1hohmsanghagain

This is for anyone who considers themselves sangha.

Puja Sahdana

Puju’s

I’ve been wondering about the recent prominence of Puja practice.

A Puja is of the world of feminine form as is the rest of the manifestation. It  is useful if it opens our hearts and so connects us to Lee and the lineage. If it’s not doing this then it may be repetitive ritual worship. Much of the practice of the Vedas in India is about ritual observance and I haven’t seen a commensurate presence or practice of Karuna, compassion, here.

From Wikipedia on Vedanta.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanta

The Vedānta-sūtra are known by a variety of names, including (1) Brahma-sūtra, (2) Śārīraka, (3) Vyāsa-sūtra, (4) Bādarāyaṇa-sūtra, (5) Uttara-mīmāṁsā and (6) Vedānta-darśana. The cryptic aphorisms of the Vedanta Sutras are open to a variety of interpretations, resulting in the formation of numerous Vedanta schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own sub-commentaries. Consistent throughout Vedanta, however, is the exhortation that ritual be eschewed in favor of the individual’s quest for truth through meditation governed by a loving morality, …

Don Juan also criticized ritual activity.

“The new seers realized the true role those sorcery practices played and decided to go directly into the process of making their assemblage points shift, avoiding all the other nonsense of rituals and incantations. Yet rituals and incantations are indeed necessary at one time in every warrior’s life. But only for purposes of luring one’s first attention away from the power of

self-absorption, which keeps his assemblage point rigidly fixed.” (This isn’t the more critical quote I remember. –Sounds like he is saying that it’s a means to an end, not an end in itself, so don’t get stuck there. – KK)

As far as I can remember Puja’s are not one of our practices. It was just something we did to close certain group spaces. Not as an end or a means. But maybe Lee said something about it that I’ve missed and certainly the times they have a changed.

Though I don’t appreciate the value of incense waving I heard indirectly from a more knowledgeable friend that burning incense attracts entities or the teacher. So what do I know it’s a big universe out there?

In a film about Nisargadata Maharaj, He is one of the 2 primary contemporary presenters of nondual thought, (though he had a definite edge to him that most contemporary nondual popularizes don’t.) it show’s him doing daily pujas to a host of Murtis displayed in his apartment and and elsewhere. He said something like, “You see me doing pujas and wonder why. This is a mystery for you.” Clearly despite of his awesome presentation of nondual thought, (I much prefer his words to Ramana’s, the contemporary Jesus of non-duality.) he, Nizargadata, had gotten whatever he did through the help of a Guru (Unlike Ramana.) and was grateful for the help and wanted to keep his Guru alive in his heart. (And it may also have been, probably was, a habit, or so goes my interpretation. – KK )

Another story along similar lines contributed by ‘Loud Sue’

…… Yes. There is a similar story about Gary Snyder’s first visit to Japan to study with a particular Zen master (whose name I don’t remember). He arrived at the temple to find the master doing all kinds of worship to the Buddha (incense, prayers, candles, the whole nine yards). He questioned the master later saying, “I thought that you were supposed to kill the Buddha” and the master  said “You kill the Buddha, I will worship him”.  So I guess we all have to draw our own conclusions.

Pujas, like Murtis and by Murtis I mean photographs, are they in themselves useful agencies without intent? Said another way – more rituals and murtis doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than more Pujas and Murtis.

Loud Sue again – You know whether or not pujas are useful for YOU. Of course we actually have to do the pujas fairly consistently for a while to draw some valid conclusions as to their usefulness for oneself. –

Murti-worship as distinct from idol-worship http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murti

The notion that the term murti is equivalent to the English word “idol” is a misconception. The scholar Steven Rosen notes that early European missionaries were largely responsible for conflating the two terms by informing local Hindus that “idol” was the correct translation for “murti”. Furthermore, scholar Diana Eck explains that the term murti is defined in Sanskrit as “anything which has definite shape and limits; a form, body, figure; an embodiment, incarnation, or manifestation.” Thus, the murti is more than a likeness; it is the deity itself taken “form”. The uses of the word murti in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita suggest that the form is its essence.” Thus, a murti is considered to be more than a mere likeness of a deity, but rather a manifestation of the deity itself. The Murti is like a way to communicate with the abstract one god (Brahman) which creates, sustains, and dissolves creation.Some further words from Loud Sue. There is little attraction to pujas / rituals for me,  so I participate in the ones I like My form(s) of Praise are just different than that. They show up for me in more ordinary ways.

The previous paragraph notwithstanding, I’m saying be vigilant we don’t consider forms as expressions of holiness or devotion.

 

Shadow finale 3

Shadow 3, final shadow installment.

Apparently i’m still early on in my learning curve with this and this is the 3rd try now to post this on Happydaysangha. I hope third time will indeed be the charm.

