some mantra schools do make use of mantra work as a means of recuperation and 'release from stress' (such as TM), in contrast, this lesson should be used to gain clarity, peace, and allow for some form of 'grace' to enter into the chaotic mind-state we normally encounter each day.

Some form of 'rememberance' of Self / God / awareness should be evident while practicing the repetition of one's chosen phrase today.

This could happen via the use of a pointer such as 'beingness' or 'I am' or "I", which rather than a meaningless sound type mantra, would be used to point back to awareness itself. On the other hand, a meaningless sound mantra could well be used to focus the mind, achieve some form of silent thoughtlessness, and thus open a 'gap' in the backdoor of the mind to allow Grace to enter.

Although this lesson would only last for a day or two before the Course returns to its preferred method of meditation/contemplation (being an open awareness style), students should really enjoy the use of mantra/phrase work as offered here.

I happen to love mantra work, which can be relaxing, refreshing- allowing for the serving up of so many hidden blessings and realizations that make its use worthwhile. Above all, the practice of mantra yoga shouldn't be forced or too energetically performed.. a sense of relaxed listening is preferable and more conductive to 'success' in this practice.

"Turn to the Name of God for your release, and it is given you. No prayer but this is necessary, for it holds them all within it. Words are insignificant, and all requests unneeded when God's Son calls on his Father's Name. His Father's Thoughts become his own." (Workbook, 183)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Grace. (ACIM Lesson 169)

"Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is."

(Lesson 169, A Course in Miracles)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The power of decision is my own. (ACIM Lesson 152). Notes.

The power of decision is my own. (ACIM Lesson 152)

  • The Course takes the position that our current situation, as we experience it, it completely created and chosen (on some level) by ourselves. Our world is made / invented by our own beliefs, thoughts, etc., which all stem from the original 'crazy, mad idea' to believe ourselves to be separate from the Whole (ie dualism).
  • The distinction is made between truth and illusions. The world that we 'made' is false- being transient, changeable, based on perception and unstable. The truth, being unchangeable, and as it was originally created to be, has never changed and shares the Will of God (ie. nondual unity).
  • Mixing the true with the illusory, or entertaining concepts of good/evil, God within the world, etc. all point to erroneous concepts that fail the logical test of truth OR illusion (mutually exclusive). To believe the two can be mixed will result in confusion.

-- With the laying down of all concepts, perceptions and ideas we have about what we think we are, and what the world is, the Course advises some quiet time today to rest along with the idea that 'The power of decision is my own', and that 'I am as God created me' -- ie. pure awareness, wholeness, suchness.

(This exercise also happens to be an excellent form of self-remembering or self-looking, whereby I can just rest in the awareness of what-I-am, being the source of any apparent decisions that seem to be made in life).

(For those that may be temped to question the idea that decisions imply some form of free-will and self-direction on behalf of the non-existent ego / personal self, it may be noted that even apparent thought/decision appears within and as the knowingness-that-I-am, and that therefore the power of decision really does 'belong to me' in the sense of awareness-as-all.)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Notes on the use of "mind" in ACIM.

Will write more up later.. for now, a photo of some notes written in my copy of ACIM:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Personal and impersonal - the 'I am' (Nisargadatta)

"The impersonal is real; the personal appears and disappears. 'I am' is the impersonal Being. 'I am this' is the person. The person is relative and the pure Being – fundamental."

~ I Am That

Friday, April 22, 2016

A question about joining Fourth Way groups.

Received this email: “Do you have a group of people who meet to work with the Fourth Way ideas? <name, number removed>”

– Actually, I’ve been contemplating the idea of starting a Fourth Way meetup (locally) for a while, but due to other commitments, it hasn’t happened. If I did, it would involve going through some reading material, and working on some core practices such as self-observation, self-remembering, etc. and relating experiences with others over time.

Anyhow, before looking to join any Fourth Way group, I would recommend the following first:

- Read and become well acquainted with some of the basic, well-known material, such as Ouspensky’s ISOTM, The Fourth Way, The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, and then Gurdjieff’s main works: BTTHG, Meetings with Remarkable Men, Life is Real, Only Then When I Am, and maybe Views From The Real World. Nicoll’s commentaries are worth looking at.

