Humility and Awakening

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Humility and Awakening

Post by Sighclone » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:57 pm

You might think these go together.

You have a major spiritual awakening – a shift in perspective and identity…it is radical and life-changing, maybe scary at first. You jabber on about it and some people listen and some just walk away. You read lots of ancient books and some new ones, too. The Upanishads and Vedas seem now familiar. Possibly synchronous events happen in your life. You certainly no longer identify with your body, and even your monkey-mind is very suspect. The phrase “Unity Consciousness” has a special meaning for you. Old fixations arise and you can witness them without a reflex response. In fact, Witnessing is something that is very natural for you. And death is not a concern. Yes, you have changed.

But do you think you’re “done?” That you have achieved some final state of Being? Well, that’s not for me to say about you. But I was pretty clear in my own understanding of the new “me.” It was very big and very real. After a while, though, maybe eight years or so, the novelty began to wear off. Not the shift, not the change, just the newness. And, oddly, through it all, my personality did not change much. I’m more comfortable in my “old skin,” now that all the defects are pretty visible, and still emerge from time to time. The “present moment” is still very compelling, although I drift from it now and then.

And I still read spiritual books, sometimes re-read them. So about a week ago, I picked up a classic: “The Autobiography of a Yogi,” by Paramahansa Yogananda – written about 60 years ago, with some updates. There are a number of ‘miracles’ in the book – witnessed by Yogananda, performed by many. The Hindu scriptures refer to them as “siddhis” and they take many forms. Patanjali’s Yogasutras mention many of them in very general terms. But then I get to chapter 43 of the autobiography. This is the resurrection of his deceased guru Sri Yuktesawar in full bodily form and the record of most of what he told his disciple Yogananda. Yukteswar is occupied on a planet in the astral plane assisting others to continue their spiritual growth, to the causal plane.

Which is where I was reminded of the virtue of humility. I have essentially no consciousness of the astral plane or the causal plane. This is not to say I don’t believe in them. I generally reserve “belief” for events or phenomena that I have experienced, not just concepts or “belief systems”. I did go through a “past life regression” with a student of Michael Newton that was fascinating, and lent added credibility to the concept of life after death, and the astral plane. So I don’t dismiss Yukteswar’s astonishing pronouncements immediately.

Although my shift eleven years ago was real and compelling, I am very far from understanding much about his mystical metaphysics. And that has been comforting. Although my consciousness is far broader than it was 20 years ago, it seems I have just begun to grow, which is just fine with me. Until I re-read Yogananda (and Yukteswar’s “The Holy Science”), I felt that maybe I should somehow understand more than I do. But the vast proposals suggested by them are so far beyond my current consciousness, that it is easy to say “well…maybe that’s all happening and wonderful, but I sure am virtually unaware of any of it.” And somehow that has released me from some impossible responsibility to be more advanced than I actually am.
And none of this has meant that I can’t still enjoy “lila in maya,” or play in the relative world of my physical life. So I think I’ll go ride my bike.
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by turiya » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:57 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:57 pm
I have essentially no consciousness of the astral plane or the causal plane.
Same here.

I've never experienced any "extraordinary mind stuff" (what I call siddhis and various planes, etc). Just the plain, ordinary mind stuff here. :wink:

Although, really, the ordinary is pretty extraordinary, when I don't think about it and just watch it all spontaneously, miraculously unfold! :D
Sighclone wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:57 pm
So I think I’ll go ride my bike.
Enjoy!
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by Sighclone » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:00 am

turiya -

Maybe seeing the Infinite in a leaf, and huge Blessings and Grace, too...maybe that is "transcending." Pardon me, relative to my earlier identity and self, it absolutely is transcending. Finding Source/Being everywhere is very special. My point was that while it is special and different than before, that there are apparently similar "advances" available sometime. And sometime might be after the body dies, which is very OK. Like Popeye, I am what I am today, and will perhaps be slightly different tomorrow. I'm also saying that the intellectual, conceptual knowledge (which falls short of belief) that some advanced avatar/guru is bumping around on another planet (presumably the 'dark matter' we can't measure or define) is just very neat in itself. His duties there have somehow made it perfectly fine to be here enjoying the everyday sacred...I always enjoy your posts.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by runstrails » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:36 pm