This is the final aspect of shadow content I’ll be covering. Then back on course with more school and sangha specifics.

While editing this material I saw that even if we have worthy plans with committed actions yet have significant un-owned shadow connected with what we are up to, then we will still be tripping ourselves up to varying degrees or at least feeling needlessly unhappy. So these ideas are important and useful for successful functioning.

I’m seeing that though I’m intellectually working with this material I am still getting blindsided by my shadow on a regular enough basis. It seems to me that you would have to read this shadow material twice daily, in the AM and evening, for it to have a good chance of making an immediate difference and no one is going to do that.

So what’s the point of this presentation I now ask myself? (Maybe your memories are better than mine is and so this information pops to mind when you need it.) Other factor needs to be active which I would guess are a stable witness with a sense of curiosity about life. Then this  background information regards the shadows workings would spontaneously be brought forward as insight.

External Is Internal

This is another area where shadows pop up.  We often don’t see that, when others confront us and we get defensive, the others are simply presenting an unseen, repressed aspect of our personal story.  

External pressure from others is internal drive.  We will call that the pressure shadow.  External criticism from others is really internal self-criticism. 

The Pressure Shadow

All external pressure is internal drive.  Let’s illustrate this with an example:

For the last several years, John has been meaning to paint his  house.  In the last year, painting the house fell off of John’s priority list. Other things became more important, like work and his hobbies. His drive to paint the house never actually left.  It just became overlooked, repressed.  It stopped appearing as a story or a drive within awareness.  One day, John’s wife says, “I thought you were going to paint the house!  It looks awful!  Are you ever going to do that?”  John gets automatically defensive. “Stop  nagging me,” he replies. 

John doesn’t see this as a shadow.  To John, it’s his wife’s problem.  She is nagging again.  “If she would only stop nagging, everything would be ok.”  He doesn’t realize that his defensiveness carries great wisdom.  The external pressure he feels from his wife is really internal drive.  The external pressure from his wife is revealing or bringing back into his awareness his own internal drive to paint the house.  His drive to paint the house fell away.  It became repressed.  Other things became important.  John’s wife is just reminding John of his own drive to paint the house.  But because John doesn’t see it for what it is—internal drive—he mistakenly feels it only as external pressure.  It’s experienced as an “other.”  So instead of “I have a drive to paint the house,” it’s interpreted as “My wife is pressuring me again.” 

Here is the kicker:  all external pressure is internal drive.  There aren’t any exceptions.  We know that statement is accurate by examining something obvious in our own experience.  We never get upset when others pressure us to do things which we have no internal desire to do.

   For example, imagine if John’s wife had said, “I thought you were going to paint the neighbor’s house!  It looks awful!  Are you ever going to do that?”  You see . . . John never had a drive to paint the neighbor’s house.   Chances are the neighbor hasn’t asked John to do that.  There is no internal drive within John to paint his neighbor’s house.  And so no defensiveness appears when his wife asks him about painting the neighbor’s house.  He doesn’t experience her request as pressure because there is no internal drive.  

Re-owning the Shadow (This author states that witnessing the shadow is not enough rather one needs to dialogue with the shadow.- KK)

What does it mean to re-own the shadow?  It means to stop pretending that there is a self and an other.  Specifically, it means to look at your own story, what is happening in your thoughts, and see that the very trait that you are reacting to in the other person is a trait operating within your own story.  It means to actually re-own the trait.  It means saying, “I am controlling.”  “I am greedy.”  “I am whatever story I’m reacting against.”  It means to actually list the ways in which you have exhibited the very trait you are attacking in the others.  Feel how that feels, to own what you have been denying.  See where you are or have been controlling or greedy.  By re-owning it, the self-deception ends.  The trait is no longer being placed on the other side of the self boundary—out there in the imagined “other.”     

Postscript: This shadow material becomes of greater import for us as a group. Organizations, like individuals, have shadows. The opportunity to expose or clarify the shadow is both increased and made more difficult in a group. With a number of people it’s more likely that someone(s) are sensing or seeing something is amiss and is often more difficult to address those concerns. We can be uncertain as to our own perception, unable to articulate it, afraid of group censure of some kind. My take is our sangha, for me that’s the AZ contingent of the school, is doing well with having the spaces and open atmosphere for speaking up. Yet it is still up to each person to individually to present their concerns and insights.

Can anyone, in other regions with a group of sangha that meets regularly, or irregularly,  comment on what they are seeing?

Image

Happy Days Sangha

Shadow 3, final shadow installment.

This is the final aspect of shadow content I’ll be covering. Then back on course with more school and sangha specifics.