- After the above, understand and look into starting the regular practice of simple self-observation, and any related practices that aid this (e.g. meditation/concentration). When ready, start to include self-remembering. The concept needs to be understood first though, and unfortunately few people (especially on the Internet and in online forums) actually understand what self-remembering involves, and most confuse it with self-observation or mindfulness of sensation (which it isn’t). Ouspensky detailed the practice best IMO in his works. Note all experiences in a journal over several months, or years.

- Then, and only then, look to meet others to share ideas, experiences and readings. Avoid any cult-like groups that seem to have a guru/leader/Gurdjieff-wannabe leading (I won’t name any here, but there’s a few out there). The “Foundation” is a reasonably safe group, but still has its ‘issues’. Don’t expect any major progress or insight to be had from most of the existing older Fourth Way/Gurdjieffian ‘hangers-on’ groups who have managed to fossilize the teachings and their glorious history, without actually putting much into practice now on a daily basis, or with the required dedication / short-term intensity. Better to wait until a local group of people appears that is accessible to you, and which has a group of people who are truly interested in the Work right now.

- In the meantime, building a ‘magnetic centre’ with ‘B and C influences’ (to use FW terminology) can go a long way.. if not _all_ the way.

The ego has no being. (ACIM)

I had been listening to and reading A Course in Miracles (Text), when I came across this quote:

"The ego is incapable of knowing how you feel. When I said that the ego does not know anything, I said the one thing about the ego that is wholly true. But there is a corollary; if only knowledge has being and the ego has no knowledge, then the ego as no being." (Text 8-VIII.7)

This reminded me of the use (in some circles) whereby the word 'knowledge' is interpreted as 'knowing' or the act of knowing (i.e. being aware) only, rather than in the usual sense of amassing intellectual data/facts/thoughts etc.

In this sense, 'knowledge' or 'knowing only' equates exactly with being, since both as also synonyms for just awareness or consciousness.

Hence, a thought construct, including the primal thought-construct-tendency which is the 'ego' ('I-thought'), cannot actually know anything, in the sense that it is not self-aware or endowed with any form of awareness itself-- but rather lives only as a construct existing in our awareness. The ego doesn't assert itself in deep sleep (or death) for instance, and at times when our waking consciousness seems to be in abeyance.

Being without awareness (knowledge) and being just a thought-construct, the ego thus has no being itself, and is rather just like a computer program- playing out its programming as it was created to do, relying on power beyond itself, and mostly for the sake of the body and its own survival.

This leads to the inquiry of what one really is, if the ego ("I-construct) and the body have no inherent being in themselves.. and taking into account that we normally regard ourselves as a body-mind entity.

Without jumping into further concepts, such as 'we are soul, spirit, Otherness' etc.. it is possible to stop and enquire directly into the nature of what we are in this moment, with the understanding that we are prior to the awareness of ourselves as a body, and prior to the awareness of ourselves as an ego. One means for doing this is via the practiced habit of self-attentiveness and patient observation directed squarely at one's "self" (or the feeling of one's "self").

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Self-attentiveness & self-inquiry in the Bhagavad Gita (6:25) - Sankhya Yoga.

Some translations for this key verse and advice from the Bhagavad Gita on the use of self-inquiry & self-attentiveness as a means to attain unity and liberation:

Bhagavad Gita -  Chapter 6, Verse 24, 25.

सङ्कल्पप्रभवान्कामांस्त्यक्त्वा सर्वानशेषत: |
मनसैवेन्द्रियग्रामं विनियम्य समन्तत: || 24||
शनै: शनैरुपरमेद्बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया |
आत्मसंस्थं मन: कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् || 25||

saṅkalpa-prabhavān kāmāns tyaktvā sarvān aśheṣhataḥ
manasaivendriya-grāmaṁ viniyamya samantataḥ
śhanaiḥ śhanair uparamed buddhyā dhṛiti-gṛihītayā
ātma-sansthaṁ manaḥ kṛitvā na kiñchid api chintayet

saṅkalpaa resolve; prabhavānborn of; kāmāndesires; tyaktvāhaving abandoned; sarvānall; aśheṣhataḥcompletely; manasāthrough the mind; evacertainly; indriya-grāmamthe group of senses; viniyamyarestraining; samantataḥfrom all sides; śhanaiḥgradually; śhanaiḥgradually; uparametattain peace; buddhyāby intellect; dhṛiti-gṛihītayāachieved through determination of resolve that is in accordance with scriptures; ātma-sansthamfixed in God / Self / Atman; manaḥmind; kṛitvāhaving made; nanot; kiñchitanything; apieven; chintayetshould think of


