Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby nightowl » Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:55 am

Really interesting reading here.
http://www.lifewithoutacentre.com/read/ ... teachings/

True freedom is not about escaping from the personal into the impersonal – it is to be found right at the heart of even the most intimately personal human experience. And so what a relief it is, to be a living, breathing, human being again, to allow life to express itself as this human name and form, as this beautifully personal human experience, and to know that it is none other than the impersonal dancing, playing, celebrating itself in every moment. I thank the teachers of radical Advaita for singing their song, and I respectfully break with their tradition once and for all – for all traditions are limited, and the song of life cannot be contained. Fundamentalism cannot stand; love will destroy everything in the end.

So tell me your story, and let the impersonal shine.
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby unbornawakened » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:27 am

Good one.

Let us see what ananda, ash, and other advaita believers on forum think about this reversal by JF.
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby nightowl » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:04 pm

It's quite an incredible reversal. I wonder if he's been influenced by Bentinho Massaro; they've been hanging out making videos together. I went on my very first retreat a couple months ago. Massaro invited people to share their experiences and was able to be wonderfully compassionate without feeding into the stories.

Whatever the impersonal is, it actually expresses itself as the personal, and so true freedom cannot come through a denial or rejection of the personal story – it’s actually there right at the heart of that story, at the heart of the messiness of human existence. That’s where the grace shines.
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby ashley72 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:15 pm

Have you guys ever heard about a mental illness called Agoraphobia?

I actually suffered from it about four years ago. It stems from severe anxiety and panic disorder, the sufferer becomes so conditioned by fears of panic... they no longer feel they can be around strangers, friends or family without having a panic attack. So they end up staying alone in their house too afraid to go out their front door. As you can imagine it's a shitty existence... and very "impersonal".... and guess what it's completely personal as well! Because the sufferer is extremely identified with all feelings, thoughts, memories, sensations.

The only way to free yourself from the "conditioning" is slow exposure to the environment... to slowly uncondition yourself and let go of limiting beliefs.

The whole experience gave "me" some interesting insights into the power of thoughts, feelings, sensations, emotions, memories... Or in one word the personal... And gee how much the personal can become the impersonal!

I have come along way since those days... and could never see myself becoming strongly attached to my "fear stories" again. I have alot more knowledge now about the human condition. :D

Jeff Foster seems like he's comfortable sitting on the fence these days... Maybe he sells more spiritual books that way. But where would he be without the "original teaching" or Advaita pointers which helped him out of his depression and freed him from his limiting beliefs?

I actually don't have a problem with his article, but I do see it as another distraction from the main objective... which is to stop identifying with limiting - thoughts, feelings, sensations, emotions, memories - for sufferers of depression, agoraphobia, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder.

My signature below ... sums it up best. :D
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby nightowl » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:18 pm

ashley72 wrote:
Jeff Foster seems like he's comfortable sitting on the fence these days... Maybe he sells more spiritual books that way. But where would he be without the "original teaching" or Advaita pointers which helped him out of his depression and freed him from his limiting beliefs?
He's not disavowing Advaita, just the radical approach to teaching.

Mainly I found the article interesting because I always thought he was about as self-realized as they come. And of course I also had the notion that once self-realized there would be no more doubt. I'm not that familiar with many spiritual teachers, but I was under the impression he was highly regarded. So it kinda blows me away that there is still so much mind stuff going on with him.

I'm glad you conquered the Agoraphobia. :)
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby ashley72 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:26 am

Hi Nightowl,

I agree with your points.

nightowl wrote:I'm glad you conquered the Agoraphobia


Thanks. It was a while ago now... the extreme form of the mental conditioning...disappeared after a few weeks - I'm happy to say. :D
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby snowheight » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:27 am

nightowl,

Thanks for that. Enjoyable read. Do you know when he published this relative to this interview?

If you follow Jeff's career, it seems as though he is at a point of exploring Albert Low's "next step".

Here are some excerpts that I particularly enjoyed:

In other words, the impersonal cannot be impersonal until it radically includes and embraces the personal. This seems like a complete contradiction in terms, but you often have to speak in paradoxes when talking about something that cannot be put into words!


yes, ok, you caught me. i am Jeff Foster. i am now outed on the board for who i really am.

“I am no one, nothing exists”. Oh yes, there is a beautiful truth in that. But at the same time, it’s not true, not at all – not until it’s balanced by its opposite, within the dream. No concept could ever begin to capture life, because life is prior to all concepts (including these ones). Concepts are always dualistic – the world of concepts is the world of two. “Self” and “no-self” always appear and disappear together. “Someone” and “no-one” always arise and fall at the same time. In the dream, everything is perfectly balanced by its own reflection – you cannot have one without the other. “Nothing exists” is perfectly balanced by “something exists”, and so on.Life itself, however, is always beyond all of these opposites. It is beyond “self” and “no-self”, “person” and “no-person”, “path” and “no-path”, “time” and “absence of time”. Life as it is, is totally beyond comprehension, in the same way that the wave will never understand the ocean, because it already IS the ocean…


Or as I like to say, from within, as lived, by the sailor catching the wind or the meditator at a place of restful inner-silence, the paradox dissolves.