While editing this material I saw that even if we have worthy plans with committed actions yet have significant un-owned shadow connected with what we are up to, then we will still be tripping ourselves up to varying degrees or at least feeling needlessly unhappy. So these ideas are important and useful for successful functioning.

I’m seeing that though I’m intellectually working with this material I am still getting blindsided by my shadow on a regular enough basis. It seems to me that you would have to read this shadow material twice daily, in the AM and evening, for it to have a good chance of making an immediate difference and no one is going to do that.

So what’s the point of this…

View original post 829 more words

Unposted Comments

Below are 2 comments i received that i haven’t been able to get to show up in the postings. KK

SDE- I found this blog about shadow hugging and projection/obsession to be synchronistically helpful. Projection tends, don’t you think to obscure much chance, whether with a teacher, lover, or just reality, of real relationship. Just as i read your blog I was watching a DVD about Carl Jung. Two things really struck me. Firstly, the example of transference of a patient who insisted she marry Carl Jung. He explained to her that he was already married but she insisted. So he accepted. She planned the whole wedding, printed announcements, and on the eve of their “wedding”, she had a dream, wherein God told her she could not marry him. I was deeply moved by Carl Jung’s trust in this woman’s process. Apparently she was fully recovered to sanity. I wonder at the kind of compassion and skill it takes to remain open to one who is projecting on oneself. The excerpted comments in your blog about how we obsess on the teacher or another because of positive traits we refuse to take responsibility for in ourselves compliment Jung’s story.

The other thing about the DVD that got me was the idea, in my words, that one must be with lonliness in order for the unconscious/shadow to breathe. It describes that the only thing you can do is confront yourself where you are. Most of us go through life and our unconscious is not part of our “reality”. So, in any way we can we must actively turn towards our shadow side, support it, and then it can help us. That is the value of lonliness. We are conditioned to run away from what we fear in ourselves. This seems, to me, to be the driving motivation powering all human addiction. this need to get away from ourself, to distract ourself form what we are afraid we will see, positive or negative.

There is so much to this, but as a beginning i am very enlivened at the prospect of being with myself so that i might be with others. running toward that which i am used to running from.   -Sin Doll Ella

SB, hi, the shadow thing i find a bit bringing again a new therm in the already over filled with “special” words teaching language we have, and often it felt to me that we are proud to be much special to other there are not in the club, but of course we think we don´t have one, a club, but maybe just a sub club…all this new therms we come up with let us feel special, it has not to do like this , but the danger is there, and to be proud of something or at OUR creation is very common in a world that is all about new “things” and new “thinking”, maybe it should like this, what els we would have to do instate ? so we need to bring our focus on “some” “thing”, other wise we get crazy, (what we should, sooner or later, thats our club : ) even we are in a spiritual school, we need to do something…as stupid it sometime looks, thats the reason also for but why i m give my stupid answer to this block is more about the last command; it should be like: “…sooner or later we will all shine brightly, also the so called blockheads will learn…”because, they can´t put for ever there head in the sand, and also who knows, and will tell us really,, who is the Block-Head and who is the Bright-Head? Anyway, sit straight and you will find your own Blocks in your own Head!

Shadow 2

Shadow continued -2

I’m breaking this shadow material up into parts, partially so as to keep my postings short but also to provide one idea at a time, for better assimilation.

Shadow-stalking isn’t all there is to the work, but it appears to me to be one of the easiest, most desirable, to overlook, and costliest to community when it erodes trust.

Awareness of this material is needed for looking at community shadow. Community shadow is a kind of unconscious agreement. Whatever these agreements are they are there for reasons, generally to protect something such as positions, individual and collective. Probably all organizations have unconscious elements -I could see it in L…mark- but is there an ongoing effort to become aware of these unconscious elements? We become an awake-organization not because there isn’t shadow content, there always will be until everyone in the organization is stably awake, rather we become an awake organization when there is open acknowledgement of the possibility of community shadow along with individuals who are willing to speak their concerns as to what they are seeing.

In a group of people it is much more likely that at least one person is awake when others are knapping. But we need to take the risk of speaking up and disturbing the sleep of others. There is nothing wrong with shadow, collusion etc, this is just a part of the natural landscape along our journey as a sangha.

These postings on the different aspects of shadow, are preparing the ground to explore specific observations.

Shadows and Beliefs/Positions

Do you react strongly to positions or views that differ from your own?  It is difficult to see that we are often boxing our own doubt when we find strong disagreement in the realm of religion, politics, science, morality, culture, spirituality, and other worldviews.  Beliefs and positions are not ultimately true.  They are thought-based.  There is no such thing as an absolutely true thought (including that thought).  Thought is relative and dualistic.  When we look to thought for ultimate truth, we often don’t see the hidden, repressed doubt that underlies our own positions and beliefs.  But the doubt is there.  It comes screaming to the surface when we attack others’ viewpoints.  