śanaiḥ—gradually; śanaiḥ—step by step; uparamet—hesitated; buddhyā—by intelligence; dhṛti-gṛhītayā—carrying the conviction; ātma-saṁstham—placed in Transcendence; manaḥ—mind; kṛtvā—doing so; na—nothing; kiñcit—anything else; api—even; cintayet—be thinking of.

Some English translations (verse 25):

(1 - Prabhupada)

Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.

(2 - Fuerstein)

Making the mind settled in the Self by holding the wisdom-faculty steadfast, he should not think of anything.

(3 - Muktananda)

Completely renouncing all desires arising from thoughts of the world, one should restrain the senses from all sides with the mind. Slowly and steadily, with conviction in the intellect, the mind will become fixed in God alone, and will think of nothing else.

(4 - Sri Ramana Maharshi)

Fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The meaning of "yoga" throughout the Bhagavad Gita.

I had been reading the Bhagavad Gita of late (book form), and came across a quote online from a Facebook page that was from Chapter 5, Verse 6.. which translated this verse as "Merely renouncing all activities yet not engaging in the devotional service of the Lord cannot make one happy. But a thoughtful person engaged in devotional service can achieve the Supreme without delay."

For some reason this translation didn't sit well with me at all, and I checked a few other sources.. and sure enough, Sivananda and some others (Bessant) translate this verse in a completely different way-- and in a way that makes more sense- and relate it to the Chapter discussion on the yoga of action (Karma yoga) vs the yoga of renunciation of action (Sankhya / Jnana).. and Krsna ends up advising that the yoga of action (Karma yoga) is easier, or rather renunciation of action is difficult without yoga (ie training/discipline).. and prior to this verse, it is stressed by Krsna that actually both are equal and one.

Later in the day, I found this excellent explanation on the use of 'yoga' throughout the Bhagavad Gita.. and thus had to share it-

Q: What does the word “yoga” given in each chapter-name mean?

"The word 'Yoga' has various meanings . Yoga means nirodha or mastery . also means upaya , a means of achieving something . Dhyana is also called yoga . A connection ,sangati , meaning a subject matter , visaya , is also called yoga. All the 18 chapters of Gita has the word ' yoga' in its title therefore, the appropriate meaning here is sangati , the connection or the subject matter. Thus, the word yoga does not refer to the practice of yoga but to the subject matter."

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Notes on 'The Disappearance of the Universe' (Gary Renard) in relation to ACIM & non-duality

Notes on 'The Disappearance of the Universe' (Gary Renard) in relation to ACIM & non-duality

I must say that I really enjoyed this book, both as a journey in its own right, and also in its unique 'interpretation' of A Course in Miracles. The story itself was entertaining and laid out some basic concepts in nonduality & ACIM from a simple, everyday perspective. There was also some entertaining reading related to world events etc.

For most readers, this book probably acts as a big motivating factor in picking up 'A Course in Miracles' (or starting again), and also in clarifying some of the more complex concepts in ACIM, which are prone to misinterpretation, dumbing down etc.

That said, the book does sometimes attempt to explain some conceptual points about the Course or nonduality, based on abstract quotes from ACIM- which seem not to have much in common with the idea being discussed (or rather seem to be a large 'stretch'). Further, for a book about nonduality and enlightenment, there's an awful amount of importance placed on events, time sequences, and personalities (like who's who back in history, and who will 'get enlightened' at what time in the future). Any truly 'enlightened being' would have likely worked out or come to the self-evident realization, however, that there are no 'enlightened' individuals or personalities.. ever. Such distractions detract from the philosophy of ACIM as well as nonduality in general.