Andy wrote: that some advanced avatar/guru is bumping around on another planet (presumably the 'dark matter' we can't measure or define) is just very neat in itself.
Lol! Had a good chuckle there Andy. Really enjoyed your posts!
Andy wrote: The Hindu scriptures refer to them as “siddhis” and they take many forms"
Vedanta is very clear that wanting or cultivating siddhi's will put you right back in samsara. It's just another kind of "wanting to be different" by the ego.
Turiya wrote: Although, really, the ordinary is pretty extraordinary, when I don't think about it and just watch it all spontaneously, miraculously unfold! :D
Lovely, Turiya. The 'ordinary' (e.g., planets, stars, dark matter, gravity) can be called as 'maha'-siddhis. We so take them for granted. Good reminder!

The final 'stage' (of self-knowledge) or nididhyasana (contemplation on or assimilation of your true nature as existence/consciousness/bliss) goes on till the end of life. And there can be setbacks since there is no way to predict what the unconscious will throw up.

FInally, I just wanted to add that the awakened ego (yes there is one!) is limited by the human intellect. This means that at some level we will always act like humans (foibles and all), even if we develop yogic siddhis :D. There are wonderful stories in Hindu mythology which refer to this: Krishna did some dubious things in the Mahabharata war and Shiva got angry and beheaded his own son (who became Ganesh--the elephant headed God). These stories are there to show us that even the Gods when they take human form as avataras are limited by their human intellect, despite knowing fully well that they are awareness. As you say, it keeps us humble.

Always great to hear from you Andy. Hope all is well.

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by Sighclone » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:15 pm

And it's always a pleasure to read your posts, also, rt. I enjoy that you have become a scholar of the vedantic traditions, reminding us of the value of ancient yet powerfully modern perspectives. I do think the discovery of dark energy and dark matter is huge support for astral planes etc. Things are fine here - hopefully for you also.

I'm working up a post on "Divine Solipsism" or the Shankara-sourced concept that all of Reality is actually contained in and defined by the mind of God. Or...you could take that one on, if you like....?

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by turiya » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:29 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:00 am
I always enjoy your posts
Likewise :D
runstrails wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:36 pm
The 'ordinary' (e.g., planets, stars, dark matter, gravity) can be called as 'maha'-siddhis. We so take them for granted.
True! I like the term "maha-siddhis".
Sighclone wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:15 pm
I'm working up a post on "Divine Solipsism"
I look forward to reading this. :)
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by runstrails » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:31 am

Thanks Andy and Turiya!
I'm working up a post on "Divine Solipsism" or the Shankara-sourced concept that all of Reality is actually contained in and defined by the mind of God.
Indeed...since Brahman (awareness) does not actually 'do' anything (since that would be a limiting attribute), the world is simply created by a 'sankalpa' or a wish within Brahman.

And yes, awareness or Brahman, by definition, lends existence to all of reality so nothing can be outside awareness. This dependent reality (i.e., dependent on awareness for its existence) is termed as mithya.

Everything that appears in this world is dependent on the impersonal, primordial, fundamental awareness (which is the same as our awareness) for its existence. Or put another way, everything we see is simply a name or a form of awareness/existence that we fundamentally are (sat, chit, ananda).

This is the epistemology of Advaita Vedanta (and possibly Dzogchen Buddhism)

Looking forward to your post :D.

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by Sighclone » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:48 pm

Hmm....

So, before we were aware of dark matter, did it exist?

A
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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by runstrails » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:21 pm

So, before we were aware of dark matter, did it exist?
Yes. Solipsism regarding dark matter is from the perspective of Ishwara or the total (or the divine as you nicely call it) not from the perspective of a particular person.