All viewpoints are equal viewpoints of the undivided awareness that is our real identity.  We attack those viewpoints that we have repressed within ourselves.  In order to convince ourselves that we are right about any subject, we have to repress all internal arguments against that position.  We have to repress our own doubt.  …

…  Attention is focused on what we think we know or would like to know as truth.  We are looking for mental certainty.  We repress that aspect of ourselves that doesn’t know.  But opposites never actually get split.  The opposite arguments are still within us.  They appear as others “out there” who are wrong.   We then find ourselves in conflict with the others.  We box them, not realizing that we are fighting our own doubt, so to speak. 

The Criticism Shadow 

Similarly, all external criticism is internal self-criticism.  If someone calls you fat and you get defensive, that appears as external criticism.  Similarly, if someone calls you greedy and you get defensive, that appears as external criticism.  It could be any trait:  materialistic, self-centered, arrogant, or unintelligent.  Defensiveness always carries great wisdom.  Your defensiveness is revealing that you are carrying a self-critical story around.  You have a story that you are fat.  You have a story that you are greedy.  This is why you are defensive.  If there were no identification with the thought, “I am greedy,” then someone calling you greedy would provoke no defensive reaction in you.  Next time someone criticizes you, thank them for revealing your self-critical story.  We see that both our personal stories and the opposites “out there” that we are boxing or hugging are equal, inseparable appearances or views.  In re-owning your shadows, you may still have an opinion.  You may still state that opinion, even forcefully. 

I heard the Dali Lama quoted regarding what is the most important thing people need to do. He didn’t say meditation. “Critical thinking followed by implementing action.”

An Extraordinary Step

By exchanging ourselves for others, we are taking an extraordinary step. We are developing the most extraordinary understanding ever comprehended in the history of humankind, the entire history of the universe. Learning how to let go of our pleasure and receive other people’s pain is such a noble gesture. It allows us to become soft people, genuine people, extraordinarily good people. And with that merit, we begin to become worthy of receiving the vajrayana teachings, the tantric teachings of the Buddha.

Trungpa Rimpoche

 

 

Shadow Hugging

Sangha friends,

Regarding shadow work, mine in this case . Very recently I got into two heated situations here with different friends who have similar communication style. After the first one I knew that I was somehow half the picture, it took a repeat scene for me to go deeper into how I could be creating this, why I’m creating these unpleasant shadow boxing scenarios

The content below is on shadow-hugging, it’s excerpted from a piece of writing I found on the internet. I’ve done some major cutting and pasting from the original. I’ve perhaps changed the intent or the author for it to fit my more narrow informative or educational intent. I further divided this Shadow chapter into 3 segments that I’ll post separately. I did this to keep them short as I’ve heard that some of my blog readers don’t wish to spend much time on emails and such. I’ve rearranged the order into what seems to me the most useful first, rather than the original order that it was written in. I did this as perhaps there will be a few people who read only this post and go no further and I believe this was the most important of the shadow materials.

Also the additional bold and italics in the text are mine emphasizing some ideas I really agree with.  

 If you are interested in the rest of this material, the shadow chapter, or the rest of the short excerpted book, write me and I will attach your request in an email. The rest of the Shadow material will be in the next 2 postings.

 Shadow-Hugging. –or the light-shadow.

…shadow-hugging.  Just as we can repress or disown negative aspects of our personal stories, we can also repress or disown positive aspects.  Shadow-hugging happens as we disown positive traits or attributes and then project them outward as “others.”  We then feel a strong attraction to those others.  A classic case is the spiritual seeker who disowns the love, peace, and wisdom inherent in her true Self (i.e., awareness) and instead projects that onto a teacher.  The teacher then seems larger than life, “enlightened.”  Another example is sexual or romantic obsession.  We idealize others in various ways, not realizing that these others are really just repressed and projected aspects of our own story.  These positive aspects are too powerful, too beautiful, too loving to own.  It becomes easier, so we think, to project them onto others.

Victims stay victims by constantly idealizing (shadow-hugging) others who seem more fortunate or who seem to possess great qualities that are lacking within the victim identity.  In doing shadow work and re-owning these projected positive traits, it is impossible for a victim to remain a victim. 

… In shadow work, both the good and the bad (and all other opposites) come fully into view as equal appearances of awareness.  There is no more idealizing.  No more shadow-hugging.  

Other examples of shadow-hugging include obsessing on another’s intelligence, personality, success, or wealth.  Envy and jealousy are classic projections.  We find ourselves fixated on other people who seem to have everything we would like to have within ourselves.  …  Good and bad, attractive and unattractive, nice and mean, spiritual and unspiritual, and all other opposites are seen to be equal appearances of awareness.  The “other” you are hugging is seen to be none other than what you are. 