Still, I can't fault the author's overall work too much here (which is motivational & inspiring for the most part), and its unique take on A Course in Miracles-- which IMO forms one of the better interpretations I've come across.

My only other comment on the above would be to keep in mind that this book, like countless others related to ACIM, presents ONE interpretation of the Course, and shouldn't be construed as the 'final note' or 'best interpretation' or 'The Course'. Ultimately, the Course does stand on its own, and speaks to different students in very different ways. If a student diligently and patiently follows the Workbook and Course, they will ultimately come to their own conclusions over time, and be left with a far better Guide than any written material or secondary opinion may offer.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Nothing is true. Everything is permissible".

"Nothing is true. Everything is permitted." - Hassan I Sabbah (Islamic / Ismaili mystic).

I was having a discussion with some friends recently regarding some of the more orthodox religions, especially the desert monotheistic religions. We came to the topic of rules, regulations, rewards and punishments, which seemed contrary to what the concept of a "loving God" would implement, let alone enforce.

Ultimately, one does need to think deeply about these apparent contradictions evident in almost all of the world's religions today- for only then can one be ready to challenge error and bring about correction which is needed in order for "religions" to actually carry out their purpose- the ending of the dream via happier dreams of Love.

The above quote came to mind, which I originally encountered a while back while delving into Chaos Magick, chaos theory and the like, but which purportedly stems back much farther into the recesses of Middle Eastern mysticism, secret Orders and those that "knew" but had to remain hidden due to persecuation by the orthodoxy of the time.

It really delivers a perfect summation of the whole universe, or the workings of phenomenality as they are apparent to us dualistic individuals trying to make desperate sense out of a senseless universe. There is no sense in it! Nothing is true -- all is in a constant state of change. And everything is permissible-- everything that exists MUST have been permitted by virtue of its very existence! How brief, but beautiful is that little quote.

Now when talking about nonduality, we are taking things to another level. A level where perhaps all is True and nothing is permissible (as there would be no apparent choice or a doer or cause within the changeless and eternal). But of course, religions, and pointers from the mystics were almost always aimed at dualistic individuals in an attempt to bring them to some form of awakening. And for that purpose they become useful.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My salvation comes from me. (L70)

"LESSON 70. My salvation comes from me."
(A Course in Miracles)

Such a powerful and useful idea for today, and on many levels.

On a conventional level, it gives me the motivation and focus to drive change, to practice, and to know where to look-- inward, rather than outward (as I have been habituated to do).

On an absolute level, I can look with quietude into who or what this 'me' seems to be, who the experiencer and enjoyer seems to be, and where my happiness truly originates from.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God's teachers. (ACIM)

"Oneness and sickness cannot co-exist. God's teachers choose to look on dreams a while. It is a conscious choice. For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences. The dream says otherwise, but who would put his faith in dreams, once they are recognized for what they are? Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God's teachers. They watch the dream figures come and go, shift and change, suffer and die. Yet they are not deceived by what they see. They recognize that to behold a dream figure as sick and separate is no more real than to regard it as healthy and beautiful. Unity alone is not a thing of dreams. And it is this God's teachers acknowledge as behind the dream, beyond all seeing and yet surely theirs."

(A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers.12)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review- 'Discovery of the Presence of God' (Devotional Nonduality)- Dr. David Hawkins.

Having just finished "Discovery of the Presence of God" (Devotional Nonduality), by Dr. David Hawkins, I felt I had to write down a few points on why I liked some of the material, and yet overall found the DH "path" to be a dead-end.

It was the third book by David Hawkins that I read (the other being a voluminous text "The Eye of the I"), and also having gone through "Letting Go".

Things I like about DH's writings:

- his precise language in getting down concepts related to spirituality, mysticism, and nonduality
- the overall structure he lays out with regards to the ego/personal self, the witness, observer, etc. and the need to transcend the personal self, in favour of allowing the Self/no-self/etc. to become apparent
- the emphasis on 'sacrificing' or giving up the 'juice' or payoff of being the 'experiencer' in place of being the witness of the experience (which works well with the traditional yoga paths- karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga)
- most of the practices he comments on (e.g. self-inquiry, single-pointed meditation etc.) have well documented and well-known effectiveness
- there is a definite laying out of DH own opinions and 'map of consciousness' as he sees it, no beating around the bush or ambiguity, as some other writers often do (e.g. "Well all paths lead to the top", "All paths are good" type magical thinking).