From the absolute (paramarthika) level of reality which is Brahman, nothing ever happened--there is no world to speak of--only consciousness. So no 'experience' can take place at this level (even though Brahman is self effulgent).

Then, there is a second level of reality called transactional reality (or vyavaharika). It is in this reality that 'we' exist and that the total universe or Ishwara (or God) exists. That is, "we" are awareness that is limited by a mind/body/sense complex (called an upadhi). So to answer your question, dark matter (and the universe) exists whether or not our particular mind/body/sense complex comprehends it or not. Dark matter exists because it is within Ishwara (or the total universe or maya) whether Andy or runstrails (RT) know about it or not.

There is third level of reality (which is our inner subjective reality) called pratibhasika, which is solipsistic in nature, I suppose. That is, our inner thoughts and our inner perception of the world are only known to our particular body/mind/sense complex (this is sometimes called the 'hard problem of consciousness in philosophy). Subjective inner reality (e.g., thoughts, ideas, imagination, perception) is different for Andy and RT and give rise to our inner narrative. These inner subjective realities will disappear after our particular mind/body/sense complex ceases to exist. However, the world (or Ishwara or maya) will continue to appear to other people even after Andy and RT are gone.

Great question! Hope I was able to shed some light :D.

P.S. Some analogies might be helpful here: The ocean is the total (Ishwara), the waves are individual people or jivas and both are not different from water (Brahman). So the water is the absolute level of reality, and the ocean and wave are the transactional levels of reality. Even if one wave subsides, the ocean is still there. But the ocean and all the waves are non-different from the water.

For the pratibhasika((inner subjective) level of reality you can use the rope and snake analogy. A person sees a rope at twilight and thinks it a snake and it terrified. But it was a rope all along. Seeing a rope as a snake is also called 'samsara'.

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:44 am

Andy said: Like Popeye, I am what I am today, and will perhaps be slightly different tomorrow.
Yes yes yes!!
So, before we were aware of dark matter, did it exist?
Yes yes yes!! --- we just didn't have a name for it

I love re-reading books that had an impact. Favourites on the journey seem to reveal more each time as we are ready to receive it.

Loved your post Andy.
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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by Sighclone » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:33 am

Thanks, RT and Jen!!

I'm going to spin off a bit here:
These inner subjective realities will disappear after our particular mind/body/sense complex ceases to exist.
Yes, in theory. Of course after the mind/body/sense complex ceases to exist, there won't be any m/b/sc to report out to those surviving that it indeed does not exist........

So last week I spent a fair amount of $ for a reading from a medium. This individual, Willa White, had come highly recommended. I was mostly interested to see "who came through from the other side." I did not have immediate personal grief over a passed loved one. And I had almost no contact with Willa before the session, and there is virtually nothing online about my relationships with the 'people' who showed up. Briefly, several important people in my life did 'appear' and Willa described them well (i.e. they retained their personalities) - moreover, a couple of very obscure personal facts were mentioned by those whom she 'contacted' that would not have been known outside of a tiny group of living people, and one fact that was known to only the deceased friend and me. I was impressed. This was a "combo session" that included me asking Willa some general spiritual questions to which she had only pretty basic answers, but she did 'love' Eckhart Tolle.

Tolle answered a question in a recorded seminar from a person who "saw dead people," and responded that some egoic entity does survive the death of the body. Needless to say, this would be a topic for a different thread.

RT - can you recommend a Vedanta companion or primer? (I have some older translations, esp. Upanishads, but they are pretty bulky.)

Thanks!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by Sighclone » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:45 am

From the absolute (paramarthika) level of reality which is Brahman, nothing ever happened--there is no world to speak of--only consciousness. So no 'experience' can take place at this level (even though Brahman is self effulgent).
So, if I may rephrase, at the absolute, there is only consciousness, but no object of consciousness. This consciousness is aware that it is aware, of course, which is the purest form of recursive, solipsistic awareness.