These traits may still appear.  In other words, some may appear more intelligent or more attractive.  It just won’t bother you as much.  It won’t be personal.  

“You know we have some people in the school who shine and we also have some blockheads. If it weren’t for the blockheads the ones that shine perhaps wouldn’t get the chance to shine as brightly. And sooner or later we all trade places…” -KK

Shadow Hugging

Sangha friends,

Regarding shadow work, mine in this case . Very recently I got into two heated situations here with different friends who have similar communication style. After the first one I knew that I was somehow half the picture, it took a repeat scene for me to go deeper into how I could be creating this, why I’m creating these unpleasant shadow boxing scenarios

The content below is on shadow-hugging, it’s excerpted from a piece of writing I found on the internet. I’ve done some major cutting and pasting from the original. I’ve perhaps changed the intent or the author for it to fit my more narrow informative or educational intent. I further divided this Shadow chapter into 3 segments that I’ll post separately. I did this to keep them short as I’ve heard that some of my blog readers don’t wish to spend much time on emails and such. I’ve rearranged the order into what seems to me the most useful first, rather than the original order that it was written in. I did this as perhaps there will be a few people who read only this post and go no further and I believe this was the most important of the shadow materials.

Also the additional bold and italics in the text are mine emphasizing some ideas I really agree with.  

 If you are interested in the rest of this material, the shadow chapter, or the rest of the short excerpted book, write me and I will attach your request in an email. The rest of the Shadow material will be in the next 2 postings.

 Shadow-Hugging. –or the light-shadow.

…shadow-hugging.  Just as we can repress or disown negative aspects of our personal stories, we can also repress or disown positive aspects.  Shadow-hugging happens as we disown positive traits or attributes and then project them outward as “others.”  We then feel a strong attraction to those others.  A classic case is the spiritual seeker who disowns the love, peace, and wisdom inherent in her true Self (i.e., awareness) and instead projects that onto a teacher.  The teacher then seems larger than life, “enlightened.”  Another example is sexual or romantic obsession.  We idealize others in various ways, not realizing that these others are really just repressed and projected aspects of our own story.  These positive aspects are too powerful, too beautiful, too loving to own.  It becomes easier, so we think, to project them onto others.

Victims stay victims by constantly idealizing (shadow-hugging) others who seem more fortunate or who seem to possess great qualities that are lacking within the victim identity.  In doing shadow work and re-owning these projected positive traits, it is impossible for a victim to remain a victim. 

… In shadow work, both the good and the bad (and all other opposites) come fully into view as equal appearances of awareness.  There is no more idealizing.  No more shadow-hugging.  

Other examples of shadow-hugging include obsessing on another’s intelligence, personality, success, or wealth.  Envy and jealousy are classic projections.  We find ourselves fixated on other people who seem to have everything we would like to have within ourselves.  …  Good and bad, attractive and unattractive, nice and mean, spiritual and unspiritual, and all other opposites are seen to be equal appearances of awareness.  The “other” you are hugging is seen to be none other than what you are. 

These traits may still appear.  In other words, some may appear more intelligent or more attractive.  It just won’t bother you as much.  It won’t be personal.  

“You know we have some people in the school who shine and we also have some blockheads. If it weren’t for the blockheads the ones that shine perhaps wouldn’t get the chance to shine as brightly. And sooner or later we all trade places…” -KK

To Internet or not to Internet

This posting is a bit longer than my previous posts so you may want to copy it into your computer for later review instead of reading it through now.

Two members of the AZ sangha, senior students, over 50, emailed me expressing their concern that I’d set up a Blog, an internet activity, associating the schools name, and the word, sangha in the title.

My response to one of them was that I was a hybrid student having also been in a school where the teacher used the internet extensively. Later I thought my response of ‘hybrid’ was an evasion of the issue. So what is, or what are the issues?

Their concern seemed to be that I’m not just engaging the internet which LL had strongly criticized and quite adamantly warned about as dangerous, by associating the school or the school name in it. Having stated this persons concern, I don’t recall his prohibiting our use of it. But he might have? I think he might have even called ‘it’ evil?

I think there are at least 3 issues I’m exploring. LL’s speech, how we understand/interpret it, and why we interpret it as we do? What the implications are in how we interpret it.

So why was LL creating such caution for this seemingly innocent servant –the Internet?
Certainly unconscious use of the internet can be harmful to ones work but still… over the last week of writing this piece and mulling over this internet question, it strongly seems to me that LL had more in mind than just warning us? Was it beware or stay away, from internet use?