However, the above is unfortunately negated by the following points:

- the emphasis throughout on using DH's arbitrary, weird and wonderful system of "Conscousness Calibration" or using Kinesiology muscle testing to verify the 'Truth and Consciousness level' of teachings, teachers, people, places, (and anything) on a scale of 0-1000.
- the above "map" is seems to be mostly fictional, and is blatantly incorrect (see below) in places, but is portrayed as being completely scientific, absolutely true, verifiable, repeatable etc.
- occasional incorrect entries in the texts, showing either DH own unfamiliarity with certain teachings, which lead one to question how these teachings/concepts could have been properly 'calibrated' when the "founder" didn't quite understand what the teachings were:

   (Random examples: (1) Jnana yoga (ie. the yoga of "knowledge" or inquiry) is mistaken as "Jhana yoga" in the text (ie. yoga practices using concentrative meditation to achieve absorption states); (2) Sikhism is incorrectly labelled as a subset of "Hinduism"; (3) certain systems such as "Tibetan Buddhism" are given a rating and classed as one uniform religion/teaching. In fact, some teachings such as Tibetan Buddhism, contain several very different schools of thought, from traditionalist Mahayana Buddhist groups, to nondual non-traditional yogic paths like Dzogchen; etc.)

- the weirdness of some scores defies logic and explanation. (Random examples: Completely dualistic/political personages such as Pope John Paul II get 570, along with Jospeh Ratzinger.. however, some nondual teachers such as Poonjaji get 520 (lower), and a highly realized Tibetan yogi (Dilgo Kyenste Rinpoche) gets 575. Christian mystic Joel Goldsmith gets 480, while protestant writer Martin Luther gets 580. Mother Theresa gets 710, on the same level as the flower of Advaita Vedanta, Sri Adi Shankaracharya. "Saint Patrick" of whom little is known gets 590, and trumps Jean Klein, Rudolph Steiner, the Dalai Lama, Socrates and Rumi. You get the picture.
- Scriptures are also strangely rated/calibrated: A high grade text such as A Course in Miracles gets 600, while dualistic and confusing texts such as Koran (700) and the New Testament (790) rate much higher (despite having caused vast amounts of global suffering on behalf of followers). The "Nicene Crede" itself gets a huge 895, while the complete works of the Kashmiri Shaivism sage Abhinavagupta rates at 655.. again you get the picture.

The exercises and spiritual practices that DH introduces, while short and concise, are really nothing new, and simply taken from other schools, teachers etc. (e.g. self-inquiry from Ramana Maharshi and Zen, concentration meditation from Raja yoga and Patanjali and Buddhism, witnessing from numerous sources, Letting go / releasing seems to be pretty much the same as the Sedona Method which appeared a few decades earlier, and which was taken from elsewhere also)- hence there's really no new material in DH works that I can point to.. apart from the above erroneous 'Map of Consciousness'.

Returning to the summary though, I really did like DH exploration of the ego/self, witness, and the idea of giving up and surrendering 'the experiencer' in favour of 'the observer'. His psychology background supports this. I also liked his style of writing, which lends itself to group work or being read out aloud. I didn't like his choice of calibrations, and the emphasis on his 'maps' being objective and scientific (which they are clearly not), and that one has to wade through thousands of words (over various volumes and lectures) in order to pick out a few effective practices, or worse, get side-tracked into playing with muscle testing in order to 'tell the truth' of things- which should be completely apparent anyhow for those who end up walking further down a legit spiritual path to liberation.

There's more than enough online though, for anyone to do more research on David Hawkins.. the good and the bad.

Interesting reading, but take it with salt, and use sparingly.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Make it yours..

"Remember, wonder, ponder, live with it, love it, grow into it, grow with it, make it your own – the word of your Guru, outer or inner. Put in all and you will get all. I was doing it. All my time I was giving to my Guru and to what he told me."

Nisargadatta, 'I Am That'.