And I enjoyed warning people about the dualistic teachers who were keeping people trapped in their ignorance – although of course, when challenged about this (“Jeff, isn’t it hypocritical to call other teachers ‘dualistic’ when there are no others, and duality is an illusion?”), I backtracked and said there was nobody here with an opinion about anything, and that everything was perfect as it was. Oh yes, I became very clever with words. You have to be, when you are defending a position, and trying to make it look like you have no position to defend.


Andy put it best once .... "going away when pushed".

I will read no reply to this as serious criticism because:

Anyway, this is all wonderful! It means that nobody has the answers.

A wave that claims to have transcended or gone beyond the ocean, is still just a wave, making certain claims. Even the most radical Advaita teacher is still a wave. Nobody has ‘reached’ the impersonal, or ‘gone beyond’ the personal, because the wave cannot go beyond itself. All waves are equal in essence – they are water.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby hanss » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:43 am

Thank you nightowl. I'm not familiar with JF, still good reading.
"In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being."
(Eckhart Tolle)
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby nightowl » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:24 pm

snowheight wrote:nightowl,

Thanks for that. Enjoyable read. Do you know when he published this relative to this interview?

Here's the quote from the email I received on November 10 from lifewithoutacentre:
This article was originally published in 3e millénaire (N° 101 - Automne 2011) as "Pourquoi l'impersonnel n'existe pas.


Can you translate? :lol:
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby snowheight » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:31 pm

nightowl wrote:
snowheight wrote:nightowl,

Thanks for that. Enjoyable read. Do you know when he published this relative to this interview?

Here's the quote from the email I received on November 10 from lifewithoutacentre:
This article was originally published in 3e millénaire (N° 101 - Automne 2011) as "Pourquoi l'impersonnel n'existe pas.


Can you translate? :lol:


Automne 2011 seems to be right now (to the right of the quote seems to be French for "Why noone doesn't exist") ... so I guess this is his current outlook.

merci beaucoup
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby beginnersmind » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:13 pm

I think Jeff Foster's grown since he first came on the scene. This article is exactly what I was speaking about on another thread. Foster is talking about the neo-advaita approach to the traditional Advaita teachings.

What is amusing about these types of "teachers" is their power to dissociate themselves from the spiritual platitudes they hold everyone else to. As mentioned in the article is if anyone says something on the personal level, then they are still somehow stuck "in the dream." Of course the teacher excludes themselves from this, not mentioning the obvious that the teacher is writing books and/or holding lectures, etc. in order to make a living. The irony is not lost here. This cognitive dissonance resulting from the teacher repeating spiritual platitudes of the ultimate reality compared to the reality of the situation of the relative in which they are in, often ends up in projection onto the listeners and dissociation of the teacher.

Not only is this immature spirituality a result of one's own spiritual bypassing in favor of adopting a new concept of being "enlightened", it also tends to cultivate sociopathic tendencies. Ethics, compassion, empathy seem to be set aside in favor of 'higher ideals". Yet it becomes quite apparent that these teachers have transcended nothing. It is only another form of escapism wrapped in spiritual ideas.

Real spiritual growth doesn't dismiss the relative in favor of "higher ideals". It doesn't make fun of people who speak of their personal stories. It doesn't equate empathy and compassion as stuck in duality.


This is a result of not wanting to do the inner work needed to undo the shadows of the mind and cultivate the light within, but instead spiritually bypass all of this and adopt a new concept of the self. Since western society lives in a fast food culture where we want the "quick fix", it should be no surprise that this type of McSpirituality is somewhat popular. But it is an immature approach and hopefully more people will outgrow it.


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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Thu May 01, 2014 5:07 pm

As my understanding currently stands I agree with you Eric, and it's refreshing for me to hear someone else say this here. I find the rise in the cold silence of fundamentalist non-duality disheartening - sometimes painful. I hope the universe will guide us to become lights to bright that we may guide them home.

Much love,

Jack
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby beginnersmind » Sat May 03, 2014 2:35 am

EnterZenFromThere wrote:As my understanding currently stands I agree with you Eric, and it's refreshing for me to hear someone else say this here. I find the rise in the cold silence of fundamentalist non-duality disheartening - sometimes painful. I hope the universe will guide us to become lights to bright that we may guide them home.

Much love,

Jack



I hope so too Jack. Here's an amusing article of from someone that was once under the spell of neo-advaita and is trying to spread the message of what he termed a sour twist on Advaita Vedanta.

http://www.nevernothere.com/forum/advaita-shuffle
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Re: Jeff Foster on Radical Advaita vs Freedom to be Personal

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Sat May 03, 2014 8:36 am

Thanks for that Eric. Spirituality as a whole only emerged to me a year or so ago so it's fascinating for me to see the origins of the various dogmatic paths and how they have influenced the ever evolving lives of those who walk them.

Much love,

Jack
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