With my deepening exploration of this issue I find contradictions that beg a deeper exploration of the question of internet usage.
His, LL’s, own relationship to the internet was complex. Though he repeatedly warned of and condemned it he had others work on it for commercial purposes of one of his business’s. And I once saw someone obtaining a movie show time schedule said it was at his request which they acknowledged they were doing at his request. He didn’t attempt to stop, or curb, any of the community businesses from marketing on line. And one of them has the generic name we use for the community; which is buried in my blog title. Though the way I use the informal name of the school it would not show up in a search.

Strict or literal interpretations, and it’s all our interpretation no matter what the words to prove our point are kind of wanting to play it ‘safe’. Safe is like stay on the well worn path etc. it implies there is a dangerous way. What is dangerous? Obviously in this case that which distracts us from our work. And maybe that’s all that’s really dangerous. It implies that non-literal, liberal, or apparently different and unorthodox understandings are likely to be dangerous. Literal, conservative, orthodox and fundamental interpretations imply or suggest that we should live life as safely as we can understand and as usefully as possible. Not bad depending. (Remember the David Bowie Quote in the first post?) But, I don’t see that this leads to maturity as – standing on my own 2 feet responsible for my decisions. Not when I’m second guess and trying to follow what someone else believes.. And there is a real, though temporary, danger when you don’t know and do what you can to the best of your own lights. The thing is then your mistakes are your own earned learning opportunity. Sometimes you guess right and sometimes you may be off the mark. And you won’t know till later if ever.
“Be prepared for truth at all hours and in the most fantastic disguises, That is the only safety.” Christopher Morley
Maybe you can find truth on the internet even.

For me all descriptions of ‘just this’ are interpretations. Like the marketing term “value added” we do “meaning added”. Mostly we are not conscious of the meanings we add and assume others have the same meanings as we do. The Tower of Babble still raises.

“You are out of danger,” he said. I laughed and said, “How can that be? I don’t feel dead yet.” – Margaret Laurence.

LL’s utterances appear to me as intentionally complex and often ambiguous. His contradicting himself, his “twilight” or “liminal” speech, his poetic use of language, his story telling and so on, it seems that he didn’t want his words understood as The Truth and carved in stone. Why? Maybe he wouldn’t play by our rules and let the teaching get nailed down, with fences constructed and sides taken.
He gave us tools with which to sort it out like: “be that which nothing can take root in” inquiry, just this, beginners mind, and more.

Everyone wants to win. Having access to the ‘good book’ of right behavior gives a place to hang your hat, relax and stop having to struggle with the complexities and ambiguities of life. It’s the assumption that if I can find out the rules I can be right and then I win.

The other polarity of ‘laissez-faire dharma’ can lead to a sloppiness of “it’s all good”. Again diligence needs to be exercised. It’s just a different way of loosing our edge than fundamentalism. Let’s take a poll, which is the more dangerous fundamentalism or the new-age? And the coin lands on its edge.

An aside here, perhaps.
(One of the dictionary definitions of ‘laissez-faire’ “The problems associated with laissez-faire leadership can intensify when a follower does not have the capabilities to compensate”.) I’ll restate that: when you haven’t learned critical thinking and accountability then you need to be told much more. (That’s the problem inherent with democracy; most people in the world don’t have the personal resources for democratic government.)

What is our aim in this school, is it to be a Devotee? Then how we define Devotee is very important. Let’s try this definition: to practice as well as I/we can, according to my own lights, with the willingness to ask for help. I guess some people don’t trust that they’ve enough light and so try to adhere rigidly to Lee’s words with whatever understanding they understanding. But I can’t really be sure that I understand what his intent was. Maybe, certainly, he wanted -that we develop the discrimination, or the instinct, to know and act in a way that keeps us moving on course?

Reminds me I once heard someone in the sangha say, “That’s what the mind does, it questions.” (And I didn’t have the wit to check that our!) It seemed the person meant that questioning was not a useful activity. My take is that this is more than an isolated but an unconscious mindset of this school. That LL and only LL really new the truth and we, the sangha can do little more than review his words and try to follow his direction. This shoe obviously doesn’t fit everyone, but I’d guess there is a majority vote here. The problem is that life keeps rearranging the props so that we still find ourselves in new situations requiring out creative presence. Like LL going subtle and leaving us with “this fine mess” as Guridief put it upon his check out.

If he said the internet was evil, I think we need to think carefully about that. Things are empty, it’s how we use or misuse them that may be problematic. Or did he say our use of the internet could become evil?

(Personally I don’t believe in evil, especially around things. There is no evil, there are degrees of ignorance of our self nature and of truth, and an extreme of ignorance, as in total disconnection from our nature allows people to do horrible things. Does that kind of linguistic philosophical hair splitting have any use in this consideration? For me it does as our use of language reflects our belief systems and creates and values and creates our reality. I’m no longer 25 sorting out my values. I’ve struggled to clarify them and am not going to drop pr change them without very careful review especially upon others suggestion. A wise man said to me long ago, “No matter what you see going on around here you are responsible for your common sense”. “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Shakespeare.
In the end I, we all, pay the bill on the action and choices anyway.