Does the maximal limit of our 'personal' awareness, then have limits because it is just that, 'our personal awareness'? Or as ET suggests, does our personal awareness expand to include all of Ishwara and vyavaharika if we progress spiritually?..but not, of course, Brahman.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by runstrails » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:35 am

Aarg! Wrote this long post but lost it! Will try to recreate the main points:
Andy wrote: So, if I may rephrase, at the absolute, there is only consciousness, but no object of consciousness. This consciousness is aware that it is aware, of course, which is the purest form of recursive, solipsistic awareness.
Yes. Nicely stated :D.
Andy Wrote:
Does the maximal limit of our 'personal' awareness, then have limits because it is just that, 'our personal awareness'? Or as ET suggests, does our personal awareness expand to include all of Ishwara and vyavaharika if we progress spiritually?..but not, of course, Brahman.
Actually your personal awareness is Brahman. Your personal awareness is the same awareness which is the substrate of the universe. They are not two (or a-dvaita). So advaita is very clear, that there is no expansion of consciousness.

However, even though you are the substrate of the universe, your upadhi (or mind/body/complex) is limited by the workings of the human brain and so it cannot comprehend Ishwara or the total. You could develop some siddhis (like the medium you went to) through yogic or tantric practice or have an NDE and they may give you a tiny peek but you cannot comprehend the total which is Ishwara.

Its a perfect divine solipsism if you ask me. You awareness have created the world, but the only way you can experience it is through the limited and very different experiences of the jivas (includes all sentient beings not just humans). Keeps it exciting, because you (both as jiva and as Brahman) don't know what is going to unfold next. You're just enjoying the show! :lol:.
RT - can you recommend a Vedanta companion or primer? (I have some older translations, esp. Upanishads, but they are pretty bulky.)
I can highly recommend Swami Sarvapriyananda. Andy, you would love him. He is just as erudite, intelligent, articulate and funny as you! He is well-versed not only in Vedanta but also in western philosophy and psychology and his talks are really brilliant. He is the head monk at the Vedanta Society at Harvard but it taking a year off to do a fellowship at Harvard. I am linking a talk of his called the Ultimate Truth. But this is just a sample. There are many talks and Q&A's by him on utube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goNIy6RDfX8
Here is the Q&A for the talk:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UN29iQ0zJ4

In terms of reading, I can recommend How to Attain Enlightenment by James Swartz (great for western readers). Or Vedanta: The Solution to our fundamental problem by D Venugopal
https://www.scribd.com/document/9727714 ... -Venugopal

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Re: Humility and Awakening

Post by smiileyjen101 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:18 pm

Andy said: Tolle answered a question in a recorded seminar from a person who "saw dead people," and responded that some egoic entity does survive the death of the body. Needless to say, this would be a topic for a different thread.
Sounds like my sort of a topic :wink:
But, why not here - the notion of humility and awakening (for me) encompasses this. When we stop thinking we are//know the be all and end all, and yet we have become awake to the 'more', it has by its very nature to humble us.

My gorgeous dad, who was a sworn agnostic who had married into a family of 'fey' folk, and used to give us all curry for our 'feelings' 'knowings' etc. finally agreed that even though he didn't know 'what' or 'how', he had to admit that from the evidence, there was definitely 'something'. Bless the Scots' bastard' verdict of 'not proven', meaning neither proven true, nor proven false.

The same is true in scientific things, just because one cannot prove a thing true, does not automatically prove it false (albeit some less than humble scientists might beg to differ). But then again to state beyond the facts that can be proven, that a thing is 'proven' when it is not, is falling to faith and belief, not knowledge.

It was probably a like conversation, that my Dad realised that it was okay to say there is 'something' ... in 'Trails' analogy, it might be a snake, it might be rope, or it might be something completely different - until you 'know' what it is, you don't know. All you can say, is that it is 'something' and describe the fact(ors) and appearances /experiences of it.

There is more in the ocean than water - and even from outside of it, e.g. the sun's impact on it and all in it, is immense. The dark matter issue, is kinda like adding the awareness of the sun's impact, from inside the ocean, without the ocean and dwellers in it knowing what the sun is or how it relates to their environment and existence and experience of it.
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