LL strong warning say’s to me to be alert, practice attention and discrimination, when on the internet. Certainly the use of the internet can be problematic as can driving a car if you’re not paying attention. In the USA people have used car-exhaust to asphyxiate themselves intentionally. It’s much more difficult to damage property, kill others or yourself with internet usage. The internet is like television on steroids. The dangers of television apply to the interne exponentially. The thing is that perhaps it’s biggest danger is that we consider it as harmless, while we see it as useful. With a car you know that a moment’s lapse of attention could signal disaster but with the internet you dive into the “rabbit-hole’ (Alice in Wonderlands world of distorted perceptions) without even realizing you’re in there. At the least it can be a huge waste time with undirected unintended use. (I’ve wasted more time than I want to think about maintaining my PC’s in some working order. I regret the day that I bought a PC instead of a Mac.) And our time, -or how we use it, what activities we choose to occupy ourselves with- is the most precious possibility we have.

Unless we learn to ask questions without easy answers and stay with them, learning how to think critically in the process, we are going to always be dependent on others on “experts” telling us what to do and how to think. I don’t believe that’s what LL wanted of us. He was a kind of “expert” for us but now it’s up to us. ‘The book of L’ isn’t going to cover every situation or decision we’ll have to make.

The unexamined life is the life un-lived. -Socrates

A story that came to mind during my journey into this consideration.
I heard that a teacher I once worked with made some very strong warnings and admonitions about not going into San Francisco, that it was contaminated. That school was maybe 2-3 hours away from SF. He said it was contaminated. This was in the early 90’s I believe. Sometime later I found out that one of his long time local students had died of Aids. I made the guess then that this was probably why this teacher had made such a ridiculous assertion that SF was contaminated. Was he doing what he could to avert this mans possible future?
So teachers can make recommendations that are pretty non-linear and there is still intent.

To muddy the waters further. LL was a self proclaimed fundamentalist regarding maintaining the tradition. The internet is certainly not part of the tradition. The internet could become a diluting element to our tradition of Bhakti, Bauls, tantric shaivism, Hinduism and whatever else I’m leaving out. This doesn’t look like apples and apples

to me, but then I’m clueless regarding traditions.

Blow out your brains and let your heart sort this out.

Is it art or ...

Is it art or …

 

Mount Arunachala

I’ve finally figured out what I’m up to with this writing. I’m exploring and opening my and the schools shadow content.

Mount Arunachala,

There are many people who revere and worship Mt Arunachala. I’ve considered them animists, adherents of the doctrine that all natural objects and the universe itself, have souls, Over the years I have heard many remarkable stories of experiences people had which were connected to the mountain. And I just ignored Ramana Maharshi and Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s worship of Arunachala. My use of the mountain has been, speed walking, to the rock overlook to Arunachula temple and a bit further to the Skanda ashram cave.

Eventually in a moment of desperation I let up on my animism story and did one of my 20 minute walks with some vulnerability instead of usual block-headedness. Lo and behold I received help in a clear undeniable way. I did this a second time a week later, same thing. Now I’ve become an Arunachala devotee singing its praises as much as the rest of the “superstitious”.

Sometime after this little revelation I was going up the outside stairs to my roof. As I was going up the stairs which has a good view of  Arunachala, I heard a voice in my head that said “You are Arunachala.” I hear voices in my head all the time, I know them as my thinking, but this one was different. What! What’s this about? I’m not Arunachala. That’s impossible, I don’t want to be Arunachala, I’m happy being this lowly appreciator/worshiper of Arunachala.

So I sat with this little mystery for some time. My best guess was finally and still is, that this was a sign, some words of advice,  not to make Arunachala an object of worship.

That’s a profound idea. Neither I, and If I may be so presumptuous, nor the world needs another object of worship, there are already plenty of those around.

Arunachala addendum.

I told this story to a close friend who commented that in Vajrayana practice you have to become the object of worship and maybe that’s what is happening? Something like Mt Arunachala is assuming me or I need to assume it? That’s a lot of assuming here.

I don’t know. this is not a Vajrayana school, but hey, maybe I missed a recent after-dinner talk where we also became a Vajrayana school. But anyway I’m not working with a Vajrayana teacher  or doing Vajrayana practices so I’ll stick with my first interpretation of not adding to my objects of worship.

But really what do i know. Life’s a mystery, and so such things, as this voice, are unknowable.  ‘Mind’ is a meaning making machine as some of us have heard in The Forum. I project all sorts of meanings onto all sorts of things. That’s what I do; in order to make some sort of sense of life. And it’s purely subjective.

As far as I can see all my meanings are provisional best guesses. That helps me to keep it light. (Life-lite-light – a new pop teaching.) I am giving it my best shot, and I do believe in whatever I’m writing, or saying, yet I assume that I don’t really know, can’t ever know with total certainty that I am objective or right about most anything especially philosophical issues. I will state my opinions with confidence but I won’t argue as to who is right or whats true. It’s all interpretations. (So I just walk off smugly believing that I’m right.) Confusing? forget the last paragraph. Image

 

The Shadow

Writers notes.

-I thought i posted this yesterday along with a photo neither of which actually posted. I’m still learning here.

Posting now follows.

This ‘Shadow’ blog post was started awhile ago, A recent email finally motivate finishing it.

(Some names of places are not just my bad spelling but have are abbreviated or have an intentional strange spellings to diminish unintentional views of this blog site. I’m probably just paranoid, yes and, as someone emailed me writing that “internet privacy is almost an oxymoron:)

There was a mention from a Prescat AZ after-dinner-talk, where someone requested that the local sangha stop our pettiness. I wondered at this request as certainly no one wants to be petty, or believes they are being petty. If we saw such behavior in ourselves we certainly would stop it. So clearly either we are not aware of it, pettiness, (let me broaden ‘it’ from ‘petty’ to unkind or self-serving behaviors.) or we are unable to do differently. If a request were enough to effect behavior we’d have a different world instead of the more interesting one we now have. So something(s) more is at play here than can be handled by a request.

One of the occupational hazards of the spiritual process is the need to demonstrate our spirituality somehow, at least to our own minds. And this sometimes translates to “looking good” by acting nice, this as opposed to being however we show up, not an easy thing to be, authentic, given the extent of our conditioning and mechanicality. If the assumption that our essential nature is good, organically innocent, then it may be that our efforts to be spiritual by doing ‘good’ via external behaviors is covering over our essential goodness.  So there is an X factor here, ‘the shadow’, in the Gurdieff work language it was called “kunderbuffer”; the organ that keeps the fragmented inner selves from becoming aware of one another. Supposedly if we became aware of all these fragments at once we’d implode or something terrible. So this shadow is no small puppy to play with as we shall see.

Gurdjieff said of himself – “All my sins are on the surface”, -a man without a shadow perhaps.

I believe I see shadow presences a bit more where I live in Tamil Nadu. at the various ashrams, with all the white clad seekers swarming the halls. I don’t know maybe they are all sincere devotees and I’m just projecting? Maybe wearing white is respectful? Lee dressed similarly when he visited here. It would be uncomfortable, like pretentious, for me to do so.

When you’re trying to be spiritual -extra good, there is then more stuff needing to swept under the rug, -our ego image- than the usual happy-hedonist who is more accepting of their wants and desires.

I’m trying to keep it light here, dharma-lite, but it, shadow content, for me has been by far my big ongoing work. Though in a way shadow is unreal, it is an almost ever present, adversary/friend I wrestle with.

I’ve seen how I convince myself that whatever it is I want is really for the greater good, as indeed it may well be, this then has allowed me to push and distort situations to get my way.

I think I’m belaboring the point as everyone is familiar with the concept of shadow. Self-observation and/or self-remembering and inquiry, or is it enquiry, should handle it, but it doesn’t look like it has form many of us. Witness the recent request to end pettiness. Either this is a very long term work, yes it is, or because we can speak and use the term ‘self-observation’ we then imagine that we are doing it. Isn’t this what we’ve done with so many work ideas? This is the reason we can’t use words like love and god anymore, they’ve become contaminated with immense cultural and personal assumptions and projections.

BTW (By the way) sometimes for some people ‘shadow’ is light-side content. Our strengths which we don’t want to acknowledge perhaps so that we can play it small not having to take responsibility for the Work, or as you might say, for the fullness of Lee’s relationship to you and your relationship to him.

The quotes below from well know wise men can add perspective to what we are attempting. -“sorcerers stalk themselves in order to break the power of their obsessions. There are many ways of stalking oneself. … you can use poems to stalk yourself.”

“A warrior is on permanent guard against the roughness of human behavior. A warrior is magical and ruthless, a maverick with the most refined taste and manners, …
“sorcerers constantly stalk themselves. …*” Don Juan, aka – also known as, Carlos Castaneda.
(I’ve interpreted the word ‘ruthless’ as ‘impartial’ seeing nothing as personal and not taking anything personally. KK)

I have no easy or fast solution.

As EJ Gold once said “first you struggle with others (sangha), then with the teaching, then with the teacher and then you struggle with God and finally you struggle against yourself.